PILOT PROJECTS OR FEASIBILITY STUDIES FOR GENOMIC ANALYSIS

NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 10, March 11, 1994



PAR NUMBER:  PAR-94-046



P.T. 34



Keywords:

  Human Genome 

  Nucleic Acid Sequencing 



National Center for Human Genome Research



PURPOSE



[This program announcement supersedes the previous announcement that

was published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 19, No.

28, July 27, 1990.]



The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) invites

applications for pilot projects/feasibility studies that have the

potential for significantly advancing progress toward achieving the

extended scientific goals of the Human Genome Program as recently

described in Science. Vol. 262, 43-46, 1993.  The purpose of this

program announcement is to encourage applications from individuals

who are interested in developing novel, creative approaches that will

provide significant advances in the areas of physical map annotation,

DNA sequencing, high-throughput genotyping, gene identification and

informatics, but which are not yet fully developed enough to

successfully compete for a standard R01 grant.



ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS



Domestic universities, medical colleges, hospitals, corporations, and

other public, private, or for-profit research institutions, including

state and local government units, are eligible.  Applications from

minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities are especially

encouraged.



MECHANISM OF SUPPORT



This program will be supported through the exploratory/developmental

grants (R21) mechanism.  Applicants may request up to two years of

support.  Projects will be limited to $100,000 (direct cost per

annum).  These grants will not be renewable; continuation of projects

developed under this program will be through the research grant

program.



RESEARCH OBJECTIVES



Background



The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently engaged, along

with several other federal, private, and international organizations,

in a 15-year research program designed to characterize the human

genome and the genomes of selected model organisms.  This research

program, the Human Genome Project (HGP), has the following

interrelated goals:



(1) the construction of high-resolution genetic linkage maps;

(2) the development of detailed physical maps;

(3) the determination of the complete nucleotide sequence of the

human genome and the genome of selected organisms;

(4) the development of efficient methods of identifying genes and for

placement of known genes on physical maps or sequenced DNA;

(5) the development of the capability to collect, store, distribute

and analyze the data and materials produced;

(6) the development of appropriate new technologies to achieve these

goals; and

(7) the identification of major issues related to the ethical, legal

and social implications (ELSI) of genome research, and the

development of policy options to address them.



The products of the HGP will include information and material

resources, as well as new technologies, available to the entire

research community that will facilitate further research leading to

the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of disease, as well as to

further understanding of human biology.



Significant progress has been made toward meeting the initial five-

year goals of the HGP (as described in the document "Understanding

Our Genetic Inheritance - The U.S. Human Genome Project:  The First

Five Years FY 1991-1995).  Meeting the set of extended goals of the

HGP and completing the HGP, however, will require still further

increases in efficiency and cost-effectiveness of mapping and

sequencing techniques.  Achieving such increases will undoubtedly

benefit from the development of new approaches.  Pilot projects can

be a valuable means of promoting the development of novel or

conceptually creative ideas that are scientifically sound and may

significantly advance progress toward the scientific goals of the

Human Genome Program, but which may not be developed fully enough to

warrant support with a standard R01 grant.



Objectives



Applications for pilot projects or feasibility studies are encouraged

in, but not limited to, the following areas:



o  development of new technologies for improving STS-based physical

maps at a resolution of 100 kilobases;

o  development of new methods for DNA sequencing that are capable of

significantly reducing the cost and/or increasing the throughput of

sequencing;

o  development of high-throughput genotyping technologies that are

accurate, rapid, efficient and cost-effective;

o  development of new technologies for rapidly and cost-effectively

identifying and mapping genes and coding regions in genomic DNA;

o  development of computer tools, information systems, and strategies

for collecting, storing, retrieving, analyzing, interpreting and

distributing large amounts of mapping and sequencing data.



The purpose of this initiative is to identify high-risk/high payoff

projects that, if successful, could lead to significant increases in

the rate of data generation, significant decreases in the cost of

genomic research, or significant new insights.  The NCHGR encourages

applications from scientists who have not traditionally been funded

by the NCHGR, such as chemists, engineers, physicists, and

information scientists, as well as from molecular biologists and

other biologists.



Applicants must clearly identify the biological problem for which the

technology is being developed, and must indicate plans for

demonstrating or testing the utility of the technology.  Applicants

whose expertise is primarily non-biological and who are interested in

addressing problems of genome analysis with new, non-biological tools

are especially encouraged to interact closely with biologists.



APPLICATION PROCEDURES



Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS

398 (rev. 9/91).  Submission dates for new applications are February

1, June 1, and October 1; competing continuation applications and

amended applications are accepted on March 1, July 1, and November 1.

Application kits are available at most institutional offices of

sponsored research and may be obtained from the Office of Grants

Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of

Health, Westwood Building, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone

301/435-0714.  The title and number of this program announcement must

be typed in Item 2a on the face page of the application.



The completed original application and five legible copies must be

delivered to:



Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**



REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS



Applications will first be reviewed for scientific and technical

merit by an appropriate study section in the Division of Research

Grants.  Following the initial scientific review, applications will

receive a second-level review by the National Advisory Council for

Human Genome research.  The following review criteria will be used to

assess the scientific merit of an application:



o  Significance and originality of the research and methodological

approaches;

o  Feasibility of the research and adequacy of the experimental

design;

o  Training, experience, research competence, and commitment of the

investigator(s);

o  Adequacy of the facilities and resources; and

o  Appropriateness of the requested budget for the work proposed.



Because this program is designed to support innovative ideas,

preliminary data are not required.  However, the applicant does have

the responsibility for developing a sound research plan and for

presenting any other information that can be considered as evidence

of feasibility.



AWARD CRITERIA



Applications assigned to the NCHGR will compete for available funds

with all other approved applications assigned to the NCHGR.  The

following will be considered in making funding decisions:



o  Innovativeness of the proposed project as determined by peer

review;

o  The potential for developing technology or strategies that will

accelerate progress toward achieving the research goals of the

National Center for Human Genome Research; and

o  Availability of funds.



INQUIRIES



The program staff and grants management officer welcome the

opportunity to discuss program interests and PHS grant policy,

respectively, with prospective applicants and current grantees.

Telephone, electronic and/or written inquiries are strongly

encouraged.  Specific questions regarding programmatic areas may be

directed to:



Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.

Mapping Technology Branch

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 610

Bethesda, MD  20892

Telephone:  (301) 496-7531

FAX:  (301) 480-2770

Internet:  Bettie_Graham@occshost.nlm.nih.gov



Inquiries about fiscal matters may be directed to:



Ms. Jean Cahill

Grants and Contracts Management Branch

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 613

Bethesda, MD  20892

Telephone:  (301) 402-0733



AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS



This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic

Assistance No. 93.172.  Awards will be made under the authority of

the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410,

as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered

under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and

45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental

review requirement of Executive Order 12372 or to Health Systems

Agency review.



.


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