Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Sustained Support for Informatics Resources for Cancer Research and Management (U24)

Activity Code

U24 Resource-Related Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • June 15, 2016 - Notice of Change to Eligibility in PAR-15-333. See Notice NOT-CA-16-045.
  • 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)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-15-333

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-15-334, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Grant
PAR-15-332, U01 Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements
PAR-15-331, U24 Resource-Related Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements

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

93.396

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite Cooperative Agreement (U24) applications for the continued development and sustainment of high-value informatics research resources to serve current and emerging needs across the cancer research continuum including cancer biology, cancer treatment and diagnosis, cancer prevention, cancer control and epidemiology, and/or cancer health disparities. As a component of the NCI’s Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) Program, this FOA focuses on supporting activities necessary for improved user experience and availability of existing, widely-adopted informatics tools and resources.  This is in contrast to early-stage and advanced development efforts to generate these tools and resources that are supported by companion ITCR FOAs. The central mission of ITCR is to promote research-driven informatics technology across the development lifecycle to address priority needs in cancer research. In order to be successful, the proposed sustainment plan must provide clear justifications for why the research resource should be maintained and how it has benefited and will continue to benefit the cancer research field.  In addition, mechanisms for assessing and maximizing the value of the resource to researchers and supporting collaboration and/or deep engagement between the resource and the targeted research community should be described.

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 18, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

October 20, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

November 20, 2015; June 14, 2016; November 21, 2016; June 14, 2017; November 20, 2017; June 14, 2018, 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

March-April 2016, October-November 2016, March-April 2017, October-November 2017, March-April 2018, October-November 2018

Advisory Council Review

May 2016, January 2017, May 2017, January 2018, May 2018, January 2019

Earliest Start Date

July 2016, April 2017, July 2017, April 2018, July 2018, April 2019r

Expiration Date

June 15, 2018

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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

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

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite Cooperative Agreement (U24) applications for the continued development and sustainment of high-value informatics research resources to serve current and emerging needs across the cancer research continuum including cancer biology, cancer treatment and diagnosis, cancer prevention, cancer control and epidemiology, and/or cancer health disparities. As a component of the NCI’s Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) Program, this FOA focuses on supporting activities necessary for improved user experience and availability of existing, widely-adopted informatics tools and resources.  This is in contrast to early-stage and advanced development efforts to generate these tools and resources that are supported by separate ITCR FOAs. The central mission of ITCR is to promote research-driven informatics technology across the development lifecycle to address priority needs in cancer research. In order to be successful, the proposed sustainment plan must provide clear justifications for why the research resource should be maintained and how it has benefited and will continue to benefit the cancer research field.  In addition, mechanisms for assessing and maximizing the value of the resource to researchers and supporting collaboration and/or deep engagement between the resource and the targeted research community should be described.

Background

Over the last decade, major advances in biology coupled with innovations in information technology have led to an explosive growth of biological and biomedical information. From the genomic revolution and many of its manifestations to developments in high-throughput high-content screening, biomedical scientists have never before been exposed to research data that are so rich and comprehensive, and yet so massive and complex. This situation provides unprecedented opportunities for rapid discovery. At the same time, it confronts researchers, especially bench biologists and clinicians, with significant challenges to access data, analyze data, and ultimately transform discovery into new knowledge and clinical practice. For example, advances in genomics create new opportunities to explore more deterministic methods for cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, including the study of the tumor microenvironment. The latter often requires, for example, the correlation of imaging phenotypes with genomic data, using in-vitro and in-vivo imaging and digital pathology. These challenges are even more prominent in the field of cancer research where complexity and heterogeneity of the disease translate to complex data generation conditions and high data management and analysis overhead, a condition that creates significant barriers to knowledge discovery and dissemination.

The fast growing field of biomedical informatics offers potential solutions to the “big data” problem. At the intersection of biology, medicine, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and information technology, biomedical informatics involves the development and application of computational tools to the organization and understanding of biomedical information, so that new insight and knowledge can be discerned. There is now general consensus that biomedical research is transforming into an information science, and biomedical informatics is no longer an option but an integral component of all biomedical research.

Remarkable progress in biomedical informatics supporting cancer research has been made in recent years.  The emerging use of cloud computing to support big data analysis; innovative computational methods for variant calling and driver mutation detection; and improved genomic alignment algorithms, for example, have all had fundamental impacts on cancer research. However, the use of informatics in everyday research remains a challenge for a number of reasons including the low availability of user-focused tools; lack of sufficient support for existing tools; the need for training materials; lack of interoperable tools; and the lack of tools to meet specific scientific needs. These critical needs are recognized by NCI and formed the basis in establishing and extending the NCI Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) Program whose scope serves informatics needs that span the cancer research continuum. Moreover, ITCR provides support for informatics resources across the development lifecycle, including the development of innovative methods and algorithms, early stage software development, advanced stage software development, and sustainment of high-value resources on which the community has come to depend (this FOA).

Companion FOAs of the ITCR program include:

  • PAR-15-334, “Development of Innovative Informatics Methods and Algorithms for Cancer Research and Management (R21)”: Development of innovative methods and algorithms addressing priority needs in cancer research.
  • PAR-15-332, "Early-Stage Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U01)":  Early-stage development of new tools or adapting existing tools for new applications in support of focused scientific inquiry or data sharing.
  • PAR-15-331, "Advanced Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U24)": Advanced development of emerging informatics technology to enable wide adoption in the cancer research community.
Specific Research Objectives

This FOA invites applications to support the sustained operations of informatics technology resources for cancer researchers. The emphasis will be on sustaining resources that have had demonstrated impact on cancer research.  Potential applicants are advised to consult with the Scientific/Research contact listed in Section VII for appropriateness of submission to this FOA.

The scope for this FOA U24 research resource is limited to support for informatics technology resources. Some general examples of informatics technologies that may be appropriate for this FOA include:

  • Resources in support of:
    • data management and analysis
    • automation in experiment design and execution
    • automation in data collection
    • data processing and analysis
    • data quality assessment
    • data integration
    • data presentation and visualization
    • text mining and natural language processing
    • data compression, storage, organization, and transmission
  • Maintenance and evolution of data exchange formats, ontologies, common data elements
  • Patient-centric laboratory and clinical data coalescence
  • Computer-assisted interpretation of experimental results
  • Environment for interactive modeling and simulation
  • Platform for research collaboration
  • Resources for performance evaluation of software tools, algorithms, and data collection methods
  • Computational tools for interdisciplinary research training

Examples of activities appropriate to the sustained operations of informatics technology resources in support of research include:

  • Community outreach and engagement
  • User training
  • User help desk support, including mailing lists, forums, etc., as appropriate
  • Hosting tools in conjunction with relevant data sets and supporting collaborative/shared analysis
  • Interoperability with other established research resources
  • Data aggregation and integration 
  • Implementing new resource functionality in support of evolving user needs
  • General maintenance, including bug fixing and technical upgrades of the underlying software and infrastructure
  • Improving the stability, security and/or performance (i.e., speed) of the informatics tools
  • Providing software installation support for locally-hosted instances
  • Data annotation, processing, and curation in support of improved data quality and utility
  • Support for open source development (i.e., accepting external contributions of source code)

Collaborative Activities: Awardees are expected to engage in collaborative activities of the ITCR program, including attending annual meetings and participating in working groups. Awardees are also expected to participate in collaborative/joint projects to enhance the interoperability of tools within or beyond ITCR projects. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementation of common Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to support data exchange among tools
  • Adoption of common data standards to support semantic interoperability across resources
  • Use of a common software platform/interoperability infrastructure for tool integration

Wet-lab based technology development is supported by the NCI IMAT Program,. Potential applicants who are interested in the development of molecular technologies are advised to consult with scientific staff of the IMAT Program for suitability of submission.

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 scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.

Application Types Allowed

New
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) 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

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is five years.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

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

    • Hispanic-serving Institutions
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
    • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
    • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

  • 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 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.
  • 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.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) 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.

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).
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, 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.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

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

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Juli Klemm, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-480-5778
Email: juli.klemm@nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

Biographical Sketch. Include evidence that the investigator(s) have a strong track record of informatics technology resource support and dissemination

R&R Budget

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

Collaborative Activities: Applicants must set aside 10 percent of their annual budget (Direct Costs) to support collaborative or joint activities within or beyond ITCR projects, initiated post-award.

The amount should be presented in the Other Expenses category under the heading “Collaborative Funds”.

Travel: Applicants are required to include travel support for an investigator from their research team to attend the annual meeting. In the budget, a travel budget of one trip per year to these meetings should be included.

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) Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy: As the goal of this FOA is to support research-driven informatics technology to serve the mission of NCI, investigators should clearly describe:

  • The demonstrated and potential impact to cancer research
  • The unique value of the  informatics technology to be supported and the advantage over competing technologies
  • A timeline and milestones for achieving the project goals
  • Plans to evolve the informatics technology to address emerging needs of the targeted research communities and to ensure that it maintains relevance to the research it supports

Investigators should describe their plan for participating in the ITCR program activities, including the annual meetings and working groups. NCI has established a National Cancer Informatics Hub (NCIP Hub, https://nciphub.org) to provide an online forum for scientific exchange among grantees and the user community. Investigators should describe how they plan to use the NCIP Hub to support project and program goals. Investigators should also describe their abilities and plans for facilitating the collaborative activities that are required for the use of set-aside funds. 

Letters of Support: Applicants must include letters of support from the cancer research community. These letters should describe how the technology has benefited their research and why the resource should be sustained. No specific number of letters is required but these should provide supporting evidence for the need to sustain the resource for the targeted cancer research community.

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

Software Dissemination Plan: A software dissemination plan, with appropriate timelines, is expected to be included in the application. There is no prescribed single license for software produced through awards resulting from this announcement. However, NCI does have goals for software dissemination and the plan should address the following:

  • The software should be freely available to biomedical researchers and educators in the non-profit sector, such as institutions of education, research institutions, and government laboratories.
  • The terms of software availability should permit the dissemination and commercialization of enhanced or customized versions of the software, or incorporation of the software or pieces of it into other software packages.
  • To preserve utility to the community, the software should be transferable such that another individual or team can continue development in the event that the original investigators are unwilling or unable to do so.
  • The terms of software availability should include the ability of researchers to modify the source code and to share modifications with other colleagues.
  • To further enhance the potential impact of their software, applicants may consider proposing a plan to manage and disseminate the improvements or customizations of their tools and resources by others. This application for funding may include a plan to incorporate the enhancements into the core software, may involve the creation of an infrastructure for plug-ins, or may describe some other solution. Accordingly, awardees are encouraged to manage and disseminate their source code through an open revision control and source code management system such as GitHub.

Prior to funding, program staff may negotiate modifications of software sharing plans with the applicant. Any software dissemination plans represent a commitment by the institution (and its subcontractors, as applicable), to support and abide by the plan. The final version of any accepted software sharing plans will become a condition of the award.

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

Planned Enrollment Report

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

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Part I. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirements for obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and for completing and maintaining an active System for Award Management (SAM) registration. Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

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

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. 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. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A) must contact a Scientific/ Research Contact at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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 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?

Specific to this FOA: What has been the impact of the informatics technology to the collaborating projects and to the broader cancer research field in general? How will the proposed sustainment plan lead to continued advancement of cancer research?

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?

Specific to this FOA: What is the track record of the investigator(s) in informatics technology resource support and dissemination?

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?

Specific to this FOA: Do any similar resources currently exist? What is the advantage of sustaining this resource in comparison to competing technologies?

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?

Specific to this FOA: Are the proposed timelines and milestones sound and realistic? Are there plans to evolve the research resource to address emerging needs of the targeted research communities and ensure that the research resource maintains relevance to the research it supports?

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 arrangements?   

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.

Collaboration Are there adequate plans for the effective interaction and coordination with the supported cancer research programs, ITCR program investigators, the Steering Committee, and the NCI?

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.

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.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and Genomic Data Sharing Plan; and 4) Software Dissemination 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 NCI, 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 selection 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 National Cancer Advisory 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.

This award will include restricted funds that will be used to support research collaboration among the awardees of these companion FOAs as recommended by the Steering Committee and approved by the NCI.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, 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:

  • Ensuring that all software produced by the project are disseminated according to the approved terms consistent with the guidelines of the Software Dissemination Plan;
  • Implementing  procedures to actively solicit input and feedback from the user community and integrate those into the software development plan;
  • Actively engaging in outreach activities targeting the user community, the cancer research community in particular;
  • Participating in all ITCR program activities including its annual meetings, workshops and working groups
  • Seeking opportunities for collaboration with other projects of the ITCR Initiative with the aim of producing software tools that are compatible and interoperable in order to maximize their utility;
  • Working closely with the NCI Program Official and Project Coordinator (see below) in project coordination and management as described under “NCI Staff Responsibilities” 
  • Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

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

The NCI Project Coordinator will:

  • Coordinate and facilitate interactions and collaborations among the awardees of the ITCR Program;
  • Serve as the liaison between individual projects and other components of the ITCR Program;
  • Evaluate and approve individual project's Software Dissemination Plan and oversee its execution;
  • Provide technical assistance and advice to the awardees as appropriate;
  • Assist in avoiding unwarranted duplication of effort with other ITCR projects;
  • Suggest reprogramming efforts, including options to modify projects/programs when certain objectives of this FOA are not met -- Specifically, the NCI Science Officer may recommend withholding of support, suspension, or termination of a Cooperative Agreement award for lack of adherence to required policies and/or procedures;
  • Participate in organizing ITCR annual meetings and special workshops;
  • Develop working groups and trans-project efforts as needed;
  • Make final decisions for the release of set-aside funds, based on the recommendations of the ITCR Steering Committee;

Additionally, an NCI Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Steering Committee: The ITCR Steering Committee will be composed of the following voting members:

  • PD(s)/PI(s) representing the ITCR U01/U24 awards; and
  • The NCI-designated Project Coordinator.

Each voting member will have one vote.

Additional NIH staff may participate in Steering Committee meetings as non-voting members as needed (for example to provide additional expertise).

Additional non-voting members may participate on the Steering Committee in an advisory capacity on an as needed basis and decided by the existing voting committee members.

The Chair of the Steering Committee (who cannot be NIH staff) will be selected by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will meet in association with the annual PI meeting and via teleconference as needed.

The Steering Committee may establish subcommittees for specific purposes.

The NCI Project Coordinator will serve on such subcommittees, as appropriate.

Primary responsibilities of the Steering Committee include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Planning the agenda for the annual ITCR PI meeting.
  • Establishing procedures for the solicitation, evaluation and recommendation to awardees of collaborative/joint projects to be pursued with support of the set-aside funds from individual U01 and U24 awards. 

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 does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

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.

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA 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)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Juli Klemm, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 301-480-5778
Email: juli.klemm@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Jackie Boudjeda
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6312
Email: Boudjedaj@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.

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