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Friday, July 8, 2011

Biomedical Technology Research Center (P41)

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PAR-10-225

Application Submission Dates(s): Standard dates apply; please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward. AIDS Application Submission Dates(s): Standard dates apply; please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS

Research Objectives

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) uses the P41 mechanism to support Biomedical Technology Research Centers (BTRCs) in a variety of areas of biomedical science. BTRCs create critical, often unique, technologies and methods at the forefront of their respective fields, and apply them to a broad range of basic, translational, and clinical research. They also promote the broadest possible use of those technologies through training and dissemination activities. Details concerning current BTRCs can be found at http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/biomedical_technology/biomedical_technology_research_centers/. New applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a pre-application in response to PAR-10-221. The pre-application process provides feedback regarding appropriateness for this program and competitiveness of a potential application.

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (http://www.nibib.nih.gov, NIBIB) has a similar program that supports Biomedical Technology Resource Centers. Details about that program can be found at http://www.nibib.nih.gov/Research/ResourceCenters. Applicants who are interested in submitting an application to the NIBIB program need to use their application procedures rather than those in this announcement.

BTRCs may be developed in a specific, narrow technological area, or they may integrate multiple technologies and methods in order to create transformative approaches to a broad class of research problems. (BTRC and Center are used as synonyms throughout this text.) In either case, a BTRC contains a critical mass of both technological and intellectual resources assembled with the intent of exploiting advances in instrumentation and methodology for biomedical research. These Centers create critical technology and methods at the forefront of their respective fields that are applicable to a wide variety of problems in the biomedical sciences. This is accomplished through a synergistic interaction of technical and biomedical expertise, both within the Centers and through intensive collaborations with other leading laboratories. Ideally, these Centers identify opportunities for transformative technological advances that open new lines of biomedical inquiry. They also should be uniquely positioned to appreciate which biomedical research problems the Resource can solve by the creation of new tools. This intense synergy between technology development and biomedical problem-solving defines the Centers as fundamentally different in character from laboratories engaged in investigator-initiated research or other center-related projects that may have more narrowly defined goals.

A BTRC also has three other critical components that set it apart from other NIH research centers. A BTRC must provide service and training to outside investigators and must disseminate the technology and methods it has developed. These efforts require the commitment of far greater financial and personnel resources to activities outside of their primary focus than is expected for other types of research efforts. Providing other investigators with ready access to Center tools and expertise has a substantial impact on administration and daily operation of the laboratory. Efforts to train the broader scientific community and disseminate technology require a fundamentally outward-looking philosophy that may, on the surface, appear at odds with the competitive nature of modern science. The goal of these efforts is, so far as is possible, to export the technology and expertise of the Center into the community, achieving a broader impact on biomedical research than would be possible through the projects in which the Center can participate directly. Industrial partnerships are not required, but they are welcome when appropriate. Ultimately, this process should aim for the widespread and routine application of the technologies being actively disseminated.

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