In October 2007, NIH published a Request for Applications (RFA) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-07-001.html) announcing the new NIH Partners in Research Program.
This RFA solicited research grant applications from academic/scientific institutions and community organizations that proposed to forge partnerships (1) to study methods and strategies to engage and inform the public regarding health science in order to improve public understanding of the methods and benefits of publicly funded research, and (2) to increase scientists’ understanding of and outreach to the public in their research efforts. The NIH Partners in Research program will support two-year pilot and/or feasibility studies of innovative activities designed to improve public understanding of biomedical and behavioral science, develop strategies for promoting collaboration between scientists and the community to improve the health of the public, and to identify the conditions (e.g., settings and approaches) that will enhance the effectiveness of such activities. Each application was to represent a partnership between community and scientific/academic investigators.
The Office of the Director, NIH, committed approximately $3 million in total costs in FY2008 to fund 35 – 40 partnerships at a maximum of $50,000 direct costs per year.
After hundreds of inquiries about the Program, more than 200 applications were submitted by the RFA deadline of January 11, 2008. Based on scientific content, these applications were tentatively assigned to NIH Institutes and Centers (IC); the interests of all but one IC were reflected in the applications received. All applications that met the minimum eligibility requirements of the Program (e.g., represented an academic-community partnership) were peer reviewed by a Scientific Review Group in April 2008 and, in May and June, underwent second-level review by the National Advisory Councils and Boards of all NIH Institutes and Centers.
Based on scientific and technical merit, as determined by peer review, and the availability of funds, 37 applications were selected for funding.
To assure equality in the partners’ roles, as well as equivalent empowerment and recognition, each application to be funded was “disaggregated” into two separate grants, one to the academic institution and one to the community institution. In this way, both the community and the academic investigator assumed the role of Principal Investigator. The total funding for the two awards for each partnership was up to $50,000 direct costs per year, as originally proposed in the application.
By the end of September 2008, 74 awards, representing 37 partnerships, were issued by the NIH. These grants represent a broad range of scientific approaches, research questions, and types of communities; the awards have been distributed among 14 NIH Institutes and Centers for administration and future funding.
A list of the funded grants may be found at: http://publictrust.nih.gov/upload/NIH-Partners-in-Research-Program-Awards.pdf (PDF 55 KB)
More detailed information about the individual grants is available at RePORT Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) (http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm).
Presentations to the Council of Public Representatives (COPR) by Dr. Patricia Grady and Dr. Yvonne Maddox, co-chairs of the NIH Public Trust Initiative, are available at: http://publictrust.nih.gov/upload/Pblc-Tr-Ini-COPR-Updt-103108.pdf (PDF 587 KB)