Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), (http://www.nigms.nih.gov)

Title:  Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base, PharmGKB (R24) 

Announcement Type
This is a re-issue of RFA-GM-04-002.

Request For Applications (RFA) Number:  RFA-GM-10-002

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.859

Key Dates
Release Date: March 5, 2009
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: May 2, 2009
Application Receipt Dates:  June 2, 2009
Peer Review Date:  November 2009
Council Review Date:  January 2010
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  April 1, 2010
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Url Activation Date):  March 1, 2009 www.nigms.nih.gov/initiatives/PGRN/RFAinfo
Expiration Date:  June 3, 2009

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism(s) of Support
2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
2.Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates
         1. Letter of Intent
    B. Sending an Application to the NIH
    C. Application Processing
   D.  Application Assignment
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
    A. Additional Review Criteria
    B. Additional Review Considerations
    C. Resource Sharing Plan(s)
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


Nature of the Research Opportunity

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to enable applications to compete for renewal of the Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base, PharmGKB (www.pharmgkb.org).  This is an open competition.  Previously, this resource research project was a component of the Pharmacogenetics Research Network; now the network is the subject of another funding opportunity announcement (Pharmacogenomics Research Network, RFA-GM-10-001, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-GM-10-001.html).  PharmGKB is being renewed separately in order to enable the knowledge base to be developed to clearly serve the needs of the entire research community in pharmacogenomics.  The resource PharmGKB will be renamed the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base to reflect the evolution of modern research approaches in this field. 

Background

Research in pharmacogenomics, which encompasses the discovery and understanding of the genetic contributions to drug effects, both therapeutic and adverse, requires access to and manipulation of large amounts of information.  Archiving raw data is extremely important but is not sufficient to enable researchers from within and outside the field to make strides forward, given the necessity for an integrated and comprehensive understanding of drug pathways and the complex genetic and non-genetic determinants that make up a “drug response”.  Obtaining basic research information and applying it in standardized manner both retrospectively and prospectively for future studies is challenging.  A neutral broker that presents a resource which harmonizes and meets community agreed-upon standards could be of immense value.

One example of the use of an informatics resource to advance the field of pharmacogenomics is the success of the International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium (IWPC), a data-sharing and harmonizing effort of researchers in the field that was enabled by PharmGKB.  Existing data sets from large numbers of subjects including VKORC1 haplotypes and CYP2C9 alleles were correlated with reported stable warfarin doses and concomitant medications and clinical factors, so that a robust algorithm for determining warfarin dosage could be developed that includes both genetic information and laboratory measurements.  This method predicted more accurately the drug dose needed for a significant number of patients, in particular those at the higher and lower ends of the dosage range (NEJM 360:753-764, 2009).  This algorithm is versatile and works in a diverse population world-wide; it sets the stage for an NIH-sponsored prospective trial to test the effectiveness and utility of pre-prescription genotyping for warfarin anticoagulation.  The knowledge base PharmGKB allowed researchers in the IWPC to collaborate and accomplish much more collectively than they could individually, leading to new research results.        

Knowledge to be Achieved

PharmGKB is intended to serve as the primary knowledge base resource for researchers in pharmacogenomics and related fields for the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and expert-validated information, and for connection to tools and capacity to advance research.  PharmGKB should display relationships between drugs, diseases, and genes, backed by the critical datasets (which may be archived elsewhere) and the most compelling literature, in a carefully curated manner.  Moreover, there are informatics challenges to managing and integrating large and disparate sets of information.  Optimally, PharmGKB should present complete, comprehensive, and current knowledge in Pharmacogenomics, and should enable the application of existing fundamental knowledge to the design of new research studies in pharmacogenomics.  Possibly, knowledge contained in PharmGKB will enable the development of new genetic or genomic tests to predict drug responses, or new clinical trials to prospectively test the utility of genetic/genomic stratification, or educational tools for translation of pharmacogenomics information.  A compelling resource should be easily used and extremely valuable to stakeholders trying to advance the field of pharmacogenomics and its implementation. 

Objectives of the Knowledge Base

This opportunity is intended to fund one comprehensive resource that will facilitate research for all investigators within the broad area of pharmacogenomics.  An application should carefully outline the existing resources in pharmacogenomics and related fields and how they will interact with PharmGKB.  Applicants should discuss choices made regarding knowledge and data presented in PharmGKB, versus data stored in other resources and databases, and give reasons for the choices made.  The ultimate goal of pharmacogenomics is to guide appropriate therapeutic choices, and PharmGKB should support and extend modern research approaches to achieve this goal. 

NIGMS does not intend this program to support the development of a research program or tools limited to a single institution or for a regional consortium of institutions.  Multiple smaller or “boutique” databases and similar applications will be considered unresponsive to this announcement.  The resource PharmGKB must be available to the scientific public.    

Types of Research Approaches

Within the scientific community, there are many different approaches to developing resources that will enable genomics research to be applied to understanding and predicting drug responses.  Pharmacogenomics as a discipline includes a wide range of information and data from the most basic biological and mechanistic studies up to and including translational research and clinical trials.  Accordingly, PharmGKB should have a broad set of functionalities proposed and goals to accomplish. 

As a resource research project, it will be entirely up to the applicant investigators to define the scope of the project and data types, and to justify how the proposed range of activities meets the needs of researchers in the field.  A balance has to be achieved between human-curated information that must be completely reliable and accurate, and machine-based and informatics tools that are needed in order to “scale” an operation.  Continuous high-level dialogue (for example, through advisory groups, user groups, and interactions with the scientific communities committed to discovering and applying pharmacogenomics knowlege) is expected.  Standard and consistent operating procedures will be necessary for the knowledge base, along with flexibility and resourcefulness to recognize opportunities.     

Examples of Research Topics

PharmGKB should include a broad range of information that is current, easily accessible, and reliably accurate in order to be a maximally useful resource.  The content areas of PharmGKB might include, but are not limited to, the areas listed below:

Knowledge Base Characteristics

In addition to providing a wide variety of content and services, PharmGKB must be built and maintained so that it adheres to the highest quality standards for knowledge bases and databases.  This includes, but is not limited to: 

Data Sharing and Tool/Software Sharing under this Initiative

Data sharing is an important aspect of PharmGKB.  Applicants must propose the most progressive ways to encourage data sharing to the greatest extent possible, in order to facilitate future research studies and trials.  An award made under this initiative will have specialized Terms and Conditions emphasizing data transfer to ensure the future portability of PharmGKB.  Tools and software sharing will be negotiated between the awardee institution and NIH, according to existing NIH policies in effect at the time of award; this agreement will also be reflected in the Terms and Conditions.  Reviewers will be asked to comment upon the institutional plans presented in the applications.  

Commitment to Diversity

Applicants to this funding opportunity announcement must propose creative ways to attain diversity in their research teams.  Reports from the National Science Foundation and the National Academies emphasize the need for a well-trained workforce that reflects the diversity of our nation.  African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and natives of the US Pacific Islands are particularly underrepresented in biomedical research.  NIH, through programs at NIGMS and other institutes, is committed to promoting and advancing scientific workforce diversity.  The scientific and bioinformatics teams assembled for PharmGKB should reflect this resolve.

Transfer of the Existing Contents of PharmGKB

If a new knowledge base group is funded, copies of the existing data sets and data tables will be provided at the time of award, according to the prior negotiated Terms and Conditions regarding data portability.  All of the data in PharmGKB are currently available to authenticated users for downloading by standard formats.  The name “PharmGKB” has been trademarked by NIGMS.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This funding opportunity will use the R24 resource research project award mechanism(s). The Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.  

This FOA uses “Just-in-Time” information concepts. It also uses non-modular budget formats described in the PHS 398 application instructions (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html). 

2. Funds Available

The estimated amount of funds available for support of one project awarded as a result of this announcement is up to $3 million total costs for fiscal year 2010. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the IC(s) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, see NOT-OD-05-004.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

The following organizations/institutions are eligible to apply:

The following organizations/institutions are NOT eligible to apply independently but may be a part of an application as a subcontract for the knowledge base PharmGKB:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the PD/PI is invited to work with his/her institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

More than one PD/PI, or multiple PDs/PIs, may be designated on the application for projects that require a “team science” approach and therefore clearly do not fit the single-PD/PI model. Additional information on the implementation plans, policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PD/PI on individual research projects is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi. All PDs/PIs must be registered in the NIH eRA Commons prior to the submission of the application (see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm for instructions).

The decision of whether to apply for a grant with a single PD/PI or multiple PDs/PIs is the responsibility of the investigators and applicant organizations, and should be determined by the scientific goals of the project. Applications for grants with multiple PDs/PIs will require additional information, as outlined in the instructions below. The NIH review criteria for approach, investigators, and environment have been modified to accommodate applications involving either a single PD/PI or multiple PDs/PIs. When considering multiple PDs/PIs, please be aware that the structure and governance of the PD/PI leadership team as well as the knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PDs/PIs will be factored into the assessment of the overall scientific merit of the application.  Multiple PDs/PIs on a project share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI is responsible and accountable to the grantee organization, or, as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of required reports. For further information on multiple PDs/PIs, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi.

A PD/PI, or multiple PDs/PIs, must present evidence of established ability and expertise in this field and must plan to contribute significant time, effort, and leadership to PharmGKB.  Reviewers will be asked to comment specifically on the commitment that a principal investigator appears able to make to this endeavor.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

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

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Number of Applications.  Applicants may submit more than one application, provided they are scientifically distinct.

Resubmissions.  Resubmission applications are not permitted in response to this FOA. 

Renewals.  Renewal applications are permitted in response to this FOA 

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the most current PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. Applications must have a D&B Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/. The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed in item (box) 2 only of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Applications with Multiple PDs/PIs 

When multiple PD/PIs are proposed, use the Face Page-Continued page to provide items 3a – 3h for all PD/PIs. NIH requires one PD/PI be designated as the “contact PD/PI” for all communications between the PD/PIs and the agency. The contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status in the same way as other PD/PIs, but has no special roles or responsibilities within the project team beyond those mentioned above. The contact PD/PI may be changed during the project period. The contact PD/PI should be listed in block 3 of Form Page 1 (the Face Page), with all additional PD/PIs listed on Form Page 1-Continued. When inserting the name of the PD/PI in the header of each application page, use the name of the “Contact PD/PI, et. al.” The contact PD/PI must be from the applicant organization if PD/PIs are from more than one institution.

All individuals designated as PD/PI must be registered in the eRA Commons and must be assigned the PD/PI role in that system (other roles such as SO or IAR will not give the PD/PI the appropriate access to the application records). Each PD/PI must include their respective eRA Commons ID in the eRA Commons User Name field.

All projects proposing Multiple PDs/PIs will be required to include a new section describing the leadership plan approach for the proposed project.

Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan: For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs, a new section of the research plan, entitled “Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan” must be included. A rationale for choosing a multiple PD/PI approach should be described. The governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and the research project should be described, and should include communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, and procedures for resolving conflicts. The roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program should be delineated for the PDs/PIs and other collaborators. 

If budget allocation is planned, the distribution of resources to specific components of the project or the individual PDs/PIs should be delineated in the Leadership Plan. In the event of an award, the requested allocations may be reflected in a footnote on the Notice of Award.

Additional information is available in the PHS 398 grant application instructions.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Applications must be received on or before the receipt date described below (Section IV.3.A). Submission times N/A.

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: May 2, 2009
Application Receipt Date: June 2, 2009
Peer Review Date:  November 2009
Council Review Date:  January 2010
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  April 1, 2010

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed in Section IV.3.A.

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Rochelle M. Long, Ph.D.
Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Division
NIGMS, NIH
45 Center Dr.
Bldg. 45, Rm. 2AS.49G
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 594-3827
Email: rochelle.long@nih.gov

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the forms found in the PHS 398 instructions for preparing a research grant application. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

Personal deliveries of applications are no longer permitted (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-040.html).

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
NIGMS, NIH
45 Center Dr.
Bldg. 45, Rm. 3AN.12F
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 594-2881
Email:  sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be received on or before the application receipt date described above (Section IV.3.A.). If an application is received after that date, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.  Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and for responsiveness by the reviewing Institute Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this funding opportunity that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to a funding opportunity, it is to be prepared as a NEW application. That is, the application for the funding opportunity must not include an Introduction describing the changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.

Information on the status of an application should be checked by the Principal Investigator in the eRA Commons at: https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/.

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award if such costs: 1) are necessary to conduct the project, and 2) would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project (see NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part6.htm.)

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Research Plan Page Limitations

There is an overall page limit of 40 pages for the Research Plan, with the recommendation that they be allotted as follows (fewer pages are encouraged, if not all are needed):

Two (2) pages for an Overall Resource Research Project Summary (must stand alone and represent the entire proposed program, referring to each essential component)

Two (2) pages for the Specific Aims

Six (6) pages for the Background/Significance (which specifically includes information surveying the stakeholders for this resource and documents the needs in the field)

Eight (8) pages for the Preliminary Studies/Progress Report (which specifically refers to models for knowledge bases that have worked successfully in the pharmacogenomics research community, as well as those that have not)

Eighteen (18) pages for the Research Design and Methods (which specifically includes information about critical existing resources and interactions proposed for and partnering with PharmGKB, and plans to seek advice and evaluate success)

One (1) page for Management within the resource (must also name a knowledge base director and describe internal communication plans within the group; include the Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan described above here, if applicable)

Two (2) pages for Data and Software Sharing and Intellectual Property plans (must be consistent with all prevailing NIH policies; an institution’s stance should be consistent with enabling and advancing and not hindering future research)

One (1) page for a plan for Increasing Researcher Diversity (must propose ways to reflect NIGMS’ and NIH’s commitment to promoting and modeling diversity in research teams)

Budgetary Instructions:

The budgets should be constructed according to the scientific structure of the application.  If there are separate components (projects or cores), overall composite budgets should be provided for the entire project, and individual budgets provided for any component parts.  Complete justifications and explanations should be provided, including the rationale for continuing any component for the entire project period.  

Place these budgets at the front of the application in sequence, so that they do not interrupt the pagination and limits described above.  Use roman numerals and titles to identify the associated budgets, and make them match the entries in the Table of Contents.  All costs should be reflected, but Facilities and Administrative costs required to set up and maintain subcontracts will not count against the upper budgetary limits for this announcement, nor will one-time equipment requests.  When awarded, inflationary increases will be limited to the NIH-approved amounts.   

Subcontracts – Where there are subcontracting organizations, if they are not already presented separately according to the instructions above, each entity will need to submit separate budget pages.  They should both be included in the itemized listing described for components, and their requests must be prepared separately as a detailed, itemized budget for the initial budget period and as a budget for the entire proposed period of support. 

Follow instructions for all other aspects of the PHS 398 paper grant application form.  Ensure that all institutional letters and letters of collaboration are included with the application and signed. 

Appendix Materials

All paper PHS 398 applications submitted must provide appendix material on CDs only. Include five identical CDs in the same package with the application. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-031.html.

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan component. An application that does not observe the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.

Resource Sharing Plan(s)

NIH considers the sharing of unique research resources developed through NIH-sponsored research an important means to enhance the value of, and advance research. When resources have been developed with NIH funds and the associated research findings published or provided to NIH, it is important that they be made readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community. If the final data/resources are not amenable to sharing, this must be explained in Resource Sharing section of the application. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm.

(a) Data Sharing Plan: Regardless of the amount requested, investigators are expected to include a brief 1-paragraph description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data-sharing is not possible. Applicants are encouraged to discuss data-sharing plans with their NIH program contact. See Data-Sharing Policy or http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-032.html.

(b) Sharing Model Organisms: Regardless of the amount requested, all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated are expected to include a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organisms and related resources, or state appropriate reasons why such sharing is restricted or not possible. See Sharing Model Organisms Policy, and NIH Guide NOT-OD-04-042.

(c) Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS): Regardless of the amount requested, applicants seeking funding for a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designated GWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible.  A genome-wide association study is defined as any study of genetic variation across the entire genome that is designed to identify genetic associations with observable traits (such as blood pressure or weight) or the presence or absence of a disease or condition.  For further information see Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies, NIH Guide NOT-OD-07-088, and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications that are complete and responsive to the FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by NIGMS and 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, all applications will:

An award made under this initiative will have specialized Terms and Conditions emphasizing data transfer to ensure the future portability of PharmGKB.  Tools and software sharing will be negotiated between the awardee institution and NIH, according to existing NIH policies in effect at the time of award. 

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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. 

Overall Impact. Reviewers will provide an overall impact 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 following five core review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed). 

Review Criteria.  Reviewers will consider each of the five review criteria below in the determination of scientific and technical merit, and give a separate score for each.  An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.  For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance.  Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?  If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved?  How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?  Does the resource research project proposed have the potential to establish new paradigms for pharmacogenomics studies? 

Investigator(s).  Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, do they have appropriate experience and training?  If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)?  If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?  What is the evidence that the research team will work well in an interactive and collaborative way with the research community?  Does the team reflect the NIH’s commitment to workforce diversity? 

Innovation.  Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?  Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense?  Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?  Will the resource proposed be at the “cutting edge”, and will the activities remain so to the greatest extent possible during the project period, given this rapidly changing area?

Approach.  Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?   If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?
If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  Are the approaches proposed the most appropriate and current for the fields of bioinformatics and pharmacogenomics?

Environment.  Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?  Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence that the environment is conducive to establishing a resource of the proper complexity and scope?

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.  For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects  and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children.  When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children.

Vertebrate Animals.  The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia.

Renewal Applications.  When reviewing a Renewal application (formerly called a competing continuation application), the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Biohazards.  Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Leadership.  This initiative is designed to encourage leadership activities and interactions with other ongoing efforts in the field of pharmacogenomics.  Is the potential commitment of the principal investigator(s) and his/her investigative team commensurate with their stated vision for this resource?

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 score.

Budget and Period Support.  Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

Select Agent Research. Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans.  Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan (http://grants.nih/gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_guidance.htm); 2) Sharing Model Organisms (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-04-042.html); and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-088.html).

Data Sharing.  This initiative places an emphasis on knowledge sharing through PharmGKB.  Applicants must propose the most progressive ways to encourage the greatest extent of data sharing possible, in order to facilitate future research studies in pharmacogenomics.  Reviewers should comment on whether the applicant’s commitment to the goal of sharing is proactive, realistic, and achievable, and whether the institutional plans as presented are consistent with those goals.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

PharmGKB is scheduled to renew July 1, 2010.  Release of information regarding an award will be commensurate with continuation of the resource as of that date.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

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 eRA Commons.

If the application is under consideration 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.

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 (designated in item 12 on the Application Face Page). If a grantee is not email enabled, a hard copy of the NoA will be mailed to the business official.

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. See Also Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part4.htm) and Part II Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_part9.htm).

Terms and Conditions regarding the data contents of the knowledge base and the name PharmGKB will be added, if an award is made.  Terms will also be added regarding the transfer of data tables at any time to ensure the future portability of PharmGKB.  

3. Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Awardee may be asked to share periodic automated reports with the NIGMS, in order to judge the knowledge base utilization.  The format will be negotiated with the principal investigator(s).

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.

Section VII. Agency Contacts



We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Rochelle M. Long, PhD
Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Division
NIGMS, NIH
45 Center Drive
Bldg. 45, Rm. 2As.49G
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 594-3827
Email:  rochelle.long@nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
NIGMS, NIH
45 Center Dr.
Bldg. 45, Rm. 3AN.12F
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 594-2881
Email:  sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Lisa Moeller
Grants Administration Branch
NIGMS, NIH
Bldg. 45, Rm. 2AN.50C
45 Center Dr.
Bethesda, MD 20892

Telephone: (301) 594-3914
Email:  moellerl@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local IRB rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

Policy for Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS):
NIH is interested in advancing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify common genetic factors that influence health and disease through a centralized GWAS data repository. For the purposes of this policy, a genome-wide association study is defined as any study of genetic variation across the entire human genome that is designed to identify genetic associations with observable traits (such as blood pressure or weight), or the presence or absence of a disease or condition. All applications, regardless of the amount requested, proposing a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designated GWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible. Data repository management (submission and access) is governed by the Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies, NIH Guide NOT-OD-07-088. For additional information, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). All investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal, beginning with the October 1, 2004 receipt date, are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s) to be used in the proposed research.

NIH Public Access Policy Requirement:
In accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-033.html) investigators must submit or have submitted for them their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise from NIH funds and are accepted for publication as of April 7, 2008 to PubMed Central (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/), to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication. As of May 27, 2008, investigators must include the PubMed Central reference number when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that fall under the policy, and was authored or co-authored by the investigator or arose from the investigator’s NIH award.  For more information, see the Public Access webpage at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. For publications listed in the appendix and/or Progress report, internet addresses (URLs) must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles.  Unless otherwise specified in this solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide any other information necessary for the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This FOA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The NIH Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov.


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