ABOUT THE DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS CONSORTIUM (DiaComp):

The goal of the NIDDK-sponsored Diabetic Complications Consortium (DiaComp) is to advance the study of diabetic complications and promote communication and collaboration between investigators involved in complications research by supporting scientific meetings and funding new research activities.

DiaComp Pilot and Feasibility Program

This program solicits and funds small Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) projects in high-impact areas of diabetic complications research that fall within the primary mission of the NIDDK (please see the NIDDK website for full details). NIDDK complications include diabetic nephropathy, uropathy, neuropathy, neurocognition, gastrointestinal, liver, bone, and wound healing. Applications focused on all other diabetic complications (including diabetic retinopathy and cardiovascular disease) do NOT fall within the primary mission of the NIDDK and will be deemed non-responsive. If an application proposes to study multiple diabetic complications, a majority of the proposal must address an NIDDK complication of primary interest.

This program aims to support discovery (hypothesis generating) and innovative (high-risk/high-reward) research that will advance our understanding of diabetic complications and that are increasingly difficult to support through standard NIH mechanisms. Basic, translational and clinical research proposals are encouraged. When appropriate, the use of human samples is strongly encouraged. Research involving human subjects is limited to observational studies with non-invasive or minimally invasive testing and must have IRB approval that includes the collection and use of human samples for research purposes. Clinical trials, as defined by the NIH, are beyond the scope of this program. For further details and resources to help clarify the NIH definition, please consult information posted at the NIH Clinical Trials website ( https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/definition.htm ). Diabetic complications manifest themselves differently between men and women. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of these manifestations is critical to designing tailored therapeutic approaches.

Awards are expected to prepare the applicant(s) to submit a future investigator-initiated project (e.g. NIH R01). Lower priority will be given to applicants who have received DiaComp support in the past three years. Foreign applications are NOT allowed.
Applications of 5 pages requesting up to $100,000 for one year are due June 10, 2019.

Current areas of emphasis include, but are not limited to:

New Areas of Interest for 2017 are coming soon.
  • Human Tissue Interrogation
    Develop and use innovative technologies to analyze human tissue from end organs of diabetic complications to better understand (patho)physiology and (dys)function. For example:

  • Bioengineered Models
    Recent advances in engineering, developmental biology, and genome editing have stimulated development of “tissue chip” and “organoid” models of numerous tissue compartments and disease states. The 3D cell culture in vitro models generated using human cells and physiologic conditions (e.g. flow) have the potential to more accurately recapitulate human phenotypes. For example:

  • Repair and Regeneration
    Devise strategies to stimulate repair/regeneration and restore function in end organs affected by diabetic complications. For example:

  • Biosensors
    The pathogenesis of diabetic complications is metabolically and genetically complex and involves multiple organ systems. Model organisms are well suited for studying pathophysiology driven or impacted by tissue- and organ-crosstalk. The transparency of C. elegans and zebrafish larvae permits the facile monitoring of cell-based biosensors designed to measure inter- and intra-cellular processes in free living organisms. With the advent of improved genome-editing technologies and large-scale efforts to develop biosensors (e.g. ER stress, oxidative stress, autophagy, glucose levels, hormone levels, albuminuria, etc.), the time is right for researchers to develop novel tools and adapt existing approaches to advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying diabetic complications. For example:

    Each proposal should indicate how these next generation tools, lines and protocols will be broadly shared.

  • Pre-clinical Testing
    There is a compelling need to translate novel, scientifically meritorious therapeutic interventions for diabetic complications. For example:

Budget requests should be commensurate with project needs over a one year project period. While average DiaComp P&F awards are $60,000 Total Costs for one year, well justified requests for support of up to $100,000 Total Costs per year will be considered.

When appropriate, the use of human samples is strongly encouraged, including the linking of human samples to existing tissue repositories and databases (e.g. the NIDDK repository [www.niddkrepository.org/home/] or dkNET [http://www.dknet.org/]). Research involving human subjects is limited to observational studies with non-invasive or minimally invasive testing and must have IRB approval that includes the collection and use of human samples for research purposes. Interventional clinical trials are beyond the scope of this program.

Streptozotocin (STZ) is used by DiaComp members to induce diabetes in a number of the animal models developed by the consortium. STZ is toxic to the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas and used to induce diabetes similar to a type I diabetic patient. Some reports suggest cellular toxicity outside of the pancreas. STZ also exhibits broad spectrum antibacterial properties and may alter the gut microbiota. Applicants to DiaComp are reminded to justify their choice of approaches and models of diabetes, including the STZ model, to ensure that appropriate controls are included in all studies and to consider use of complementary approaches. Reviewers are asked to accept use of appropriately justified STZ-diabetes models with appropriate controls unless they can provide direct evidence that the model is inappropriate for the proposed studies.

Applications are due June 10, 2019 for October start dates.

For instructions on how to submit a Pilot & Feasibility Funding Program Application to the DiaComp web portal please click the following link: Funding Program Application Submission Basic Training (PDF)

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Applicants may request up to $60,000 (direct + indirect costs) Total Costs for one year or well justified requests for support of up to $100,000. A narrative justification should be provided only for any major equipment (cost greater than $5,000) deemed to be necessary for the proposed project. The number of awards will depend upon the number, quality, duration, and cost of the applications received.

Awards will be made as subcontracts from the DiaComp Coordinating and Bioinformatics Unit (CBU) at Augusta University and not directly by the NIH. Funded awards are not allowed to submit a competitive renewal application and unfunded applications are not allowed to revise and resubmit an amended application. Multi-year funding requests are not allowed.

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Each application will receive a primary review by multiple external referees and be given scores for Significance, Investigator, Innovation, Approach, Environment and an Overall Score based on the NIH Scoring System for Research Applications. Scores will range from 1 to 9, where a score of 1-3 indicates an application addressing a problem of high importance/interest in the field and may have some or no weaknesses. A score of 4-6 may be addressing a problem of high importance in the field, but weaknesses in the criteria bring down the overall impact to medium. A score of 7-9 may be addressing a problem of moderate/high importance in the field, but weaknesses in the criteria bring down the overall impact to low. A score of 9 indicates an application with serious and substantive weaknesses with very few strengths. A score of 5 is considered an average score. The entire scale (1-9) should always be considered. Please note that the Overall Score is NOT an average of the other scores. Reviewers will strongly consider the goal of the program to support discovery (hypothesis generating) and innovative (high-risk/high-reward) research. The DiaComp External Evaluation Committee (EEC) will provide a secondary review of all applications. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed. No additional materials may be submitted after the receipt date. Scientists from the applicant institution are in conflict and excluded from review. Written comments will be provided for all reviewed applications. Final funding decisions will be made by the NIH. All decisions are final and appeals will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this solicitation. Funded awards are not allowed to submit a competitive renewal application and unfunded applications are not allowed to revise and resubmit an amended application. Multi-year funding requests are not allowed.

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January 2, 2018 Solicitation for Pilot and Feasibility Program is posted on DiaComp website, MMPC and other related websites, and notification of the postings is sent to all US academic and research institutions
June 10, 2019 Grants Submitted to CBU (Dr. Richard McIndoe, CA 4127, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, 30912)
October 2019 Projected start date for DiaComp Pilot Project Funding

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The application is the standard PHS 398 form including face, abstract, detailed budget, biosketches (up to 5 pages each), and research plan. The research plan (Sections A-D are limited to 5 pages) should include the following sections:

  1. Specific Aims,
  2. Background and Significance,
  3. Preliminary Studies,
  4. Research Design and Methods,
  5. Literature Cited,
  6. Vertebrate Animals and/or Protection of Human Subjects
  7. Sharing Plan

All applications must be submitted via the DiaComp website (PDF format only please).

Eligible Project Directors/Principal Investigators: Individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research are invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. New investigators are encouraged to apply, but they must have a full-time faculty position or an equivalent position at non-academic institutions. Lower priority will be given to applicants who have received DiaComp support in the past three years..

Eligible Organizations: Higher Education Institutions
  • Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
  • Private Institution of Higher Education The following types of Higher Education Institutions are encouraged to apply for support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
    • Hispanic-serving Institution; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
    • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
For-Profit Organizations
  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Businesses)
Foreign Institutions
  • Non‐domestic (non‐U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are NOT eligible to apply.
  • Non‐domestic (non‐U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are NOT eligible to apply.
  • Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are NOT allowed.

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When appropriate, the use of human samples is strongly encouraged, including the linking of human samples to existing tissue repositories and databases (e.g. the NIDDK repository [www.niddkrepository.org/home/] or dkNET [http://www.dknet.org/]). Research involving human subjects is limited to observational/non-interventional studies with non-invasive or minimally invasive testing and must have IRB approval that includes the collection and use of human samples for research purposes. Clinical trials, as defined by the NIH, are beyond the scope of this program. For further details and resources to help clarify the NIH definition, please consult information posted at the NIH Clinical Trials website (https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/definition.htm)

A summary of progress of funded projects is due two months following the completion of the funding period.

DiaComp awardees must follow NIH and HHS policies regarding the sharing of data and resources with the scientific community (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/sharing.htm) and agree to submit to the DiaComp web portal all data and resources resulting from the execution of the awarded application. Data and resources may include, but are not limited to:

  • histology images,
  • protocols,
  • experimental data,
  • RNAseq, and
  • progress report(s).

All data and resources generated with DiaComp support will be made immediately available to "active" DiaComp awardees (see below) and publicly available on the DiaComp website: (1) at the time of first publication, or (2) two years from the date of data upload to the DiaComp website ( www.diacomp.org). Under certain circumstances, investigators may request an exception to the DiaComp two year public release policy by contacting NIH Program staff and requesting a waiver. Such requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and waivers will be granted only with sufficient and compelling prior justification.

DiaComp awardees are considered "active" and granted full access to the DiaComp website as members of the DiaComp "Steering Committee" for the duration of their funding period plus 4 years. Outgoing awardees may request an extension from NIH Program staff beyond this "active" period.

Proprietary data and resources will be excluded from sharing consistent with NIH and HHS policies (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/sharing.htm).

Financial acknowledgment of award: Please acknowledge all posters, manuscripts or scientific materials that were generated in part or whole using funds from the Diabetic Complications Consortium (DiaComp) using the following text: 'Financial support for this work provided by the NIDDK Diabetic Complications Consortium (RRID:SCR_001415, www.diacomp.org), grants DK076169 and DK115255'.

For presentations and slides, please use the PowerPoint slide with the funding source logo found in the zip file here - http://www.diacomp.org/images/diacomp-logos.zip - to indicate that DiaComp is a funding source for your presentation.

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Richard McIndoe, Ph.D. (Coordinator)
Coordinating and Bioinformatics Unit
Augusta University
Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine
1120 15th Street, CA4124
Augusta, GA 30912-4810
Phone: 706-721-3542
Fax: 706-721-3688

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