Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Gulf War Illness Research Program -- Investigator-Initiated Focused Research Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY18 GWIRP IIFRA supports research to promote new ideas or continued development of applied research in GWI that is aimed at diagnosis or therapeutic advancement. Applications must articulate the pathway to making a clinical impact for Veterans with GWI even if a clinical impact is not an immediate outcome. All applications must focus on Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War affected by GWI. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) to clearly and explicitly articulate the project’s potential impact on GWI. 

New in FY18! Biorepository Contribution Option: In FY17, the GWIRP awarded infrastructure support for a GWI Biorepository. The “Boston Biorepository, Recruitment, and Integrative Network (BBRAIN) for GWI” has now been established for the retention and distribution of biospecimens and/or data related to GWI research. Applicants to the FY18 GWIRP are encouraged to contribute biospecimens and data to this repository network. The FY18 GWIRP IIFRA offers a nested Biorepository Contribution Option with higher levels of funding for qualified applications as described in Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions. For the application to qualify for a higher level of funding, the PI must submit a Biorepository Contribution Statement (see Attachment 10) providing a detailed accounting of proposed costs and a commitment to work with protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed by the BBRAIN for quality assurance purposes. For additional details about BBRAIN, refer to the section below titled Access to Data and/or Previously Collected Biospecimens from Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

The FY18 GWIRP IIFRA supports projects at different stages of development. PIs should apply under one of two different Tiers. It is the responsibility of the applicant to select the Tier that is most appropriate for the research proposed. This choice should be based on the scope of the research proposed and not the funding level. 



• Pre-Application Deadline:  July 13, 2018
• Invitation to Submit an Application: August 2018
• Application Submission Deadline: November 8, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The FY18 GWIRP has a special interest in the exploration of the topics listed below. Research into these topics must be directly relevant to Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the complex of symptoms known as GWI. Elucidation of mechanisms outside the context of GWI is not within scope of this funding opportunity. Applicants are not restricted to this list and may propose studies in any other GWI research area relevant to the mission of the GWIRP.

The FY18 GWIRP Investigator-Initiated Focused Research Award (IIFRA) Topics of Special Interest are as follows:

  • Epidemiology of comorbidities and mortality, including gender and ethnic differences
  • Sinus, respiratory, gastrointestinal, sleep, or dermatological abnormalities as a component of GWI
  • Entanglement of symptom effects including non-refreshing sleep with other GWI symptoms
  • Genetic factors predisposing individuals to GWI
  • Molecular signatures (e.g., biomarkers) underlying symptom clusters via genomic, proteomic, metabolic, or epigenetic technologies
  • Dysregulation of, or abnormal crosstalk between, human body organ systems (e.g., neuroinflammation, autonomic dysfunction, etc.). Particular emphasis is placed on the systems listed below. Note: Examination of parameters at both baseline and after challenge (stress, exercise, immune, etc.) and attention to long-term and latent effects of toxic exposures to closely represent the current status of GWI patients should be considered. ○ Neurological system (central, peripheral, and/or neuromuscular) ○ Immune system ○ Endocrine, exocrine, and/or excretory systems, with special interest in kidney and liver (including Cytochrome P450 abnormalities) 

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) are eligible to apply. An eligible PI, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or citizenship status, must be employed by, or affiliated with, an eligible organization.



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY18 GWIRP IIFRA varies by Tier. Direct costs will not exceed $250,000 for a Tier 1 Award or $700,000 for a Tier 2 Award. If applying under the Biorepository Contribution Option, direct costs will not exceed $266,000 for a Tier 1 Award or $716,000 for a Tier 2 Award. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information. 

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Medical Fellow/Resident
Post Doctoral Fellows


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 13, 2018