DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

NEWS RELEASE

Released: April 1, 2021

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

The FY21 Defense Appropriations Act provides funding to the Department of Defense Vision Research Program (VRP) to support impactful military-relevant vision research. 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 VRP 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 VRP 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 VRP must address one or more of the following Focus Areas:

  • Eye injury or visual dysfunction as related to a military-relevant traumatic event. Examples of military-relevant trauma may include, but are not limited to:
    • Blast, penetrating, blunt, thermal, or chemical trauma
    • Trauma caused by directed energy weapons such as laser, high-power microwaves, and particle beams
  • Diagnosis, stabilization, and treatment of eye injuries in austere environments and prolonged field care settings
  • Restoration of visual function after trauma-related vision loss or severe visual impairment

Award Mechanism Eligibility Key Mechanism Elements Funding
Clinical Trial Award (CTA)

NEW for FY21

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent). Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Supports the rapid implementation of early-phase clinical trials (i.e., phase 0 through phase 2a) of new interventions to service-related eye injury or visual dysfunction.
  • Evidence of Investigational New Drug (IND) or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application submission is required at the time of full application submission.
  • Evidence of IND/IDE approval is required by March 1, 2022.
  • Must demonstrate access to the proposed intervention(s).
  • Must demonstrate access to the targeted subject population(s).
  • Maximum funding of $1,600,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • The maximum period of performance is years.
Focused Translational Team Science Award (FTTSA)
  • Overall Lead Principal Investigator (PI) must be an independent investigator at or above the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent) with experience in developing and running large-scale initiatives.
  • Leaders of individual projects may be independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).
Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Supports a team initiative that leverages the strengths of investigators specializing in different fields to address an overarching scientific challenge or question and fundamentally advance the understanding and treatment of military-relevant vision trauma.
  • Overarching Challenge
    Investigators are encouraged to:
    • Consider barrier(s) to and/or gap(s) in the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, and/or treatment of eye injury or visual dysfunction associated with a military-relevant trauma and envision what may be achievable in 10 to 15 years.
    • Identify, based on the long-term vision, what should and can be achieved in the near term.
    • Design projects and research teams around these considerations.
  • Research Projects
    • The team science proposal shall include at least three (3) but no more than five (5) distinct research projects that together form a concerted and synergistic effort that advances a solution beyond what would be possible through individual efforts.
    • Preliminary data to support the feasibility of each project are required.
    • May include, as a portion of the proposed research, a pilot clinical trial component that collects preliminary data to support the feasibility, rationale, and design of subsequent clinical trials.
  • Research Team
    • The overall lead PI must have demonstrated success in leading large collaborative research projects.
    • The overall lead PI must devote a minimum of 20% effort.
    • Project leader of each of the complementary and synergistic research projects must be an independent investigator with strong qualifications.
    • Must have a detailed Implementation Plan for participating research groups to coordinate efforts, facilitate collaboration, and create synergy.
  • Maximum funding of $4,000,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • The maximum period of performance is years.
Investigator-Initiated Research Award (IIRA) Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent). Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Supports studies that will yield highly impactful discoveries or major advancements in research and/or patient care.
  • Funding Level 1 supports exploratory, high-risk/high-reward research in the earliest stages of development.
    • Research must have the potential to yield new avenues of investigation, such as new approaches, new research tools, or new paradigms.
    • While no preliminary data is required, applicants must provide solid rationale of the research idea. The investigating team must have sufficient expertise to test the idea.
    • Applications in the following areas are encouraged:
      • Pathobiology underlying TBI-associated visual dysfunction
      • Assessment, diagnosis, or treatment in prolonged field care settings
      • Mechanism of injury for visual system trauma secondary to directed energy
  • Funding Level 2 supports the advancement of more mature research that has the potential to make significant advancements toward clinical translation.
    • Preliminary data supporting the readiness and feasibility of the proposed research is required.
    • PI is responsible for selecting the funding level that is most appropriate for the research proposed. The funding level should be selected based on the stage of the research project, rather than the amount of the budget.
    • Clinical trials are not allowed.
Funding Level 1:
  • Maximum funding of $260,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • The maximum period of performance is 2 years.

Funding Level 2:

  • Maximum funding of $750,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • The maximum period of performance is 3 years.
Translational Research Award (TRA) Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent). Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Supports translational research that moves promising laboratory research into clinical applications.
  • It is expected that an IND or IDE application will be submitted during or by the end of the period of performance.
  • Expansion of a highly impactful research project that was previously funded through a VRP funding opportunity is encouraged but not required.
  • Preliminary data required.
  • May include, as a portion of the proposed research, a pilot clinical trial component that collects preliminary data to support the feasibility, rationale, and design of subsequent clinical trials.
  • Maximum funding of $1,000,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • The maximum period of performance is 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 VRP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (https://cdmrp.army.mil).

Point of Contact:

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


Last updated Thursday, April 1, 2021