Virtual Approaches Towards New Chemistries for Un-drugged Targets through A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration (ASPIRE) Collaborative Research Program (U18 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The purpose of the ASPIRE Collaborative Research Program is to facilitate translational and clinical research between NCATS intramural scientists and the extramural community to develop approaches that will enhance our ability to discover and develop new chemistries designed towards previously undrugged biological targets (i.e., biological targets with no known drugs to modulate their function) across many human diseases and conditions. NCATS intramural scientists have established an integrated platform consisting of physical and virtual modules for automated synthetic chemistry, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), engineering, informatics, and biological testing. This FOA will support intramural - extramural collaborations to develop virtual modules that will enhance the platform’s capabilities (see companion FOA RFA-TR-21-001 for physical modules). The anticipated outcome includes identification, design, synthesis, and validation of new chemical entities as starting points for drug development of novel targets, and the expansion of chemical space available for drug screening.


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): June 8, 2021

  • Application Due Date(s): July 8, 2021

RFA-TR-21-002 Expiration Date July 9, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

This program requires the full collaboration of the extramural PD/PI of the applicant institution and the intramural investigator(s). Accordingly, the Multiple PD/PI model is allowed, but not required. For those applicants opting not to use the Multiple PD/PI model, the intramural investigator can hold any role other than the multiple PD/PI role. Applications must include at least one intramural scientist as either a Program Director/Principal Investigator or collaborator.



Amount Description

Application budgets are limited to $400,000 direct costs in any fiscal year and need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period.

The maximum project period is 2 years.

Funding Type





Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 8, 2021