Kathy Kaplan, NCRR Information Officer
Office of Communications/NCRR
Bethesda, MD–The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it has awarded 19 grants, totaling approximately $165.5 million over five years, to biomedical research institutions located in states* that had not fully participated in NIH funding in the past. Eight federal agencies have Experimental Programs to Stimulate Competitiveness in Research (EPSCoR). The NIH Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program is an EPSCoR-like program that is the source of funding for the awards described here. The goal of the NIH IDeA Program is to enhance biomedical research capacity building among academic institutions and research institutions within the eligible 23 states and Puerto Rico. The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the NIH component that administers the IDeA Program, awarded the grants to:
Each new grantee institution will establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), to be led by an established investigator who will direct a multidisciplinary effort to focus on a basic or clinical research theme, such as neuroscience, cancer, structural biology, immunology, or bioengineering. The research team will include promising investigators who are to develop their research skills in this mentored environment to enhance the pool of competitive investigators in research institutions among the IDeA-eligible states.
The proposed scientific leadership of the COBRE was a critical factor in selecting applications to be funded. Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, NIH principal deputy director, emphasizes the far-reaching, scientific opportunities provided by these grants. "The NIH IDeA Program awards provide unprecedented opportunities for these institutions to strengthen their research infrastructure as well as to create networks and partnerships within their states to develop collaborative scientific projects with investigators at research-intensive institutions."
States eligible to apply for IDeA grants are those that received less than $70 million in NIH funding from 1994 to 1998 or had an NIH grant award success rate of less than 20 percent over that period. In l998, investigators from the 23 eligible IDEA states and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico accounted for only 8 percent of the total number of research grant applications received by NIH. "Although this statistic most likely reflects a small pool of biomedical investigators in these states," says Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, NCRR director, "the COBRE grant application pool reflects the best set of competitive applications NIH has ever received from institutions in these states since inception of the IDeA program in 1993."
In the next fiscal year (FY) 2001, the IDeA Program is expected to receive
$100 million from Congress to support programs to further strengthen the research
capacities of institutions in the IDeA states. Administrators and investigators
from institutions in those states were invited to attend a strategic planning
workshop this past summer to identify their infrastructure needs and to suggest
approaches for building partnerships within and across IDeA states. This effort
was led by Dr. Ruth Kirschstein. (A workshop summary may be viewed at: http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/resinfra/rimtgs.htm.)
NCRR Mission: NCRR develops and supports research projects and resources that
enable NIH-supported biomedical research that leads to discoveries in many areas
of health. The diversity of NCRR programs helps biomedical investigators and
institutions develop and access specialized technologies, instrumentation as
well as access to specially adapted clinical, animal and biomedical technology-related
research facilities. NCRR-supported biorepositories validate and distribute
biologic models, genetic stocks, and other biomaterials to investigators globally.
NCRR's Research Infrastructure area, which administers the IDeA Program, funds
a mix of programs that expand this nation's capacity to conduct biomedical research.
For more information, visit the NCRR Web site: http://www.ncrr.nih.gov.