NIH: IDeA Program Infrastructure for Clinical Translational Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program in 1993 to enhance biomedical research in states that have had historically low NIH grant funding success rates. The program currently supports competitive research in 23 states and Puerto Rico through the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) initiatives.

The program has enjoyed tremendous support from Congress and the current funding opportunity announcement (FOA) responds to Congressional concerns. The Senate FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill would provide $275.4 million to “fully replace the sequester cut” to the program and directs the HHS Secretary to dedicate the increase above the FY 2014 enacted level toward new COBRE awards. In the report accompanying the bill, the Committee also emphasizes that the program’s focus “should continue to be on improving the necessary infrastructure and strengthening the biomedical research capacity and capability of research institutions within the IDeA States.” It further notes that there are institutions in States that qualify for Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) that could benefit from the IDeA program that are ineligible for funding. The IDeA director is instructed to “develop a plan, including legislative language, to update eligibility criteria, and specifically evaluate whether EPSCoR participation should be a factor in a State’s eligibility for the IDeA program.”

To support the development of infrastructure and other resources required to conduct Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) in these states, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) which runs the program has issued an FOA, Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (Idea-CTR), (PAR-14-303). In addition to supporting the development of infrastructure and human resources required to conduct clinical and translational research in IDeA-eligible states, the objectives also include enhancing the ability of these institutions and investigators to develop competitive research programs, and fostering and sustaining collaboration and coordination of clinical and translational activities within and across these institutions and organizations.

The FOA provides the funding via the cooperative agreement mechanisms which will involve participation of the NIGMS IDeA program staff in the planning and execution of the proposed activities. Applications are due October 8, 2014, September 2015, and September 30, 2016.

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