I am writing to you as a subscriber to the bioportal-support mailing list and as someone whom I assume cares about the BioPortal resource. We have kept the BioPortal resource going for the past couple of years with funding that is soon going to expire. The good news, however, is that there is an opportunity to apply for a grant from the NIH that not only could keep BioPortal going, but also would allow us to make major enhancements to the system. We are very excited about the possibility of funding through this new opportunity, and I would like to ask for your help.
I am asking for something simple: a letter of support that we can include in our grant application.
When our request for grant funding is reviewed by the NIH, the testimonials that we receive from our user community will have a major role in determining whether we receive future funding. Letters from people who rely on BioPortal will go a long way in ensuring uninterrupted BioPortal services and will enable us to bring you many exciting new features in the years ahead.
It would be best if you could e-mail me a signed letter on letterhead (preferably, a PDF) that I can include in the grant application. Please send your PDF to [hidden email]. Sending me a plain e-mail is OK, but a letter on formal letterhead with a real signature will have maximum impact on the reviewers.
Although there is no required format for your letter—and indeed it should not appear that your letter is following a specific template—it would be wonderful if you could comment on the following kinds of things:
* How are you using BioPortal? Please describe the project or projects with which you are using the system.
* There are now several other resources that provide a repository of biomedical ontologies. If you believe that BioPortal offers significant features that are important to you that are not associated with these other systems, it would be helpful if you could comment on why you think BioPortal offers advantages.
* In sum, how has the availability of the BioPortal resource made a difference to you and your work?
As I have indicated, formal letters are best, but, if it is impractical to write a letter, a brief e-mail message would also be greatly appreciated. Fundamentally, the continued existence of the BioPortal resource depends on our ability to demonstrate the importance of our work to the community of users whom we support. Without your enthusiastic letters, NIH will not see evidence for funding us.
I know that this request imposes on your time. The entire BioPortal team will be grateful for any statement of support that we can include in our grant application. One of the most exciting aspects of the BioPortal project has been the ability to serve and support a user community that believes in our work.
If you know of others who might be able to help us out, then please forward this message directly to them. If you believe that a supervisor in your group might be able to submit a letter that would be particularly persuasive, please help him or her write one. The more letters that we receive, the better!
To be included in our grant application, we will need to receive your e-mailed letter by September 20.
Many thanks for your support and for your contributions to our user community.
Principal Investigator, the BioPortal resource
Mark A. Musen, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics Research)
Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research
Stanford University School of Medicine
1265 Welch Road, Room X-215
Stanford, CA 94305-5479 USA
Phone: +1 (650) 725-3390
Fax: +1 (650) 725-7944
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