DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

NEWS RELEASE

Released: February 17, 2021

Defense Health Program
Department of Defense Spinal Cord Injury Research Program
Anticipated Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21)

The FY21 Defense Appropriations Act provides funding to the Department of Defense Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) to support innovative, high-impact spinal cord injury (SCI) research1. As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency J9, Research and Development Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation. The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC).

The SCIRP is providing the information in this pre-announcement to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY21 funding opportunities. This pre-announcement should not be construed as an obligation by the Government. The FY21 SCIRP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms will be posted on the Grants.gov website. Pre-application and application deadlines will be available when the Program Announcements are released. 

Applications submitted to the FY21 SCIRP must address one or more of the following focus areas*:

  • Psychosocial issues relevant to people with SCI, their families, and/or their care-partners
  • Preserving and protecting spinal cord tissue at time of injury for improved neurologic outcomes
  • Identifying and validating biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and for evaluation of treatment efficacies
  • Bowel, genitourinary, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, and neuropathic pain
  • Rehabilitation and regeneration—maximizing the function of the residual neural circuitry, including harnessing neuroplasticity and recovery to improve function after SCI
Award Mechanism Eligibility Key Mechanism Elements Funding
Clinical Trial Award Principal Investigator (PI): Investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).

*NEW FOR FY21*
Optional Partnering Investigator: An independent, early-career investigator within 10 years after completion of terminal degree
  • Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Fund Phase 0, I, or II clinical trials with the potential to have a major impact on treatment or management of SCI and its consequences.
  • Alternative study designs to traditional randomized clinical trials are allowed but should be appropriate to the objective of the trial.
  • Applications must include at least two individuals with lived SCI experience as members of the research team.
  • Preclinical data required for all clinical trial applications.
  • *NEW* Early-Career Partnering PI Option
  • Maximum funding of $3 Million (M) for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • Maximum period of performance is years.
Translational Research Award Principal Investigator (PI): Investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).

*NEW FOR FY21*
Optional Partnering Investigator: An independent, early-career investigator within 10 years after completion of terminal degree
  • Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Fund studies that accelerate the movement of promising ideas in SCI research into clinical applications.
  • Applications must include at least one individual with lived SCI experience as a member of the research team.
  • Preliminary data required.
  • The SCIRP Translational Research Award may include a pilot clinical trial as part of the proposed research where limited clinical testing of a novel intervention or device is necessary to inform the next step in the continuum of translational research.
  • *NEW* Early-Career Partnering PI Option
  • Maximum funding of $1.25 Million (M) for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years.
Investigator-Initiated Research Award Principal Investigator (PI): Investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).

*NEW FOR FY21*
Optional Partnering Investigator: An independent, early-career investigator within 10 years after completion of terminal degree
  • Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Fund SCI-related research that has the potential to make an important contribution to SCI research, patient care, and/or quality of life.
  • Studies focused exclusively on target identification are discouraged.
  • Preliminary data required.
  • Clinical trials are not allowed.
  • *NEW* Early-Career Partnering PI Option
  • Maximum funding of $500,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years.

A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) at https://eBRAP.org prior to the pre-application deadline. All applications must conform to the final Program Announcements and General Application Instructions that will be available for electronic downloading from the Grants.gov website. The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on Grants.gov. A listing of all CDMRP and other USAMRDC extramural funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420. 

Submission deadlines are not available until the Program Announcements are released. For email notification when Program Announcements are released, subscribe to program-specific news and updates under “Email Subscriptions” on the eBRAP homepage at https://eBRAP.org. For more information about the SCIRP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (https://cdmrp.army.mil/scirp).

*Detailed FY21 SCIRP Focus Areas

Applications submitted to the FY21 SCIRP must address one or more of the following focus areas:

  • *Updated FY21* Psychosocial issues relevant to people with SCI, their families, and/or their care-partners:
    • Applications should directly address, or show clear relevance to, the needs of Service members and Veterans.
    • Projects should provide an understanding of critical factors promoting psychosocial wellbeing, leading to implementation of potential treatments and interventions.
    • Studies addressing social isolation, loneliness, depression as well as resilience, self-efficacy, and interactions between people living with SCI and their care-partners are especially encouraged.
    • Preclinical animal studies are not responsive to this Focus Area.
  • Preserving and protecting spinal cord tissue at time of injury for improved neurologic outcomes:
    • Responsive projects may include surgical and acute care management of SCI.
    • Therapeutics (devices and pharmacologic interventions) to stabilize SCI in the pre-hospital environment and during transport are encouraged.
    • Applications proposing neuroprotective interventions need to demonstrate a clinically feasible window for treatment and more than an incremental improvement over existing therapies.
  • Identifying and validating biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and for evaluation of treatment efficacies:
    • Biomarkers must focus on diagnosis, prognosis, progression, and/or recovery of SCI.
    • Projects with a clear link between a biomarker and underlying physiology are encouraged. Projects can include imaging and other modalities.
    • Applications should demonstrate a clear path to clinical use.
    • Biomarker studies directed at identifying the best single or combination of treatments for individuals (personalized medicine) are encouraged.
  • Bowel, genitourinary, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, and neuropathic pain:
    • Studies of the mechanisms of dysfunction and neuropathic pain specific to SCI must demonstrate a clear path from increased understanding to advancing treatments.
    • Studies addressing the needs of and treatments for individuals with SCI across the full lifespan from acute to chronic injury are encouraged.
  • Rehabilitation and regeneration—maximizing the function of the residual neural circuitry, including harnessing neuroplasticity and recovery to improve function after SCI:
    • Studies that address critical questions of dosing, targeting, or safety required to move the research toward clinical use are supported.
    • Applications studying mechanisms of regeneration or identifying novel therapeutic targets must include a feasible projected pathway for translation and clinical implementation.
    • Basic research projects designed to understand general mechanisms underlying axonal sprouting, regeneration, or neuroplasticity are discouraged unless they directly address translatable approaches.

Point of Contact:

CDMRP Public Affairs
301-619-9783
usarmy.detrick.medcom-cdmrp.mbx.cdmrp-public-affairs@mail.mil

1 Funding is provided through the FY21 appropriation for Peer-reviewed Spinal Cord Research


Last updated Wednesday, February 17, 2021