NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Human Genome Research Institute said that it will award $4 million in grant funding next year to support a handful of investigator-initiated clinical genome-sequencing research projects.
In recent years, the NHGRI has provided millions of dollars to support research involving clinical genome sequencing. However, this funding has primarily come through multi-disciplinary programs such as the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network, the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-generating Research programs, and the Newborn Sequencing in Genomic Medicine and Public Health program.
The increasing use of genome sequencing in clinical settings, along with a growing body of knowledge derived from the first generation of clinical genomics research, has created a need for focused research projects, the NHGRI said. Such projects include ones conducted in unique clinical applications or settings, and that can be creatively proposed and answered at a single site, can take flexible approaches to problems, and do not require large-scale coordinated consortia approaches.
To that end, the NHGRI said that it has earmarked $4 million in fiscal year 2017 to fund five to seven targeted research projects that advance the use of clinical genome sequencing in genomic medicine. Such efforts include studies of whether and how clinical genome sequencing impacts disease diagnosis and treatment, research to address current barriers to implementation of clinical genome sequencing, and approaches to improve the identification and interpretation of genomic variants in clinical settings.
Projects appropriate for this funding opportunity will address the clinical translation or implementation of genome sequencing, and should not focus solely on variant discovery or on functional assays, the agency noted. Of particular interest to the NHGRI are studies that address how genomic information may contribute to the reduction of health disparities, as well as ones that include population groups traditionally under-represented in genomic research.
Grant recipients are also expected to attend yearly meetings that facilitate the sharing of research approaches, processes, and findings.
Additional details about the funding opportunity can be found here.