Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for H3Africa Repositories

Notice Number: NOT-RM-11-015

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: April 29, 2011

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Common Fund (Roadmap)


The NIH Common Fund, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, is currently planning a new initiative termed Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) that will be designed to facilitate a contemporary research approach to the study of the genomic and environmental determinants of common diseases in Africa, with the goal of improving the health of African populations. To accomplish this, the planners of the H3Africa Initiative are considering ways to enhance the necessary genomic expertise among African scientists, and to establish networks of African investigators. It is expected that studies performed in the H3Africa Initiative will inform subsequent strategies to address more broadly health inequities in both communicable and non-communicable diseases eventually leading to health benefits in Africa.  More information about the H3Africa initiative and a white paper with recommendations for the program can be found at

The white paper recommendations for the H3Africa initiative include the development of improved scientific infrastructure, specifically establishing one or more biorepositories in Africa, establishing a bioinformatics network, and training of African scientists in genomic research methodologies.  The recommendations also include support for infrastructure provided in the context of specific genetic/genomic research activities.  Finally, a key recommendation is that H3Africa awards be made directly to African institutions. 

The white paper envisioned a biorepository located in Africa for the storage, retrieval, distribution, and management of large sample collections.  Because of transportation limitations within Africa the white paper further recommended that more than one biorepository would be needed and should be established at the regional level. As H3Africa will focus on studying genetic-environmental determinants of African disease an African biorepository could be expected to have the facilities to receive human blood samples from African genomic research sites, and make transformed cell lines and DNA (from the blood and/or the cell lines).  Thus an African biorepository would need to be able to receive and store blood, cell lines and DNA safely and securely, using state-of-the-art technologies, and be able to distribute samples to requestors upon request.  It will also need to have excellent electronic and shipping connectivity, and be able to interact with African investigators who request its services.  It is envisioned that an African repository will be built upon existing biorepository infrastructure.  In the longer term, the repository(ies) could provide services for other types of research needs throughout Africa.

This is a Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for an H3Africa Biorepository but before an FOA can be developed, the NIH needs more information about existing African biorepository infrastructure and expertise.  This Notice therefore also seeks information regarding groups that have the biorepository expertise, some infrastructure and interest in building an African biorepository as described above.   

Information Requested

We seek information regarding existing infrastructure and capabilities upon which an H3Africa repository could be built. 
Please E-mail your responses to within a month of the release date given above to:

Jane Peterson, Ph.D.  (

In your response please provide the following information (and include the Notice number XXX  in the subject line):

This Notice of Intent to Publish an FOA is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation, an obligation, or endorsement on the part of NHGRI or the NIH Common Fund.  Acknowledgement of receipt of responses may not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the NHGRI evaluation of the information received.  No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the NIH's use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement.  Any proprietary information should be so marked.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Jane Peterson, PhD
Associate Director, Division of Extramural Programs, NHGRI, NIH
301-496-7531 or

5635 Fishers Lane Suite 4076, MSC 9305
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9305
Phone: 301-496-7531
Fax: 301-480-2770

FedEx/UPS/Other Courier Delivery Address:
5635 Fishers Lane Suite 4076 MSC 9305
Rockville, Maryland 20852

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