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A second chance for unfunded grants

Robin BARR [Former NIA Staff],
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA).

You can't believe that with NIA's recent growth, your innovative and inspiring application remains unfunded and lost somewhere deep in the NIA vaults? We have good news for you!

Last March, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer announced a new pilot partnership, developed by the NIH in collaboration with Leidos Life Sciences, to help address the problem of deserving applications going unpaid. The collaboration, called the Online Partnership to Accelerate Research—or OnPAR—will enable unfunded NIH applicants with good review scores (yes, that could be you!) to submit their proposals for consideration by private funding organizations. Although last year's launch of OnPAR included only a handful of external funding organizations, their numbers are expected to grow soon. Recent new members include the Cure Alzheimer's Fund and Eli Lilly, representing an emerging interest in Alzheimer's disease, joining organizations and companies looking at various conditions.

How will it work?

The matchmaking process is simple, and takes only a few minutes. You'll start by submitting your abstract to Leidos, who is serving as matchmaker. If an OnPAR funding partner is interested in your application, Leidos will contact you for further application materials. The responsibility is yours—you must take the initiative to submit your abstract to OnPAR. NIA can't do that for you.

If your application missed the NIA or other NIH pay line, and meets the following criteria, we recommend that you consider submitting your abstract to OnPAR as an option:

  • Up to the 30th percentile for major disease areas (e.g., Alzheimer's disease)
  • Up to the 50th percentile for rare disease areas
  • Promising scored, but non-percentiled applications

Although NIA does not have an active role in this process, we hope that it's successful. Of course, we bear no malice towards applications that we cannot pay—we simply run out of money. OnPAR provides a way for more research to be funded, and for private organizations—which are a critical part of the national and international research infrastructure—to play an even greater role in supporting areas that need an extra boost and applications that deserve second consideration. It also allows the investments that NIH is making in peer review to have an even greater impact.

Please consider taking this easy step to find potential funding for your unfunded application.

Still have questions?

OnPAR has already developed a Frequently Asked Questions page that covers several issues—from involvement of pharma and biotech in the system to the protection of intellectual property rights. If you have more complex questions, you can contact or Martin Duenas, MPA, at Leidos directly.

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