DOD Tick-Borne Disease Research Program funding opportunity for FY21

The FY21 Defense Appropriations Act provides funding to the Department of Defense (DOD) Tick-Borne Disease Research Program (TBDRP) to support innovative, high-impact tick-borne disease research. As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency J9, Research and Development Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation. The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). 

The FY21 TBDRP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms are posted on the website.

Applicants to the FY21 TBDRP funding opportunities should be relevant to one or more of the following Focus Areas; however an application that proposes research outside of these Focus Areas is acceptable, as long as the applicant provides strong justification. Applicants are particularly encouraged to submit applications addressing the Diagnosis and Treatment Focus Areas.

  • Diagnosis
    • Development of direct detection diagnostic assay for agents of Lyme and/or other tick-borne diseases (TBDs).
    • Diagnostic biomarker panel for Lyme disease and/or other TBDs that distinguishes tick-borne (TB) infection from other febrile illnesses.
    • Approaches capable of distinguishing active infection and previous exposure, and/or monitoring response to treatment.
    • Innovative approaches that provide diagnosis for a single or multiple TB infections.
  • Treatment
    • Novel therapeutic strategies for acute and persistent TBDs.
    • Potential treatments designed to mitigate development of long-term sequelae following infection with bacterial, parasitic, or viral TB agents.
    • Translational approaches that bridge basic biology to the development of potential treatments.
  • Prevention
    • Drugs, antibodies, vaccines, or other novel approaches that can be administered and/or utilized prophylactically to prevent human TBD.
    • Identification, validation, and/or improvement of tick- or reservoir-targeted prevention and control interventions that are safe and non-toxic to non-target species.
    • Understanding the ecology of understudied TBD vectors and reservoirs with emphasis on how it relates to human risk.
  • Pathogenesis
    • Pathogenesis of persistent clinical manifestations associated with Lyme disease.
    • Immune evasion and/or tolerance of TB pathogens (Lyme and/or other TBDs).
    • Effects of tick sialome on human infection, immune response, disease progression, and pathogen dissemination.
    • TB infections and co-infections (simultaneous or sequential) and their effects on human disease severity, the local and systemic immune response, or pathogen synergy and competition.
    • Pathogenesis of mammalian meat allergy (allergic response to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal)).
    • Understanding the potential role of maternal-fetal transmission and the ability to prevent TBDs by this mode of transmission.

Career Development Award – Preproposal due May 26, 2021

Principal Investigator (PI): Early-career research scientist, physician scientist, or other qualified clinical scientist, within 10 years of completion of his/her terminal degree (excluding time spent in residency or on family medical leave) at the time of the submission, working to become independent investigators who exhibit a strong desire to pursue careers in tick-borne disease research; time spent as a postdoctoral fellow is not excluded

Mentor: Independent investigators at or above the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent); must have a recent (last 5 years), proven funding and publication record in tick-borne disease research. .

The PI and Mentor do not need to be located within the same organization.

  • To fund early-career investigators to conduct impactful research under the mentorship of an experienced tick-borne disease researcher.
  • Career Development Plan is required. Plan should be prepared with appropriate guidance from the Mentor, should clearly articulate a strategy for acquiring the necessary skills, competence, and expertise to establish a career at the forefront of tick-borne disease research, and should outline how the PI will gain experience in tick-borne disease research. PI’s institution must demonstrate a commitment to the PI through a minimum of 75% protected research time for tick-borne disease research. The application must include clearly stated plans for interactions and communication coordination between the PI and Mentor.
  • Preliminary data is encouraged, but not required.
  • Clinical trials are not allowed.
  • Maximum funding of $300K for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years.

Idea Development Award – Preproposal due May 26, 2021

Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).

  • To fund research that could lead to impactful discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate progress in improving outcomes for individuals affected by Lyme diseases and/or other  tick-borne illnesses.
  • Research should be conceptually innovative, exhibit high levels of creativity, or challenge existing research paradigms.
  • Applications must describe the short- and long-term impact of the proposed research, as well as the public health burden of the diseases being addressed.
  • Preliminary data is encouraged, but not required.
  • Clinical trials are not allowed; human studies/clinical research are permitted.
  • Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Maximum funding of $600K for direct costs (plus indirect costs).
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years

A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) at prior to the pre-application deadline. All applications must conform to the final Program Announcements and General Application Instructions available for electronic downloading from the website. The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on A listing of all CDMRP and other USAMRDC extramural funding opportunities can be obtained on the website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420.

For email notification when Program Announcements are released, subscribe to program-specific news and updates under “Email Subscriptions” on the eBRAP homepage at For more information about the TBDRP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (

Point of Contact:

CDMRP Help Desk