Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is developed as an NIH Roadmap initiative (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov). All NIH Institutes and Centers participate in Roadmap initiatives. This FOA will be administered by the National Human Genome Research Institute (http://www.genome.gov) on behalf of the NIH.

Title:  Development of New Technologies Needed for Studying the Human Microbiome (R21)

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of RFA-RM-08-011

Request for Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-RM-08-027

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four (4) weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.310

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: July 15, 2008
Opening Date: September 2, 2008 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): September 2, 2008
NOTE: On-time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization). 
Application Due Date(s): October 2, 2008
Peer Review Date(s): January-February 2009
Council Review Date(s): May 2009
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): July 1, 2009
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: October 3, 2008

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives


Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism of Support

2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants

    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information

2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Receipt, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
          1. Letter of Intent
    B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH
    C. Application Processing   
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
    A. Additional Review Criteria
    B. Additional Review Considerations
    C. Resource Sharing Plan(s)
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contacts
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)

2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


1. Research Objectives

PURPOSE: The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications to develop new and improved technologies for obtaining samples of individual microbial isolates or strains, from the human microbiota, suitable for complete genomic sequence analysis. The goal is to expand the number of “reference” microbial genome sequences, which in turn will aid in the analysis of the complex microbial populations resident in and on the human body. Examples of appropriate grant applications would include proposals to culture uncultivatable organisms, or to obtain pure or highly enriched samples of individual organisms by methods other than culturing, including development of methods for analyzing single cells, or removing redundant DNA or abundant organisms to allow detection of rare members of the human microbiota.

BACKGROUND: The complex and dynamic communities of microbes (the human microbiota) that are present on and within the human body are thought to profoundly influence human health in a variety of ways, through effects on human physiology, nutrition, immunity and development. Disruptions in community composition, structure or dynamics may reflect, trigger, or influence the course of various disease states. Studies on humans and vertebrate animal models have generated evidence that this is the case for some specific diseases and suggest that further studies in this area may be vital for the understanding, prevention and treatment of many human diseases, as well as maintenance of homeostasis. However, studies of the human microbiome are truly in their infancy, and the range and magnitude of the effects of the collective microbiota upon health and disease are not known.

It is currently a challenge to even identify comprehensively the components of the human microbiota, although genomic approaches have greatly improved the feasibility of doing so. The study of the collective DNA (the human microbiome) of community members has been spurred by recent advances in DNA sequencing and other technologies; such technologies have created the new field of metagenomics (determining the DNA sequence of genomes from a mixed community of organisms). The feasibility of taking a metagenomic approach to the study of the human microbiota has been shown in studies of both model vertebrates and humans. This FOA is one of a series that seek to stimulate the application of the metagenomic approach to the analysis of the human microbiome and its role in both normal and pathological states by developing a set of resources, reference materials, and technologies that can be used by the entire scientific community.

The NIH Human Microbiome Project is a component of the NIH Roadmap program, which is a trans-NIH effort to accelerate the discovery and translation of scientific knowledge into public health benefits. It is designed to provide a five to ten-year “incubator space” for new NIH initiatives that promise to transform biomedical research, address the missions of a number of the NIH Institutes, and provide a public health benefit by having the data available in the public domain. The NIH Roadmap began in 2004 with an initial set of efforts. Last year, a second round of Roadmap projects was chosen following a public nomination and NIH review process. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was one of these projects and began in 2008 (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/hmp/). The goal of the HMP is to extensively characterize the human microbiome and create a technological and data research resource that will enable in-depth study of its variation in relation to any of a number of relevant variables (e.g., genotype, disease, age, nutrition, medication and other environmental factors) and its influence on health and disease. It is anticipated that exploration of this new and different approach to human health will provide insights that will enable the development of new approaches to monitor health status, improve understanding of the etiology of disease, and stimulate the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies, through the maintenance or re-establishment of a healthy microbiota.

The HMP is being implemented in a phased manner. Briefly, the HMP is designed as a five-year effort with several components: (1) generation of a reference set of complete genome sequences from cultivable members of the microbial communities at specific anatomical regions of the human body; (2) metagenomic studies that will allow estimation of the complexity of the microbial community at each region in healthy individuals and determination whether there is a “core microbiome” at each region; (3) demonstration projects to determine whether variation in the microbiome at a particular region can be related to human health or disease states; (4) development of new technologies, informatics capabilities, and resources that are needed for the development of the field of metagenomics; and (5) analysis of potential ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that must be considered in the study and application of the metagenomic analysis of the human microbiome. The purpose of this announcement is to solicit applications to support a portion of component (4) of the initiative.

The interpretation of metagenomic sequence data is greatly aided by comparison to the genomic sequence of isolated species and genetically different strains of the same species. Yet, only a small proportion of the microbial species resident in or on the human body has been isolated and sequenced. The purpose of this FOA is to support the development of technologies that will allow the determination of the complete, individual genome sequences of substantial numbers of previously uncharacterized members of the human microbiota, to aid in the interpretation of metagenomic datasets obtained from sampling the human body. The following list, which is certainly incomplete, presents examples of strategies that would be supportable under this FOA:

The focus of the FOA is to obtain microbial samples (e.g., single cell isolation, cultivation, enrichment or depletion) for the purpose of DNA isolation. Research plans should include the demonstration that processed cells are either viable or, at a minimum, contain genomic DNA of sufficient quality to provide starting material for genome sequencing. Methods that produce viable cells in as “normal” a state as possible would also be useful for other types of analyses such as gene expression, protein expression, and functional studies. Therefore, development of such methods will receive high priority when funding decisions are made.

For the isolation of single cells, and for developing new tools for cell cultivation, current methods do not preserve information on the “geography” of the cells in the sample – which cells were located in space near which other cells. It may prove useful to develop cell isolation methods that allow tracking of nearest-neighbors – cells that are closely associated with each other in space in situ in or on the human body.

While the ultimate goal is to develop technologies that could be applied to the analysis of the human microbiota, studies using samples isolated from relevant non-human model systems would be acceptable for methods development projects, because this may facilitate some aspects of the work. For example, it may be difficult to obtain human samples from sites deep within the gut for technology development projects, and animal studies might accelerate the ability to develop technologies needed to process such samples. That acceleration notwithstanding, applicants should incorporate into their research plans the demonstration that studies on material obtained from animals are relevant to samples collected from humans.

As is true for all well organized technology development projects, the research plan should include a statement of quantitative milestones that will help to focus effort and with which to measure progress.

This FOA will not support the development of DNA sequencing methods, per se. However, the advantages offered by particular DNA sequencing methods, both those currently in existence and those now under development, should be taken into account in order to integrate the method(s) whose development is proposed with those sequencing methods. Therefore, this FOA will support limited demonstration of the integration of particular sequencing technology(ies) with the single genome methods that are its central focus.  The FOA would also support, for example, development of integrated methods to amplify genomic DNA from single cell isolates, to the extent that this is required by most currently available sequencing technologies.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This FOA will use the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) award mechanism. The Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This FOA uses “Just-in-Time” information concepts (see SF424 (R&R) Application Guide). It also uses the modular as well as the non-modular budget formats (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm). Specifically, a U.S. organization submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs) must use the PHS398 Modular Budget component.

U.S. applicants requesting more than $250,000 in annual direct costs and all Foreign applicants must complete and submit budget requests using the Research & Related Budget component.

2. Funds Available

The NIH intends to commit approximately $2 million dollars in fiscal year 2009 for this and the parallel FOA for R01 applications, and to fund 2-4 R01 applications and 2-6 R21 applications.

Applicants for R21 grants may request a project period of up to 2 years. Although the size of award may vary with the scope of research proposed, it is expected that applications will stay within the budgetary guidelines for an exploratory/developmental project: direct costs are limited to $275,000 over the two-year period, with no more than $200,000 in direct costs allowed in any single year. Applicants may request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to the above-stated limits.

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the IC(s) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation. See NOT-OD-05-004.

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

1.A. Eligible Institutions

The following organizations/institutions are eligible to apply:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the PD/PI 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.

More than one PD/PI (i.e., multiple PDs/PIs), may be designated on the application for projects that require a “team science” approach and therefore clearly do not fit the single-PD/PI model. Additional information on the implementation plans and policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PD/PI on individual research projects is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi. All PDs/PIs must be registered in the NIH electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons prior to the submission of the application (see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm for instructions).

The decision of whether to apply for a grant with a single PD/PI or multiple PDs/PIs grant is the responsibility of the investigators and applicant organizations and should be determined by the scientific goals of the project. Applications for grants with multiple PDs/PIs will require additional information, as outlined in the instructions below. The NIH review criteria for approach, investigators, and environment have been modified to accommodate applications involving either a single PD/PI or multiple PDs/PIs. When considering the multiple PD/PI option, please be aware that the structure and governance of the PD/PI leadership team as well as the knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PDs/PIs will be factored into the assessment of the overall scientific merit of the application.  Multiple PDs/PIs on a project share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI is responsible and accountable to the grantee organization, or, as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of required reports. For further information on multiple PDs/PIs, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

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

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Applicants may submit a resubmission application; however, such application must include an Introduction addressing issues raised in the previous critiques (Summary Statement).

Renewals are not allowed.

Applicants may submit more than one application, provided each application is scientifically distinct.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, use the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PDs/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the NIH eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant can submit an electronic application, as follows:  

1) Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Registered

2) Organizational/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Both the PDs/PI(s) and AOR/SO need separate accounts in the NIH eRA Commons since both are authorized to view the application image.

Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.

Several of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.

For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo -- Telephone 301-435-0714; Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. Some fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application has several components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY includes all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA includes the data in the following components:

Required Components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan
PHS398 Checklist
PHS398 Modular Budget or Research & Related Budget, as appropriate (See Section IV.6., “Special Instructions,” regarding appropriate required budget component.)

Optional Components:
PHS398 Cover Letter File
Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

Foreign Organizations (Non-Domestic [non-U.S.] Entities)

NIH policies concerning grants to Foreign (non-U.S.) organizations can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part12.htm#_Toc54600260.

Applications from Foreign organizations must:

Proposed research should provide special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States (U.S.) or that augment existing U.S. resources.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS  

Applications with Multiple PDs/PIs

When multiple PDs/PIs are proposed, NIH requires one PD/PI to be designated as the "Contact” PI, who will be responsible for all communication between the PDs/PIs and the NIH, for assembling the application materials outlined below, and for coordinating progress reports for the project. The contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status in the same way as other PDs/PIs, but has no other special roles or responsibilities within the project team beyond those mentioned above.

Information for the Contact PD/PI should be entered in item 15 of the SF424 (R&R) Cover component. All other PDs/PIs should be listed in the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component and assigned the project role of “PD/PI.” Please remember that all PDs/PIs must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to application submission. The Commons ID of each PD/PI must be included in the “Credential” field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component. Failure to include this data field will cause the application to be rejected.

All projects proposing Multiple PDs/PIs will be required to include a new section describing the leadership plan approach for the proposed project.

Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan: For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs, a new section of the research plan, entitled “Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan” [Section 14 of the Research Plan Component in the SF424 (R&R)], must be included. A rationale for choosing a multiple PD/PI approach should be described.  The governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and the research project should be described, and should include communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, and procedures for resolving conflicts. The roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program should be delineated for the PDs/PIs and other collaborators.

If budget allocation is planned, the distribution of resources to specific components of the project or the individual PDs/PIs should be delineated in the Leadership Plan.  In the event of an award, the requested allocations may be reflected in a footnote on the Notice of Award (NoA).

Applications Involving a Single Institution

When all PDs/PIs are within a single institution, follow the instructions contained in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Applications Involving Multiple Institutions 

When multiple institutions are involved, one institution must be designated as the prime institution and funding for the other institution(s) must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the prime institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the prime institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component. All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form. See Section 4.8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget form. 

When submitting a modular budget, the prime institution completes the PHS398 Modular Budget component only. Information concerning the consortium/subcontract budget is provided in the budget justification. Separate budgets for each consortium/subcontract grantee are not required when using the Modular budget format. See Section 5.4 of the Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the PHS398 Modular Budget component.

Applications Involving Federal Agencies

The requests from federal agencies, including the NIH intramural program, will not include any salary and related fringe benefits for career, career conditional or other federal employees (civilian or uniformed service) with permanent appointments under existing position ceilings or any costs related to administrative or facilities support (equivalent to Facilities and Administrative costs).

In general, the budget requests will be limited to the incremental costs required for carrying out the proposed work.  These costs may include salary for staff to be specifically hired under a temporary appointment for the project, consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel, and other items typically listed under Other Expenses. While support for extramural collaborators may be requested in a separate grant application, funds can be requested for services by an external investigator or contractor as a subcontract/consortium including the applicable indirect (F&A costs) of the contractor/collaborating institution.

Justification must be provided for all requested support and for the Federal employees who will be committed to the project although no funds are requested in the application.

Applicants should indicate the number of person-months devoted to the project, even if no funds are requested for salary and fringe benefits.

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A. for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date: September 2, 2008 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): September 2, 2008
Application Due Date(s): October 2, 2008
Peer Review Date(s): January-February 2009
Council Review Date(s): May 2009
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): July 1, 2009

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

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.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed in Section IV.3.A.

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Jeffery A. Schloss, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
5635 Fishers Lane, Suite 4076
Bethesda, MD 20892-9305
Telephone: (301) 496-7531
Email: schlossj@exchange.nih.gov

3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp  and follow Steps 1-4. Note: Applications must only be submitted electronically. PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application due date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the due date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Once an application package has been successfully submitted through Grants.gov, any errors have been addressed, and the assembled application has been created in the eRA Commons, the PD/PI and the Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO) have two weekdays (Monday – Friday, excluding Federal holidays) to view the application image to determine if any further action is necessary.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the IC. Incomplete and non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. The submitting AOR/SO receives the Grants.gov acknowledgments. The AOR/SO and the PI receive Commons acknowledgments. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons. 

Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to check periodically on the application status in the Commons.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. However, the NIH will accept a resubmission application, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the critique from the previous review...

4. Intergovernmental Review

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. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award if such costs: 1) are necessary to conduct the project, and 2) would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement).

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

PD/PI Credential (e.g., Agency Login)

The NIH requires the PD(s)/PI(s) to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component.

Organizational DUNS

The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

PHS398 Research Plan Component Sections

Page limitations of the PHS398 Research Plan component must be followed as outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. While each section of the Research Plan component needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan component as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.   

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide are to be followed, incorporating "Just-in-Time" information concepts, and with the following requirements for R21 applications:

Appendix Materials

Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan component. An application that does not comply with the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.

Resource Sharing Plan(s)

Federal Citation

NIH considers the sharing of unique research resources developed through NIH-sponsored research an important means to enhance the value and further the advancement of the research. When resources have been developed with NIH funds and the associated research findings published or provided to NIH, it is important that they be made readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community. If the final data/resources are not amenable to sharing, this must be explained in the Resource Sharing section of the application (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm).

(a) Data Sharing Plan: Not Applicable

(b) Sharing Model Organisms: Regardless of the amount requested, all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated are expected to include a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organisms and related resources, or state appropriate reasons why such sharing is restricted or not possible. See Sharing Model Organisms Policy, and NIH Guide NOT-OD-04-042.

(c) Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS): Regardless of the amount requested, applicants seeking funding for a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designated GWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible.  A genome-wide association study is defined as any study of genetic variation across the entire genome that is designed to identify genetic associations with observable traits (e.g., blood pressure or weight) or the presence or absence of a disease or condition.  For further information see Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies (go to NOT-OD-07-088, and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/.)

Foreign Applications (Non-Domestic [non-U.S.] Entities)

Indicate how the proposed project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of the NIH/IC and has the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the United States. 

Additional Instructions

A Research Network of all HMP investigators will be formed. Investigators are expected to attend annual Research Network meetings where metagenomic science is discussed, so that their studies will be will informed by the other areas of the science and their technology development projects can be integrated with the needs of the field.  Applicants should include the cost for the P.I. to attend the annual Research Network meeting in the budget request.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria 

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications that are complete and responsive to this FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and in accordance with NIH peer review procedures (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/peer/), using the review criteria stated below.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications will:

Applications submitted in response to this FOA will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, and weighted as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a meritorious priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the study directly address the problem outlined in this FOA, namely, to obtain samples of individual microbial isolates or strains, from the human microbiota, suitable for complete genomic sequence analysis?

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs, is the leadership approach, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure, consistent with and justified by the aims of the project and the expertise of each of the PDs/PIs?

Innovation:  Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the PD(s)/PI(s) and other key personnel appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers? Do(es) the PD(s)/PI(s) and investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment:  Do(es) the scientific environment(s) in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

Research Plan Milestones: Appropriateness of the proposed quantitative milestones of the research plan.

2.A. Additional Review Criteria

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the rating:

Resubmission Applications (formerly “revised/amended” applications): Are the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group adequate? Are the improvements in the resubmission application appropriate?

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.  See the “Human Subjects Sections” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research: The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated. See the “Human Subjects Sections” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R)
 
Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the adequacy of the plans for their care and use will be assessed. See the “Other Research Plan Sections” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R). 

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget and Period of Support: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research may be assessed by the reviewers. The priority score should not be affected by the evaluation of the budget.

Applications from Foreign Organizations: Whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States or that augment existing U.S. resources will be assessed. 

2.C. Resource Sharing Plan(s)

When relevant, reviewers will be instructed to comment on the reasonableness of the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed resource sharing plan(s) into the determination of scientific merit or priority score, unless noted otherwise in the FOA. Program staff within the IC will be responsible for monitoring the resource sharing.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Applicants can expect to learn about the outcome of their applications, whether successful or unsuccessful, by July 1, 2009.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

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 NIH eRA Commons

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official.

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. See Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

The NIH will evaluate this program. Each awardee will be required to define a set of concrete and quantifiable project-specific milestones. Prior to funding the application program, staff will negotiate the milestones with the applicant. The negotiated milestones will become a condition of the award, including appropriate language to recognize that the project includes research the outcomes of which are unpredictable. Each awardee will be required to update these milestones annually at the anniversary date. In addition, each awardee is expected to provide additional information as required to assist the program evaluation.

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.

3. Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

In addition to the annual PHS 2590, applicants will be expected to report on progress, if requested, at the annual awardee meetings.

A final progress report, invention statement, and Financial Status Report are required when an award is relinquished when a recipient changes institutions or when an award is terminated.

Section VII. Agency Contacts


We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research (program), peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contact(s):

Jeffery A. Schloss, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
5635 Fishers Lane, Suite 4076
Bethesda, MD 20892-9305
Telephone: (301) 496-7531
Email: schlossj@exchange.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contact(s):

Alexander D. Politis, Ph.D.
Chief, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology IRG
Center for Scientific Review
Room 3210
6701 Rockledge Dr.
Bethesda, MD 20892-7808
Telephone: (301) 435-1150
FAX: (301) 480-0940
Email: POLITISA@csr.nih.gov

3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s):

Ms. Cheryl Chick
Grants Administration Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute
5635 Fishers Lane, Suite 4076
Bethesda, MD 20892-9305
Telephone: (301) 402-0733
Fax: (301) 402-1951
Email: chickc@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45 CFR 46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (Phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (“NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring,” NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Policy for Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS):
NIH is interested in advancing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify common genetic factors that influence health and disease through a centralized GWAS data repository. For the purposes of this policy, a genome-wide association study is defined as any study of genetic variation across the entire human genome that is designed to identify genetic associations with observable traits (such as blood pressure or weight), or the presence or absence of a disease or condition. All applications, regardless of the amount requested, proposing a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designated GWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible. Data repository management (submission and access) is governed by the Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies, NIH Guide NOT-OD-07-088. For additional information, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh-Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Beginning October 1, 2004, all investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are: (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds; and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research” (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the SF424 (R&R) application; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for Federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov/). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s) to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

NIH Public Access Policy Requirement:
In accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy, investigators funded by the NIH must submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central (see http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/), an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. The NIH Public Access Policy is available at (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-033.html). For more information, see the Public Access webpage at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. For publications listed in the appendix and/or Progress report, Internet addresses (URLs) or PubMed Central (PMC) submission identification numbers must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles. Publicly accessible on-line journal articles or PMC articles/manuscripts accepted for publication that are directly relevant to the project may be included only as URLs or PMC submission identification numbers accompanying the full reference in either the Bibliography & References Cited section, the Progress Report Publication List section, or the Biographical Sketch section of the NIH grant application. A URL or PMC submission identification number citation may be repeated in each of these sections as appropriate. There is no limit to the number of URLs or PMC submission identification numbers that can be cited.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This FOA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. 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. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov/.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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