Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Tick-Borne Disease Research Program -- Idea Development Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY21 TBDRP IDA intends to support research that could lead to impactful discoveries or significant advancements that will accelerate progress toward improving Lyme disease and/or other tick-borne diseases research, patient care, and/or quality of life for military Service Members, Veterans, and their beneficiaries, as well as the American public. This research should be conceptually innovative, introducing a new concept or question, challenging existing paradigms, approaching issues from a new perspective, or exhibiting other uniquely creative qualities, and should not merely be an incremental advance upon published data. Applications must describe the short- and long-term impact of the proposed research, as well as the evidencebased burden of disease on public health. Applications should also include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale that is established through logical reasoning, critical review and analysis of the literature, and/or preliminary data (if available). This award mechanism promotes basic through translational research, including preclinical and clinical research, as well as correlative studies associated with an existing clinical trial to establish proof-of-principle for further development in future studies.


• Pre-Application Submission Deadline: May 26, 2021

• Invitation to Submit an Application: June 2020

• Application Submission Deadline: August 27, 2021

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Applications focused on TBDs and conditions prevalent in the United States (, of concern to military personnel and their beneficiaries in the U.S. and overseas, and/or involving understudied patient populations, are encouraged. A summary of TBDs and Focus Areas previously funded by the TBDRP is available on the CDMRP website (

Applications submitted to the FY21 TBDRP should be focused on Lyme disease and/or other tick-borne diseases/conditions with emphasis on reducing public health burden. It is recommended that applications respond to at least one of the following specific FY21 TBDRP Focus Areas, however applications may also propose research outside of these Focus Areas as long as strong justification and indication of overall impact on the burden of disease is provided.

Applicants are particularly encouraged to submit applications to topics listed under the Diagnosis and Treatment Focus Areas.

  • Diagnosis ○ Development of direct detection diagnostic assay for agents of Lyme and/or other tickborne diseases. ○ Diagnostic biomarker panel for Lyme disease and/or other TBDs that distinguishes tickborne infection from other febrile illnesses. ○ Approaches capable of distinguishing active infection and previous exposure, and/or monitoring response to treatment. ○ Innovative approaches that provide diagnosis for a single or multiple tick-borne infections.
  • Treatment ○ Novel therapeutic strategies for acute and persistent TBDs. ○ Potential treatments designed to mitigate development of long-term sequelae following infection with bacterial, parasitic, or viral TB agents. ○ Translational approaches that bridge basic biology to the development of potential treatments
  • Prevention ○ Drugs, antibodies, vaccines, or other novel approaches that can be administered and/or utilized prophylactically to prevent human TBD. ○ Identification, validation, and/or improvement of tick- or reservoir-targeted prevention and control interventions that are safe and non-toxic to non-target species. ○ Understanding the ecology of understudied TBD vectors and reservoirs with emphasis on how it relates to human risk.
  • Pathogenesis ○ Pathogenesis of persistent clinical manifestations associated with Lyme disease. ○ Immune evasion and/or tolerance of TB pathogens (Lyme and/or other TBDs). ○ Effects of tick sialome on human infection, immune response, disease progression, and pathogen dissemination. ○ TB infections and co-infections (simultaneous or sequential) and their effects on human disease severity, the local and systemic immune response, or pathogen synergy and competition. ○ Pathogenesis of mammalian meat allergy (allergic response to galactose-alpha-1,3- galactose [alpha-gal]). ○ Understanding the potential role of maternal-fetal transmission and the ability to prevent TBDs by this mode of transmission.

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent) may be named by the organization as the PI on the application. An eligible Principal Investigator (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 FY21 TBDRP IDA Award will not exceed $600,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

May 26, 2021