RFI: FY 2016-2020 Strategic Plan for the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs: Division of Comparative Medicine and Division of Construction and Instruments Programs.

RFI: FY 2016-2020 Strategic Plan for the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs: Division of Comparative Medicine and Division of Construction and Instruments Programs.

PURPOSE: Through this Request for Information (RFI), the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) invites feedback from researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and health advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public on the scope of its programs and possible future directions to maximize benefits of animal model research. Individual investigators are strongly urged to reply. Specific organizations, such as advocacy or professional groups are encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership as a whole.

Responses to this RFI Notice are voluntary. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff and may be made available to the public. Submitted information will not be considered confidential. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individual stakeholders.

This request is for information and planning purposes and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation of the Federal Government or NIH. No awards will be made based on responses to this Request for Information. The information submitted will be analyzed and may be used in reports or presentations. Those who respond are advised that NIH is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of your comments, or provide comments on your submission. No proprietary, classified, confidential and/or sensitive information should be included in your response. The NIH and the government reserve the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any future solicitation(s).

BACKGROUND: The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) within ORIP has a long history of supporting research and resource programs which enable scientists to develop, characterize, and improve models of human disease involving animals, cells, and bioinformatics. DCM also sponsors mentored individual and institutional research training, educational programs, and early career development programs for scientists with a veterinary degree. Information about these programs can be found at https://orip.nih.gov/comparative-medicine.

The Division of Construction and Instruments (DCI) within ORIP supports improvements of laboratory infrastructure by enabling access to state-of-the-art shared instruments and by modernizing animal research facilities. The most recent Program Announcement for the Program of “Developing and Improving institutional Animal Resources (G20)” can be found at http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-14-251.html. The Program provides funds to renovate animal research facilities and to purchase equipment to ensure controllable and safe environments, to ease of maintenance, and to facilitate up-to-date standard of care.

INFORMATION REQUESTED: Please provide your perspective on any of the following topics as they relate to the mission and program areas of DCM/ORIP and DCI/ORIP, with the aim of directing the major objectives of ORIP for the next five years.  Comments can include but are not limited to the following areas:


Disease Models, Informational Resources, and Other Resources

Disease models, informational resources and other resources that should be modified or expanded in parallel with ongoing advances in biomedical research

Emerging topics and technologies relating to animal resources and/or husbandry, disease models, informational resources, and other resources that should be targeted by DCM/ORIP program areas, workshops, and conferences

Emphasis and prioritization that should be given to the following major topics which have traditionally been covered by DCM/ORIP:

Fundamental biology of animal model systems, including but not limited to, genetics, physiology, behavior and interaction with the environment, with the intent of comparison with analogous disease-related systems in humans.

Development and characterization of genetically-modified and natural animal models for human biology and disease in response to the well-defined biomedical needs.

Methods and tools for identifying, developing, screening and preserving animal models.

Reproductive and genome modification projects to improve methods for producing genetically-modified animals and preserving biological materials, including germplasm and stem cells.

Development of new experimental and bioinformatics methods for mapping functional association networks in model organisms, such as physical protein interaction networks, signaling pathways and gene regulatory networks affected in human disease conditions.

Complementary approaches to use of animal models such as simulations of physiological and pathophysiological processes


Challenges and opportunities that should be considered for research training and career development programs targeting biomedical researchers who are pursuing or already have a veterinary degree, including integration of veterinary scientists into the biomedical research enterprise.

Physical Infrastructure

New technologies and specialized animal care equipment the DCI G20 Program should target; comments can include programs to strengthen the rigor of research protocols and enhance reproducibility of experimental results;

Program structures to achieve efficiency and maximize the benefit of its limited funds in improving well-being of animals and easing their maintenance, in the context of your biomedical research needs.

Last updated: 04-12-2017