Request for Applications: Pilot and Feasibility Projects

The Metabolomics Consortium Coordinating Center (M3C) together with the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics (SECIM) requests applications for up to 12-month pilot projects.

The goal of the NIH Common Fund’s Metabolomics
program (see https://commonfund.nih.gov/metabolomics) is to inform basic, translational, and clinical
research. Metabolomics is the scientific study of the chemical reactions that
occur in organisms, cells, or tissues. Each reaction produces small chemicals
called metabolites, which play critical roles in keeping our cells healthy and
functioning properly. As these different chemical reactions and the metabolites
they produce are unique to every individual, by improving metabolomics methods
and making them more accessible to different researchers it may allow for more
personalized diagnosis of disease and treatment methods moving forward.  In order to catalyze science around the role
of metabolomics in human health, the Metabolomics program supports research to
establish a long standing national public repository for metabolomic data, to overcome
technical hurdles in analyzing and interpreting metabolomics data, including
the ability to determine metabolite identities, and to develop best practices
and guidelines with help from the national and international metabolomics
communities to promote accuracy, reproducibility, and re-analysis of
metabolomics data. 

Specific objectives
of the current phase of the NIH Metabolomics Program include: (1) establishment
of a National Metabolomics Data Repository (NMDR) which is widely adopted by
the national and international metabolomics community, supports facile data and
metadata deposition and access for re-use, and provides a means for citing the
data and its provenance; (2) addressing key challenges in analyzing and
interpreting metabolomics data by catalyzing the field of compound
identification to dramatically increase the number of identified
biomedically-relevant, metabolites in metabolomics spectra; (3) addressing key
challenges in analyzing and interpreting metabolomics data by developing novel
tools to facilitate metabolomics data analysis and interpretation; and (4) community
engagement and program coordination to generate consensus and achieve
wide-spread adoption of standards and guidelines for best-practices and data
sharing in metabolomics.

is the Metabolomics Consortium Coordinating Center of the NIH Common
Fund’s Metabolomics program; the mission of the M3C is to serve as a catalyst
for the advancement of metabolomics in biomedical research and clinical care by
engaging the diverse range of stakeholders, organizing the consortium, and
promoting its work. Stakeholder engagement includes symposia to identify
roadblocks in the use of metabolomics and suggest approaches leading to
remediation. Pilot and Feasibility awards focus on biomedical research projects
new to the use of metabolomics. 
Consortium work is organized through a web portal (see https://metabolomics.info/about/), providing access to all consortium
resources, including access to datasets in the National Metabolomics Data
Repository, and tools developed by the Metabolomics Data Analysis and
Interpretation Tools awardees.  M3C
further organizes the work of the consortium by facilitating on-line and
in-person meetings of governance groups and workgroups.  M3C promotes the work of the consortium
through social media (@metabinfo), its web portal, presentations at scientific
meetings, and distribution of consortium standards, policies, procedures,
protocols, best practices, and guidelines. The work of the coordinating center,
and of the metabolomics consortium, will lead to improved human health through
basic research findings, improved laboratory practices, and translation to
clinical research and care.

The Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics at the University of Florida (SECIM, see http://secim.ufl.edu/) was established in the first phase of the Common Fund’s Metabolomics program, and continues to provide world-class metabolomics services and research through UF’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, as well as serving as the home of M3C. Pilot and Feasibility Awards are intended to support projects that will provide preliminary data for new extramural grant application submissions. The review process will emphasize innovation and the potential of the work to have a significant impact on an important biomedical research problem.


The overarching goal of the M3C will be the promotion of metabolomics as a key component of biomedical research (basic, clinical, and translational) and clinical care. The Pilot and Feasibility Program is a part of stakeholder engagement meant to enhance metabolomics research by providing support for investigators new to the metabolomics field, the development of new teams and partnerships, and high-risk/high-impact research. This program will focus on awards for the generation of metabolomic data from samples in biomedical research where previous work is rare or nonexistent. The program also aims to open additional areas of biomedical research to the use of metabolomics by specifically inviting biomedical researchers to apply. The Pilot and Feasibility Program aims to form new multidisciplinary collaborations that will enhance the integration of new techniques that benefit multiple investigators; it also aims to promote the consortium objectives (compound identification and data analysis). Applications from basic, translational, and clinical researchers are encouraged. Extending the collaborative nature of research projects by matching funds from other mechanisms is encouraged.


All basic, translational, or clinical investigators located at institutions within the United States who are eligible to apply as a PI for NIH grants are welcome to apply for M3C pilot awards. Young investigators and investigators who are new to the field of metabolomics are especially encouraged to apply.


Applications should be submitted using the instructions that can be found on the M3C’s website (http://metabolomics.info). PHS 398 format is required.  Deadline date for receipt is Friday, April 16, 2021.  NIH application guidelines will be followed.

must include the following elements:

  • Cover
  • Abstract
  • Budget
    and budget justification
  • NIH
    biographical sketches
  • Eligibility
  • Research
    Strategy (5 pages maximum) must include:  
    Specific Aims, Background, Significance, and Rationale for the use of metabolomics,
    Impact, Preliminary Results (if any), Experimental Approach
  • Plans
    for future funding
  • References
  • Protection
    of human and/or animal subjects


is dedicated to funding as many unique and innovative projects as possible with
goals of expanding the range of biomedical applications of metabolomics and
advancing metabolomics technology in the identification of metabolites.  Impactful applications of $15,000 or less
will typically receive preference over those with higher budgets. Requests for
salary for the Principal Investigator or personnel, laboratory or extramural
services outside of M3C are not permissible. All funds will be awarded in
credit toward services performed at SECIM, including study design and some
statistical support, or in payment for the project’s materials and supplies.

M3C specifically encourages applications that form scientific partnerships, span several scientific domains, include trainees, and benefit multiple investigators. The role of the PI, trainee(s), and collaborators affiliated with the project should be clearly defined. The names of all funded investigators will be posted on the M3C website. Grantees must acknowledge the M3C NIH grant U2CDK119889 in any abstracts, presentations, or publications resulting from supported studies and provide quarterly progress reports, a final report, and an annual report that includes publications and new grant awards. As mandated by the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program, all resulting metabolomics data and associated metadata will be publicly deposited in the National Metabolomics Data Repository (NMDR).


All submitted applications will be internally reviewed by the M3C Steering Committee for technical feasibility and compliance with the above requirements and formats. External reviews will use the NIH review scoring criteria and scores. Final funding decisions will be made by the Metabolomics Program Executive Committee.

Application receipt deadline: April 16, 2021

Earliest funding start date: June 14, 2021

investigators are encouraged to discuss their applications with SECIM Faculty:

    Director: Dr. Rick Yost (ryost@chem.ufl.edu)
  • M3C
    Co-Director: Dr. Mike Conlon (mconlon@ufl.edu)
    Associate Director/M3C PI and SECIM Mass Spec Core Director: Dr. Tim Garrett
  • M3C
    PI and SECIM NMR Core Director: Dr. Matt Merritt (matthewmerritt@ufl.edu)
    Program Coordinator: Dr. Alisha Mitchell-Roberts; (amitch@ufl.edu)

Proposals must be submitted by no later than 5:00 p.m., April 16, 2021, to Dr. Alisha Mitchell-Roberts, amitch@ufl.edu

Application Instructions (docx file)

Application Forms

Abstract (docx format)

Budget (docx format)

Justification (docx format)

NIH Biographical Sketch (docx format)

Eligibility Statement (docx format)

Research Strategy (docx format)

Plans for Future Funding (docx format)

References (docx format)

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects (docx format)