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NIH to Use Big Stimulus Money for 'Grand' Programs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ambitious and expensive research projects that are ready to launch are being sought by the National Institutes of Health to receive economic stimulus funding under a new grant program.

NIH expects to channel $200 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment money into a number of grants funding large-scale, cutting-edge research programs and infrastructure projects that need at least $500,000 per year over two years.

The "Research and Research Infrastructure Grand Opportunities" program, or GO Grants, will be spread among researchers and institutes and will fund programs that "accelerate critical breakthroughs, early and applied research on cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi and interdisciplinary research teams."

The purpose of the GO grants program is to support "high impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term funding and may lay the foundation for new fields of investigation," NIH said in its request for applications.

These programs could include those that address "specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways."

Just as NIH has left open a wide range of possibilities for the nature and scope of these research programs, so too will the size of the awards.

Funds from the trans-NIH effort may go to investigators who are seeking to address a specific research question, or to those who propose creating a unique infrastructure resource that could be used to "accelerate scientific progress in the future." These projects may be large in scale and broad in scope, NIH said.

They could fund the creation of unique resources that would enhance high-throughput and other novel technologies, or those which focus on overcoming specific barriers to basic, clinical, or translational research. The GO grants also could support "critical infrastructure, resources, tools, and methodologies" that substantially accelerate collaborative, translational, and other types of research.

These should be projects that would be difficult to complete without the GO grants, and they should generate either results or resources that can become integrated with other NIH and privately-funded research "within a reasonable timeframe."

Applicants should be US-based education and research and development institutions, centers, state and local governments, and may include small businesses.

Applications for the GO funds are due May 27, 2009.

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