5. Institute-Initiated Programs Starting in FY 2011


More than two-thirds of the research supported by the NHLBI is initiated by individual investigators; the remainder is initiated by the Institute. Institute-initiated programs are developed in response to evolving national needs, Congressional mandates, and advances in scientific knowledge. Each initiative represents the outcome of extensive discussions and thorough reviews by representatives of the scientific community, Institute advisory committees, the Board of Extramural Experts (BEE), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC). The advisory committees and the BEE, together with professional societies and NHLBI staff, continually review the progress of research within the NHLBI program areas, assess newly acquired knowledge, and identify research topics that offer the best opportunities or constitute the greatest needs. This planning process contributes to policy development at the national level by setting priorities among programs and establishing budgets for individual programs and projects.

Initiatives generally emanate as Requests for Applications (RFAs) for grants, including cooperative agreements, or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for contracts. Other initiatives take the form of Program Announcements (PAs) or Program Announcements with special receipt, referral, or review (PARs). Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs compete among themselves for specific "set-aside" funds. Applications submitted in response to PAs or PARs generally compete with other investigator-initiated applications for funding.

RFA, RFP, and PA concepts prepared by the Institute are presented to the BEE, which reviews and prioritizes them. The concepts, along with the comments from the BEE, are then sent to the NHLBAC for review, comment, and concurrence. Initiatives that receive the concurrence of the NHLBAC are considered further by the NHLBI Director in the context of the Institute's budget, program priorities, review workload, and proposed mechanisms. These considerations guide the Director's subsequent decisions to approve initiatives for release. RFAs, RFPs, PAs, and PARs are announced in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. 

Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs are reviewed by peer review panels convened by the NHLBI.  Applications submitted in response to PAs and PARs are reviewed by the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Descriptions of new or competitively renewed Institute-initiated programs that began (i.e., were first funded) in FY 2011 are presented below according to NHLBI scientific programs. Also described are trans-NIH and trans-PHS initiatives in which the NHLBI participates.

Heart and Vascular Diseases Program

Initiatives Being Renewed

Action To Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Follow-Up Study (ACCORDION)

The purpose of this renewal is to support a post-trial follow-up study after termination of trial-assigned treatments in the ACCORD trial. The follow-up study will determine whether differences in mortality, CVD events, and microvascular diseases identified during the trial persist or change over time, and whether other differences emerge.

Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment To Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT)—Extension

The purpose of this extension is to enable the ALLHAT Coordinating Center to support continued scientific contributions based on extensive ALLHAT data and to expand collaborations with relevant scientific communities.

Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC)

The purpose of this renewal is to continue follow-up of the ARIC cohort and community surveillance for the study of CHD, stroke, and heart failure.

Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS): Core Support

The purpose of this renewal is to extend support for the CHS infrastructure to facilitate continued access to study resources and expertise by investigators who are new to the CHS; promote scientific productivity, collaboration, and mentorship of junior investigators; provide analytic support to existing CHS working groups; and assist in the establishment of a new health services research working group.

New Approaches to Arrhythmia Detection and Treatment

The purpose of this renewal is to improve the ability to detect, prevent, and treat all forms of cardiac arrhythmias. This initiative encourages small businesses to develop improved diagnostic and therapeutic tools or devices for cardiac arrhythmia monitoring, detection, and treatment.

Pediatric Heart Network

The purpose of this renewal is to evaluate, through multicenter clinical research, therapeutic and management strategies for children and adults with congenital heart defects and for children with inflammatory heart disease, heart muscle disease, and arrhythmias.

Women's Health Initiative (WHI)

The purpose of this renewal is to enhance the study's ability to investigate outcomes in subgroups and find rarer outcomes; determine long-term effects of clinical trial interventions; maintain and enhance the central database, data analysis capabilities, and biorepository; and conduct research on aging in older women.

New Initiatives

Clinical Research Career Development Programs in Emergency Medicine Research

The purpose of this RFA is to develop multidisciplinary clinical research training programs in emergency medicine that prepare physician-scientists for academic leadership roles and independent research careers in emergency medicine.

Phenotype Finder in Data Resources (PFINDR): A Tool To Support Cross-Study Data Discovery Among NHLBI Genomic Studies

The purpose of this RFA is to develop and apply advanced informatics approaches to categorize phenotypic measures in multiple datasets in data repositories to help researchers identify potentially relevant genomic studies across cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep research domains.

Lung Diseases Program

Initiatives Being Renewed

Lung Tissue Research Consortium

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for the Consortium to collect, process, and distribute lung tissue and associated clinical data for research that focuses primarily on COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Severe Asthma Research Program

The purpose of renewing this RFA is to understand the evolution of severe asthma by defining it at the molecular and cellular levels longitudinally. Research findings will serve as a basis for designing mechanism-based diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment strategies for severe asthma in children and adults.

New Initiatives

Centers for Advanced Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics in Lung Diseases (CADET) Stage I

The purpose of this RFA is to develop agents for diagnosing and treating lung diseases and sleep-disordered breathing through the use of strategies based on fundamental pathobiologic processes.

Common Pathogenetic Mechanisms of Lung Cancer and COPD

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate common pathogenetic mechanisms of lung cancer and COPD. Scientists will study genotypic and phenotypic characteristics that determine individual susceptibility and shared biochemical, molecular, and immunological pathways that are involved in the origin and progression of both diseases.

Translational Programs in Lung Diseases

The purpose of this PAR is to support collaborative, translational research that will move mechanistic research to clinical applications to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung diseases and sleep disorders.

Utilization of a Human Lung Tissue Resource for Vascular Research

The purpose of this RFA is to advance translational efforts in lung vascular disease. Investigators will use human biospecimens collected by the Pulmonary Hypertension Breakthrough Initiative to determine the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Blood Diseases and Resources Program

Initiative Being Renewed

Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS-III)

The purpose of this renewal is to build on and extend the findings of the original REDS and REDS-II programs and address new research areas, including determining safe, effective blood banking and transfusion medicine practices through a comprehensive, multi-targeted strategy involving basic, translational, and clinical research to improve the benefits of transfusion while reducing its risks.

New Initiatives

Innovators in Hemoglobinopathies Care Career Development Award

The purpose of this RFA is to advance the research career development of physician-scientists in SCD and thalassemia.  Individuals will address important questions about patient management and translate research results into practice through the use of multidisciplinary teams.

Planning Grants for Pivotal Clinical Trials in Hemoglobinopathies

The purpose of this RFA is to support pilot studies to obtain data that are critical for the design of robust clinical trials in the hemoglobinopathies, SCD, and thalassemias.

Selected Topics in Transfusion Medicine

The purpose of this PAR is to study topics aimed at improving the safety and availability of the blood supply and the practice of transfusion medicine. 

Trans-NHLBI

Initiatives Being Renewed

Ancillary Studies in Clinical Trials

The purpose of this renewal is to support time-sensitive ancillary studies related to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders in conjunction with ongoing NIH- and non-NIH-supported clinical trials.

Investigator-Initiated Multisite Clinical Trials

The purpose of this renewal is to support investigator-initiated, multisite, Phase II and Phase III randomized controlled clinical trials in areas relevant to the mission of the NHLBI.

Maintenance of NHLBI Biological Specimen Repository

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for the repository of biologic specimens from NHLBI-sponsored epidemiological and clinical studies. Under the direction of the NHLBI, the repository makes specimens available to the scientific community for use in research related to the NHLBI's mission.

Research Dissemination and Implementation Grants

The purpose of this renewal is to develop and test strategies to accelerate the adoption and integration of efficacious or guideline-based treatments and effective prevention modalities for heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders in clinical, community, and other settings.

New Initiatives

Cross Organ Mechanism-Associated Phenotypes for Genetic Analyses of Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Diseases (MAPGen for HLBS)

The purpose of this RFA is to identify and characterize common pathobiologic traits and mechanisms that cross organ systems and diseases with the goal of redefining heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders based on the findings.

MAPGen Knowledge Base and Coordination Center

The purpose of this RFA is to develop and implement a knowledge base and Coordinating Center for the MAPGen for HLBS (above).

Next Generation Genetic Association Studies

The purpose of this RFA is to build on existing genomic study findings with functional information gained by assessing cellular profiles that are surrogates for disease phenotypes.

NHLBI Clinical Trial Pilot Studies

The purpose of this PAR is to support pilot studies to fill gaps in scientific knowledge necessary to develop a competitive full-scale clinical trial to evaluate interventions for the treatment and prevention of heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

NHLBI Research Centers at Minority-Serving Institutions

The purpose of this RFA is to support minority-serving institutions in strengthening scientific faculty; augment predoctoral and postdoctoral science education and research training; and improve research infrastructure, capabilities, and resources in biomedical and behavioral research related to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences

The purpose of this RFA is to translate emerging discoveries in glycosciences into diagnostics and clinical applications and to build research capacity in glycosciences relevant to heart, lung, and blood diseases.

Science Moving TowArds Research Translation and Therapy Program (SMARTT)

The purpose of this RFP is to assist investigators with the processes needed to translate discoveries in the laboratory into potential new therapies for heart, lung, and blood diseases. The Program will provide manufacturing of synthetic, natural, or biologic products; pharmacology and toxicology testing; preclinical and early phase clinical study design support; and regulatory expertise.

Trans-NIH

Initiatives Being Renewed

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)

The purpose of this renewal is to stimulate support for biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.

Advancing Novel Science in Women's Health Research

The purpose of this renewal is to support research that will advance new concepts in women's health and the study of sex differences.

Bioengineering Research Grants

The purpose of this renewal is to support basic and applied multidisciplinary research that addresses biological, bioengineering, or medical research problems. This initiative differs from Bioengineering Research Partnerships (below) in that the research will be performed in a single laboratory by a single investigator or by a small group of investigators.

Bioengineering Research Partnerships

The purpose of this renewal is to support basic, applied, and translational multidisciplinary research that addresses biological, bioengineering, or medical research problems. A partnership of multidisciplinary teams will apply an integrative, systems approach to develop knowledge or methods to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat disease or to understand health and behavior.

Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Research Network

The purpose of this renewal is to evaluate innovative treatment approaches and management strategies for children and adults who are undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The focus of the initiative is to support multicenter Phase II and Phase III studies that provide information to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation therapy.

Diet Composition and Energy Balance

The purpose of this renewal is to investigate the role of diet composition in energy balance. Scientists are seeking to understand the impact of micro- or macronutrient composition on appetite, metabolism, and energy expenditure and to determine the efficacy of diets that differ in micro- or macronutrient composition, absorption, dietary variety, or energy density on weight loss and weight maintenance.

Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health

The purpose of this renewal is to support innovative approaches to overcoming barriers to adopting and integrating evidence-based interventions and guidelines that previous research has shown to be effective but where implementation has been limited or significantly delayed.

Exploratory Collaborations With National Centers for Biomedical Computing

The purpose of this renewal is to support investigators who are collaborating with NIH Roadmap National Centers for Biomedical Computing to engage in exploratory biomedical informatics and computational biology research.

Exploratory Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology

The purpose of this renewal is to promote research and development in biomedical informatics and computational biology that will support rapid progress in areas of scientific opportunity in biomedical research.

Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology Initiative

The purpose of this renewal is to solicit STTR grant applications that propose innovative research in biomedical informatics and computational biology to promote the progress of biomedical research.

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

The purpose of this renewal is to improve the quality of data collected in the behavioral and social sciences relevant to the mission of the participating NIH Institutes.

Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers Consortium

The purpose of this renewal is to provide the scientific community with standardized, high-quality metabolic and physiologic phenotyping services for mouse models of diabetes, diabetic complications, obesity, and related disorders.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage research on health literacy concepts, theory, and interventions as they pertain to prevention, healthy living, chronic disease management, patient-based health care, cultural competence, and health disparities. Researchers will seek to develop health literacy assessment methods, measure association between health literacy and chronic illness, and evaluate health literacy interventions that are designed to improve health outcomes in heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance understanding and use of genetic information in risk discussion.

New Initiatives

Biophysical and Biomechanical Aspects of Embryonic Development

The purpose of this PAR is to encourage innovative and high risk/impact research in the area of physics/mechanics of embryonic development in model organisms. The focus of the initiative is to promote research that will generate information about tissue mechanics relevant to vertebrate development and will improve the understanding of the basis for developmental disorders.

Deepwater Horizon Disaster Research Consortia

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate health outcomes from exposure to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, including (a) identifying those at greatest risk for adverse physical, mental, and behavioral effects as a consequence of the disaster and other stressors encountered by residents and (b) developing community-based approaches to respond to it and future disasters.

Development of Multifunctional Drug and Gene Delivery Systems

The purpose of this PAR is to develop multifunctional drug and gene delivery systems that can target therapies to particular cells and intracellular compartments, monitor delivery, and determine therapeutic efficacy through integration of advanced imaging or sensing technologies into the delivery system.

Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Program (KOMP2)

The purpose of this RFA is to support a systematic program to generate live mice from embryonic cells that contain individual, single-gene deletion of known and predicted protein-encoding genes in the mouse genome, which was successfully generated by the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP) in collaboration with the International Knockout Mouse Consortium.

Lifestyle Interventions in Overweight and Obese Pregnant Women Consortium

The purpose of this RFA is to evaluate lifestyle interventions in overweight and obese pregnant women that are designed to improve weight and metabolic outcomes in both the pregnant women and their offspring.

New Strategies for Growing 3D Tissues

The purpose of this RFA is to understand how cells respond to their environment and develop assays and methods to understand how angiogenesis and organogenesis may instruct the creation of 3D-engineered cellular aggregates.

Safe and Effective Instruments and Devices for Use in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units

The purpose of this SBIR/STTR is to develop or improve safe and effective instruments for monitoring and treating newborn and small children.

Sleep and Social Environment: Basic Biopsychosocial Processes

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate the reciprocal interactions of the processes of sleep and circadian regulation and function with behavioral and social environment processes.

Social Network Analysis and Health

The purpose of this PAR is to advance and expand the utility of social network analysis and methods in studies of health and disease. The goal is to encourage basic research that can lead to new applications of social network methods and theory related to improving human health.

Trans-PHS

New Initiatives

Community-Based Partnerships for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control Research

The purpose of this PA is to stimulate childhood obesity research through community-based partnerships that include local, state, and regional teams of researchers, policymakers, and other relevant participants—such as community representatives, public health practitioners, and educators.

Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures

The purpose of this PA is to conduct evaluation research on obesity-related "natural experiments" (i.e., community and other population-level public policy interventions that may affect diet and physical activity behavior) and develop and validate relevant community-level measures (i.e., instruments and methodologies to assess the food and physical activity environments).

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