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

Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) (R03)

Activity Code

R03 Small Grant Program

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-AG-14-010

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-AG-15-007

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.866

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The goal of the GEMSSTAR FOA is to provide support for early-stage physician-scientists, trained in medical or surgical specialties, to launch careers as future leaders in research on aging or in geriatrics.   To achieve this goal, the GEMSSTAR FOA provides small grants to conduct transdisciplinary research on aging or in geriatrics research that will yield pilot data for subsequent aging- or geriatrics-focused research projects.  As part of its focus on faciltating the development of early-stage  physician-scientists who will become leaders in research on aging or in geriatrics, the GEMSSTAR FOA seeks to encourage the provision of supportive environments for candidates, and NIA will consider the extent to which a supportive environment is available to candidates in selecting GEMSSTAR candidates.

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 15, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 28, 2014

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

September 28, 2014

Application Due Date(s)

October 28, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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

January-February 2015

Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date

July 2015

Expiration Date

October 29, 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

Background

The goal of this initiative to promote research conducted by early stage physicians trained in medical or surgical specialties who are entering careers as clinician-scientists in aging-related aspects of their specialty.

The 2008 Institute of Medicine report “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce” emphasized the emergent need for additional health care personnel to address the medical needs of a growing population of older Americans with complex medical problems. Effective approaches to this impending health care crisis involve not only increasing the number of practicing physicians trained in geriatrics and in specialty fields related to the health problems of elders, but also fostering the development of the next generation of physician-scientists whose clinical research will lead to improved care and more effective treatment options for older patients with complex medical conditions.

A pivotal point in the development of clinician-scientists is the completion of training in a medical or surgical specialty and the first faculty appointment. At this early stage, limited research experience and publication record preclude competitiveness for many kinds of advanced research opportunities. This transition stage may be particularly difficult for a specialty-trained physician focusing on aging-related aspects of his/her specialty, as multidisciplinary research entails training that is rarely available in conventional programs. Thus, mechanisms that allow these physicians to begin research projects and establish a research track record are a priority for cultivating the next generation of clinician-scientists, particularly at the interface of aging and medical/surgical specialties.

Program Description

The goal of the Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists’ Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program is to promote future leaders in clinical aging research across the range of medical and surgical specialties. To accomplish this goal, NIA will provide two years of support for small research projects to physicians trained in medical or surgical specialties who seek to become clinician-scientists in aging-related aspects of their specialty. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, physicians in traditional medical or surgical specialties, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, family medicine practitioners, general internists, general surgeons, geriatricians, hospitalists, neurologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, palliative care physicians, physiatrists, and psychiatrists.  

The GEMSSTAR program is intended to support an early career physician's first independent research project in aging. The GEMSSTAR program also provides an opportunity for applicants with funding support in non-aging-related fields to refocus their research efforts on aging-related issues Thus, as the goal of the GEMSSTAR program is to promote future leaders in research on aging within their respective medical and surgical specialties, we seek applicants who aspire to continue or shift their research focus to bridge their specialty and the science of aging.

Research projects responsive to this initiative will combine aging with specialty clinical areas to focus on questions relevant to aging and/or the aged. The application should emphasize an integration of gerontologic or geriatric research with the candidate’s clinical specialty. Research could involve pilot or feasibility studies, secondary analyses of existing data, development of research methodology, development of new research technology, or other similar approaches. Projects may span the breadth of scientific domains, including basic, translational, clinical, genetic, or epidemiologic science. Human subjects, animal models, and in vitro systems are all acceptable as appropriate to the research questions. Projects should be appropriate to the background and level of experience of the applicant. Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Characterization of an aging-related disease, condition, syndrome, or phenomenon relevant to a clinical specialty
  • Pilot investigation of a specialty-related intervention in older adults
  • Elucidation of mechanisms underlying specialty-related diseases in older age
  • Identification of predictors and/or outcomes of specialty-related interventions specific to older populations
  • Development of strategies to address and/or integrate important complexities common in older patients including multiple chronic conditions, polypharmacy, palliative care, multispecialty guideline integration, and/or preservation of function, cognition and independence for patients within one's clinical specialty.
  • Multidisciplinary care strategies, including transitions across care settings, to improve outcome in older patients

To maximize the likelihood of an early-career physician to successfully complete the R03 research project, the GEMSSTAR program strongly encourages applicants to complement their R03 project with an additional concurrent and individualized professional development plan. Such a plan would augment an applicant’s specialty skills and knowledge with individualized aging/geriatrics research skills and knowledge, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.  Any complementary professional development plan would be supported by separate applicant-secured funding and would be independent of the R03 research plan and funding.

NIA supports a number of Centers and similar programs through which candidates may receive support for professional development activities complementary to the R03 award. Also a number of professional societies have indicated that they have funds available to support candidates in those specialties. A non-complete list of such resources includes:

It is expected that applicants will have expertise in their clinical specialty, but may be less experienced in geriatric or gerontologic science or other areas. As such, applications should include the participation of a senior collaborator with complementary expertise in aging-related research and, if needed, other collaborators and/or consultants in other areas appropriate to the proposed project. Applicants with a strong geriatrics background (such as geriatricians) who propose a research project that integrates their geriatrics expertise with a specific clinical problem embraced by a specialty should involve a senior collaborator with expertise in that clinical problem as it relates to older patients.

Frequently asked questions regarding the GEMSSTAR program can be found on the NIA GEMSSTAR webpage

Section II. Award Information   
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New
Resubmissions are limited to applications submitted to previous issuances of this FOA.

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The NIA intends to commit $1.7 million in FY 2015 to fund approximately 15 awards.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $75,000 in direct costs per year.

Award Project Period

The project period is limited to 2 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.
  • 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.

Awardees must be physicians (i.e., those with M.D., D.O., or equivalent degrees) who have completed training in their medical or surgical specialty. These specialties include, but are not limited to, the traditional medical and surgical specialties, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, general internal medicine, general surgery, geriatrics, hospital medicine, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, palliative medicine, physiatry/rehabilitation medicine, and psychiatry. This award is not intended for individuals with substantial experience in aging research. Moreover, it is generally expected that applicants will have not had prior research funding as an independent PD/PI on a major NIH grant (e.g., R01, P01), though they may have had support through institutional awards, such as institutional career development awards (K12, KL2), or Older Americans Independence Center Research Career Development Core awards (OAIC RCDC).

A candidate in their last year of specialty training is eligible to apply provided that the candidate’s institution has committed to appointing him/her to a faculty position no later than the start of award funding (July / August, 2015). Faculty appointments that are contingent on receiving a GEMSSTAR award are not acceptable.

Except in unusual circumstances, it is expected that GEMSSTAR applications will have a single PD/PI, and that other personnel will be listed as collaborators or consultants. In multiple PD(s)/PI(s) applications, all PD(s)/PI(s) must be eligible for the GEMSSTAR program.

Frequently asked questions regarding GEMSSTAR eligibility can be found at the NIA GEMSSTAR webpage

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).

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, 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:

Ramesh Vemuri, Ph.D., Chief
Scientific Review Branch
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2C212
Bethesda, MD 20892-9205 (Express Mail ZIP 20814)
Telephone: 301-496-9666
Fax: 301-402-0066
Email: VemriR@nia.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

Facilities & Other Resources. Since this FOA targets individuals who are at early stages in a career of aging/geriatrics research, applicants who are not Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) may describe the institutional investment in the success of the investigator, as detailed in the Application Guide.  

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed with the following additional instructions. As the goal of the GEMSSTAR program is to promote future leaders in aging/geriatrics research within their respective specialties, GEMSSTAR candidates should briefly describe any pertinent aging research accomplishments, multidisciplinary collaborations, and skills that would enhance the feasibility and success of the proposed research project.

Applications should include a senior collaborator with complementary expertise in aging-related or geriatric-focused research and, if needed, other collaborators and/or consultants in other areas appropriate to the proposed project. In their Biographical Sketch, Senior/Key Person should highlight how their aging/geriatric expertise in research,as well as the resources they may provide, will complement that of the PD(s)/PI(s) to achieve the aims of the R03 application.

Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. Applicants should include in their budget requests support for  travel to a biennial GEMSSTAR grantees' meeting held in Bethesda, Maryland. Except in unusual circumstances, only the PD/PI may be supported by R03 funds to travel to the grantee's meeting. Applicants should budget for travel to and from Bethesda, Maryland, two nights’ lodging, and meals. There is no specific line item in which to list travel costs in the Modular Budget format; however, the proposed travel should be included in the budget justification section. Frequently asked questions regarding travel to the annual GEMSSTAR meeting can be found on the NIA GEMSSTAR webpage.

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: In accordance with the goals of the GEMSSTAR program, the Research Strategy should emphasize how the candidate's proposed research will advance the understanding of aging-related science in the candidate’s specialty, as well as facilitate the candidate’s transition specifically into aging research. Address to what extent the proposed project introduces aging-related research questions to the applicant’s clinical specialty area as well as its potential contribution to new and meaningful knowledge of geriatric- or gerontologic science related to the applicant’s clinical specialty.

Letters of Support: Letters of Support from department or division chairs or other institutional leaders are encouraged where appropriate and should delineate the department/division and institutional support for the candidate's successful completion of the proposed research. Additionally, letters of support should address the writer's efforts to promote transdisciplinary research in aging or geriatrics within their specialties. The senior collaborator(s) and other research collaborators should  provide statements of support and describe their roles in the project and the applicant's professional development. Candidates in their last year of specialty training should provide documentation of their institution's commitment to their faculty appointment, which should commence no later than the start of the award.

Other Attachments: This file should be uploaded as a PDF entitled "Evidence of a Supportive Environment.pdf" and should not exceed 5 pages. The NIA recognizes the importance of a supportive institutional environment to enhance the quality and feasibility of aging-focused research, especially within another medical or surgical specialty. Thus, the GEMSSTAR Program strongly encourages applicants to cultivate and garner transdiciplinary, institutional resources for additional exposure, knowledge, skills, and collaboration in aging/geriatrics care in order to facilitate the successful completion of the candidate's GEMSSTAR research project. Applicants may design an individualized Professional Development Plan (PDP) that would complement their R03-funded research and would be funded through additional (non-NIA R03) support.

The components of a PDP will differ for each applicant based on a variety of individual factors such as career stage, research experience, and institutional resources. Applicants are encouraged to tailor their PDPs to meet their individual professional development needs in relation to the R03 application. Moreover, applicants are encouraged to specifically describe activities that will augment their skills in geriatrics and/or aging research in order to develop into independent researchers in aging science. Applicants may describe plans to seek support for the PDP through independent funding or institutional commitment. Based on their individual factors, applicants may include coursework, which potentially may lead to a degree; milestones, e.g. publications, presentations, abstracts, grant applications; participation in local or institutional geriatrics-related activities, such as geriatric specialty clinics, journal clubs, grand rounds, or other relevant educational experiences; etc.

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.

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. 

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:

The R03 small grant supports discrete, well-defined projects that realistically can be completed in two years and that require limited levels of funding. Because the research project usually is limited, an R03 grant application may not contain extensive detail or discussion. Accordingly, reviewers should evaluate the conceptual framework and general approach to the problem. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required, particularly in applications proposing pilot or feasibility studies.

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? To what extent does the proposed project introduce aging-related research questions to the applicant’s clinical specialty area? To what extent will the proposed research contribute new and meaningful knowledge in geriatric- or gerontologic science related to the applicant’s clinical specialty? 

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?  If established, how will this award assist in the investigator’s transition to aging research and how does the project differ from his/her prior work? To what extent will this award help to bridge the applicant’s clinical specialty with geriatric- or gerontologic research? Does the team of investigators have complementary and integrated expertise in aging and geriatrics appropriate for the project? Is the role of the collaborator(s) appropriate to advance the specific aims of the project and supplement the skills of the PD/PI, as well as their skills in aging/geriatrics research?  

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

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

  • 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.

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.
  • The degree to which the proposed project represents a significant first independent research effort as opposed to an additive research experience, or a meaningful transition to a career devoted to aging-related research.
  • Evidence of a supportive environment to facilitate the research.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (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
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
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Susan Zieman, MD, PhD
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-6761
Email: niagemsstar@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

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

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ryan Blakeney
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-451-9802
Email: blakeneyr@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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