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 Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov)

Title:  PFINDR: Phenotype Finder IN Data Resources: A Tool to Support Cross-study Data Discovery Among NHLBI Genomic Studies (UH2/UH3)

Announcement Type
New

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

Request for Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-HL-11-020

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four (4) weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.233, 93.837, 93.838, 93.839

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date:  June 8, 2010
Opening Date:  August 15, 2010 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): August 16, 2010
NOTE: On-time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization). 
Application Due Date(s):  September 15, 2010
Peer Review Date(s): February 2011 
Council Review Date(s): May 2011
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): July 1, 2011 
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date):
A pre-application conference call is planned to help applicants with these issues and a FAQ addressing applicant queries will be provided at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/resources/pfindr.htm
Expiration Date: September 16, 2010

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 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. 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. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH
    C. Application Processing   
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
     A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
         1. Principal Investigator Rights and Responsibilities
         2. NIH Responsibilities
         3. Collaborative Responsibilities
         4. Dispute Resolution Process
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contacts
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


1. Research Objectives

Despite the vast amounts of genomic data (e.g., GWAS, sequencing, etc.) available in repositories such as dbGaP, identification of relevant datasets can be challenging for researchers interested in specific phenotypic measures. This initiative, Phenotype Finder IN Data Resources: A Tool to Support Cross-study Data Discovery Among NHLBI Genomic Studies (PFINDR), will support development and application of new informatics tools and approaches to be broadly available for use by the research community to categorize phenotype measurements from GWAS (Genome-Wide Association Studies) and other genomic studies to help researchers identify data sets of interest as well as potential future collaborations.

For many decades, NHLBI has invested substantially in the collection of carefully defined and measured phenotypes. Genomic data, including GWAS and exome resequencing, are being generated to drive forward our understanding of the role of genetic variation in heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. GWAS data sharing policies aim to ensure that these data are made available to approved investigators in a timely manner through databases such as dbGaP, the NIH’s database of Genotypes and Phenotypes.  These data sharing efforts are intended to ensure re-use of these valuable phenotype-genotype association data by external investigators. However, as an increasing number of studies deposit their data into these repositories, it becomes increasingly difficult to find studies that have comparable phenotypic measures.  One of the foremost repositories, dbGaP, has consistent architecture for study descriptions but has rudimentary categorization of phenotypic measures that would allow mapping of variables to standardized terminologies or other controlled vocabularies. 

PFINDR aims to apply innovative new metadata and text mining approaches, such as natural language processing or semantic integration, for data mining and visualization to help researchers find relevant genomic studies within genomic data repositories, such as dbGaP.  Researchers would use the PFINDR tool to identify a subset of likely studies that they could further investigate to determine which studies best fit their criteria and could then request access to the data. It is expected that the final tool would be useful by biomedical researchers and not just bioinformatics experts.  PFINDR would not provide actual data values but would use the data descriptors (meta-data) to enable searching and mapping across studies.

Computer science and biomedical informatics researchers are developing tools and approaches that can be applied by PFINDR to solve this problem. PFINDR would bring together highly advanced techniques in data mapping and searching to the growing problem of searching through phenotypic variables in genomic datasets. It is hoped that not only would PFINDR be extensible across NHLBI domains and datasets, but that once implemented for heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) variables within dbGaP, it could be expanded to other scientific domains or adopted by other databases, to address the currently unsolved problem of mapping and searching across diverse, heterogeneous text-based phenotypes.  Applicants are expected to include appropriate model and software sharing plans to support collaboration with others not on the investigative team and to allow others external to the investigative team to test, validate, reuse and extend the software, tools, and approaches (see section IV.6).

PFINDR uses a Phased Innovation (Cooperative Agreement) mechanism, UH2/UH3, which supports a feasibility/pilot phase (UH2) and an expanded development phase (UH3) with useful tool(s) resulting from the program. The applicant must provide a focused pilot plan for the UH2 phase to prove the concept and a feasible plan in the UH3 phase for scaling up the effort to additional datasets and/or multiple scientific HLBS domains.   In the UH2 phase, applicants should propose specific use-cases to prove the feasibility of their approach on data from dbGaP or an equivalent public database.  The use-case should be within cardiovascular, lung, blood, and/or sleep scientific areas of interest to NHLBI.  Transition from UH2 to UH3 is contingent upon successful completion of the UH2 milestones and administrative review to ensure the UH3 fulfills NHLBI needs. In the UH3 stage of award, the successful project will expand the scientific areas from the pilot use cases to larger scientific areas of interest to NHLBI. The successful UH3 is dependent upon negotiations and final approval by NHLBI. Progress will be administratively reviewed prior to issuance of the second phase (UH3) of the award. The NIH funding institute reserves the right to terminate or curtail an individual award. The UH2/UH3 mechanism has been used successfully in both the roadmap Human Microbiome Demonstration Projects (RFA-RM-08-012) and the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (PAR-09-120).

Applications will include a training component that will support graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows.  This training component will help ensure usability of the tool during development and will support HLBS workforce development in this area.  The goal of this training component is to develop biomedical researchers skilled in software, informatics, and HLBS domain science. Applicants should provide biosketches for the proposed trainees, detail the training program that will be implemented, and identify the mentor(s) for the trainees.

The result of the PFINDR program will be an extensible approach which would allow researchers to browse and discover genomic studies of interest based on relevant phenotypic measures. PFINDR will provide a public data structure and approach to classifying phenotypic variables and mapping them across different studies, implemented for NHLBI domain-specific variables, across cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep research domains. The framework and implementation, i.e., approach and tools, however, can potentially be applied to other scientific domains. Once proven to work on existing GWAS data within dbGaP, PFINDR could potentially grow to include additional data sets (e.g., exome, transcriptome, IPS cell expression), whose data may also be deposited in dbGaP and could be applied to other databases, such as the NHLBI Biospecimen Repository.

It is expected that the PFINDR tool(s) will be useful to biomedical researchers.  Applicants should provide plans for usability testing by both biomedical researchers and bioinformaticians. Applicants should detail their outreach plans to disseminate knowledge of the tool to the biomedical research community and collect feedback from users on the tool(s).  It is expected that results of the user-testing, outreach, and feedback will be included in the annual progress reports. 

Program Governance: A Steering Committee will serve as the main governing board of the PFINDR project.  The Steering Committee membership will include NIH PFINDR Project Scientists and the PI of each awarded cooperative agreement. External Scientific Consultants (ESC) will be selected by NHLBI; and will provide recommendations on the progress of the members of PFINDR toward meeting their individual and collective goals. The ESC will be composed of four to six senior scientists with relevant expertise who are not Principal Investigators of a cooperative agreement involved in PFINDR. The membership of the External Scientific Consultants may be enlarged permanently, or on an ad hoc basis, as needed.

The External Scientific Consultants will meet at least once a year. During part of this meeting, there will be a joint meeting with the Steering Committee to allow the External Scientific Consultants members to interact directly with the awardees. Annually, the External Scientific Consultants will make recommendations regarding progress of PFINDR and present advice about changes, if any, which may be necessary to the Director of NHLBI.

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

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This FOA will use the NIH two-phased Exploratory/Developmental cooperative agreement UH2/UH3 award mechanism.

The transition from the UH2 feasibility phase to the UH3 phase will be determined by NIH program staff based on NIH program priorities, successful completion of scientific milestones, and the availability of funds.

Progress will be administratively reviewed prior to issuance of the second phase (UH3) of the award. The NIH funding institute reserves the right to terminate or curtail an individual award.

This FOA 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). Specifically, a U.S. organization submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs) must use the PHS398 Modular Budget component.

U.S. applicants requesting more than $250,000 in annual direct costs and all foreign applicants must complete and submit budget requests using the Research & Related Budget component.

This funding opportunity will use an NIH cooperative agreement award mechanism. In the cooperative agreement mechanism, the PD(s)/PI(s) retain(s) the primary responsibility and dominant role for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project, with NIH staff being substantially involved as a partner with the PD(s)/PI(s), as described under the Section VI. 2. Administrative Requirements, "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award".

2. Funds Available

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.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs requested by primary 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:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the PD/PI is invited to work with his/her organization 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 (i.e., 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 and 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 electronic Research Administration (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. When considering the multiple PD/PI option, 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.

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 each application is scientifically distinct

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

Renewals. Renewal applications are not permitted in response to this FOA.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, use the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

Registration:

Appropriate registrations with Grants.gov and eRA Commons must be completed on or before the due date in order to successfully submit an applicationSeveral of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered with both Grants.gov and the Commons. All registrations must be complete by the submission deadline for the application to be considered “on-time” (see 3.C.1 for more information about on-time submission).

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PDs/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the NIH eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant can submit an electronic application, as follows:  

1.  Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Registered

2.  Organizational/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

3.  Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Both the PDs/PI(s) and AOR/SO need separate accounts in the NIH eRA Commons since both are authorized to view the application image.

Note: The registration process is not sequential.  Applicants should begin the registration processes for both Grants.gov and eRA Commons as soon as their organization has obtained a DUNS number.  Only one DUNS number is required and the same DUNS number must be referenced when completing Grants.gov registration, eRA Commons registration and the SF424 (R&R) forms.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.

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

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. Some fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application has several components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY includes all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA includes the data in the following components:

Required Components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan
PHS398 Checklist
PHS398 Modular Budget or Research & Related Budget, as appropriate (See Section IV.6 regarding appropriate required budget component.)  

Optional Components:
PHS398 Cover Letter File
Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

Foreign Organizations (Non-Domestic [non-U.S.] Entities)

NIH policies concerning grants to Foreign (non-U.S.) organizations can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part12.htm#_Toc54600260.

Applications from Foreign organizations must:

Proposed research should provide special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States (U.S.) or that augment existing U.S. resources.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS  

Applications with Multiple PDs/PIs

When multiple PDs/PIs are proposed, NIH requires one PD/PI to be designated as the "Contact” PI, who will be responsible for all communication between the PDs/PIs and the NIH, for assembling the application materials outlined below, and for coordinating progress reports for the project. The contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status in the same way as other PDs/PIs, but has no other special roles or responsibilities within the project team beyond those mentioned above.

Information for the Contact PD/PI should be entered on the SF424 (R&R) Cover component. All other PDs/PIs should be listed in the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component and assigned the project role of “PD/PI.” Please remember that all PDs/PIs must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to application submission. The Commons ID of each PD/PI must be included in the “Credential” field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component. Failure to include this data field will cause the application to be rejected.

Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan: For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs, the 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 (NoA).

Applications Involving a Single Institution

When all PDs/PIs are within a single institution, follow the instructions contained in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Applications Involving Multiple Institutions 

When multiple institutions are involved, one institution must be designated as the prime institution and funding for the other institution(s) must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the prime institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the prime institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component. All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form. See Section 4.8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget form. 

When submitting a modular budget, the prime institution completes the PHS398 Modular Budget component only. Information concerning the consortium/subcontract budget is provided in the budget justification. Separate budgets for each consortium/subcontract grantee are not required when using the Modular budget format. See Section 5.4 of the Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the PHS398 Modular Budget component.

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A. for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date: August 15, 2010 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): August 16, 2010
Application Due Date(s): September 15, 2010
Peer Review Date(s): February 2011
Council Review Date(s): May 2011
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): July 1, 2011

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:

Director, Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Research Activities
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive
Room 7214, MSC7924
Bethesda, MD 20892-7924 (Express mail zip: 20817)
Telephone: (301) 435-0270
FAX: 301-480-0730
Email: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp  and follow Steps 1-4. Note:  Applications must only be submitted electronically.  PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.

In order to expedite the review, applicants are requested to notify the NHLBI Referral Office by email (nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov) when the application has been submitted.  Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

3.C. Application Processing

3.C.1 Submitting On-Time

Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application due date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the due date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed. All applications must meet the following criteria to be considered “on-time”:

Please visit http://era.nih.gov/electronicReceipt/app_help.htm for detailed information on what to do if Grants.gov or eRA system issues threaten your ability to submit on time.

Submission to Grants.gov is not the last step – applicants must follow their application through to the eRA Commons to check for errors and warnings and view their assembled application!

3.C.2 Two Day Window to Correct eRA Identified Errors/Warnings

IMPORTANT NOTE! NIH has eliminated the error correction window for due dates of January 25, 2011 and beyond. As of January 25, all corrections must be complete by the due date for an application to be considered on-time. See NOT-OD-10-123.

Once an application package has been successfully submitted through Grants.gov, NIH provides applicants a two day error correction window to correct any eRA identified errors or warnings before a final assembled application is created in the eRA Commons.  The standard error correction window is two (2) business days, beginning the day after the submission deadline and excluding weekends and standard federal holidays.  All errors must be corrected to successfully complete the submission process.  Warnings will not prevent the application from completing the submission process.

Please note that the following caveats apply:

3.C.3 Viewing an Application in the eRA Commons

Once any eRA identified errors have been addressed and the assembled application has been created in the eRA Commons, the PD/PI and the Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO) have two weekdays (Monday – Friday, excluding Federal holidays) to view the assembled application before it automatically moves forward to NIH for further processing.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the IC. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commonshttps://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/. The submitting AOR/SO receives the Grants.gov acknowledgments. The AOR/SO and the PI receive Commons acknowledgments. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons. 

Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to check periodically on the application status in the Commons.

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.

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.

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 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 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 the NIH Grants Policy Statement).

6. Other Submission Requirements 

The UH2 phase must include clear, well-defined, measurable goals (objective and quantifiable milestones) that can be used to judge the success of the proposed research. The application must have a section labeled "Milestones" within “Research Strategy” which must include:

1.     One to three well-defined, objective, quantifiable, scientific milestones for completion of the UH2 phase.

2.     A discussion of the suitability of the proposed milestones for assessing success in the UH2 phase.

3.     A discussion of the implications of successful completion of these milestones for the proposed UH3 study.

The UH2 and UH3 research plan has a 12 page limit. Applicants should ensure the UH2 and UH3 sections are clearly marked with the 12 pages

Applicants should include a budget for an annual meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, and should expect to participate in monthly teleconferences.

Awardees must agree to the "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award" in Section VI.2.A "Award Administration Information."

PD/PI Credential (e.g., Agency Login)

The NIH requires the PD(s)/PI(s) to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component.

Organizational DUNS

The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

PHS398 Research Plan Component Sections

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide are to be followed, incorporating "Just-in-Time" information concepts, and with the following additional requirements:

Budget Component

U.S. applicants submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs) must use the PHS398 Modular Budget component.

U.S. applicants requesting more than $250,000 in annual direct costs and all foreign applicants must complete and submit budget requests using the Research & Related Budget component.

Applicants should clearly indicate on each budget page (“2. Budget Justifications

Additional Narrative Justification”) whether it applies to the UH2 or UH3 component of the proposal.

Appendix Materials

Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations. An application that does not comply with 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 and further the advancement of the 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 the Resource Sharing section of the application (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm. and http://sharing.nih.gov )

(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 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 (e.g., 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 (go to NOT-OD-07-088, and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/.)

Software Sharing Plan

A software dissemination plan, with appropriate timelines, is expected to be included in the application consistent with achieving the program goals. This should be included in a separate heading in the Resource Sharing Plan(s) in the PHS398 Specific Research Plan Component. There is no prescribed single license for software produced through grants responding to this announcement. However, NIH does have goals for software dissemination under this initiative, and reviewers will be instructed to provide comments on submitted dissemination plans relative to these program goals:

1. The software should be freely available to biomedical researchers and educators in the non-profit sector, such as institutions of education, research institutions, and government laboratories.

2. The terms of software availability should permit the dissemination and commercialization of enhanced or customized versions of the software, or incorporation of the software or pieces of it into other software packages.

3. To preserve utility to the community, the software should be transferable such that another individual or team can continue development in the event that the original investigators are unwilling or unable to do so.

4. The terms of software availability should include the ability of researchers to modify the source code and to share modifications with other colleagues. An applicant should take responsibility for creating the original and subsequent official versions of a piece of software.

5. To further enhance the potential impact of their software, applicants may consider proposing a plan to manage and disseminate the improvements or customizations of their tools and resources by others. This proposal may include a plan to incorporate the enhancements into the official core software, may involve the creation of an infrastructure for plug-ins, or may describe some other solution.

The reviewers’ comments on the adequacy of the software sharing plans in achieving the goals of this initiative will be considered by Program staff when making recommendations about funding applications. In making such considerations, prior to funding, program staff may negotiate modifications of software sharing plans with the Principal Investigator before recommending funding of an application. Any software dissemination plans represent a commitment by the institution (and its subcontractors as applicable) to support and abide by the plan. The final version of any accepted software sharing plans will become a condition of the award of the grant. The effectiveness of software sharing may be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3., Reporting.

Foreign Applications (Non-Domestic [non-U.S.] Entities)

Indicate how the proposed project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of the NIH/IC and has the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the United States. 

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

Review Process

Applications that are complete and responsive to this FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by NHLBI 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:

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/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 following five scored review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed). 

Scored 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? Will the proposed projects lead to new insights or refinements in biomedical data discovery? Can the proposed tool(s) lead to a greater use, exploration, leveraging, and/or cross-evaluation of existing datasets?

Investigator(s).  Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, 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? Does the proposed investigative team include necessary expertise from both informatics and biomedical scientific domain? Is the plan for integrating the diverse expertise sound?  

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? 

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? Is the choice of pilot project in UH2 suitable for the proof of feasibility? Are the plans for scale-up UH3 phase feasible and reasonable?  Is the approach scalable and generalizable to scientific domains outside of the UH2 phase pilot? Have the investigators proposed usability testing and have they indicated how user feedback will be incorporated to improve the approach?  Does the application include an outreach plan?

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? 

Additional Review Criteria

In addition to the above review criteria, the following criteria will be addressed and considered in the determination of scientific merit and the rating.

Training Component. Is the training plan effective? Are the potential trainees suitable?  Do the mentors have both the experience and time to mentor the trainees? 

Milestones.  Are the proposed milestones well-defined, quantitative, and appropriate for assessing the success in the UH2 phase of the application? Is it clear how the UH3 phase of the study will develop and expand once the UH2 milestones are achieved?

 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.  For additional information, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/VASchecklist.pdf.

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.

Resubmission Applications.  Resubmissions are not allowed for this FOA.

Renewal Applications.  Renewals are not allowed for this FOA.

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.

Applications from Foreign Organizations.  As applicable for the FOA or submitted application, reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

Select Agents 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); (3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-088.html).

The initial review group will comment on the appropriateness of the proposed plans for software sharing according to the guidelines in Section IV.6

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

Selection Process

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

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Not Applicable

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 NIH 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.

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 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  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities.

The following Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the award statement and will be provided to the Principal Investigator as well as to the appropriate institutional official, at the time of award.

2.A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

2. A.1. Principal Investigator Rights and Responsibilities

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for: all aspects of the research and coordination with implementation partners. These responsibilities include conducting the research, assuring quality and integrity of data, analyzing and interpreting data, preparing publications, and dissemination of research findings. The PI will agree to accept close coordination, cooperation, and participation of NIH Program staff in those aspects of scientific and technical management of the project as described under "NIH Program Staff Responsibilities." In addition, the PI(s) agree to:

Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

2. A.2. NIH Responsibilities

Scientific Program Staff from NIH funding institute will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. The assigned program staff may also serve as the NIH Project Scientist. An NIH Project Scientist will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below.

NIH Project Scientists will have substantial scientific/programmatic involvement during the conduct of this activity through technical assistance, advice and coordination.  However, the role of NIH Project Scientists will be to facilitate and not to direct the activities. It is anticipated that decisions in all activities will be made by the PI and NIH Project Scientists will be given the opportunity to offer input to this process.

The Project Scientist may:

The Project Scientists adhere to stringent NIH ethics rules and financial disclosure reporting to eliminate overt and perceived conflict of interest; Project Scientist are prohibited from observing scientific review of competing applications from an investigator with whom they have published in the last three years; recommendations from Project Scientist about budgetary requests (e.g., carryover, administrative supplements, no-cost extensions) are reviewed by other NIH program staff without any perceived conflict of interest and approved by their supervisors (e.g., Branch Chiefs, Division Director, and Institute Director); recommendations made by Project Scientist in annual progress reports are reviewed by grant management specialists; Project Scientists will not seek lead authorship on any publications and will obtain approval from their supervisors to participate in any writing group.

Progress will be administratively reviewed prior to issuance of the second phase (UH3) of the award. This review will be performed by NHLBI staff with recommendations from the External Scientific Consultants.   The NIH funding institute reserves the right to terminate or curtail an individual award.

Additionally, an agency program official or IC program director will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

2.A.3. Collaborative Responsibilities

A Steering Committee will serve as the main governing board of the PFINDR project.  The Steering Committee membership will include NIH PFINDR Project Scientists and the PI of each awarded cooperative agreement. The PI of each center (or designee) will have one vote on the Steering Committee. The Project Scientists may vote, but the total votes will count as a maximum of one-third of the total number of votes.  The Steering Committee Chair will not be an NIH staff member. Additional members may be added by action of the Steering Committee. Other government staff may attend the Steering Committee meetings, if their expertise is required for specific discussions.

Each full member will have one vote. Awardee members of the Steering Committee will be required to accept and implement policies approved by the Steering Committee.

2.A.4. Dispute Resolution Process

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

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.

UH2 to UH3 Transition Request: Completion of the UH2 milestones will prompt an Institute-expedited review that will determine whether or not the UH3 should be awarded. Request for the transition should be submitted to the NIH at least 6 months prior to the completion of the UH2 phase. The release of UH3 funds will be based on NHLBI program priorities, the availability of funds, and successful completion of milestones

Grantee Meetings: Principal Investigators may be required to attend an annual PFINDR meeting organized by the NIH. Investigators may include travel to this meeting as part of the budget request and state a willingness to participate in this meeting.

Awardees will also be required to submit quarterly progress reports in a standard format, as agreed upon by the Steering Committee. As part of good program management, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this Program. Accordingly, recipients are hereby notified that grantees may be asked to provide information for program evaluation purposes, both locally and at the national level. Progress reports should include a list of scientific publications, software releases, outreach efforts, and the status of the training component of the award.

The NIH will evaluate this program.  Each awardee will be required to define a set of concrete and quantifiable project-specific milestones.  Prior to funding the application, program staff will negotiate the milestones with the applicant.  The negotiated milestones will become a condition of the award, including appropriate language to recognize that the project includes research the outcomes of which are unpredictable.  Each awardee will be required to update these milestones annually at the anniversary date.  In addition, each awardee is expected to provide additional information as required to assist the program evaluation. 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. Due to the unique requirements of the program, prospective applicants should consult with NIH program staff as plans for applications are being developed. Pre-application consultation should be done with adequate lead time before the application receipt date in order for applicants to have sufficient time to consider advice from NIH program staff. This early contact will provide an opportunity to clarify the applicant's understanding of the PFINDR program goals and guidelines, including the scope of projects within the program and the requirement that project objectives be milestone-driven.

Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research (program), peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contact(s):

Jennie Larkin, Ph.D.
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH, DHHS
6701 Rockledge Dr., Room 8200
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7940
Tel: 301-435-0513
Email: larkinj2@mail.nih.gov

George J. Papanicolaou, Ph.D.
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH, DHHS
6701 Rockledge Dr., Room 10018
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7936
Tel: 301-435-0453
Email: gjp@nhlbi.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contact(s):

Director, Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Research Administration
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7214 (MSC 7924)
Bethesda, MD 20892-7924 (Express zip code: 20817)
Telephone: (301) 435-0270
Fax: (301) 480-0730 
Email:mailto: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s):

Kimberly Stanton
Division of Extramural Research Activities
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7167
Bethesda, MD 20892-7926
Telephone: (301) 435-0159
Fax: 301-451-5462
Email:stantonk@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 (45 CFR 46) 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 institutional review board (IRB) rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule.

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/.

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. Beginning October 1, 2004, all investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal 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.

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.

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 SF424 (R&R) application; 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-09-116.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, investigators funded by the NIH must submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central (see http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/), an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. The NIH Public Access Policy is available at (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-033.html). 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 (HHS) 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 HHS 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) or PubMed Central (PMC) submission identification numbers must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles. Publicly accessible on-line journal articles or PMC articles/manuscripts accepted for publication that are directly relevant to the project may be included only as URLs or PMC submission identification numbers accompanying the full reference in either the Bibliography & References Cited section, the Progress Report Publication List section, or the Biographical Sketch section of the NIH grant application. A URL or PMC submission identification number citation may be repeated in each of these sections as appropriate. There is no limit to the number of URLs or PMC submission identification numbers that can be cited.

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 Part 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 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/.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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