Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

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

Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), (http://www.ninds.nih.gov )
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), (http://orwh.od.nih.gov)

Title: Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders: Pathophysiological Mechanisms Linking Comorbid Conditions (R03)

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of PA-06-188 which was previously released on March 1, 2006.

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

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 should be started at least four weeks in advance of the planned submission. See Section IV.

Two steps are required for on time submission:

1) The application must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the submission/receipt date (see “Key Dates” below).

2) Applicants must complete a verification step in the eRA Commons within two business days of notification from NIH. Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to periodically check on their application status in the Commons.

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-06-267

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.121 (NIDCR), 93.853 (NINDS)

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: March 24, 2006
Opening Date:  May 2, 2006
Application Submission Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Peer Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward 
Council Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: March 2, 2009 (now May 8, 2009 per NOT-OD-07-093)

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. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
         1. Letter of Intent
    B. Sending an Application 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

     A. Additional Review Criteria
     B. Additional Review Considerations
     C. Sharing Research Data
     D. Sharing Research Resources
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

Section VII.
Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)

3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


1. Research Objectives

Nature of the research opportunity - The purpose of this FOA is to encourage research leading to the discovery of possible etiological and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying a set of chronic disorders that may overlap with temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJMD). Investigators with expertise in TMJMD and those with specific expertise in research areas related to the overlapping, comorbid conditions are encouraged to work together in carrying out cutting-edge research projects designed to uncover biological mechanisms responsible for comorbidities associated with TMJMD.

TMJMDs are a complex set of diseases involving one or more tissues of the face and TMJ. The primary symptoms of TMJMD may include chronic pain in facial muscles and limited and painful movement of the jaw. In addition, these and other symptoms of TMJMD may occur together with other chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia; atypical facial pain; trigeminal neuralgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; multiple chemical sensitivity; irritable bowel syndrome; sleep disorders; complex regional pain syndrome; migraine headache; speech, hearing (including tinnitus) swallowing, balance, smell, and taste disorders; affective disorders; and certain cardiovascular diseases. The possible overlap of these other conditions with TMJMD suggests several possibilities: TMJMD coexists with other chronic diseases; TMJMD is the somatization of one or more of these conditions; TMJMD results from effects of the other chronic disorders; and/or TMJMD contributes to these other conditions.

This initiative seeks research applications that will use multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to sort out these possibilities by discovering molecular, physiological, and behavioral mechanisms responsible for the overlapping symptoms and disorders that may coexist with TMJMD. These applications may have as their research focus the chronic, comorbid conditions themselves or TMJMDs, provided that the aims and goals of the project are to discover biological mechanisms linking the comorbidities. While the overarching goal of this announcement is to arrive at a full understanding of the mechanisms underlying TMJMDs and the variety of comorbidities associated with them, it is expected that no single research project will be able to accomplish this. Applicants, therefore, are encouraged to focus their attention on a particular pathway and a specific disease that is comorbid with TMJMD.

Background - TMJMD is a complex heterogeneous disease. It likely represents a collection of disorders with varying etiologies, affecting the tissues of the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joint. Due to this complexity and our lack of a complete understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease onset and progression, the treatment of some patients with TMJMD currently is less than satisfactory. The etiology of complex disorders like TMJMD may involve the interaction of genetic and environmental influences. In addition, it may be appropriate to view TMJMD as a biopsychosocial disorder, not only when considering diagnosis and treatment, but also in the context of pathological mechanisms associated with the disease and other diseases that may coexist with TMJMDs as comorbidities. Peripheral defects in muscle function, abnormal neurotransmission, central integration of sensory and motor inputs, and the societal and cognitive influences on these processes, may all interact and influence the disease process and expression of the associated comorbidities.

The major symptoms of TMJMD are chronic myofacial pain particularly in the muscles of mastication, restricted range of jaw motion, jaw locking, and abnormal popping and clicking noises in the TMJ, although this latter symptom is not, by itself, either predictive or diagnostic of TMJMD. In addition, other symptoms are known to occur in this disorder such as pain in the joint itself and in the area surrounding and radiating from the joint including the ear, neck, shoulder, and back; vertigo/balance problems; hearing loss, tinnitus; taste and smell problems; chronic headache; blurred or double vision; sleep disturbances; and difficulty in swallowing and/or speech. Besides these symptoms, certain psychiatric disturbances (psychopathologies) may be associated with TMJMD and may include depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. While these other symptoms and conditions are clearly not diagnostic of TMJMD, they are associated with other chronic painful disorders and may have an important role in developing treatment approaches for TMJMD patients. For example, similar psychiatric disorders have been associated with TMJMD, fibromyalgia (FM), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Interestingly, the psychiatric disorders are most often associated with the myogenous form of TMJMD (i.e. TMJMD characterized by chronic muscle pain) and may reflect the effects of prolonged chronic pain on the emotional status of the individual.

TMJMD patients often present with symptoms of other chronic painful conditions, such as FM, CFS, IBS, multiple chemical sensitivities, and cardiovascular abnormalities to name a few. As an example, both TMJMD and FM patients suffer from similar symptoms: muscle pain or tenderness, sleep disturbances, debilitating headaches, and difficulty in concentrating. The degree of overlapping symptoms and comorbid conditions is not trivial. Studies suggest that between 13 and 18% of TMJMD patients meet the diagnostic criteria for FM. Conversely, about 75% of FM patients meet the criteria for myofacial TMJMD. Patients with IBS have been diagnosed at similar rates with comorbid TMJD (16%), CFS (14%), and FM (28-65%). While some of the apparent comorbidity may be due to diagnostic ambiguity, it is clear that patients with these disorders have similar and multiple symptoms that characterize the various disorders.

It is important to understand the basis for the links between these comorbidities in order to develop more effective treatment and possible prevention strategies for TMJMD. However, the etiological and pathological mechanisms linking TMJMD and these comorbid conditions are unclear. In general they may involve abnormal responses of common homeostatic mechanisms, i.e. processes that help the body to return to original set points after a disruptive stimulus. Alternatively, or in addition, the mechanisms may relate to allostatic processes, i.e. the adaptation to new set points in the continued presence of a stimulus or an altered environment. In addition, failed or repeated allostatic processes, i.e. the allostatic load, may account for these comorbidities. Most of these regulatory systems control a systemic, physiological response and a central behavioral, response.

The concept of faulty adaptive processes is in agreement with a shift in thinking in recent years to a more central nervous system focus as the cause of TMJMD (excluding TMJMD associated with traumatic injury) rather than simply a peripheral one employing local homeostatic mechanisms. An additional consideration is that there is an increased prevalence of these comorbid disorders in women, indicating that sex steroids and gender may play an important, but complex role in the common pathophysiology. For example, there is an increased prevalence of TMJMD and FM in women, yet TMJMD patients are usually in their childbearing years while FM is usually diagnosed later in life. Regardless of the mechanisms responsible for the comorbidities associated with TMJMD, a more precise determination of the phenotypes of the diseases will be critical in order to clearly identify subsets of TMJMD patients and the specific comorbid conditions associated with TMJMD.

While several distinct pathological mechanisms may account for the comorbidities seen in association with TMJMD, many seem to ultimately involve abnormal functioning of feedback circuits (both positive and negative). These may include disturbances in the following: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the classical stress-response system; immune and neuroimmune function; centrally regulated biological clocks; autonomic nervous system function; and specific neurotransmitter system regulation. These and other mechanisms may work alone or in concert to cause the collection of comorbid conditions associated with TMJMD.

The cooperation of researchers with a common interest in TMJMD and those with specific expertise in research areas related to the overlapping comorbid conditions and symptoms found in TMJMD is needed in order to arrive at definitive answers to the underlying mechanisms involved in TMJMD and the variety of comorbidities noted. Information from the fields of neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, genomics, endocrinology, epidemiology, rheumatology, and communicative disorders, to name a few, will be required to develop and test hypotheses relating to the mechanisms that can account for the cluster of comorbidities. Technical expertise in behavioral science, genomic and proteomic approaches, biomedical imaging, electrophysiology, and molecular biology will be necessary to carry out cutting-edge experiments designed to uncover biological mechanisms responsible for overlapping symptoms and comorbid conditions associated with TMJMD. While the overarching goal of this announcement is to arrive at a clearer understanding of the mechanism underlying TMJMD and the variety of comorbidities associated with it, it is expected that no single research project will be able to accomplish this. Applicants are, therefore, encouraged to focus their attention on a particular pathway and a specific disease that is comorbid with TMJMD.

Scientific knowledge to be achieved - This FOA will stimulate research that will increase our knowledge of the etiological and pathological mechanisms underlying comorbidity in somatic syndromes like TMJMD. It will be important to identify the regulatory systems and the altered functions of these systems that are important in the expression of comorbidity. Knowledge of both physiological and behavioral responses that are central in eliciting comorbidity will be gained; the molecules and cellular pathways underlying these responses will be identified as well.

Objectives of this research program - The objectives of this FOA are to stimulate research that will: 1) identify molecules, cellular pathways, physiologies, and behaviors that are responsible for comorbid conditions that may be associated with TMJMD; 2) determine the pathogenic mechanisms by which these factors lead to the comorbidities; 3) determine molecules and pathways that may serve as novel therapeutic targets aimed at treating these comorbid conditions and/or preventing them; 4) identify biomarkers or diagnostics that will differentiate refractory TMJMD and comorbid conditions from those disorders which spontaneously remit or are successfully treated by conventional means.

Identify types of research and experimental approaches that are being sought - This FOA seeks applications that will use basic, behavioral, epidemiological, and clinical research approaches in order to define causative factors and characterize pathogenic mechanisms that may be shared between comorbid conditions and TMJMD. This FOA seeks a broad range of experimental approaches to this problem and may include clinical, molecular, cellular, and animal studies. The use of global approaches such as a systems biology approach and the utilization of genomic and proteomic techniques also are encouraged. Investigators with expertise in the fields of neurobiology, immunology, neurochemistry, endocrinology, rheumatology, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, sensory and motor systems, neurology, and bioinformatics will be needed to discover biological mechanisms underlying comorbidity.

Examples of research topics -  Examples of research topics may include, but are not limited to the following, as they relate to TMJMD and comorbidities:

SCOPE:  The common characteristic of the small grant is provision of limited funding for a short period of time.  Examples of the types of projects that ICs support with the R03 include the following:  

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

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications for small research (R03) projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources. The applicant will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This FOA uses just-in-time concepts. It also uses the modular budget formats (see the “Modular Applications and Awards” section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement. All applications submitted in response to this FOA must use the modular budget format. Specifically, if you are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs), use the PHS398 Modular Budget component provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (see specifically Section 5.4, “Modular Budget Component,” of the Application Guide).

Competing renewal (formerly “competing continuation”) applications will not be accepted for the R03 grant mechanism. Small grant support may not be used for thesis or dissertation research. Up to two resubmissions (formerly “revisions/amendments") of a previously reviewed small grant application may be submitted as defined in NIH Policy. See NOT-OD-05-046 http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-05-046.html    

For specific information about the R03 programs, see: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm

2. Funds Available

Although the financial plans of the ICs provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

A project period of up to two years and a budget for direct costs of up to two $25,000 modules, or $50,000 per year, may be requested (i.e., a maximum of $100,000 over two years in four modules of $25,000 each). Commensurate Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are allowed.

F&A costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, See NOT-OD-05-004, November 2, 2004.

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit an application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with his/her institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. R03 eligibility is limited to new investigators at NIDCR. R03 eligibility is open to new and prior-funded investigators at NINDS. See the following site for details of NIDCR and NINDS policies regarding R03 applications: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm 

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  

Applicants may submit more than one application, provided each application is scientifically distinct.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


To download an Application Package and Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

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

Project Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/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 institution/organization can submit an electronic application, as follows:

1) Organization/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Started

2) Organization/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.

Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer-reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.

Several 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 institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.

1. Request Application Information
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and 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 and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF).

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. There are fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components that, 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 “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application is comprised of data arranged in separate components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in  Grants.gov/APPLY will include all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA will include 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
Optional Components:

PHS398 Cover Letter File

Note: While both budget components are included in the SF424 (R&R) forms package, the NIH R03 uses ONLY the PHS 398 Modular Budget. (Do not use the detailed Research & Related Budget.)

Foreign Organizations

Several special provisions apply to applications submitted by foreign organizations:

Proposed research should provide a unique research opportunity not available in the United States.

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates

Opening Date:   May 2, 2006
Letter of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not Applicable
Application Submission Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Peer Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Council Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: Standard dates apply, please see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward  

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.

3.B. Electronic Transmission of an Application to the NIH

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/Apply and follow steps 1-4. Note:  Applications must only be submitted electronically
PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

3.C. Application Processing

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 submission/receipt date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the receipt date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be transferred from Grants.gov to the NIH Electronic Research Administration process for validation. Both the PD/PI and the Signing Official for the organization must verify the submission via Commons within two (2) business days of notification of the NIH validation.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an “Introduction” addressing the previous critique. Note that such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF424 (R&R).

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 or competing renewal award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project and 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 NIH requires the PD/PI 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. 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 “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

Renewal (formerly “competing continuation” or “Type 2”) applications are not permitted.  

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF) are to be followed, with the following requirements for R03 applications:

Note: While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. 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.    

Plan for Sharing Research Data

Not applicable

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm and http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria (Update: Enhanced review criteria have been issued for the evaluation of research applications received for potential FY2010 funding and thereafter - see NOT-OD-09-025).

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications submitted for this funding opportunity will be assigned to the ICs on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines.

Appropriate scientific review groups convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures (http://www.csr.nih.gov/refrev.htm) will evaluate applications for scientific and technical merit.
 
As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

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

The NIH R03 small grant is a mechanism for supporting discrete, well-defined projects that realistically can be completed in two years and that require limited levels of funding.  Because the research plan is restricted to 10 pages, a small grant application will not have the same level of detail or extensive discussion found in an R01 application. Accordingly, reviewers should evaluate the conceptual framework and general approach to the problem, placing less emphasis on methodological details and certain indicators traditionally used in evaluating the scientific merit of R01 applications, including supportive preliminary data. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required, particularly in applications proposing pilot or feasibility studies.

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written comments, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. The scientific review group will address and consider each of these criteria in assigning the application's overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.

Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

Significance: Does this study address an important scientific health problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the PD/PI and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

 In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed. See item 6 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research:
The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated. See item 7 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under item 11 of the Research Plan component of the SF 424 (R&R) will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget and Period of Support: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research may be assessed by the reviewers. Is the percent effort listed for the PD/PI appropriate for the work proposed? Is each budget category realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods?

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Not applicable.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

Program staff will be responsible for the administrative review of the plan for sharing research resources.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. Program staff may negotiate modifications of the data and resource sharing plans with the awardee before recommending funding of an application. The final version of the data and resource sharing plans negotiated by both will become a condition of the award of the grant. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

Model Organism Sharing Plan:  Reviewers are asked to assess the sharing plan in an administrative note. The sharing plan itself should be discussed after the application is scored. Whether a sharing plan is reasonable can be determined by the reviewers on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the organism, the timeline, the applicant's decision to distribute the resource or deposit it in a repository, and other relevant considerations. For the R03 mechanism, the presence or adequacy of a plan should not enter into the scoring of the application.

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.

3. Reporting

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts


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

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Participating ICs and their contacts are listed at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm.

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Not applicable.

3. Financial/Grants Management Contacts:

 Not Applicable

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). 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.

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-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s) to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from 1) currently funded NIH research projects or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the Policy or the submission process, please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools, including the Authors' Manual.    

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

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

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This PA 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 and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. 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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