National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program in 1993. IDeA—the largest of the EPSCoR-like programs—is designed to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research.

As authorized by Congress, the program’s intent is to enhance the competitiveness for research funding of institutions located in states with historically low levels of funding and low aggregate success rates for grant applications to the NIH.


1.) Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)

  • Designed to increase the pool of well-trained investigators in the IDeA states
  • Expands research facilities, equips laboratories with the latest research equipment, provides mentoring for promising candidates, and develops research faculty through support of a targeted multi-disciplinary center, led by an established, senior investigator with expertise in the research focus area of the center
  • Specific goals:
    1. Develop a thematic scientific focus in an NIH area;
    2. Engage an established investigator, funded by NIH, NSF or other comparable Federal or private sector source to lead the effort;
    3. Develop the competitiveness of 3-5 research projects, each supervised by a junior investigator;
    4. Define a plan for mentoring, career development, graduation and replacement of junior investigators; and
    5. Establish long-term plans for developing and sustaining the center, research program, investigators, collaborations and physical infrastructure.

2.) IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), formerly BRIN

  • Designed to increase the pipeline of outstanding students and enhance the quality of science faculty in the IDeA states by networking research intensive and undergraduate institutions
  • Prepares students for graduate and professional schools as well as careers in the biomedical sciences
  • Supports research and mentoring of young investigators
  • Enhances research infrastructure at participating institutions
  • Specific goals:
    1. Develop a statewide, multi-disciplinary thematic research network of doctoral degree granting/research intensive institutions and undergraduate institutions;
    2. Build and increase research capacity by supporting faculty, fellows, and students at participating institutions;
    3. Provide undergraduate faculty and students research support, and serve as a “pipeline” to health research careers;
    4. Provide outreach to students at undergraduate institutions, community colleges and tribal colleges; and
    5. Enhance the science and technology knowledge base and the economy statewide.

3.) IDeA-Clinical and Translational Research (CTR)

  • Designed to encourage applications from IDeA states to develop infrastructure and capacity in order to conduct clinical and translational research on diseases that affect the medically underserved populations and/or the diseases prevalent in IDeA states
  • Provides for both mentoring and career development initiatives in clinical and translational research

4.) Co-funding

  • When funding is available, NIGMS co-funds awards made by other NIH institutes and centers (ICs) in support of investigator-initiated research project grants at institutions within IDeA-eligible states.
  • NIGMS can request that the other NIH ICs submit for IDeA co-funding consideration those applications that have already been judged meritorious by NIH peer-review committees and IC national advisory councils, but are nonetheless outside the range of applications currently under consideration for funding.

Enacted Budgets

Fiscal Year Enacted Budget
FY2017 $333.4M
Cognizant Office
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)/Center for Research Capacity Building
Program Officer

Ming Lei, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Research Capacity Building

45 Center Drive
MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Agency Website
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