Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIAMS Rheumatic Diseases Research Resource-based Centers (P30)

Activity Code

P30 Center Core Grants

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-AR-16-002

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)

93.846 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) requests applications for the NIAMS Resource-based Centers Program (P30) for rheumatic diseases research areas within its mission. The Resource-based Centers will provide critical research infrastructure, shared facilities, services, and/or resources to groups of investigators conducting research on rheumatic diseases, enabling them to conduct their independently-funded individual and/or collaborative research projects more efficiently and/or more effectively, with the broad overall goal of accelerating, enriching, and enhancing the effectiveness of ongoing basic, translational, and clinical research and promoting new research within the NIAMS mission.

Key Dates
Posted Date

January 16, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 9, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

September 9, 2015

Application Due Date(s)

October 9, 2015, 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

February/March 2016

Advisory Council Review

June 2016

Earliest Start Date

July 2016

Expiration Date

October 10, 2015

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

** ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION REQUIRED**

NIH's new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is available for the electronic preparation and submission of multi-project applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications to this FOA must be submitted electronically; paper applications will not be accepted. ASSIST replaces the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities and provides many features to enable electronic multi-project application submission and improve data quality, including: pre-population of organization and PD/PI data, pre-submission validation of many agency business rules and the generation of data summaries in the application image used for review.

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) and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

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

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

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

The NIAMS requests applications for the NIAMS Resource-based Center Program (P30) to provide critical research infrastructure, shared facilities, services, and resources to groups of investigators conducting research on rheumatic diseases, with the broad overall goal of accelerating, enriching, and enhancing the effectiveness of ongoing basic, translational, and clinical research and promoting new research within the NIAMS mission.

Background

The NIAMS uses a number of centers grant mechanisms to support research that require synergistic, integrated groups of investigators, significant infrastructure, and/or technological innovations. Recently, NIAMS convened a Centers Evaluation Working Group (CEWG) to advise the Institute as to how the Centers programs could be more responsive and supportive to current research needs and opportunities.  The CEWG concluded that NIAMS should allow flexibility and dynamism in the design, structure, and conduct of its Centers, to accommodate the variable needs of NIAMS research areas that differ with respect to investigator community, resource availability, and knowledge depth and breadth (see NIAMS Centers Evaluation Working Group Report; http://niams.nih.gov/Funding/Centers_Evaluation/centers_report_May2013.asp. The CEWG recommended that the "NIAMS Centers should prioritize improving access to resources, using as review criteria i) the importance of the resource and ii) the potential impact of providing access to that resource".

NIAMS expects that the Resource-based Center Program will:

  • Efficiently provide critical research infrastructure to advance fields within the NIAMS mission
  • Include Cores that offer resources and services in addition to equipment and other infrastructure
  • Serve basic, translational and/or clinical research
  • Contribute and/or facilitate significant innovations in research and technology
  • Facilitate expansion of research fields within the NIAMS mission
  • Foster innovative exploratory projects and junior investigators
  • Have flexibility to adopt and adapt to emerging needs and opportunities
NIAMS Resource-based Center Program Description

The emphasis of the NIAMS Resource-based Center Program is to improve access to critical research infrastructure, shared facilities, services, and resources.  Each Center will contain one or more Resource Cores that serves a strong research community. For the purposes of this particular announcement, the research community is defined as those investigators (and their funded projects) who will use Center resources for research within the focus of the Center which should be within the NIAMS mission. Successful Resource-based Centers are expected to expand the chosen field(s), provide new research opportunities, and increase the efficiency and impact of research due to resource access.

The focus of the Center is determined by the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and may encompass basic, translational, and/or clinical research. For this particular announcement, the Center focus is restricted to rheumatic diseases research. The focus may be very broad, e.g. mechanisms of autoimmunity underlying rheumatic disease, and serve a diverse group of investigators that share the need for critical shared core services.  Alternatively, a Center may have a narrow disease or biology focus or theme. In some cases, the relevant research community may share a highly specialized resource such as a well-defined patient cohort with associated patient data and biospecimens and/or may share a need for highly specialized technologies and services (e.g. advanced imaging or single cell analysis). However, in all cases the focus of the Center must be within the NIAMS mission. Potential PDs/PIs are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research Contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts early in the application planning process to discuss NIAMS mission relevance.

It has become increasingly common and practical for investigators at different institutions to collaborate to achieve common goals. Therefore, to facilitate collaborative and interdisciplinary research, resources and investigators may be distributed at different institutions and different geographic regions, particularly for resources that do not need to be duplicated at every research site. Similarly, the research community may be defined at the national, regional, or local institutional level, and may include foreign collaborators.

The NIAMS Resource-based Centers will provide support for:

  • One or more Resource Cores
  • An Administrative Core, that includes a Center Enrichment Program

Resource Cores

Each Center must include one or more Resource Cores. A Resource Core is a facility and/or resource shared by or providing services to multiple research community investigators, enabling them to conduct their independently-funded individual and/or collaborative research projects more efficiently and/or more effectively. The selection of Resource Cores is left up to the PD/PI, but should be justified by the needs of the research community and should be appropriate for the focus of the Center which should be within the NIAMS mission. Resource Cores may be located at multiple institutions separated geographically.

For the purpose of this FOA, examples of Resource Cores include, but are not limited to, Cores providing the following:

  • A technology that lends itself to standardized procedures, automation or preparation in large batches (e.g., histology, tissue culture, biobanking, high throughput sequencing, genotyping, and other genomic, epigenomic, and microbiomic assays) or that requires complex instrumentation (e.g. electron microscopy, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, intravital microscopy, whole animal imaging, and mass spectrometry).
  • Animal preparation (including transgenic, knockout, and other forms of genetic engineering/gene editing) and care.
  • Highly specialized technologies, tools, and expertise such as epidemiology, outcomes, genetics, medical informatics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, systems biology, pharmacogenomics, clinical trial design and support, regulatory affairs, etc.
  • Critical infrastructure to support broad sharing of accessible pre-existing patient cohorts and registries, including appropriately-consented patient samples and associated clinical data.

A single Center may propose multiple Resource Cores offering different types of technologies, services, and/or critical resources. However, applications proposing a single methodology core supporting outcomes, epidemiology, clinical trials, and/or health services research exclusively are not responsive to the goals of this FOA and will not be reviewed.

Although the Cores themselves are not required to be innovative, they should be "state-of-the-art" and drive innovation within the research community. In addition, Cores are encouraged to support limited research focused on technology development and/or adaptation of technologies to meet the needs of the research community through new and/or unique state-of-the-art core services. Resource Core support may include personnel, equipment, supplies, services, and facilities. It is expected that the Resource Cores will receive some reimbursement for the cost of providing services or other resources through user fees.

Cores are encouraged to leverage existing resources, such as existing registries, tissue banks, and cohorts, and to coordinate with other Cores at the same and/or nearby institutions, particularly if they provide similar or overlapping technologies and services.  Cores may support existing service cores, but should add value beyond the normal use of a resource by fee-for-service or simple access. Whenever possible, generic services (e.g. histology, flow cytometry, transgenic animals, etc.), whether offered by new or existing cores, should be customized to meet the needs of the research community. Examples of such customization include the provision of relevant reliable monoclonal antibodies (e.g. for immunostaining of cells and tissue, for flow cytometry, or for ChIP-seq) and tissue or cell type-specific promoters and cre-drivers for transgenic animal studies. All Cores are strongly encouraged to enhance the value of the resources they offer through education and training on technologies and other resources offered by the Core, as well as consultation on experimental design and data analysis and interpretation.  Applicants from institutions that have a Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) funded by the NIH may wish to identify the CTSA as a resource for conducting the proposed research.

Administrative Core

The Administrative Core has oversight responsibility for the entire Resource-based Center (P30) and also plans and carries out activities that promote the goals of the Center. These goals and activities are selected by the PD/PI of the application, but at the very least need to include outreach activities that promote use of the resources offered by the Center as well as enrichment activities that expand the research community and/or promote innovative research on the topic of focus of the Center and within the NIAMS mission. Where appropriate, outreach may be national. The Administrative Core should have a Director, an Associate Director, and an Advisory Committee to coordinate the Center activities and to evaluate and improve the Center. The Director of the Administrative Core is also the Director of the overall Center. The Advisory Committee should include users of the scientific cores and experts outside the Center with expertise in the management of scientific core facilities.  This Committee should help the Director and Associate Director to regularly evaluate and optimize strategies to meet the scientific needs of the research community over the course of the grant award. 

The following are examples of additional goals that would be appropriate for a Resource-based Center. This list is neither mandatory nor inclusive. PDs/PIs are encouraged to propose other innovative goals.

  • Provides leadership at an institutional or broader level for research on the topic of focus by the Center
  • Expands the research community by attracting new investigators and established investigators from other fields
  • Enhances the research environment and promotes synergistic collaborations and/or interdisciplinary research

The Administrative Core must include an Enrichment Program that is designed to expand the research community and/or promote innovative research on the topic of focus of the Center. The Enrichment Program should include outreach activities for the Resource Core(s). Each Center may choose the activities that best suit the needs of the research community, but all activities should occur within the context of and/or with the involvement of the Resource Core(s). Through this Enrichment Program, the Administrative Core can utilize the Resource Cores to foster the development of new investigators, attract investigators from other research fields, develop new technologies, and/or foster new collaborations with investigators who have not previously engaged in research within the focus of the Center. The Enrichment Program may include a Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) grant program, but this is optional. Innovative approaches to the Enrichment Program are encouraged.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIAMS intends to commit up to $2.0 million in FY 2016 to fund a maximum of four awards. The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations, and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $500K direct costs per year.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 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)
  • 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 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.   

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

Only one application per Institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

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 can access 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.

Most applicants will use NIH's ASSIST system to prepare and submit applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications prepared and submitted using applicant systems capable of submitting electronic multi-project applications to Grants.gov will also be accepted.

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 and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. 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:

Justine Buschman, M.S.
Telephone: (301) 496-4811
Fax: 301- 480-1284
Email: buschmanj@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

Component Types Available in ASSIST

Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

Overall

12

Admin Core (use for Administrative Core)

12

Core (use for Resource Core)

12

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

Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and should be used for preparing a multi-component application.

The application should consist of the following components:

  • Overall: required
  • Administrative Core: required
  • Resource Cores: at least one Resource Core is required
    Note: Resource Cores will be listed in the final application in the order in which they were entered in ASSIST.
Overall Component

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Overall'.

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

Complete entire form.

Descriptive Title of Applicant's Project: Include "Resource-based Center" in the title.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

Note: Human Embryonic Stem Cell lines from other components should be repeated in cell line table in Overall component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

Follow standard instructions.

Facilities and Other Resources: For each institution that is hosting a Resource Core, briefly describe the features of the institutional environment that are relevant to the effective implementation of the proposed Center. List institutional resources available to the Center and elaborate on how these resources will contribute to the success of the Center. As appropriate, describe available resources, such as clinical and laboratory facilities, participating and affiliated units, patient populations, geographic distribution of space and personnel, and consultative resources. Include a list of who occupies specific space, the square feet and equipment in that space, and a designation of the Center functions associated with the spaces designated. Applicants may include Campus maps and floor plans to illustrate the physical space available for the proposed Resource Cores and Administrative Core. Describe institutional commitments for space or other resources for the proposed Center.

Other Attachments:  The following supportive data tables should be included with the Overall Component in order to aid in the review of applications. The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

Table of "Grants Supporting the Research Community": Without duplicating information provided in biographical sketches, a table listing the grants held by investigators in the research community, their duration, the current year direct cost, and their PD/PIs must be included. This table is particularly important for Centers that propose service cores. Avoid an exhaustive list of grants with indistinct relationship to the Center. It is helpful to group the grants into aggregates of projects with similar overall goals and objectives. A suggested format is given in Exhibit I of the Sample Exhibits.

Biographical Sketches of Research Community Investigators: Please title this single attachment "Research Community Biographical Sketches." Provide biographical sketches for all investigators of the research community, as defined within the application, and organize them alphabetically by the last name of the research community investigator. Do not include duplicate biosketches for Senior/Key personnel. The Personal Statement in the Biographical Sketches may be used to provide details on the research programs of the research community investigators as they relate to the research focus of the Center, and to describe how Center resources would specifically and directly impact these research programs.

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

Enter primary site only.

A summary of Project/Performance Sites in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application. The PD/PI of the P30 and its Administrative Core is the Center Director.

A summary of Senior/Key Persons followed by their Biographical Sketches in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons will be generated upon submission.

Budget (Overall)

The only budget information included in the Overall component is the Estimated Project Funding section of the SF424 (R&R) Cover.  

A budget summary in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from detailed budget data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

Specific Aims: Describe the broad long-term objectives and goals of the proposed resource-based center.  Include the objectives for each of the Resource Cores and the Administrative Core.

Research Strategy:  The Research Strategy section of the Overall Component serves to introduce the proposed Center, to state the Center objectives, and to identify the focus (or theme) of research addressed in the proposed Center. This section also provides reviewers with a sense of the overall significance of the Center, i.e. how the Center and any unique resources it provides will impact the research community and the field(s) of research covered by the Center. For the purposes of this FOA, the research community can be defined as those investigators (and their funded projects) who will use center resources for research within the focus of the Center. Members of a research community work in the same field or related fields and interact through common meetings, collaborations and shared activities and resources. This section should describe the research community, the significance of the Center with respect to the research community and field(s), the interactions among the Center Investigators and the Cores, the innovation of the Center, the approach for providing core services and resources, and any preliminary data regarding the impact of the Center on the research community. Preliminary data may include past progress of a previously funded NIAMS P30 Center; however, a progress report is not allowed.

The Research Strategy section of the Overall Component should be organized in the following fashion:

Orientation to the Overall Center

Describe the goals of the Center. Describe the scientific, organizational and management structure of the Center. Include the leadership structure of the Center and the individual Resource Cores. Include the theme or focus of the Center, the research field(s) of the Center and the research community, any needs assessments that were conducted that led to the selection of resources being shared through the Center, and unique aspects of the resources and services being offered by the Cores.

Research Community

Present an overview of current research on the topic of focus of the Center conducted by the research community in sufficient detail such that its extent and the interrelationships of ongoing research are clear. A strong research community is a fundamental requirement for establishing a Center. The research community may be defined at the local, regional, or national level (and may include foreign collaborators) as long as it is practical for the members of the research community to utilize the resources offered by the Center. The research community should be composed of funded investigators with well-defined connections to the focus or theme of the Center. Begin with a brief summary of the investigators in the research community and their strengths, and continue with a descriptive narrative of how the Cores can enhance these projects. This narrative presentation should be organized to address the focus and interrelationships of research conducted by the Center Investigators (including the research community investigators using the Cores and researchers leading and staffing the Cores) and how the research interests of the investigators in the research community are related to the focus or theme of the Center. Criteria for designating an investigator as a Center investigator should be defined in terms of the responsibilities and privileges.

The investigators of the research community of the proposed Center may be documented in greater detail in the Biographical Sketches (see Other Attachments) and Letters of Support. If the Letters of Support and/or Biographical Sketches are use in this way, they should be explicitly referenced within this section. It may also be useful to highlight ongoing and past successful collaborations between investigators in the research community and the Center personnel and to document the outcomes (e.g. publications, grants, major scientific advances, etc.) of these collaborations.   

Significance

This section should expand on the goals of the Center and should describe the expected effect of the Center on the research community as well as on the field(s) of research chosen as the topic of focus of the Center. Include the importance of the resources being shared and the expected effect of providing access to those resources. Explain the degree to which the Center is expected to accelerate progress on the aims of the research community grants and projects, improve efficiency and enhance productivity of the research community investigators. Describe how the Center will help to expand and enhance the capabilities of the pool of investigators engaged in research related to the research topic(s) of the Center. For a Center that provides access to a unique highly specialized resource, provide examples of research projects that would be enabled and/or significantly enhanced by access to that resource.

Innovation

Address how the Center will not only evolve with the science conducted by the Center Investigators, but also challenge and seek to advance or change current research or clinical practice paradigms by using novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions. Describe plans to develop or adapt new and/or unique state-of-the-art core services during the tenure of the Center through technology development and/or adaptation of technologies to meet the needs of the research community. Explain how the synergy of the Center with the research community will lead to novel services and resources in the Cores and their application to important questions in the topic of focus of the Center. Describe the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations among Center Investigators. For a Resource Core that by its nature is not innovative, describe how it is essential to advance the field.

Approach

Summarize the services and resources provided by the Center, and how they are managed and coordinated. Describe how the Center will address the scientific needs of the research community. Indicate if any of the proposed Cores will utilize or expand cores already existing at the participating institutions. Describe how the proposed Center will make existing resources broadly available to the research community, leverage existing resources, and fill gaps in the services available. If resources are provided to investigators at distant sites, briefly describe the logistics for doing so. Also describe how the Center will use enrichment activities to expand the research community and promote innovative research on the topic of focus of the Center.

Leveraging of existing resources is encouraged, particularly when this provides a range of services or efficiency or access to resources that would not otherwise be readily available. Furthermore, applicants should demonstrate that support for the existing resource through the Center provides added value to the resource beyond that which would be provided by paying for use of the resource through a fee for service or access. Applicants from institutions that have a Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) funded by the NIH may wish to identify the CTSA as a resource for conducting the proposed research, if appropriate. Provide details of any interactions between Center staff and CTSA staff and/or research personnel describing collaborative linkages being developed.

Letters of Support: Include any letters of support for the proposed Center by appropriate institutional officials of each performance site. These letters should include commitments of space and other resources required by the Center. A letter of agreement from existing resources (such as the CTSA PD(s)/PI(s)) should be included here if collaborative linkages are being developed between the Center and existing resources. Letters from the investigators of the research community may be provided to document their research interests, current or planned interactions with other Center investigators, the need for and impact of shared resources proposed by the Center, and likely use of Center resources.

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

  • All applications submitted for the January 25, 2015 due date or after are expected to comply with the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy as detailed in NOT-OD-14-111, as applicable.
  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

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.   

Administrative Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Admin Core.'

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant's Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Administrative Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

Human Subjects: Answer only the 'Are Human Subjects Involved?' and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?' questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the 'Are Vertebrate Animals Used?' question.

Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall Component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Administrative Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of 'Other' with Category of 'Core Lead' and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • Personnel of the Administrative Core should include the Center Director, who is responsible for the organization and operation of the Center, and an Associate Director, who will be involved in the administrative and scientific aspects of the Center, and will serve as Acting Center Director in the absence of the Director. The Director of the Administrative Core should be the Resource-based Center Director. The Biographical Sketches should reflect the expertise and qualifications of the Director and Associate Director.
    • List administrators and staff for the Administrative Core (not individual Resource Cores). If Resource Core Directors also help administer the overall Center, list them as well.  
Budget (Administrative Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

The budget of the Administrative Core may include appropriate salary for the Director, Associate Director and support personnel, expenses related to the Advisory Committee (travel, teleconferences, etc.) and expenses associated with the Enrichment Program. Carefully explain and justify requested support. Indicate the level of time commitment by the Director and Associate Director devoted specifically to the Center. Administrative support personnel may be budgeted at no more than one full time equivalent (FTE), which may be divided among one or more positions. This FTE must be fully justified.

The Center must allocate a minimum of $20,000 and up to $100,000 direct costs each year to the Enrichment Program, which will be administered through the Administrative Core.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

Specific Aims:  Describe the broad long-term objectives to be accomplished by the Administrative Core.

Research Strategy:  The Administrative Core manages the overall Center as well as the Enrichment Program. Applicants are encouraged to organize the Research Strategy section of the Administrative Core to align with the Centers' review criteria for the Administrative Core.  Please include the following headings:

Leadership

Define the responsibilities of the Director and Associate Director, Advisory Committee, Resource Core Directors, institution officials and other involved parties.

The Administrative Core will also manage interactions with the Advisory Committee. Describe the plans and procedures for nominating and selecting members of this committee. Describe the expected composition of the Advisory Committee (number of members, types of expertise, etc.), but do NOT name the members of the committee who are not from the Center Institution in the application so as not to limit the pool of potential reviewers. The Advisory Committee should include both users of the Cores and investigators external to the Center who may have expertise in the design and management of other core facilities or expertise in the technologies, services, and/or resources offered by the Cores or expertise in the research fields covered by the research community.

Management and Evaluation

The Administrative Core is responsible for coordinating and integrating the Center components and activities. Describe the management plans for the Center, including fiscal administration, procurement, property and personnel management, planning, budgeting, etc. If the Center will involve more than one institution, it may be necessary to explain how the management plans will coordinate activities at each of these sites. Describe plans for the management of conflict of interest relating to intellectual property (when applicable).

It is expected that the Resource Core(s) will recover at least a portion of the cost of providing services or other resources in the form of user fees that are charged to the funds of the users.  Describe how the Resource Core(s) will set user fees, taking into account applicable Federal cost principles as discussed in NOT-OD-13-053 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-053.html).

If the demand for the services or resources provided through the Center exceeds the supply or if a queue is likely to develop, describe criteria for establishing priorities or other strategies for managing supply or demand.

Resource-based Centers should conduct ongoing evaluation and assessment of its activities and whether the Center is meeting the goals and expected outcomes and outputs set forth in the grant application. These evaluations should include use of the Cores, the quality of the services and resources provided, and the efficiency by which they are delivered. The Administrative Core should work with the Resource Core Directors to formulate evaluation plans and conduct evaluations of the Resource Cores. The effectiveness of outreach and other enrichment activities in helping the Center meet its goals should also be evaluated. The Center should monitor current and predict future scientific needs of the research community, and Resource Core activities should adapt to those needs. The Advisory Committee should be actively involved in this evaluation and planning process. Describe the plans for the Director, Associate Director and Resource Core Directors to meet regularly with this committee. Indicate the format of the meetings; describe any reports on Center activities that will be provided to the committee members and how the committee may convey comments and recommendations back to the Center leadership. Describe how the recommendations from this committee will be integrated into the planning and management of the Center over the course of the award.

Communication

Describe the plans for maintaining effective communication within the Center and the plans for communication with the investigators of the research community and other potential users of the Cores. This plan should take into consideration the geographic distribution of Center investigators and Resource Cores. Explain how the communication plans will help to coordinate and integrate the investigators and the activities of the Center to promote the goals of the Center.

Enrichment Program

An Enrichment Program must be proposed. This Program should include outreach activities for the Resource Core(s) as well as activities that will serve to expand the research community and/or promote innovative research on the topic of focus of the Center. Each Center may choose the activities that best suit the needs of the research community, but should justify how the activities fulfill these goals as well as the overall goals of the Center. Types of activities that may be part of an Enrichment Program include (and are not limited to) mentoring programs and activities, Pilot and Feasibility studies (mentored, non-mentored, or technology development), and support of seminars and visiting scientists. All activities should occur within the context of and/or with the involvement of the Resource Core(s). Innovative approaches to Program Enrichment are encouraged. All Enrichment Programs must include a detailed description of Program leadership and management.

If the Center chooses to include direct funding for research (e.g., through a Pilot and Feasibility program and/or mentored activity), descriptions of such projects or individuals named for support should NOT be included in the application. However, plans for soliciting, reviewing, selecting, managing and reporting on the results of projects during the tenure of the Center, and/or plans to select mentees and their projects should be included in the application. Describe the internal institutional plans and procedures to ensure that all projects supported from this award will comply fully with all applicable Federal regulations, policies, and Guidelines, including those for research involving human subjects, including the evaluation of risks and protections in project proposals and appropriate ethical oversight of funded projects.  Human Subject and Animal Subject approval dates for Pilot and Feasibility projects (if applicable) should NOT be submitted with the application, but should be provided to NIAMS for approval with Just in Time information, or prior to the start of the pilot project, and with annual progress reports. Otherwise please indicate in the appropriate section that human subjects or vertebrate animals are not involved. A Pilot and Feasibility program should not be used to fund clinical trials.

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

  • All applications submitted for the January 25, 2015 due date or after are expected to comply with the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy as detailed in NOT-OD-14-111, as applicable.
  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

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  (Administrative Core)

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 (Administrative Core)

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

Resource Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Core.'

A Resource Core in a Resource-based Center can be defined in multiple ways, and can offer shared resources for basic, translational, and/or clinical research. It can be a shared facility and/or resource that provides a service(s) that enables Center investigators to conduct their independently-funded individual research projects more efficiently and/or more effectively.  These Cores should be designed to furnish a group of investigators some service, technique, assay, or instrumentation in a manner that will enhance the research in progress, utilize human resources more effectively, and improve the quality and cost effectiveness over investigators conducting the same studies without the Core.  Alternatively, the Core may provide critical infrastructure to support broad sharing of a unique highly specialized existing resource such as a well-defined patient cohort with associated patient data and biospecimens or a bank of patient-specific iPS cells. All Cores should also attract investigators from other fields to the focus and theme of the Center's research by offering specialized services or resources not easily duplicated in an individual laboratory. See Section I. Funding Opportunity Description for some examples of shared resources.

Resource Cores should be justified by the needs of the research community and should be appropriate for the focus of the Center.

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Resource Core)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant's Project
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Resource Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Resource Core)

Human Subjects: Answer only the 'Are Human Subjects Involved?' and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?' questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the 'Are Vertebrate Animals Used?' question.

Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall Component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

Facilities and Other Resources: Describe the physical space available for the proposed Resource Core. Document any institutional commitments to provide space or renovate existing facilities. Whenever possible, Resource-based Centers are encouraged to enter into cooperative arrangements with established cores in other centers or resource grants offering a similar type of service or resource at the applicant institution.

Equipment: In addition to listing equipment (including location and capabilities) already available for this Resource Core, document any institutional commitments to cost share in equipment.

Other Attachments:  The following supportive data table may be included with the Resource Core Component in order to aid in the review of applications. The filename provided for the attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

Table of "Use of Resource Cores" may be helpful to describe the projected use of the proposed Core by funded investigators. This table should contain the name of the Resource Core, a list of services and/or other resources offered by the Core, followed by a list of users, their funded projects, and projected usage of each of the services/resources by each project. A suggested format is given in Exhibit II of the Sample Exhibits.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Resource Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Resource Core)

  • A director should be named for each Resource Core. Cores may also have an Associate Director(s).
  • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of 'Other' with Category of 'Core Lead' and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.    

Budget (Resource Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Resource Core support may include personnel, equipment, supplies, services, and facilities. It is important to provide comprehensive budgetary justifications, and to discuss mechanisms for reimbursing Core services.

This grant mechanism is not intended for acquisition of high-cost equipment. Equipment purchases by any Resource Core in excess of $25,000 for any year of the grant would require special justification. Under unusual circumstances, where costly items of equipment are requested, the application must document available equipment within the institution and provide clear justification in terms of core service to be provided by the Center. Costly items of equipment should be funded through other sources.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Resource Core)

Specific Aims: Describe the broad, long-term objectives, and describe concisely the specific aims to be accomplished by the Core.  Include research to enhance the capabilities of the Core, and/or training activities, if proposed.   

Research Strategy: Describe the background information and gaps that led to the proposal of the Core. How are the shared resources critical for research on the topic of focus of the Center? Document that these resources are essential for the research of multiple independently-funded Center investigators. What value will be added to the research community by support through the Center, beyond that which could be accomplished by a similar level of funding used to purchase services from another source? This is an especially important point to document if the plan is to buy into an existing institutional core. How the Core will enhance the research productivity of investigators in the research community should be described.

Each proposed technique or service should be described in detail. Where applicable, include sections on quality control and data analysis. Whenever possible, generic services (e.g. histology, flow cytometry, transgenic animals, etc.), whether offered by new or existing cores, should be customized to meet the needs of the research community. Provide details of any customization of services that is planned. For Cores that offer access to a unique resource such as a patient cohort or an existing bank of tissues or cells, the unique resource should be described in a way that emphasizes the effect on the field of access to that resource. For example, the description of a cohort should include size, clinical characteristics, clinical data and patient samples available, whether patients can be re-contacted, etc. If resources are provided to investigators at distant sites, describe in detail how this will be accomplished. See Exhibit III in the Sample Exhibits as an example.

All Cores are strongly encouraged to enhance the value of the resources they offer through education and training on technologies and other resources offered by the Core, as well as consultation on experimental design and data analysis and interpretation.  The extent of, and approach to this training and consultation should be included.

The organization and proposed mode of operation of the Core should be presented. Included should be a plan to prioritize investigator use of the Core as well as a definition of qualified users. Choose this definition carefully, since a goal of the Center should be to expand the ranks of investigators engaged in research on the topic of focus of the Center and to promote interdisciplinary research, while including investigators distantly related to the field may cause the resources of the Core to be spread too thinly.

It is expected that the Resource Cores will receive some reimbursement in the form of user fees that will offset some of the Core costs specific for a project using the Core. The reimbursement plan should be described. In addition to providing a product or a service, a Core must maintain appropriate quality control. Cores are expected to have an ongoing program that assesses the quality and use of services and resources provided and whether the Core is meeting the needs of the research community. An evaluation plan should be described.

Letters of Support: Provide letters of support from outside consultants that will help develop services or provide resources for sharing. Also provide letters of support from potential users of the resources provided by the Resource Core documenting the services and resources that would be used by each investigator and the potential for specific and direct impact on the research projects using those services and resources. If these documents are included in the Overall component, please state so.

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

  • All applications submitted for the January 25, 2015 due date or after are expected to comply with the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy as detailed in NOT-OD-14-111, as applicable.
  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

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  (Resource Core)

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 (Resource Core)

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) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH's electronic system for grants administration.

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

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

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission go to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Electronic_Multi-project_Application_Image_Assembly.pdf.

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) and component Project Leads must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant 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: After the review of the individual components of the application, an overall impact score will be assigned to the application. This score will reflect not only the quality of the individual Resource Cores and Administrative Core, but also how the proposed Resource-based Center will bring together all these elements in an effective and cohesive unit. The overall score may be higher or lower than the "average" of the components based on the assessment of whether the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Overall Impact - Overall

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the Resource-based Center 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 Center proposed).

Scored Review Criteria - Overall Center Application

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 Resource Core that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the Center address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the Center 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? 

Specific to this FOA
What is the significance to research in the NIAMS mission area of providing this resource(s) to this proposed research community? What is the likelihood that the shared resources and environment of the Center will lead to major advances in the field? Will the proposed Resource Core(s) enable the investigators to conduct their research more efficiently and effectively?  Are the resources likely to accelerate progress beyond what can be achieved through access to centralized resources supported by other sources? Do generic services, if offered, require customization to meet the needs of the proposed research community and thus justify inclusion in the Center?   

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the Center? 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?

Specific to this FOA
Do the Center Director and Associate Director have the leadership and research qualifications to lead a Center? Does the leadership team (Director, Associate Director, and Advisory Committee) have the collective expertise to assure focused development and implementation of high-quality and meaningful basic, translational, and/or clinical research projects?   

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? 

Specific to this FOA
Are there plans to develop new and/or unique state-of-the-art core services during the tenure of the Center through technology development and/or adaptation of technologies to meet the needs of the research community? Will the services and resources provided by the Center not only evolve with the science conducted by the research community investigators, but are they also likely to drive the science with increasingly sophisticated and powerful technologies? For a Resource Core that by its nature is not innovative, is it essential to advance the field?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the Center? 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 Center 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?  

Specific to this FOA
Are there effective Leadership, Management and Evaluation, and Communication plans?  Is the Enrichment Program designed to effectively expand the research community in the area of focus of the Center? Is it likely that there will be coordination, collaboration and synergy among the individual Resource Core components, Administrative Core component and existing research community? Are the services and resources of the Resource Cores of high quality? Does support for the service or resource through the Center provide added value beyond that which would be provided through a fee for service or access, especially where support is proposed for an existing resource? Are the Resource Cores cost-effective in providing services and resources to the Center Investigators?  Do the Resource Cores effectively leverage existing resources at this or another institution?    

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?

Specific to this FOA
Does the application define a productive, high quality and adequately funded (with federal, state, and private peer-reviewed funding awards) research community that needs the services and resources proposed by the Center?  Are the Center Investigators well defined in terms of their relationship to the Center, and are their letters of support for the application adequate to suggest that the Cores will be fully utilized?  Is the research community sufficiently broad to foster new research and to promote interdisciplinary collaborations?  Does the proposed Center utilize available resources well?  Where support by the Center for existing institutional scientific resources is proposed, does that resource provide a range of services or efficiency that would not otherwise be available to members of the Center? If there will be a connection with an NIH funded CTSA, is the collaboration well described and is there an adequate letter of agreement from the CTSA Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s)?  

Review Criteria for the Administrative Core

Reviewers will consider the following criteria in the determination of an overall impact score for the Administrative Core, although scores for the individual criterion will not be provided.

Leadership 

Do the Center Director and Associate Director have the leadership and research qualifications to maximize the success of the Center?  Have the Director and Associate Director proposed adequate time commitment to effectively manage the Center?  Are appropriate and well-defined responsibilities described for the Director and Associate Director, Advisory Committee, Resource Core Directors, institution officials and other involved parties?  Are there adequate plans for establishing the Advisory Committee and for the Director and Associate Director to communicate regularly with the committee?  Are the composition and plans for selecting the members of the committee appropriate? 

Management and Evaluation

Is the management plan appropriate for fiscal administration, procurement, property and personnel management, planning, budgeting, etc.; are the Center budgets appropriate for the proposed work to be done in Resource Cores, for an Enrichment Program, and for any other proposed programs in relation to the total Center?  Are there adequate plans for objectively evaluating the functioning of the Center by the Director and Associate Director, with input from the Advisory Committee?  How will the recommendations of the Committee be integrated into the effective fiscal, personnel and scientific management of the Center over the course of the grant award?

Communication

Are there adequate plans for the establishment and maintenance of effective internal communication and cooperation among the Center investigators, Core personnel, leadership of the Center, and the Advisory Committee? If the Center will involve multiple sites or institutions, is there a detailed plan of the communication strategies aimed to integrate the distant components and investigators into a coordinated Center?  Will communication and outreach through the Enrichment Program reach all of the research community investigators as well as investigators beyond the Center in order to promote expansion of the pool of users of the Core facilities for research on the topic of focus of the Center?

Enrichment Program 

Is there a well-designed and innovative plan for activities that are likely to enhance the communication, coordination and collaboration among research community investigators and to expand the pool of investigators and broaden the spectrum of research on the topic of focus of the Center conducted through the Center?  If the proposed Enrichment Program includes a Pilot and Feasibility program, are there adequate institutional plans and procedures to assure compliance with applicable federal regulations and NIH policies for the protection of human research participants, including the evaluation of risks and protections in project proposals, appropriate ethical oversight of funded projects, and plans for monitoring data and safety in clinical research projects?

Review Criteria for the Resource Cores

Reviewers will consider the following criteria in the determination of an overall impact score for the Resource Cores, although scores for the individual criterion will not be provided.

Significance 

Does the Resource Core provide services and/or resources to meet the scientific needs of the research community?  Will the Core be used by multiple investigators?  What is the likelihood that the Resource Core will increase efficiency, accelerate progress and promote new research directions and meaningful collaborations among research community investigators?

Investigators 

Are the qualifications, experience, and commitment of the Resource Core Director and his/her collaborations with Center investigators appropriate to the proposed technical area and/or shared resource?

Innovation 

Are there plans to develop new and/or unique state-of-the-art core services during the tenure of the Center through technology development and/or adaptation of technologies to meet the needs of the research community? Will the services and resources provided by the Resource Core not only evolve with the science conducted by the Center Investigators, but are they also likely to drive the science with increasingly sophisticated and powerful technologies?  Is the Resource Core likely to promote interdisciplinary research? For a Resource Core that by its nature is not innovative, is it essential to advance the field?

Approach 

Are the services and resources of the Resource Core of high quality? Does support for the service or resource through the Center provide added value beyond that which would be provided through a fee for service or access, especially where support is proposed for an existing resource? Are there procedures for quality control of the services and resources for each Core?  Is the Resource Core cost-effective in providing services and resources to the research community investigators?  Do the Resource Cores effectively leverage existing resources at this or another institution?

Environment 

What is the overall quality of the environment for the Resource Core?  Is there adequate institutional commitment to the Center, including physical space for each Resource Core, lines of accountability regarding management of the Resource Cores, and commitment to the individuals responsible for conducting essential Center functions?

Additional Review Criteria - Overall Application and Components

As applicable for the Center and Resource Cores 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 Center 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 - Overall Application and Components

As applicable for the Center 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)/Genomic Data Sharing Plan .

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 NIAMS 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 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 Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council. 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 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.

Prior Approval of Pilot Projects

If Pilot and Feasibility projects are included in the Centers program, a complete project application (including biographical sketches, personnel and budget justification, research plan, human and/or animal subject sections and any IACUC, IRB or other required documentation), and the critiques of the proposals by the Advisory Committee must be provided to NIAMS with the Just in Time information or prior to the start of the Pilot and Feasibility projects.

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 Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Progress reports should include a detailed progress report on all approved pilot projects and for any new proposed pilot projects should include a complete project application as outlined in the Prior Approval of Pilot Projects section above.

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 Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
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 Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-710-0267
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Marie Mancini, Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-594-5032
Email: mancinim2@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Kathy Salaita, Sc.D.
National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-594-5033
Email: salaitak@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Stephanie Kreider
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-402-1691
Email: skreider@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

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

Authority and Regulations

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

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