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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Clinical Trial on the Effects of Interventions Aiming to Reduce Chronic Inflammation in Older Adults:  Pilot Phase (U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • June 17, 2014 - Notice of Correction to Number of Applications per Institution Allowed in RFA-AG-15-006. See Notice NOT-AG-15-006.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-AG-15-006

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed , as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.866

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this FOA is to conduct a pilot study (or studies) and/or secondary analyses to collect information needed to develop and implement a successful intervention study on effects of reducing low-grade chronic inflammation on mobility limitations in older adults. 

Key Dates
Posted Date

June 5, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 8, 2014

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

September 8, 2014

Application Due Date(s)

October 8, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

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

February 2015

Advisory Council Review

May 2015

Earliest Start Date

July 2015

Expiration Date

October 9, 2014

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.



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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

There is rapidly accumulating evidence in the epidemiological and basic science literature that elevations in markers of low-grade chronic inflammation (such as IL-6, C-Reactive Protein, or TNF-a) become more prevalent with increasing age, and that these elevations are correlated with increased risk of many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and cancer, as well as with increased rates of geriatric conditions or syndromes such as frailty, functional decline, and disability in activities of daily living. Though these associations suggest a causal role of chronic inflammation in these conditions, in most cases it is not clear whether they indeed reflect causality or simply association. Further, there is little evidence from well-controlled clinical trials on the role of anti-inflammatory interventions in preventing or treating these conditions. Such evidence is limited and focused mostly on specific chronic diseases but not on functional outcomes, particularly in high-risk populations.

While it would seem logical that down-regulating the inflammatory pathways would have clinical benefit, such has not been unequivocally demonstrated.  Also, as the associations do not prove causal relationship, it remains unclear to what degree the observed changes are pathological and/or adaptive. Thus, it is not known whether decreasing factors of low-grade chronic inflammation in older adults is safe and would not increase their risk for other diseases and conditions (e.g., infections).

So far, there have been few clinical trials that focused on reducing chronic inflammation as the primary target, specifying elevated markers of inflammation as one of the inclusion criteria, and using functional (non-disease specific) clinical measures as the primary outcome. In the completed or ongoing clinical trials, the primary outcomes have been either disease specific (e.g., glucose control or cardiovascular events) or had inflammatory biomarkers, not functional outcomes, as primary endpoints.

In order to begin closing this evidence gap, the NIA has committed funds to support a clinical trial (and pilot studies needed for its planning) to examine the effects of reducing chronic low-grade inflammation with anti-inflammatory interventions on functional outcomes.  Although there is a range of functional outcomes of potential interest to NIA and the geriatrics research community, the specific focus of this FOA is on mobility disability, as measured by performance on a walk test. The choice of mobility function as the primary functional outcome is based on its importance as a determinant of independent living among older individuals, and on consistent findings of a correlation between elevated inflammatory markers and mobility impairment, particularly as measured by performance on walk tests. Thus, the target population in this initiative will be older individuals at risk for, or with, mobility impairment, as measured by slow gait speed, and with elevated levels of inflammatory markers.

Overview of the Research Program

The NIA believes that such a trial would be most successful if implemented in two phases:  a pilot phase, followed by a clinical trial phase. The overall objective of the pilot phase is to collect information needed to develop and implement a successful intervention study on effects of reducing low-grade chronic inflammation on mobility limitations in older adults. 

This FOA will provide support for a three-year pilot phase. Following completion of the pilot phase and given that its objectives and milestones are successfully met, the NIA will consider issuing a follow-up FOA for a clinical trial (or trials) whose design will be informed by data collected during the pilot phase.  If issued, the follow-up FOA would be issued as a Limited Competition, restricting application eligibility to the recipient(s) of the pilot phase award. 

Application submitted in response to this FOA should enable the collection of various types of data needed to inform the design of the future clinical trial(s), including data needed to characterize the study population, to determine inclusion and exclusion criteria, to evaluate recruitment feasibility, to select primary and secondary outcome measures and cut-off points, and to conduct preliminary assessment of efficacy, safety and tolerability of potential study treatments to be tested in the clinical trial phase, and conduct power calculations and related statistical analyses to estimate required sample sizes and follow-up periods for a future trial.

Research Objectives

The goals of this FOA are to invite applications to:

1) Establish the research infrastructure needed to carry out the research program, including data coordinating center, clinical sites, and a biorepository to store biospecimens collected during the study.

2) Collect information need to inform design of a clinical trial or several trials on effects of reducing low-grade chronic inflammation on mobility limitations in older adults.

3) Develop the clinical trial materials, including the protocol, Manual of Operations, Data and Safety Monitoring Plan, study forms, quality control and quality assurance plan, and other. 

The objectives of this FOA could be achieved through a variety of activities, including data and biospecimen collection in one or more pilot studies and/or through analyses of existing data or biospecimens from relevant clinical trials or epidemiological studies. Based on data generated during the feasibility phase, the applicants will develop the protocols and other materials for trials on the effects of reducing low-grade chronic inflammation on mobility limitations in older adults. The protocols will define all the specific aspects of the trial (or trials) design, including the interventions,  the primary and secondary outcomes, inclusion criteria (including thresholds for gait speed and levels of inflammatory markers), exclusion criteria (such as non-muscle causes of slow gait, comorbidities, contraindications for specific interventions), safety measures, study power and the sample size. The applicants are encouraged to consider innovative, cost effective clinical trial design for these trials.

The applicants should determine and justify activities that will be conducted to inform design of the future trial or trials.

Examples of studies or analyses that could be performed in the Pilot Phase include:  

Estimates of the joint distributions of combinations of differing levels (and of combinations of changes over time) of inflammatory markers and gait speeds among the potentially eligible participants, using a variety of inflammatory markers and gait speed measures, to enable comparisons of differing gait speed tests and cut-points, and differing inflammatory markers and cut points, as possible eligibility criteria in regard to their reliability, implications for yield rates of eligible participants, and study costs.

Studies of the prevalence of contraindications and other possible exclusion criteria for the interventions considered for testing in the clinical trial phase, including as non-muscle causes of slow gait speed (e.g., symptomatic osteoarthritis, peripheral vascular disease, vitamin D insufficiency, etc.) and other.

Calculation of participant yields and depending upon several sets of pre-defined eligibility criteria. Estimates of the means and variances of gait speed and inflammatory markers in the target population.

Analyses of data from longitudinal epidemiologic data or previous clinical trials to estimate how differing outcome definitions for diminished gait speed and differing eligibility criteria would affect expected control-group event rates.

Defining potential study population with regard to characteristics such as demographics, comorbidities, the use of medications, particularly those that are known to affect inflammatory marker levels, and other. 

Evaluation of several screening and recruitment strategies to select the most efficient one.

Measurement of intra-person variability in inflammatory marker levels and its implications for eligibility assessment.

Assessment of accuracy and precision of measures of inflammatory markers used in the project.

Analyses of novel markers of acute and chronic inflammation in biospecimens to identify potentially better predictors of declines in gait speed that might be added to eligibility and/or exclusion criteria 

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIA anticipates funding 1 award, totaling up to $1,857,000, in fiscal year 2015.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $1,857,000 in total costs.  

Award Project Period

The project period is limited to three years 

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

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

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any 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).

If the sentence above is not true, and the Number of Applications field in the first table states that only one application is allowed, IC must insert a comment to change the sentence above to “Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.”

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows.  The NIH will accept submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.
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, 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:

Barbara Radziszewska, Ph.D.
Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Ave., suite 525 A
Bethesda, MD 20892 (20814 for FedEx)
Telephone: 301-435-3046
Fax: 301-480-1066
Email: radziszb@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

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.  

Facilities and Other Resources: The description of the study infrastructure should include capacity to store biospecimens or to establish a new biorepository, and study organizational structure.

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.

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:

Include a description of relevant datasets and data needs that will be addressed in the pilot phase

Include a detailed plan for research activities and data/biospecimen analyses to be conducted in the pilot stage, including such information as: the rationale for the selection of key measures (e.g., inflammatory markers or their combinations, and the selection of a walk test) and other design parameters to be tested; the rationale for the selection of interventions for future clinical trial; refinement of the eligibility criteria and  characterization of the participant pool at the participating clinical sites; and other relevant types of information. 

Provide information on the status of data/biospecimen use agreements, if applicable. Briefly describe an outline of a randomized, controlled, intervention study that could be implemented in the Clinical Trial Phase, identifying aspects of the trial protocol  which will be based on information and analyses generated during the pilot phase.   It is understood that information and analyses generated in the pilot phase may result in a substantial protocol modifications.

Other Attachments: As a single PDF, include a description of timelines, milestones and criteria defining successful completion of the feasibility stage.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in 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. In the Appendix, please include the following items:

1. The draft clinical protocol for the clinical trial envisioned for the Clinical Trial Phase. 

2. Data/biospecimen use agreements describing the access right to existing datasets and/or biospecimens, if applicable and available at the time of application submission.   

Planned Enrollment Report

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

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

 
3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

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

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

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

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

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 by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by NIA, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive 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 score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

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

Significance

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

Investigator(s)    

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

Innovation

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

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

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

Environment

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

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

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.

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) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

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 National Institute on Aging, 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:

  • Will receive a written critique.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

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 submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Council on Aging. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

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

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

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

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants 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.

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:

  • All aspects of their study, including any modification of study design, conduct of the study, quality control, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of publications, dissemination of data, tools, and technologies, and collaboration with other investigators. The awardee agrees to accept close coordination, cooperation, and participation of NIA staff in those aspects of scientific and technical management of the study.
  • Upon implementation of the protocol, each field center, whether a single institution or a consortium of institutions, will follow the procedures required by the protocol regarding study conduct and monitoring, patient management, and data collection.
  • Support or other involvement of industry or any other third party in the study--e.g., participation by the third party; involvement of project resources or citing the name of the project or the NIA support; or special access to project results, data, findings, or resources--may be advantageous and appropriate. However, except for licensing of patents or copyrights, support or involvement of any third party will occur with the concurrence by NIA Program Administrator to ensure objectivity of research.
  • Obtaining prior written approval of the NIA Grants Management Specialist in consultation with the NIA Program Officer for a change in any of the key personnel identified in the Notice of Award.
  • Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

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

  • Have access to data generated under this Cooperative Agreement and will periodically review the data and progress reports. NIA staff may use information obtained from the data for the preparation of internal reports on the activities of the study.
  • Serve as a resource to provide scientific/programmatic support during the accomplishment of the clinical trial by participating in the design of the activities, advising in the selection of sources or resources, advising in management and technical performance, or participating in the preparation of publications.
  • Participate in the monitoring of issues relating to recruitment, retention and follow-up of study participants, and monitoring of data integrity and quality control through consideration of the annual reports, site visits, patient logs, etc. This review may include, but is not limited to, compliance with the study protocol, meeting patient enrollment targets, adherence to uniform data collection procedures, and the timeliness and quality of data reporting.
  • Assist in the development and modification of study protocols.
  • Additionally, an agency program official or IC Program Officer will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

  • A Steering Committee (SC), composed of the principal investigator, as well as the principal investigators of the various field clinical centers, the Data Coordinating Center and of the specialized core facilities, and NIA Scientific Officer. The NIA Scientific Officer will have voting membership on the SC and, as appropriate, and its subcommittees. The SC will have primary responsibility for facilitating the conduct and monitoring of studies and reporting study results. Awardees will be required to accept and implement the common protocol and procedures approved by the SC. As the components of the SC may be geographically dispersed, the SC should meet with at least monthly conference calls, supplemented as deemed necessary by face to face meetings. Each full member will have one vote. Awardee members of the Steering Committee will be required to accept and implement all policies governing the study conduct approved by the Steering Committee.

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.  The Dispute Resolution Panel 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 annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA 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)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726
Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-435-0714
TTY 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Barbara Radziszewska, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-435-3046
Email: radziszb@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Ramesh Vemuri, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging, (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-9666
Email: vemuri@nia.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Deborah Stauffer
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-1472
Email: stauffed@nia.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.

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