Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 11/17/2023

Notice of Special Interest: Expanding the Otitis Media Research Workforce: Focus on Early Stage Investigators

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorderse (NIDCD) is interested in expanding the cadre of basic and clinical scientists who conduct research on otitis media (OM). The purpose of this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) is to invite Early Stage Investigators (ESIs), as defined by the NIH https://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm#earlystage, to submit research applications that focus on OM—commonly known as ear infections. There is a critical need for focused, novel, creative and innovative research approaches that accelerate the development of effective ways to prevent and treat OM.

OM represents a substantial disease burden both in the U.S and globally. This is especially true among underserved populations in underdeveloped countries. Even in the U.S., OM is the most common childhood illness, with more than 90% of children having at least one episode by age 5 and approximately 15% experiencing one of the more serious forms, such as recurrent or chronic OM. The impact of recurrent or chronic OM on a child’s development can be significant, resulting in some cases, in hearing loss and to deficits in speech, language acquisition, learning, and complex auditory processing. Although not common, deaths secondary to OM do occur. While the numbers are thought to be low, that does not diminish the trauma associated with the loss of a child. OM is a current and real and present problem.

Given the serious auditory consequences of OM and of its other sequelae as well as the global healthcare burden, in October 2020, NIDCD convened a virtual workshop on “Otitis Media in Early Childhood“. The goal was to comprehensively assess the status (past and present) as well as the immediate and future research needed to accelerate development of ways to prevention and treat OM. The workshop report can be found at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/workshops/2020/summary One of the outcomes of the workshop was a glaring need to increase/reinvigorate the number of NIDCD supported investigators in this area of research.

To begin to rectify this situation:

  • NIDCD is soliciting ESI-initiated OM grant applications that address epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • ESIs in basic science and clinical disciplines seeking to initiate or re-focus their current research direction/trajectory to OM are encouraged to apply.
  • NIDCD is especially interested in those ESIs who bring new and innovative approaches and strategies from scientific fields minimally represented in the NIDCD OM portfolio, including but in no way limited to epidemiology, phage biology, michrobiome, clinical microbiology, bioinformatics/statistics, genetics, and global healthcare delivery.
  • Cross-disciplinary collaborations, as well as collaborations with industry/ pharmaceutical stakeholders which enhance the translational potential are encouraged, as appropriate.
  • There is special interest in those applications that bring unique and original approaches with promise to drive/ facilitate clinical translation.

  • Investigators are strongly encouraged to think in the context of a translational vision of how the proposed experiments could result in a prevention/therapeutic path forward.

This notice applies to due dates on or after January 25, 2022 and subsequent receipt dates through September 8, 2025. 


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