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Funding & Research

Specialized Centers of Research NHLBI
Policy on Relocating Projects to New Institution

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health

Revised: December 1999

GENERAL INFORMATION:  The NHLBI Specialized Centers of Research (SCOR) grant programs focus on scientific issues related to diseases relevant to the mission of the Institute. Specific disease categories, identified through a detailed planning process, are solicited by the NHLBI in response to an RFA with set aside funds. Each SCOR program is developed to assure interactions between basic and clinical scientists in order to enhance transfer of fundamental research findings to the clinical setting, as well as to identify now research directions.  Therefore, each SCOR grant application and award must include research involving human patients/subjects in addition to basic research projects that relate to the clinical for-us.  Generally, a SCOR grant contains 4-6 scientific projects (at least one being clinical research); a SCOR may also contain one or more core units that support the research projects.  A SCOR grant is awarded for a five year competitive segment following an open competition.  Only one five-year competing renewal is permitted for a total of 10 years of support for a given SCOR program.

CONSORTIUM ARRANGEMENTS:  In the current SCOR guidelines, the NHLBI allows applicants to include research activities that involve institutions other than the grantee institution, that is, consortium arrangements.  However, these activities must be included in the SCOR application itself so that the primary review group, the NHLBI Advisory Council and the Institute can evaluate the proposed interactions of the participants and the integration of the consortium project(s) with those of the parent institution.  To conserve the special features of a SCOR grant, it is the responsibility of the applicant to describe, and the review groups to evaluate, how the synergism and cohesiveness will be provided when projects are located outside the group located at the parent institution.

POLICY ON TRANSFER OF PROJECTS AFTER THE SCOR GRANT IS AWARDED:  If the principal investigator of a SCOR project (project leader) moves to a new institution, the funds awarded for his/her project in the SCOR grant may not be transferred (that is as a consortium arrangement) without prior approval of the NHLBI.  Generally, requests to establish a consortium arrangement after a SCOR grant has been funded are not approved by the institute, since the purpose of a SCOR grant is to assure timely and frequent interactions between basic and clinical scientists and to insure the integration of research findings and results. Another important feature of the integrated SCOR concept is to provide a rich environment in both basic and clinical research on a specific disease for young research scientists and medical students. If SCOR projects are not located within a close geographic proximity, many of these important features would not be realized.

If the NHLBI receives a request to transfer a project, as a consortium arrangement, to a new institution once a SCOR grant is awarded, the Institute will:

  1. Suggest that the project remain at the SCOR institution under the leadership of another investigator.  The biographical sketch of the proposed new project leader should be sent for approval to the NHLBI with a letter requesting this transfer signed by the SCOR principal investigator, the original project leader (to provide assurance that transfer to another scientist meets with the full approval of the original investigator) and the SCOR Institution's Business Official.  If the newly appointed project leader has the scientific credentials to assure the original SCOR project will meet its goals and has sufficient research time available (at least 20% effort), then the NHLBI will approve the request.  The NHLBI may decide to send the request for outside review if there are questions regarding the scientific expertise of the proposed new project leader.

  2. Discontinue the project if the original Project leader does not wish to transfer the project to another investigator.  In this case, funds remaining for the project (and related CORE costs) in the current budget period will become restricted and returned to NIH as unobligated balance.  Funds for the project in question will not be awarded in future years. The Principal Investigator, and the remaining SCOR investigators, should carefully evaluate the projects remaining at the Institution to determine if those remaining constitute a SCOR grant, that is, include both basic and clinical research. If not, future submissions as a SCOR grant may be in jeopardy.  In this case, the investigators may wish to explore the potential to apply for individual research projects to continue their work, or for a program project grant.

  3. Transfer the proiect as a consortium arrangement if there is little geoclraphical separation due to the chancie of Institultion.  If the transfer to a new Institution does not lead to a large geographical separation, that is, remains within the same city as the SCOR grant institution, the NHLBI will consider transfer of the project as a consortium arrangement. A letter with this request should be signed by the SCOR Principal investigator, the project leader and the SCOR institution.  If approved by the NHLBI, additional documentation to develop the consortium arrangement will be required.  (Details may be obtained from the NHLBI Division responsible for the SCOR program or the NHLBI grants management official identified an the SCOR grant award notice.)

  4. Transfer the project as a consortium arrangement if less than 18 months remains on the project.  If an Institution agrees to relinquish a project, and there is less than 18 months remaining in the project period, the NHIBI will consider transfer of the project as a consortium arrangement to allow the original project leader to finish the work and interact with colleagues to publish the findings.  If the consortium arrangement is to continue, it must be included in a renewal application (if the SCOR program is being announced for a re-competition). In this case, it will be the responsibility of the peer review group to evaluate the scientific merit of work that is to be conducted in multiple geographic locations.

  5. Transfer the entire SCOR to a new Institution.  If the entire SCOR group (all projects and CORES) requests a transfer to a new institution with the approval of the original SCOR Institution, the NHLBI will consider transfer, this would require approval of the Director, DEA, NHLBI and the Director, NHLBI.  This would be considered a highly unusual situation and should be discussed well in advance with NHLBI staff.

In summary, to conserve the special features of the SCOR program, the NHLBI generally does not allow the transfer of a SCOR project to another Institution during the project period. The NHLBI is aware that there may be special circumstances that apply to a given situation.  Investigators who are considering leaving the SCOR grant institution are encouraged to contact the NHLBI project scientist in charge of their SCOR grant well in advance of their departure.

Note: All SCOR awards will carry a footnote to advise grantees of this NHLBI requirement regarding relocation of projects to new Institutions. This information will also appear in all SCOR RFA announcements.

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