a relatively small percentage of the total NIH portfolio is devoted to specifically identified glycoscience awards. For example, “in an unofficial search of applications submitted to NIH using an R mechanism for [2010], 107 had glycomic in its abstract/summary statement and 400 had glycan” (McGowan and Bowman, 2010). A search of the NIHReporter system for fiscal year 2011 research grants having the term “glycan” in their project title or abstract produced 159 results (129 projects and 30 subprojects), with total funding of approximately $59 million.1 The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is a central contributor to many NIH glycoscience efforts, although investments exist for other institutes, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In addition to funding research individually, the institutes support collaborative initiatives. A long-term glycoscience special-interest group (GlycoSIG) brings together interested researchers from across NIH and FDA. While not meant to be an exhaustive list, key glycoscience programs within NIH include:

  • support for the Consortium of Functional Glycomics (CFG), described in more detail below, through a Glue Grant mechanism that has now ended (NIGMS);
  • continued support to enable researcher access to resources developed by the CFG through Legacy Community-Wide Scientific Resources funding (NIGMS);
  • the Alliance of Glycobiologists for Detection of Cancer and Cancer Risk, currently in its second phase of funding for 2012-2017 (NCI);
  • support of glycomics laboratories through the Early Detection Research Network (NCI);
  • support of national centers for research resources (recently transferred to NIGMS) emphasizing glycoscience and glycomics;
  • programs of excellence in glycoscience, supporting six awards for 2011-2018 and including a requirement for both glycoscience research and skills development components (NHLBI);


1 Including “Research Project Grants (both SBIR/STTR and non-SBIR/STTR)” and “Other Research Related” but not including “Research Centers.” The total funding of approximately $59 million broken down by agency included approximately $12 million at NIGMS, $16 million at NHLBI, $11 million at NIAID, and $8 million at NCI, with other (multiple) institutes making up the remainder (www.projectreporter.nih.gov; search conducted on June 7, 2012). A similar search for fiscal year 2012 projects produced 84 results (68 projects and 16 subprojects) with total funding of approximately $25 million. It should be noted that fiscal year 2012 was ongoing at the time of the search.

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