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Frequently Asked Questions for RFA-HL-08-012: NHLBI Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium Planning Awards (R03)

Eligible Applications

Q: Do the projects in the R03 application all have to be at the same institution?
A: Yes, all the projects must be located at the same institution. For the purposes of this RFA, affiliated institutions (e.g. University of Southern California/Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Harvard/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) will be treated as a single institution.

Q: Is there a limit on how many R03 planning grant applications an institution may submit?
A: There is no limit on the number of applications that can be submitted from an institution

Q: Can PIs at non-US institutions submit R03 applications?
A: No, applications may only be submitted from institutions within the US

Q: Can I include a subcontract to another domestic or foreign institution?
A: For the R03 planning grant phase of the Consortium, subcontracts to other domestic or foreign institutions are not permitted (with the exception of affiliated institutions described above). It is anticipated that subcontracts to other domestic or foreign institutions will be permitted as part of the full Consortium applications.

Q: Does the PI on the full Consortium application have to be the same as the R03 application PI?
A: No, the PI on the full Consortium application does not have to have been an R03 PI. However, the PI must have been part of the R03 application, and attended the December 15, 2008 pre-application meeting.

Consortium Composition

Q: The announcement calls for multidisciplinary proposals. Are R03 planning grant applications containing a mixture of heart, lung, and blood projects favored?
A: The Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium will bring together cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematopoietic researchers, along with progenitor cell biologists, immunologists and other related fields. However, while each R03 application should be multidisciplinary and synergistic, applications containing a mix of heart, lung and blood applications will NOT be given priority over other combinations of disciplines.

Q: Is there a rough breakdown to how many cardiovascular, lung, or blood progenitor proposals will be funded?
A: While we will strive for some degree of program balance, with representation of cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematopoietic communities, this need will also be balanced by the quality of the science, and so we have not committed to specific numbers of proposals in each area

Q: How many institutions are expected to be funded at the full application from the initial 20?
A: For the full applications, we anticipate that at least some of the applications will combine investigators from more than one institution - the meeting of the planning award grantees is expected to allow the formation of larger synergistic applications across institutions. The final number of the larger applications to be funded will depend on the budgets of the applications and the funds available, but 4-5 is probably a reasonable estimate.

Application Structure and Content

Q: What is the level of detail that this 5 page white paper needs to include (e.g. organizational structure, personnel, core facilities, training component, timeline of progress, specific aims/sub-aims of project, etc)?
A: The 5-page limit applies to Research Plan only (items 2-5 of Research Plan component of PHS398) and also excludes references. Since SF424 has a separate section for it, the description of key personnel will be outside of the 5 page limit. Given the page limitations, we are obviously not expecting a huge amount of detail. The structure is likely to vary between white papers, but a typical structure might be:

  • 1 page describing the overall specific aims of the white paper, emphasizing the synergy between the projects and how these aims are expected to move forward the field of progenitor cell biology and its application to cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematopoietic biology and therapies
  • 1 page for each project describing the specific aims and again emphasizing what's new and how this will make a difference
  • If there are cores critical to the synergy of the proposed projects they can be described briefly, and a Gantt chart showing the timeline may also be useful

We do not expect training components at this time - they will be put together by the overall consortium once it is funded. The Consortium is also expected to have cores, so if the cores you are considering including are functions that the Consortium as a whole is likely to use rather than specific to your projects you may just want to indicate what core functions would be useful rather than specifying in detail

Q: The RFA appears to be focused on cell and molecular biologic aspects of ES, iPS and endogenous progenitor cells, but excludes studies focused on the biological effects and mechanisms following delivery of cells in cardiovascular and pulmonary disease models.
A: The administration of poorly-characterized cell types from bone marrow aspirates or tissue biopsies to lung, cardiovascular, or blood disease models falls outside the scope of the Consortium. The focus is intended to be on the basic biology of progenitor cells, including an understanding of the lineages of pulmonary, cardiac and vascular progenitors, that would inform and help to interpret future cell therapy experiments.

Q: The RFA states that empirical application of poorly defined cells will be considered non-responsive to the RFA. Does this refer specifically to clinical trials?
A: The statement regarding empirical application of poorly defined cells as being non-responsive to the RFA would apply equally to pre-clinical and clinical studies

Administrative Coordinating Center and Applicants

Q: Will potential ACC applicants, or investigators who believe they may be able to offer core services to the Consortium, be expected to attend the pre-application meeting in December?
A: Potential ACC applicants or core service providers will not be expected to participate in the pre-application meeting

Project Officer:

Denis Buxton, Ph.D.
Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Rockledge 2, Room 8216
6701 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-8902
Telephone: (301) 435-0513
Email: buxtond@mail.nih.gov

Last updated: June 25, 2008

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