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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Biomarkers Discovery In Parkinsonism (U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type


Related Notices

  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number


Companion Funding Opportunity


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


Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support hypothesis-driven research to discover human biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease and other Parkinsonian syndromes, as a component of the NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP). This FOA encourages biomarkers discovery projects in 1) genetically causal Parkinson's disease, especially for particular sub-types of Parkinson's Disease (PD), including genetic cohorts, biologically defined cohorts of idiopathic PD, or ethnic subgroups of idiopathic PD; 2) The differentiation of synucleinopathies (such as PD and Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) from tauopathies (such as  Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Corticobasal degeneration); or 3) to improve diagnostic differentiation between idiopathic/subtypes of PD and these disorders, as well as from Essential tremor. In order to further advance research in this area, broad sharing of biospecimens and associated data is a critical feature of the PDBP generally and of this FOA specifically. A timeline including milestones, which will be used to evaluate the application not only in peer review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of non-competing award years, is required for all studies.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

February 24, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

August 6, 2016  

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

September 6, 2016; September 6, 2017; September 6, 2018, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable  

Scientific Merit Review

November 2016, November 2017, November 2018   

Advisory Council Review

January 2017, January 2018, January 2019  

Earliest Start Date

February 2017

Expiration Date

September 7, 2018

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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

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

Problems accessing or using ASSIST should be directed to the eRA Service Desk.
Problems downloading forms should be directed to Customer Support.
Table of Contents

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

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

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

This FOA is part of a broader Parkinson’s disease biomarkers program (PDBP) at National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This program underscores the intent of NINDS to facilitate the discovery and development of biomarkers to improve the efficiency and outcome of Phase II or III clinical trials and advance therapeutic development for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and related disorders.

Clinically, Parkinson's disease is heterogeneous, and subtypes are recognized on the basis of age of onset, predominant clinical features and progression rate. The wide spectrum of clinical manifestations in parkinsonism and its evolving chronic course contribute to numerous pitfalls in clinical trial design. The term PARKINSONISM has been used to describe neurologic disorders characterized by the presence of at least three of the following: tremor, rigidity, gait disturbance, and bradykinesia. The most common cause of parkinsonism is PD. Differential diagnosis of PD from other parkinsonian disorders, such as Essential Tremor (ET), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), can be clinically challenging, particularly during the early disease stages. There is no definitive biomarker for PD or for other atypical neurodegenerative parkinsonian disorders during life. This FOA seeks to better fill these scientific gaps.

Further definition of clinical phenotypes of and their correlation with prediagnostic manifestations could be crucial, especially if associated with genetic and biochemical markers. Another goal of this FOA is to allow studies to discover biomarkers of biological and genetic subtypes of types of Parkinsonism, which in turn may allow more targeted therapies to be developed.

The accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease, and more generally of synucleinopathies (including, for example, MSA). The accumulation of tau aggregates is classically found in the brains of patients with dementia, and this type of neuropathological feature specifically defines the tauopathies. Nevertheless, Parkinsonism can be the result of a tauopathy, including, for example in CBD and PSP. Studies evaluating biomarkers to differentiate synucleinopathies from tauopathies have clear translational relevance, considering that the therapeutics for these two biologically different causes of Parkinsonism are likely to have different therapeutic strategies.

Some published studies have demonstrated that there are multiple forms of PD, and that these may be different in various ethnic groups. However, ethnic minority populations are often under-represented in clinical studies, including, currently, PDBP. Particular subgroups of PD may involve multiple different etiological or pathological processes, and therefore, therapeutic approaches in these sub-groups may also require different strategies.

Research Objectives

Examples of biomarker discovery studies that would be appropriate under this FOA include:

  • Studies of biomarkers for PD or other PDism disorders in particular genetically defined cohorts.
  • Studies of biomarkers for PD or other PDism disorders in particular ethnic cohorts.
  • Studies that identify biomarkers for differentiating synucleinopathies from tauopathies.
  • Studies of either clinical or laboratory based biomarkers to identify subtypes of idiopathic Parkinson's disease.
  • Studies of non-PD Parkinsonism (MSA, CBD, PSP) that identify biomarkers to differentiate these disorders from controls, those that differentiate these from PD, and/or from each other.
  • The use of cutting edge technologies or approaches such as telemedicine or mobile devices is welcomed. 

Required Use of the PDBP Data Management Resource

The PD Data Management Resource (PD-DMR) must be used for data management by awardees under this FOA. The PD-DMR provides data coordination for the Parkinsonism research community through its web-based data management system. It also provides tools for both the collection and quality assurance of data in a standardized format.  The PD-DMR synchronizes efforts across government, industry, and other non-government organizations involved in PD and related disorders research through the creation of a federated database.

It is expected that the following clinical tools and scales will be used in addition to those already required (see, for the relevant subject populations, and that data will be entered into the PD-DMR by the research team in real time for each clinical assessment.

  • The MDS Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS)
  • The Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) Rating Scale
  • TETRA (Tremor Action Group Tremor Rating Assessment) Scale
  • The Unified Multiple System Atrophy Rating scale
  • The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)

Additionally, the standard required Clinical Data Elements (CDEs) (including, but not limited to demographics, medical history, family history, medications) as described by the NINDS CDE Project and delineated at must be used for all clinical components of any given study.

Banking of Specimens via the NINDS Biomarkers Repository

Biospecimens must be collected per NINDS Biomarkers Repository protocols and procedures, and all specimens collected must come from individuals who have consented to banking and sharing broadly with academia and industry. Sample collections must also adhere to PDBP standards.

Note that costs for collection are NOT included as a component of the NINDS Biomarkers Repository award. Therefore, most costs for the biospecimen banking are borne by the grantees utilizing this resource (see NOT-NS-15-046). Applicants planning projects in which biospecimens will be collected are strongly advised to consult the NINDS Biomarkers Repository website for more information about samples banked at the repository ( In addition, applicants are advised to consult with NINDS Biomarkers Repository staff to obtain a quote for biospecimen banking costs (email:

Imaging Based Studies

For applications proposing to include neuroimaging, all formats should be compatible with the Medical Image Processing, Analysis, and Visualization tool (MIPAV:

Studies Ancillary to Parent Studies

Ancillary studies must not interfere with the parent study and must not place undue burden on participants. Approved procedures and policies from the parent study must be followed and must have patient consents that allow broad sharing of de-identified clinical data through the DMR, and deposition of biospecimens in the NINDS Biomarkers Repository. Review and approval for the use of samples must be completed and a letter of approval must be obtained prior to submission of an application under this FOA.

Limitations of Scope

The development of new databases and/or biospecimen repositories will not be supported under this FOA. This FOA is only for studies related to human biomarkers. This FOA will not support studies that develop general methods; all applications must be specific to PD and Parkinsonian disorders research. Clinical trial applications are more appropriate for mechanisms listed via

Studies of assay optimization, validation, or replication of idiopathic Parkinson's Disease using the PDBP extant sample collection in combination with other collections may be more appropriate for PAR-14-259.

Timeline and Milestones

A timeline including milestones is required for all studies. Annual milestones will provide clear indicators of a project's continued success or emergent difficulties and will be used to evaluate the application not only in peer review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of non-competing award years. . Achievement of milestones will be evaluated by NINDS, and funding of non-competing award years will depend on milestone accomplishment.  Both data and biospecimen collection must meet DMR and NINDS repository standards.

Due to the unique requirements of the NINDS PDBP and the NINDS Biomarkers Repository, applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with NINDS Program Staff early on during the planning for an application (see Agency contacts, Section VIII).  This early contact will provide an opportunity to clarify the applicant's understanding of NINDS’ policies and guidelines, including the scope of projects within the PDBP.  These discussions also provide important information and guidance on how to develop an appropriate timeline and milestone plan.

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.
Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed


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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

Award Budget

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

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is five years.   

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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


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


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

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are 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.
  • 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 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.
  • – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

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

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

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

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

Applicants must obtain 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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

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

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

Descriptive title of proposed activity

Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)

Names of other key personnel

Participating institution(s)

Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Katrina Gwinn, MD
Telephone: 301-496-5745
Fax: 301-402-1501

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy: A milestone plan, under separate headings, must be included in the Research Strategy section of the application. Milestones are goals that create go/no-go decision points in the project and must include clear and quantitative criteria for success.  Milestones should include timely subject recruitment (if relevant), complete, clean and accurate data submission timelines including specifics of types of data to be submitted, and quality accepted collection and submission of biospecimen samples milestones.  For new cohort studies, the milestone plan must include a timeline for recruitment, number of visits per year and over the course of the study, and biospecimen collection and must mirror the timeline schedule of the PDBP. In the case of ancillary studies that will require additional clinical assessments and/or require additional biospecimen collection, the milestone plan should also outline the number of subjects from the parent cohort required for the ancillary study, the clinical sites involved and the timeline for data/biospecimen collection.

Letters of support:

If an application plans to utilize the infrastructure or resources of existing projects, whether funded by the NINDS, other governmental or non-governmental entities, letters of support detailing the terms of collaboration and data sharing must be included.

If utilization of extant samples is proposed as a component of the study, letters of support or approval for use of those samples should be included. If samples include those adjudicated by the PD-BRAC, a letter indicating BRAC approval should be included. Approval for samples is via an X01 mechanism, via PAR-14-340.

For studies ancillary to parent studies, review and approval for the use of samples from the parent study must be completed and a letter of approval must be submitted.

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

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, must address a Data Sharing Plan. Clinical Data should be submitted via proforms in real time to the DMR via provided web-based forms; if real time submission is not possible, then all data must be submitted within one day of collection to the DMR.  For ancillary studies using existing cohorts and infrastructure, broad sharing of de-identified clinical, laboratory data and biospecimens must not be restricted by parent study policy or procedures.

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.  

The Appendix should contain the following materials (if appropriate to the study):

  • Study protocol
  • Consent forms

If an ancillary study to an existing project, include also:

  • The protocol for the parent study
  • Investigator's brochure, if applicable, for the parent clinical study
  • Consent forms (for both the parent clinical study and the ancillary studies, if different) 
  • Written agreement to conduct the ancillary study from parent clinical study sponsors.

IRB approval of the informed consent form(s) is not required at the time of submission of the application. However, drafts of informed consent form(s) must be included.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. 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. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

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

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.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. 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.

7. 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. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

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

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

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
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.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

This FOA intends to support studies in biomarker discovery that will have or do one or more of the following:

  • a significant impact on the diagnostic accuracy or impact on assessment of the disease progression in PD and/or Parkinsonism
  • improve the ability to differentiate PD from other types of parkinsonism during life
  • differentiate synucleinopathies from tauopathies during life
  • lead to the discovery, development, or replication of biomarkers which facilitate a better understanding of stratification of disease that will be useful for future therapeutic trials.

Accordingly, reviewers will emphasize the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding of such biomarkers.  

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.


Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? 

Does the project complement existing studies or address a gap in the field of Parkinson's disease and Parkinsonism biomarkers?

Is the cohort or subtype of parkinsonism or Parkinson's disease proposed for study appropriate to inform future therapy development?


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


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


Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects? 

Does the application have a cogent plan for sharing data and specimens which is compliant with the PDBP sharing requirements?

Is a timeline included which delineates clear and feasible milestones?

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


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

Additional Review Criteria

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


Are the milestones appropriate to the scientific aims of the project? Do the milestones provide objective measures for go/no go programmatic decisions? Are the milestones feasible within the timeline presented?

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 criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.


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.


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.


Not Applicable


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.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable 

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3)  Genomic Data Sharing Plan (GDS).

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

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 NINDS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a 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.
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. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

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.

Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see; and Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

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

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

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

Determining experimental approaches, designing protocols, setting project milestones and conducting experiments;

  • Adhere to existing PDBP study policies regarding data and biospecimen sharing and other policies that might be established during the course of this activity;
  • Report to NINDS Program staff regarding timeline and milestone achievement during the course of the project, as delineated in the terms and conditions of award;
  • Submit annual progress reports during the funding period, in a format as agreed upon by NINDS program staff;
  • Accept and implement any other common guidelines and procedures developed for the PDBP initiative and approved by NINDS program staff;
  • coordinate with other projects under the PDBP, including sharing of data with a centralized data management resource and other PDBP sites;
  • Attend monthly Steering Calls and participate actively in the PDBP and PD-DMR activities as a Steering Committee member;
  • Be willing to serve as a chair of the Steering Committee if elected;
  • Attend in-person PDBP meetings up to twice per year organized by NINDS and present up to date findings (including unpublished results) on ongoing projects.

Awardees are expected to make new information and materials known to the research community not only in the bi-annual PDBP meeting but also in a timely manner through publications, web announcements, reports to NINDS program staff, and other mechanisms.


The PD(s)/PI(s) will be responsible for the timely submission of all abstracts, manuscripts and reviews (co)authored by project investigators and supported in whole or in part under this Cooperative Agreement. The PD(s)/PI(s) and Project Leaders are requested to submit manuscripts to the NIH Project Scientist within two weeks of acceptance for publication so that an up-to-date summary of program accomplishments can be maintained. Publications and oral presentations of work conducted under this Cooperative Agreement are the responsibility of the PD(s)/PI(s) and appropriate Project Leaders and will require appropriate acknowledgement of NINDS and PDBP support. Timely publication of major findings is required.

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

NINDS program staff will have substantial scientific/programmatic involvement during the conduct of this activity through technical assistance, advice and coordination.  However, the role of NINDS Project Scientists will be to facilitate and not to direct the activities. 

The NINDS Project Scientist will:

  • Contribute to the adjustment of research protocols, project milestones or approaches as warranted;
  • Serve as a liaison between the awardees, the NINDS Advisory Council and the larger scientific community;
  • Coordinate the efforts of the awardee with others engaged in PD and biomarkers research, including other awardees under this FOA and those involved in related NINDS programs;
  • Serve on subcommittees of the PDBP External Liaison Group as appropriate;
  • Assist in promoting the availability of data and resources developed in the course of this project to the scientific community at large;
  • Assist awardees in the development, if needed, of policies for dealing with situations that require coordinated action;
  • Retain the option to recommend the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that either substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of award, fails to maintain state-of-the-art capabilities, or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award including biospecimen and data sharing requirements.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:


Other PDBP Components

Biospecimen Resource Acquisition Committee (BRAC)

The Resource Acquisition Committee will evaluate requests for biospecimens based on transparent criteria for distribution towards PD and parkinsonism biomarkers discovery projects.  It is intended that biospecimens be available for research studies by academics and industry investigators.

Opportunities for Partnership

Projects involving partnerships with industry, small businesses or non-government organizations are encouraged under this FOA.  The policy of the NIH is to make available to the public the results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds. To ensure that research resources are made accessible to the broader biomedical community, NIH expects applicants who respond to this funding opportunity to submit a plan for: (1) sharing the research resources generated through any grants awarded and (2) addressing how they will exercise intellectual property rights, should any be generated through an award, while making such research resources available to the broader scientific community consistent with this initiative. Projects existing studies in which databases already exist or have been created via other resources may be maintained under those projects, but not funded via this program.  However, it is expected that these databases will become federated under the DMR.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free) Customer Support (Questions regarding registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Katrina Gwinn, MD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-5745

Peer Review Contact(s)

Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9223

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tijuanna Decoster, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)   
Telephone: 301-496-9231

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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