NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 11, March 20, 1992

PA NUMBER:  PA-92-59

P.T. 34


  Human Genome 

  Information Science/Systems 

  Computing Resources+ 

National Center for Human Genome Research


The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) is interested in

facilitating research and development in computational and information

science that will support the achievement of the goals of the Human

Genome Project.  This announcement contains a description of the

current priority areas of informatics research for the Human Genome

Project and solicits applications for the Genome Informatics Program.

It is anticipated that the Genome Informatics Program will support

informatics research in selected targeted areas and will support

establishment and operation of data repositories required to collect

the results of the Human Genome Project and to make those results

available to the broader biomedical research community.


Applications may be submitted by for-profit and non-profit

organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,

hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and

eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Applications from

minority individuals and women are encouraged.


The support mechanisms used to support research, development, and

infrastructure projects in the Genome Informatics Program are research

grants (R01), program project grants (P01), pilot projects and

feasibility studies (R21), and First Independent Research Support and

Transition (FIRST) awards (R29).  In addition, applications for

research in genome informatics are also solicited by the following

program announcements:

o  PA-91-88 "Courses Related to Genomic Analysis" mechanism:  T15

Continuing Education Training Grants;

o  PA-91-89 "Special Emphasis Research Career Award in Genomic

Research" mechanism:  K01 Special Emphasis Research Career Award


o  PA-92-22 "National Research Service Awards in Genomic Analysis"

mechanisms:  T32 Institutional Predoctoral Research Training Programs;

F32 Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships; F33 Senior Postdoctoral

Fellowships; and

o  PHS 91-2 "Omnibus Solicitation of the Public Health Service for

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant Applications"

mechanisms:  R43 Phase I SBIR Grants; R44 Phase II SBIR Grants.

These program announcements are available from the National Center for

Human Genome Research at the address below.  Applicants are encouraged

to contact NCHGR staff to discuss the appropriateness of a particular

support mechanism and any special application requirements.


The primary purposes of Genome Informatics Program are to develop new

technology needed to accomplish the objectives of the Human Genome

Project and to apply these technologies to the acquisition, management,

analysis, and dissemination of mapping and sequencing information.

Each project must have tangible and, whenever possible, quantifiable

aims that define a specific objective that the project intends to

accomplish during the granting period.  The project will be accountable

for the attainment of such milestones through yearly progress reports,

timely publication and dissemination of results including software and

database designs and source code, and the competitive renewal process.

The specific objectives appropriate to Genome Informatics Program

grants are:

o  Development of laboratory data management systems tailored to

large-scale genome mapping and sequencing projects;

o  Development of new and improved algorithms for analysis of

experimental mapping or sequencing data, especially with the aim of

generating consensus genetic or physical maps or finished sequence;

o  Development of new and improved algorithms for analysis and display

of consensus (or finished) genomic mapping or sequencing data;

o  Development of prototype database designs and implementations to

test novel approaches to representation of genomic mapping and

sequencing data;

o  Implementation of the algorithms described above in efficient,

well-documented, and tested programs; and

o  Development of shared data resources or repositories for data

generated by the Human Genome Project.

This list should be considered illustrative and not exclusive.

It is anticipated that, to the maximum extent possible, research and

development projects will be carried out with the active participation

of the biological scientists who will be the data generators and users

and the ultimate users of the tools and databases developed under this


Where appropriate, collaboration with industry is encouraged.  In such

a collaboration, the industrial contribution must be well integrated

into the design and operation of the project to encourage

cross-fertilization of ideas and rapid application of the research to

practical purposes.


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398

(rev. 9/91) and will be accepted at the standard application deadlines

as indicated in the application kit.

Application kits are available at most institutional business offices

and may be obtained from the Office of Grants Inquiries, Division of

Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, Westwood Building, Room

449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone 301/496-7441.  The title and number

of the announcement must be typed in Section 2a on the face page of the


The completed original application and five legible copies must be sent

or delivered to:

Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**


Applications will be assigned on the basis of established Public Health

Service referral guidelines.  Applications will be reviewed for

scientific and technical merit by study sections of the Division of

Research Grants, NIH or by an appropriate Institute or Center review

group in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.

Following scientific-technical review, the applications will receive a

second-level review by the appropriate national advisory council.

Review criteria that will be used by the initial review group to assess

the scientific merit are:  (1) Significance and originality of the

research and methodological approaches; (2) Feasibility of the research

and adequacy of the experimental design; (3) Training, experience,

research competence, and commitment of the investigator(s); (4)

Adequacy of the facilities and resources; and (5) Appropriateness of

the requested budget for the work proposed.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved

applications assigned to that ICD.  The following will be considered in

making funding decisions:  (1) Quality of the proposed project as

determined by peer review; (2) Balance among research areas of this

announcement; and (3) Availability of funds.

For applications assigned to the NCHGR, an additional award criterion

is the value of the proposed research for achieving the goals of the

National Center for Human Genome Research.  In addition, because

projects to develop informatics tools and databases differ

significantly from typical individual research projects, appropriate

award criteria will also differ depending on the nature of the work

proposed.  The following award criteria are provided to illustrate the

mix of criteria employed in the evaluation of a particular application.

Prototype database development:

o  Adequacy, permanence, completeness, and safety of data storage;

o  Provision for integration with related databases;

o  Generality of the data structure design (e.g., species-independence)

to the extent that generalizing the design does not impose unreasonable

costs; and

o  Adequacy of design and system documentation and plans for its


Development of software tools:

o  Portability at the source code level;

o  Portability of the user interface;

o  Portability or general availability of required external hardware or

software (e.g., graphics terminals, plotters, database managers, vector


o  Adequacy of plans for distribution and appropriate support,

including public domain distribution and/or commercialization;

o  Appropriateness of software engineering methodology to be employed;

o  Adequacy of design and system documentation and plans for its

distribution; and

o  Adequacy of plans for development of user documentation.

Operational laboratory database implementation:

o  All the criteria listed above;

o  Adequacy of quality control, sample tracking, and overall project


o  Adequacy of data transfer rate (adequate for the anticipated data

entry and query load);

o  Adequacy of provision for "community" access, if appropriate; and

o  Adequacy of data protection from unauthorized access or


Public database implementation:

o  All the criteria listed above;

o  Provision for multiple forms of access or distribution;

o  Provision of a well-documented, clearly specified Application

Program Interface (API) supporting (at a minimum) query and retrieval;

o  Provision for network accessibility through the Internet, using

well-recognized standards (i.e., TCP/IP);

o  Use of a commercial database management system running on a

POSIX-conforming operating system (unless justification for doing

otherwise is presented);

o  Use of consistent, well-recognized standards;

o  Support for differential (among authorized users) accessibility of

data; and

o  Provision for maintaining a history of changes to the database (an

audit trail or set of editorial citations).

In general, other issues (e.g., hardware, operating system, database

management system) will be considered only to the extent that they

influence the adequacy and economy of the system evaluated according to

the criteria given above.


Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to

clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

David Benton, Ph.D.

Director, Genome Informatics Program

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 610

Bethesda, MD  20894

Telephone:  (301) 496-7531

E-mail: (internal)

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Alice Thomas

Chief, Grants and Contracts Management Section

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 610

Bethesda, MD  20894

Telephone:  (301) 402-0733


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

No. 93.172.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health

Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public

Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants

policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This

program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of

Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.


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