solicitations (requests for applications [RFAs] or program announcements [PAs]). The cornerstone of NIH-funded extramural programs is the peer-review process, carried out by study sections stationed at the Center for Scientific Review. Several study sections review grants for the Vector Biology Program, but most applications go through peer review in the Vector Biology Study Section.
This reflects the support for well-established investigators as well as for highly innovative/high-risk projects that may move the field forward. DMID also supports small research projects to generate hypotheses and data, as well as support for undergraduate-prevalent institutions, which are primarily designed for training new investigators. Cooperative agreements have facilitated translation of basic science into products, and small business grants (SBIRs/STTRs) have allowed for the development of short-term vector control technologies and approaches. Conference grants support new investigators in their participation in scientific meetings.
The great majority of grants in the portfolio are supported by the Research Grant (R01) mechanism. This mechanism supports research with strong preliminary data and hypotheses. R01 grants can be as short as 3 years or as long as 5 years. This mechanism is the cornerstone of scientific research at NIH and supports a high percentage of investigators in the United States and abroad.
The second most represented mechanism in the Vector Biology portfolio is the Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant mechanism (R21). The purpose of this funding mechanism is to support research that is considered high risk/ high pay-off. Preliminary data are not required for submission of an application, and projects are supported for 2 years with a moderate level of funding. This mechanism enables investigators with highly innovative ideas or approaches to determine if their approach may be feasible and allows for the generation of preliminary data that can later be included in an R01.
The Small Research Grant mechanism (R03) is also represented in the portfolio. This mechanism typically supports 2-year projects with a small budget. Research projects supported as R03s are designed to generate preliminary data and/or hypotheses that can later be tested in an R01 application.
NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grants are also represented and are valuable in providing funding to investigators in undergraduate-prevalent institutions, allowing them to perform 3-year projects and train the next generation of investigators. This funding mechanism is very valuable in allowing investigators in small institutions to contribute to the scientific knowledge being generated about vectors.
As a result of the NIAID’s Partnerships initiative, several cooperative agreements have been funded that address translational aspects of vector management strategies. These projects have resulted in new insights and potential products for improved control of vector-borne diseases.
Several mechanisms are available for postdocs and new investigators (F32, F33, K22) to enable them to start designing and writing small-grant applications.