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July 2, 2008

News Articles

Opportunities and Resources

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

News Articles
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HIV Vaccines and B Cells -- A Promising Pair

As emphasized at the March Summit on HIV Vaccine Research and Development, many experts believe that a successful HIV vaccine will need to both activate HIV-specific T cells and stimulate B cells to produce sufficient quantities of broadly reactive, virus-neutralizing antibodies.

But designing HIV immunogens that can elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies is an enormous challenge that continues to stymie HIV vaccine researchers.

Still, some rarely identified HIV-infected people do produce such antibodies, pointing to the feasibility of this goal.

Mining for Fresh Ideas

Even before the HIV Research Summit, the Institute started engaging more basic B-cell biologists by sponsoring workshops at national immunology meetings, especially to address the problem of inducing broadly reactive, protective anti-HIV antibodies.

Starting in January 2007, we also reached out to the B-cell immunology community for new ideas with three RFAs:

We are just issuing the resulting awards for the five-year, $15.6 million B-cell program, a network of 10 research teams that will share resources, methods, and data. For information about the ten investigators, see the NIAID B-Cell Program.

Funded investigators will explore basic B-cell biology, including the conundrum of eliciting neutralizing antibodies to HIV. A key goal is to cross-fertilize ideas between B-cell immunologists and HIV researchers toward a future “antibody-based” HIV-1 vaccine design.

At the Summit, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci committed the Institute to funding novel ideas from existing and new investigators. We are following through -- of the ten successful PIs, we funded both experienced and new investigators with highly creative ideas.

Post Summit

Summit participants made clear the need to stimulate new approaches in vaccine discovery, particularly multidisciplinary research that brings in technologies from other fields.

As part of the thrust to move the field forward, we published two RFIs on April 18, 2008, to solicit your input on future research directions:

We are carefully scrutinizing the feedback we received and will integrate it into future initiatives.

The new Vaccine Discovery Branch in DAIDS is another important outcome from the Summit. The branch will monitor vaccine discovery efforts and determine funding priorities for vaccine discovery research. For more information, read NIAID Creates HIV Vaccine Discovery Branch to Promote Synergy Between Basic HIV Researchers and Vaccine Designers.

If you missed the Summit, you can still watch the proceedings at Summit on HIV Vaccine Research and Development.

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October Pilot for Adobe Forms

NIH expects to pilot new Adobe application forms with two funding opportunity announcements that have single receipt dates in October. Full conversion from PureEdge to Adobe forms is planned for December 2008.

In other news, NIH has scheduled the transition to electronic application of the following grant types:

Still undetermined is the date for moving multiproject grants into the electronic sphere. We last wrote about this topic in our May 21, 2008, article, "NIH Moves to Adobe Submission Forms."

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Peer Reviewers Can Wave Goodbye to CCR

NIH will no longer use the U.S. Treasury Central Contractor Registration (CCR) to reimburse peer reviewers for honoraria and expenses related to participation in peer review meetings.

While a new system is in the works, follow the instructions in the Reimbursement for Peer Reviewers SOP.

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Dr. Fauci Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Congratulations to Dr. Fauci for being honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. President Bush awarded the medal to Dr. Fauci for leading the fight against HIV and AIDS through his work at NIAID.

To read a transcript of the ceremony, see President Bush Honors Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients. Also see the Director's Page to see what else Dr. Fauci is doing.

Opportunities and Resources
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How Does NIAID Fund Scientific Meetings?

Looking for guidance on how NIAID can help fund one of your scientific meetings? NIAID helps pay for scientific meetings that support the Institute's mission in two ways:

In general, an R13 supports an investigator-initiated conference grant that is usually modest in size.  A U13 is usually for international, national, or regional meetings in which NIH staff have substantial involvement.

While we must actively participate in developing a U13 meeting, we reserve the right to discuss how we will do so. We also make the final decision about our level of involvement.

Other requirements include the following:

  • You must acknowledge NIAID in meetings that we fund.
  • You must get NIAID's written approval to use our logo and describe how it will be placed on advertisements for or at the meeting.

Consider these points when applying for funding:

  • Any organization may apply, including scientific or professional societies eligible to receive grants from NIH, but you must get our permission to submit an application.
  • We fund both international and domestic conferences; however, international conferences must have a U.S. representative organization.
  • You should apply at least six months before a conference and consider the number of conferences given in your chosen area. NIAID may give priority to less visible topics.

NIAID gives priority funding to the following:

  • Applications for open meetings, including conferences on broad topics.
  • Applications that provide funds for graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and junior faculty members to attend conferences.
For detailed information on how you can apply, go to the Conference Awards SOP.

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National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity Meeting

On Tuesday, July 15, you can attend a meeting on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity's framework for the oversight of dual use research. The meeting takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland. See Visitor Information for directions.

Space is limited, so make sure you preregister at U.S. Government Public Consultation on Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research.

You may also want to read the Proposed Framework for the Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research: Strategies for Minimizing the Potential Misuse of Research Information, which outlines features of oversight of dual use research and the roles of individuals and institutions in managing it.

If you cannot attend, you can still comment on the framework document. Email with your comments on the questions in Appendix 2.

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Check Out RePORT

Looking for Institute funding tables? You won't find them because NIH no longer posts this information.

Instead use the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT). RePORT lets you select an organization to see its awarded funds. You can also download aggregate data by fiscal year to conduct your own analysis.

For more information, see Award Data for Individual Organizations.

Advice Corner
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Reader Questions

An anonymous reader asks:

"Is a DUNS number required for subaward organizations?"

You should enter the subaward's DUNS number in the eRA Commons although it's not required yet. If the subaward organization does not have a DUNS number when you're applying, enter nine zeros in the DUNS field on the subaward/consortium budget component.

Michelle Settner, Eastern Virginia Medical School, asks:

"For an Individual Postdoctoral Fellow (F32) grant, what expenses are allowable for institutional allowances and tuition and fees?"

For institutional allowances, expenses are allowed to offset the administrative costs of training. For example, you could include research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific meetings, and health insurance.

For tuition and fees, we allow costs of specific courses required as part of your research training.

Read more at Institutional Allowance and Tuition and Fees in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

An anonymous reader asks:

"After an international grantee receives a Notice of Award, how does the grantee receive funds?"

NIH's Office of Financial Management pays international grants with U.S. Treasury checks in four equal installments. You may also receive funds through a direct deposit or wire transfer.

For more information, contact Joyce Lee.

Aaron Martin, Batelle Biomedical Research Center, asks:

"Does NIAID offer any workshops or seminars on grant writing?"

Though NIAID is considering a workshop, we don't have any right now. However, NIAID staff members often present grant-writing strategies and opportunities at major scientific meetings.

Be sure to check out our online resources. See the New Investigator Guide to NIH Funding and Parts 4 to 6 in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal.

New Funding Opportunities
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See these and older announcements on our NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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