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 Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NeuroNEXT Small Business Innovation in Clinical Trials Direct to Phase II (U44)

Activity Code

U44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative
Agreement – Phase II

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-11-345

Related Notices
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-006 - Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals Section of NIH Grant Applications and Contract Proposals (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-011 - Implementing Rigor and Transparency in NIH & AHRQ Research Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-15-194

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-15-195, X01 Resource Access Award  

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

93.853  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages small business applications for exploratory clinical trials of investigational agents (drugs, biologics, surgical therapies or devices) that may contribute to the justification for and provide the data required for designing clinical studies. Diseases chosen for study should be based on the NINDS' strategic plan and clinical research interests (www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/areas/index.htm ). 

Key Dates
Posted Date

April 29, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

July 3, 2015 

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable  

Application Due Date(s)

August 3, 2015; December 3, 2015; April 4, 2016; August 3, 2016; December 2, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

October 2015; February 2016; June 2016; October 2016; February 2017

Advisory Council Review

January 2016, May 2016, October 2016, January 2017, May 2017

Earliest Start Date

March 2016, July 2016, December 2016, March 2017, July 2017

Expiration Date

December 3, 2016 

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.

There are several options to submit your application to the agency through Grants.gov. You can use the ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online. You can download an application package from Grants.gov, complete the forms offline, submit the completed forms to Grants.gov and track your application in eRA Commons. Or, you can use other institutional system-to-system solutions to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and track your application in eRA Commons. Learn more.

Problems accessing or using ASSIST should be directed to the eRA Service Desk.
Problems downloading forms should be directed to Grants.gov Customer Support.
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
Purpose

To facilitate the cooperation and partnering of public and private funding organizations, universities, academic medical centers, research institutes, contract research organizations, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical companies, NINDS has formed the Neurology Network of Excellence in Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT, www.NeuroNEXT.org). NeuroNEXT has a Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC), a Data Coordinating Center (DCC) and a group of 25 geographically distributed clinical sites.

This FOA uses the U44 cooperative agreement mechanism and is open to eligible applicants, as defined in Section III. Academic researchers may wish to consider applying through PAR-13-343 "NeuroNEXT Clinical Trials (U01)". For-profit organizations and Non-profits other than Institutions of Higher Education may wish to consider applying through PAR-11-344 "NeuroNEXT Infrastructure Resource Access (X01)" if they wish to gain access to the network infrastructure but do not require funds for trial costs.

Definitions

For this funding opportunity announcement, Phase I and II clinical studies or trials refer to the common phases of a clinical trial. SBIR Phase I and II refer to the project phases of the SBIR program.

Scope of the Program

This FOA encourages Direct-to-Phase II SBIR applications for exploratory clinical trials of investigational agents (drugs, biologics, surgical therapies or devices) that may contribute to the justification for and provide the data required for designing a future trial, for biomarker validation studies, or for proof of mechanism clinical studies. Applications for drugs or biologics should provide compelling scientific evidence that the investigational agent proposed for study will reach/act upon the designated target or that its mechanism of action is such that it is expected to be of benefit in ameliorating a specific aspect of the disease. Neurologic diseases chosen for study must fall within the primary responsibility of NINDS (www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/areas/index.htm). Multi-site studies in stroke prevention, treatment and/or recovery are not appropriate for this FOA; those studies would be  considered by NIH StrokeNET: http://www.nihstrokenet.org/

Applications in rare diseases are encouraged while recognizing that available patient pools may not be adequate to meet the sample size requirements normally required to establish the efficacy of an intervention. NINDS acknowledges that innovative, non-traditional trial designs including adaptive designs may be appropriate in rare disease studies. While NeuroNEXT is primarily intended for exploratory trials, the network will consider Phase2/3 trials in diseases with a US prevalence of under 5,000 persons.

For this FOA, the small business should have demonstrated the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the prototype stage of developing a biomedical technology that has commercial potential. The goal of this FOA is to enable a small business that has accomplished the objectives of a Phase I-like SBIR grant through non-SBIR/STTR funds to initiate the Phase II SBIR stage of development, without needing to perform more early stage, Phase-I-SBIR-type research. This FOA will also not accept ‘regular’ Phase II submissions from SBCs that have received a Phase I SBIR or STTR award from NIH or any other agency that participates in the SBIR/STTR programs. For this FOA, it is expected that the technology, prototype, or method will have passed the proof of principle stage and that the product has demonstrated feasibility and supports a Phase II effort.

Examples of appropriate studies under this FOA include, but are not limited to, those designed to:

  • Evaluate and optimize the dose, formulation, safety, tolerability or pharmacokinetics of an intervention in the target population.
  • Evaluate whether an intervention produces sufficient evidence of short-term activity (e.g., biomarker activity, pharmacodynamic response, target engagement, dose-response trends) in a human “proof of concept” trial.
  • Select or rank the best of two or more potential interventions or dosing regimens to be evaluated in a subsequent trial, based on tolerability, safety data, biological activity, or preliminary clinical efficacy (e.g., futility trials).
  • Evaluate biological activity relative to clinical endpoints.

Applications seeking to obtain data needed for pharmacometric modeling are encouraged, with the ultimate aim of enabling the optimal design of a future efficacy trial of an intervention.

For medical devices, in addition to providing initial clinical safety data, appropriate studies are those that inform the next phase of development, usually by finalizing the device design, establishing operator technique, and/or finalizing the choice of study endpoints for the design of a pivotal clinical trial.

This FOA is not intended to support the conduct of a clinical trial where the primary aim is to confirm efficacy of a drug or biologic.

Implementation

Applicants should make note of the following:

(1) Applicants to this FOA will be required to incorporate the NeuroNEXT infrastructure (www.neuronext.org) into their proposed study. Additional (ad-hoc) sites may be proposed to fulfill specific study requirements. All applicants will be required to use the master clinical trial agreements and central IRB that have been established for NeuroNEXT.

(2) Rationale: Exploratory trials primarily test hypotheses in relatively small programs so that the acceptable risk and uncertainty are higher than in later stage programs. Exploratory clinical trials to address an unmet medical need or to improve current standards of care must anchor their rationale in

  • a plausible biological mechanism;
  • non-clinical (in vitro and/or in vivo) data; and/or
  • early clinical data.

The individual weight should be carefully assessed in the specific context of the application at hand; there is no requirement to provide support from all three areas. If the animal model and efficacy read-out are not sufficiently associated with the human condition, and/or if pre-clinical data (such as for example animal studies) do not sufficiently meet the rigor guidelines, then applicants should consider not using them as primary support of the study rationale.

(3) Secondary Aims:

For drugs and biologics, issues of study feasibility and refinement of study procedures may be addressed as secondary aims in an exploratory clinical trial, but not as the primary aim. Examples of such secondary aims include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Determining the optimal measure (endpoint), its variability, and/or the optimal timing of outcome evaluations in the context of the intervention
  • Collecting information on the utility of questionnaires, rating scales, or biomarkers
  • For Early Feasibility or Traditional Feasibility studies of medical devices, issues of study feasibility and refinement of study procedures are expected to be addressed as primary aims in addition to providing initial clinical safety data at this stage. These may include:
  • Identifying appropriate modifications to the procedure or device to enable a subsequent Pivotal study on a finalized system;
  • Refining the intended use population;
  • Developing and refining data collection procedures;
  • Refining the non-clinical test plans or methodologies; and
  • Developing subsequent clinical study protocols.

(4) The NIH recognizes that devices can vary greatly in terms of basic form and function, physiological bases for therapy, degree of invasiveness, etc. Consequently, the appropriate pathway to market may require a traditional Feasibility and Pivotal study in support of an eventual Pre-Market Approval submission, or may require a more limited study to address specific issues in support of an FDA 510(k) or 510(k) De Novo submission. Clinical studies involving devices may utilize the entire NeuroNEXT Network, or a more limited subset of centers selected based on appropriate expertise for the given device. Investigators are encouraged to contact NINDS Scientific/Research Staff as early as possible to discuss how the NeuroNEXT network may best be utilized in support of their specific device project. NINDS anticipates that the majority of device projects utilizing NeuroNEXT will be traditional Feasibility Studies in order to best leverage the advantages of the network. A Traditional Feasibility Study is a clinical investigation that is commonly used to capture preliminary safety and effectiveness information on a near-final or final device design to adequately plan a Pivotal Study. If an Early Feasibility Study is proposed, it should be designed in accordance with FDA’s draft guidance, “Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE) for Early Feasibility Medical Device Clinical Studies, Including Certain First in Human (FIH) Studies”, to allow for early clinical evaluation of devices to provide proof of principle and initial clinical safety data while device design and operations are still in development. Early Feasibility and Traditional Feasibility study designs may include single-arm case series, on-off interventions (patients as own controls), device-device comparisons, comparisons to historic controls, comparisons to performance controls, or adaptive/Bayesian designs.

(5) NIH Resources: As appropriate, applicants are encouraged to make use of the following resources for clinical research including:

(a) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program (https://www.ctsacentral.org);

(b) NeuroQOL (http://www.neuroqol.org);

(c) NIH Toolbox (http://www.nihtoolbox.org);

(d) PROMIS (http://www.nihpromis.org); and

(e) NINDS Common Data Elements (http://www.commondataelements.ninds.nih.gov).

(6) Mobile Technologies: Applicants are encouraged to consider utilizing (at least experimentally) mobile technologies to facilitate data collection and protocol adherence on the part of research participants and study site staff.

Working with NeuroNEXT is a cooperative venture between the applicant, NINDS, and the NeuroNEXT network. NINDS will provide guidance to potential applicants with input from NINDS Program Staff and the NeuroNEXT Executive Committee. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NINDS Scientific/Research Contacts (see Agency Contacts, Section VII) in order to discuss the feasibility of conducting the proposed trial through the NeuroNEXT infrastructure before submitting an application. Pre-application consultation may include an introductory teleconference (at least 3 months prior to submission), followed by a conference call or in-person meeting with NINDS staff, if needed.

The operational clinical protocol and actual budget for trials under this FOA will be constructed after peer review and then reviewed by NINDS for funding consideration. Funding decisions will also be based on a study's fit for the network relative to other proposed and ongoing trials. The award and continuation of funding are subject to milestones to be specified in the notice of grant award according to NINDS policies.   

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.

Application Types Allowed

New (Phase II – SBIR Direct Phase II Only)

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 $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% ($1,500,000 for Phase II). As written in the statute and under appropriate circumstances, NIH can apply for a waiver from SBA to issue an award exceeding $1,500,000 for Phase II, if this cap will interfere with NIH‘s ability to meet its mission. Award waivers from the SBA are not guaranteed and may delay the release of funds. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.  

Award Project Period

Durations up to 3 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.  
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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:

  • Hedge fund has the meaning given that term in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The hedge fund must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
  • Portfolio company means any company that is owned in whole or part by a venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm.
  • Private equity firm has the meaning given the term “private equity fund” in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The private equity firm must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
  • Venture capital operating company means an entity described in § 121.103(b)(5)(i), (v), or (vi). The venture capital operating company must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.

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. 

Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark

In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537).

This requirement applies to companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 years, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years. Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $100,000 in revenues and/or investments per Phase II award or at least 0.15 (15%) patents per Phase II award resulting from these awards. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10 year period, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years.

Information on the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark is available at SBIR.gov. 

Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 15 Phase II awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past ten (10) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Commercialization Benchmark on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the benchmark rate listed above.

Applicants that fail this benchmark will be notified by SBA annually and will not be eligible to receive New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II awards for a period of one year. 

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.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM, SBA Company registry, and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • SBA Company RegistryNew requirement.  See Section IV. Application and Submission Information, “SF424(R&R) Other Project Information Component” for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package.  Applicants must have a DUNS number to complete this registration.  SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

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 or IIB support, a Phase I awardee should submit a Phase II application, and a Phase II awardee should submit a Phase IIB application, within the first six due dates following the expiration of the Phase I or II budget period, respectively.  

Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

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, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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.

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.

3. Provide a discussion of expected enrollment timelines including an estimate of the expected patient enrollment per month as a single PDF file with the name “ENROLLMENT TIMELINES.pdf”:

4. Provide the following information as a single PDF file with the name “REGULATORY.pdf”:

  • A letter (or copy of an email) from the FDA documenting an active IND/IDE for any investigational agent proposed for use. If the FDA has granted an IND/IDE exemption, that letter should be included in this section.
  • Information on drug/biologic/device supply.
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 with the following additional instructions:

The budget should be largely planned on a fee-for-service basis with detailed per-patient costs. That budget may include clinical trial costs such as:

  • Up to 2.4 person months for the protocol PD(s)/PI(s) (even if that person is also a NeuroNEXT site PD(s)/PI(s))
  • Up to 3 person months support for a study-specific clinical coordinator at the applicant's site if the NIH-funded site coordinator is at capacity with NeuroNEXT trials or does not have necessary expertise to assist with the proposed study. If the applicant is not at a NeuroNEXT clinical site, up to 12 person months support for a study-specific clinical coordinator may be included.
  • Study-related procedures/materials
  • Clinical site operations for any ad hoc sites which are proposed

The budget will not include costs which are already covered by the NINDS infrastructure:

  • NeuroNEXT site PD(s)/PI(s) time other than the protocol PD(s)/PI(s)
  • NeuroNEXT site coordinator time.
R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) 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:

Specific Aims: Applicants should describe the potential impact of the proposed research. The hypotheses and specific aims of the trial must be clearly and concisely stated.  Data or evidence of the capability, completeness of design, and efficacy must be provided in the application, along with the rationale for selection of the criteria used to validate the technology, prototype, or method, similar to a Phase I final report required in standard Phase II applications.

Research Strategy:

Significance and Biological Relevance

Applicants are encouraged to state concisely the need, rationale, and scientific relevance of the proposed research. It is particularly important that there be a discussion of how the trial will test the hypothesis proposed and how results of the trial (positive or negative) may be explained based on the biological action of the proposed intervention. The application must present an overview of the state of the science, current status of therapeutics for the disease, and relevance of the trial for treatment of the disease.

Prior Studies and Rationale for Development

Exploratory trials primarily test hypotheses in relatively small programs so that the acceptable risk and uncertainty are higher than in later stage programs. Exploratory clinical trials to address an unmet medical need or to improve current standards of care must anchor their rationale in (1) a plausible biological mechanism; (2) non-clinical (in vitro and/or in vivo) data; and/or (3) early clinical data. The individual weight should be carefully assessed in the specific context of the application at hand; there is no requirement to provide support from all three areas. While the NINDS recognizes that informative animal models are not available for many neurological disorders, the applicant should specifically address the rigor of any animal studies being used as support. If the animal model and efficacy read-out are not sufficiently associated with the human condition, and/or if pre-clinical data (such as for example animal studies) do not sufficiently meet the NINDS rigor guidelines, then applicants should consider not using them as primary support of the study rationale. Applicants should describe the full body of evidence being used to support the proposed study and comment on the justification for moving forward with the proposed clinical study. The major findings of the studies, whether pre-clinical or clinical, that led to the proposed clinical trial should provide a compelling rationale for the belief that the proposed intervention warrants study.

Approach

Applicants should provide a brief description of their proposed study, including a discussion of the potential biases in the study and how they will be addressed. A detailed protocol is not required for submission. Following peer review, applicants who are granted network access will work with the NeuroNEXT team and the NINDS to develop a detailed protocol. The NeuroNEXT team was established by NINDS based on peer- and Council review to form a group of outstanding clinical trial experts from the field of neurology and statistics with a proven record of developing high quality protocols.

Milestones

Applications must include proposed yearly go/no-go milestones. While final milestones will be determined at the time of award, the applicant should propose clear milestones that provide objective, quantitative outcomes that will justify continuing the project. Milestones are not equivalent to aims but rather are determinants of whether a study continues or stops. The applicant should endeavor to present a) the goals and timeline for completion while setting milestones at the end of each funding year, (b) the criteria for success defined as justification for continuation of the project, and (c) the rationale for the choice of parameters tested and quantitative values as decision points, where possible.

Resource Sharing Plans: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, with the following modification:

  • It is expected that the network-developed research resources such as Manual of Operations, study manuals, case-report forms, phenotype ascertainment instruments, and newly developed common data elements will be made available to the public 18 months after publication of study findings.

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: Appendix 1 should be the protocol synopsis:

  • A description of the study objectives (primary, secondary, exploratory)
  • A description of the study design and study outcomes
  • A description of the intervention to be tested (if applicable)
  • A description of sample size and study population (with key inclusion/exclusion criteria)
  • Discussion of the potential biases in the study and how they will be addressed
  • A timeline of study evaluations with an overall statement about study duration/participant

At the applicant’s discretion, the following optional elements may also be provided in the appendix:

  • Non-referenced or non-published, non-standardized clinical assessments and data collection tools.
  • Investigator Brochures, see 21 CFR 312.23 (a)(5) for format
  • Clinical pharmacology justifying the proposed dosing regimen.
SBIR/STTR Information

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

Commercialization Plan: All applicants are expected to describe a realistic plan (extending beyond the U44 Phase II), which outlines how and when full commercialization can be accomplished. The full commercialization of the product/technology should be carried out with non-SBIR funds.

The following subsections with the headings should be included within the Commercialization Plan, in addition to the requirements listed in the SF424 Application Guide:

1) Statement of Need

Applicants must provide a concise “Statement of Need”. This statement is expected to provide answers to the questions listed below:

  • What is the perceived “Valley of Death” for the product/technology under development?
  • To what extent would a possible award under this FOA advance the product or technology far enough to attract sufficient, independent third-party financing and/or strategic partnerships to carry out full commercialization?

2) SBIR/STTR Commercialization History

Applicants should provide an SBIR/STTR Commercialization History that addresses the questions listed below. The following questions should be addressed for all SBIR/STTR awards received from any Federal agency:

  • Has the company gone through any name changes within the past five years? If so, then all previous company names should be listed in the application.
  • Is the company a subsidiary or a spin-off? If so, then the name of the parent company should be provided.
  • What percentage of the company’s revenue was derived from SBIR/STTR funding during each of the past 5 years, including both Phase I and Phase II awards? Applicants should report a percentage value for each year individually.
  • What is the total number of SBIR/STTR Phase II awards that the company has received from the Federal government? For each award, companies should provide the award number, the award amount, project duration, and the name of the awarding agency.
  • What are the total revenues that have been generated to date as a result of the commercialization of the SBIR/STTR projects funded within the past 5 years?

3) Intellectual property (IP) Strategy

Use the Other Attachments function to upload this section. Applicants are encouraged to prepare this section of the application in consultation with partnering institution's technology transfer officials, if applicable.

Applicants should describe the IP landscape surrounding their investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device. Applicants should describe any known constraints that could impede the development of their investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device (e.g., certain restrictions under transfer or sharing agreements, applicants' previous or present IP filings and publications, similar technologies that are under patent and/or on the market, etc.) and how these issues could be addressed. If the applicants propose using an investigational drug, biologic or device or technology whose IP is not owned by the small business, the applicants should address, to the best extent of his/her knowledge, any questions of freedom to operate.   Applicants should include a letter from any entities owning the IP indicating there will not be any limitations imposed on the studies or the product which would impede achieving the goals of this funding program.

If patents pertinent to the investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device being developed under this application have been filed, the applicant should indicate the details of filing dates, what types of patents are filed, and application status, and associated USPTO links, if applicable.

Applicants should discuss future IP filing plans. For a multiple-PD/PI, multiple-institution application, applicants should describe the infrastructure of each institution for bringing the technologies to practical application and for coordinating these efforts (e.g., licensing, managing IP) among the institutions, consistent with achieving the goals of the program. Applicants should clarify how IP will be shared or otherwise managed if there are multiple PD/PIs and institutions involved, consistent with achieving the goals of the program.

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. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

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 and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant 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

Important Update: See NOT-OD-16-006 and NOT-OD-16-011 for updated review language for applications for due dates on or after January 25, 2016.

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?) Is the proposed project likely to yield the answers needed to proceed to the next step in developing the intervention? Is it clear why the proposed exploratory trial is essential to inform the design and implementation of a subsequent efficacy trial, or enable a “go/no-go” decision regarding further clinical development of the intervention? Is there compelling justification for the development of the proposed intervention in terms of potential advances in clinical practice, public health, unmet medical need, and/or patient quality of life? How would the intervention, if it were ultimately successful, affect patients with the disease? How would the project advance the field regardless of its outcome?   

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?  Does the proposed trial have the potential to advance the field (e.g., by evaluating a new target mechanism, or by advancing the validation of a biological or clinical outcome) even if (a) the proposed study design, methods, and intervention are not innovative, and/or (b) the results of the trial indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted? 

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.

Market, Customer, and Competition

How compelling is the value proposition, and to what extent does the application demonstrate a substantial market-pull for the technology under development?
How well has the applicant described the market niche(s) for the product/ technology, and how urgent is the unmet need(s) being addressed?
To what extent has the applicant identified realistic, market-based milestones that can be achieved over the next five years?
How well has the applicant demonstrated an understanding of the competitive environment in which they plan to sell their product?
To what extent has the applicant identified their customers and demonstrated a clear understanding of their needs?
How well has the company addressed potential hurdles that may delay or prevent acceptance of their product?
How reasonable are the applicant's plans for generating a revenue stream, and how realistic are the revenue projections?

Company

To what extent do the prior experience and qualifications of the project team members lend confidence that the team will be successful in commercializing the proposed product/technology? For example, how successful have the PD(s)/PI(s) been in commercializing other SBIR/STTR supported technologies and discoveries in the past?
To what extent will the applicant's business alliances and/or corporate partnerships help in facilitating commercialization? For example, will third-party investors play an active role in facilitating the commercialization of the product/technology, and if so to what extent?
If the SBC has received previous SBIR/STTR funding from ANY Federal agency, then how successful is the company’s track record in commercializing prior SBIR/STTR projects?

Intellectual Property (IP)

How strong is the applicant's intellectual property (IP) portfolio/position (pertinent to the proposed project), and to what extent does the company have a reasonable strategy to protect its IP going forward?

Phase II Applications

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

Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications

Not Applicable

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

Not Applicable

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable   

Phase IIB Competing Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable  

Additional Review Considerations

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

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) /Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

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 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), 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:

  • May undergo a committee process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

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 appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

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

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

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

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

  • Defining of research objectives and approaches,
  • Planning, conducting, analyzing, and publishing results, interpretations, and conclusion of their studies and for providing overall scientific and administrative leadership for the Research Project.
  • Supervising of the clinical study with consistent emphasis on collaborative interactions between investigators, advisory and steering committees, and NINDS representatives.
  • Interacting with the NeuroNEXT Clinical Coordinating Center and the NeuroNEXT Data Coordinating Center as well as any ad hoc sites.
  • Acquiring an IND from the FDA if an investigational agent is to be used
  • Acting as a member of the NEXT steering committee for the duration of the study with possible participation in steering groups for planning, quality control, capitation, publications etc.
  • Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to data and software developed under this award, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

NINDS staff will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

NINDS staff involvement will include oversight of the IRB approved protocol by the NINDS Program Official, documentation of adequate serious adverse event management and reporting, and regular communications with the principal investigator and staff; additional involvement generally includes participation in meetings of the steering committee and other leadership committees. Specifically:

  • An NINDS Project Scientist working with the network investigators will develop milestones for the study. Failure to meet the agreed upon milestones may result in reduced funding or early termination of the cooperative agreement. The NINDS retains the option to obtain periodic external peer review of progress.
  • The NINDS Project Scientist will function as one of several co-investigators, collaborating and interacting as necessary with the Principal Investigators in accomplishing the overall goals of the Research Program.
  • In addition an NINDS Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.
  • A separate NINDS Program Official, from the Office of Clinical Research, will serve as the NINDS liaison to the Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
  • If the proposed trial should require that FDA issue an IND, the NINDS Project Scientist and/or Program Official(s) will be present at any meetings held with the FDA related to this NIH-funded protocol.

As with any award, even during the period recommended for support, continuation is conditional upon satisfactory progress. If, at any time, recruitment falls significantly below the projected milestones for recruitment, the NINDS will consider ending support and negotiating a phase-out of the award. The NINDS retains the option to obtain periodic external peer review of progress. Milestones will be established by the NINDS prior to the award of the grant based on recommendations from the primary review group. NINDs will make an award for 2 to 3 years in order to start-up the trial and establish performance feasibility. Continuation of the award past this feasibility period will be contingent upon a demonstrated ability to meet milestones indicating that the trial can be implemented as planned. Feasibility milestones will be defined at the start of each trial and will be monitored closely by the Institute-appointed Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) and NINDS Program Official. Achievement of these milestones will be evaluated by NINDS prior to releasing funding for each year of the award and failure to achieve these milestones may lead to study termination.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

None; all responsibilities are divided between awardees and NIH staff as described above.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to dispute resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure in no way affects the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulations 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and HHS regulations 45 CFR Part 16. 

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. When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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 Part III. Section 5, "SBIR/STTR Award Guidelines, Reporting Requirements, and Other Considerations,” in the Supplement Grant Applications For All Competing Applications and Progress Reports.

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)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, 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: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
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)

Elizabeth McNeil, MD, MSc
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9135
Email: mcneilde@ninds.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9223
Email: nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov  

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tijuanna DeCoster, MPA, Ph.D. 
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS) 
Telephone: 301-496-9231
Email: decostert@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 Part 75.

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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