Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Tick-Borne Disease Research Program -- Investigator-Initiated Research Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY19 TBDRP Investigator-Initiated Research Award (IIRA) intends to support highly rigorous, high-impact studies that have the potential to make important contributions to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases research, patient care, and/or quality of life. This award mechanism promotes a wide range of research from basic through translational, including preclinical studies in animal models or human subjects, as well as correlative studies associated with an existing clinical trial to establish proof-of-principle for further development in future studies. Applications should include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale that is established through logical reasoning, preliminary data, and critical review and analysis of the literature. 


• Pre-Application Submission Deadline: May 22, 2019

• Invitation to Submit an Application: July 2019

• Application Submission Deadline: August 22, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To meet the intent of the award mechanism, applications submitted to the FY19 TBDRP must address at least one of the following specific Focus Areas in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases with emphasis on reducing public health burden. Applications focused on tick-borne diseases prevalent in the US and/or involving understudied patient populations are encouraged, but not required.

  • Diagnosis ○ Accurate diagnostics and biomarkers for Lyme disease and co-infections and/or other tick-borne diseases ○ Diagnostic biomarkers for Lyme disease that distinguish between active infection and previous exposure, and/or monitor response to treatment
  • Pathogenesis ○ Understanding pathogenic mechanisms, including immune protection, for Lyme disease, other tick-borne diseases, and/or co-infections ○ Understanding the complex biology of Lyme borrelia in the host (beyond in vitro studies), including its survival, evasion of the host immune system, and subversion of the effectiveness of antibiotics ○ Understanding underlying mechanisms of persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease
  • Treatment ○ Antibiotic combinations and/or therapeutic options for treating acute and persistent illness
  • Prevention ○ Safe and effective human vaccines for tick-borne diseases ○ Identification, validation, and/or improvement of tick-targeted prevention and control interventions ○ Understanding the ecology of understudied tick-borne disease vectors and reservoirs with emphasis on how it relates to human risk

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent) are eligible to submit applications. 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 FY19 TBDRP Investigator-Initiated Research Award will not exceed $650,000. 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 22, 2019