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 Mental Health (NIMH)

Funding Opportunity Title

Services Research for Autism Spectrum Disorder across the Lifespan (ServASD):     Research on Early Identification and Linkage to Services for ASD (R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project Grant

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

  • October 18, 2013 - See Notice NOT-OD-14-003. Guidance on Resumption of NIH Extramural Activities Following the Recent Lapse in Appropriations.
  • August 21, 2013: Removed reference to ASSIST in section IV.3, since ASSIST is currently only available for multi-project applications.
  • May 30, 2013 (NOT-OD-13-074) - NIH to Require Use of Updated Electronic Application Forms for Due Dates on or after September 25, 2013. Forms-C applications are required for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-MH-14-100

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-MH-14-101, R34 Clinical Trial Planning Grant Program
RFA-MH-14-102, R34 Clinical Trial Planning Grant Program

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.242 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support research that develops and tests service system interventions that are broadly implementable and that rapidly engage young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in evidence-based treatment and services early in life.  The goals of this FOA are to:  1) develop a service system intervention that coordinates ASD identification, evaluation, and linkage to treatment and services for children with ASD within the first two years of life; 2) test the feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention in engaging young children with ASD in care in multiple community settings; and 3) empirically demonstrate the intervention's implementability and generalizability to settings across the U.S.  The ultimate goal is to transform the current ASD service system by designing an integrated set of strategies that are effective and engineered for rapid adoption and implementation on a broad scale.  This FOA focuses on intervening to improve ASD service systems.  It is not intended to support the development or adaptation of ASD screening tools, revalidation of assessment instruments for use under DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, nor the development or adaptation of interventions for children with ASD. 

This FOA uses the NIMH R01 activity code and runs in parallel to two companion FOAs also targeting autism services research: RFA-MH-14-101, which targets services and supports for youth with ASD to facilitate their smooth transition into the adult service system; and RFA-MH-14-102, which targets services strategies to optimize capacity for independent functioning in adults with ASD. 

Key Dates
Posted Date

May 30, 2013

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 22, 2013

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

September 22, 2013

Application Due Date(s)

(Extended to November 1, 2013 per NOT-OD-14-003), Originally October 22, 2013, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

February/March 2014

Advisory Council Review

May 2014

Earliest Start Date

July 2014

Expiration Date

(Extended to November 2, 2013 per NOT-OD-14-003), Originally October 23, 2013

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.

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 and Rationale

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and the companion FOAs, RFA-MH-14-101 (R34), Pilot Research on Services for Transition-Age Youth with ASD and RFA-MH-14-102 (R34), Pilot Research on Services Strategies for Adults with ASD, is to stimulate research that develops and tests the effectiveness of service system interventions to improve functional and health outcomes for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at three key life stages:  early childhood, transition from youth to adulthood, and adulthood.  The 2012 Strategic Plan of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (http://iacc.hhs.gov/strategic-plan/2012/index.shtml) has framed objectives for services research in these critical areas.    

ASD begins in early childhood, causing varying degrees of impairment that can change over time and make delivery of effective services across the life span challenging.  Critical service delivery challenges are evident across the lifespan.   First, only a fraction of children with ASD are identified in early childhood (Shattuck et al., 2009), a time when early intervention can ameliorate impairment (Lord & McGee, eds., 2001; Dawson et al., 2012).  Second, exiting high school is associated with a steep decline in receipt of services by youth with ASD and, in addition, this is a time when disparities in service use based on race, socioeconomic status, and mental ability have been documented. (Shattuck, et al, 2009) Finally, for adults with ASD, there is little empirical evidence to establish the effectiveness of services, and the extant research does not adequately address the range of service needs of adults with ASD and the challenges in coordinating across service sectors.  Strategies to identify and provide services for previously undiagnosed adults with ASDs are also needed.

ASD in Early Childhood

There is emerging evidence that early intensive intervention for ASD can improve performance on IQ tests and improve language and behavior, thereby improving the course of the illness (Dawson et al., 2012; Lord & McGee, eds., 2001).  In addition, empirically supported tools now make early identification of ASD possible and evidence-based interventions are increasingly available.  These research advances lay the groundwork for the development and testing of strategies to improve ASD outcomes via a combination of early screening, comprehensive evaluation and expedited engagement in treatment and services.        

Screening.  Pediatricians are positioned to identify early indicators of developmental problems, but standardized ASD screening procedures and tools are not yet in widespread practice in pediatric settings (dosReis et al., 2006; Radecki et al., 2011).  Implementation of standardized screening must include strategies to reduce or eliminate the documented disparities in age of detection based on gender, race or ethnicity and severity of symptoms (Shattuck et al., 2009, Giarelli et al., 2010, Mandell et al., 2002).   

Comprehensive  evaluation.  After a positive screen, time to receipt of comprehensive evaluation is often delayed by varying requirements across service systems (including reimbursement issues), challenges in navigating multiple systems, and limited availability of qualified specialists  (Wiggins et al., 2006).  

Intervention.  The period when families await the completion of an early-age comprehensive evaluation is a critical window for intervention to enhance toddler development.  This important opportunity is often missed due to differences in the requirements of service and funding systems (Lord & McGee, eds., 2001).  Even when eligibility is determined, there may be continued delay in receipt of services due to further challenges for families in navigating additional service systems.   

Specific Areas of Research Interest

This FOA invites applications to develop and test service systems interventions designed to make expedited ASD screening, evaluation, and linkage to evidence-based services a standard occurrence for all children with ASD within the first two years of life.  It is intended to support studies conducted at two or more sites to empirically test the effectiveness of a systemic protocol, as compared to a suitable control condition, to: 1) use existing, standardized screening tools to universally screen for indicators of ASD in young children ages 0-2 in pediatric settings, 2) implement a decision rule for referral to ASD evaluation, 3) expedite receipt of ASD evaluation and diagnosis, 4) ensure referral to treatment as indicated and 5) ensure engagement in treatment.  Responsive applications are expected to test strategies that include all five of these elements. 

Of interest are studies designed to determine the clinical impact of the protocol within and across multiple sites in the following areas: 

a) Effectiveness of the protocol at each phase in accomplishing the indicated step, with an emphasis on the ultimate goal of the very early engagement of young children with ASD in evidence-based services in the first two years of life;

b) Individual- and site-level improvement in: rates of screening, rates of referral to evaluation when indicated; rates of referral to treatment when indicated, rates of engagement in treatment

c) Impact of the intervention on reducing length of time to receipt of treatment/services; and

d) Family satisfaction with care, whether or not treatment is indicated.

In addition, studies should be designed so as to be able to:

a) Determine sustainability of the systemic intervention by comparing immediate post- versus longer term impact at individual sites and collectively across sites.

b) Determine impact of the protocol on reducing disparities in access and engagement in services for key population sub-groups that are traditionally under-screened, -assessed, and -treated for ASD.

c) Collect data to determine the potential cost implications of widespread implementation of the protocol.

Applicants should describe site selection, including a brief summary of the settings to be included and their rationale (i.e., a description of the client populations, providers and geographic locales and how their characteristics will support the generalizability of the project).  Description of the feasibility of the proposed research at each site and the means of assessing and ensuring success of both individual sites and the study as a whole should also be included. For each site, there should be a description of the plan for follow-up of the enrolled participants, a summary of key outcome variables and the rationale for their selection, and a description of the patients and providers involved.  The plan to assure close collaboration and effective communication among members of the research teams should also be described, as well as the plans for data coordination, integration and management, routine site monitoring, and the availability of appropriate statistical expertise.

Important targets of the tested strategies are the achievement of very early detection of ASD and expediting receipt of needed treatment and services.  Such receipt should be a measured outcome of the intervention tested.  Applicants should clearly describe the target(s) of a proposed intervention, provide an empirical or conceptual link between intervention components and the intended outcomes, and incorporate specific measures to determine whether the intervention components lead to changes in intended outcomes.  They should also provide evidence to support the feasibility of:  implementing the intervention; identifying, enrolling, and retaining participants and implementing assessment protocols, including outlining the measures of fidelity of intervention delivery, mediators/moderators of response, and targeted outcomes.

Achieving the targeted outcomes is likely to require coordination among a number of systems and care settings including but not limited to: pediatric primary care, social services, the education system, disability programs, ASD specialty care, Medicaid and private health care insurance, and families in community settings.  Thus, multidisciplinary research teams are anticipated. 

Successful applications will test intervention models that are feasible and sustainable in the intended settings, can generalize to large regions of the US and include features necessary for rapid dissemination, adoption, and implementation in a wide range of communities. 

NIMH encourages applications, where possible, to make use of existing practice research infrastructures – including, but not limited to, the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) and the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) and three networks funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration:  Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B), Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBP-RN).

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact program staff for additional guidance.

References

Dawson G, Jones EJH, Merkle K, et al.  Early behavioral intervention is associated with normalized brain activity in young children with autism.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  2012; 51(11): 1150-9.

dosReis S, Weiner CL, Johnson L, Newschaffer CJ.  Autism spectrum disorder screening and management practices among general pediatric providers. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2006; 27: S88–S94.

Giarelli E, Wiggins LD, Rice CE, Levy SE, Kirby RS, Pinto-Martin J, and Mandell D.  Sex differences in evaluation and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders among children.  Disability and Health Journal.  2010; 3: 107-116.

Lord C, and McGee JP, eds.  (2001).  Educating Children with Autism.  Washington (DC): National Academy Press, National Research Council: Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Mandell DS, Listerud J, Levy SE, Pinto-Martin JA. Race differences in the age at diagnosis among Medicaid-eligible children with autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  2002; 41(12): 1447–1453.

Radecki L, Sand-Loud N, O’Connor KG, Sharp S, and Olson L.  Trends in the use of standardized tools for developmental screening in early childhood:  2002-2009.  Pediatrics.  2011; 128(1):  14-19.

Shattuck PT, Durkin M, Maenner M, et al.  Timing of identification among children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  2009; 48:474-483.

Shattuck PT, & Grosse SD.  Issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.  Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews.  2007; 13(2):  129-135.

Wiggins LD, Baio J, and Rice C.  Examination of the time between first evaluation and first autism spectrum diagnosis in a population-based sample.  Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.  2006; 27(2):  S79-S87. 

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

NIMH intends to commit approximately $10,000,000 in FY 2014 to fund 10-18 grants in response to this FOA and the companion announcements.

Award Budget

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

Award Project Period

The total project period may not exceed five years.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants


Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

For-Profit Organizations

Governments

Other

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.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs)

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility


Number of Applications

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

NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Denise Juliano-Bult, M.S.W.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7144, MSC 9631
Bethesda, MD  20892-9631
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: 301-443-1638
FAX:  301-443-4045
Email: ServASD@mail.nih.gov  

Page Limitations

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

Required and Optional Components

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Letter

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: The Research Strategy should include the following:

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.  In addition, individuals are expected to comply with the standard data requirements for ASD studies, as follows:   

The NIH National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) houses research data of all types (genetic, imaging, clinical assessment, etc.) from human subjects involved in ASD studies, and is currently on track to receive data from tens of thousands of such subjects.  NDAR’s first data release occurred in November 2010, making mostly clinical assessment data from over 10,000 research subjects available to qualified investigators.  It is expected that in the next several years, ASD data from more than 90% of new investigations will be available in or through NDAR.

All research grants funded under this announcement will be expected to contribute any data collected on individual human subjects to NDAR, consistent with achieving NIH program goals for advancing autism research.  Data sharing is expected to achieve these goals and NDAR will be involved to facilitate sharing activities.  NDAR will function as a data repository for all funded projects.  Central clinical coordination and local data management for data cleaning and entry and bio-statistical consulting will be the responsibility of the grantee(s). For more information on NDAR, please visit http://ndar.nih.gov/ndarpublicweb/.  The NDAR terms and conditions can be found at: http://ndar.nih.gov/ndarpublicweb/Documents/NDAR_data_sharing_language_fin.pdf .

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

3. Submission Dates and Times

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 NIMH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NIMH Referral Office by email at NIMHReferral@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Pre-Application Webinar

The NIMH will hold a pre-application webinar on all three ServASD RFAs (RFA-MH-14-100, RFA-MH-14-101, RFA-MH-14-102) on Wednesday, July 17, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (EDT), to which all prospective applicants are invited. This is a technical assistance webinar conducted by NIMH staff to explain the goals and objectives of these initiatives and answer questions from attendees.   Participation in the webinar is neither required nor necessary for a successful application.  Potential applicants who wish to participate should send an e-mail to ServASD@mail.nih.gov  with “ServASD RFA Webinar” in the subject line no later than 5:00 p.m. (EDT), July 15, 2013, in order to register and obtain the information needed to join the TA session.  Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their questions or comments to ServASD@mail.nih.gov  in advance of the call. 

Post-Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the project involve a services intervention likely to improve ASD outcomes in real world settings?  Does the intervention seek to coordinate identification, evaluation, and linkage to treatment services for children with ASD within the first two years of life?  

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? Do the qualifications of the PD/PI and other senior investigators include expertise in one or more of the following areas:

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? Does the study test a services intervention engineered for rapid adoption and broad implementation in community settings?  Will the comparison condition(s) contribute to a rigorous test of the effectiveness of the intervention? Are there feasible plans for longer-term follow-up of subjects? Is the study designed to demonstrate whether the intervention engages the mechanism presumed to account for changes in outcomes?

If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion 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? Is there clear evidence of availability of autism evaluation and treatment services at the relevant sites and a documented commitment to participation across the sites where the study will be conducted?  

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 Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by the NIMH, 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:

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 Advisory Mental Health Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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 will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Web ticketing system: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Denise Juliano-Bult

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-1638
Email: ServASD@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

David Armstrong, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-3534
Email: armstrda@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tamara Kees
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-8811
Email: tkees@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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