Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement: An Open-Access Repository and Database for Anatomical and Physiological Ontology of Acupoints (U24 Clinical Trial Optional)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
July 12, 2022
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
August 30, 2022
First Estimated Application Due Date:
November 01, 2022
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
August 01, 2023
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
August 01, 2023
Related Announcements


Issued by

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for an Open-Access Repository and Database for Anatomical and Physiological Ontology of Acupoints. This initiative will support the development and maintenance of a searchable, open-access database and repository for commonly used acupoints, along with key anatomical and physiological correlates as well as other relevant parameters suitable for human subjects and appropriate animal models. This FOA will utilize a cooperative agreement funding mechanism, U24, to support the development and maintenance of the database and repository, which will serve the research community. The intent is to create a database and repository of high-quality research data that will support rigorous research in the acupuncture field, continue and advance the creation of evidence-based clinical practices, and support sharing of information regarding acupuncture-based interventions and therapies. We believe this database and repository will be transformative for the acupuncture research field as it will offer researchers a rich scientific resource that will bridge and unify research approaches via common concepts, terminology, and parameters, which will lead to more meaningful mechanistic and clinical research results. This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive applications.

Research Initiative Details

The Open-Access Repository and Database must:

• be developed and maintained by leading experts of the acupuncture research community partnering with acupuncture or peripheral nerve stimulation organizations, in collaboration with the NIH;

• serve the acupuncture research community, including both basic research and mechanistic clinical research by having standardized language and common data elements;

• develop high-quality data and support bidirectional translational research;

• be open-access and searchable, including notifications/update/alert systems;

• be capable of storing, organizing, managing, and tracking access to data and resources.

• be compatible with other relevant NIH Databases such as SPARC and BRAIN;

• support annotation of safety issues and confounding factors and practitioner utility.

This database and repository development should include four stages:

1) Development of Acupoint Ontology using both the Eastern and Western nomenclature systems of acupoints;

2) Development of Acupoint Atlas and Repository entering acupuncture point locations into processed imaging dataset;

3) Connection of existing physiological databases to the developed Acupoint Repository; and

4) Design and development of integrative database system for data search, analysis, and retrieval system (including Ontology Query, data mining, Reports, etc.)

Completion of these four stages should be milestone-driven over five years. Suggested timeline of milestones and deliverables must include, but not restricted to, the followings:

Year 1 and 2:

  1. Ontology development: Development of Acupoint terminology (using both Eastern and Western nomenclature systems of Acupoints) and anatomical descriptions of the Acupoints.
  2. Acupoint Atlas development: Acupoint Atlas will contain 3D representation of acupoints in sample bodies (human and animal) including relative positions to anatomical structures (muscles, nerves, blood vessels). Acupuncture point locations into processed imaging dataset need to be entered to the Acupoint Atlas.
    1. Whole-body imaging data (from computerized tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron emission tomography (PET)) should be used and processed using imaging analysis tools/software programs. Examples include raw data (.DICOM files) (satellite images) or post-processing anatomy models (discretized models).
    2. All annotation imaging data should be constructed into x,y,z coordinates for individual pixels in sample 3-D human or animal body images.
    3. All acupuncture point anatomical locations should be described and incorporated into the Acupoint Atlas.
  3. Development of Acupoint Repository, and referenced to the acupoint atlas of published research papers

Year 3 to Year 5: Integrating the Acupoint Atlas and Repository with existing physiological databases

  1. The identification of appropriate physiological databases (e.g. SPARC, BRAIN, HuBMAP)
  2. Integration of physiological databases to the developed Acupoint Atlas/Repository
  3. Development of integrative database system for data search, analysis, ontology query, and data mining
Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding

NCCIH intends to commit an estimated total cost up to $1,200,000 per year for five years

Expected Number of Awards


Estimated Award Ceiling

Set-aside fund for this FOA is up to $1,200,000 per year for 5 years to support one award

Primary Assistance Listing Number(s)


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government

Applications are not being solicited at this time. 


Please direct all inquiries to:

Emrin Horgusluoglu, Ph.D.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)/ Basic and Mechanistic Branch