NIGMS: MULTIDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE GRANTS RELEASE DATE: November 26, 2003 NOTICE: NOT-GM-04-106 National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) ( THIS NOTICE ADDRESSES THE FOLLOWING TOPICS: o Purpose o Background o Meeting Objectives o Mechanisms of Support PURPOSE The purpose of this notice is to encourage the submission of conference grant (R13) and cooperative agreement (U13) applications seeking funding for the support of new multidisciplinary scientific meetings, under the NIH Program Announcement, "NIH Support For Conferences and Scientific Meetings," The extraordinary scientific advances in the twentieth century largely were limited to a single scientific discipline and resulted from the efforts of individual scientists and their research groups. However, the complexity and breadth of many of the most important scientific challenges for the future will mandate a coordinated effort by teams of investigators representing many disparate disciplines. Multidisciplinary, for the purposes of this announcement, means broadly multidisciplinary, crossing the disciplines of biological, physical, and/or computational sciences relevant to the mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Until now, it has been difficult to forge relationships required to establish such heterogeneous teams of scientists. NIGMS believes that supporting multidisciplinary conferences will result in the interactions and networking necessary to facilitate the development of multidisciplinary teams of the future. Applications are sought particularly in areas of special interest to NIGMS as described in this notice. BACKGROUND NIGMS has experienced an increased demand in recent years for new mechanisms to support groups of investigators who wish to work as multidisciplinary teams. As a result of meetings held in 1998 with representatives of the scientific communities served by the Institute, the Large-Scale Collaborative Project Awards (large glue grants, and the Collaborative Project Grants (initially called Integrative and Collaborative Project Awards, initiatives were begun. Several other NIGMS center-type initiatives have been announced that require participation of investigators from different backgrounds (see Major Initiatives on the NIGMS homepage at In October 2002, NIGMS sponsored a meeting, titled Visions of the Future (, where a group of distinguished scientific consultants were challenged to predict what the research problems of the year 2010 would be. Again the need for enabling interdisciplinary approaches was a theme. This has also been reflected at the NIH level where the NIH Director has made Collaborative Approaches to Research a theme of his Roadmap initiatives. It is widely recognized that when investigators from different scientific backgrounds interact such discussions often spontaneously ignite interdisciplinary collaborations. It is also generally believed that collaborations that arise from such mutual interests and benefit are the most effective and long lasting. However, scientists most often attend meetings that deal with their own discipline, subdiscipline, or specialty. Thus, opportunities for interactions with colleagues from different areas (especially when lines of biological, physical, and computational fields are crossed) are more limited than is desirable. For example, there now exists unprecedented opportunities for quantitative and computational scientists to collaborate with their biological colleagues. Yet, these scientists do not often attend the same professional meetings. MEETING OBJECTIVES The intent of this announcement is to encourage multidisciplinary meetings where such meetings involve a combination of biological, physical, and computational scientists. Specific areas where NIGMS sees opportunities for productive interactions include: Biology of microorganisms/mathematical modeling Genetic pathways and networks in development/mathematics and chemical engineering Synthetic organic chemistry/cell biology Drug toxicology/computational biology Trauma, burn, and perioperative injury/genomic science Resources are often needed to catalyze these group meetings, such as, but not limited to, support for meeting sites, outside speakers and tutorials, and travel funds for junior scientists. It is the objective of the notice to announce the interest of NIGMS in providing necessary support to stimulate multidisciplinary meetings relevant to its mission. MECHANISMS OF SUPPORT NIGMS will utilize the R13 and U13 mechanisms for support of multidisciplinary conferences. Guidelines and the application process is detailed in the most recent Guide Announcement on "NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings,"

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