Internal Deadline: Contact RII.
LOI: December 15, 2023
External Deadline: January 25, 2024
Award Type: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Anticipated Award Amount: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum award budget from Federal funds is $8,000,000 direct cost. Applications with a budget less than $3,000,000 direct cost will not be considered. Since the scope of different projects will vary, it is anticipated that the size of the awards will vary.
Who May Serve as PI: Standard NIH requirements.
Link to Award: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-23-306.html
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII) Application Portal: https://rii.usc.edu/oor-portal/. Use the template provided here: RII Limited Submission Applicant Template
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Two-Page Proposal Summary (1” margins; single-spaced; standard font type, e.g. Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 2-page limit will be excluded from review. You must use the template linked above.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
This Notice of Funding Opportunity Announcement (NOFO) invites eligible institutions of higher education and research organizations to seek funding to modernize and improve existing shared-use research facilities (e.g., core laboratories, animal research facilities, or other collaborative research spaces), or to construct new biomedical research space that will be furnished with essential infrastructure and eligible integrated equipment (subject to the requirements described below under Funding Restrictions), or other necessary casework. The objective of this NOFO is to support the development of modern facilities that will enable and enhance the conduct of high impact, cutting-edge biomedical research with national or regional significance. Thus, any facility supported by this NOFO must serve a broad research community at local (within the applicant’s own institution), regional (beyond the applicant’s own institution), or national level.
NIH recognizes that modern physical infrastructure is necessary for the conduct of advanced, innovative research. As science progresses and new technologies become available, dedicated space is required to house specialized equipment and to carry out novel experimental protocols. Both Institutions of Emerging Excellence (IEE, as defined in 42 USC 283k(c)(2)) and non-IEE institutions as well as highly resourced and low resourced institutions are encouraged to apply. Projects will vary and depend on the current institutional infrastructure and long-term institutional strategic plans. Focusing on the advancement of science through the modernization of physical space will be an essential and integral feature of all proposed projects. When completed, construction/modernization projects will have a significant impact by enabling innovative and new research opportunities and/or by raising the research capacities and capabilities to a new and higher level. An institution may request funds to modernize a core facility to create an environment required for research-driven specialized technological services. Likewise, funds may be requested to consolidate space for an institution-wide core which would provide streamlined workflows for contemporary multi-disciplinary investigations. Modernizing laboratory space used on a shared basis to meet the growing needs consistent with an institutional strategic vision for biomedical research is another example of a suitable request. A successful construction/modernization project will serve research teams and a broad range of research efforts. Laboratory space exclusively dedicated to individual Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs), or single research groups, is not supported under this NOFO.
Various factors are typically considered when developing or modernizing research infrastructure. For applications submitted to this NOFO, defined research needs will drive the requests for modern engineering solutions. As science progresses and new technologies become available, required dedicated space must comply with relevant technical specifications to provide a proper and well-controlled environment, to enable novel experimental approaches, and to house specialized equipment. It is encouraged that these new spaces adhere to the highest possible standards of green engineering designs and operations.
Modern physical infrastructure requires the implementation of advanced engineering designs. Some protocols may only be conducted in designated clean rooms, such as barrier facilities for pathogen-free research or space for synthesis of compounds meeting standards for human subject experiments. Certain equipment and/or research protocols require specially shielded rooms or rigorous control of environmental variables such as temperature or humidity. The shared space also needs to be adequately maintained to serve its desired function over many years. The formal structure of an institutional core typically offers effective oversight to ensure that the required engineering standards of a space it occupies are met and maintained over time. Also, such centralized facilities are organized to provide rigorous scientific support for the conduct of research.
NIH recognizes the importance of all institutions of higher learning and research organizations in contributing to the nation’s research capacity. NIH intends to award at least 25% of the available funds to support projects from IEEs. These institutions play a special role in advancing biomedical research as they leverage their research abilities to address a problem, concern, or unmet health need. Often these institutions are located in a geographic area whose population includes a significant number of individuals with health status deficit, and the applicant provides health services to such individuals; or is located in a geographic area in which a deficit in health care technology, services, or research resources may adversely affect the health status of the population of the area in the future, and the applicant is carrying out activities with respect to protecting the health status of such population. As a part of their mission, IEEs must have plans and the ability to carry out the plans to conduct biomedical research or provide training to enhance the health of individuals from such population. These institutions often serve as centers for dissemination of health information, training development, and advancement of research. At times, low levels of research funding from NIH, other federal agencies, private foundations, and other sources, as well as a deficit in health care technology, services, or research resources such as a physical research infrastructure, may curtail the full potential of these efforts.
Many IEEs are located in designated geographic locations; however, geographical location, alone, is not sufficient to define an IEE. An institution in an Institutional Development Award (IDeA)-eligible state may qualify as an IEE if the institution has deficient or inadequate physical infrastructure that deters it from achieving well-defined and well-focused research-related goals. These goals build on local capacity for research that encompasses various factors such as in-house scientific expertise, unique local resources, or special local populations and their health-related needs. Many institutions in non-IDeA-eligible states also meet these criteria and are equally qualified to apply as IEEs.
As IEEs often have low levels of federal and private funding for biomedical research, faculty at these institutions usually contribute a significant amount of their time to teaching either undergraduate or graduate curriculum courses, or both. Note, however, projects that would serve purely didactic activities are not appropriate under this NOFO.
IEE applicants should be striving to establish a particular research or research training capacity that serves the needs described above. Improvements in physical infrastructure are one element that can help meet these needs. An applicant should explain in what domain of biomedical research the institution is seeking to achieve excellence and how this proposed project will advance the effort. Ultimately, to be considered as an IEE for the purpose of this NOFO, an applicant institution must identify itself as an IEE and justify its status – see the Project Narrative section for more information.
It is expected that all projects – both from research-intensive institutions and IEEs – will have long-term effects and will benefit broad biomedical research community at the applicant institution by providing a modern research environment that is accessible on a shared basis. It is also expected that projects awarded under this NOFO will have a transformative impact on research at the recipient institution.
Applications based entirely on regular maintenance, replacement of aging or failing equipment, and other routine work are not appropriate for this NOFO, and such applications will not be supported. Applications for upgrades of a space serving a single investigator are also inappropriate as are applications to support facilities for billable medical care, office space, or classrooms.
To appropriately conceive, develop, construct, and successfully complete the construction/modernization project, a PD/PI should possess knowledge of the relevant scientific field(s) to be served by the proposed facility, demonstrate leadership skills, and assemble a team with technical expertise related to all aspects of the project. The PD/PI does not need to be an NIH-funded investigator but should have the appropriate standing in the institutional administration and the research community to lead and oversee the project.
The project should be consistent with the following criteria and documentation requirements:
- The project is essential for biomedical research activities supported and the space involved will be used for these activities.
- The facility must be utilized for biomedical research purposes for which it was constructed or improved for at least 10 years beginning on the date of beneficial occupancy of the space.
- If the project is located in an existing building, the building must have a useful life consistent with program purposes, including the time to construct and complete the project plus 10 years of use following the occupancy of the research space; the building must be architecturally and structurally suitable for conversion to the type of research space required.
- If the space is rented, evidence must be provided that the terms of the lease and expected subsequent 10-year use of the facility are consistent with the proposed project. Specifically, a signed document from the building owner must be provided showing that the terms of the lease agreement and subsequent use of the facility will comply with the 10-year term of the Notice of Federal Interest (NFI) requirement following the occupancy of the facility. A statement of agreement by the owner of the space must be included. These documents will be verified if/when the application is considered for funding.
- If the project will affect a site listed (or eligible for inclusion) in the National Register of Historic Places, the requirements specified in “Preservation of Cultural and Historic Resources” must be followed.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.