Skip Over Navigation Links

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About MIRA RFA-GM-17-002

I. Funding Opportunity Description

II. Award Information

III. Eligibility Information

IV. Application and Submission Information

V. Review Information

VI. Award Administration Information (Including Funding Restrictions in Section IV.2 of the FOA)

VII. Post-Review Issues

VIII. Award Process

IX. Awards Data for RFA-GM16-002 Made in FY 2016

X. Agency Contacts


I. Funding Opportunity Description

Q. What is the NIGMS MIRA program and what is its purpose?

A. The Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) is an experiment to test the concept of support for the research program of an investigator and his/her laboratory’s NIGMS-related research, rather than one of support on a project-by-project basis. For the purposes of MIRA FOAs, a research program is defined as the collection of scientific projects in an investigator’s lab that are related to the mission of NIGMS. The anticipated advantages of this approach include increased stability of funding; enhanced ability to take on ambitious scientific projects and approach problems creatively; increased flexibility to follow important new research directions as opportunities arise; more widely distributed funding among investigators; increased efficiency and efficacy of NIGMS funding; increased productivity and improved chances for important breakthroughs; reduced time spent writing, reviewing and managing multiple research grants; and more time for the conduct of research and mentoring junior scientists in a more stable environment.

Q. What distinguishes MIRA from traditional NIH programs?

A. The key differences are the scope of the research supported by the MIRA, which encompasses the broad program of NIGMS-mission relevant research in the investigator’s laboratory, rather than a single, narrowly focused project; the flexibility that this will provide to the investigator to pursue new research directions as opportunities arise; a shift in emphasis in the application away from details of proposed experiments toward explanation of the importance of the overall research questions, including the elimination of specific aims; differences in the review process and review criteria to emphasize the potential impact of the work and to de-emphasize details of the approach; enhanced success rates and the possibility of modulation of budgets during renewals, rather than abrupt termination of laboratory support.

Q. How much time/effort must recipients devote to MIRA? How many calendar months?

A. Investigators must devote 51 percent of their research effort to the MIRA. Research effort is calculated differently than professional effort in that research effort does not include effort expended toward teaching, administration and/or clinical duties.

For example, if an investigator spends 50 percent of his or her time in the clinic and 50 percent of their time on research, he or she must devote a minimum of 25.5 percent effort to MIRA (50 percent research effort x 51 percent MIRA effort requirement = 25.5 percent must be devoted to the MIRA), regardless of the amount of salary support requested. This would be equal to 3.06 calendar months of effort (25.5 percent x 12 calendar months = 3.06 months).

In another example, if an investigator spends 75 percent of their time on research, they must devote at least 38.25 percent effort to MIRA (75 percent research effort x 51 percent MIRA effort requirement = 38.25 percent effort to the MIRA). This is equal to 4.59 calendar months (38.25 percent X 12 calendar months = 4.59 calendar months).

The PI must devote at least 51 percent of their research effort, but a higher level of PI research effort may be requested, if well justified. The total research effort should take into account what the level of research effort will be if other duties to the institution will be correspondingly reduced when the MIRA and other pending applications are funded. Some institutions may require support on research grant funds to offset a shift in effort from teaching to research. Others may offer teaching or clinical load reductions as an incentive for research.

Investigators cannot simultaneously hold another award (such as an R35 from another institute of the NIH or a DP1 Pioneer Award). NIGMS will not make a MIRA award while any such awards are active or applications for any such awards are pending. The pending applications must be withdrawn before the MIRA will be issued.

Q. How much salary support can be requested?

A. Salary may be requested based on the institutional base salary level for up to an amount commensurate with the number of calendar months of effort committed to the MIRA. A lower level of salary support may be requested. The legislatively authorized maximum institutional base salary that can be requested or charged to an NIH research grant for 12 calendar months effort is $185,100, excluding fringe benefits in FY 2016. Thus, for the example above (if the PI’s salary is at or higher than the legislative authorized maximum), the 51 percent MIRA requirement of a total 50 percent research effort, corresponds to a maximum salary of $47,200, excluding fringe benefits (50 percent research effort x 51 percent MIRA effort requirement = 25.5 percent on the MIRA; 25.5 percent x $185,100 = $47,200). Assuming for example a 33 percent fringe benefit rate, this would correspond to a maximum of $62,776 annual direct costs.

Q. What scientific areas of research are appropriate for support by MIRA?

A. Any research area within the mission of NIGMS is eligible for support using the MIRA award. Research areas supported by NIGMS are outlined on the NIGMS website. However, some types of research might be more suitably supported using a traditional R01 or other grant mechanism with more specific detail provided (e.g., clinical trials). See the NIH definition of a clinical trial. NIGMS offers other mechanisms to support clinical trials.

Q. What about research focused primarily on HIV/AIDS?

A. NIGMS funds research on the structural biology of virus and host cell factors that are essential in the life cycle of HIV and related viruses. This work is within the mission of NIGMS, but is supported with dedicated funds appropriated through the Office of AIDS Research. For this reason, the MIRA grant mechanism with its implied freedom to explore other areas of research within the NIGMS mission may not be the most appropriate way to support HIV/AIDS research. Contact NIGMS staff before applying.

Q. Can technology development be included or is the award only for hypothesis-driven research?

A. Yes. Technology development can be an essential part of any research program and hypothesis-driven science is only one way of approaching a research problem.

Q. Can a MIRA support clinical/translational research?

A. Yes. Clinical and translational research within the NIGMS mission may be supported through a MIRA award. NIH-defined clinical trials cannot be part of any MIRA application or award and must be submitted to clinical trial-specific funding opportunity announcements. Pre-application discussion of clinical/translational research projects with a NIGMS program director is encouraged. Such research can also be added after award of the MIRA, as an expansion in scope, providing NIH approval is obtained prior to initiating the studies.

Q. Can I continue to work with my current collaborators, including foreign collaborators?

A. Yes. NIGMS strongly endorses collaborative research. However, the MIRA concept is based on the idea that NIGMS will provide support to individual investigators’ research programs. Collaborators will work together because of their mutual interest in a problem, not through a subcontract. This applies to foreign collaborations as well. NIGMS will accept applications with a foreign collaboration, but will not provide funding for foreign consortium arrangements.

Q. Can you clarify how much flexibility is meant by "flexibility to pursue new research directions"?

A. This needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis with the application of reasonable judgment by both investigators and NIGMS staff. The extension of studies on a problem from one organism to another would be very reasonable. Insights gained from studying one biological problem that extend the project into another within the mission of NIGMS would also be reasonable. When in doubt, it may be useful to discuss changes with an NIGMS program director.

Q. What will be considered in scope and what would be out of the scope of MIRA?

A. Changes in scope would include the addition of or a change in the approved use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, select agents or human embryonic stem cells and would require prior approval by NIGMS before the work is initiated. However, such changes in scope can be approved with appropriate documentation. Work that migrates fully into the mission of another NIH institute or center would be considered out of scope and it would be appropriate for this work to transition out of MIRA to the relevant other NIH institute or center.

Q. How can I decide if MIRA is right for my circumstances?

A. Ask yourself how much time and effort it takes you to maintain the current NIGMS funding of your laboratory through multiple, separate grant applications. Decide whether consolidation of your projects with a funding level somewhat lower than your recent level of NIGMS support is worth the advantages provided by the MIRA program, which include 5 years of funding, more flexibility and more stability, and reduced administrative burden. NIGMS expects that research groups supported by the established investigator MIRA FOA will be somewhat reduced in size relative to their recent scales.

Q. Why does NIGMS think that this initiative will enhance the quality of science generated by its community of grantees?

A. MIRA-supported investigators will have the flexibility to pursue the science they want to do as it evolves, rather than being held to specific aims that they proposed before they received a grant. In this way, they will have greater flexibility to try ideas that might be considered high-risk. MIRA is expected to result in more stable funding of investigators, better continuity of effort and better ability to keep well-trained personnel in the laboratory. MIRA is also expected to broaden the distribution of funding among laboratories, enabling more of the nation's highly talented and promising investigators to participate.


II. Award Information

Q. How many MIRAs does NIGMS expect to award in FY 2017?

A. This depends on how many meritorious applications are received from eligible investigators. NIGMS estimates that as many as 100 awards will be made. In fact, more than 100 awards were made for the previous version of this FOA. See Section IX for awards made in FY 2016.

Q. What is the anticipated success rate for this FOA?

A. This depends on the current funding levels of the eligible investigators who apply for MIRA, their support from others sources, and the recommendations of study sections, the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council and NIGMS staff.

Q. What is the anticipated average award size for this FOA?

A. This depends on the current funding levels of the eligible investigators who apply for MIRA, their budget requests and the recommendations of study sections, the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council and NIGMS staff.

Q. What is the maximum allowable budget?

A. Applications may request up to $750,000 in direct costs per year for a period of 5 years. However, investigators are expected to request what is actually well-justified for their research program. In general, the request should be commensurate with the investigator's current total NIGMS research funding. Cost efficiency is one of the goals of the MIRA program and will be one of the considerations in review and funding decisions. As noted in the overview section of the FOA, “in general the amount of a MIRA award will be somewhat less than the sum of all recent concurrent NIGMS support.”

Q. What are the anticipated start dates for MIRA?

A. April 1 is the earliest start date for applications in response to this FOA. MIRA awards are intended to be issued with start dates between April 1 and June 1, 2017.


III. Eligibility Information

Q. Who is eligible to apply? Can you work through some examples?

A. This FOA continues to test the MIRA concept in a carefully controlled way with a well-defined, manageably-sized cohort of potential applicants. The participation of this group of applicants in the MIRA program is also important to the overall ability of the initiative to achieve its goals.

This FOA targets investigators who received either two or more R01-equivalent awards (defined here as R01 or R37), or a single award of greater than $400,000 per year total direct costs (including any subcontract F&A costs), from NIGMS in FY 2014 or FY 2015 (i.e., October 1, 2013-September 30, 2014, or October 1, 2014-September 30, 2014), and with support for one or more of their awards expiring in FY 2017, FY 2018, or FY 2019 (i.e., October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017, or October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018, or October 1, 2018-September 30, 2019). Other investigators are ineligible.

  • Q. What counts as having received two or more NIGMS awards in FY 2014 or FY 2015? Does that mean competing or noncompeting awards? Does it include grants in no-cost extension status?

    A. An institution should have received a non-zero dollar competing, noncompeting or supplemental notice of grant award in FY 2014 (October 1, 2013-September 30, 2014) or FY 2015 (October 1, 2014-September 30, 2015) with the applicant investigator as the PI. Receiving a Notice of Award solely reflecting an administrative change for an extension, correction or other modification would not satisfy this requirement.

  • Q. What about having one or more projects due to expire in FY 2017, FY 2018, or FY 2019? Is this a requirement or not? What about investigators with projects expiring in FY 2016?

    A. At least one grant should remain active in FY 2016 with an expiration date in FY 2017, FY 2018 or FY 2019 (i.e., October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017, or October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018, or October 1, 2018-September 30, 2019). Grants in a no cost extension remain active and expire at the end of the no cost extension period. If relevant, the no cost extension must be requested before the MIRA is submitted. But a no cost extension cannot be requested more than 90 days before the end of the project period. This means investigators whose projects both end between August 18 and September 30 may be unable to meet the eligibility criteria for this RFA.

  • Q. Why are U01s being excluded from eligibility consideration?

    A. U01s involve substantial NIH staff involvement. It is unclear how that involvement will be incorporated into MIRA. Since this is a limited test of the MIRA concept, the inclusion of U01s was not considered necessary to achieve the desired number of eligible applicants.

  • Q. Why are DP1 and DP2 awards excluded from eligibility consideration?

    A. These awards are made with funds from the NIH Office of the Director and are managed by NIGMS, as are a number of other Common Fund programs. DP2 awards are also multi-year awards with funds for the entire project period committed in the first year of the project. These factors make it difficult to merge them with other NIGMS grant awards and difficult to determine an appropriate level of MIRA funding.

  • Q. If I am a PI on a single PI R01 and a multi-PI R01, am I eligible to apply?

    A. Yes, but see VI. Award Administration Information. In addition, you should discuss the ramifications of the MIRA award with your program officer and your collaborators on the multi-PI R01s before deciding whether a MIRA makes sense for your research program.

  • Q. If I am a PI on two multi-PI R01s, am I eligible to apply?

    A. Yes, but see VI. Award Administration Information. In addition, you should discuss the ramifications of the MIRA award with your program officer and your collaborators on the multi-PI R01s before deciding whether a MIRA makes sense for your research program.

  • Q. If I am a PI on two R01s and a P01 subproject, am I eligible to apply?

    A. Yes, but see VI. Award Administration Information. In addition, you should discuss the ramifications of the MIRA award with your program officer and your collaborators on the multi-PI R01s before deciding whether a MIRA makes sense for your research program.

  • Q. If I am a PI on a R01 and a P01 subproject, am I eligible to apply?

    A. No, not at this time.

Q. Are individuals at all stages of their careers eligible?

A. This FOA targets established investigators with two or more awards from NIGMS or one award over $400,000 in direct costs. NIGMS has issued an FOA for early stage investigators and new investigators at the assistant professor level and anticipates issuing additional FOAs in the future for which other groups of investigators will be eligible.

Q. May two or more scientists apply as a team for an NIGMS MIRA?

A. No. This FOA is an initial test of the MIRA concept. It is intended to provide support for the NIGMS mission-related research program of a single independent, established investigator. In the future, NIGMS may issue additional FOAs broadening eligibility to include multiple-PI programs of research where the contributions of the investigators are so entwined that it is not possible to separate them.

Q. Are women and members of underrepresented groups encouraged to apply?

A. Women and members of underrepresented groups who meet the other eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply.

Q. Are scientists in the NIH intramural research program eligible to apply?

A. NIH intramural research program scientists are not eligible to apply. A MIRA application can include a collaboration with an intramural scientist, but no funds can be provided to the intramural laboratory via MIRA. A MIRA will not be converted to a cooperative agreement. Therefore, if involvement with an intramural lab is a substantial part of the investigator's research program, MIRA may not be a suitable means of support.

Q. Are individuals who have support from sources other than NIGMS eligible to apply?

A. Yes. Individuals may have support from other NIH components or from other sources, provided they meet the eligibility requirement of having received at least two awards from NIGMS (R01, R37) or one award over $400,000 direct costs per year. However, they must be able to accommodate the requirement that they commit 51 percent of their research effort to MIRA. Also note that the level of outside support will be taken into account in determining the MIRA budget.

Q. Can I submit an application for continuation of my current NIGMS grant support and apply for MIRA at the same time?

A. No. NIH policy prohibits the submission of two applications on the same subject at the same time. An investigator must have received the summary statement for a currently pending application before submitting another application on the same topic. For example, if a PI submits a continuation of his or her current R01 on March 5, 2016, he or she would not be able to submit a MIRA later on May 20, 2016. If the PI submits a MIRA application on May 20, 2016, then he or she would not be able to submit a continuation of his or her current R01 until February/March 2017. However, even with this delay, he or she could still receive either the MIRA or a continuation of his or her R01 by the end of FY 2017 (September 30, 2017).

Q. Are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators eligible to apply for MIRA? What about individuals with other types of substantial, unrestricted laboratory grant support?

A. Yes. HHMI investigators are eligible to apply for MIRA. The relationship between the work supported by HHMI and the work to be supported by NIGMS must be carefully explained, but need not be separated into different projects and different specific aims. However, study sections, the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council and NIGMS staff will take total support, including PI salary support by HHMI, into account when considering the appropriate budget level of a MIRA. Investigators with other types of substantial, unrestricted laboratory support will be similarly considered on a case-by-case basis.

The MIRA funding level determination will take into account the policy on NIGMS Funding for Investigators with Substantial Unrestricted Research Support. It is therefore expected that the budget for a MIRA for an investigator with substantial unrestricted research support will be closer to that of an average-size NIGMS R01 award than to that of an average MIRA award (i.e., about half the size).

Q. If I have an appointment at more than one institution, can I apply for a separate MIRA through each institution?

A. No. An investigator can only have one MIRA award, which should be submitted by the institution where he or she primarily conducts his or her research program. Under rare circumstances, a subcontract might be permitted to support a part of the research program that is based at a different domestic institution.

Q. Can I get a definitive determination of my eligibility prior to submitting an application to this Request for Applications (RFA)?

A. No. NIGMS staff can give you advice on eligibility. However, applications are received by the Receipt and Referral Office of the NIH Center for Scientific Review, and it is the responsibility of this office to assess eligibility based on the criteria stated in the FOA.


IV. Application and Submission Information

Q. Is there a limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by an institution? By a PI?

A. There is no limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by an institution, provided they are for support of the research programs of different independent investigators. An investigator may be the PI on only one application for a MIRA.

Q. Can I get advice on my ideas for submission of a MIRA application?

A. You may discuss your ideas with the program contact named in the FOA or with the program officer(s) who administers your current NIGMS applications and awards.

Q. What became of the specific aims section of the grant application?

A. Specific aims are not required because a goal of MIRA is to move the scientific enterprise away from a focus on narrowly defined research projects with detailed specific aims and to refocus attention on the big picture and overall impact of the research. If your institution’s system for submitting a grant application gives you a warning and will not allow you to skip the specific aims page, enter the following text in the appropriate place: “Per the FOA instructions, no specific aims are to be submitted.”

Q. What format should the application follow?

A. Follow the instructions in the SF 424 R&R application guide as modified by the instructions in the FOA. In brief, this means that the scientific content of the application will rely mainly on the abstract, public health relevance statement, facilities and other resources page, biosketch and the six-page research strategy, plus details on the involvement of human subjects and vertebrate animals as necessary. Applications must also address data/resource sharing and key resource validation plans. Avoid duplicating material covered in other sections. Do not include lists of publications, except as part of the biosketch, or references as necessary in the Bibliography & References Cited section of the Other Project Information Form. Place the Current & Pending Support attachment after the Key Personnel Form to provide information on current and pending research support in the format typically used for Just-in-Time information. Be sure to distinguish the direct costs per year that support research in the investigator's laboratory from support that goes to other investigators. An example MIRA and Current Support attachment [PDF, 324KB] is available.

Q. Why is the research strategy section only six pages?

A. Because of changes in the biosketch, much of the needed information about the recent past research contributions of the investigator can be presented there, rather than in the research plan. Also because the goal of MIRA is to focus investigator and reviewer attention on the higher level questions about significance and impact of the research program, details in the research plan can be reduced.

Q. What may I include in the appendix?

A. Appendix materials are limited to the same items as for other NIH grant mechanisms. Do not use the appendix to circumvent the page limits. See NOT-OD-11-080.

Q. Should I submit letters of support?

A. Letters of support should be included for all collaborators. The application must also include a letter from the institution's authorized organizational official indicating that the institution is aware of and accepts the condition that other NIGMS research awards must be relinquished as a condition of receiving a MIRA award, and providing a statement that if chosen to receive an award, the PI will commit a minimum of 51 percent of his or her research effort to MIRA activities.

Q. Where does the institutional letter of support go?

A. The institutional letter of support should be included as an attachment to the PHS 398 Research Plan Form (Item 12 Letters of Support). See SF 424 instruction guide section 5.5 [PDF, 5.89MB].

Q. What is the policy on acceptance of late applications?

A. No late applications will be accepted.

Q. Can I request money for equipment in the budget?

A. Yes. You may request money for equipment in the first year and in any subsequent years with appropriate justification. This is not intended as a mechanism to acquire "big-ticket" items that may be covered under instrument-specific funding opportunities.

Q. Can I include a consortium contract for a collaborator?

A. Yes, but such requests must be extremely well-justified. NIGMS continues to encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary research when it is appropriate, and individual MIRA grantees are free to collaborate with one another or with other investigators using funds from their individual grants to support their parts of the team's research. A letter from the subcontract PI should be included, making it clear why he or she cannot participate in collaborative research with the PI without support from MIRA.

Q. Can I request inflationary increases in my application budget for future years?

A. If inflationary increases for recurring costs are built into the outyears, the award amount will be adjusted to remove any and all inflationary increases for recurring costs in all budget categories regardless of whether or not the total direct costs (DC) requested remains unchanged.

For example, a grantee requests $250,000 DC for each of 5 years. They have included inflationary increases for salaries in future years but the supply budget category decreases by an equal amount so that the total DC for each year remains at $250,000. If awarded, NIGMS will remove the inflationary increases requested for salaries resulting in the grantee receiving an award for less than the requested $250,000 DC in the out years. This is also true in a situation where the grantee requests total DC less than the FOA cap of $250,000 DC.

Q. Can I request increases in the out years if my institution requires me to pay my postdocs with regular salary increases that mirror the NRSA stipend levels based on experience?

A. Your institution may be using the NRSA stipend levels as benchmarks for salaries. However, if these types of increases are included in your application budget, they will be removed at the time of award even if the total DC requested is below the FOA cap of $250,000 DC. Similarly anticipated increases in the investigator's base salary will also be removed.

Q: Can my budget be increased in future years if I am adding a non-recurring costs such as additional personnel, equipment, etc.?

A. If justified in the application, we will honor funds for special “add-ons” such as equipment, additional personnel etc. as long as the total DC does not exceed the FOA cap. However, when these costs are recurring, we will remove any cost-of-living increase for future years.

Q. Who, if anyone, in addition to the PI should be listed as "key personnel"?

A. Key personnel include any other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under the grant. Typically, these individuals have doctoral or other professional degrees, although individuals at the master's or baccalaureate level may be considered senior/key personnel if their involvement meets this definition. Consultants and those with a postdoctoral role also may be considered senior/key personnel if they meet this definition. Senior/key personnel must devote measurable effort to the project whether or not salaries or compensation are requested. "Zero percent" effort or "as needed" are not acceptable levels of involvement for those designated as senior/key personnel. Other significant contributors do not devote measurable effort to the project.

Because the focus of the MIRA application is the research program of the principal investigator, the inclusion of many other senior key personnel and their biosketches may distract reviewers from the contributions of the PI. Judgment is needed in balancing evidence of adequate expertise to pursue the research program and dilution of the credentials of the PI with excessive other data. Biosketches should not be included for other significant contributors.

Q. How will support of other senior/key personnel (co-PIs) be considered?

A. Senior/key personnel who are independent investigators can contribute effort toward MIRA. They may receive support from the award, but only if they do not also receive support from their own MIRA award.

  • Q. What if they receive support from another NIGMS award that is not a MIRA?

    A. In that case, they are encouraged to consider applying for a MIRA if they are eligible to do so or if they become eligible as future MIRA FOAs are issued. If two investigators who are collaborators apply for their own MIRA at the same time, each may include the other collaborator as part of their budget request and NIGMS staff will take this into account when making its funding decisions.

Q. Who will be the scientific point of contact for my MIRA application?

A. For this FOA, Dr. Peter Preusch will serve as the initial scientific point of contact. Once applications are received, they will be referred to the most relevant program official based on internal NIGMS referral procedures and guidelines. The program official assigned to your application should be visible to you in the eRA Commons by the time the application is reviewed and the name and contact information for the program official should appear at the top of the summary statement.

Q. Can I update my application?

A. NIGMS will follow the normal NIH policy on post-submission of grant application materials. NIGMS will accept updates related to administrative changes and publication of articles up to 30 days before the study section meeting. See Post-Submission Materials Policy. This policy permits an exception for applications in response to an RFA with one due date. See Notice on Enhancing Peer Review: New NIH Policy on Post-Submission Application Materials. Therefore, NIGMS will allow MIRA applicants to submit a one-page update that includes late-breaking findings.

Q. Can I submit a video?

A. Per NIH notice NOT-OD-12-141, videos will be accepted by the scientific review officer (SRO) managing the review. Contact the SRO for instructions. The aggregate of your video submission files cannot exceed 2 minutes in length. The videos should be embedded as a single PDF and cannot exceed 25 MB in size, and must be received by 30 days prior to the review meeting. See Interim Guidance for Videos Submitted as NIH Application Materials.

Q. How do I handle the Human Subjects Section?

A. There is no change In the format/requirements for the Protection of Human Subjects section in the MIRA application. MIRA applicants should follow current supplemental instructions on preparing the human subjects section of the research plan [PDF, 1.7MB]. For delayed-onset human subjects research, as much detail as possible about the planned human subjects research activities or a description of why it is not possible to provide information on the human subjects research activities in the grant application should be included in the Protection of Human Subjects Section of the MIRA application.

Q. How do I handle the Vertebrate Animals Section?

A. There is no change In the format/requirements for the Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) of the MIRA application. MIRA applicants should follow current supplemental instructions on preparing the VAS of the research plan [PDF, 1.7MB]. If you plan to use live vertebrate animals (including production of custom antibodies and animals obtained for their tissues), but do not yet have detailed plans, you must still include a VAS. You will need to answer "yes" to the question "Vertebrate animals, yes or no" in Item 2 of the Other Project Information component in your grant application package. Your application also covers all performance sites, including sub-award partners, collaborators, contractors and others involved in animal research. Even if the only animal work that will be done from your R35 application will be performed somewhere other than your institution (e.g., you plan to have an antibody made by an outside contractor) you will need to mark "yes." You will need to follow the instructions for Vertebrate Animals in the SF 424 Form Instructions and include a VAS (see Vertebrate Animal Worksheet).

If you have designed your studies and they will be discussed in your R35 application, you should provide this information in your VAS for points 1 to 3 (Description of Procedures, Justifications and Minimization of Pain and Distress) so the study section can rate your VAS as acceptable or unacceptable.

If you plan to use animal studies in your R35 MIRA application but have not defined your plans about the species, sex, protocols and procedures to minimize pain and distress, or other information required for submission for your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval and a completed VAS in your application, please indicate that animals will be used in your application on the appropriate pages of your application and include a VAS in your application with as much of the information that you can provide. But for those topics that you do not have definite information, indicate that animal studies will have a delayed onset.

At the appropriate time after review, you will be asked for your IACUC approval of your research protocols. If your plans remain uncertain, a restricted notice of grant award will be issued that bars the use of funds for vertebrate animal research until prior NIH approval is obtained.


V. Review Information

Q. How will responses to this FOA be reviewed?

A. Reviews will be by special emphasis panels organized by the NIGMS Office of Scientific Review. The name and contact information for the scientific review official assigned to the application will be posted in the eRA Commons once the assignment has been made.

Q. What is the timeline for application, review and award?

A. Applications received in May 2016 will be reviewed in October/November 2016 for consideration by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council in January 2017, with the earliest possible awards beginning in April 2017.

Q. Will the reviewers have expertise in the subject area of my application?

A. Yes. NIGMS will ensure that reviewers have the relevant expertise to review the application, bearing in mind that MIRA is intended to support a broad program of research and the breadth of research areas that are encompassed by the NIGMS mission. Thus, reviewers will be expected to bring a broad perspective rather than detailed expertise.

Q. How can I find the roster for the study section that will review my application?

A. Rosters will be available 30 days before the study section meeting at https://public.era.nih.gov/pubroster/jsp/proster1.jsp?ABBR=ZGM1&CID=100647. This will show the aggregated roster for all panels reviewing applications in response to this RFA.

Q. How will the review process for MIRA differ from that for regular R01 research grant applications?

A. For this FOA, all applications will be discussed. All applicants will receive a summary statement containing the reviewers' critiques, a resume and summary of the discussion. Reviewers will be asked to provide a single overall impact score and not to provide individual criterion scores. This is intended to shift emphasis away from details of the application and the approach, and to emphasize the potential impact of the investigator's research program on the field. Reviewers will be asked for guidance on whether the budget should be increased, decreased or stay essentially the same as the level of NIGMS support over the previous several years.

Q. How do the review criteria differ from those for a regular R01 research grant application?

A. The review criteria are the same, but the wording has been modified to emphasize the review of the investigator's overall NIGMS-relevant research program rather than a specific, narrowly focused project with highly tailored specific aims. Reviewers should emphasize MIRA-specific aspects of significance, investigator qualifications, innovation, approach and environment.

Q. How will the study section arrive at a budget recommendation?

A. Reviewers will be asked to consider whether the budget is fully justified and reasonable in relation to the previous and proposed work in the PI’s lab. In answering this question, it is anticipated that reviewers will consider the past productivity of the investigator's laboratory in areas relevant to the NIGMS mission, given the resources at the laboratory's disposal, evidence of efficient use of funds in the past and likelihood of efficient use of funds in the future. The PI’s current level of support from NIGMS and other sources will be taken into consideration in these discussions. Reviewers will be asked to consider whether the level of NIGMS support of the laboratory should be increased, decreased or stay about the same, recognizing that in a zero-sum situation, for everything that goes up, something must go down. Reviewers will not be asked to recommend specific, changes to the detailed budget or budget amounts.

Q. Can I appeal the review of my MIRA application?

A. No. This FOA is a one-time request for applications that does not offer an opportunity to re-review the application if an appeal were successful. Therefore, be sure to inform NIGMS of any potential reviewer conflicts in a cover letter included with the application at the time of submission. On the other hand, applicants are advised not to submit names of potential reviewers in advance.

Q. If my application for MIRA is not funded, will I be able to prepare a resubmission?

A. No, but you may be eligible to submit a new application to another MIRA FOA in future fiscal years.

Q. How does the NIGMS $750,000 policy apply to MIRA?

A. NIGMS has a long-established policy that entails additional scrutiny of grant applications from investigators whose overall research support including an award for the pending application would exceed $750,000 in direct costs per year. See the NAGMS Council Guidelines for Funding Decisions. In keeping with this policy additional scrutiny will be given to MIRA applications from well-funded investigators.

Q. What will be Council involvement in the second level peer review of MIRA applications?

A. MIRA applications in response to this FOA will be made available to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council in the same way as other applications. They will be presented and discussed as a group. Council members will be free to comment on any particular application and then the Council will vote en bloc to approve applications for potential funding with any exceptions noted. Appeals and grievances will not be considered by Council.


VI. Award Administration Information (Including Funding Restrictions in Section IV.2 of the FOA)

The remainder of this document requires an understanding of two distinct concepts and the terms used: MIRA FUNDING LEVEL and MIRA grant AWARD LEVEL. The MIRA funding level is the staff-recommended annual direct costs level of NIGMS support to the laboratory over the next 5-year period of support. The MIRA grant award level is the actual amount to be provided in each year according to the Notice of Award after other sources of NIGMS funding awarded in the same year have been offset and will include the associated F&A costs.

Q. How will the budget for my MIRA be decided?

A. As for all other awards, the budget will be determined by NIGMS staff who will consider the PI’s recent NIGMS funding history, the study section recommendation, the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council recommendation, NIGMS staff analysis of the needs and potential productivity of the program, the PI’s other support and the NIGMS budget available in FY 2017. The overall budget for MIRA awards for this FOA will generally be somewhat less than the recent funding history of the investigators who apply and are approved for conversion of their NIGMS support to MIRA. Average budget reductions are expected to be approximately 12 percent relative to the applicants’ recent funding history, although each case is considered individually, and both larger and smaller decreases are possible.

Q. How will my current NIGMS funding be affected by the start of my MIRA?

A. In order to ensure consistency and fairness to all applicants, NIGMS grants management and program staff will work with the PI and authorized organizational representative to facilitate a transition from the existing support to that of the MIRA. While current NIGMS funding may have to end in order for the MIRA to be issued, a grantee can still utilize an existing unobligated balance on these awards through the initiation and/or request of a no cost extension for a period of time not to exceed 12 months.

Q. How will NIGMS manage the fold-in of current multiple-PI awards and subprojects of multicomponent awards such as P01s and P50s?

A. Multiple PI awards and subprojects of multicomponent awards will be allowed to continue through the end of their current project period without change. However, funds associated with these awards will be taken into consideration in setting the MIRA funding level and in calculating the MIRA award level. More details are provided under Section VIII. Award Process.

Q. Will a change of PI be allowed?

A. The MIRA is awarded to the institution in support of a project, not to an individual person. The institution has the right to request prior approval by NIH for the replacement of the PI. However, given the very intimate association of the ideas, expertise and record of productivity of the specific investigator with the program of research described in the research plan of the MIRA application and the scientific merit of the application as determined during peer review, it is doubtful that NIGMS would approve a permanent change of PI. A temporary change may be allowed with prior approval under circumstances such as sabbatical leave, medical conditions, disability or personal or family situations such as child or eldercare needs.

Q. What happens if the PI becomes unable to carry out the duties as PI or will be absent for more than 3 months at a time for any reason?

A. Standard NIH and NIGMS policies will apply.

Q. Will a change of grantee institution be allowed?

A. Standard NIH and NIGMS policies will apply.

Q. What, if anything, will be different about the annual reporting required for MIRA?

A. Annual reports will be required using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). The FOA includes some additional instructions consistent with the broader goals of the research program supported by MIRA and the absence of detailed specific aims. Additional information is requested that relates any new program directions to the NIGMS research mission, discussion of how the work continues to be innovative and of high impact, and the relationship of any new other support to the activities supported by MIRA. These reporting requirements are more specific for MIRA than for an R01 research project grant.

Q. What changes will require prior approval?

A. There are no changes to standard NIH policy on prior approval requirements. Prior approval is needed for the following:

  • A change in scope including but not limited to, a change from the approved used of vertebrate animals or involvement of human subjects, select agents or human embryonic stem cells.
  • Additional no cost-extensions beyond a first no-cost extension or late notification of an initial no-cost extension.
  • Change in status of the PI or senior/key personnel named in the Notice of Award.
  • Change in grantee organization or organization status.

Q. How do I initiate delayed onset or add previously unplanned human subjects research?

A. MIRA awardees must notify NIH program staff and receive prior approval before initiating delayed onset human subjects research.Changes or additional details not available at the time of application, including IRB approval of final plans, should be submitted at that time.Prior approval requests should contain a complete Protection of Human Subjects Section as described in the Supplemental Instructions on Preparing the Protection of Human Subjects Section of the Research Plan (grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/forms-d/supplemental-instructions-forms-d.pdf).

Q. How do I initiate delayed onset or add previously unplanned vertebrate animals research?

A. You are required to seek approval from your IACUC for any animal studies that will be carried out and discuss your animal studies with your NIGMS program officer prior to the start of your studies if you will be using funds from your R35 award. The NIH Office of Laboratory Welfare (NIH OLAW) will need to review your studies provide their written approval that you may proceed with your animal studies from your NIGMS R35 MIRA award.

If you conduct research involving animals using funds from your R35 award without IACUC and NIH approval, NIH may reduce the amount of your award or request return of funds, and you may not use any animal data obtained during this time for any activity related to the grant.

You also will need to receive IACUC approval for any significant changes to your animal activities. You will need to notify your NIGMS program director and grants management specialist of any significant changes to your animal research. You will be required to obtain NIGMS approval before conducting studies that would constitute a change in scope. For details, please read to NIH Notice NOT-OD-14-126.

Q. How will NIGMS manage overlap with other grants that may be awarded after MIRA?

A. Changes in other support should be reported in the RPPR. The relationship between other support and work supported by MIRA should be explained. NIGMS will assess whether there is sufficient scientific and budgetary overlap to warrant adjustment of the MIRA.

Q. Will carryover of an unobligated balance from one budget period to another be permitted?

A. Yes. Automatic carry over authority will apply to MIRA awards. Standard NIH and NIGMS policies will apply.

Q. Will no-cost extensions be permitted?

A. Standard NIH and NIGMS policies will apply.

Q. Will MIRAs be eligible for administrative supplements? Competitive supplements?

A. MIRAs will be eligible for Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research and may be eligible for other types of administrative supplements, such as equipment supplements that may be offered by NIGMS through notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Competitive supplemental applications (revisions) may be accepted in response to FOAs that may be issued in the future to support increases in scope beyond the ability of the investigator to accommodate through reprioritization of their existing resources (e.g., addition of human subjects); however, generally awardees will be expected to reallocate existing resources to accommodate new research directions. The eligibility of R35 awards for administrative supplements in the first year of the award may be further restricted by the language of any FOAs or Notices describing supplement programs. Equipment needs that can be anticipated in advance should be included in the MIRA budget request and will be considered in setting the MIRA funding level.

Q. How will NIGMS handle changes in senior/key personnel on a MIRA?

A. Senior/key personnel named in the Notice of Award may be replaced or eliminated from the budget with prior approval. Standard NIH and NIGMS policies apply. See Changes in Project and Budget in key personnel for full details.

Q. How will receipt of support from MIRA effect the eligibility of co-PIs to receive other grants?

A. Senior/key personnel other than the PI may receive support from other awards, including other MIRA awards on which they are also not the PI. Independent investigators who receive any support from more than one NIGMS grant are encouraged to consider consolidating their support by applying for a MIRA application when they become eligible under future FOAs.

Q. Who will be the program director for my MIRA?

A. If you currently have grants administered by two or more different NIGMS program officials, the program director for your MIRA will be assigned by considering the scientific areas included in the MIRA application, NIGMS internal referral guidelines and discussion among NIGMS staff.

Q. What will happen at the end of the 5-year MIRA grant project period?

A. NIGMS plans for MIRA awards to be renewable through competitive application and peer review. An appropriate FOA with relevant budgetary guidance will issued in time for applications to be received and awards to be made without a gap in funding.

Q. What is meant by ramp-down funding?

A. NIGMS expects to make funding decisions for MIRA renewals in a more flexible manner than the all-or-none approach typical of the R01 mechanism. For renewal applications that are judged to be meritorious but not commensurate with the level of funding provided during the previous MIRA budget period, some may be continued, but at a lower level of support; some may be phased out over a 2-year period; and some may receive no further funding at the end of the MIRA project period.

Q. If I submit a renewal application for my MIRA, is it possible to receive an increased budget?

A. Yes, MIRAs with modest budgets that have been very productive and score very well could receive budget increases. As described above, MIRA budgets will be set based on a number of factors and scoring well on renewal will alone not guarantee a budget increase.

Q. Can I convert my MIRA back to an R01?

A. Once a MIRA award has been issued, that grant cannot be converted to an R01 award. The terms and conditions of the MIRA will continue through the end of the project period unless the institution chooses to relinquish the grant early. At the end of the project period, the investigator will have the option to apply for continuation of the MIRA or to apply for a new R01 or other forms of NIGMS support.


VII. Post-Review Issues

Q. When should I submit Just-in-Time information?

A. NIGMS will notify applicants when to submit Just-in-Time information. This information will be requested for all applications under consideration for funding, but the request is not meant to imply anything about the probability of an award. Be sure that the data provide a complete and accurate accounting of the annual direct costs that support research in the investigator’s laboratory. See the MIRA web page for an example.

Q. How will MIRA funding decisions be made?

A. NIGMS staff will carefully consider the study section and advisory council recommendations, including the scores and language in the summary statement, Just-in-Time information and data from the recent history of NIGMS, NIH and other grant support, in making recommendations about whether to fund a grant and at what level.

Q. How will investigators be informed about the process?

A. Investigators who contact NIGMS staff will be provided feedback in the usual way on the reviews and their prospects for receiving a MIRA. As always, NIGMS staff cannot make any definite statements until the plan to make an award is signed off at an appropriate level. The Notice of Award is the only official notice of a government commitment to fund the research.

Q. What if I decline the MIRA award after I am notified?

A. Once the PI is notified by program staff that NIGMS intends to make a MIRA award, the PI should reply back by email with his/her intention to accept the MIRA award within 2 weeks. If the PI declines the planned award, the institution should withdraw the application immediately. If the MIRA is declined, the PI has the option to pursue other mechanisms to obtain NIGMS funding, but NIGMS will not assume any obligations as a result of this decision.

Q. When will I find out if I will not receive a MIRA award?

A. Applicants will not be informed that they will NOT receive an award, because an award may be made at a later date. MIRA applications in response to this RFA will remain under consideration until the end of FY 2017 on September 30.

Q. Will bridging funds be provided in the case of investigators who were unsuccessful in obtaining a MIRA application?

A. Each investigator’s situation will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. NIGMS will consider the end dates of recent and currently funded projects, review history of recent attempts to renew the relevant R01s, and the amounts of unobligated balances in reaching these decisions.


VIII. Award Process

Q. How will the MIRA funding level be established?

A. The MIRA funding level will be established by considering the requested budget, the study section and NIGMS advisory council recommendations; the history of NIGMS support and other grant support, pending applications and awards; the comments of reviewers in the summary statement; the overall NIGMS budget and MIRA program aggregate budget models; and ANY and ALL other information available to NIGMS staff. The MIRA funding level represents the best estimate of an appropriate level of total NIGMS support for the investigator’s laboratory over the next 5 years.

Q. How will the MIRA award level be calculated?

A. The MIRA award level will be calculated by first considering what current grants would be affected and then how they would be folded into the MIRA award on what time frame. At least four distinct types of affected grants will be considered:

  1. NIGMS single PI/single project grant on which the MIRA PI is the Principal Investigator (e.g., R01 awards). In this case, the MIRA funding level will be reduced in the first year by an offset corresponding to the prorated period of overlap based on the starting date of the R01 and the starting date of the MIRA award. Future years of the R01 award will be relinquished and the MIRA award level will increase.
  2. NIGMS grant where the MIRA PI receives support as a co-investigator or paid collaborator on another PI’s non-MIRA grant (which may or may not be in the form of a subcontract and the MIRA PI may or may not be specifically named in the Notice of Award). Funding from these sources will be considered by NIGMS staff in establishing the MIRA funding level. No offsets will be taken, but the MIRA PI can no longer accept funds from these sources.
  3. NIGMS multiple-PI grant where the MIRA PI is one of the named principal investigators (whether contact PI or not). Multiple PI grant awards will continue through the end of the current project period. These funds will be considered in setting the MIRA funding level and an offset will be taken in the first year and each of the remaining years on a prorated basis. Depending on the funding recommendation, once the MPI award ends, the MIRA award level may or may not increase.
  4. NIGMS multi-component grant (e.g, P01 or P50) where the MIRA PI is the leader of a subproject. These awards will be handled in the same way as MPI R01 awards.

Q. How did my current NIGMS funding affect the total cost I received on my MIRA Notice of Award?

A. The MIRA award is meant to provide all of NIGMS’ support for the investigator’s broad program of NIGMS-relevant research. Active NIGMS funding will be phased out instead of ending abruptly to coincide with the start of the MIRA. To account for overlap of the start of the MIRA current NIGMS funding, prorated reductions may be applied to the MIRA award. For example – assume the following:

1R35GM222222-01 has been approved for funding at $500,000 total costs with a start date of May 1, 2016.

This PI currently holds two R01s that are in their final year and end on June 30, 2016, and August 31, 2016. Each of these R01s were each awarded $400,000 total costs in their final year.

Because the MIRA will start on May 1, 2016, there is 2 months of overlap with the first R01 (MIRA runs May 1, 2016-April 30, 2017, and the R01 runs July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016) and 4 months of overlap with the second R01 (MIRA runs May 1, 2016-April 30, 2017, and the R01 runs September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016).

Overlap is calculated as follows:
First R01 has 2 months of overlap (2/12 x $400,000 = $66,667)
Second R01 has 4 months of overlap (4/12 X $400,000 = $133,334)
$66,666 + $133,334 = $200,000
MIRA was approved for $500,000 total cost - $200,000 of overlap = $300,000 year -01 MIRA funding amount

Note: Since there is no overlap in years 2-5 on the example above, the MIRA would be awarded $500,000 in years 2-5.

Q. What kinds of grants will not be affected by MIRA?

A. Non-affected grants include NIGMS grants that support research resources, cooperative agreements, grants that support training, workforce development or diversity building, clinical trials, SBIR/STTRs, conference grants and the portion of a center grant or a P01 that is strictly a core. Funds currently supporting these activities will not be included in the MIRA funding level.

Q. What about exceptions not covered above?

A. Each investigator’s situation will be researched in great detail and considered individually. Some types of awards, such as DP1, DP2, TR01 and other Common Fund awards managed by NIGMS are examples of grants requiring special consideration in setting the MIRA funding level and the MIRA award levels.

Q. How does effort on my other NIGMS grants affect my ability to meet the 51 percent research effort requirement on the MIRA?

A. The MIRA award is meant to provide all of the NIGMS’ support for the PI’s effort on NIGMS-related research. As a result, the effort on those NIGMS grants that are being phased out in order to start the MIRA are subsumed under the effort on the MIRA. For example, assume the following:

The MIRA PI currently devotes research effort on several grants:
1.8 calendar months on NIGMS R01 (effort to be subsumed under the MIRA)
2.2 calendar months on NIGMS R01 (effort to be subsumed under the MIRA)
3.0 calendar months on P01 from another institute in NIH
Total of 7.0 calendar months research effort

Since the 1.8 and 2.2 calendar months contributed to the NIGMS R01s will be subsumed into the MIRA, the PIs remaining research effort is the 3.0 calendar months on the P01 from another Institute in NIH. Therefore, the level of effort on the MIRA must be at least 51 percent of these 7 months of research effort (51 percent x 7 = 3.57 calendar months).

Q. The project period of my NIGMS award was ended early to start a MIRA. Would I be able to use my existing unobligated balance?

A. Funds should continue to be expended on active grants including those that are or will be in no cost extensions. Those grants on which a project period was ended early do not forfeit the ability to initiate the first no cost extension.

Q. I am a MIRA PI who is also a co-investigator on another NIGMS grant. How are those grants affected and how does that affect my MIRA funding?

A. With acceptance of the MIRA, the special terms and conditions on the MIRA Notice of Award stipulate the existing grants on which the MIRA PI can continue to receive funding. On those grants where the MIRA PI is a co-investigator and that grant is not listed on the MIRA Notice of Award, the MIRA PI cannot receive funds from that grant. The MIRA PI’s work on that grant is now being supported under the MIRA to ensure the continued collaboration. NIGMS will inform the PI of the other grant that the MIRA PI can no longer receive funding as a co-investigator on their award and that they are free to rebudget those funds in accordance with all relevant established policies.

If a MIRA investigator wishes to be listed as a co-investigator on another PI’s NIGMS R01 grant application, this can be done and he/she may devote a specific level of effort to the R01 project, but the MIRA investigator cannot request salary or other support from the R01.

Q. How will multiple PI and program project or center subprojects be affected?

A. Multiple PI grants and program project or center subprojects will continue without change through the end of their current project periods. Funding of the overall program project or center should continue at the committed levels, subject to the usual considerations, and the PI should continue to devote the committed level of effort unless this is renegotiated as required to devote 51 percent research effort to the MIRA.

Q. How will existing administrative supplements to affected grants be handled?

A. These will be included in the MIRA funding level consideration and also in offsets taken to determine the MIRA award level in each year.

Q. How will the requested budget be considered?

A. The requested budget will be reviewed and considered in light of previous funding of the laboratory. Budgets substantially higher than the previous level of NIGMS grant support will receive particularly careful scrutiny. MIRA funding level recommendations will take into account specific circumstances, such as requests to support co-investigators and subcontractors, equipment requests, supplies, travel and other expenses. Once the MIRA funding level is set, the MIRA award level will be calculated, generally as an across the board reduction of the requested budget, and then taking into account offsets of previously awarded funds based on total costs adjustments.

Q. How will future year commitments be decided?

A. The MIRA funding level will generally be maintained at the recommended annual direct costs level, subject to consideration of what the level of support should be after the conclusion of on-going multiple PI and program project or center subprojects. This is consistent with how NIGMS has calculated both modular and non-modular grant awards in the last few years, rather than projecting annual cost of living increases. The total cost award may vary, reflecting whatever changes in the F&A rate are expected during the 5 year award period.


IX. Awards Data for RFA-GM16-002 made in FY 2016

Q. How many MIRA awards are being made in response to RFA-GM-16-002?

A. NIGMS announced in RFA-GM-16-002 its intent to make up to 100 awards. This number was always expected to be flexible and to depend on the number of highly meritorious applications. In fact, NIGMS is making more awards. A total of 123 awards had been authorized as of April 1, 2016, and additional awards may be made later in the fiscal year.

Q. Where can I find out about MIRA awards made in response to RFA-GM-16-002?

A. In addition to information posted on the NIGMS website, the official record of NIH grant awards is available through the NIH RePORTER. This database can be searched by entering the RFA number. Awards are currently being made and should appear in the system within a few days after the Notice of Award is issued. The record will not be complete until NIH account books are closed and reconciled for the fiscal year.

Q. What is the size of the average NIGMS MIRA?

A. This question requires explanation of two distinct terms: MIRA FUNDING LEVEL and MIRA grant AWARD LEVEL. The MIRA funding level is the staff-recommended annual direct costs level of NIGMS support to the laboratory over the next 5-year period of support. The median MIRA funding level is about $400,000 annual direct costs.

The MIRA grant award level is the actual amount to be provided according to the Notice of Award after other sources of NIGMS funding awarded in the same fiscal year have been offset. In the first year of the MIRA, this will generally be lower than the MIRA funding level and in some cases, it will be much lower. The MIRA award level will not equal the MIRA funding level until all offset-affected projects come to an end.

Summary of MIRA funding levels of awards authorized for RFA-GM-16-002 as of March 28, 2016

Number of Awards Approved 123
Mean Direct Costs per Award $405,884
Median Direct Costs per Award $399,842
Estimated Mean Total Costs per Award $599,039
Estimated Median Total Costs per Award $579,834

Q. How does this compare with the level of NIGMS funding of these investigators previously?

A. The MIRA funding level was on average 12 percent below the previous level of NIGMS funding of the same cohort of investigators over the last 3-5 year period.

NIGMS staff calculated individual and aggregate values of R01-equivalent funding of the applicant investigators in FY 2015, their most recent 3-year average and 5-year average, and their peak level over the last 5 years. These data were used to establish the overall NIGMS budget model for the MIRA program.

Q. How does this compare with the average NIGMS R01 award?

A. The median-size NIGMS award in FY 2015 was $210,000 annual direct costs; the mean was $237,254. The data on FY 2016 R01 awards will not be available until all awards are made and the books are reconciled after the end of the fiscal year. These data will be available in the NIH Data Book.

The RFA required investigators to have two NIGMS R01 equivalents or one NIGMS R01 for over $400,000 annual direct costs in the FY 2013-FY 2014 time window. This is not the same thing as having two average-size R01 awards in FY 2015. For example, all investigators named on multiple PI R01 awards were able to count the award for purposes of eligibility. A number of investigators also had one or more of their awards lapse or in a no cost extension by FY 2015.


X. Agency Contacts

The agency contacts for the overall program, peer review and grants management are listed in the FOA. PIs may also find it useful to contact the program director who administers their current and other pending NIGMS grant applications and awards.

Program Contact
Peter C. Preusch, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Tel: 301-594-0828
Email: preuschp@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact
Brian Pike, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Tel: 301-594-2881
Email: pikebr@mail.nih.gov

Grants Management Contact
Lisa Moeller
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Tel: 301-594-3914
Email: moellerl@mail.nih.gov​​

​​​
This page last reviewed on April 19, 2017