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Human Microbiome Project Consortium Criteria for Participation

The NIH Roadmap has organized a public research consortium named the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), with the goal of characterizing the human microbiome in normal individuals and to determine if changes in the microbiome can be correlated with health and disease. The first phase of this project, called the "jumpstart phase";, began in August 2007 with the goals of sequencing at least 500 microbial genomes, collecting samples from 250 people and performing 16S rDNA sequencing from some of those samples by mid 2009. A set of grants was funded in mid-2009 to continue the jumpstart work by sequencing at least 400 additional bacterial genomes and performing whole genome shotgun sequencing of the samples from the 250 individuals. Additionally, "demonstration project"; grants have been awarded to study the correlation between the changes in the human microbiome, during states of health and disease.

These core activities are supported by a Data Analysis and Coordination Center (DACC) and a set of additional grants have been awarded for developing new technologies, new software tools and studying the ethical, legal and social implications of the HMP work.

Current NIH Roadmap-funded HMP grantees are working together in a highly cooperative Consortium to rigorously analyze the human microbiome. The HMP recognizes the potential benefit afforded by including other US academic, government, and private sector scientists in this Consortium and is considering opening the group to other investigators conducting human microbiome studies and Investigators working on microbiomes in animal models. During the time that the policy for membership is being finalized, there are opportunities for groups to become temporary, adjunct members (TAMs) of the Consortium. Whereas the currently funded HMP grantees have voting rights on an HMP steering committee, the TAMs will not have voting rights. Once the policies for membership beyond temporary, adjunct membership are established, the TAMs will be notified as to their status and whether any other documents are necessary.

Criteria for participation in the HMP Consortium are the following. These are the same criteria applied to all current HMP Consortium members.

  1. Each participant will provide the NIH program officer of the grant, where appropriate, or Susan Garges, NIH HMP Working Group Coordinator (sgarges@mail.nih.gov) a description of his/her proposed experimental plans (see Application for Temporary, Adjunct Membership in the HMP Consortium, below). This information will be shared with the NIH HMP team and with the HMP External Scientific Consultants.
  2. Each participant will agree to share results, including sequence data and clinical metadata, according to the HMP Data Release Policy. Note that the research participants must have given informed consent to allow the submission of the clinical data to the databases.
  3. Each participant will fully disclose all publicly funded algorithms, software source code, and experimental methods to the other members of the Consortium for purposes of scientific evaluation and is expected to disseminate this information to the broad scientific community
  4. Each participant agrees that s/he will not disclose confidential information obtained from other members of the Consortium.
  5. Each participant is expected to contribute significantly to the project by bringing her/his particular expertise to bear on accomplishing the goals of the Consortium in a timely manner. Participation in the Consortium should consist of more than deposition of data to the shared database, and should include substantial intellectual contributions to the Project. Each participant will be expected to take part in group activities, including attending conference calls, periodic workshops to discuss the project's progress, and coordinating the publication of research results.
     

APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY, ADJUNCT MEMBERSHIP IN THE HMP CONSORTIUM
Any investigator who is interested in applying for temporary, adjunct membership to the HMP Consortium should provide to the NIH program officer of the grant, where appropriate, or to Susan Garges, NIH HMP Working Group Coordinator (sgarges@mail.nih.gov) (A) a description of the experimental plan s/he proposes to conduct as part of the Consortium, and (B) a statement of agreement to abide by the Criteria for Participation listed above. Items that should be included in the description of proposed work and that will be used to evaluate acceptance into the Consortium are:

  1. A concise research plan, including specification of the scale of the proposed project and a rationale for how the proposed research efforts address the goal of the HMP Project to study the human microbiome.
  2. A description of the methodologies being used in the research, along with evidence that the proposed technology is capable of providing a deep examination of the microbiome system being studied.
  3. Evidence of funding to conduct the proposed research.
  4. A brief description of other funded research ongoing in the laboratory.
  5. An agreement to abide by the HMP Data Release Policy. A dissemination plan for software, along with timelines should be included where applicable.
  6. An agreement to fully participate in HMP Consortium data and activities.
  7. This application should be countersigned by an institutional official.

For projects with multiple PIs, all PIs must submit agreements to abide by the HMP Data Release Policy and to respect the confidentiality of the consortium.

Project descriptions will be reviewed by NIH HMP staff and the HMP External Scientific Consultants to determine whether an investigator will be accepted into the Consortium. The PI(s) will be notified of acceptance as TAMs. Once the policies for membership beyond temporary, adjunct membership are established, the TAMs will be notified as to their status and whether any other documents are necessary.

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