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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Office of AIDS Research (OAR)

Funding Opportunity Title

HIV/AIDS Vaccine Scholars Program (K01)

Activity Code

K01 Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • June 28, 2016 - This PAR has been reissued as PAR-16-347.
  • January 28, 2016 - Notice of Participation of the Office of AIDS Research in PAR-16-028. See Notice NOT-OD-16-060.
  • 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-16-012 - Implementing Rigor and Transparency in NIH & AHRQ Career Development Award Applications (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-16-028

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.351

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is to provide salary and research support to investigators who are within ten years of completing their degree or residency training.  Research and mentorship must be in the field of HIV/AIDS vaccine development, using nonhuman primates (NHPs) as pre-clinical models.  These awards will provide 3 years of support for intensive research career development under the guidance of an experienced mentorship team, with expertise in both development of NHP vaccine models and in translation of the results of investigations performed in NHPs to work in humans.  The expectation is through this sustained period of research career development and training, awardees will launch independent research careers and become competitive for new research project grant (e.g., R01) funding. This funding initiative addresses two objectives of the FY 2016 National Institutes of Health Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research:  1) To explore new HIV vaccine approaches, and 2) To develop opportunities for new investigators in the HIV vaccine field, enabling them to translate promising preclinical vaccine studies in NHPs into human clinical trials.   

Key Dates
Posted Date

November 2, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 11, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

January 11, 2016; January 11, 2017 and January 11, 2018, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of AIDS and AIDS-related 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.

Scientific Merit Review

March 2016, March 2017 and March 2018

Advisory Council Review

May 2016, May 2017 and May 2018

Earliest Start Date

July 2016, July 2017 and July 2018

Expiration Date

New Date June 28, 2016 per issuance of PAR-16-347. (Original Expiration Date: January 12, 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, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application ("K" Series), except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The overall goal of the NIH Research Career Development program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. In addition to this opportunity, NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) support a variety of other mentored career development programs designed to foster the transition of new investigators to research independence. These other programs may be more suitable for particular candidates.  NIH also supports non-mentored career development programs for independent investigators. More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.

The purpose of this NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is to provide salary and research support to investigators who are within ten years of completing their degree or residency training.  Research and mentorship must be in the field of HIV/AIDS vaccine development, using nonhuman primates (NHPs) as pre-clinical models. These awards will provide 3 years of support for intensive research career development under the guidance of an experienced mentorship team, with expertise in both development of NHP vaccine models and in translation of the results of investigations performed in NHPs to work in humans.  The expectation is that through this sustained period of research career development and training, awardees will launch independent research careers and become competitive for new research project grant (e.g., R01) funding.

The FY 2016 National Institutes of Health Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research (http://www.oar.nih.gov/strategicplan/fy2016/index.asp) identifies development of safe, effective and affordable AIDS vaccines that can be used in combination with other prevention strategies as the best long-term solution for controlling the AIDS pandemic.  Two important research priorities are:  1) To explore new HIV vaccine approaches, and 2) To develop opportunities for new investigators in the HIV vaccine field, enabling them to translate promising preclinical vaccine studies in NHPs into human clinical trials.

It is generally accepted that preclinical studies using NHPs are necessary for development of effective HIV/AIDS vaccines.  Such NHP-based studies include both direct testing of vaccine strategies and various investigations related to understanding factors promoting vaccine efficacy and to improving vaccine design.  Investigations aimed at hypothesis-driven strategies for design of vaccines include, among others:  characterizing early innate host-virus interactions; new challenge models in NHPs such as multi-clade SHIVs and HIV-adapted viruses; understanding the role of B-cell and mucosal immunity in vaccine efficacy; and assessing how adjuvants can alter immune responses in both the systemic and mucosal compartments and their effectiveness after mucosal challenge.

A second factor that will facilitate development of effective HIV/AIDS vaccines is to increase the workforce that can employ NHPs as pre-clinical models, followed by translation to human clinical investigations and trials.  Various facilities, such as the National Primate Research Centers and others, in collaboration with many scientists around the world, are training new investigators to work with NHPs in vaccine-related projects.  In part because of the cost and time of performing vaccine studies using NHPs, these investigators  can find it difficult to transition to positions of independence, which will allow them to translate promising ideas into the development of effective vaccines.  This K01 grant program will support these investigators, facilitating further progress of vaccine-related research projects.  The investigators will receive mentorship that will enhance critical aspects of career development such as grantsmanship, networking and ability to translate results from animals to the clinic.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New
Resubmission
Revision

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

Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses, as described below. The total award, including salary, fringe benefits and all other costs cannot exceed $350,000 total costs per year.

Award Project Period

The total project period may not exceed 3 years.

Other Award Budget Information
Salary

NIH will contribute up to  $75,000 plus fringe benefits per year toward the salary of the career award recipient.  

The total salary requested must be based on a full-time staff appointment. The salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned. If full-time, 12-month salaries are not currently paid to comparable staff members, the salary proposed must be appropriately related to the existing salary structure at the institution.  Confirmation of salary may be required prior to the issuance of an award.  Fringe benefits, based on the sponsoring institution’s rate and the percent of effort, are provided in addition to salary.

The sponsoring institution may supplement the NIH salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale. However, supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may PHS funds be used for salary supplementation. Institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of the career award. The total salary, however, may not exceed the legislatively mandated salary cap.  See: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

Other Program-Related Expenses

NIH will contribute  up to $275,000, total costs for all non-salary program-related expenses.  The budget request must include travel costs associated with attendance at one of the semi-annual meetings of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.  Research development costs of the award recipient must be justified and consistent with the stage of development of the candidate and the proportion of time to be spent in research or career development activities.

Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistants, etc. is not allowed.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs.

NIH grant 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)
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 not 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.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • 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 candidate with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her mentorship team and organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status

Current and former PDs/PIs on NIH research project (R01), program project (P01), center grants (P50), sub-projects of program project (P01), sub-projects of center grants (P50), other career development awards (K–awards), or the equivalent are not eligible. Current and former PDs/PIs of an NIH Small Grant (R03), Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21), Dissertation Award (R36), or SBIR/STTR (R41, R42, R43, R44) remain eligible. Professors or Associate Professors or equivalent, regardless of grant history, are not eligible.

Candidates for this award must have a research or health-professional doctoral degree, must have completed at least three years of postdoctoral training or equivalent and must be within 10 years of his/her terminal research degree or medical residency, whichever date is later. The candidate can be an Assistant Professor, Assistant Scientist, Research Assistant Professor, or equivalent.  The candidate should have an academic appointment at an institution that houses a facility, such as a National Primate Research Center or equivalent, which can provide NHPs, core facilities and intellectual resources for using NHPs in HIV/AIDS vaccine research. If exceptionally well justified, the candidate can have a primary appointment at an institution distinct from that which houses NHP-related facilities and infrastructure.  However, all work directly related to animals must be performed at the institution that houses the NHP-related facilities and infrastructure.

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. An individual may not have two or more competing NIH career development applications pending review concurrently. In addition, 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).

Candidates may submit research project grant (RPG) applications concurrently with the K application. However, any concurrent RPG application may not have substantial scientific and/or budgetary overlap with the career award application. K award recipients are encouraged to obtain funding from NIH or other Federal sources either as a PD/PI on a competing research grant award or cooperative agreement, or as project leader on a competing multi-project award as described in NOT-OD-08-065.

Level of Effort

At the time of award, the candidate must have a “full-time” appointment at the academic institution. Candidates are required to commit a minimum of 75% of full-time professional effort (i.e., a minimum of 9 person-months) to their career development and research training during the mentored phase. Candidates may engage in other duties as part of the remaining 25% of their full-time professional effort not covered by this award, as long as such duties do not interfere with or detract from the proposed career development program.

Candidates who have VA appointments may not consider part of the VA effort toward satisfying the full time requirement at the applicant institution. Candidates with VA appointments should contact the staff person in the relevant Institute or Center prior to preparing an application to discuss their eligibility. Under certain circumstances, an awardee may submit a written request to the awarding component requesting a reduction in minimum required percent effort, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Details on this policy are provided in NOT-OD-09-036

Mentor(s)

Before submitting the application, the candidate must identify a mentoring team that will supervise the proposed career development and research experience. The mentoring team must have at least two investigators who are active in the area of HIV/AIDS vaccine research and are committed to the career development of the candidate and to the direct supervision of the candidate’s research.  The candidate must work with the mentor(s) in preparing the application.

The principal mentor, who will coordinate the candidate’s research, must be an investigator using NHPs for HIV/AIDS vaccine research, and must be a faculty member of an institution that houses a facility, such as a National Primate Research Center or equivalent, which can provide NHPs, core facilities and intellectual resources for using NHPs in HIV/AIDS vaccine research.  The principal mentor must have a successful track record of mentoring individuals at the candidate’s career stage. 

The co-mentor must have extensive experience either translating NHP results to human studies or in human clinical trials, per se.  This mentor can have a faculty appointment at an institution different from that of the principal mentor.  The mentoring team can also have additional senior scientists in the area of HIV/AIDS vaccine research, as appropriate for the candidate and research project. In addition to the mentors, an advisory committee that provides input to the candidate may also be appointed, but is not required.

Institutional Environment

The applicant institution must have a strong, well-established record of research and career development activities and faculty qualified to serve as mentors in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research.

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.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) 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) 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, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed.   

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed.   

Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed.

Project Summary/Abstract

Include a description of your current research and the research you propose to continue under the auspices of K01 funding.

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

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed. 

R&R Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed.

PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Candidate Information

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

Candidate’s Background

  • Describe the candidate's commitment to a health-related research career. Describe all the candidate's professional responsibilities in the grantee institution and elsewhere and describe their relationship to the proposed activities on the career award.
  • Describe prior training and how it relates to the objectives and long-term career plans of the candidate.
  • Describe the candidate's research efforts to this point in his/her research career, including any publications, prior research interests and experience.
  • Provide evidence of the candidate's potential to develop into an independent investigator in the area of HIV/AIDS vaccine research.

Career Goals and Objectives

  • Describe a systematic plan: (1) that shows a logical progression from prior research and training experiences to the research and career development experiences that will occur during the career award period and then to independent investigator status; and (2) that justifies the need for further career development to become an independent investigator.

Candidate’s Plan for Career Development/Training Activities during Award Period

  • The candidate and the mentoring team are jointly responsible for the preparation of the career development plan.  A timeline is often helpful. The entire mentoring team should assist with the development of a program of study and a plan to monitor the candidate's progress through the career development program.
  • The didactic (if any) and the research aspects of the plan must be designed to develop the necessary knowledge and research skills in scientific areas relevant to the candidate's career goals.
  • Describe the professional responsibilities/activities including other research projects beyond the minimum required 9 person-months (75% full-time professional effort) commitment to the career award.  Explain how these responsibilities/activities will help ensure career progression to achieve independence as an investigator.

Candidates are expected to annually attend one of the meetings of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (http://www.hvtn.org/en.htm), and are encouraged to present the results of their investigations where possible.  Plans for presenting and publishing research results should be described in the career development plan.   

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

  • All applications must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
  • The plan must address the five, required instructional components outlined in the NIH policy: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the mentor(s) and other faculty involvement in the instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction, taking into consideration the duration of the program; and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years. See also NOT-OD-10-019.
  • Applications lacking a Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research will not be reviewed.

Statements and Letters of Support

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Plans and Statements of Mentor and Co-mentor(s)

  • The candidate must name a principal mentor who, together with the candidate, is responsible for the planning, directing, monitoring, and executing the proposed program.  The candidate must also name at least one co-mentor who has extensive experience either translating NHP results to human studies or in human clinical trials, per se.  The candidate may also nominate other co-mentors as appropriate to the goals of the program.
  • The mentor should be recognized as an accomplished investigator in the proposed research area and have a track record of success in training and placing independent investigators.
  • The mentor should have sufficient independent research support to cover the costs of the proposed research project in excess of the allowable costs of this award.
  • Where feasible, women, individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities should be involved as mentors to serve as role models.
  • Include a statement that the candidate will commit at least 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) to the career development program and related career development activities.
  • The application must include a statement from the mentor(s) providing: 1) information on his/her research qualifications and previous experience as a research supervisor; 2) documentation regarding sufficient research support and facilities for high quality research in the area of HIV/AIDS vaccine research; 3) a plan that describes the nature of the supervision and mentoring that will occur during the proposed award period; 4) a plan for career progression for the candidate to move from the mentored stage of his/her career to independent research investigator status; 5) a plan for monitoring the candidate’s research, publications, and progression towards independence and 6) a plan for reviewing and approving plans for the third year of support.
  • Similar information must be provided by any co-mentor.  If more than one co-mentor is proposed, the respective areas of expertise and responsibility of each should be described.  Co-mentors should clearly describe how they will coordinate the mentoring of the candidate. If any co-mentor is not located at the sponsoring institution, a statement should be provided describing the mechanism(s) and frequency of communication with the candidate, including the frequency of face-to-face meetings.
    The mentor must agree to provide annual evaluations of the candidate’s progress as required in the annual progress report.

Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors and Consultants

  • Signed statements must be provided by all collaborators and/or consultants confirming their participation in the project and describing their specific roles. Collaborators and consultants generally do not need to provide their biographical sketches. However, information should be provided clearly documenting the appropriate expertise in the proposed areas of consulting/collaboration. Collaborators/consultants are generally not directly involved in the development of the career of the candidate as an independent investigator. 
  • Advisory Committee members (if applicable): Signed statements must be provided by each member of the proposed Advisory Committee. These statements should confirm their participation, describe their specific roles, and document the expertise they will contribute.  These
  • Individuals generally do not need to provide their biographical sketches.

Environmental and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Description of Institutional Environment

  • The sponsoring institution must document a strong, well-established research and career development program related to the candidate's area of interest, including a high-quality research environment with key faculty members and other investigators capable of productive collaboration with the candidate.
  • Describe how the institutional research environment is particularly suited for the development of the candidate's research career and the pursuit of the proposed research plan.
  • The sponsoring institution should document that it houses a facility, such as a National Primate Research Center or equivalent, that can provide NHPs, essential core facilities and intellectual resources for using NHPs in HIV/AIDS vaccine research.
  • In situations where the sponsoring institution does not house a National Primate Research Center or equivalent, the description of the institutional environment should specify how the sponsoring institution will collaborate with such an institution to assure support for the candidate.

Institutional Commitment to the Candidate’s Research Career Development

  • The sponsoring institution must provide a statement of commitment to the candidate's development into a productive, independent investigator and to meeting the requirements of this award. It should be clear that the institutional commitment to the candidate is not contingent upon receipt of this career award.
  • Provide assurance that the candidate will be able to devote a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) to the development of their research program. The remaining effort should be devoted to activities related to the development of the candidate’s career as an independent scientist, e.g. clinic responsibilities, teaching and administration, and/or additional research activities.
  • Provide assurance that the candidate will have appropriate office and laboratory space, equipment, and other resources and facilities (including access to animals, and if relevant, clinical and/or other research populations) to carry out the proposed research plan.
  • Provide assurance that appropriate time and support will be available for any proposed mentor(s) and/or other staff consistent with the career development plan.

Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application (“K” Series), must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Strategy

  • A sound research project that is consistent with the candidate’s level of research development and objectives of his/her career development plan must be provided. The research description should demonstrate not only the quality of the candidate’s research thus far but also the novelty, significance, creativity and approach, as well as the ability of the candidate to carry out the research.
  • The application must describe the relationship between the mentor’s research and the candidate’s proposed research plan.
  • The research plan must involve investigations relevant to the development of HIV/AIDS vaccines using NHPs as pre-clinical models.  The plan must also indicate clearly how results of the investigations are relevant to and can impact the development of HIV/AIDS vaccines in humans.

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. 

Letters of Reference

Candidates must carefully follow the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including the time period for when letters of reference will be accepted (letters are due by the application due date as described in the NOT-OD-11-079). Applications lacking the appropriate required reference letters will not be reviewed. This is a separate process from submitting an application electronically. Reference letters are submitted directly through the eRA Commons Submit Referee Information link and not through Grants.gov.

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) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. 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) 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.

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) 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-16-012 and 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 should provide their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed career development and research plan will enhance the candidate’s potential for a productive, independent scientific research career in a health-related field, taking into consideration the criteria below in determining the overall impact score.

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.

Candidate
  • Does the candidate have the potential to develop as an independent and productive researcher?
  • Are the candidate's prior training and research experience appropriate for this award?
  • Is the candidate’s academic, clinical (if relevant), and research record of high quality?
  • Is there evidence of the candidate’s commitment to meeting the program objectives to become an independent investigator in research?
  • Do the letters of reference address the above review criteria, and do they provide evidence that the candidate has a high potential for becoming an independent investigator?
Career Development Plan
  • What is the likelihood that the plan will contribute substantially to the scientific development of the candidate and lead to scientific independence?
  • Are the content, scope, phasing, and duration of the career development plan appropriate when considered in the context of prior training/research experience and the stated training and research objectives for achieving research independence?
  • Are there adequate plans for monitoring and evaluating the candidate’s research and career development progress?
  • Is there a plan for the candidate to present the results of his/her research annually at one of the meetings of the HIV Vaccines Trial Network?
  • Are there plans for the candidate to prepare, 45 days before the end of the second year of support, a summary of research results and plans for review by the mentoring team, and upon approval, inclusion in the non-competing progress report that is sent to the NIH?   
Research Plan
  • Are the proposed research question, design, and methodology of significant scientific and technical merit?
  • Is the research plan relevant to the candidate’s research career objectives?
  • Is the research plan appropriate to the candidate's stage of research development and as a vehicle for developing the research skills described in the career development plan?
  • Does the research plan propose experiments that utilize NHPs as pre-clinical models relevant to development of HIV/AIDS vaccines?
  • If successful, is it likely that the NHP-related experiments will translate to studies in humans?

Mentor(s), Co-Mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s)

  • Are the qualifications of the mentors in the area of the proposed research appropriate?
  • Do the mentors adequately address the candidate’s potential and his/her strengths and areas needing improvement?
  • Is there adequate description of the quality and extent of the mentors' proposed role in providing guidance and advice to the candidate?
  • Is the mentors' description of the elements of the research career development activities, including formal course work adequate?
  • Is there evidence of the mentors', consultant’s, and/or collaborator’s previous experience in fostering the development of independent investigators?
  • Is there evidence of the mentors' current research productivity and peer-reviewed support?
  • Is active/pending support for the proposed research project appropriate and adequate?
  • Are there adequate plans for monitoring and evaluating the career development and awardee’s progress toward independence?  Do the mentors agree to review progress during the first two years and plans for the third year of support and to provide a letter approving these plans in the progress report for the third year of support?
  • Is the principal mentor a productive investigator using NHPs for HIV/AIDS vaccine research, and a faculty member of an institution that houses a facility, such as a National Primate Research Center or equivalent, that can provide NHPs, core facilities and intellectual resources for using NHPs in HIV/AIDS vaccine research?
  • Does the co-mentor have extensive experience either translating NHP results to human studies or in human clinical trials, per se?
Environment & Institutional Commitment to the Candidate
  • Is there clear commitment of the sponsoring institution to ensure that a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of the candidate’s full-time professional effort) will be devoted directly to the research and career development activities described in the application, with the remaining percent effort being devoted to an appropriate balance of research, teaching, administrative, and clinical responsibilities?
  • Is the institutional commitment to the career development of the candidate appropriately strong?
  • Are the research facilities, resources and training opportunities, including faculty capable of productive collaboration with the candidate, adequate and appropriate?
  • Is the environment for scientific and professional development of the candidate of high quality?
  • Is there assurance that the institution intends the candidate to be an integral part of its research program as an independent investigator?
  • Does the sponsoring institution have the capacity to properly house NHPs for HIV/AIDS-related studies, core laboratories or other capabilities for performing essential assays, laboratory and other space for conducting HIV-related research using NHPs and intellectual resources, such as experienced senior scientists, to support the candidate?
  • If the candidate is based at an institution that does not have significant capabilities to house and use NHPs for HIV/AIDS vaccine research, is there an adequate plan to collaborate with an institution that does have these capabilities to facilitate the candidate's work with NHPs?
Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: (1) risk to subjects, (2) adequacy of protection against risks, (3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, (4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and (5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: (1) the justification for the exemption, (2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and (3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves 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

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

Additional Review Considerations

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

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the level of experience of the applicant, including any prior instruction or participation in RCR as appropriate for the applicant’s career stage, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the mentor(s) and other faculty involvement in the fellow’s instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction (at least eight contact hours are required); and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years.  Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee. See also: NOT-OD-10-019.

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)  Genomic Data Sharing Plan (GDS).

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), 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 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.
  • Geographical distribution.
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. More specifically, for K Awards, visit the Research Career Development (“K”) Awardees section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

 
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. The Supplemental Instructions for Individual Career Development (K) RPPRs must be followed. The Mentors' Report must include an annual evaluation statement of the candidate’s progress.

As part of career development, the applicant will prepare a detailed summary of results obtained from the first two years of the award and detailed plans for the third year.  The mentors will review thus summary and will provide feedback on plans for the third year of research.  The final summary and a letter indicating approval from the mentor must be included in the Non-competing Continuation Progress Report submitted to the NIH, that summarizes progress in the second year of the grant and requests support for the third year.

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. 

4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: https://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 Center Telephone: 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)

John D. Harding, PhD
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Telephone: 301-435-0776
Email: hardingj@mail.nih.gov

Jean Patterson
Office of AIDS Research (OAR)
Telephone: 301-496-4077
Email:  pattersj@od.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Robert Freund, PhD
Center for Scientific Review
Telephone:  301-435-1050
freundr@csr.nih.gov.

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Artisha Eatmon
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Telephone: 301-435-0845
Email: Eatmonay@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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