NIH funding opportunity – Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Research Opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences (R21)

May 10, 2016 by School of Medicine Webmaster

This FOA is intended to support research in environmental health science in which an event has or will imminently occur that provides a limited window of opportunity to collect samples and data to support the assessment of exposures and human health impact.  The goal of the program is to characterize initial exposures (measured either by sampling air, water, soil, etc.), collect human biological samples, or collect human health and exposure data in order to provide critical information to understand exposure-health outcome relationships, with the goal of providing data that will facilitate timely public health action to protect health.

The distinguishing features of an appropriate study are 1) the unforeseen nature of the event and 2) the need for rapid review and funding (substantially shorter than the typical NIH grant review/award cycle) in order for the scientific question to be approached and for the research design to be implemented. It should be clear that the event offers a limited opportunity to address unique and important research questions that could only be answered if the project is initiated with minimum delay.  Ideally, the results from the research funded by the time-sensitive R21 would lead to analyses of longer term health outcomes, although funding of these analyses would not be appropriate for this mechanism, but rather for future regular application processes.

An application submitted to this time-sensitive FOA will be considered only one time. Resubmission applications are not permitted.

This FOA encourages partnerships between researchers and the affected community (e.g., community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, local health and environmental agencies, worker organizations, etc.) as appropriate.

Applications seeking funds for the following are considered non-responsive to this announcement: 1) expansion of an existing study; 2) hazard remediation or cleanup; 3) studies of environmental hazards or chemical agents that alone do not impact human health; 4) estimating exposure to pathogens, and lastly studies proposing to use animals (e.g., pets, laboratory animals, or wildlife) as surrogates for human exposure.

Examples of appropriate studies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assessing short-term health impacts resulting from environmental exposures following a natural or man-made disaster, using biomarkers, survey instruments, medical assessments, or other appropriate methods. Examples might include acute toxic responses or exacerbation of existing diseases. Subjects in these studies could include local residents or early responders.
  • Collecting biospecimens and/or data on exposures to environmental agents immediately following a natural or man-made disaster to use in assessment of the effects of these exposures on short- or longer-term health outcomes.
  • Collecting data on the release of environmental toxicants that could result in exposures and consequently to adverse health outcomes.  Applications should discuss how these data might be used in health outcome or exposure research.
  • Examining the environmental health impact of rapid changes in policy or legislation that affect air or water treatment, content, and quality. For example, in an effort to improve air quality, a Department of Public Health issues a clean air mandate to convert heating oil to cleaner sources within 6 months. An application would be considered responsive in proposing to collect baseline and/or post levels of environmental and/or human biospecimens to examine the effects of changes to fine particulate matter.

All appropriate applications responding to this FOA will be subject to an accelerated review and award process. The entire cycle from submission to award is expected to be within 3-4 months. However, administrative requirements and other unforeseen circumstances may delay issuance dates beyond that timeline. While institutions may propose to investigate time-sensitive opportunities outside the U.S., it must be clear within the application that all the proper logistics, human subjects concerns and approvals, both domestic and international, can be addressed within the limited time frame outlined in this announcement.

Deadline:  Letters of intent are due 30 days before the application deadlines.  Full applications are due on:  June 3, 2016,  July 1, 2016, August 1, 2016, September 1, 2016, October 3, 2016, November 1, 2016, December 1, 2016, January 3, 2017, February 1, 2017, March 1, 2017, April 3, 2017, May 1, 2017, June1, 2017, July 3, 2017, August 1, 2017, September 1, 2017, October 2, 2017, November 1, 2017, December 1, 2017, January 2, 2018, February 1, 2018, March 1, 2018, April 2, 2018, May 1, 2018, June 1, 2018, July 2, 2018, August 1, 2018, September 4, 2018, October 1, 2018, November 1, 2018, December 3, 2018, January 2, 2019, February 1, 2019, March 1, 2019, April 1, 2019, May 1, 2019, June 1, 2019


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities