Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Administrative Supplements to NIGMS Funded Awards for Building Cloud-Based Learning Modules
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

November 19, 2021

First Available Due Date:
January 28, 2022
Expiration Date:
January 29, 2022

Related Announcements

PA-20-272 - Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional)

Issued by

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announces the availability of funds for administrative supplements to NIGMS-funded awardees to build cloud-based learning modules for biomedical research.


Biomedical research is increasingly dependent on access to and analysis of large and complex datasets. Cloud computing enables efficient data analysis and management without upfront investment in high-performance computing infrastructure and maintenance by individual user institutions. To realize the potential of cloud computing in expanding access to cutting-edge data and data analysis capacity, the biomedical research workforce needs effective learning and research tools to obtain hands-on experience with cloud computing. NIGMS is committed to supporting innovative approaches to help democratize cloud computing.

Research Objectives

This administrative supplement supports faculty investigators, with necessary help from cloud software engineers, to convert biomedical research training materials, including but not limited to image analysis, metagenomics, genome-wide association studies, phylogeny, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), etc., into cloud-based learning modules. The learning modules should include elements such as instructional videos, interactive demonstrations, and practicum exercises that encourage and enable self-learning. Use of inovative, active learning approaches is encouraged. Through each module, students are expected to learn a specific research method or technology and its application, as well as skills in interfacing with the cloud platform including cost-effective use of cloud computing resources for data acquisition, storage, and analysis. NIGMS plans to develop a cloud-based 'sandbox" to house the learning modules created through this administrative supplement to create a learning environment for students to obtain biomedical research training on diverse topics.

Faculty investigators who lead the project (project leads) are expected to be familiar with computational technologies including software programming. They are also encouraged to work with cloud software engineers provided by NIGMS/NIH STRIDES and be trained through a “train-the-trainer” engagement while building the learning modules.

Applicants and project leads do not need to propose or describe the technical specifics of converting research training materials into cloud-based learning modules but must be committed to making the learning modules broadly accessible to students interested in biomedical research either through the sandbox to be supported by NIGMS. Applicants and project leads are also encouraged to propose innovative ways to incorporate the learning modules into their ongoing research training activities.


Applicants for this supplement must have an active IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) awards, or an NIGMS institutional research education (R25) or training (T34, T32) award at a research-active institution (defined as institutions with an average of NIH research project grant (RPG) funding less than $7.5 million total costs per year over the past 3 fiscal years; RPG data are available through NIH RePORTER).

Only one supplement request per parent award listed above will be accepted.

The parent award must be active when the supplement application is submitted (e.g., within the originally reviewed and approved project period), regardless of the time remaining on the current project. The project must not constitute a change in scope of the parent award.


Application and Submission Information

Applications for this initiative must be submitted using the following opportunity or its subsequent reissuance.

  • PA-20-272 - Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and PA-20-272 must be followed, with the following additions:

  • Application Due Date – January 28, 2022, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
  • For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-GM-22-004” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.
  • Budget
    • The requested length of award may not exceed one year.
    • Applications may request a budget for up to 6 person-months of salary support for the project leads. NIGMS will pay for and coordinate the train-the-trainer process required for the project.
    • Applicants should note that the funds from this supplement cannot be used to support trainee stipends or tuition or participant costs (e.g., for R25, T32, or T34 institutional research education or training grants).
    • For T32 and T34 awardees, application budgets should be for costs in Training Related Expenses.
    • As part of the budget justification, include a brief statement regarding currently available unobligated grant funds, as well as expenditure plans in order to demonstrate the need for additional funds. Supplements may provide support above the established dollar limit for the parent grant award.
  • The Research Strategy section of the application is limited to 6 pages and should include the following:
    • Background and significance of the proposed learning module, including an outline of the teaching material to be converted, a description of how it has been used for research training, and an assessment of its effectiveness.
    • A description of the learning objectives and key features of the learning module. A brief review of the availability of existing cloud-based learning tools on the same or similar subjects to the project leads’ teaching material is expected. The differences between the proposed module and what is currently available must be highlighted.
    • A plan for ensuring cost-efficient use of the cloud within the module and for preventing cost-overruns by users of the module.
    • A description of the project leads’ technical expertise with computational technologies including software programing.
    • A dissemination plan to provide students broad access to the learning module. Applications that plan to disseminate through the sandbox to be supported by NIGMS should affirm the commitment to work with NIGMS to implement the plan. Applications that plan to disseminate through other cloud platforms must provide a description of the platform and a plan on how to deploy and manage the learning module.
    • A plan and a commitment to complete building the learning module in one year.

Review Information

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate internal review panel convened by NIGMS using the following criteria:

  • Is the module addressing a clear need for biomedical research in the cloud, and effective in research training?
  • Does the module have a specific target audience? Is the module appropriate for the target audience?

  • Is the learning module likely to achieve the learning objectives?
  • Do the project leads have the technical expertise appropriate to work effectively with cloud engineers?
  • Is there an effective dissemination plan to make the learning module accessible to the broad research community and to incorporate the learning module into the project lead’s teaching activities?
  • Is there a reasonable plan for ensuring cost-efficient use of the cloud resources within the module and to prevent cost-overruns by users?
  • Are the timelines and milestones well-defined and feasible?
  • Are the costs allowable and fully justified?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the contact listed below that a request has been submitted in response to this NOSI to facilitate efficient processing of the request.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Lakshmi Kumar Matukumalli, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)