NIH RFA-OD-14-001: Botanical Dietary Supplement Research Centers (BDSRC) (P50)

Research centers to develop and apply cutting-edge, trans disciplinary approaches to the study of botanicals with relevance to human health, that are found as ingredients in dietary supplements. Should integrate a range of relevant disciplines, expertise, and models to elucidate the interactions between complex botanical products and human biology. The long-term goal is to support development of the preclinical data required for optimal design of clinical research on botanical products. The focus will be on basic and preclinical research, and researching the mechanisms of action of botanicals traditionally used for health maintenance, or on botanicals with strong evidence of promise for improving objective, quantitative measures of organism resilience. Use of relevant vertebrate and invertebrate models is strongly encouraged. A strictly limited number of human subjects research aims, designed to interrogate, e.g., in vivo mechanism(s) of action, safety, pharmacokinetics, or bases of individual differences in metabolism or response, may be included.

Limited Submission: 1 application per institution (based on unique DUNS number)
Cost Sharing:             Not required
Full RFA:          

Key Dates (All due times are 5PM unless otherwise noted.)

  • April 23, 2014             Internal competition pre-proposals due to ORSP
  • April 25, 2014             ORSP announcement of selected pre-proposal
  • May 15, 2014              Early draft of full proposal narrative due to ORSP for enhanced review.
  • May 30, 1014              Mature drafts of all required proposal documents due to ORSP.
  • June 6, 1014:              Proposals due to NIH (electronic submission[1]), 5PM local time
  • July 2015:                    Earliest project start date

Research Objectives

  • Development or adoption of cutting-edge approaches with potential to accelerate, improve predictive accuracy, or extend the capacity of methods for botanical identification and characterization, identification or prediction of toxicity, drug interactions, and/or efficacy.
  • Elucidation of interactions between chemical constituents of plants.
  • Development of models
  • Development approaches to obtain outcomes from studies of botanical mixtures.
  • Approaches to assess modulation of botanical activities by host characteristics
  • Preclinical projects focused on botanicals with a history of human use, especially those used for health maintenance or improving resilience, are strongly encouraged.

Structure: Each center must consist of 3 or 4 research projects supported by one or more research cores (including one Botanical Research Core) and one administrative core, all united by a central theme.

Purview of the FOA

  • Focus on health and resilience (at least 1/3 of specific aims)
  • Objective outcome measures
  • Terrestrial plants or macroscopic fungi (and products derived from them)
  • Traditional herbal medicines
  • Plant-based foods proposed to contain bioactivities beyond basic nutrition

Pre-Proposal Instructions:

  • 2 pages max, single-spaced, 11-point font (Arial preferred); e-mail to
  • Overall
    • PI/PD (or, if multiple PIs, the Contact PI)
    • Central Theme
    • Specific aims, incl. outcomes related to human health/resilience
  • ·Research Cores, including at least one botanical (or related) core
    • Name, leader, specific aims and description of expertise and one or more cores, including statement describing how this core is not duplicating an existing core. Describe technologies and approaches to be developed and adapted to increase understanding of botanical effects on health on humans or preclinical models
  • Research Projects
    • Name, leader, specific aims, hypothesis, supporting preliminary data, and description of each of 3 or 4 proposed research projects, including how each will integrate chemical analysis of complex botanical products with human health-relevant outcomes
  • Letter or e-mail of support or approval by Dean, Director, and/or Chair. (Required, but does not count against the 2-page limit.)

[1] Proposals must be submitted using NIH’s new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST)