Changes in the NCRR Biomedical Technology Research Resources (P41) Program

Notice Number: NOT-RR-08-006

Key Dates
Release Date: May 14, 2008

Issued by
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR,

The purpose of this notice is to inform current awardees and potential applicants about changes in the NCRR Biomedical Technology Research Resources (BTRR) program.  The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) supports Biomedical Technology Research Resources in a variety of areas of biomedical science, using the P41 funding mechanism. BTRRs create critical, often unique, technology and methods at the forefront of their respective fields and apply them to a broad range of basic, translational, and clinical research.  They also promote the broadest possible use of those technologies through training and dissemination activities.  Details concerning current BTRRs can be found at .

NCRR plans to make two changes to this program.  The first change will be to release a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for pre-applications for new BTRRs.  This FOA will use the X02 mechanism.  Applications submitted under this FOA will be peer reviewed and those applications that are selected will be permitted to submit a full application for a P41 BTRR award.  The selection criteria will include the scientific merit of the proposed project as determined by peer review, the availability of funds, and the relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.  It is anticipated that the FOA for the X02 pre-application will be published by August 2008 with a January 2009 receipt date.  Current NCRR BTRR awardees will be able to submit renewals without submitting a pre-application. 

The other change involves the content of the BTRR application.  Current guidelines for these applications are available at .  The current guidelines will be in effect for the May 25, 2008 and September 25, 2008 receipt dates.  As of the January 2009 receipt date, these guidelines will be replaced by a new FOA which is expected to be published by August 2008.

The new BTRR FOA will allow six components in a Biomedical Technology Research Resource:  Technology Research and Development, Infrastructure, Driving Biomedical Projects, Collaboration and Service, Training, and Dissemination.  Some details about each of these components follow.

Technology Research and Development

The central activity of a Biomedical Technology Research Resource is the Technology Research and Development (TR&D) that serves as the foundation for all other Resource activities. The mission of a BTRR may range from the narrowly focused, fundamental advancement of a single technology area (e.g. accelerator mass spectrometry, flow cytometry) to the development of an integrated approach to a general class of problems (e.g., proteomics, data visualization). The BTRR technology must be dynamically evolving and an important area for R&D in its own right. TR&D should be at the cutting edge of the technological field, with a goal of increasing its usefulness in biomedical research.


In some circumstances, TR&D activities may require substantial investment in the design and development or implementation of technological infrastructure that does not constitute a research challenge in its own right (e.g. a test platform for new instrument components or a laboratory information management system).  If necessary, such a project may be included in the application under the Infrastructure heading.

Driving Biomedical Projects

Development of new biomedical research tools is most effective when pursued in the context of challenging problems that drive the technology forward. These Driving Biomedical Projects (DBPs) should be collaborative in nature, with experts in the technology, usually resource personnel, working jointly with investigators outside the Resource who have expertise in a particular biomedical discipline. Projects should be selected on the basis of both their potential for significant biomedical impact and their appropriateness as test-beds for new technology. Projects should present substantial technical challenges that would make the problem difficult to solve with current approaches. Optimally, there should be an iterative push-pull relationship between Technology R&D and the DBPs, advancing both the technology and the biomedical projects. Such efforts should lead to joint publications, and in some cases, patents.

Collaboration and Service

The concentration of instrumentation, software, methods, and expertise developed in a BTRR represents an important resource for biomedical and clinical researchers. Active engagement with this community to seek out opportunities for collaboration and provide broad access to Resource capabilities is an important aspect of the program. Application of Resource technologies and expertise may take many forms, including consultation and advice, routine analyses, and more challenging collaborative biomedical projects.  These activities differ from those in a driving biomedical project in that they do not drive the development of new technologies or devices.


Formal pedagogy and direct responsibility for training of students and post-doctoral fellows are important components of any academic research enterprise, and it is expected that students and post-doctoral fellows within the BTRR will play major roles in the technology R&D component of the center. However, the Training component of the program must exceed that expectation and build technical competence in the broader community of researchers not formally affiliated with the center.  The overall goals should be twofold: to improve the general understanding of the center technologies in the appropriate population, and to create a cadre of biomedical researchers fluent in the technology who can effectively apply the technology in their research.


Dissemination activities should have two overall objectives: informing the scientific community about the BTRR’s technical capabilities and accomplishments, as well as promoting and enabling the broader use of technologies. This may be accomplished by a variety of approaches, including but not limited to: articles, books, patents, newsletters, annual reports, and/or special issues of technical journals; issuing press releases; presenting research results at meetings; conducting workshops and conferences; distributing software products; transferring technologies to other laboratories directly; licensing technologies to industry where they will be distributed widely; and/or web-based training modules and tutorials.


Michael Marron, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Biomedical Technology
National Center for Research Resources
6701 Democracy Boulevard
Room 962, MSC 4874
Bethesda, MD   20892-4874
Telephone:  (301) 435-0755
FAX:  (301) 480-3659

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.