Bench-to-Bedside Program

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Bench-to-Bedside Award?
  2. Who can apply for a BtB Award?
  3. How do I apply for a BtB Award?
  4. I am an extramural investigator and would like to apply for an award. How can I find an intramural investigator to be my partner?
  5. What are the criteria for judging a proposal?
  6. What do I do if I have problems with proposalCentral?
  7. Whom should I contact if I have questions about the Bench-to-Bedside program?
  8. What information should I include in the Letter of Intent?
  9. What information should I include in the full proposal?
  10. Is my grant eligible to receive a BtB administrative supplement?
  11. Is my project suitable for the BtB program?
  12. How should I cite publications that result from my funded BtB award?
  13. Can a small business serve as the extramural partner on a BtB project?
  14. Are international collaborators allowed?
  15. Is it possible for an extramural collaborator to receive funds for a project submitted in the General category?
  16. What is the average number of Co-Investigators on an awarded project?
  17. How important is it that my extramural partner's active NIH grant to relevant to our BtB proposal?
  18. Can intramural and/or extramural collaborators collect salary on BtB awards?

1. What is a Bench-to-Bedside Award?

A Bench-to-Bedside (BtB) Award is a funding award to research teams seeking to translate basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for patients or to increase understanding of important disease processes.

These two-year awards provide $150,000 a year, not including indirect costs. Research teams may share the funds as they deem appropriate

BtB proposals can fall into one of seven categories: AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, dietary supplements, general, minority health, rare diseases, and women's health projects.

All BtB teams should involve an intramural investigator PLUS one or more investigators from another NIH institute and/or one or more extramural partner(s). The team must include at least one basic scientist and one clinical researcher. For awards involving extramural partners, extramural funds will be as awarded via an administrative supplement to an existing grant. Among other stipulations, the grant vehicle should have commitments for both FY2018 and FY2019 and be active through May 31, 2020, and the support must be consistent with the approved aims and objectives of the parent grant.

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2. Who can apply for a BtB Award?

Both intramural and extramural NIH investigators will be able to initiate applications for BtB research projects.

As in prior years, intramural investigators in all institutes/centers are eligible to serve as project leaders on proposals. At least one intramural investigator on the project must have responsibility for scientific and budgetary oversight (e.g., the investigator must have a budget/assigned CAN and resources).

Extramural principal investigators (PIs) with an existing NIH grant (e.g., researchers at CTSA or AIAMC sites) are invited to initiate proposals in one of two ways.

  • First, 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, you may consult a number of NIH resources. See FAQ #4 for more information.
  • Extramural investigators may initiate proposals and serve as project leaders. In this role, extramural principal investigators will develop letters of intent and if approved, may develop full proposals. 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 proposalCentral.

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3. How do I apply for a BtB Award?

The BtB program uses an electronic venue (proposalCentral) to aid investigators in submitting a letter of intent and in collaborating online with the project leader on developing a proposal for submission.

See the Application Instructions page on the website for specific instructions.

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4. I am an extramural investigator and would like to apply for an award. How can I find an intramural investigator to be my partner?

You can start your search in one of three online resources:

Extramural investigators may also consult the BtB Program Office for assistance in identifying an intramural partner.

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5. What are the criteria for judging a proposal?

  • High quality of science (to be evaluated by the NIH Enhanced Review Criteria for Research Grants and Cooperative Agreements) with the potential to result in understanding an important disease process or lead to new therapeutic intervention;
  • Strong translational science, with the bedside and bench components clearly related; one should lead logically to the next, and both should be strongly developed;
  • The proposed translational work has the promise to evolve into an active clinical protocol with patient involvement in the future*;
  • Although projects can be exclusively among intramural investigators preferably from more than one IC, collaborations between intramural and extramural investigators will receive priority review;
  • The work should be a truly new initiative, not a funding request for work in progress.

*Translational component section: Applicants will be required to explain how their proposed project will involve clinical work with direct patient contact, OR how the results of their proposal will lead to next steps involving clinical work (ultimately with direct patient contact), with involvement at the Clinical Center a preference but not a requirement. Projects can include studies of patients, then laboratory studies, and then back to patient studies.

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6. What do I do if I have problems with proposalCentral?

If you have any questions about proposalCentral, contact Altum's customer support hotline at 800-875-2562 (toll-free), +1 703 964 5840 (direct dial international) or by email at pcsupport@altum.com. By phone, normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm Eastern Time.

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7. Whom should I contact if I have questions about the Bench-to-Bedside program?

Please contact BtB program staff by email at BenchtoBedside@mail.nih.gov, or call Julie Orlando (301-402-0102) or Pat Piringer (301-402-2435).

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8. What information should I include in the Letter of Intent?

The Letter of Intent should include:

  • Project title
  • If a resubmission, indicate when the proposal was previously submitted
  • Contact information and IC(s)/institution(s) of all intramural and extramural investigators
  • Estimated budget, to show only an estimate of annual total costs for each investigator receiving funds
  • Summary of Project, to include overall summary, specific project's aims, approach, and a brief explanation of the contributions of each project collaborator. The character limit is 5000, including spaces.
  • Categories for which proposal might be considered. Please check all categories which are appropriate. Categories include: AIDS, Behavioral & Social Sciences, Dietary Supplements, General, Minority Health, Rare Diseases, and/or Women's Health.

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9. What information should I include in the full proposal?

Once endorsement from the Scientific Director has been received, the system can be accessed for development of the full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted online at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp?GMID=68

The full proposal should be no more than 6 pages of 11 point Arial text with 0.5 inch margins, including tables and figures, excluding references.

The following information must be entered accurately and completey:

  1. Investigator(s) name(s), IC(s) or institution(s), contact information, and roles
  2. Abstract. This section will be automatically pre-populated by summary provided in LOI, and may be amended.
  3. Research Proposal. (No more than 6 pages of 11 point Arial text with 0.5 inch margins, including tables and figures, excluding references). The following format is suggested:
    • Significance and background
    • Specific Aims
    • Research strategy, including hypotheses, preliminary results, experimental plan, milestones (Note: if proposal involves a clinical trial, please include a separate protocol synopsis with 2 page limit.)
    • Budget justification
  4. Budget Form excel spreadsheet icon (15 KB) (can also be downloaded on the proposalCentral website)
    If applicable, budget requests for extramural partners must include existing extramural grant number to receive supplement and must include the indirect costs.
  5. NIH Biosketch for all principal and associate investigators
  6. Checklist excel spreadsheet icon (12 KB) (can also be downloaded on the proposalCentral website)

If you have previously submitted your application for a BtB award, you may want to address how your application has changed.

Note: If your proposal involves a clinical trial, please include a separate protocol synopsis document (limit to 2 pages.)

General suggestions for writing your research plan can be found here: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/grant/strategy/Pages/3start.aspx
(Please note that the page limits for an NIH R01 do not apply to a BtB application!)

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10. Is my grant eligible to receive a BtB administrative supplement?

For awards involving extramural partners, award funds will be directed to the extramural co-investigator/PI as an administrative supplement to an existing NIH grant. The grant should have commitments for both FY 2018 and FY 2019 and be active through May 31, 2020, and the BtB project must be consistent with the approved aims and objectives of the grant.

SBIR awards are generally not eligible to receive BtB supplements due to their short project periods. Please note that if the BtB extramural partner is NOT the PI on the NIH grant set to receive the BtB supplement, he or she must ensure in writing that the PI is supportive of the use of supplement funds to be used on the BtB project.

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11. Is my project suitable for the BtB program?

The Bench-to-Bedside Program has funded a variety projects across the translational research spectrum. Each project will be judged on its own scientific merit, though reviewers prioritize projects which address the specific BtB criteria (see FAQ #5). You are encouraged to consult the BtB program team with any questions regarding your project.

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12. How should I cite publications that result from my funded BtB award?

We ask that awardess acknowledge support in publications that may result from BtB projects as follows:

"This work was supported through a NIH Bench-toBedside award made possible by the NIH Office Name, CoFunding IC (If applicable.)."

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13. Can a small business serve as the extramural partner on a BtB project?

Perhaps. For awards involving extramural partners, award funds will be directed to the extramural co-investigator/PI as an administrative supplement to an existing NIH grant, which must meet the stipulations described in FAQ #10 and FAQ #11. SBIR awards are generally not eligible to receive BtB supplements due to their short project period. See FAQ #11 above.

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14. Are international collaborators allowed?

Yes, the partner for translational research can be international. Funds are provided to extramural investigators as administrative supplements to current NIH grants, so the international partner must hold an existing NIH grant in order to receive BtB funds. Among other stipulations, the grant vehicle to receive the supplement should have commitments for both FY 2018 and FY 2019 and be active through May 31, 2020, and the support must be consistent with the approved aims and objectives of the parent grant.

Keep in mind that all Bench-to-Bedside projects must have an NIH intramural collaborator who will facilitate the application submission in proposalCentral.

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15. Is it possible for an extramural collaborator to receive funds for a project submitted in the General category?

Yes. This represents a change from prior cycles.

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16. What is the average number of Co-Investigators on an awarded project?

There is no limit to the number of collaborators who can be included. Historically, the range is about 2-10 collaborators on awarded projects, with the average being 6-8.

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17. How important is it that my extramural partner's active NIH grant be relevant to our BtB proposal?

It is important. NIH policy requires that a supplement to an existing award be aligned with the scientific content of the parent grant. In the past, grants management and program staff have questioned the scientific alignment of BtB supplements. If you or your extramural collaborator have questions about the content of your project as it pertains to the extramural award, we encourage a preliminary conversation with the Program Officer for the NIH award.

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18. Can intramural and/or extramural collaborators collect salary on BtB awards?

NIH policy prohibits full-time federal employees from drawing salary from awards. Per the NIH Grants Policy Statement, "Salaries of federal employees...are unallowable except in certain circumstances..." Please consult with BtB staff if you feel your proposal includes a rare exception to this policy. Extramural collaborators may draw salaries from BtB supplements in keeping with NIH policy. Extramural collaborators are required to follow all NIH policy requirements pertaining to budget requests and use of federal funds.

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Note: Any questions not covered here may be addressed to our BtB team by contacting any team member or by emailing us at BenchtoBedside@cc.nih.gov

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This page last updated on 06/30/2017

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