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NIH Continues Proteomics Funding Frenzy with Three RFAs, One PA


The NIH continued its enthusiastic funding of proteomics last week with the announcement of four new grant programs with proteomics applications. Included was a commitment of up to $87 million in FY 2005 for two RFAs related to the Protein Structure Initiative; the commitment of about $21 million in FY 2005 for an RFA funding two new additional regional biodefense centers; and an open invitation for proteomics-related grant applications with no specified funding ceiling from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The PSI RFAs — sponsored primarily by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences — establish the second phase of the initiative, as ProteoMonitor described in February (see PM 2-13-04). The initial pilot phase, which began in 1999 and ends at the conclusion of this fiscal year, involved the funding of nine structural genomics centers across the US with a $65 million annual budget in the last two years of the program. The PSI’s stated goal is to “make the three-dimensional atomic level structures of most proteins easily available from knowledge of their corresponding DNA sequences.”

The larger of the RFAs — funded solely by the NIGMS — will fund up to five new large-scale centers for high-throughput structure production (see PM 2-13-04 for details). Applicants can request up to $12 million in total costs for FY 2005, and the NIGMS will commit up to $60 million to these centers. The release date for the RFA is April 1, and the application deadline is Oct. 16 of this year. The anticipated award date is July 1, 2005.

The second PSI RFA — funded jointly by the NIGMS and the National Center for Research Resources — will establish up to six small, specialized centers that will focus on bottlenecks in protein structure determination. They will be charged with developing technologies and methodologies for producing and determining the structures of challenging proteins such as membrane proteins and higher eukaryotic proteins. The two institutes together will commit $27 million in FY 2005, and applicants can request a budget of up to $4.5 million in FY 2005. The release date, application deadline, and award date are the same as for the large-scale centers.

A third RFA, released last week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced two additions to the Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research program (see PM 8-1-03, 9-12-03). The NIAID has previously committed $350 million over five years to fund eight RCEs, which were charged with producing diagnostics, therapeutics, and new vaccines for potential agents of bioterrorism. Each of these RCEs has a significant proteomics core as part of the program.

Now the institute will commit an additional $21 million in FY 2005 to fund two more RCEs, preferably — according to the RFA — in the two regions of the US that do not already have one of the eight existing RCEs. These regions include the states of: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada; as well as US-associated Pacific islands. The centers can request up to five years in funding.

The release date for the RFA is April 1, and the application deadline is Sept. 10 of this year.

In addition to these three RFAs, the NIDDK issued a general PA last week inviting applications for projects “that advance research to identify and quantitate protein expression patterns, post-translational modification of proteins, and protein-protein interactions on cells, tissues, organ systems to diabetes, obesity, endocrine, and metabolic diseases, nutritional function and diseases of the alimentary tract, exocrine pancreas, liver, kidney, bladder, and prostate and normal biological processes related to the function of these systems.”

The PA will use the NIH R01 and R21 award mechanisms. Applications requesting $500,000 or more must refer to an NIH staff member who has agreed to accept the assignment of the application, according to the PA. Applicants requesting up to $250,000 will use the NIH’s modular funding mechanism. The NIDDK will accept applications for this PA through the ending date of March 1, 2007.

This most recent PA is yet another in a slew of recent NIDDK PAs and RFAs that have been released for proteomics applications (see PM 7-18-03, 10-17-03, 3-26-04).