RBK Partnership Project Requirements and Submission Process

The application period has closed for the latest Partnership Project opportunity.

About RBK

(Re)Building a Kidney is a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-led consortium to optimize approaches for the isolation, expansion, and differentiation of appropriate kidney cell types and the integration of these cells into complex structures that replicate human kidney function. The ultimate goals of the consortium are two-fold: to develop and implement strategies for in vitro engineering of replacement kidney tissue, and to devise strategies to stimulate regeneration of nephrons in situ to restore failing kidney function. Projects within the consortium will answer fundamental questions regarding human gene expression in the developing kidney, essential signaling crosstalk between distinct cell types of the developing kidney, how to derive the many cell types of the kidney through directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells, which bioengineering or scaffolding strategies have the most potential for kidney tissue formation, and basic parameters of the regenerative response to injury. As these projects progress, the consortium will incorporate systematic investigations in physiologic function of in vitro and in vivo differentiated kidney tissue, strategies for engraftment in experimental animals, and development of therapeutic approaches to activate innate reparative responses. [JASN 28: 1370-78,2017]

RBK Partnership Project Program 2018

The RBK Partnership Project Program (PPP) invites investigators to submit applications that, if successful, will become part of the RBK (RFA-DK-14-010 & RFA-DK-14-009). The PPP aims to support the goals of the RBK through solicitation of additional projects and/or expertise in specific subject areas. Awardees of the PPP become full members of the RBK.

Applications of 5 pages requesting up to $150,000 total cost per year for two years are due May 4, 2018.

Current subject areas of interest are LIMITED to Physiologic Function and Repair/Regeneration:

1. Physiologic Function

It is critical that bioengineered devices and biologicals (e.g. organoids, bioprinted devices) developed in RBK reflect the physiologic functions of the kidney. Specialized tools and expertise are needed to help evaluate these functions. Successful applications must involve a collaboration with an existing RBK member (https://www.rebuildingakidney.org/projects) and propose to evaluate physiological function in RBK-developed bioengineered devices or biologicals. Examples might include:

  • Develop novel way to non-invasively image renal function. Engineer or apply physiologically-relevant biosensors and reporters to image/measure physiologic processes in real-time.
  • Perfuse organoids or bioengineered devices and assess flow-dependent function (e.g. PAH secretion; glucose, Na+ and HCO3- reabsorption in the proximal tubule; K+ and H+ secretion in distal tubule).
  • Implement classic physiological methods of polarization, resistance, filtration, reabsorption and secretion.

2. Repair/Regeneration

It remains a major focus of the RBK to better understand productive repair in response to injury. Applicants may propose either a new standalone project OR a collaboration with an existing RBK member (https://www.rebuildingakidney.org/projects). Examples might include:

  • Profile endogenous repair/regeneration pathways in cells and tissues. When appropriate, the use of human samples is strongly encouraged.
  • Define repair circuits to identify drug targets that will enhance endogenous repair and develop target-based small screening assays. Use phenotype screening assays to identify small molecules that will activate innate reparative responses.
  • Discover and/or characterize signals released by injured tissue required for productive repair and regeneration.
  • Application of cells, including induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and regenerative therapies to repair and reverse injury. Develop novel ways to preferentially target cells to the kidney and to non-invasively image the integration and/or "fusion" of applied stem cells. Develop methods for identifying, counting and eliminating potentially harmful components and cells from stem cell preparations.
  • Develop novel ways to non-invasively image repair and regeneration, perhaps by imaging the integration and/or "fusion" of applied stem cells.

Complete Details of PPP 2018


  • Applicants may request up to $150,000 total costs (direct costs plus indirect costs) per year.
  • The project period is limited to two years. A second year of support is dependent on progress and needs of the RBK Consortium.
  • A narrative justification should be provided only for any major equipment (cost greater than $5,000) deemed necessary for the proposed project.
  • The number of awards will depend upon the number, quality, duration, and cost of the applications received.
  • Budget requests must include costs for the PI and at least one lab member to physically attend meetings twice a year. The next of these meetings are June 4-6, 2018 in Bethesda and mid-December 2018 (Location TBD). These are required meetings.
  • Awards will be made as subcontracts from the RBK Hub (RFA-DK-14-009) at the University of Southern California and not directly by the NIDDK.

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Partnership Project Review

Each submitted proposal will be assigned to multiple external scientists with expertise in the area of the proposal for primary review. The RBK External Expert Panel (EEP) will provide a secondary review of all applications. Scientists from the applicant institution are in conflict and will be excluded from all stages of the review. Final funding decisions will be made by the NIDDK. All decisions are final and appeals will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this solicitation.

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Timetable for RBK Partnership Project Selection

February 5, 2018 RFA for RBK Partnership Project Program is posted on the RBK, GUDMAP, DiaComp and other related websites, and notification of the postings is sent to all US academic and research institutions.
May 4, 2018 Deadline for submitting grants applications to the RBK Hub (Dr. Carl Kesselman).
September 1, 2018 Projected start date for RBK Partnership Project Program Funding.

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Data Sharing

All awardees will make data, biomaterials, models, reagents, tools, resources, methods, etc. available to the RBK Consortium and the research community. The terms and timelines for sharing within the RBK Consortium; adjustments for coordination of research plans, validation of models, materials, methods and data; and sharing with the research community will be established by the RBK Steering Committee consistent with achieving the goals of the program and NIH policies and all participants are expected to adhere to these terms as a condition of award (see Policies).

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Application & Eligibility

The application is the standard PHS 398 form including cover page, abstract, detailed budget (R&R form, not a modular budget), biographical and other support pages (up to 4 pages), and research plan. Sections A-D of the research plan are limited to 5 pages. The research plan should include the following sections:

  • Specific Aims
  • Background and Significance
  • Preliminary Studies
  • Research Design and Methods
  • Literature Cited
  • Vertebrate Animals
  • Human Subjects
  • Sharing Plan
  • Letters of Support

The sharing plan should explicitly state your willingness to:

  • Participate in meetings (in person) twice a year and the monthly conference calls during the course of the award (monthly calls are held on the first Thursday of the month at 1:00pm Eastern time zone);
  • Abide by the policies established by the RBK Steering Committee including with regards to confidentiality, conflicts of interest and pre-existing intellectual property, sharing of information and resources, and cooperative interaction; and
  • Abide by the Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award as stated in RFA-DK-14-010.

Submit an electronic version of the application via the instructions below (PDF format only please).

Eligible Project Directors/Principal Investigators: Individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research are invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply. New investigators are encouraged to apply, but they must have a full-time faculty position or an equivalent position at non-academic institutions.

Eligible Organizations: Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education; Private Institution of Higher Education; Hispanic-serving Institution; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs); Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education); Nonprofit without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity; Small Business; For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business); State Government; Regional Organization; U.S. Territory or Possession; Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized); Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized); Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization; Eligible agencies of the Federal government; Faith-based or community based organizations.

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A summary of progress is due two months following the completion of the first funding period, and if applicable, the second funding period.

Awardees of the RBK Partnership Project Program must follow RBK policies regarding the sharing of data and resources within the consortium and with the scientific community, and agree to the terms and agreements as described in RFA-DK-14-010 and as established by the RBK Steering Committee.

Please review the following policy documents:

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Contact Information

To contact us, please fill out the form on the Contact page.

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Submission Instructions

Submit your PHS 398 form by May 4, 2018 using the link below. Anticipated project start date is September 1, 2018.

Go to the RBK Application Portal

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Regarding "biosketch and other support limited to 4 pages": Does this mean that you want us to compress our biosketch to 4 pages and also include an Other Support page as part of these four pages?

Yes. The application is the standard PHS 398 form including cover page, abstract, detailed budget (R&R form, not a modular budget), biographical and other support pages (up to 4 pages), and research plan. "Other Support" is part of the biosketch, therefore the page limit is 4, including the support.

On page 3 of the RFA, it states that the $150,000/yr includes direct and IDC costs. Should I include a breakdown of both direct and IDC costs?

On the form please provide the direct cost only as requested in budget pages. This amount will be less than $150,000/yr, since you will have to include the indirects to generate the total cost which will be in box 7a of page 1.

Is there a current announcement number for this to pull up the form?

This is not an NIH PA, so there is no announcement number. Just use the PHS 398 form, fill it out, convert to PDF and submit that.

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