The Human Genome Project (HGP) has produced a wealth of genomic data. The next challenge is to discover and analyze the vast amount of biological information contained within it. The Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) program supports the formation of multi-investigator, interdisciplinary research teams to develop novel and innovative genomic research projects, using the data sets and technologies developed by the HGP.
Each CEGS will conduct highly innovative research designed to develop new concepts, methods, technologies, or ways to analyze data that will substantially advance the state of the art in genomic approaches to the study of a biological problem. Thus, CEGS research will ultimately foster the wider application of comprehensive, high-throughput genomics methods to the study of human biology and disease.
A CEGS will require visionary leadership and strong management. A CEGS will have a single designated Principal Investigator and the leadership may include co-investigators who bring a mix of essential skills. This program does not use the multiple P.I. option.
Each CEGS is also required to have a training component that leverages the strengths of CEGS and its investigators to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists, who will bring creative approaches to studying biological problems through a genomic approach. This component of the program includes a specific focus on engaging the talents of individuals from underrepresented minority groups. (See: Minority Action Plan and the Minority Action Plan Portal and Research Tool)
A successful CEGS must include ALL of the following:
A CEGS is highly innovative, being designed to develop new concepts, methods, technologies, or ways to analyze data that will substantially advance the state of the art in genomic approaches to the study of a biological problem.
A CEGS proposes a very substantial advance to addressing a critical issue in genomic science. Achieving a substantial advance entails risk; this is balanced by the potential for very high payoff and requires an outstanding scientific plan and effective management strategy.
A CEGS is a tightly focused project implemented by a multi-investigator, interdisciplinary team working in a highly integrated fashion. Components of the program must be interdependent, not simply related. Synergy and integration are key.
A CEGS will lay out a specific and substantive "product" that can be identified as having been the outcome of CEGS funding.
A CEGS will take on challenging aspects of a problem, including ones that have slowed progress in the chosen area of research.
A CEGS will increase the pool of professional scientists and engineers able to work in or use genomics, by offering innovative, substantive training opportunities across appropriate disciplines. It will integrate the training of new investigators and broaden the training of established investigators. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, at a minimum, should participate in the research; however, that participation by itself is insufficient as a training effort.
A CEGS will help to ameliorate the genomics community's shortage of scientists from underrepresented minority communities (African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders) by developing effective opportunities to recruit and encourage them to develop as independent genomics investigators.
Additional characteristics of a CEGS:
A CEGS project may include an ELSI component if it is integrated with and closely related to the main focus or theme of the project.
Establishing a CEGS at an institution must add value beyond ongoing activities in genomics at that institution.
A CEGS project may propose very substantial improvement in current technology, to increase throughput and decrease cost.
A CEGS may choose a cell, organism, tissue or pathway as an example on which to develop the concepts or methods, but those concepts or methods must be broadly applicable well beyond the chosen example.
A CEGS is NOT:
An additional implementation of ideas already being pursued by the team or by others.
The obvious next step in a project or field, which could be accomplished by assembling state-of-the-art components and innovating at the level of a typical R01.
A program project.
Infrastructure for an existing program or department.
Primarily for the collection of a dataset in the absence of a novel concept or methodological approach.
"Only" outstanding science that fails to meet the criteria required of a CEGS.