NIBIB Quantum Projects

NIBIB has released the RFA for Phase II (Implementation) of its Quantum Grant Program – aka Medical Moonshots.

Letter of intent due December 22, application receipt date on January 22, 2010 (just misses the Jan 25 transition to enhanced shorter applications, so these use a 25-p research narrative … “typewritten” paper submission no less).

The goal is to achieve a profound (quantum) impact on the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a major disease or national public health problem through the development and implementation of biomedical technologies.

Total costs (i.e., direct plus indirect/F&A costs) for any single year (5-y project period) may not exceed $3M. NIBIB expects most applicants to request $1-3M in total annual costs.

Before you get too excited, only 1-3 awards will be made.

NIBIB made 5 awards in the Phase I competition “on stem cell therapies for diabetes and stroke, nanoparticles to help eliminate brain tumors, development of an implantable device to replace kidney dialysis, and a microchip to capture circulating tumor cells for clinical and research purposes” — but anyone can apply for Phase II funding so long as their research plan “demonstrates the potential for a quantum advance by the end of Phase II via substantial pre-clinical data or a first clinical implementation.”

How much of an advance? NIBIB envisions that the “technology being developed would overcome a major, present-day disease or national public health problem (i.e., leading categories of disease burden, high-mortality/morbidity diseases affecting more than 100,000 individuals annually, technologies that revolutionize over 200,000 procedures annually), or change the paradigm of prevention, diagnosis, treatment in the practice of medicine.” In 5 years. I guess $3M a year will do that for you. I can’t wait to read the way cool announcements in NIH Research Matters.

What I want to know is where NIBIB finds reviewers with the vision needed to foresee a paradigm shift and quantum advance in the practice of medicine within the next 5 years … and whether these reviewers are available to take a look at my 401K portfolio.

Lots more detail in the RFA. Happy reading.



  1. D said

    I thought quantum meant discrete, usually very tiny, steps or quantities. Like the Smallest Publishable Unit..

  2. BB said

    Like D said.

  3. hyppie nippie said


    you’d be better off going around and learning languages, rather than practicing ETYMOLOGY.

    There is quantum versus quantum leap.

    Discrete advance in medicine versus quantum leap in money

    $3 millions/year for 5 years, c’est ne pas prodigieux

    As for “where NIBIB finds reviewers with the vision needed”, only needs to ask visionaries in the Midland region.

    • D said

      @hippie, I wasn’t practicing etymology just reading the dictionary. And if you read the RFA (or even just the title) you might note that they never use the term “quantum leap.” Although they do mention quantum advance.

      In fact if I practiced etymology I would know that quantum is derived from Latin and means, “how much” which physics turned into “small discrete quantities” which still doesn’t make sense.

      Now, if you what to look at a third level derivation then you can get to the idea of a Major advance. But, I prefer they stick with words like profound or major and try to skip the jargon, slang and colloquialisms when possible.

      But then if they did, I couldn’t make fun of the RFA as easily.

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