NIH Bench-to-Bedside Program Opens for 2021
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) runs the Bench-to-Bedside (BtB) Program to support small/pilot research projects that seek to translate basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for patients, and increase understanding of important disease processes. The fund seeks to address barriers, such as the traditional silos between basic and clinical researchers in biomedical research, that can hinder progress toward finding new therapeutics for patients in need.
BtB teams will be made up of basic and clinical researchers, often from different NIH Institutes and Centres. As of 2006, the scheme expanded to foster collaborative work between intramural and extramural NIH researchers. Intramural science here refers to research that takes place on an NIH campus under the auspices of federal employees, while extramural research is funded by NIH but conducted by investigators and institutions outside of NIH.
Funding is available for up to two years, and proposals can fall into one of seven funding categories aligned with NIH’s donor office partners: AIDS; behavioural and social sciences; dietary supplement; minority health; rare diseases; and women’s health projects. All proposals not supported by the donor offices will receive consideration for support in the final General category, supported by the Stable Funds provided by the NIH Director.
Intramural investigators in all institutes/centres are eligible to serve as project leaders on proposals. All BtB teams should involve an intramural investigator and one or more investigators from another NIH institute and/or one or more extramural partners. The team must include at least one basic scientist and one clinical researcher.
Both intramural and extramural NIH investigators will be able to initiate applications for BtB research projects, although only intramural investigators can submit LOIs or applications through proposal Central. Extramural principal investigators (PIs) with an existing NIH grant (eg, researchers at CTSA or AIAMC sites) are invited to initiate proposals in one of two ways:
- Extramural investigators may seek an intramural partner at NIH who would function as the project leader and serve as the point of contact. To identify an intramural collaborator, extramural investigators may consult a number of NIH resources:
- NIH’s database of all current intramural research;
- Intramural Principal Investigator Directory;
- ‘Search the Studies’ website to identify investigators on relevant protocols; or
- Consult the Bench-to-Bedside Program Office for assistance in identifying intramural partners.
- Extramural investigators may initiate proposals and serve as project leaders. In this scenario, extramural investigators are required to identify an intramural collaborator on the project. On behalf of the lead extramural PI, the intramural investigator will be responsible to submit both the letter of intent and full proposal electronically using proposal Central.
Each BtB award provides up to $150,000 a year for two years. The extramural investigators cannot receive all project funds, and at least some funds must be directed to the intramural investigators.
Intramural investigators should submit a letter of intent (LOI) by the 14 May 2021 deadline.