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Mike's Blog - February 2020

Meetings of the Minds

Finding solutions to clinical and translational roadblocks is a considerable part of our job. In collaboration with the Center for Leading Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC), we have organized our two Un-Meetings for this year. These Un-meetings will focus on two broad topics where we need some insightful mind power to address current and future directions.

On March 2nd 2020 at Northwestern University in Chicago, we will be discussing a focus of the CTSA program through An Un-Meeting on Lifespan and Life Course Research: Integrating Strategies. The goal is to explore lifespan and lifecourse research tools and strategies on how to integrate populations in research throughout the lifespan, from fetal development to childhood, to transition from childhood to adult, and then to geriatrics. Continue Reading


Looking to Start a Discussion Forum?

The CTSA Program Discussion Forum (DF) page is live on the CLIC website. Discussion Forums can be initiated at any time by completing a New Discussion Forum Request form . DFs are provided a secure NCATS Google space and Google toolbox to use to facilitate their efforts to advance CTSA Program objectives in high priority areas in clinical and translational science. Similar to predecessor unstructured group formats, (think Key Function Committees) the DF platform allows teams to informally gather (no CLIC support) to discuss more specific, focused translational science topics in depth. A potential goal of DFs may be to develop plans for projects that fill identified gaps and/or further the program objectives through a CTSA Program working group proposal. As with other program activities you cannot use a DF to develop a grant application or for discussion of funding. 


NEW! CTSA Program Meetings Landing Page

CLIC, in conjunction with NCATS, has developed a single stop for all your CTSA Program Meeting information. The meeting landing page on the CLIC website is where you can go to find ALL information related to the Spring or Fall CTSA Program Meetings including past and future meeting agendas.

Current HIGHLIGHTS you’ll find on the page are:

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the CLIC Meeting Planner at 

Common Metrics Reports Available February 28th!

CTSA Program CMI (2015-2018) Multi-Year Data reports and slide decks will be available on the CLIC website on February 28th. CTSA Program hub PIs, Administrators, Evaluators, or hub approved individuals who have logged into the CLIC website will be able to access their CMI Multi-Year Reports through their “My Account” page.

Similar to previous reports, this year’s report will contain individualized hub specific and de identified consortium 2015-2018 longitudinal plots for all metrics. The report this year specifically focuses on the turning of the curve for TL1 and KL2 metrics,. We highlighted these metrics by showing year to year comparison, as well as a qualitative analysis deep dive. Additionally, this year we responded to your request for additional insight to the quantitative data by providing an exploratory stratification of the reported IRB Metric data.

CTSA Program institutions are encouraged to share and discuss their Multi-Year Reports with your NCATS Program Officer. CLIC will be holding post report release webinars Tuesday, March 17th at 2 pm ET and Monday, March 23rd at 3 pm ET.

Rare Disease Day at NIH

On Friday, February 28, NIH will host Rare Disease Day 2020. Sponsored by NCATS and the NIH Clinical Center, the event will feature personal and scientific stories from patients, advocates and researchers, as well as interactive panel discussions on shortening the diagnostic odyssey, individualized therapies and personalized medicine, and improving access to rare diseases information. Admission is free and open to the public.

HEAL Initiative: Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trials Optional) (RFA-AT-20-004)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages UG3/UH3 phased cooperative research applications to conduct efficient, large-scale pragmatic or implementation trials to improve pain management and reduce the unnecessary use of opioid medications. Awards made under this FOA will initially support a one-year, milestone-driven, planning phase (UG3), with possible transition to an implementation phase (UH3) of up to 4 years duration (5 years total for the two phases). Applications are due March 30, 2020.  A Pre-Application Technical Assistance Videocast is scheduled for Monday, March 02, 2020 from 2:30-3:30 PM EST.  For information on how to register to the Videocast please follow NOT-AT-20-009. In addition, for more information about the PRISM FOA, including NCATS’s Scientific Point of Contact.

REMINDER: Scholar and Trainee Appointments Submissions in x-TRAIN

We would like to remind all CTSA Program hubs to submit their scholar and trainees appointments on time, in accordance with NIH Grants Policy and TL1/KL2 terms of award. All Statement of Appointments (SOA), MUST be submitted to the agency for review on or before the start date of the Trainee’s/Scholar’s appointment period.  Failure to submit forms accurately and in a timely manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in continued funding.  For reference, the Statement Of Appointment term is provided below: 


  • The Statement of Appointment form (PHS 2271) must be submitted before or at the start of each scholar appointment or reappointment. These forms must be submitted electronically using the eRA Commons xTrain application. More information on xTrain is available at No stipend or other allowance may be paid until the appointment form has been submitted. Failure to electronically submit these forms accurately and in a timely manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in continued funding.

Notice of Special Interest: Availability of Administrative Supplements to INBRE Awards to Fund Research Collaborations (NOT-GM-20-012)

This NOSI is for Administrative Supplements to NIGMS-funded Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) (P20) awards to develop collaborations between investigators at the INBRE partner institutions, including primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), community colleges (CCs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and investigators supported by Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), IDeA-Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR), IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN) awards or Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) to institutions located in IDeA states, in research areas that are currently supported by these programs. Please direct all inquiries to: Krishan K Arora, PhD National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Email:

Metadata Annotation DREAM Challenge Launched!

The NCI CBIIT Semantic Infrastructure team collaborated with Sage Bionetworks, Clinical Data To Health (CD2H), and the DREAM Challenges organization to announce the official launch of the Metadata Automation DREAM Challenge which is open for submission February 10th through April 24th 2020. 

Challenges are meant to enlist citizen scientists in helping solve big problems. This particular challenge is an information technology challenge, potentially aimed at what are now called Data Scientists and Informaticians, though no knowledge of biomedical sciences is required to participate.

In this Challenge, we are asking participants to develop tools that will automate metadata annotation on structured data files provided on the challenge site using NCI CDE metadata including NCI Thesaurus concepts. The Metadata Automation DREAM Challenge will use a Model-to-Data Approach, whereby submission will take the form of a Docker tool, containing instructions for preprocessing and annotating on the data files provided.

Request for Information (RFI): Input on a Proposed Research Initiative to Decrease Maternal Mortality

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a request for information (RFI), NOT-OD-20-063, to solicit input on a proposed research initiative to decrease maternal mortality (MM). In strategic alignment with efforts undertaken across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and NIH’s already significant investments in MM research, NIH is considering the proposed two-pronged research initiative in pursuit of cutting-edge, innovative, and collaborative approaches to reducing MM. Both efforts would focus on addressing health disparities in MM—particularly in African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and rural populations—and improving data collection, standardization, and availability (e.g., common data elements).

Responses will be accepted through February 21, 2020. All inquiries must be submitted via email


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