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NIH To Issue RFA for 'Transformational R01' Roadmap Program by End of Month

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Institutes of Health plans to issue the next request for applications under the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research by the end of the month, an NIH official said today.
Alan Krensky, director of the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives at NIH, told attendees of the Association for Independent Research Institutes annual meeting here today that NIH plans to issue the RFA for the new initiative, called the Transformational R01 Program, by the end of September.
The program is designed to encourage “paradigm disruption,” Krensky said, adding that applicants will be required to submit an essay that either explains why an existing paradigm “needs disruption,” or outlines a new paradigm.
Krensky distinguished the type of projects that the program is targeting from “paradigm-shifting” research, which he said NIH already supports under existing funding mechanisms.
The Transformational R01 Program will also rely on a “novel” peer-review process, Krensky said, in which an “editorial board” of three senior scientists will review grant proposals and “bin” them subsequent to further review. 
The new program will be open to “all potentially transformative ideas” from any scientific field, Krensky said. There will be no cost limit per project under the program, which will likely have a budget of $25 million per year for five years.   
According to a brief description on the NIH Roadmap website, topics that will be highlighted under the program include understanding and incenting behavior change, 3D tissue models, functional variation in mitochondria, transition from acute to chronic pain, formulation of novel protein capture reagents, and evidence for pharmacogenomics clinical studies.
The RFA would be the first under “Cohort III” of the Roadmap. The Roadmap initiative, which NIH kicked off in September 2003, had an initial set of 28 programs. The NIH subsequently issued RFA’s for Cohort II, which included programs for the Human Microbiome Project and epigenomics.

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