The National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program was established in 1990 as an integral part of the Human Genome Project (HGP) to foster basic and applied research on the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic and genomic research for individuals, families and communities. The ELSI Research Program funds and manages studies, and supports workshops, research consortia and policy conferences related to these topics.
An article describing the ELSI Research Program in greater detail can be found here:
The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute: Reflections on an Ongoing Experiment
The NHGRI Division of Genomics and Society has identified the following three research domains to be considered for support by the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program. The domains are overlapping, and it is anticipated that many research projects will address issues that cut across domains. A more detailed discussion of these domains and a list of examples of possible research topics is available at ELSI Research Domains.
Genetic and Genomic Research. These projects may investigate and address the ethical, legal, social, and policy issues that arise in connection with the design and conduct of genetic and genomic research.
Genetic and Genomic Health Care. These projects may investigate and address the ethical, legal, social, and policy issues that arise in connection with the translation of genetic and genomic research into clinical medicine and health care in a variety of healthcare settings.
Broader Legal, Policy and Societal Issues. These projects may investigate and address a range of broader ethical, legal, policy and societal issues raised by the use of genetic and genomic technologies and information in research, clinical or non-medical settings.
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ELSI GRANT APPLICANTS: NIH is instituting a number of changes to how it categorizes clinical trial research. Many ELSI studies that previously were not considered clinical trials will now be categorized as such and will be subject to new application, review and reporting requirements. Please visit the Clinical Trials definition website for guidance in determining how your study will be categorized. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our ELSI program directors
ELSI applications that do not involve a clinical trial can still be submitted under the ELSI R01, R21 and R03 program announcements listed below.
ELSI applications that are determined to involve a clinical trial cannot be submitted under these announcements and must now be submitted under either the NIH Parent R01--Clinical Trial Required (PA-18-345) or the NIH Parent R21--Clinical Trial Required (PA-18-344) program announcements. When submitting these applications, researchers should use the PHS Assignment Request Form to request that NHGRI (and any other relevant Institutes or Centers) be assigned the grant, and to request study section review assignment to the Continuous Special Emphasis Panel on Societal and Ethical Issues in Research Study Section (ZRG1 SEIR).
The NHGRI, along with several other National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes, has released revised general program announcements to solicit research projects that anticipate, analyze, and address the ethical, legal, and social implications of the discovery of new genetic technologies and the availability and use of genetic information resulting from human genetics and genomic research.
The NHGRI ELSI Program accepts Conference Grant (R13) applications. For specific instructions for preparing a conference grant application, see:
The ELSI program participates in a number of training and career development funding opportunities.
The Fogarty International Center's international bioethics training programs [fic.nih.gov] support education and research training to develop ethics expertise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The programs complement other global health research and research training programs in the mission areas of NIH Institutes and Centers.
PA-16-288 [grants.nih.gov]: Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp)
Expiration Date: September 30, 2019
PA-16-289 [grants.nih.gov]. Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (Admin Supp)
Expiration Date: September 30, 2019
In the Fall of 2003, the NHGRI in collaboration with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) launched a new initiative to create interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in ELSI Research (CEER). The CEERs are designed to bring investigators from multiple disciplines together to work in innovative ways to address important new, or particularly persistent, ethical, legal, and social issues related to advances in genetics and genomics. In addition, the centers will support the growth of the next generation of researchers on the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic research. Special efforts will be made to recruit potential researchers from under-represented groups.
For more information about the CEER's program, see: Centers of Excellence in ELSI Research (CEER).
The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research Program
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
5635 Fishers Lane
Suite 4076, MSC 9305
Bethesda, MD 20892-9305
Phone: (301) 402-4997
Fax: (301) 402-1950
Last Updated: March 12, 2018