Department of Health and Human Services


Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Funding Opportunity Title

Complex Technologies and Therapeutics Development for Mental Health Research and Practice (R43/R44)

Activity Code

R43/R44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant - Phase I, Phase II, and Fast-Track

Announcement Type

Reissue of PA-11-133

Related Notices
  • June 4, 2014 - Notice NOT-14-074 supersedes instructions in Section III.3 regarding applications that are essentially the same.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PA-14-197

Companion Funding Opportunity

PA-14-196, R41/R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant - Phase I and Phase II

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.242 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The overarching goal of the SBIR program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to support small businesses to develop technologies that can advance the mission of the Institute, including in basic neuroscience research relevant to mental disorders, translational and clinical research of mental disorders, clinical diagnosis or treatment of mental disorders, and dissemination of evidence-based mental health care.  This FOA encourages SBIR grant applications to support research and development of particular priority research topics - complex technologies that require funding levels and durations beyond those reflected in the standard SBIR guidelines. 

Key Dates
Posted Date
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

July 5, 2014

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

Standard dates apply, 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)

Standard AIDS dates apply

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.

Scientific Merit Review

Standard dates apply

Advisory Council Review

Standard dates apply

Earliest Start Date

Standard dates apply

Expiration Date

May 8, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR 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.


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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


Background

The overarching goal of the SBIR program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to support small businesses to develop technologies that can advance the mission of the Institute, including basic neuroscience research relevant to mental disorders, translational and clinical research of mental disorders, clinical diagnosis or treatment of mental disorders, and dissemination of evidence-based mental health care.  The NIMH Strategic Plan (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml) presents key scientific priorities across these domains, and describes the need for tools to realize these priorities. Research priorities for the NIMH further include aspects of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care, in accordance with the Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research (http://www.oar.nih.gov/strategicplan/).

The SBIR program is one source of support for the research and development of technologies that correspond to these identified research priorities.  While some tools can be developed with budgets and project durations within the standard SBIR guidelines, others cannot.  This FOA encourages SBIR applications for support of research and development of particular types of technologies that require funding levels and durations beyond those reflected in the standard SBIR guidelines.  See Appendix A of the SBIR/STTR topics list for a complete list of technology areas that received a SBA budget waiver to expand budgets beyond the caps, when appropriately needed http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/2014-2_SBIR-STTR-topics.pdf ). For additional tools in which NIMH is interested, but which can be supported within the standard SBIR guidelines, see the NIMH-related topics of the SBIR Omnibus Solicitation Parent FOA. 

Applications submitted in response to this FOA are expected to represent significant advances and innovation. 

Specific Areas of Research Interest

Biological Markers: A biological marker or biomarker is a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention. A biomarker can be a physiologic, pathologic, or anatomic characteristic or measurement that is thought to relate to some aspect of normal or abnormal biologic function or process.

Biomarkers measured in patients before treatment can be used to select patients for inclusion in a clinical trial.  Changes in biomarkers following treatment may predict or identify safety problems related to a candidate drug, or reveal a pharmacological activity expected to predict an eventual benefit from treatment. Biomarkers can help reduce uncertainty in drug development and evaluation by providing quantifiable predictions about drug performance and they can contribute to appropriate dose selection. A composite biomarker consists of several individual biomarkers that are combined in a stated algorithm to reach a single interpretive readout (Qualification Process for Drug Development Tools, Qualification Process Working Group, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Food and Drug Administration).

Consistent with the RDoC initiative, NIMH encourages studies that focus on identifying biomarkers for narrowly-defined clinical problems that span traditional diagnostic categories and relate to one or more of the RDoC neurobehavioral domains (i.e., social processes, negative valence, positive valence, cognition, and arousal/regulatory processes).

Of greatest interest are biomarkers that influence practice because they predict treatment outcome or prognosis.  The development of innovative biosensors would also be of interest.

Drug Discovery/Drug Development in Mental Illness: Through the SBIR program, NIMH continues to support the development of pharmacologic agents that target novel molecular entities, relevant to mental health disorders, or domains of function (e.g. cognitive function).  In fifteen years, only a relatively small number of drugs have been approved for the treatment of mental health disorders, and most were chemically based on older marketed compounds.  In addition, none specifically targeted neurodevelopmental epochs at which a mental health disorder’s symptoms may begin to appear.  The lack of such compounds not only may be limiting the utility of such interventions for pediatric populations, but may also be missing a key juncture at which an intervention might, in particular, have long-term benefits.  NIMH is specifically interested in supporting the development of pharmacologic agents, based on novel molecular CNS targets that improve function and minimize the side effects seen with current medications. In addition, compounds targeted for the treatment of pediatric mental health disorders would also be of interest.  SBIR support in drug discovery/development is broad and ranges from the development of novel ligand screening assays (such as computational, high throughput, genetic, molecular/cellular, or whole animal) to novel chemistry approaches, lead compound identification/optimization, preclinical efficacy, IND-enabling studies, and early stage clinical trials.  Novel clinical trial designs/approaches would also be applicable, if well justified. Note that applications involving clinical trials must follow the format outlined in NOT-MH-14-007.

Therapeutics Development for HIV/AIDS-Associated Neuropsychological Disorders: The NIMH Division of AIDS Research (DAR) encourages SBIR applications targeting the discovery and development of novel therapeutic agents, methods, biomarkers, and drug delivery technologies that can address the neurological implications of HIV infection and seek to directly or indirectly eliminate/eradicate HIV reservoirs in the brain.  The overriding focus is upon the development of adjunctive therapies against the consequences of HIV in the central nervous system, but development of novel assays/models of neurotoxicity and treatment efficacy measures are also invited, as well as novel in vitro/vivo models that can be used for screening potential therapeutic agents.

Tools to Facilitate Basic Neuroscience and Mental Health Research: The complexity of conducting and managing basic neuroscience and mental health research is significant due to the diverse technologies/methodologies currently being used and the vast amounts of data being obtained, difficulty in the recruitment of subjects, broad categorical diagnoses of disorders, unique cultural and developmental aspects of a disorder, etc.  Therefore, the NIMH seeks the development of innovative technologies/strategies to help mitigate some of these issues. 

Examples could include  one or more of the following: technologies to improve clinical research recruitment, patient and doctor compliance, clinical trial design or implementation; state of the art technologies for collecting and/or analyzing basic neuroscience research; the application of technology to enhance the science, operation, and management of large or multi-site mental health or HIV/AIDS clinical trials; the development of innovative computer-based observation techniques, and computer software and hardware that facilitate screening, assessment and monitoring during clinical trials; the development of portable clinical trial management systems such as serious adverse event (SAE) oversight and monitoring software; advanced methods to visualize complex clinical and biological data; development of real time risk assessments or a clinical tool that enables clinicians to quickly recognize a change in patient health and therefore improve clinical care.

The NIMH is also supportive of the development and implementation of robust rapidly scalable data systems that can safely and efficiently import and house core data from multiple independent sources (i.e. large health care providers) and from different hardware platforms. Such systems would effectively categorize, merge and aggregate data from multiple independent sources and would utilize a core data element structure. This system would enable researchers to easily access the system, identify potential research subjects, analyze clinical data, produce reports and “data mine.”

Tools/Platforms to Improve the Dissemination and Implementation of Evidence-Based Mental Health Interventions: Clinical mental health research produces a vast amount of information that should be informative to mental health care providers, yet there are no easy ways for this information to be transformed into standard clinical practice.  Similar concerns have been noted with regard to advancing the uptake and sound implementation of efficacious HIV prevention and care interventions by HIV providers, clinics, and community-based organizations.

The NIMH supports the development of innovative, state of the art, user-friendly tools and platforms to efficiently and effectively disseminate evidence-based treatments/research into services and clinical practice. Such tools may incorporate applied behavioral science and technology, software, hardware and associated technologies. The focus of the information being disseminated might include: the development of strategies or tools to assist mental health care providers in detecting and monitoring mental illness progression, in implementing proven interventions, or in predicting treatment response and vulnerability to side effects of psychotropic medications.  The NIMH also supports the development of novel technologies to monitor mental health and/or care delivery in a real-time, accessible, effective, and minimally obtrusive way.  These may include novel sensor or monitoring systems, mobile based software, and data driven information systems which have the goal of preventing and treating mental illnesses.

The NIMH Division of AIDS Research (DAR) encourages SBIR applications that focus on advancing the identification, dissemination, adoption, or effective implementation of evidence-based interventions and practices in HIV prevention and care. Of particular interest are innovative technologic tools designed to optimize patient engagement, adherence, and retention in the HIV care continuum. In addition, tools utilizing advanced technologies are needed to increase HIV testing (including frequent repeat testing and self-testing) and to better identify and support individuals for whom evidence-based biomedical prevention interventions such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are indicated.

Additional NIMH interests include the development of geographic based systems (GIS) that can identify disparities in mental health treatment and demonstrate the impact of the effective dissemination of proven mental health treatments across and within geographic areas. The NIMH holds further interests in data translation and communication packages for collecting, archiving, and safely and securely making available existing mental health and HIV/AIDS data sets to the scientific community for secondary or meta-analyses.  It is expected that the dissemination platform be state of the art, considering the latest electronic technologies, so as not to develop a tool that becomes obsolete during the commercialization phase.  In addition, dissemination of interventions that have not been well-validated would not be appropriate for commercialization.

Probes and Instrumentation for Monitoring and Manipulating Nervous System Plasticity and Development:  Mental disorders are increasingly seen as developmental disorders.  The potential to harness neuroplasticity -- to enhance the ability of the nervous system to reshape and form new connections -- may be the basis for therapeutic approaches to disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and cognitive impairment. Thus, understanding neural development and plasticity at all levels, from molecules and cells to circuits and behavior, has broad implications for mental health.  The NIMH SBIR program continues to support the development of tools or techniques that will significantly advance the current state of the art in neuroplasticity research. Although applications will not be restricted to developing a particular type of technology, we are especially interested in applications that seek to harness the ability to assess and manipulate activity with exquisite subcellular resolution, and in cells specified by their circuit connectivity and/or transmitter phenotype.  Examples include: new or enhanced reporters of neural activity, novel tools for manipulating neural circuits, and improved imaging equipment.

High Throughput Tools for Neuroscience and Mental Health Research:  Many of the common technologies used in neuroscience and behavioral science research require extensive time, labor, and cost for acquiring and analyzing data.  With many significant advances in technical areas including computer vision, molecular biology, robotics, nanotechnology, microarray fabrication, imaging, etc. occurring over the last decade, combined with discoveries in neurobiology, a unique opportunity is available to bring these technology and biomedical areas together to develop innovative high throughput tools relevant to brain and/or behavior.  Applications considered appropriate to this topic would include those proposing research and development of tools for high throughput measures at any level (or combination of levels) of analysis: from genes and molecules through behavior, including cognition and social behavior. The tools would, of course, need to be aimed at rapid acquisition and analysis of data, such as the collection of CNS physiological data from multiple subjects at one time. While the range of measures by tools is wide, appropriate applications must propose research and development of tools that would significantly improve the ability to rapidly acquire data from multiple experiments simultaneously, and rapidly analyze the collected data.

An additional criteria that the federal government considers in supporting a small business with SBIR funds, is past commercialization performance.  It is expected that small businesses who have received many SBIR grants, have made significant effort to commercialize their previously supported technologies.  Small businesses that are mostly interested in research and development (and not commercialization) should consider other grant mechanisms at NIH, rather than the SBIR program.  Program staff at NIMH can help identify the most appropriate grant mechanism to use. 

Additional information about NIMH research interests may be found here:

1)  NIMH Strategic Plan:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml

2)  NIH SBIR website:   http://sbir.nih.gov   

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 (Phase I, Fast-Track)
Renewal (Phase II)
Resubmission (all phases)
Phase IIB Competing Renewal (Phase IIB, formerly Phase II Competing Renewal)
Revisions (allowed for all except Phase IIB)

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

According to statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $150,000 for Phase I awards and $1,000,000 for Phase II awards.  With appropriate justification from the applicant, Congress will allow awards to exceed these amounts by up to 50% ($225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II). NIH has received a waiver from SBA, as authorized by the statute, to exceed the hard cap for specific topics.  The list of approved topics can be found in Appendix A at the end of PHS 2014-2 SBIR/STTR Program Descriptions and Research Topics for NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF.  Please also refer to the appropriate Institute’s or Center’s topic section to determine whether they will consider applications above these amounts.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.

Phase IIB budgets must be submitted in accordance with participating IC-specific budget limitations described in the current SBIR/STTR Program Descriptions and Research Topics of the NIH, CDC and FDA.

Award Project Period

Durations up to two years for Phase I and up to three years for Phase II may be requested.

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

Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. A small business concern is one that, at the time of award of Phase I and Phase II, meets all of the following criteria:

1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;

2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there must be less than 50 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;

3. (i) SBIR and STTR.  Be a concern which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these; OR

(ii) SBIR-only.  Be a concern which is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these.  No single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm may own more than 50% of the concern; OR

(iii) SBIR and STTR.  Be a joint venture in which each entity to the joint venture must meet the requirements set forth in paragraph 3 (i) or 3 (ii) of this section. A joint venture that includes one or more concerns that meet the requirements of paragraph (ii) of this section must comply with § 121.705(b) concerning registration and proposal requirements.

4.  Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.

If the concern is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these falls under 3 (ii) or 3 (iii) above, see Section IV. Application and Submission Information for additional instructions regarding required application certification.

If an Employee Stock Ownership Plan owns all or part of the concern, each stock trustee and plan member is considered an owner.

If a trust owns all or part of the concern, each trustee and trust beneficiary is considered an owner.

Definitions:

SBCs must also meet the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both. Business concerns include, but are not limited to, any individual (sole proprietorship) partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, or cooperative. The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.

Small business concerns that are more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these are NOT eligible to apply to the NIH STTR program.

Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate Benchmark

In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Program is implementing the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate benchmark required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011.   This Transition Rate requirement applies to SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years, excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year.  For these companies, the benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received for a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-year time period in order to be eligible to receive a new Phase I award.  This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5 year period. 

Companies that apply for a Phase I award and do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible for a Phase I award for a period of one year from the date of the application submission.  The Transition Rate is calculated as the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase II awards a company received during the past 5 fiscal years divided by the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase I awards it received during the past 5 fiscal years excluding the most recently-completed year.  The benchmark minimum Transition Rate is 0.25.   

SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates daily using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies.  For those companies that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 years, SBA posts the company transition rates on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov.   Information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov. 

Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 20 Phase I awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past five (5) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Transition Rate on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the minimum benchmark rate of 0.25. 

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, may be 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.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. 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.

Under the SBIR program, for both Phase I and Phase II, the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. For projects with multiple PDs/PIs, at least one must meet the primary employment requirement. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur.

The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, see Multiple Principal Investigators section of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

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

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

NIH will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process, or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Applicants may not simultaneously submit identical/essentially identical applications under both this funding opportunity and any other HHS funding opportunity, including the SBIR and STTR Parent announcements.

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:

A Phase I awardee may submit a Phase II application either before or after expiration of the Phase I budget period, unless the awardee elects to submit a Phase I and Phase II application concurrently under the Fast-Track procedure. To maintain eligibility to seek Phase II support, a Phase I awardee should submit a Phase II application within the first six due dates following the expiration of the Phase I budget period.

Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

In Phase I, normally, a minimum of two-thirds or 67% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 33% of the total amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

In Phase II, normally, a minimum of one-half or 50% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 50% of the total Phase II amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

A small business concern may subcontract a portion of its SBIR or STTR award to a Federal laboratory within the limits above.  A Federal laboratory, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 3703, means any laboratory, any federally funded research and development center, or any center established under 15 U.S.C. §§ 3705 & 3707 that is owned, leased, or otherwise used by a Federal agency and funded by the Federal Government, whether operated by the Government or by a contractor.

The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties in Phase I or Phase II will be the total of the requested costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of SF424 (R&R) application forms.

Additional details are contained in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

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) SBIR/STTR 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.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR 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) SBIR/STTR Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

Other Attachments:

1. SBA Company registry

All applicants to the SBIR and STTR programs are required to register at the SBA Company Registry prior to application submission and attach proof of registration.  Completed registrations will receive a unique SBC Control ID and .pdf file.  If applicants have previously registered, you are still required to attach proof of registration.  The SBA Company Registry recommends verification with SAM, but a SAM account is not required to complete the registration. In order to be verified with SAM, your email address must match one of the contacts in SAM. If you are unsure what is listed in SAM for your company, you may verify the information on the SAM site. Confirmation of your company's DUNS is necessary to verify your email address in SAM. Follow these steps listed below to register and attach proof of registration to your application.

a. Navigate to the SBA Company Registry.

b. If you are a previous SBIR/STTR awardee from any agency, search for your small business by Company Name, EIN/Tax ID, DUNS, or Existing SBIR/STTR Contract/Grant Number in the search fields provided.  Identify your company and click “Proceed to Registration”.

c. If you are a first time applicant, click the "New to the SBIR Program?" link on lower right of registry screen.

d. Fill out the required information on the “Basic Information” and “Eligibility Statement” screens.

e. Press “Complete Registration” on the lower right of the “Eligibility Statement” screen and follow all instructions.

f. Download and save your SBA registry PDF locally.  The name will be in the format of SBC_123456789.pdf, where SBC_123456789 (9 digit number) is your firm’s SBC Control ID.  DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME.  Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.

g. When you are completing the application package, attach this SBA registry PDF as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of the Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.

For questions and for technical assistance concerning the SBA Company Registry, please contact the SBA at http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg.

2. SBIR Application Certification for small business concerns majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms

Applicant small business concerns that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms (e.g. majority VCOC-owned) are required to submit a Certification at time of their application submission per the SBIR Policy Directive.  Follow the instructions below. 

Applicants small business concerns who are more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these (i.e. NOT majority VCOC-owned) should NOT fill out this certification and should NOT attach it their application package.

a. Download the “SBIR Application VCOC Certification.pdf” at the NIH SBIR Forms webpage. 

b. Answer the 3 questions and check the certification boxes.

c. The authorized business official must sign the certification.

d. Save the certification using the original file name.  The file must be named “SBIR Application VCOC Certification.pdf”.  DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME.  Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.

e. When you are completing the application package, attach this certification as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

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

R&R Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Letter

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

Appendix

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. The instructions for the Appendix of the Research Plan are described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

Note that Phase I SBIR/STTR Appendix materials are not permitted.

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.

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) SBIR/STTR 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) SBIR/STTR Application Instructions. 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.

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 (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

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.

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? Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a marketable product, process or service? (In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II Competing Renewals, does the Commercialization Plan demonstrate a high probability of commercialization?)  

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?     

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?   

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangement?        

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.

Phase II Applications

For Phase II Applications, how well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation for the proposed Phase II activity?

Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications

For Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications, reviewers will consider the following:

1. Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?

2. To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for commercialization?

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 human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. 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

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Phase IIB Competing Renewals

For Phase IIB Applications, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

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.

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) convened by the Center of 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:

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Mental Health Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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.      

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.

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.

Report fraud, waste and abuse

The Office of Inspector General Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs.  The reporting individual should indicate that the fraud, waste and/or abuse concerns an SBIR/STTR grant or contract, if relevant. Report Fraud.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 90 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension.

Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI.

For details about each specific required report, see the section on “>Award Guidelines, Reporting Requirements, and Other Considerations,” in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

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

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

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)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html

TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

SBA Company Registry (Questions regarding required registration at the SBA Company Registry and for technical questions or issues)

Website to Email: http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg.

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

For questions involving basic neuroscience technologies, pediatric technologies, drug development or biomarkers:

Margaret Grabb, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone:  301-443-3563
Email:  mgrabb@mail.nih.gov

For questions involving AIDS/HIV- focused technologies:

Rebecca delCarmen Wiggins, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone:  301-443-3635
Email: rdelcarm@mail.nih.gov

For questions involving IT enhanced technologies or mental health services:

Adam Haim, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone:  301-435-3593
Email: haima@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Jane Lin
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-2229
Email: linja2@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.

The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) P.L. 102-564, and P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.


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