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NHLBI Announces Plan to Fund a Limited Exam 7 in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

December 11, 2018

As previously reported on this Digital Forum, an NHLBI working group comprised of selected members of the NHLBI Advisory Council and Board of External Experts presented a set of seven recommendations for transforming population research to the NHLBI Council in 2014.  The recommendations were subsequently published in 2015 (Roger VL et al. Strategic Transformation of Population Studies: Recommendations of the Working Group on Epidemiology and Population Sciences From the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council and Board of External Experts. Am J. Epidemiol 2015;181(6):363-367).  In its Recommendation 7, the working group advised the NHLBI to “implement a competitive peer review–based model for its portfolio of large epidemiologic and population studies,” in which funding decisions for study infrastructure are separated from peer review for innovative research content.

Consistent with that Recommendation 7, the NHLBI recently announced its intent to fund a limited clinic exam cycle in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).  (See NIH Guide Notice NOT-HL-18-668.)  The exam, which will take place beginning on or about October 19, 2021, will serve as a platform for investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed, independently funded exam components that will enrich the exam data collection with additional hypothesis-driven content.  The intent of NOT-HL-18-668 is to allow time for interested researchers to comply with MESA requirements and develop NIH grant applications to fund exam components addressing innovative research questions in MESA.

The Table summarizes timing considerations for submitting grant applications proposing exam components for MESA’s Exam 7.  (See this website for more information about NIH grant application cycles, due dates, etc.)

Potential applicants may wish to consider the following:

  • New (A0) grant applications received by the October 2020 Council Cycle (Cycle II) standard due dates and that receive fundable scores may be funded with ample time for planning and preparation of the Exam 7 data collection.
  • Resubmitted (A1) applications received by the January 2021 Council Cycle (Cycle II) standard due dates and that receive fundable scores may also be funded with ample time for planning and preparation of the Exam 7 data collection.
  • Receipt of resubmitted (A1) applications by the May 2021 Council Cycle (Cycle III) standard due dates and that receive fundable scores would enable awards approximately three months at most before Exam 7 is anticipated to begin. In such cases, it will have to be determined whether this will be enough time for planning and preparation for the exam component(s) before Exam 7 commences.  For these and any later due dates, applicants will need to consider timing of their data collection relative to that of the planned exam and any additional time and associated costs they may require to complete their exam components as proposed.

If you are interested in partnering with MESA in developing and obtaining funding for innovative content for MESA’s upcoming Exam 7, carefully read NOT-HL-18-668 and visit the MESA website for its ancillary studies policies and other relevant information.

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