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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

Fogarty International Center (FIC)

Funding Opportunity Title

Planning Grant for Emerging Epidemic Virus Research Training for West African Countries with Widespread Transmission of Ebola- Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (D71)

Activity Code

D71 International Research Training Planning Grant

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR -16-045

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

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

See also Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.989  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement invites applications from U.S. or African research institutions to plan research training and capacity building programs focused on emerging viral epidemics in collaboration with institutions in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone.  The application should propose a collaborative planning process to develop training approaches that will create sustainable research capacity for the early identification, transmission prediction, testing of public health responses, and assessing and addressing long term health sequelae related to emerging viral diseases that have the potential for regional and global pandemics.

Key Dates
Posted Date

November 24, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

January 24, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

February 24, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

***This FOA is being issued with limited due dates to accommodate the transition from FORMS-C to FORMS-D application packages (NOT-OD-16-004). This FOA will be reissued for additional due date(s) on or after May 25, 2016.***

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

June 2016

Advisory Council Review

August 2016

Earliest Start Date

September 2016

Expiration Date

February 25, 2016

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide including the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, 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
Purpose and Background Information

As detailed in the WHO Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel (July 2015) (http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/ebola-panel-report/en/), the fragile health infrastructure in West Africa, in particular, the lack of public health core capabilities in surveillance and health data required under the International Health Regulations (2005) (http://www.who.int/ihr/publications/9789241596664/en/) contributed to the recent Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.  The report also details the inadequacy of preparatory research and development of appropriate diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and public health evidence for best practices and tools as well as the necessary capabilities to conduct critical research during the outbreak.  Therefore, in order to begin to address the deficiencies in research capabilities, applications are invited from U.S. or African research institutions to plan research training and capacity building programs focused on emerging viral epidemics for trainees from institutions in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea.  The proposed one year planning process is expected to lead to an application to the appropriate FIC collaborative international research training program (see Global Infectious Disease Research Training Program, http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/infectious-disease.aspx; Fogarty HIV Research Training program, http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/hiv-aids-research-training.aspx; International Research Ethics Education and Curriculum Development Award, http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/bioethics.aspx, and others that may become available over the period of this FOA,   http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/default.aspx).  More mature research training collaborations may choose to apply to these programs directly.  For planning and exploratory research projects, applicants are encouraged to apply to FIC R21 small research grant announcements (See Global Brain Disorders Research, http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/brain-disorders.aspx; and others that may become available over the period of this FOA, http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/default.aspx).

Planning Grant Objective

Sustainable research capacity requires a critical mass of scientists and health research professionals with in-depth scientific expertise and complementary skills that enable the institution to conduct independent, internationally-recognized infectious disease research relevant to the health priorities of their country.  The overall intent of this funding opportunity is to support the collaborative development of effective research training plans that will engender the scientific knowledge and skills that will lead over time to creating sustainable research capacity in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone for the early identification, transmission prediction, testing of public health responses, and assessing and addressing long term health sequelae related to emerging viral diseases that have the potential for regional and global pandemics.  The specific objectives of the Planning Grants for Emerging Epidemic Virus Research Training are to support:

1. The assessment of existing research and research training capacity in the proposed scientific area at a collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone in order to justify the need for a subsequent research training application;

2. The collaborative development of a detailed vision and locally appropriate strategies for a future application to implement a thoughtful research training program for multiple scientists and health research professionals from Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone that will strengthen an institution's capacity to conduct independent or collaborative, sustainable research in one of these countries;

3. The identification and strengthening of specific research training curricula, appropriate trainee research projects, faculty mentors, scientific environment and administrative resources needed to undertake such a research training program;

4. The design of a recruitment and selection process to ensure participation of the best possible trainees from Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone in future research training;

5. The definition of the roles of all individual and institutional partners for an effective organizational structure that will support the envisioned research training program; and

6. The development and submission of an application, jointly prepared by all collaborators, to the appropriate FIC international research training program grant opportunity or other support (see http://www.fic.nih.gov/Programs/Pages/default.aspx).   

Program Considerations

Scientific Areas for Training

Applications may propose plans to design research training programs that focus on any scientific area related to emerging viral infections or the conduct of critical research in preparation before, during or after emerging viral outbreaks that is relevant to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone.  High priority research training areas may include (but are not limited to):

-Epidemiology research & predictive transmission modeling;

-Public health data management research including the use of GIS mapping, information technology and informatics;

-Operational and implementation research to establish best public health practices in epidemic prevention, management and clinical management of patients, including the use of mobile (mHealth) technologies and applications;

-Social science research including medical anthropology related to relevant cultural practices, health communications and stigma;

-Clinical pathology and treatment research related to health sequelae in viral epidemic survivors, including mental health and trauma and other chronic conditions;

-Research related to palliative care for patients and survivors of viral epidemics

-Biohazard engineering research to develop better infected patient care and medical laboratory equipment, personnel protective gear for healthcare workers, disinfection and waste disposal methods appropriate for low resource health settings;

-Impact on special populations, including people living with HIV/AIDS;

-Basic research and development of point of care diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics up to Phase 1 clinical trials; and

-Innovative approaches to conduct research during an outbreak, including ethical issues

Collaboration

All applications submitted by U.S. or African research-intensive institutions must include collaboration with institutions in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone.  U.S. applicants are strongly encouraged to include other institutions in Africa with relevant expertise as training institutions in addition to institutions in the three target countries for "South-South" research training, with the long-term goal of building networks within Africa that will further increase the effectiveness and coordination of research and response to future outbreaks.  African applicants may include collaboration with institutions in the U.S. and other high income countries (HICs) or other LMIC institutions with particular expertise in the areas proposed for training. 

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

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

FIC intends to commit $500,000 in FY 2016 to fund 10 awards.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to a maximum of $50,000 total costs.

Grantees are expected to be familiar with and comply with applicable cost policies and the NRSA Guidelines (NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants). Funds may be used only for those expenses that are directly related to and necessary for the research training planning process and must be expended in conformance with OMB Cost Principles, the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and the regulations, policies, guidelines, and conditions set forth in this document.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is one year.

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing research training program planning activities may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap.

Limited administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program planning activities that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when they are in accordance with applicable cost principles.  For institutions covered by OMB Circular A-21, this type of training program may qualify as a “major project” where administrative salaries are allowable as a direct cost.  When specifically identified and justified, these expenses must be itemized in Sections A and B, as appropriate, of the R&R Budget. 

Trainee Travel

Not Applicable 

Other Program Related Expenses

Consultants may also be supported for specific contributions to research training program planning activities.

Costs associated with strengthening of specific research training curricula and appropriate trainee research projects, faculty mentors, scientific environment and administrative resources needed to undertake a future research training program may be requested.

Faculty Travel: Funds may be requested for round-trip economy airfare on U.S. carriers (to the maximum extent possible), lodging and per diem for the Principal Investigator and collaborating faculty to travel to research training program planning activities.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

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 U.S. 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)

Other

  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.

The applicant institution must have robust and high-quality research ongoing in the area(s) proposed under this FOA and must have the requisite faculty and facilities on site to contribute to the planning process for the envisioned research training program. It is anticipated that future participating training program faculty will have active, funded research projects in which potential trainees may gain relevant research training experiences consistent with their career interests and goals.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

For foreign institution applicants, only institutions in African low-and middle-income countries (LMIC), defined by the World Bank classification system (according to Gross National Income (GNI) per capita as “low-income,” “lower-middle-income,” and “upper-middle-income”) are eligible to apply (http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/country-and-lending-groups). See Notice of Change in Country Eligibility for Fogarty International Training Grants and Country Eligibility for additional information. Institutions applying as "Non-domestic components of U.S. Organizations" must apply as a U.S. institution partner.

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.

International applicants may obtain more information on the registrations required for grants.gov and eRA Commons at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Tips_for_International_Applicants.pdf.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/international_support.pdf
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/international_qa.pdf 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/preparing_grantsgov_reg.htm

Guidance for International Applicants Blocked from Registration Websites: NOT-OD-11-090

An NIH supported webinar on Electronic Submission of Grant Applications for Foreign Institutions can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/webinar_docs/webinar_20120927.htm

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 training planning activities as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) 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 SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed research training planning process. The PD/PI will be responsible for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the planning grant activities. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the planning activities and submit all documents and reports as required.

It is expected that the PD/PI will have a history of research or research training collaboration with the institution(s) that is the focus of the proposed research training planning activities that can be documented by joint publications, grants, previous training activities, or other activities relevant to emerging epidemic virus research.  If these are new collaborations, the applicants must provide a rationale for why such collaboration is likely to be successful.

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 programmatically 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).
Preceptors/Mentors

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program.  Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.. 

Relevant faculty from the proposed collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone must be included as much as possible in the research training planning process.

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 FIC 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:

Barbara Sina Ph.D.
Fax: 301-402-0779
Email: sinab@mail.nih.gov

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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). 

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

Include the applicant institution and all of the collaborating institutions, both U.S. and foreign, as performance sites.

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following additional modifications:

Project Summary/Abstract. Provide an abstract of the entire application. Include the objectives, rationale and design of the research training program planning process, as well as key activities. Include the name of the Sub-Saharan institution(s) and the viral emerging disease related focus of the research training that will be developed during the proposed planning process.  Describe the relevance of the research training envisioned to the public health priorities of Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone.

Facilities and Other Resources. Include descriptions of facilities and other resources to be used for the planned research training at all U.S. and foreign performance sites.

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

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA),

Research & Related (R&R) Budget

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

  • Use the “Other Personnel” section to submit costs for salary support for administrative staff.
  • Use the “Travel” section to submit costs for key personnel and faculty travel
  • Use the “Other Direct Costs” section to submit costs for other direct costs related to research training planning activities. Describe fully in the budget justification
PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

All Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Program Plan

Program Administration. Describe the acknowledged strengths, leadership and administrative skills, training experience, scientific expertise, and active research of the PD/PI. Relate these strengths to the proposed management of the  research training program planning process. Describe the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the proposed planning activities. If there are multiple PDs/PIs, then the plan for Program Administration is expected to synergize with the “Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan” section of the application.

Program Faculty. The application must include information about the program faculty from all collaborating institutions who will be available to contribute to the proposed research training planning process. Describe the complementary expertise and experiences of the proposed Program Faculty, including active research and other scholarly activities in which the faculty are engaged, as well as experience mentoring and training individuals.          

Proposed Training Planning Activities. Provide an overview of the proposed research training program planning process. Outline the objectives of the envisioned research training program and the planning activities that will be used to determine the research training strategies, processes and resources to address these objectives. Describe for whom the training program will be intended, including the training level(s) of the trainees, the academic and research background needed to pursue the envisioned training, and, as appropriate, planning activities needed to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees. Include information about the process for developing courses, mentored research experiences, and any activities designed to develop specific technical skills or other competencies essential for the envisioned research training. Applicants are encouraged to include a time line for all the proposed planning activities.

While research training cannot be supported by this planning grant, applicants may propose activities to identify and strengthen specific research training curricula and appropriate trainee research projects, faculty mentors, scientific environment and administrative resources needed to undertake a future research training program.

Research Training Planning Needs Justification

Applicants must provide a specific justification for the need for support for a one year planning process and proposed activities to develop a research training program application.  Applicants should explain in detail what planning activities are proposed that could not be possible without support from a planning grant.

Scientific Focus

The rationale for the scientific focus should include a description of the expected impact of research training on epidemic viral disease in the institution and country proposed for training. Applications must identify a scientific focus directly relevant to the health priorities for which research capacity is limited at the collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone.  Applicants should describe the current level of research and expertise at this collaborating institution in the proposed scientific focus area and justify the need for more research training in this field. Applicants should explain how relevant research grant support and activities of the PD/PI(s) and proposed faculty are envisioned to provide mentored research training experience for participants in the program that will be planned.

Types of Training to be Planned

Activities may be proposed to plan research training in basic biomedical or clinical sciences; behavioral or social sciences; prevention research; health services, operations and implementation research.  Applicants are encouraged to design multidisciplinary research training programs, as appropriate to the training focus. 

Applicants should propose planning activities to create research training opportunities that instill in-depth scientific expertise and research leadership capabilities.  The proposed planning process should consider how to incorporate an appropriate mix of advanced degree and non-degree research training opportunities to address the research training capacity needs identified at the proposed collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone. While planning may consider including training experiences at a U.S. or foreign institution, mentored training-related research should be carried out as much as possible in the trainees' home country.

Applicants may propose planning research training programs in which trainees are supported to participate in conducting research or analyses associated with clinical trials supported by other research grants.

Applicants are also encouraged to design plans for strengthening skills and knowledge necessary for long-term research career sustainability, such as scientific writing and presentation, grant writing, and expertise in bioinformatics, bioethics, good clinical practice, good laboratory practice, biosafety, research administration and the management of intellectual property. Training in English as a second language may be supported, if needed.

The proposed planning process may consider designing short term training that provides selected trainees a thorough exposure to the principles and skills of specific research methods or research related competencies to enable immediate incorporation into current trainee research or career development activities.

Applicants may wish to consider the use of distance learning technology for research training, if appropriate and sustainable for the collaborating institution(s) in Africa.  Planning grants that propose the development of distance learning may include pilot training activities to explore the effective use of this approach in the specific institutions involved. The availability of appropriate connectivity infrastructure should be described.

All applicants are encouraged to develop research training in the use of information technology to facilitate trainee data management, access to online scientific information and collaborative interaction.

It is expected that the types of long and short term research training activities to be planned will accommodate the time constraints and potentially conflicting obligations of the collaborating scientists and health professionals from these countries, particularly during this epidemic recovery period.

Types of Activities to Be Planned

Applicants must propose how the existing research and research training capacity in the proposed scientific area at the collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone will be assessed in order to generate the information required to justify the need for future research training.

Applicants must propose a process and identify faculty to create a detailed vision and strategies for implementing an innovative research training program for multiple scientists and health research professionals that will strengthen the collaborating institution's capacity to conduct independent and collaborative, sustainable emerging epidemic viral research.

Applications should include a planning process to identify the research training, faculty, scientific environment and administrative resources that will be required to undertake the envisioned research training program and activities to assemble these resources as part of an effort to submit a future research training grant application.

The proposed planning process should define a pool of the best potential trainees that could be recruited and the trainee selection criteria and process for future research training.

The proposed planning process should define the collaborations and roles of all individual and institutional partners for an effective organizational structure that will support the envisioned research training program.

Applicants must plan a process by which all training-related research projects will be independently peer-reviewed through an existing scientific review procedure or training advisory committee that will be established.

Applicants must plan how faculty mentors and trainees will be provided with education in the protection of human subjects and ethical review of the proposed research by institutional (or ethical) review board or committee for anticipated trainee research that involves human subjects. 

Where there are other training activities relevant to the scientific focus or associated competencies at the participating African institutions outside the three target countries, planning activities may consider how to create opportunities for joint training activities with trainees from those countries so that trainees from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone may develop peer relationships and networks within Africa that may be of mutual benefit throughout their careers and in response to outbreaks in any of their home countries.

Program Evaluation. Describe a plan to develop an evaluation process to determine the quality and effectiveness of the training program. This plan should include a process for determining the metrics to be evaluated (including program activities completed, degree completion (if applicable), publications, fellowships/honors, and subsequent positions) as well as a process to obtain feedback from current and former trainees to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements. Specified evaluation metrics should be tied to the goals of the program.           

Trainee Candidates. Program plans must be designed only for individuals who are citizens of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone who are eligible for pre-doctoral or postdoctoral training support or other training activities. Trainees cannot hold U.S. dual citizenship or dual citizenship from another high-income country.  Applicants may plan to train a wide range of scientists, including laboratory scientists, clinicians, social scientists, and other health professionals, veterinarians, computer scientists, and others as appropriate, as well as technical and administrative staff required for research.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program.

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program including assurance that sufficient time will be allowed for the PDs/PIs and other Program Faculty to contribute to the proposed planning process . The application must include a signed letter, on institutional letterhead, that describes the applicant institution’s commitment to the planned program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planning process. This commitment may also include features such as PD/PI salary, or other commitments essential to a successful training program. Institutions with ongoing research training, student development, or career development programs that receive external funding should explain what distinguishes the proposed program from existing ones at the same trainee level, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, whether trainees are expected to transition from one support program to another, and how the training faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are sufficiently robust to support the envisioned program in addition to existing ones.

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

The proposed planning process should determine how future training program applications will comply with the instructions for Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

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.  

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.

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
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/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed planning process will develop a research training program likely to prepare individuals from Guinea,  Liberia, and/or Sierra Leone for successful, productive scientific research careers and thereby exert a sustained 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 the merit of the planning process for a research training program, 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.

Planning Process for Training Program and Environment

Do the objectives defined in the application: Include assessment of existing research and research training capacity in the proposed scientific and at the collaborating institution 2) detail vision and appropriate strategies to establish a research training program 3) process to identify components and resources for the program envisioned 4) process to design trainee recruitment and selection procedures 5) description of roles for all partners involved in the planning process 6) development of an application for research training support

Are planning activities proposed that would not be possible without support from a planning grant?

Does the applicant demonstrate the need for research training in the specified scientific topic?

Does the applicant propose a realistic plan and vision for developing an application in response to a FIC research training program FOA or other source of support?

Does the applicant propose creative approaches to develop a research training program?

Is there adequate potential for a supportive training environment at the applicant and proposed partner institutions as demonstrated by available mentors, institutional support, and on-going research projects in which trainees may participate?

Is there evidence of a significant institutional commitment from all participating institutions to collaboratively plan a research training program?

Is there evidence of institutional and individual research collaborations among the faculty of the participating institutions to support the future research training?

Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s))

Does the PD/PI have the scientific background, expertise, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the planning process for the envisioned research training program?

Does the training PD/PI plan to commit sufficient effort to the planning process to ensure its success in developing an application for a FIC research training FOA?

For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:

  • Is a strong justification provided that the multiple PD/PI leadership approach will benefit the training program planning process?
  • Is a strong and compelling leadership approach evident, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the aims of the research training program planning process and the complementary expertise of the PDs/PIs?

Preceptors/Mentors

Are sufficient numbers of experienced faculty/mentors with appropriate expertise and funding available to support the future research training program to be planned?

Do the proposed faculty/mentors have adequately funded and appropriate research to support the future research training program envisioned?

Trainees

Will the proposed planning process identify an adequate pool of the best potential trainees?

Will the proposed planning process identify recruitment and selection strategies likely to involve the best trainees?

Training Record

Does the applicant distinguish the program envisioned from existing research training programs at the collaborating institution in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone and explain how the components of the proposed program will complement or synergize and not overlap with existing research training activities?

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

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Vertebrate Animals

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Biohazards

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

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.

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

Not Applicable

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

Not Applicable

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by {the Center for Scientific Review in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • 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 to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the FIC 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.
  • Institutional and geographic balance.
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.

Inventions and Copyrights

Awards made primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

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. 

Other Reporting Requirements

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. Evaluation results should be included as part of the final Progress Report.

4. Evaluation

Not Applicable

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: 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 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)

Barbara Sina, Ph.D.
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Telephone: 301-402-9467
Email: sinab@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Alexander Politis, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Telephone: 301-435-1150
Email: politisa@csr.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Mollie Shea
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Telephone: 301-451-6830
Email: mollie.shea@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 287b) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 63a.

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