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Bench-to-Bedside Program

Program Guidelines

  1. Overview of Bench-to-Bedside Program
  2. Source of Funds
  3. Who May Apply
  4. Resources for Applicants
  5. Peer Review of Applications
  6. Annual Progress Reports
  7. Appendix: Bench-to-Bedside by the Numbers

Overview of Bench-to-Bedside Program

Originally established in 1999 to integrate the work of basic and clinical scientists on the NIH campus, the BtB Program expanded in 2006 to encourage partnerships between intramural and extramural programs.

These two-year awards are designed to seed new projects that propose to translate basic science to human subjects research. Each award provides $150,000 per year, not including indirect costs. 255 projects have been funded since 1999, with more than 900 investigators receiving awards.

BtB proposals can fall into one of six funding categories aligned with our donor office partners: AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, dietary supplements, minority health, rare diseases and women's health projects. All proposals not supported by the donor offices will receive consideration for support in the General category, supported by the Stable Funds provided by the NIH Director.

All BtB teams should involve an intramural investigator PLUS one or more investigator(s) from another institute and/or an extramural partner(s). For awards involving extramural partners, extramural funds will be as awarded via an administrative supplement to an existing NIH grant. Please see FAQ #10 for information about grant eligibility.

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Source of Funds

Funding for BtB Awards is provided in the following research categories by the entities listed below:

(1) AIDS (Support from the Office of AIDS Research): Exemplary HIV/AIDS projects aligned with the new overarching HIV/AIDS research priorities will be considered for funding (

(2) Behavioral and Social Sciences (Support from the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research): Projects will be considered for funding that facilitate the translation of basic behavioral and social science research findings into effective interventions to prevent disease and to promote and optimize health. Of particular interest are interdisciplinary research and systems thinking and modeling approaches that integrate multiple levels of analysis - from cells to society - of factors that influence health. Key problems in population health where scientists, practitioners, and decision-makers can work together to accelerate the translation, implementation, dissemination, and adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings are of high priority to OBSSR. The Office has strong interests in the development of behavioral interventions to improve health, studies of gene-environment interactions, adherence (at the patient and provider levels), measurement harmonization, primary care, mobile health, health disparities, shared medical decision-making, the exposome, and other areas.

(3) Dietary Supplements (Support from the Office of Dietary Supplements): Awards in this funding category are designed to promote scientific study of the benefits of dietary supplements in maintaining health and preventing chronic disease and other health-related conditions but not in disease treatment. In the U.S., these ingredients are usually defined as including plant extracts, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and hormonal products that are available without prescription and are consumed in addition to the regular diet.

(4) Healthy Disparities and Minority Health (Support from the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities): NIMHD will fund projects that support the overall NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities, improve minority health and promote health equity. Research projects must focus on: 1) improving our understanding of ways to reduce health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities, persons of less privileged socioeconomic status, sexual gender minorities, or underserved rural residents; or 2) health determinants and mechanisms of health outcomes in racial/ethnic minority populations as defined by the US Census.

(5) Rare Diseases (Support from Office of Rare Diseases Research in the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences): ORDR/NCATS will provide funding in this category. Projects must focus on an area of science/research directly related to a rare disease. An orphan or rare disease is generally considered to have a prevalence of less than 200,000 affected individuals in the United States. Diseases with a prevalence of more than 200,000 affected individuals may be included if a biologically plausible subset of the disease, with a prevalence less than 200,000, can be scientifically justified for focused research. A comprehensive list of rare diseases, updated regularly, is available at

(6) Women's Health (Support from the Office of Research on Women's Health): One project will be funded that focuses on efforts to improve the health of women through biomedical and behavioral research. The influence of sex and gender on health and disease is of particular interest, specifically comparing and contrasting female and male data from cells, animals, or tissues across a range of research questions. For information on the Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research, see:

(7) General: All projects that are not funded by the Donor Offices as well as additional meritorious projects that don't fall within the scope of the categories listed above will be considered for funding in the "general" category. These projects are funded using Stable Funds provided by the NIH Director.

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Who May Apply

As in prior years, intramural investigators in all institutes/centers are eligible to serve as project leaders on proposals. At least one intramural investigator on the project must have responsibility for scientific and budgetary oversight (e.g., the investigator must have a budget/assigned CAN and resources).

Extramural principal investigators (PIs) with an existing NIH grant (e.g., researchers at CTSA or AIAMC sites) are invited to initiate proposals in one of two ways.

  1. Extramural investigators may seek an intramural partner at NIH who would function as the project leader and serve as the point of contact. To identify an intramural collaborator, extramural investigators may consult a number of NIH resources:
  1. Extramural investigators may initiate proposals and serve as project leaders. In this role, extramural principal investigators will develop letters of intent and if approved, may develop full proposals. In this scenario, extramural investigators are required to identify an intramural collaborator on the project. On behalf of the lead extramural PI, the intramural investigator will be responsible for submitting both the letter of intent and full proposal electronically using proposalCentral.

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Resources for Applicants

For inquiries regarding the BtB Program, including questions related to the content of your LOI and full proposal, please contact BtB Program staff at

For questions about using ProposalCentral, please refer to the following resources:

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Peer Review of Applications

A review team, appointed by the Chief Scientific Officer, NIH Clinical Center, reviews and ranks the proposals. The team includes both intramural and extramural basic and clinical scientists representing multiple institutes and centers, and includes expertise in the funded research categories. Considerations for review include:

  • High quality of science (to be evaluated as described in the NIH Enhanced Review Criteria for Research Grants and Cooperative Agreements) with the potential to result in understanding an important disease process or lead to new therapeutic intervention;
  • Strong translational science, with the bedside and bench components clearly related; one should lead logically to the next, and both should be strongly developed;
  • The proposed translational work has the promise to evolve into an active clinical protocol with patient involvement in the future*
  • Although projects can be exclusively among intramural investigators preferably from more than one IC, collaborations between intramural and extramural investigators will receive priority review;
  • The work should be a truly new initiative, not a funding request for work in progress.

*Translational component section: Applicants will be required to explain how their proposed project will involve clinical work with direct patient contact, OR how the results of their proposal will lead to next steps involving clinical work (ultimately with direct patient contact), with involvement at the Clinical Center a preference but not a requirement. Projects can include studies of patients, then, laboratory studies and then, back to patient studies.

If you have specific questions about the peer review process, please contact BtB staff at

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Annual Progress Reports

Principal Investigators for all awarded projects will be required to submit annual progress reports on each project's status and extramural collaborators receiving administrative supplements are required to include a section in the parent grant RPPR on the progress made on the BtB project. BtB Program Staff will provide a template for the report and advance notice regarding the due date. See the current progress report templates.

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Total Funding By Year, 1999 – 2014

A line chart titled Funding by Year, $ in Millions is displaying an increase of funding from 1.6 million to 6.8 million, then back down to 2.4 million within the time frame of 1999 to 2014

Success Rates and BtB Trends

A line chart within the time frame of 2009 to 2014 displaying number of LOIs by year starting with 91 in 2009, and increase to 189 in 2012, and a decrease to 102 in 2014, and also displaying a Success Rate by year, starting at 21% in 2009 and ending at 18% in 2012

Extramural Partners, 2006 – 2014

147 Awards at 82 U.S. and International Sites

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Benaroya Research Institute
Beth Israel Medical Center
Boston University
Case Western Reserve University
Catholic University of America
Children's Hospital & Clinics of Minnesota
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Children's National Medical Center
Cincinnati Children's Medical Center
Cleveland Clinic
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Food and Drug Administration
George Washington University
Georgetown University
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals
Gynecologic Oncology Group
Hackensack University Medical Center
Harvard University
Howard University
INOVA Fairfax Hospital
Johns Hopkins University
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Massachusetts General Hospital
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Mayo College of Medicine
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Medical University of South Carolina
National Naval Medical Center
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center
Oregon State University
Prince George's County Hospital
The Rockefeller University
San Francisco General Hospital
Sanford Burnham Research Institute
Stanford University
Science Applications Int'l Corp
St. Michael's Medical Center
Stanford University
State University of New York
Temple University
Tufts University
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of Central Florida
University of Cincinnati
University of Louisville
University of Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of North Dakota
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of South Carolina
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
US Food and Drug Administration
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Washington Hospital Center
Washington University in St. Louis
Weill Cornell Medical College
Yale University

10 International Partnerships

  • Hospital A. C. Camargo, Brazil
  • Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • Sackler School of Medicine, Israel
  • University of New South Wales, Australia
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Zaria, Nigeria

Progress Report Template

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This page last updated on 06/13/2019

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