Department of Health and Human Services


Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is developed as a Common Fund initiative (http://commonfund.nih) through the NIH Office of the NIH Director, Office of Strategic Coordination (http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/osc). This FOA will be administered by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/) on behalf of the NIH.

Funding Opportunity Title

NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5)

Activity Code

DP5 Early Independence Award

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-RM-12-018

Related Notices

  • January 31, 2014 - NIH and AHRQ Extend Due Dates for Applications Due Jan 31-Feb 3 to Feb 4. See Notice NOT-OD-14-047.
  • August 21, 2013: Removed reference to ASSIST in section IV.3, since ASSIST is currently only available for multi-project applications.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-RM-13-009

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only up to two applications per institution are allowed as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.310

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award Program supports exceptional investigators who wish to pursue independent research directly after completion of their terminal doctoral/research degree or clinical residency, thereby forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period and accelerating their entry into an independent research career.

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 14, 2013

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 31, 2013

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

December 31, 2013

Application Due Date(s)

Extended to February 4, 2014 per NOT-OD-14-047 (previously January 31, 2014), by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June 2014

Advisory Council Review

August 2014

Earliest Start Date

September 2014

Expiration Date

February 1, 2014

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The NIH Director's Early Independence Awards initiative is funded through the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress.

The NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards provide an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to accelerate their entry into an independent research career by forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period. Though most newly graduated doctoral-level researchers would benefit by post-doctoral training, a small number of outstanding junior investigators would benefit instead by launching directly into an independent research career. For these select investigators, who have established a record of scientific innovation and research productivity and who have demonstrated unusual leadership, drive, and maturity, post-doctoral training would unnecessarily delay their entry into performing independent research. The NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards also provide an opportunity for institutions to invigorate their research programs by bringing in the fresh perspectives of the awardees that they host.

At the time of application, the Early Independence Award candidate must be within twelve months before or after the completion of their PhD (or equivalent) or for clinicians within twelve months before or after the completion of their medical residency (or equivalent) training. The medical fellowship period is NOT included as part of the medical residence or equivalent training. The date of degree receipt is that which appears on the official transcript for the degree. The time of application is the date when the application is submitted electronically to NIH through Grants.gov. In addition, at the time of application, the Early Independence investigator must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous doctoral degree for more than one year. By the end of the award period, the Early Independence investigator is expected to be competitive for continued funding of his/her research program and for a permanent research position.

Each institution (as defined by having a unique DUNS identifier) may submit only up to two applications. Prospective candidates should contact appropriate Institutional leaders to seek an appointment in an independent research position (For a listing of eligible degrees for Early Independence Investigators, please refer to Section III.1. Eligible Applicants). Alternatively, Institutions may actively recruit eligible junior scientists to apply for support through this program. In either event, the Institution will be expected to provide substantial support for the junior scientist as detailed below. To foster independence, it may behoove candidates to be hosted by institutions other than the ones at which they trained. To facilitate the “matching” of institutions and candidates, the NIH Common Fund is hosting a website (http://commonfund.nih.gov/earlyindependence/matchingportal/index.aspx) in which institutions interested in hosting candidates may choose to provide pertinent information such as particular areas of research being targeted, supporting documents to be submitted, and institution contact information.

In the application, the prospective Early Independence investigator and the prospective Grantee Institution will be required to provide:

Early Independence PD(s)/PI(s):

Grantee Institution:

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects all of its efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.  Grantee institutions are always encouraged to consider talented researchers from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and women for participation in all NIH-funded research opportunities. 

 Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The NIH Common Fund intends to commit approximately $4,000,000 in FY 2014. Approximately 10 awards are anticipated, contingent upon availability of funds and receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Awards will be for up to $250,000 in direct costs per year, plus applicable Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs.

Award Project Period

Five years. 

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


Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

For-Profit Organizations

Governments

Other

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account and should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate an existing account with the applicant organization’s eRA Commons account. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) 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.

Multiple PD(s)/PI(s) are not permitted for this FOA.

At the time of application, the individual either 1) within the preceding twelve months must have received a terminal doctoral degree or completed medical residency or 2) within the following twelve months must complete all the requirements for a doctoral degree or complete a medical residency. The fellowship training period is NOT included in the clinical residency or equivalent training period. The date of degree receipt is that which appears on the official transcript for the degree. The time of application is the date when the application is submitted electronically to NIH through Grants.gov. In addition, at the time of application, the PD/PI must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous doctoral degree for more than one year.

At the time of funding to the grantee Institution, the Early Independence investigator must have received a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), PharmD, DSW, PsyD, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution (it is the responsibility of the sponsoring institution to determine if a foreign doctoral degree is equivalent). Certification by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution that all degree requirements have been met is also acceptable.

A PD/PI is permitted only a single application for an Early Independence Award. 

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility


Number of Applications

NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

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.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Ravi Basavappa, Ph.D.
Office of Strategic Coordination
Office of the Director, NIH
1 Center Drive, MSC 0115
Building 1, Room 257B
Bethesda, MD 20892-0115
Telephone: 301-435-7204
Fax: 301-435-7268
Email: earlyindependence@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Item 10.  Facilities & Other Resources (no page limit).  In addition to the required information detailed in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, applicant institution officials must address each of the following items below. Use appropriate subheadings in the response.

Positions details:

Institutional resources commitment:

Institutional career development commitment:

Applications Involving the NIH Intramural Research Program

The requests by NIH intramural scientists will be limited to the incremental costs required for participation.   As such, these requests will not include any salary and related fringe benefits for career, career conditional or other Federal employees (civilian or uniformed service) with permanent appointments under existing position ceilings or any costs related to administrative or facilities support (equivalent to Facilities and Administrative or F&A costs).  These costs may include salary for staff to be specifically hired under a temporary appointment for the project, consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel, and other items typically listed under Other Expenses.  Applicants should indicate the number of person-months devoted to the project, even if no funds are requested for salary and fringe benefits. 

If selected, appropriate funding will be provided through the NIH Intramural Program.  NIH intramural scientists will participate in this program as PD/PIs in accord with the Terms and Conditions provided in this FOA.  Intellectual property will be managed in accord with established policy of the NIH in compliance with Executive Order 10096, as amended, 45 CFR Part 7; patent rights for inventions developed in NIH facilities are NIH property unless NIH waives its rights. 

Should an extramural application include the collaboration with an intramural scientist, no funds for the support of the intramural scientist may be requested in the application.  The intramural scientist may submit a separate request for intramural funding as described above.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed..

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

PHS398 Cover Letter: The PHS398 cover letter must include the list of referees (including name, department, and institution).

Research Strategy

Organize the Research Strategy as a single document using the instructions provided below. Start each section of the document with the appropriate section heading. Suggested page lengths for each section are given in parentheses.

1.    Rationale for omitting post-doc (one page): Why would skipping the typical post-doctoral fellowship benefit your long-term scientific career? What is driving your desire to pursue an independent research career at an earlier than usual stage?

2.    Personal/career development plan (one page): What particular strengths and weaknesses do you have for launching a productive independent research career? How would you use this award period to build on your strengths and address your weaknesses? How would receipt of this award accelerate your entry into an independent research career (especially if you already have a tenure track appointment)? What will your planned career path be if an Early Independence Award is not provided?

3.    Evidence of training ability and leadership (one-half page): What activities have prepared you to lead a laboratory, train laboratory staff, and perhaps mentor students and post-doctoral fellows?

4.    Host institution interactions (one-half page): What arrangements have you made with your host institution to provide you with the support and feedback necessary to establish your research program while maintaining your intellectual independence? How will you try to integrate yourself as an active member in your institution's scientific community?

5.    Research challenge (one page): What is the scientific challenge that you wish to address in your research? Why is this challenge significant to the biomedical/behavioral research community? What is the expected impact of your research on this challenge? Why did you choose this particular challenge to begin your independent research career?

6.    Approach (six pages): What is your experimental approach in addressing your research challenge? What is the logic that makes this scientifically compelling? No substantial preliminary data are expected, but will be considered if provided.

7.    Innovation (one page): What are the particularly innovative aspects of your proposed research?

8.    Relationship to previous work (one-half page): How is the proposed research related to your research as a student? How does it differ? How will this be accomplished independently from your previous mentors?

9.    Timeline (one-half page): What is the timeline for accomplishing intermediate steps in your award period? This should include steps in establishing a functioning laboratory, meeting career development objectives, as well as achieving your scientific objectives.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide,.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov, the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

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 only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

Letters of Reference:

Letters of reference are an important component of the Early Independence Award application. Applicants must arrange to have at least three and no more than five letters of reference submitted on their behalf.  Applications that are missing letters of reference will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed.  Late letters will not be accepted.  Applicants are responsible for monitoring the submission of letters to ensure that three letters have been submitted prior to the submission deadline.  Applicants are encouraged to check the status of their letters in their Commons accounts.

Letters may be submitted beginning December 31, 2013 and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) January 31, 2014.

To submit a letter of reference, the referee will need the following information:

Letters of reference are confidential. Applicants will not have access to the letters. E-mail confirmations will be sent to both the applicant and the referee. The confirmation sent to the applicant will include the referee’s name and the date and time the letter was submitted. The confirmation sent to the referee will include the referee and applicant’s names, a confirmation number, and the date and time the letter was submitted. 

Note: Since e-mail can be unreliable, it is the applicant’s responsibility to check the status of his/her letters of reference periodically in the Commons.

Instructions to Referees:

Letters must be submitted electronically – paper copies will not be accepted.

The applicant’s name should be placed at the top of the letter.  Although signatures are not required, the letter must include a signature block with the referee’s full name, title, institution, and contact information.

In two pages or less, describe the applicant’s qualities that support the applicant’s claim to possess the scientific, leadership and management skills necessary to conduct successful, completely independent research.  When possible, give specific examples that illustrate these qualities.

Note: The letter submission page can be accessed without signing into the Commons, and referees do not need to be registered in the Commons.  Referees must provide the applicant’s Commons User Name (User ID) and the other information below:

REFEREE INFORMATION (the individual providing the letter of reference):

Referee’s First and Last Name (Required)

Referee’s Middle Initial (MI) (Not Required)

Referee’s Email Address (Required)

Referee’s Institution/Affiliation (Required)

Referee’s Department (Required)

APPLICANT INFORMATION (applicants must send this information to their referees):

Applicant’s Commons User Name (User ID), (Required) (Important – this must be the applicant’s, not the referee’s, Commons User Name (User ID).  The letter will not be linked to the appropriate application if the Applicant’s User Name is not entered here.)

Applicant’s Last Name (Required).  (Note: must match exactly the applicant’s name in Commons)

Funding Opportunity Number (FOA) of this announcement:  RM13-009 (Required)

Confirmation Number (Required only when resubmitting a letter, that is, when submitting a revised or changed/corrected letter for the current FOA)

E-mail confirmations will be sent to both the applicant and the referee following submission of the letter.  The email confirmation will include a Confirmation Number that will be required only when submitting a revised or changed/corrected letter.  Please print the confirmation email for your records.

Post-Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

The NIH Director's Early Independence Awards are designed to accelerate the entry of exceptional junior investigators into positions of independent research by providing support within one year before or after receipt of the terminal research degree or completion of residency, thereby omitting the traditional post-doctoral training period. Accordingly, though all review criteria described below will be used, the emphases will be on the qualities of the investigator and on the environment provided by the host institution. Substantial preliminary data are not expected; rather, the approach should be made compelling primarily by the logic of the arguments presented.

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 review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific 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?  

Investigator(s)    

Is the Early Independence investigator well suited to the project?  Has the Early Independence investigator demonstrated appropriate experience, training, and skills to conduct highly innovative research? Has the Early Independence investigator demonstrated the leadership and management abilities necessary to successfully conduct completely independent research? Do the letters of recommendation indicate that the candidate has the scientific and leadership skills to manage an independent laboratory?

Is the Early Independence investigator at a juncture in his/her career at which the Early Independence Award would substantially accelerate entry into his/her independent research career? Would the Early Independence investigator's long term career benefit by this acceleration? 

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? Is the logic of the approach compelling despite the lack of supporting preliminary data? Is the scope of the project appropriately ambitious for someone who, though highly qualified, is still just establishing an independent research program?

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?  

Environment

Will the scientific environment contribute to the probability of success of the Early Independence investigator? Will the situation of the Early Independence investigator provide sufficient separation from previous mentors to promote true intellectual independence? Are the plans for institutional support, equipment, staffing, and other physical resources available to the Early Independence investigator adequate?  Will the research activities within the Institution help foster the development for the Early Independence Investigator?  Will the Early Independence investigator benefit from unique features of the scientific environment and collaborative arrangements? How will the scientific project fit in with other research efforts within the unit?  Is there evidence that the Early Independence Investigator will have the necessary Institutional commitment to conduct full-time, independent research for the duration of this award? Will the Early Independence investigator be given appropriate access to facilities and resources? Are shared institutional resources being made available to the Early Independence investigator?  Are the plans for appointing and integrating the Early Independence investigator into the Institutional scientific culture adequate and appropriate?  Will the research activities and resources provided to the Early Independence investigator assist in the development and strengthening of their career? Are the strategies for addressing potential problems adequate?  Are benchmarks for the success of the Early Independence Investigator presented?  Are the proposed plans and criteria to monitor the long term success of the select Early Independence Investigator adequate?  

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, 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. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

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. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

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 on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

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.

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

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; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

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.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) as convened by the Center for Scientific Review,, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

Those candidates identified as being the most outstanding will be invited to Bethesda, MD for interview in June 2014. Interviews will be conducted by the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel (excluding Mail Reviewers) convened specifically for the review of the Early Independence Award applications. The scores assigned after interview by the panel members will be used to calculate the overall impact score for the application.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the Council of Councils. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

The final funding decisions will be made by the Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Director, NIH.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. 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.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.

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. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Web ticketing system: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-435-0714
TTY: 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Ravi Basavappa, Ph.D.
Office of the Director, NIH
Telephone: 301-435-7204
Email: earlyindependence@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Weijia Ni, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Telephone: 301-237-9918
Email: weijia.ni@nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Dede Rutberg
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301- 594-4798
Email: rutbergd@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

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.


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