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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 Mar-Apr; 295

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Grant Programs at the National Library of Medicine


NLM's Extramural Programs funds projects in areas of vital interest to NLM, namely, information management and the enormous utility of computers and telecommunications for improving the storage, retrieval, access, and use of biomedical information. NLM's Extramural Programs uses grants-in-aid and, less commonly, contracts for four types of support: resources, research, training, and publication.

Resource Grant Support

Resource grant support, available to public and private, non-profit health institutions, is designed to improve the infrastructure essential to the management of biomedical information and ranges from basic access in the Information Access Grant to the more sophisticated Integrated Advanced Information Management System (IAIMS) Grant. NLM's resource grants, which are available to single institutions as well as groups of health-related institutions, serve a "seeding" purpose and support the large capital costs of development and demonstration; therefore, there must be a strong likelihood of ongoing future support by the requesting institutions. NLM offers four resource grants:

1) Information Access Grants, primarily directed to small- and medium-sized health sciences institutions, provide one-year support for computer equipment and communications to access NLM's Grateful Med, especially using the Internet, or to install a computerized library system. This grant of $12,000 is available to single institutions as well as groups in which each participant is eligible up to $12,000.

2) Information Systems Grants are distinguished from the Access Grants by the scope and nature of the technological means used and are aimed towards larger health sciences institutions such as academic health science institutions and hospitals; library involvement is essential. Support is available from $50,000 to $150,000 per year up to three years.

3) Internet Connection Grants are intended to enable health-related institutions to become part of the Internet. This grant supports router/gateway equipment (to connect local and wide area networks), Internet Service Provider fees, and communications costs. Support is available for one year to single institutions at $30,000 and multiple institutions at $50,000 (total amount to all participating institutions).

4) Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems (IAIMS) Grants are institution-wide computer networks that link and relate library systems with individual and institution databases and information files, within and external to the institution, for patient care, research, education, and administration. The goal is to create an organizational mechanism to manage more effectively the knowledge of medicine and to provide for a system of comprehensive and convenient information access. Support is provided in two stages: (1) initial planning phase up to $150,000 a year for one to two years and (2) implementation phase up to $500,000 per year for five years.

Research Grants

Research grants are available to investigate the storage, organization, retrieval, access, management and utilization of biomedical information. Research areas include: representation of medical knowledge in computers; organization and retrieval issues for image databases; enhancement of human intellectual capacities through virtual reality, dynamic modeling, artificial intelligence, and machine learning; medical decision-making; linguistic analyses of medical languages and nomenclatures; investigations of topics relevant to health information or library science; and biotechnology informatics issues. NLM offers traditional NIH investigator-initiated project grants (R01) and First Independent Research Support and Transition (FIRST) awards (R29).

Training Support

Training support aids in providing an adequate national pool of scientists to resolve medical informatics issues through formal programs and individual fellowships:

1) Institutional Training Programs in Informatics Research. NLM provides grants to U.S. academic health centers for support of research training in medical informatics and various subfields. Training is usually in general medical informatics, but some programs permit special emphasis in such subfields of informatics as radiation oncology, nursing informatics, dental informatics, and informatics of special interest to librarians. Training sites select trainees at both predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. Each site has its own eligibility requirements. Individuals receive stipends and expenses according to established NIH schedules.

2) Individual Postdoctoral Informatics Research Fellowships are available to those interested in informatics research training who wish to identify their own mentor and host institution. The proposed study can be in general medical informatics, biotechnology, or any other area of informatics. Applicants must have a doctoral degree relevant to biomedicine or computer science, or equivalent degree from accredited domestic or foreign institution. Stipends and expenses are based on established NIH schedules.

3) Individual Applied Informatics Fellowships support health science professionals (including librarians) whose primary interest is to put informatics into practice; develop modern information systems in traditional organizations; use the new information techniques in a specific field; and help disseminate promising programs and systems. Applicants must select their mentor and host institution. The proposed effort can be in any area of informatics. Individuals with a bachelor's, master's or doctor's degree in a field related to health are eligible. Support is based on salary or remuneration which the individual would have been paid on date of award from home institution (not to exceed $58,000 a year).

4) IAIMS Apprenticeship positions are directed by the program director of each IAIMS implementation grant. Admission requirements depend on the program director; a doctoral degree is not mandatory. Support is available up to $50,000 per year.

Publication Grants

Publication grants provide assistance for manuscript preparation and, in some cases, publication of important scientific information which is not commercially viable. Projects may be in such areas as history of medicine; major critical reviews and analyses of current developments in broad and critical issues in the health sciences; works about health sciences librarianship and biomedical information; and certain kinds of secondary information and literature tools in the health sciences, such as handbooks, directories and other reference resources. Publication may present new and innovative methods of organizing and providing information. Publication formats other than print-on-paper, such as electronic or film, are eligible for support. Support is available up to $25,000 per year for one to three years.

Additional Information

Additional information is available from the NLM web site:; click on Extramural Grant Programs under Grants and Acquisitions. Or go directly to the URL, Fact sheets, application packets and the names and addresses of persons to answer specific questions about particular programs are all available on this Web site. If you do not have Internet access you may contact the NLM's Division of Extramural Programs at:

Phone: 301-496-4621
Fax: 301-402-2952
--prepared by Frances Johnson
Division of Extramural Programs
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