January 23, 2009
Proposed new NIGMS research and training programs are made public at the open session of National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council meetings. Council approval of new initiatives (and major changes to existing initiatives) is called "concept clearance." Concept clearance authorizes NIGMS staff to develop plans, publish announcements in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, and fund grants. During the initiative planning stages that follow concept clearance, NIGMS welcomes comments and suggestions from the community.
At its January 2009 meeting, the Council discussed the concept clearances summarized below.
High-Throughput Structural Biology
The goal of PSI: High Throughput Structural Biology (PSI:HTSB) will be to test whether the new paradigm of high-throughput structure determination via highly organized networks of investigators can be applied to a broad range of biological problems.
It will consist of five main components established through RFAs with set-aside funds soliciting Cooperative Agreements: 1) Centers for High-Throughput Structure Determination; 2) Centers for Membrane Protein Structure Determination; 3) Consortia for High-Throughput Enabled Structural Biology Research; 4) the PSI-SG Knowledgebase; and 5) the PSI-SG Materials Repository; plus three additional components supported through on-going PARs with no set-aside funds: 1) Technology Development for HT-Structural Biology Research; 2) Technology Development for Protein Modeling; and 3) High-Throughput Enabled Structural Biology Research.
The vision is that these various components will operate together as a network:
Requests for Applications
The above components will form the core of the PSI Network for High-Throughput Structural Biology. As cooperative agreements, the network will be managed by representatives from all of its components and by NIH staff.
Recognizing that not all of the best ideas may be ready on a single RFA receipt date or present only in large scale centers, and recognizing the need for continued support of some projects evolving from the current specialized centers, it is planned to issue of series of PARs (program announcements with on-going receipt dates and dedicated review venues, but no set aside funds) to allow for the fluid addition of new projects and investigators to the network as opportunities emerge. These PARs will provide for on-going peer review of proposals using traditional (R21, R01, and P01) grant mechanisms for investigators who wish to conduct research in association with the network.
These awards would include a mix of R21, R01, and P01 awards. The applications might or might not build on existing collaborations in the network. Independent projects would be welcomed, but investigators would be expected to participate in network activities. In many cases conversion to cooperative agreement mechanisms may be warranted.
The proposed budget and time-line for these RFAs and PAs is attached.
The rationale for developing these initiatives and the scientific opportunities to be addressed are discussed in the report of the Future Structural Genomics Initiatives meeting and the recommendations section of the annual report of the Protein Structure Initiative Advisory Committee.
Timeline for Implementation of Initiatives
Centers for High-Throughput Structure Determination (RFA #1)Centers for Membrane Protein Structure Determination (RFA #2)High-Throughput Enabled Structural Biology Partnerships (RFA #3)
RFAs #1-3 will be competed at the same time to enable highly coordinated review and funding decisions to be made. These RFAs will be announced with as long a lead time between announcement of the funding opportunity and receipt date as possible to allow investigators time to organize themselves into appropriate research teams. Awards will be made in FY2010 for a period of 5 years.
RFA Release Date: April, 2009RFA Briefing Meeting: June, 2009Letters of Intent Due: September, 2009Receipt Date: October, 2009Review: Feb/March, 2010Council Review: May, 2010Award: July, 2010
PSI-SG Knowledgebase (RFA #4)PSI-SG Materials Repository (RFA #5)
RFA #4-5 will be competed independently since it is not expected that many applications will be received and the subject matter does not require as extensive coordination.
Technology Development for HT-Structural Biology Research (PAR #1)Technology Development for Protein Modeling (PAR #2)High-Throughput Enabled Structural Biology Research (PAR #3)
PARs #1-3 will be issued for receipt dates beginning with the same Council round as for RFAs #1-3, but will remain open for three years. The first awards will be made in FY2010.
PAR Release Date: June, 2009Receipt Dates: October, February, June, 2009-2012Review: Feb/Mar, June/July, Oct/Nov, 2010-2012Council review: May, September, January 2010-2013Award: July 2010 – April 2013
Calendar View of Timeline for Implementation of Initiatives
Protein Structure Initiative – Proposed RFAs for Concept Clearance and Relationship to Current PSI
FY 2009 Estimate
FY 2010 Estimate
Number of Awards
Amount Per Award(total costs)
Centers for HT-Structural Biology
3 - 5
$7 - 8 M
$21 - 28 M
Homology Modeling Centers
Homology Modeling Research
Centers for Membrane Protein Structure
4 - 10
$1.5 - 5 M
$8 - 15 M
HT-Enabled Structural Biology Partnerships
5 - 10
$1 - 2.5 M
$5 - 25 M
$2.5 - 3.0 M
$1.2 - 1.5 M
Protein Structure Initiative – Proposed PARs for Concept Clearance and Relationship to Current PSI
FY 2010 – FY2012 Cumulative Estimate
Technology Development Research
10 - 20
$0.3 - 1.5 M
$3 - 10 M
HT-Enabled Structural Biology Research
*RFA applications will be awarded in FY2010 from set-aside money for the specified centers and collaborating partnership cooperative agreements. **PAR figures are estimates of awards that will be paid over the course of several years beginning in FY2010 with no specific funds set-aside assuming a mix of R01 and P01 applications are received. ***FY2009 Estimate. FY2008 Actual = $68.1 M total costs.****Sum of minimum expected budget amounts. Expected actual maximum is much less than the sum of the individual component maximums.
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