Applications to NIGMS Technology Development Programs propose projects that focus on technology development without inclusion of biomedical aims or tests of biological hypotheses. These applications contrast with typical NIH proposals that address biological questions. In fact, technology development applications with biomedical aims or untested biological hypotheses will be administratively withdrawn without review.
These Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) support exploratory and/or focused research and development of innovative technologies for biomedical research that is relevant to the NIGMS mission.
NIGMS supports research for understanding the principles, mechanisms, and processes that underlie living organisms, often using research models. Research within the
mission of NIGMS may utilize specific cells or organ systems if they serve as models for understanding general principles. Research with the overall goal to gain knowledge about a specific organ or organ system or the pathophysiology, treatment, or cure of a specific disease or condition will, in most cases, be more appropriate for other disease-oriented Institutes or Centers (ICs).
Many NIH ICs provide funds to support biomedical research. You can refer to this
link to learn more about the mission(s) of each IC.
In order for your technology application to
NIGMS-Technology-Development-Programs-R21-and-R01 to be eligible, the utility of the technology should enable future biological questions, basic or clinical, that are within the
mission of NIGMS. Technology development
R01 funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) encourage evaluation of technological innovations to overcome current technical limitations in biomedical research. Therefore, you may not include untested biological questions in your application.
Please note that NIGMS is not the only Institute participating in the NIGMS Technology Development FOAs. National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) also participate in these FOAs; therefore, your application could be assigned to NIA or NCI by the Division of Receipt and Referral within the Center for Scientific Review. NIH also has several technology specific FOAs such as exploratory bioengineering research grants (EBRG) and bioengineering research grants (BRG) in which several NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) participate. The list of participating ICs can be found under Part 1. Overview Information, Components of Participating Organizations.
Yes, but the research must focus on technology development. No untested biomedical research aims are allowed for NIGMS Technology Development FOAs. Applications submitted to technology development programs using hypothesis-driven framework have been successful, though, particular attention must be given to address the additional instructions for application preparation and program specific review criteria.
While investigators may be comfortable writing applications using hypothesis-driven research framework to address biological questions and untested biomedical research aims, for the R21 and R01 Technology Development programs in particular, biomedical research aims, or objectives are not allowed. Rather, technology development beyond the current state-of-the-art should be the focus of the research project, and only synthetic models or well-characterized biological systems may be used to assess performance.
Engineering design provides a framework that, although less familiar to investigators, in many ways aligns with expectations of the technology development programs. We introduce the major elements of engineering design below and relate these elements to the additional instructions and review criteria of the technology development programs.
NO for Technology Development R21. Applications with preliminary data that support proof-of-concept or feasibility will be considered non-responsive and withdrawn without review.
YES for Technology Development R01. The proposed project objective should be prototype development for a technology supported by preliminary data demonstrating proof of principle. The technology should still have significant fundamental technical challenges to developing and validating a working prototype.
**Can I include links to data or figures that are in my laboratory website? Data available solely in abstracts or on personal or institutional webpages without DOIs are not allowed (see
NO. Only new applications will be accepted and evaluated based on their current merit for current FOAs. Resubmission applications in response to the previous FOAs (PAR-19-253 and PAR-19-254, expired) should submit the revised applications as NEW applications to the reissued FOAs (PAR-22-126 and PAR-22-127).
No. Applications that include biological aims are not responsive to the goals of NIGMS Technology Development program and will be administratively withdrawn without review. However, validation against known standards is encouraged to justify the relevance of the proposed technology for addressing a broad range of biomedical research questions.
A technology research and development project in which an untested biomedical question serves as a testbed for demonstration of the technology's impact is beyond the scope of NIGMS Technology Development program and is more appropriate for a conventional R01 application to the Parent R01 program.
Known standards or well-characterized model systems may be used to test the new technology against a set of well-defined criteria that demonstrate success, including both qualitative and quantitative measures. From a research design perspective, well-designed criteria of success focus the research strategy end-point objectives and help prevent mission drift.
For R21, a high degree of uncertainty and risk are appropriate and should be described realistically. A straightforward discussion of the challenges and risks inherent in the research plan is encouraged. Theoretical evaluation, alternative approaches, and well-described criteria for success and failure can mitigate or manage risk.
For R01, preliminary data, theoretical evaluation, alternative approaches, and well-described criteria for success and failure can mitigate risk. Projects appropriate for a four- or five-year R01 should include evidence that the outcome is feasible. Projects that are at an intermediate stage, with incomplete preliminary data, but with substantial remaining risk, may be narrower in scope with reduced budgets or a shorter project duration.
Well-defined, measurable characteristics or properties of the proposed technology are very helpful when managing risk with criteria for success and failure. Criteria for success and failure can then be described by quantifiable measurements and tests, thresholds, tolerances, for example, that must be achieved to meet project milestones and objectives. In practice, well-designed criteria demonstrate rigor within the research approach and may be developed as objective measures of project progress. Well-constructed milestones and end-point objectives may also guide a realistic timetable for development of different aspects of the new technology.
Milestones and project outcomes are objective measures of progress of the proposed technology toward the desired characteristics of the technology at conclusion of the project. Milestones and outcomes are measurable project performance criteria, and project outcomes should be specified to provide a significant technical advance over the state-of-the-art.
Scientific rigor is the strict application of the scientific method to ensure unbiased and well-controlled experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results. Please see,
Enhancing Reproducibility through Rigor and Transparency, for more information.
There are four key areas of rigor that need to be addressed in your grant application: Rigor of prior research, Scientific rigor, Biological variables, and Authentication. More information may be found,
Guidance: Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications.
No. As stated in the FOAs, “The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.”
All Technology Development applications are reviewed in relevant study sections in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR).
Tech Dev program officers foster and maintain communications with CSR Scientific Review Officers (SROs) who organize review of applications submitted through Tech Dev R01 and R21 mechanisms. The SROs give instructions to reviewers on the Tech Dev program purpose and special review criteria.
NIGMS does not have a “payline” or strict cutoff in scores that it will fund. The Institute strives to support a broad and diverse portfolio of research grants of high scientific and technical merit, as determined by peer review, in its
mission areas. Towards this end, NIGMS staff also considers other factors, including,
NIGMS strives to support a broad and diverse portfolio of research grants of high scientific and technical merit, as determined by peer review, in its
mission areas. NIGMS will consider awarding five-year R01 grants to most ESIs in order to provide extra time for getting their projects under way.
ESIs are also encouraged to consider applying to NIGMS
Maximizing Investigators' Research Awards (R35) Program which provides five years of funding. For more information on ESI MIRA, please see
NIH definition of ESI and NI can be found at
Early Stage Investigator Policies.
For investigators with at least one single-PI R01-equivalent award, please see
PAR-19-367. The R21 is not an R01-equivalent award.
Early-stage investigators (ESI), please see
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