DIANE MILLER: Hi. Good morning. I'm going to start by introducing myself. I'm Diane Miller. I'm the senior director of federal relations for Cornell University. My office is based in Washington, DC. And in January, Cornell engaged Lewis-Burke Associates to work with the university on research development issues broadly.
And so this is a chance for you to engage with a couple of the 27 professionals that they have on staff there on one particular federal research program. But they have expertise in many different areas besides just the DOD health and biomedical research program. And so we're hoping that they work very closely with my office in Washington. And so look forward to further engagement. But with that, I'm going to turn this over to Laura Uttley and Reed Skaggs from Lewis-Burke.
LAURA UTTLEY: So as Diane said, Reid and I are here today to talk about who Lewis-Burke is. To introduce you to our firm, we have a relatively new relationship with Cornell that started in January. So for today, we'll go into a little bit about Lewis-Burke so you're familiar with us, our general framework, as far as engaging federal agencies, and the focus of this will be the Department of Defense. Reed will go into some overarching priorities within research development tests and evaluation that sets the stage for that defense health program priorities where we'll spend the bulk of our time this morning, as well as going into specifics for engaging with DOD program officers in preparation for a regional meeting with the director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program that's forthcoming likely late summer, early September at the University of Rochester for this region to directly engage.
So as Diane mentioned, we are two of 28 policy experts. Lewis-Burke is a full service government relations and lobbying firm based in Washington, DC. For the purposes of Cornell, we solely focus on strategic research development and working through Emmanuel's office in OVPR and a close relationship with sponsored programs to ensure that we are working with you all, not only from an individual level, but from a center focus in a collaborative environment to identify federal funding opportunities to position you all not only to respond to requests for proposals, but also to think about driving those solicitations and engaging with program managers so you have every opportunity to be successful in the programs that you currently have, but also in diversifying your portfolio. So for example, if you're traditionally funded by the National Institute of Health or the National Science Foundation, thinking about the Department of Defense.
So how to utilize Lewis-Burke? And we'll go into this a little bit more at the end. As you have here, we have our contact information. You can reach out to us. We will loop in Diane or someone from sponsored programs to ensure that Cornell is staying in the loop from a high level perspective or campus-wide perspective. But sending an initial white paper or one pager to introduce your work-- we usually follow that up with a conference call to understand your goals, not only as a professional, but for that particular piece of work, and then posing some opportunities that you may or may not have considered in that landscape.
So we really do best when it's an iterative relationship and we have one on one opportunity to help you in considering the breadth for your project. I will also mention that we work very closely with young investigators and early stage faculty as well, so you don't necessarily need federal funding or to have any idea what the federal landscape looks like, because that is what we are hired to do. We're here to help demystify the way programs work and how to best engage with the nuances for each agency.
REED SKAGGS: Hi, everybody. How are you today? I'm Laura's colleague. I'm Reed Skaggs. I've been with the firm for a couple of years. I used to be a researcher with the Army Research Lab for a number of years after I graduated school.
I have a PhD in chemistry. I flirted with mechanical engineering. I've done a lot of different research areas. So I've been a practicing researcher, a Pentagon bureaucrat, I spent some time at the Pentagon, and I finished in the previous administration at OSTP for a while. So I'm going to give you a little bit of my perspective sitting on both sides of the fence, kind of some ways that we think are effective for you all going forward.
So I always tell people-- so one of my jobs is a plans and programs person for the entire lab. If you're not familiar with the army research lab, there is-- and I'll tell you more about this in a little bit-- but the army has a corporate laboratory. It does fundamental sciences. It also funds basic research. And often people would come to meet with the director or myself and say, well, we want money. And we would say, well, what do you want us to fund in the-- and they're like, well, what do you want to fund?
And we're like, it doesn't work that way. You need to come tell us what you're interested, what are your-- what's the work you're doing? What's your cutting edge things, because you all in the university world actually have a lot of freedom, a lot of ideas, that those in a government lab don't necessarily always enjoy those kinds of freedoms. We wanted to always hear from you.
And so in this job, I try to give you that perspective of how to build a relationship, how to talk to the government guys. And I know somebody in here is going to say, you know, I called that program manager five times and he never called me back or she never called me back. That happens. We're here to help encourage how to maybe make that person pick up the phone or take a meeting with you.
But like Laura said, it starts with a brief description of your research. And we'll give you different examples. We'll talk about different ways that help you craft a good white paper that's not too burdensome. So a lot of times people-- I'm sorry. How many people in the room actually have money from DOD? OK. Physical sciences? Medical sciences? Are you in physical sciences, medical sciences?
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] biological.
REED SKAGGS: Biological.
REED SKAGGS: In the back?
REED SKAGGS: Engineering. OK. So you guys have examples of how to support something of military context. And I always differentiate. So the NSF and NIH are wonderful agencies, because they promote science for our nation. They're not necessarily looking for the-- they're looking to push the edges of research to push the edges research. The military is looking for research that enables their missions to be accomplished.
So in this medical space we're going to talk about today, we'll talk about, for example, if you're a soldier and you're put into like, say, a remote place in Africa, and you get infected with malaria, who's in charge of making sure that soldier gets better? Because there's no hospital to go to. There might be a medic in his group. So the military funds research to develop vaccines and ways of preventing that soldier from being exposed to malaria or catching malaria in that type of instance. So that's a very purpose driven research that's got to go towards a real outcome per se.
So we try to spend a lot of time understanding where the government is, like in terms of what research trends are going on, especially in this space, what are the priorities, and trying to help you frame your work into the context of those areas. I always like to give this example of time machines. All right, it's fictitious, but at the end of the day, what does that time machine do for the DOD? We want to help people position themselves appropriately.
So let me paint a couple kind of the big broad picture before Laura does a deep dive into the medical community. So you probably read the New York Times and other places defense budgets are way big right now. I mean this is the high mark probably with this administration and the Congress. They have funded the Department of Defense at the highest levels in over 50 or 60 years.
And a lot of that has come over the course of the last couple of years where both Congress and senior leaders in the department have made the case that if we were to go into a real war situation, not-- and when I say real war, I mean Iraq and Afghanistan, they're very important things. But they're not a peer to peer conflict. So if we were to go into a war with, say, the Russians or the Chinese, that's a whole different state. And so everybody feels that there's not enough what they call readiness and modernization, meaning that we have enough equipment that's ready to go as well as we have the ability to train people in those situations.
So for example, you'll hear a lot of rhetoric around upgrading our nuclear enterprise. The command and control and communication for our nuclear weapon system has not been touched for 25 years. So think about how much technology has happened in 25 years. I mean everybody in this room has a piece of technology that didn't exist at the end of the Cold War. So how does that figure out? So that's trying to modernize and think about-- so if you look at the big picture in the Defense Department, they're going to have about a $600 billion budget. In that budget, it goes into five buckets.
The bucket we care about the most is research, development, test, and evaluation. And that's about $90 billion. Within that bucket is the funding that funds folks like you all, basic research, applied research, development research. Some people say 6.1, 6.2, 6.3. That tips out to about $14 billion. And we'll talk how it gets broken out in the next cycle. But that gives you kind of a sense, especially for those who come from the NIH world where you hear funny lines on the order of $32 billion, how the DOD stacks up relative to NIH or maybe NSF. So just to kind of give you a sense of where the money and priorities. And what's really interesting going on is the Pentagon-- so all this money shows up. And in the middle of this, they're re-organizing, so it's like they're building the plane as they go. So they've appointed the undersecretary for defense research engineering.
He's a former NASA administrator. His name's Mike Griffin. So you might remember the Bush administration. The Director of NASA was this man named Mike Griffin. He's now in the Department of Defense. The different organizations we'll talk about here in this next slide are all in the midst of some type of reorganizations because of this whole national strategy of how would the United States face a peer nation. So what I tried to do in this slide for folks is, in an organizational chart manner, start at the top with the Secretary of Defense and then boil down how the different agencies behave for research and engineering.
So Dr. Griffin, since he is the US DRE, Undersecretary of Defense for Research Engineering, so he oversees a total budget, that S and T I talked about in the previous side, of $14 billion. He doesn't exactly tell everybody how to do it, but he will say, I've got 10 priorities starting with hypersonics, directed energy weapons, quantum information sciences, artificial intelligence, prototyping. He's very, very deliberate about saying, here's where we need to put our resources. And he tries to influence the rest of these organizations of meeting those priorities for the nation on behalf of the Secretary of Defense.
So under his purview-- so think of it as an oversight job-- he has DARPA, and I think everybody here heard of DARPA. Yes? No. Yeah. OK. So big agency, $3 billion. What they're trying to do is high risk, high reward research. And so I always give the analogy, if they're going to fund 10 projects, they really think only three are going to be successful. And they tolerate seven of those projects being failures, because they know we learn from failure. And their agency is set up for that. DTRA. This is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They're only about a half a billion dollars in terms of how much money they put out into the research community. They buy a lot of stuff this community would never see.
Today, for our purposes, this defense health-- so under the Secretary of Defense's Office, there is a coordinating body for defense health purposes. But a bulk of the research is run by the Army's Medical Research Material Command. Total, this gets about $2 billion. And we'll break that apart a little bit for you here today. So within this enterprise, you see where the medical stuff sits. And then you have the individual services. So like I said, I came from the Army Research Lab. And within the Army Research Lab is the Army Research Office.
So The Army Research Office, their job-- located down Research Triangle Park in North Carolina-- is to fund fundamental basic research. So if you do mathematical sciences, chemistry, physics, those program managers are looking for white paper proposals from you all. And they're going to find single-- they really want to fund single investigators, so $150,000 type grants. Because the philosophy is I can spread 1,000 seeds, get a lot of people engaged into our areas that eventually get people involved in more applied type things down the road.
The Air Force is very-- I'm sorry. So once you have basic research done in the Army, folks like myself in the Army Research Lab would take basic research and do developmental research. So we are trying to then-- so let's say there's a new material developed, a new polymer of some sort. Our group would work with that as a new armor. I worked on armor technologies.
And we would work on that armor technology and eventually hand it off to a group in Warren, Michigan called the Tank Automotive Research Development Center where they would actually take maybe a prototype we developed and actually get it to the industry that would put it on a tank eventually. So when we start building hundreds of tanks for the Army, that was the developmental process of getting that material into that tank. So that's how the Army behaves.
The Air Force isn't much different than that, except they don't have these developmental centers. All the work that I just described in the Army is actually done all within the Air Force Research Laboratory. So Diane was speaking this morning. Close by here is the Rome Lab, which does a lot of work on information sciences, cyber security, electronic warfare, think all kinds of not non-kinetic types of applications. Their headquarters is in Dayton.
In Washington, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is located where they are the primary funders of basic research to the university community. And they very, very much look for people to send them a white paper, have a phone call, discuss the various areas that they're working on. In the middle is the Navy. So in the Navy, which is actually the oldest of the organizations, if you go to the Office of Naval Research, their program managers are funding both you folks in the university community but they're also funding the Naval Research Lab.
So they're a little bit different in a portfolio sense of they know what's going on internally as well they're controlling it both internally and externally that get out to their Naval Warfare Center. So I have a background in materials. So in the Navy, if there was work being done by ONR in a new chemistry of energetic material, eventually it would show up at the Indian Head Energetic Center where they would develop it into a new bomb for the Navy that might be shown on a platform. So in a roundabout way, this is where all the research organizations sit within the Department of Defense.
So diving out a little bit into the Defense Health Program. So in defense health, there are very specific areas that we've listed here that kind of sense their priorities, starting with hemorrhage. A big challenge is when somebody gets wounded or hurt on a battlefield is how do you get that injured person to a hospital within about an hour's period of time? If you have severe bleeding, that's a very big challenge, because you can't go to the local hospital and draw from the blood bank.
So I always say the holy grail of medical research is to figure out what artificial blood is. And people have been doing it for a long time, but they still haven't figured it out. So hemorrhage combat casualty care, maybe not as much of a priority as it was 10 years ago in the middle of the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, but again those types of area.
Then post-- we've seen the last 15 years lots of head injuries, so traumatic brain injury, also mental health issues. Maybe people who didn't get a brain injury but were predisposed has some mental health issues. And that kind of folds itself into pain management. You know, everybody is very well aware of the opioid crisis in our country right now. Our service members, they're part of the American public. They have the same profiles that we see in America. So Defense Health is trying to be a part of that solution trying to help those military members both active as well as veterans.
Does everybody realize that once you've served in the armed forces that the government continues to take care of you medically for the rest of your life? Yes. That's a huge burden in terms of finances. You just think about your own health care, now taking care of this group of people till they die. That's what you sign as part of the benefit of the volunteer forces. Infectious diseases-- Laura has a big background in this area. She's done a lot of work on infectious diseases as well as chem bio, because again, they're being exposed to very unique environments. The military did a lot of work on HIV, I said malaria, because of the unique exposures that military members get in the places they are.
So I talked about the Medical Research Command. We'll talk about that, but also some-- oops. Some of those offices, Office of Naval Research, Air Force [INAUDIBLE], DARPA, jumped into a lot of things in the last couple of years, and DTRA are also contributing a little bit to this enterprise. And then you can see in some of the bigger picture, what I call NIH-type level activities, the military has a role. They participate in panels, they try to provide like-- military people and veterans are really good when you want to do like precision medicine or cohorts, because they have explicit records, medical records, that people can do a lot of data mining in that you normally can't get from the general population because of HIPAA laws and so forth. And so they're always looking for ways to try to make medical care more effective and use the data that they have.
So my last slide here for a little bit is the Army Military Research Command. So this is over in Fort Detrick. And they basically have what I call directorates. I'm not sure what they characterize themselves today, but four areas. So military infectious diseases, combat casualty care, operational medicine, and clinical and rehabilitative research.
So what's unique about these folks is you'll meet often. They'll be in a uniform, but they're a doctor. They're a real doctor who's doing real research at the end of the day. So they're doing both internal research, but then occasionally they'll be in this Congressionally Directed Program that Laura'll talk about or they're doing something internally. So they're actually doing real live research in these places. And often, we'll tell you about a place to meet some of these folks when they're out there.
They're looking for collaboration partners. They're looking maybe for a university who has a very unique capability that they didn't know about, because they're focused on their day job. And I always tell people if you go to a research symposium, and you meet somebody, look for the guy with the colonel, or one with a colonel on their shirt, because they control the money. So they're the ones who have the money to talk to. There's lots of great people in this role, but if you are looking for the money person, talk to that person per se. OK. I will turn it back over to Laura.
LAURA UTTLEY: So as Reed mentioned, there are many agencies that have pockets of biomedical and health related research funding across the Department of Defense as well as the other agencies that Lewis-Burke cover. So the purpose of our presentation today is to talk about the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in advance of the regional meeting that I had mentioned. So if you have individual questions and are interested in other agencies, please feel free to reach out to us. We're happy to entertain those questions. But today we'll be focusing on CDMRP.
So as Reed had discussed, the Medical Research Material Command is the core of biomedical and health related research funding for the Department of Defense through the Army. The CDMRP program managers are housed at Fort Detrick and actually, in many cases, overlap with the MRMC program managers. So if you think about the breadth of opportunities and the engagement mechanisms for NIH where you can more or less pick up the phone or email a program manager and their contact information is readily available, DOD is the exact opposite and very opaque and lacks transparency.
So CDMRP over the last year or so has taken some efforts to improve transparency and engagement. So for this conference, kind of keep that in the back of your mind, is a unique opportunity not only to engage with the CDMRP director and program managers who are not regularly out in the community like other agencies, but think about the other folks in the room and the people sitting next to you, because those collaborations can help facilitate your successful proposals in this environment. And we'll go into that a little bit more.
So CDMRP, we start with the mission. The mission of CDMRP is to support service members, veterans, and the Americas public with the emphasis on service members and veterans. So Department of Defense is a mission-based agency. As Reed discussed, we're thinking about that use inspired research. So while it may be basic research, thinking about the broader impacts, the applications down the road, are crucial to successful engagements with the Department of Defense, especially on the biomedical side, because program managers and the appropriators who are setting up this language for this particular program are seeking to avoid duplication with NIH and other health and human service agencies.
So CDMRP is unique in that if you were to look in the president's budget request or in the National Defense Authorization Act, the authorizing bill for the Department of Defense, the policy bill, you would not see these programs. These programs are solely controlled by the Appropriations Committee in the House and the Senate. So they come out and are tied to the appropriations process, which is why right now there's a flurry of opportunities currently open. Some pre-applications are due this month and through the summer. This is Congress's way of asserting their decision making power over the Department of Defense and setting priorities. However, once you kind of boil that down, CDMRP takes each of the disease-specific areas that we're going to go into and sets their own priorities for the military relevancy or the type of civilian-based research that they would like to do.
So CDMRP is made up of all of these programs that you see on this slide. The red items with the check marks are currently released funding opportunity announcements that are available on the CDMRP website. So as you can see, they range in funding allotments. So the competitiveness for this program can be pretty tight.
So think about magnitudes of scale for a moment. The National Institutes of Health is a total of $37 billion. In total for DOD health funding, we're talking $2 billion. And in many disease-specific areas, so take cancer, even if you were to bundle all of the cancer programs that you see on this slide, they would not touch the National Cancer Institute's scope and breadth of cancer research. So that being said, the military relevancy again keeps coming up to ensure that you are thinking about how military populations, service members and their families in some cases are being affected by these.
This list of programs does not change as dramatically from fiscal year to fiscal year as the Peer Reviewed Medical Program. So that $330 million catch all topic that's listed on the top has a variety of opportunities. There's about 50 topics under that. Those topics change frequently. These topics do not change as much, because there is a specific pod of funding associated with it. But as you can see over the last year, there has been a substantial increase relative to cancer research. So you can kind of see how different trends have gone over the years. But for example, breast cancer was hovering around $120 million for a few years. So there's little volatility as far as the changes in these topics.
So the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, as I mentioned, is a catch all. Members of Congress, not necessarily on the Appropriations Committee, have a lot of influence over these topics. Lewis-Burke actually has had, outside of our Cornell role, has had a hand in the emerging infectious diseases topic that you see listed, as well as a few others. Those in bold and with asterisks are new topics for this year. So for example, chronic pain management. You know, if you think about the broad scope of opioids and how NIH is not only thinking about it from the actual addiction side but from the pain management component, what does that look like, especially in that case where there's a flood of money going into it? How are you thinking about the military populations and veterans in these cases?
Under all of these, we'll go into kind of the nuances of the funding opportunities on the next slide. But as you think about these topics before I go on, when you look at the funding opportunity announcement, go to appendix 2 in any of those solicitations, because the Department of Defense actually outlines areas of encouragement for each of these topic areas for the broader CDMRP function. It's kind of embedded in the funding opportunity announcement. But for this catch all, they actually bullet out five or six different focus areas. So you can ascertain as to whether your research does fit well into that program opportunity.
So given that funding is not as much as NIH, it is a competitive program. We can help you look on an individual basis as to what many of the most competitive programs look like, where a trend's going. CDMRP is not required to compete every funding opportunity every year. So for those broad overarching topics that have a funding allotment to them, with the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program aside, so we'll say breast cancer, for example. Breast cancer may not compete a initial concept discovery award every year.
Maybe one year they do an initial concept and the clinical translational piece, or then the next year they're trying to think about it moving down the pipeline, so we're going to do an established investigator award or a multi- investigator award and a clinical trial, kind of thinking about how do you move research down the pipeline. So it may not be that the mechanism comes out annually. So it's very important to track that on a year to year basis. And that is something that Lewis-Burke can work with you to do some back research to identify where those opportunities may be going. I'll also add that if you look in the single investigator-- establishing single investigator proposals for CDMRP, so prostate cancer, for example.
The single investigator award has two tracks, one for a nontenured faculty position and one for a tenured faculty position. I think postdocs are also eligible to be a co-PI on this and are encouraged. And as Reed showed on the slide going over the MRMC opportunities, in those combat casualty care, operational medicine, those buckets, intramural medicine is also an opportunity to scan, and Lewis-Burke works with individual faculty on this as well, to identify what the Department of Defense is doing and should you build relationships with intramural researchers that could potentially serve as a co-PI or a subcontractor on your application. By having them as a subcontractor or co-PI, you're increasing the tie to military relevancy which is embedded in the review process.
So the review process for CDMRP is a two-tier process. The peer review process is very similar to NIH. And we actually strongly encourage you to reach out to see CDMRP if you're interested in serving as a reviewer for any of the panels that were listed. They rotate annually.
All your proposals are evaluated on scientific merit and given a score. There we can share additional information on the nuances of this process and what they're looking for. So this is kind of the standard piece.
Part 2, the programmatic review, is the challenge, because this is where all of the funding decisions are made. This is where the funding recommendations come from. So the programmatic review panels look for the military relevancy piece, reducing duplicative research with NIH and other agencies.
There is no particular pay line that they're trying to go for. So it's a little ambiguous and evasive for researchers to try to understand that process. But by doing research on the intramural piece or what the funding trends have been in recent areas relative to those topics, we can help position you for demonstrating your awareness for what the department is interested in.
So the programmatic review panels consist of a diverse array of academic researchers. But usually they're focused on agency officials or consumer advocacy groups. So as you can see, under tick-borne disease, for example, the CDC, FDA, and NIH are all present on this panel. So you can then think about, well, now that there's representation from these agencies, they should have a pretty good understanding of what's already being funded on the health and human side.
And then diving into the Naval Medical Research Center, which would be the intramural piece. What is the Navy funding itself? And then, for example, the Global Lyme Alliance, the Lyme Disease Association, and thinking about more broadly what consumer advocacy groups are focusing on in this space. So for tick-borne disease, Lyme disease has been, obviously, one of the main priorities for this program.
For some of the more civilian-based programs-- like, for example, autism is one of those-- the military relevancy may change a little bit. But we always strongly encourage mentioning the Department of Defense, the warfighter, veterans, service members, in your pre-application and your proposal to demonstrate that you are not just submitting an NIH proposal to the Department of Defense.
I'll also just add that on programmatic review panels, they may not change year to year. So you could go back and engage with a previous programmatic reviewer. Perhaps one of your colleagues had sat on a panel. But the challenge here is that they have a little bit more stability versus the peer reviewers that change annually. And all of this information is publicly available on the CDMRP website.
So as far as resources go, the eBRAP portal, as you can see on the left over here, this is where a lot of the submissions go. So it's kind of a dual approach with grants.gov and eBRAP. But if you look down to where we've highlighted on the red circle, email subscriptions, there is an opportunity to select from a drop-down menu any number of the CDMRP topic areas that we discussed.
So you can get real-time updates on finding opportunities, as well as conferences and other engagement opportunities. This past year, we actually saw an opportunity come through that feed, pulling together a working group to share ideas in a particular area. And that had not been something that we had seen in other channels or actually really publicized otherwise.
As far as the CDMRP website, all of the open funding opportunities are available here, listed by the topic area. And then again, you can subscribe to funding opportunity announcements to get real-time emails from that site. I'll also point out while we have this slide, under the research programs, each of the top programs that I listed, the standing programs with an allotted funding amount have their own page. So you can get a sense of what was previously funded. We can help you navigate that, because some of the information is a little harder. It's not the most intuitive interface.
So thinking about ways to propose. Heilmeier was the director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. And he created these 10 questions for the individual program directors that the individual program directors have to use in order to advocate for and pitch their program. So DARPA program managers have a fair amount of autonomy over the funding allotments they're given. And DARPA program managers encourage interested investigators to use these 10 questions when framing their research to them so that they actually have their homework already in front of them. And it's a quick reference for when they're defending the research that they would like to fund.
So as we have been discussing this morning, the use-inspired research, how is this tying back to the Department of Defense? It may seem straightforward. But sometimes in our proposals, we take for granted the agency to which we're applying and thinking about the nuances of those.
We'll draw your attention to what are the risks and the payoffs? Department of Defense is very keen on understanding what the potential benchmarks would be in setting your metrics, kind of integrated into what are the midterm and final exam questions? How are we measuring progress and thinking about this exchange?
DOD program managers-- and this is true for CDMRP program managers-- once your proposal is recommended for funding and they want to go into a negotiation with you on what the funding looks like, program managers may want to work with you on adapting your proposal a little bit-- what the budget may look like. And it's a little bit more involved that we've heard from the investigators that we've worked with who have been successful in reaching that final stage and actually receiving the funding. There's a little bit of work on the back end as well.
So ways to engage DOD for health and biomedical research. As I mentioned, it's a really opaque set of agencies, especially for the Office of Naval Research, for example, and DARPA have all their program managers with their contact information listed on their website. CDMRP and the Medical Research Materiel Command do not have that same function.
So CDMRP, through quite a bit of work that Reed has been doing with the director, a feedback submission tool was recently added to the CDMRP website. There's a page form and an email address to fill out that you can submit a short one-pager to get initial feedback on your opportunity. Again, I caution you, if there's an open solicitation, the questions are much more administrate the logistics of applying for grants, rather than more of the substantive feedback side once the funding opportunity announcement has come out, similar to other agencies.
But through this portal, you can also request to serve as a reviewer on the peer review panel, as well as the programmatic review panel. So for instance, if you have been funded by Department of Defense and you want to enhance that track record, it's a little bit more challenging to sit on those panels. But perhaps you want to be recommended as a programmatic reviewer as well.
The Military Health System Research Symposium is in August this year, August 20 through the 23. Registration has not yet been posted. But all the information about the 2018 symposium is on its website.
We strongly encourage you to attend this. This is really one of the only opportunities to have face-to-face interactions with these program managers. And not only with the extramural funders, but also the intramural researchers who may be interested in building collaborations or going to the poster session to recruit interested folks to engage with them. If you have a relationship with the VA and you potentially have a joint appointment to do intramural research with the VA, that's a great opportunity to use in bolstering your application for funding to CDMRP as well.
Note that there is a poster abstract opportunity. The call usually comes out in March. And it's something that Lewis-Burke tracks. So going forward, we'll be sure to share all of that information.
And you do not need Department of Defense funding to attend. NIH as present. FDA is present. And as Reed mentioned, this is the conference to look for for the colonel who controls the funding.
The other piece that may be of interest related to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA, is the chem bio conference. It seems to be happening around the November time frame annually. But this is, again, another opportunity on the infectious diseases side-- the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat components. Really all of the significant concerns that should have most people running. This is where much of that scary research happens, as far as DTRA is concerned, and a great opportunity to engage.
So what happens after today? We can work with you as individuals. As I said, it's an iterative relationship. We hope this is an introduction to Lewis-Burke and some of our capabilities. We have similar depth and expertise across federal agencies, as well as the other DOD agencies. So please follow up with us. We're happy to work one on one.
The purpose of today's meeting is to prepare you all for thinking about meeting with CDMRP director Rebecca Fischer, who will be going to the University of Rochester. And Rochester has been coordinating with Diane and her office to get Cornell and other institutions in the area-- potentially the VA as well-- to go and listen to this presentation. So what questions do you have that you can actually share with Reed and me today, so that we can prepare Dr. Fischer just as much as we want to prepare you for this conversation so you get the most out of it?
What are your areas of interest? One question we've had in the past was how does CDMRP consider the big data initiative? What are some of the multiagency priorities integrated into CDMRP considerations?
We can work with you to develop quad charts, which are the preferred form of communication for the Department of Defense. We have some examples we'll send along with the slides, as well as one-pagers that are targeted for DOD audiences. And again, we can work to sort of create individual roadmaps or ramps to think about the progression for these opportunities.
So with that, I will-- I'll mention for the folks at Weill Cornell, we have a tentative date on the calendar to come and do a very similar presentation for you all to kind of integrate you into the Rochester meeting as well. So we hope to do this in person in New York City again. So with that, I'll just open it up to questions. OK.
AUDIENCE: So next question is the budget. I should know this because we're actually funded through the PRMRP. But what's the relationship between CDMRP and the PRMRP? Where do they fit into the organizational chart that Reed showed us at the beginning of this? That's what I'm not really sure about. Where they fit in that organizational chart.
LAURA UTTLEY: So the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program is actually part of CDMRP. It's one of those topics. And that is controlled solely by Congress.
REED SKAGGS: So CDMRP--
LAURA UTTLEY: Do you want to talk into the microphone?
REED SKAGGS: There are multiple microphones here, folks. So CDMRP falls within the Defense Health. So at the end of the day, they go back-- they have to enter essentially back into the secretary of defense's office.
LAURA UTTLEY: So it actually-- CDMRP program managers overlap with the Medical Research Materiel Command program officers. But the policy directions and the function of it at the high-level piece is set solely by Congress. So that's why you don't necessarily see it included in the decision-making matrix of the research and engineering chart.
So it's MRMC and then CDMRP. It's kind of like a Venn diagram where there's overlap. But the funding and the priority setting are separate from that larger entity.
REED SKAGGS: I'll pass the mic over.
AUDIENCE: So you've already mentioned that you should include the budget in a white paper, [INAUDIBLE] what's the proposed budget [INAUDIBLE]. But nowhere in the pre-application for CDMRP do I see any place to put budget information. And so can you elaborate, for the pre-application, should you state somewhere what your rough estimate of the budget would be? Or are you supposed to leave that out?
LAURA UTTLEY: So I would have to look at the individual funding opportunity announcement. And I'm looking at Jamie as well in Sponsored Programs Office because I don't want to make a general response for that type of question. Because, for example, Discovery Awards, you submit-- it's not required to submit a pre-application for all of them. So the standard changes and deviates a little bit.
So we can work with you and Sponsored Programs to answer those types of questions. But there is, on the eBRAP portal that I had showed with the funding resources slide, there is a spot that says forms and frequently asked questions. And if you click on that, they actually provide a whole host of templates.
So if you're invited for a full proposal or it's integrated into the pre-application, there's an example for statement of work for the budget, for other areas. And it's all different Word and PDF files.
REED SKAGGS: All right.
AUDIENCE: So if it is [INAUDIBLE] that they do not want the budget for the pre-application, would you say we should not volunteer that information in some other way?
REED SKAGGS: I think maybe there's a little bit of confusion. So the Heilmeier questions, that's a generic-- we're trying to educate you all that that's a generic way to present your work. Not, so let's put that as like, I'm generically going to go look for opportunities. For the CDMRP, there's very specific things in that letter of intent that you answer to. So let's try to disaggregate those if we can for a second.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] Office of Sponsored Programs here [INAUDIBLE] requirements, but in your-- would your advice be in those cases where the white paper doesn't require you to have a budget estimate, do you find that it's helpful to your ballpark, given the type of funding constraints, to add the DOD medical [INAUDIBLE]?
REED SKAGGS: My perspective is yes, because you can always tell when somebody actually really understands what they're proposing, in that they don't just say $1 million. They actually say, yeah, I need so much for labor. I need a grad student. I've got to buy a piece of equipment.
As a former government person, that's where I knew people were serious about their proposal. They would give me a little bit of a hint of how they got to their number. And people just write $2 million? That was automatically filtered for us.
LAURA UTTLEY: And I'll also add that we, through deep dives on a lot of these sources, have tracked down how many proposals have been funded in certain areas and what the total bucket of funding was. So if three proposals total, they funded $2.7 million, you can get a sense of how much is going in each of those. So we can work with you on that ballpark as well.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
REED SKAGGS: I can get it.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for the presentation. I have a question about this number of proposals they received. So you suggested that the funding threshold [INAUDIBLE] about 15%. So all the peer-reviewed group gets $300 million roughly. And there's 50 different public [INAUDIBLE]. So it's about $6 million per topic. So 15% of that, each topic gets only [INAUDIBLE] applications [INAUDIBLE]?
LAURA UTTLEY: So it really fluctuates. So depending on your individual area of interest, I could follow up with some specific feedback on not only the topic area and how many proposals were received, but what the breakdown was based on the research mechanism. And I should have gone into more detail about this.
But for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program-- so I had mentioned that CDMRP topics like breast cancer research have all of those research mechanisms. And you apply to the mechanism.
Well, for Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, each fiscal year, all of the research mechanisms-- Discovery Awards, single investigator, multi-investigator, clinical trial, there's a technology one as well-- are all released. And then you pick where you are in that spectrum and then pick a topic to which to apply. So there's a breakdown from the previous fiscal year on not only the research mechanism and how many proposals were submitted to that general Discovery Award bucket, but then what the breakdown was by specific topic area.
And like, as you can imagine, antibiotic resistance was one of the higher ones. Infectious disease was another high one. For the nuanced, very small, nuanced areas, you may actually see percentile-wise a higher success rate because not many people submitted to that particular research area.
So I can go through the statistics with you about that. But again, I would encourage you to think about the federal-- excuse me-- the federal landscape. So yeah, we're going to invest more right now in emerging infectious diseases, given that Zika and Ebola have been a huge priority, not only for the federal government writ large, but the Department of Defense. And we can help you gauge where those priority areas and interests are.
For the biomedical engineering folks in the room and the medical devices piece-- and just engineering in general-- there's a lot relative to materials, especially related to vaccines that may be of interest. How can you transport various technologies, making them mobile? Or biodegradable. Can you reduce the need for refrigeration in many capacities? So just some food for thought as you think about these opportunities.
And again, they're pretty explicitly listed in the areas of encouragement, especially for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, if you look by research mechanism. They break it down. Other questions? David?
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. So two questions. One, is it-- can you comment on the importance of having DOD researchers integrated to your program or proposal? [INAUDIBLE] people that [INAUDIBLE]. And the importance of having that as part of the peer reviewed programs.
And then, how [INAUDIBLE] important how people hear [INAUDIBLE] is YouTube [INAUDIBLE] if that's possible. And secondly, for under the peer reviewed programs, how is the money bucketed such that it doesn't make sense to, for example, propose a topic that might-- or propose something that might cross some of those topics? For example, precision nutrition, where [INAUDIBLE] nutrition, optimized nutrition than, say, infectious disease.
LAURA UTTLEY: So--
LAURA UTTLEY: Yeah. I'm going to answer the second question first. So the prompt for applying to the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program actually requires you to select a core topic. But there is benefit in thinking about the holistic system.
So at the end of the day, you may have to, because think about the way NIH functions as far as your peer review panels and how they're divided out into the study sections. So for DOD, you may, depending on what you select, that could be the panel that's reviewing that proposal. So I would be thoughtful about which one you select.
But there certainly can be cross. So scientific merit for that core piece should be strong, the one that you focus on. But on the programmatic review side, having some overlap and thinking about it as kind of an overlapping system is certainly helpful.
REED SKAGGS: So on your first question, so let me just clarify. Is that with respect to the medical program or just research in general?
AUDIENCE: Well, [INAUDIBLE]. But what I was thinking is, for example, [INAUDIBLE].
LAURA UTTLEY: Excuse me. Folks at Weill? Do you mind muting your microphones?
REED SKAGGS: Maybe we're all immune to them. I don't know sign language.
AUDIENCE: Let me try again. So let me give you an example. [INAUDIBLE] proposes a two-day [INAUDIBLE] program.
AUDIENCE: OK. So imagine one's applying to the peer reviewed program, [INAUDIBLE] program. You commented on the importance of [INAUDIBLE]. Can you comment on the importance of having DOD researchers as part of your team [INAUDIBLE] relevance [INAUDIBLE]. And then if that is important, how [INAUDIBLE] able to, same as you guys, to make some of those connections.
REED SKAGGS: [INAUDIBLE]
LAURA UTTLEY: I'll take the first part. And then I think you can [INAUDIBLE] because you have more [INAUDIBLE]. So the military-- DOD collaborations with intramural researchers are important in that it counts directly towards your military relevancy.
So if you have a strong sense of what's going on in the research space that DOD is working on-- so you know what's going on at Walter Reed or other areas-- and it's embedded in your application, that collaboration may not be as necessary. Or if you have the cutting-edge, most innovative piece of technology for that space, you can weigh the importance of a DOD collaboration on your own.
I will say that in the funding opportunity announcements, as they define military relevancy, it's not only that research understanding, but also partnerships with military researchers or organizations. Not necessarily just on the health side, but, for example, Army Research Lab. More broadly it could be something like that. Or specific engagement with a VA population, or a joint appointment with the VA.
So if you-- we can send additional information and work on an individual basis as usual. But your military relevancy is given a score, for lack of a better word. And that's assessed. And that engagement piece speaks to the military relevancy. So it's one component of a few factors to which you're being judged. And I think if you wanted to talk more about how you build those relationships.
REED SKAGGS: Yeah. So the medical side, this is a good question for Dr. Fischer when she comes. To say, I'll make it up. So we have a great robotics program. We think we can put some robotics in the field to deliver a vaccine to maybe some people that are in a dangerous place.
I'm making that up. But you get my point. Allow her to enable to help, for her to say, here's some people to talk to, because that's one of the things. So that form would be, if you didn't know Dr. Fischer, she'd say, fill that form out and ask me that question.
I think in a broader sense, the laboratories, my former organization, the Air Force, are really looking to expand the way they do business. I think the way things have gone for the last 50 years, people are starting to say, are we really touching? Are we really having a community sense in our common space? Are we kind of closed in our thinking?
And so you all bring an outside perspective sometimes. We bring different areas of technology that in collaboration allows you all to then maybe be in position for a future [INAUDIBLE] opportunity. Or maybe [INAUDIBLE] another federal funding agency. So in the lab, the lab guys can actually be subcontractors to you [INAUDIBLE].
So sometimes they're like, the group on my left started doing a lot of work on explosives in trying to understand how [INAUDIBLE]. And so they actually had to find [INAUDIBLE] models that were trying to understand how the brain behaved in an explosion. But they didn't have [INAUDIBLE] tissue models that the [INAUDIBLE] had. And so they [INAUDIBLE]. So that positioned them [INAUDIBLE].
I don't know if that helps you. But just different ways to think about [INAUDIBLE] partners is very, I think is very [INAUDIBLE]. Question down here?
AUDIENCE: For the disease-related [INAUDIBLE] application [INAUDIBLE] research [INAUDIBLE]?
LAURA UTTLEY: I don't have the specifics to that off the top of my head. But I'm--
REED SKAGGS: That's a good question.
LAURA UTTLEY: That's a great question to ask Dr. Fischer. And you can also send some information to us, and we can see if we can find some preliminary follow-up information for you in advance of that conversation.
REED SKAGGS: I guess the biggest thing is-- and we appreciate your questions. They're very specific. So we're going to give Dr. Fischer a call in about three weeks [INAUDIBLE]. And there are specific questions that we can present to her. She'll tell you I'll come here in five-minute slots.
So what about 20 do you really want us to tell you about? [INAUDIBLE] very specific [INAUDIBLE], she'd be happy [INAUDIBLE]. But there are other specific questions you can think of her that would be helpful to you all [INAUDIBLE].
AUDIENCE: So I'm not sure if this is a question, but I know that-- and you pointed this out at the beginning-- that the DOD is really opaque when you compare it to NIH and other [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, with those agencies, you can pick up a phone and call the program officer. And they give you a tremendous amount of information that's helpful in whether you're going to write the grant or not, or if you're going to write it or not, [INAUDIBLE].
So is there any effort that's going on now to try and open that door up a little bit so that people who are interested in applying just don't get this black box? You know what I mean? At best, you can type something into a window and maybe get an answer. But that's about as good as you're going to get, from what I've seen.
REED SKAGGS: Right. So the eBRAP tool that Laura referred to?
REED SKAGGS: So there are a lot of [INAUDIBLE].
REED SKAGGS: So that's their first attempt to try to start [INAUDIBLE] the announcement [INAUDIBLE] audience at once. That's not really [INAUDIBLE]. So that's their mission [INAUDIBLE].
AUDIENCE: So maybe she could talk about that.
REED SKAGGS: She will. And I'm not trying to be apologetic. I'm also trying to tell people to realize that you need [INAUDIBLE]. Just do the mission. You know, if I talk to somebody--
AUDIENCE: Does Lewis-Burke have any-- do you guys have an in there at all in terms of being able to get [INAUDIBLE] so if we work for you?
REED SKAGGS: Yes. So what we offer-- so we know certain areas, certain parameters, we know [INAUDIBLE]. And we can provide [INAUDIBLE] an introduction. [INAUDIBLE] medical [INAUDIBLE]. That is the most important because I'm not actually [INAUDIBLE] where you are. [INAUDIBLE]
But we know certain people [INAUDIBLE] and say OK, you're doing HIV? Here's a public company you need to talk to. [INAUDIBLE] and try to take care of [INAUDIBLE] administrative or [INAUDIBLE] just trying to get to that person. [INAUDIBLE] We're happy to go figure those pieces out.
I mean, Laura here, for this university, does that across the board for all [INAUDIBLE] agencies. I'm just happy-- I came here to give you the perspective of a former government person and how they look at it when you [INAUDIBLE].
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On June 20, 2018, Laura Uttley and Dr. Reed Skaggs from Lewis-Burke Associates LLC presented on Department of Defense-(DOD) sponsored biomedical and health-related research, federal funding opportunities and ways to engage with DOD program managers, including a workshop that will take place in the coming months at the University of Rochester where faculty will be able to meet with DOD program managers from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).