NIAMS Centers Programs Evaluation


Evaluation of the Centers Programs — Request for Information (RFI) January 15, 2013 (Historical — The comment period for this RFI has closed.)

Centers Evaluation Working Group Report May 2013

Centers Evaluation Working Group Final Report — Request for Information (RFI) June 28, 2013 (Historical — The comment period for this RFI has closed.)


Evaluation of the Centers Program — Request for Information

Updated January 15, 2013 (historical — NIAMS is no longer accepting comments)


The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is undertaking an evaluation of its Centers programs to inform the design of innovative funding strategies to address research challenges and opportunities that require synergistic, integrated groups of investigators, significant infrastructure and technological innovations. As part of this evaluation, NIAMS is seeking input from the investigator community and organizations involved in its mission areas.


This evaluation will provide a framework for how to structure NIAMS Centers programs to best organize and facilitate multi-investigator research. Most importantly, the NIAMS will seek input from the research communities in its mission areas on the needs and opportunities for organized approaches, and how to structure support for these in the future. This began with a discussion of the proposed evaluation at the NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting on September 11, 2012. Meetings and teleconferences with investigators are planned. In addition, the NIAMS is seeking written input from investigators and organizations through this Request for Information (RFI).

Information Requested

This RFI starts from the premise that progress in certain areas of research within the NIAMSí mission requires, or is optimally done by, synergistic, integrated groups of investigators, beyond what would be feasible to support through Research Project Grants (RPG) such as R01. Examples might include collaborations, infrastructure, technical development or resources that are widely shared across a research community, perhaps nationally. Specifically, the NIAMS seeks information to help identify:

  1. The research opportunities within the NIAMSí mission that require synergistic, integrated groups of investigators.
  2. Innovative approaches to structure Center program(s) to optimally support such research.

Please note that the NIAMS plans to continue to support clinical trials through the programs recently announced for R21, U34, U01 and UM1. Although small trials have been done as part of a Center, discussion for funding of larger clinical trials should not be included in responses. Further, the NIAMS no longer accepts applications for Program Project Grants, as these more limited groups of investigators are best funded through other RPG, so discussion of this mechanism should likewise not be included in responses. Finally, responses should not address the success of any one Center at a particular institution, although examples of novel or successful structures (or, alternatively, what does not work) are welcomed.


Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Any personal identifiers (e.g., names, addresses, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Only the de-identified comments will be used. Proprietary, classified, confidential or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The United States government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only, and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the United States government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the United States government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information. Responses will be compiled and shared internally with staff from the NIAMS and its Advisory Council, with one or more subcommittees of the Council, and with scientific working groups convened by the NIAMS, as appropriate. In all cases where responses are shared, the names of the respondents will be withheld.

How to Submit a Response

Interested extramural investigators and organizations are invited to respond.

Responses to this RFI will be accepted until February 15, 2013. You will not receive individualized feedback on any suggestions. No basis for claims against the United States government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the United States government's use of such information.

All comments must be submitted using the following template.


Please direct all inquiries to:
Robert H. Carter, M.D.
Deputy Director, NIAMS