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NIH Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa): Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues Research Program (deadline: 6th December 2017)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages applications to study the ethical, legal and societal issues (ELSI) of human genome research in African populations. Of particular interest are projects that propose focused bioethical, legal, and social science analyses of new or emerging issues.

NIHAbout Human Heredity and Health in AfricaProgram (H3Africa)

In 2012, the NIH in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, and with advice from the African Society of Human Genetics, initiated the Human Heredity and Health in AfricaProgram (H3Africa) In its initial five-year phase, the Wellcome Trust has supported collaborativeresearch projects and NIH has supported H3AfricaCollaborative Centers (U54), H3Africa individual research projects (U01; including studies in the area of the ethical, legal, and societal issues of genomics in Africa), H3Africa Biorepositories (UH3), and a bioinformatics network, H3ABioNet (U41). At the NIH, H3Africa is a component of the NIH Common Fund's Global Health Initiative, and several Institutes and Centers have joined the Common Fund to support it. 

Recognizing that African researchers and populations have been, and still are, substantially underrepresented in genomics and environmental research and disproportionately affected by some environmental exposures, H3Africa is designed to provide new opportunities to African scientists to lead research on the genetic and environmental contributors to health and disease issues of importance to Africa through the use of genomics and other cutting-edge approachesIn order to enhance the capacity for genomics research, in Africa by African scientists, and to understand the genetic and environmental factors that determine disease susceptibility, H3Africa has three interrelated, interdependent objectives:

  • To support human genomics and genetics research that will not only generate important findings and discoveries relevant to human health, but will also serve as a vehicle to improve the research capacity of African laboratories and provide research opportunities for young scientists at the institutions where the research is carried out.
  • To expand expertise and experience in genomics-based biomedical research and environmental epidemiology in Africa through research experience, skills development, and enhanced collaborations with regional, national, and international partners.
  • To improve infrastructure including bioinformatics and biorepository capacity needed to support genomics-based and environmental research and associated data and sample sharing.   

 

About this funding opportunity:  Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues Research Program 

This FOA solicits applications for research projects that identify, examine and address the ethical, legal and societal issues raised by genomic and environmental health research and technology that pertain to individuals, families, communities and societies throughout Africa. These applications should be for self-contained research projects.  Of particular interest are projects that propose bioethical, legal, and social science analyses of new or emerging issues.  Examples of possible research questions to be addressed in studies proposed in response to this FOA include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What are the views, conceptions, expectations, etc. of various stakeholders (communities, community leaders, religious leaders, families, researchers, policy makers, etc.) regarding genetic and genomic research?  What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues involving privacy and confidentiality for different communities in Africa?
  • What are the ethical, legal and societal issues of government regulations in African countries that are relevant to genetic and genomic research, including but not limited to regulations on specimen and/or data sharing, data and samples access, shipment and ownership, biorepositories for future research, etc.?
  • What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding collection of and use of data and samples in genetic/genomic research in Africa?  What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding sharing of data and samples in genetic/genomic research in Africa?
  • What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues of potential stigmatization of individuals and/or families affected by a genetic disorder?  What are the ethical, legal and societal issues involving potential community harm specific to African communities?
  • What are the ethical, cultural, religious and socioeconomic factors that are likely to affect conduct of genetic/genomic research or application of findings derived from the genomic research?  What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues of disclosing individual genetic results?
  • What are the attitudes toward personal genomics testing in African communities?  What ethical, legal, and societal issues may be raised by genetic research using new genomic technologies?
  • What are the beliefs surrounding genetic inheritance and transmission of genetic diseases in African communities?  What are the cultural, social and religious beliefs on donating blood for use in genetic research? 
  • What is the appropriate use of consent forms, i.e. appropriate language (with translation verifications) and means of getting consent without coercion, confirming consent in communities with high illiteracy rates, use of thumbprint or acceptability of community consent, etc.?
  • What strategies are likely to be most effective for educating the public about genetic research findings and their implications for health and for society?

The NIEHS is interested in applications that also answer the following environmental health questions:

  1. What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding collection of and use of data and samples in environmental epidemiology research and gene-environment interactions (GxE) research in Africa?  What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding sharing of data and samples in environmental epidemiology research and GxE research in Africa?
  2. What are the ethical, cultural, religious and socioeconomic factors that are likely to affect conduct of environmental epidemiology research and GxE research or application of findings derived from this research?  What are the ethical, legal, and societal issues of disclosing results of environmental epidemiology research and GxE research?
  3. What strategies are likely to be most effective for educating the public about environmental epidemiology research findings and GxE research findings as well as their implications for health and for society?
  4. What emerging or re-emerging environmental agents are of concern to communities?

Application budgets are limited to $100,000 direct costs per year but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period; the maximum period is 4 years.

Please read more and apply here.

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