Frequently Asked Questions for the Illuminating the Druggable Genome Implementation Phase
We appreciate your interest in the Illuminating the Druggable Genome Program Request for Applications (RFA-RM-16-024, RFA-RM-16-025, and RFA-RM-16-026) and hope that you and your team will choose to submit an application. In order to maximize your chances of success, we would like to provide some guidance that may be helpful as you put the finishing touches on your application.
1. What is the Common Fund?
Managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Office of the Director, the Common Fund supports cross-cutting trans-NIH programs that require participation by multiple Institutes and Centers. All Common Fund programs should be transformative, catalytic, synergistic, cross-cutting, and unique. More information is available at http://www.commonfund.nih.gov
2. Should I contact the Program Official before applying for one of the RFAs?
While not mandatory, engaging your Program Official early in the process will help you determine if you are eligible and could make the difference between proposing something that would not be responsive for this FOA and something else that would be extremely competitive.
3. What should I do if I believe there are understudied proteins that are not on the list in the RFA?
New understudied proteins should not be added to grant applications. Applications are expected to focus on technology platforms that can study multiple members of a protein family and subclasses of the protein family, and not on experiments detailed on individual members.
4. What should I do if I believe a protein is not understudied and should not be on the list in the RFA?
Applications are expected to focus on technology platforms that can study multiple members of a protein family and subclasses of the protein family, and not on experiments detailed on individual members. Applicants are also expected to propose an initial prioritization list of proteins in their workflow and may de-prioritize proteins based on existing data; final decisions of prioritization and whether individual proteins are understudied will be re-evaluated by the IDG Steering Committee at least yearly.
5. As an NIH intramural researcher, am I eligible to apply for this program, directly or in conjunction with co-applicants?
It depends. The intramural research program (IRP) may not be an applicant for the RDOC, but may be an applicant for the DRGC or KMC. However, there are limits to the funding that can be provided to an application involving the IRP. Please contact Grants Management for further details before submitting your application.
6. Can I be a PI on more than one application? What about more than one DRGC application?
Applicants are free to apply to the companion FOAs and to more than one type of DRGC. However, to encourage participation from a broad representation of the research community, when making funding decisions, the NIH intends to consider whether an applicant will be funded as a PD/PI through other IDG FOAs and may choose to limit awards to multiple FOAs.
7. Can an Investigator from a foreign institution serve as a PI on a multi-PI application?
As a MPI application the collaborating institution would be supported through a subcontract and the RFA indicates collaborations with foreign components are allowed. However, the grant could never be transferred to the foreign Institution and foreign MPI would not be allowed to be the contact PI, since the contact PI must be affiliated with the applicant/awardee (lead) institution.
8. I am not a present IDG awardee- do I have the same chance of getting an award as a present IDG awardee?
Yes. Awards will be made based on:
- Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
- Availability of funds.
- Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
- Evidence that the applicant and investigators are committed to policies as established by the IDG Steering Committee regarding confidentiality, sharing of information and resources, and cooperative interaction.
- Evidence of previous productive, cooperative, and collaborative interactions.
9. Who will build and host the IDG Portal – the KMC or the RDOC?
The KMC will build and host the IDG Portal, although other IDG awardees may provide content that is added to or accessed via the IDG Portal.
10. Which component of the IDG will be responsible for generating and tracking semi-annual milestones on data deposition, resources generated, and how they are accessible?
Each awardee is responsible for tracking and reporting its progress on its milestones. The RDOC will be responsible for providing reports to NIH staff as needed on activities and progress made by the IDG Consortium.
11. Who will analyze and deposit data generated by the DRGCs?
While additional collaborations and informatics tools may be established and generated in the future, each DRGC is expected to be capable of analyzing and depositing all of the data it proposes to generate in the application into a publicly available repository, if such repository exists for the type of data that will be generated.
12. Are there any updates to the NIH IDG collaboration with the Knockout Mouse Phenotyping (KOMP2) Program?
DRGC RFA Questions
1. For the DRGCs, what if I want to study all three protein families instead of just one?
The FOA seeks to assemble three protein family-focused DRGCs (one each focusing on the understudied non-olfactory GPCRs, protein kinases, and ion channels) that utilize an integrated set of scalable, transformative, and robust technology platforms that are ready to adapt to provide biological insights.
2. For the DRGCs, is it allowable to have different deliverables for different subclasses of the protein family?
Given the differences in characteristics of certain subclasses, this is allowable if it is scientifically justified within the application.
3. For the DRGCs, can we request up to $1.6M per year direct costs (excluding F&A)?
Yes, but application awards may be reduced as $7M total yearly costs (including all F&A costs) are anticipated for all three DRGCs combined. Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
4. For the DRGCs, is it acceptable to use an approach that explores more members of protein family than just the understudied proteins in the list?
Due to the nature of particular technologies (e.g., high throughput screening, proteome-wide assessment), data and tools around additional members of the families may be collected, but the primary platforms to be used must be capable of investigating the majority of the understudied proteins and should be at a stage where they can be deployed at the necessary scale in the first year of the awards. It is expected that such data generated would fall under the same resource sharing terms as the understudied proteins.
5. Can you clarify the phrase “simple knock-out or overexpression studies are not considered sufficiently modulatory for the long-term goals of this FOA” in the DRGC RFA?
In this context, this means that approaches that get as close as possible to modulating the natural activity of the GPCR, ion channel, or protein kinase are desired. Just eliminating the protein via a constitutive knockout or uncontrollably ramping up the protein level are not considered to be sufficiently modulatory for the IDG program. While ideally something like an agonist, antagonist, neutralizing antibody, etc. would provide a powerful modulatory tool, we also recognize this may not be possible for all family members and other approaches may be necessary (e.g., DREADDs, advanced gene-editing technologies, optogenetic approaches, etc.). For example, the use of CRISPR technologies to modulate protein level in a time, dose-responsive, and tissue-selective manner would be considered sufficiently modulatory for the goals of this FOA.
6. Can the DRGCs be multi-institutional?
DRGC applications can be single or multi-institutional applications if they meet the objectives and goals of the program.
RDOC RFA Questions
1. What is the role of the RDOC in generating web content, tools, etc. for the IDG Portal?
The RDOC will work closely with the KMC, DRGCs, and other Consortium PDs/PIs to ensure that the IDG portal is up to date in terms of Consortium-generated resources. The RDOC will work with NIH and the other Consortium members to ensure a user-friendly means to navigate and access data and resources generated by all IDG Consortium projects, including experimental models, protocols, biomaterials, resources, tutorials, reagents, and omics- and image-based data collections.
KMC RFA Questions
1. How important and relevant is the pilot phase KMC to the new RFA?
We welcome all innovative proposals. As mentioned in the RFA you are expected to maintain the current KMC resources & tools while the new ones are under development. For extended details, please contact J.C. ZenKlusen at firstname.lastname@example.org
. It is expected that the eventual awardee and NIH Program Staff will negotiate an appropriate timeline and resources for maintaining the current (Pilot Phase) tools before the award is made.
2. How important are specific tasks to be detailed in the application?
Articulating the strategies to be used to address the specific tasks detailed in the objectives and scope section of the RFA that addresses the broad goals of the IDG program is an important element of the application. Other tasks and implementation strategies that help the community find new biological targets are important as well. All six essential elements under the Research Strategy section must be addressed.
3. Is it true that the KMC will include the entire proteome and not just the IDG relevant target classes?
Yes. It is expected however that human curation efforts should emphasize IDG protein families: GPRCs, ion channels, and protein kinases.
1. What budget information should be included in applications to the KMC and DRGC FOAs for the 10% of the total direct costs to fund collaborations with other IDG awardees that advance the overall goals of the Consortium?
Budgets should contain 10% of the total direct costs to fund collaborations with other IDG awardees that advance the overall goals of the Consortium. These funds may be listed in the “Other Expenses” budget line. All these funds are restricted and require NIH prior approval for use.