NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Transfer Technology Research Grants (R43/R44 and R41/R42) through the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet)

NOTE: Submission in response to this Notice requires the use of the 2010 SBIR and STTR Parent Announcements and SF424 (R&R) Instruction Guides. Links to these were announced in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on January 15th and are available here: PA-10-050 (Parent SBIR [R43/R44]) and PA-10-051 (Parent STTR [R41/R42]).

Notice Number: NOT-OD-10-034

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.701

Key Dates
Release Date: January 7, 2010
Application Due Date: March 25, 2010
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 25, 2010

(See instructions below to determine appropriate application forms and submission process.)

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired are available at: TTY:  (301) 451-5936

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

Purpose

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the opportunity for investigators and United States institutions/organizations with relevant active NIH-supported small business research project grants (STTR [R41, R42], SBIR [R43, R44], and SBIR/STTR Fast-Track grants) to submit competitive revision applications (formerly termed competitive supplements) to accelerate innovation through basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) and development that has commercial potential and is relevant to the mission of OppNet (http://oppnet.nih.gov). Competitive revisions must focus on b-BSSR that has the potential to accelerate results (e.g., products, processes or services) and/or includes innovative research tools, techniques, devices, inventions, or methodologies. Competitive revision applications must support a significant expansion of the scope or research protocol approved and funded for the “parent” small business award on which the revision application is based.  Support for these revision applications will come from funds provided to NIH through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Recovery Act” or “ARRA”), Public Law 111-5. Consistent with the Recovery Act’s intent to promote job creation and economic development along with accelerating the pace and achievement of scientific research, the purpose of this OppNet announcement is to fund supplemental b-BSSR that can inform the development of products whose marketable value is increased by b-BSSR results. 

This Notice is issued as an inaugural activity of the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet). The mission of OppNet is to pursue opportunities for strengthening b-BSSR at the NIH while innovating beyond existing investments (for further information, see http://oppnet.nih.gov). Congruent to the mission of OppNet, applications submitted in response to this Notice must incorporate new b-BSSR research objectives and aims that are outside of the scope of the approved “parent” grant. This significant expansion can be accomplished by either: (1) extending the scope of extant small business b-BSSR by adding a fundamentally different b-BSSR objective or aim; (2) supplementing applied small business research in the behavioral and social sciences with b-BSSR; or (3) incorporating b-BSSR into other biological, clinical, or translational research.                                 

Prospective investigators are encouraged to consult the NIH definition of b-BSSR. Basic research in the behavioral and social sciences involves both human and animal studies and spans the full range of scientific inquiry, from processes “under the skin” to mechanisms “outside the skin” that explain individual, group, community, and population-level patterns of collective behavior. Research studies on behavioral and social processes, interactions between biology, behavior and social processes, and/or methodology and measurement will be encouraged. Projects proposed for these funds will need to address fundamental mechanisms and patterns of behavioral and social functioning relevant to the Nation’s health and well being.

This announcement is one of three OppNet related ARRA competitive revision Notices issued by NIH during fiscal year (FY) 2010. The second OppNet related ARRA competitive revision Notice will invite investigators and United States institutions/organizations with active NIH-supported research program grants (R01, R03, R15, R21, R21/R33, and R37) to submit competitive revision applications to accelerate, expand, and/or strengthen basic behavioral and social sciences research (see NOT-OD-10-032). The third OppNet related ARRA competitive revision Notice will invite investigators and United States institutions/organizations with relevant active NIH-supported research project grants (R01, R03, R15, R21, R21/33, and R37) to submit competitive revision applications to accelerate, expand, and/or strengthen basic behavioral and social sciences research relevant to HIV/AIDS risk, prevention, and treatment (see NOT-OD-10-033).

OppNet received $10 million in ARRA funds for its inaugural year; OppNet has dedicated approximately $2 million of this amount to short-term mentored career development awards for mid-career and senior investigators (RFA-OD-10-003). The remaining $8 million of ARRA funds will be obligated by September 30, 2010 to support competitive revision requests submitted in response to all three Notices (NOT-OD-10-032, NOT-OD-10-033, NOT-OD-10-034). It is expected that 20 to 30 competitive revision awards of applications that respond to all three notices will be made in FY 2010, pending the number and quality of applications and availability of funds. OppNet will finalize no funding decisions in this regard until the peer review process is complete for all applications involved.

Funding decisions and awards will be issued on or prior to September 30, 2010 for applications submitted in response to this notice.

The deadline for receipt of these revision applications is March 25, 2010.

Please refer to the NIH ARRA Frequently Asked Questions (http://grants.nih.gov/recovery/faqs_recovery.html#IIIc5) for general guidance on ARRA related resubmission policies.

Background

OppNet is a trans-NIH initiative to expand the agency’s funding of b-BSSR. All NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) share the mission of supporting b-BSSR. A consortium of 24 ICs and five programs within the NIH Office of the Director will integrate existing NIH efforts, target research challenges best met collectively, and collaborate on new research initiatives in complementary scientific areas. OppNet will develop a plan for focused multi-year programs across ICs to advance priority topics within b-BSSR.

Up to ten million dollars in Recovery Act funds will support the first year of OppNet activities, which will focus on short-term activities to develop existing programs’ capacity for conducting b-BSSR. Starting in FY 2011, OppNet will be supported through shared IC resources. Additional information about the goals, mission, and structure of OppNet can be found on the NIH Web site at http://oppnet.nih.gov.

The priority of OppNet is to build upon the existing body of knowledge about the nature of behavior and social systems by supporting initiatives that focus on basic mechanisms of behavior and social processes that are relevant to the missions and public health challenges addressed by multiple NIH institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs). It is anticipated that the mission of NIH will be advanced by the stimulation of innovative, new projects in the basic behavioral and social sciences that ultimately lead to significant advances in health- and lifecourse-related research.

Basic behavioral and social science research includes research on behavioral and social processes, interactions between biology, behavior and social processes, and/or methodology and measurement as described below.

(A). Research on behavioral and social processes
 
Research on behavioral and social processes involves the study of human or animal functioning at the level of the individual, small group, institution, organization, community, or population. At the individual level, this research may involve the study of behavioral factors related to health and medical conditions such as cognition, memory, language, perception, personality, emotion, motivation, and others. At higher levels of aggregation, it includes the study of social variables related to health and medical conditions such as the structure and dynamics of small groups (e.g., couples, families, work groups, etc.); institutions and organizations (e.g., schools, religious organizations, etc.); communities (defined by geography or common interest); and larger demographic, political, economic, and cultural systems. Research on behavioral and social processes related to health and medical conditions also includes the study of the interactions within and between these two levels of aggregation, such as the influence of sociocultural factors on cognitive processes or emotional responses. Finally, this research also could include the study of environmental factors (both natural and human created) such as climate, noise, environmental hazards, residential and other built environments, and their effects on behavioral and social functioning.

Examples of research topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

(B). Research on interactions between biology, behavior, and social processes

Research on interactions between biology, behavior, and social processes involves the study of the interactions of biological factors with behavioral or social variables and how they affect each other (i.e., the study of bi-directional multilevel relationships).

Examples of research topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

(C). Research on methodology and measurement in the behavioral and social sciences

Research on methodology and measurement encompasses the development of new approaches to research design, data collection, measurement, and data analysis. This research is designed to develop research tools that could be used in the behavioral and social sciences or in biomedical research or their interaction.

Examples of research topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Competitive revision applications proposed in response to this Notice should meet the goals of the SBIR/STTR programs and OppNet.  Activities in the revision application are expected to demonstrate promise to increase/promote private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federally funded research and development. Additionally, the revision applications are expected to have a well defined potential impact on our understanding of basic mechanisms of behavior or social processes, as articulated in the research objectives and scope. Applications are not expected to focus on all three categories (A, B, and C above); an application, for example, may focus on one of the illustrative research topics within a category and be considered responsive to this opportunity. Applicants should consult the NIH definition of basic behavioral and social sciences research to determine the appropriateness of their research aims to the intent of this announcement. Applicants must specify a set of specific aims that extends the scope of the small business “parent” grant by integrating b-BSSR. Applicants must clearly articulate how the proposed competitive revision activities will enhance commercial application and advance the basic social and behavioral science goals of OppNet.

Examples of appropriate uses of OppNet resources proposed in response to this Notice include, but are not limited to, the following:

Other uses may be appropriate but must be consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act and with the scientific goals of OppNet.

Eligibility

This announcement is for revision applications to active NIH Small Business Research Grants for the following activity codes: (R41, R42, R43, R44 and SBIR/STTR Fast-Track).

To be eligible, the small business [1] “parent” award on which the revision application is based must be active at the time the revision application is submitted, and the research proposed in the revision application must be accomplished within one (1) year. The project period of the competitive revision may not extend that of the “parent” award. If a no-cost extension is needed to complete the work to be proposed in the revision, the no-cost extension must be in place before the application is submitted. 

Competitive revision applications must be for costs to support new research objectives and aims outside of the scope of the approved small business “parent” award. A request for funds to support work within the general scope of the peer-reviewed activities and aims approved within the “parent” award is not eligible.

Applications from foreign institutions are not permitted. Consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery in the United States, applicants must be domestic (United States) institutions/organizations (i.e., located in the 50 states, territories and possessions of the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or District of Columbia). Domestic U.S. institutions planning to submit applications that include foreign components should be aware that requested funding for any foreign components should not exceed 10% of the total requested direct costs or $25,000 per year (per subcontract/subaward or in aggregate for multiple subcontracts/subawards), whichever is less.

This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement.

For all revision applications, the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) must be the same as the PD/PI on the “parent” award. For Multiple PD/PI “parent” awards, the Contact PD/PI must be the PD/PI listed on the revision request. Revisions allow a change in the Multiple PD/PI team as well as a conversion from a single PD/PI to multiple PD/PI. However, applicants must include a multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan with the revision application.

NIH encourages the participation of individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Any cost increases need to result from making modifications to the project in order to take advantage of opportunities that would increase the value of the project goals and objectives or to accelerate the rate of discovery of scientific research. Revision applications are not appropriate when the sole purpose is to restore awards to the full Scientific Review Group-recommended level if they were administratively reduced by the funding agency. In addition, NIH likely will not consider requests which are solely to restore previously applied budget adjustments to a project nor to supplant institutional commitments supporting individuals and other costs previously committed to projects.

Support for revision applications is contingent on availability of funds and eligibility is restricted to currently-funded SBIR and STTR awardees.

Budget and Funding Information

Funding for competitive revisions to existing “parent” awards will be available from Recovery Act funds in FY2010. Due to the limited, one-year nature of available Recovery Act funds, competitive revision applications may only be requested for one (1) year; therefore the scope and budget of the requested revision must reflect aims and goals that can be accomplished within that limited timeframe.

Applicants must submit a budget using the same budget format as was used for the “parent” award.

The requested budget must not exceed $150,000 direct costs per year for a maximum of one (1) year; must not exceed the average annual budget (in direct costs) of the “parent” award (whichever cap is lower) over one (1) year; and should be reasonable, commensurate with project needs, and appropriate for the work being performed.
 
Equipment/technology acquisition cannot exceed $75,000 direct costs and such costs are included in the $150,000 direct cost maximum dollar limit on the budget request.

Requests in response to this Notice may be made in excess of programmatic cost limitations or ceilings associated with a program or activity code (e.g., direct costs stipulated small business research project grants (STTR [R41, R42], SBIR [R43, R44] and SBIR/STTR Fast-Track grants).

If a project was previously funded under a program or activity code with budget limitations or ceilings, these limitations or ceilings are not applicable to ARRA competitive revision requests. Note: All budget requests must be commensurate with the scope of the programmatic request and will be subject to a cost analysis prior to award.  In addition, peer reviewers will be asked to comment on the requested budget and period of support.

This Notice uses “Just-in-Time” information concepts (see SF424 (R&R) Application Guide). It also uses the modular as well as the non-modular budget formats (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm).

Letter of Intent

Although the Letter of Intent (LOI) is not required, not binding and does not enter into the review of the subsequent application, an applicant may choose to submit one.  The information that the LOI contains allows IC staff to estimate and plan for the potential review workload.  Prospective applicants are asked to submit a LOI that includes the following information:

The letter of intent is to be sent by February 25, 2010.

The letter of intent should be sent to:

William N. Elwood, Ph.D.
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
Office of the Director
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
31 Center Drive, Suite B1-C19 (MSC 2027)
Bethesda, MD 20892-2027
Telephone: (301) 402-0016
Fax: 301-402-0116
Email: william.elwood@nih.hhs.gov  

How to Apply

The due date for revision applications is March 25, 2010.

Applicants interested in applying for revision support must submit the application through Grants.gov, using the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that was used for the “parent” grant. Or, if this FOA is no longer active, use the Parent FOA that matches the program (activity code) of the award.

For ALL applications:

Follow the instructions as noted below. Note: All applications submitted for due dates January 25, 2010 and beyond, must utilize the current forms and instructions (or if using a Parent FOA because the original FOA expired).   

The following page limits are required:

Page Limits

Activity Code

Introduction

Specific Aims

Research Strategy

R41/R43

1

1

6

R42/R44

1

1

12

    1. Budget for the revision with a justification that details the items requested, including Facilities and Administrative costs and a justification for all personnel and their role in this project. The budget provided for the revision application must match the budget provided in the “parent” application. For instance, if the “parent” application was submitted using the Modular budget component, then the revision application must also use the Modular budget component.
    2. Biographical Sketch for PD/PI and all new Senior/Key Personnel (those who are additions on the revision project). You will need to include an updated biographical Sketch for the PD/PI and new Senior/Key Personnel, using the forms, which are available as MS Word (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/biosketch.doc) or PDF (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/biosketch.pdf). There is no need to repeat information previously provided for other Senior/Key Personnel.
    3. Human Subjects/ Vertebrate Animal documentation (if applicable). Include a current Human Subjects/IRB or Vertebrate Animals/IACUC approval letter, if available. Otherwise, this will be required at the time of funding. All appropriate IRB and IACUC approvals must be in place prior to a revision award being made. Any differences in the involvement or use of human subjects or specimens, or use of vertebrate animals, between the administrative revision activity and the “parent” grant should be noted. When appropriate, details should be provided on the protection of human subjects and inclusion of women, children, and minorities. Additional guidance on Human Subjects Research and Vertebrate Animals is provided under Part II of the PHS 398 instructions (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html).
    4. Phase II applications (R42/R44) must present a Commercialization Plan (maximum 12 pages) that addresses specific points as described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and the SBIR/STTR Information component.

Application Review Process

The mission of the NIH is to support science in pursuit of knowledge about the biology and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. As part of this mission, applications submitted to the NIH for grants or cooperative agreements to support biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For funding considerations, revision applications will be assigned to the IC through which the “parent” grant was funded. Applications that are complete and responsive to this Notice will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by appropriate scientific review groups convened by the Center for Scientific Review in accordance with NIH peer review procedures (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/peer/) using the review criteria stated below.

As part of the scientific peer review process, all applications will:

Overall Impact. Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the standard review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

When reviewing a revision application, the committee will consider the scientific merit of the new work proposed and the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident. Additionally, the committee will consider the feasibility of accomplishing the specific aims of the revision application within the one (1) year project period.

Scored Review Criteria. The standard review criteria for small business research grant applications will be used by reviewers for evaluating the scientific and technical merit of all applications submitted. 

Additional components of the Significance criterion applicable to all applications submitted in response to this Notice include: Are the proposed aims fundamentally different from the aims of the “parent” award and relevant to the small business grant purpose (e.g. supporting research and development with commercial potential) and the OppNet goals and mission? Does the project identify a significant opportunity to advance knowledge about the nature of behavior and/or social systems and/or deepen our understanding of basic mechanisms of behavioral and social processes? Does the project have the potential to inform biological, clinical, or translational sciences relevant to the Nation’s health and well-being? If animal studies are proposed, does the application articulate relevance to individual or social human behavior?

Additional Review Criteria. As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider the following additional items in the determination of scientific and technical merit, but will not give separate scores for these items: Protections for Human Subjects; Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children; Vertebrate Animals; and Biohazards.

Additional Review Considerations. As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will address each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items and should not consider them in providing an overall impact/priority score: Budget and Period Support; Select Agent Research; and Resource Sharing Plans.

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons.

Selection Process

Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will compete for available Recovery Act funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

Appeals will not be permitted. See NOT-OD-09-054, Recovery Act of 2009: NIH Review Criteria, Scoring System, and Suspension of Appeals Process.

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review, as indicated in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Award Notices

While geographic variation will be considered in awarding Recovery Act funding, a proposal’s scientific merit will always be the prevailing criterion. If the application is considered for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General. To meet the various transparency, accountability, and reporting requirements of the Recovery Act, all applications under this notice that are selected for Recovery Act funding and that used a modular budget format at the time of submission will be required to submit a detailed budget as part of the Just-In-Time information.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official.

Terms of Award

The terms of the NoA will reference the requirements of the Recovery Act.

In addition to the standard NIH terms of award, all awards will be subject to the HHS Standard Terms and Conditions for Recovery Act awards. The full text of these terms approved for NIH awards can be found in the following document: Standard Terms and Conditions for AARA Awards.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities.

In addition, recipients of Recovery Act funds are reminded that such funds must be separately tracked and monitored independently of any non-Recovery Act funding.

Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit separate financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. This will be in addition to any financial reporting required for the “parent” grant. In addition, separate information for the ARRA competitive revision will be required to be included as part of any annual progress report for the “parent” grant.  The funded Recovery Act revision application will also require separate closeout reports.

In addition, grantees must comply with the requirements set forth in the Recovery Act, including, but not limited to, the reporting requirements described in Section 1512 of the Act, as well as applicable OMB guidance regarding the use of Recovery Act funds. As noted above, grantees must also comply with the HHS Standard Terms and Conditions for Recovery Act awards. The full text of these terms approved for NIH awards can be found in the following document: Standard Terms and Conditions for ARRA Awards.

Recovery Act-related reporting requirements will be incorporated as a special term of award.

A final progress report, invention statement, and Financial Status Report are required when an award is relinquished when a recipient changes institutions or when an award is terminated. Until such time as HHS has migrated to the SF 425 FFR, award recipients will utilize the SF 269 FSR.

Inquiries

This funding announcement is subject to restrictions on oral conversations during the period of time commencing with the submission of a formal application[2] by an individual or entity and ending with the award of the competitive funds. Federal officials may not participate in oral communications initiated by any person or entity concerning a pending application for a Recovery Act competitive grant or other competitive form of Federal financial assistance, whether or not the initiating party is a federally registered lobbyist[2]. This restriction applies unless:

  1. the communication is purely logistical;
  1. the communication is made at a widely attended gathering;
  1. the communication is to or from a Federal agency official and another Federal Government employee;
  1. the communication is to or from a Federal agency official and an elected chief executive of a state, local or tribal government, or to or from a Federal agency official and the Presiding Officer or Majority Leader in each chamber of a state legislature; or
  1. the communication is initiated by the Federal agency official.

For additional information see
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-24.pdf

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans for responding to this Notice.

For scientific or technical questions relating to research that would be supported by this solicitation, contact the OppNet Coordinating Committee Liaison at the primary IC assigned to the “parent” award. Refer to the OppNet Web site for contact information.

For administrative questions related to this solicitation, contact the Grants
Management Specialist noted on the Notice of Award for the “parent” grant.

Related Upcoming Funding Opportunities

During FY 2010 OppNet intends to issue other opportunities:  

[1] Refers to current active SBIR/STTR award.

[2] Formal application includes the preliminary application and letter of intent phases of the program.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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