Request for Information (RFI): Innovative Approaches to Technology Development for the Biomedical Research Community

Notice Number: NOT-GM-15-118

Key Dates
Release Date: June 10, 2015
Response Date: August 7, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) seeks input on the need for innovative approaches to foster technology development for the research community. This Request for Information (RFI) will assist NIGMS in considering the biomedical technology research and development space at all stages, from exploratory to mature. Comments are invited from any interested party.


NIGMS is in the process of considering how best to support two important and related activities: the development of biomedical technologies and access to those technologies as they become important research resources. These topics are strongly related, but there are important aspects of each that should be explored independently. This RFI is focused on technology development. A subsequent RFI will extend the discussion to resources.

The relationship between technology development and question-based biomedical research
In an effort to improve our support of technology development, NIGMS is exploring the relationship between technology development and question-based research. We are particularly interested in whether and how technology development and question-driven research should be coupled in different circumstances. While coupling to biomedical research problems ensures relevance of the technologies being developed, this may not be appropriate at all stages.

Supporting the full range of biomedical technology development
Technology development involves several related and overlapping areas of research. These include: (1) exploration of highly novel, often risky, emerging concepts; (2) focused effort to develop these ideas into real tools; (3) integration of these tools into biomedical research and their application to challenging problems; and (4) conversion of fragile, difficult to use technologies into standard tools for non-specialists. NIGMS is interested in effective support of all aspects of technology development. Aspects under discussion include not just support of this range of activities but also application review and evaluation of short and long-term impact.

Information Requested

NIGMS invites input on topics related to the need for the development of technologies and the relationship of technology development to other biomedical research. Comments on access to technologies and resources are also welcome insofar as they relate to these issues. However, how best to provide access to emerging technologies and mature resources will be the subject of a subsequent RFI. Of interest here are ideas about how the development of innovative technologies should be supported and roles of the private sector, academic institutions, and NIGMS in this support.
Areas of possible comment include but are not limited to:

  • The impact of technology development on the biomedical research community
  • The value of coupling technology development to addressing a significant research question
  • Important factors to consider in peer review of technology development applications
  • Important factors to consider in evaluation of technology development projects and programs
  • The role of industrial or other partnerships in developing technologies to meet future research needs
  • The role of NIGMS in supporting technology development at various stages: exploration, application, optimization, validation and maturation or “hardening”

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through August 7, 2015. All comments must be submitted via email as text or as an attached electronic document. Microsoft Word documents are preferred. Your responses should be addressed to:

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. The Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and respondents will not receive individualized feedback. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the United States Government. NIGMS will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. NIGMS does not intend to make any type of award based on responses to this RFI or to pay for either the preparation of information submitted or the United States Government’s use of such information.

The information submitted will be analyzed and may be shared internally, appear in reports or be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government’s discretion. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s) or other activities. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government's use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Douglas M. Sheeley, Sc.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-451-6446