Notice of NHGRI Interest in Receiving Letters Requesting Permission to Submit Applications to Support Biennial ELSI Research Conferences (U13)

Notice Number: NOT-HG-18-009

Key Dates
Release Date: July 5, 2018  

Related Announcements
PA-18-648: NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Issued by
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI))


The purpose of this notice is to encourage the submission of permission-to-submit letters for conference grant (U13) applications seeking funding for the support of biennial research conferences of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Community (hereafter “ELSI Congress”).  Once permission to submit is obtained, applications should be submitted for the December 12, 2018 receipt date under PA-18-648: NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 


Since its founding in 1990, the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has supported empirical, analytical and conceptual research to anticipate and address the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics.  This has created a large, diverse, multi-disciplinary community of researchers, however, there is no single society or conference that encompasses the field.

To address this need, the NHGRI has periodically sponsored a meeting to bring ELSI researchers together, known as the ELSI Congress.  These multi-day meetings with national and international representation afford ELSI researchers the opportunity to present their work and to learn about other research in the field. Typically, these meetings accommodate 300 to 400 attendees and involve a mix of plenary presentations and concurrent peer reviewed platform, panel and poster presentations.

The most recent meeting, "Genomics and Society: Expanding the ELSI Universe", which drew over 300 attendees was held in June 2017 at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine and UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut. It is expected that the next meeting will be held in the Spring/Summer/Fall of 2020.


Applicants should identify an appropriate venue for the meeting and handle all meeting publicity and logistics including but not limited to working with site hosts and vendors before and during the meeting, arranging for AV needs, registering meeting attendees, arranging travel for plenary speakers and travel scholarship winners, preparing meeting materials, and conducting a post-meeting survey of attendees. 

Successful applicants will be expected to work in consultation with NHGRI ELSI Program staff to form an organizing committee with representation from across the ELSI Research community.  The ELSI Congress Organizing Committee will identify one or more themes for the Congress; design the program format, which is anticipated to comprise a mix of invited plenary lectures, submitted symposia, and poster sessions, but may involve more innovative components as well; develop strategies for publicizing the meeting and inviting submissions (utilizing, e.g., lists of NHGRI-funded investigators, NHGRI consortia listservs, websites of major genetics and bioethics organizations, flyers at relevant meetings); identify and invite plenary speakers; and constitute a Program Review Working Group, with additional members if necessary, to peer review submissions and select trainees and young investigators for travel awards.

NIH staff will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, including providing assistance and advice for the planning and implementation of the ELSI Congress. It is anticipated that decisions in all activities will be reached by consensus of the ELSI Congress Organizing Committee and that NIH staff will participate with other Organizing Committee members in the group processes described above.

Funding Mechanism

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for defining objectives and approaches, and planning, conducting, analyzing, and publishing results, interpretations, and conclusions of the conference.

Awardees are responsible for identifying specific milestones for conferences that will be supported during the project period, when multi-year conferences are supported.

NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards.  Substantial involvement as a partner would include, for example, assisting in planning the agenda, selecting speakers, determining the content of the meeting, or determining the acceptability of submitted abstracts. Substantial involvement would not include serving as an invited speaker or providing limited advice.

Budget and Duration of Award

Application budgets should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project, but should not exceed $500,000 total costs over five years, with no more than $150,000 total costs requested annually.  Registration costs for attendees, which have typically included attendance and refreshments, should not exceed $300 for each meeting.   

Applications for up to five years in duration will be accepted to support ELSI Congress meetings in 2020, 2022, and 2024.

Permission to Submit Letter

The conference grant application is required to contain a permission-to-submit letter from NHGRI's conference grant contact;

Bettie J. Graham Ph.D.
Phone: 301-496-7531

Applicants are urged to initiate contact well in advance of the chosen application receipt date. Please note that agreement to accept an application does not guarantee funding.

Receipt Date

[Applications should be submitted to the Parent R31 Announcement for the December 12 receipt date.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Joy Boyer
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Telephone: 301-480-2447