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New Release: Research Funding Opportunity from the PRMRP

Updated Information Available!

The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program provides a funding opportunity for research across a range of diseases and conditions. In FY2017, applications from 48 topic areas competed for a pool of $300M dollars in research grants. Eligible applicant organizations include U.S. and international universities, biotechnology companies, foundations, government organizations, and research institutes.

For FY2018, myotonic dystrophy is included for the first time as eligible for PRMRP funding.

Don’t miss this new opportunity – the submission deadline and full details are not yet available. For award mechanisms where a letter of intent is required, those are estimated to be due in July 2018. All full applications are estimated to be due in either August 2018 (Discovery Awards) or October 2018 (all other award mechanisms). These are estimates—monitor the PRMRP website for release of the 2018 program.

The PRMRP Description includes this language: “The program seeks applications in laboratory, clinical, behavioral, epidemiologic, and other areas of research to advance knowledge in disease etiology, improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life for those affected by a relevant disease or condition, and to develop and validate clinical care or public health guidelines.”

The application process is dependent upon the type of award and may require submission of a pre-application through the Electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) prior to being given permission to submit a full submission (see details of awards below). Full applications are submitted through Grants.gov (the grant submission site for all U.S. agencies, including the NIH). Applicants must be registered with eBRAP in advance of submission, while Grants.gov registration is required for applicant organizations and individuals must have an eRA Commons ID.

Eligibility, specific instructions for pre-applications and applications, and funding level are dependent upon the grant mechanism. For FY2018, the PRMRP is using the following grant mechanisms:

  • Discovery Award
    • Eligibility: postdoctoral or clinical fellow or above
    • No pre-application requirement
    • Supports innovative, high risk/high reward hypothesis-driven research, excluding established lines of research; intended outcome is generation of preliminary data for future research projects; innovation is identified as the “most important review criterion,” while availability of substantial preliminary data is viewed as inappropriate for this mechanism
    • Support level: $200,000 maximum over 18 months maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH R21, but with postdocs eligible
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  • Investigator-Initiated Research Award
    • Eligibility: Assistant Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports original line of research, from basic lab research through translational and human subjects research (clinical trials not included), expectation that work is likely to have an important impact; option for inclusion of a partnering PI
    • Support level: $1.2 million ($1.5 million with partnering PI option) maximum, including indirect costs, over 3 years maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH R01
  • Focused Program Award
    • Eligibility: Full Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports synergistic and multidisciplinary research including at least four distinct projects focused on an overarching challenge that is a critical problem or question in the field; should be “a clear intent to progress toward translational/clinical work over the course of the effort”
    • Support level: $10 million maximum, including indirect costs, over 4 years maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH Program Project (P01) or Center Grant (P50), requiring laser-like focus and tightly synergistic, individual projects each led by strong researchers in order to be competitive
    •  
  • Technology/Therapeutic Development Award
    • Eligibility: Assistant Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports translation of preclinical findings (on a drug, device, or clinical guidelines) to the point of clinical development (clinical trials not included); must be focused toward product development—a drug or biologic, a device, or a knowledge-based product; strength of scientific rationale for the project is a key review criterion
    • Support level: $3 million maximum, including indirect costs, over 3 years maximum
    • In addition to academics and research institutes, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have successfully competed for these awards in prior years
    • MDF comment: for drugs or biologics, this resembles NINDS/NIH translational cooperative agreement mechanisms focused on pre-IND activities; but the mechanism also includes activities such as developing and validating clinical guidance/guidelines for standard of care
    •  
  • Clinical Trial Award
    • Eligibility: Assistant Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports rapid implementation of clinical trials (FDA approval and launch within 18 months), from pilot/proof of concept through large scale definitive trials of novel interventions; requires submission of an IND or IDE to FDA by the PRMRP application submission deadline; strength of scientific rationale for the project is a key review criterion
    • Support level: no funding limit is defined for this mechanism; maximum project period is 4 years
    • MDF comment: eligibility includes industry, so clinical testing of novel candidate therapeutics in corporate-academic partnerships looks to be a competitive strategy
    •  

MDF strongly urges investigators in the myotonic dystrophy community to apply for the pool of funds allocated to the FY2018 PRMRP. FY2017 PRMRP application success data is available on the PRMRP site.

Full information on the PRMRP program can be found here. Note that while there are similarities to familiar NIH grant mechanisms, it is essential to read the Overview of the Funding Opportunity document carefully for the grant mechanism(s) you intend to apply. There are some unique requirements of each grant mechanism and your application may not be competitive unless those are addressed.

 

 

 

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