Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is developed as a Common Fund initiative (Roadmap) through the NIH Office of the NIH Director, Office of Strategic Coordination (http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/osc/). The FOA will be administered by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) on behalf of the NIH.

Funding Opportunity Title

NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory - Pragmatic Clinical Trials Demonstration Projects (UH2/UH3)

Activity Code

UH2/UH3 Phase Innovation Awards Cooperative Agreement

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

  • May 1, 2012 - See Notice NOT-RM-12-020. This Notice is to clarify the application submission instructions.
  • February 21, 2012 - See Notice NOT-RM-12-016. The purpose of this Notice is to clarify the Letter of Intent due date, the letter of intent should be sent by April 2, 2012.
  • January 27, 2012 - See Notice NOT-RM-12-013. The purpose of this notice is to inform the research community that a technical assistance videocast will be conducted.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-RM-12-002

Companion FOA

RFA-RM-11-021, U54 Specialized Center- Cooperative Agreements

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.310 

FOA Purpose

The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications for UH2/UH3 cooperative agreements for Demonstration Projects for efficient, large-scale pragmatic clinical trials to be conducted within the NIH Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory supported through the NIH Common Fund.  (See http://commonfund.nih.gov/hcscollaboratory/). Awards made through this FOA will initially support a one-year milestone-driven planning phase (UH2), with possible rapid transition to the second implementation phase (UH3) for a pragmatic trial Demonstration Project. UH3s will be awarded after administrative review of eligible UH2s that have met the scientific milestone and feasibility requirements necessary for the UH3 implementation phase. The UH2/UH3 application must be submitted as a single application, and applicants should note specific instructions for each phase in this FOA. 

The overall goal of the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory program is to strengthen the national capacity to implement cost-effective large-scale research studies that engage health care delivery organizations as research partners. Under the aegis of the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory Program, the NIH expects to: establish a Coordinating Center that will provide national leadership and technical expertise in all aspects of research with HCSs; support the design and rapid execution of a set of high impact Demonstration Projects that will conduct research studies in partnerships with health care delivery systems; and make available data, tools and resources from these and other projects to facilitate a broadened base of research partnerships with HCSs.

Key Dates
Posted Date

January 24, 2012

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

April 2, 2012

Letter of Intent Due Date

April 2, 2012

Application Due Date(s)

May 2, 2012, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June-July, 2012

Advisory Council Review

August 2012

Earliest Start Date(s)

September 2012

Expiration Date

May 3, 2012

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (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

1. Nature of the Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory program

This initiative is funded through the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for transformation of research processes.

The overall goal of the NIH Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory program is to strengthen the national capacity to implement cost-effective large-scale research studies that engage health care delivery organizations as research partners. Under the aegis of the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory Program, the NIH expects to:

The aim of the HCS Research Collaboratory program is to provide a framework of implementation methods and best practices that will enable the participation of many health care systems in clinical research, not to support a defined health care research network. Demonstration Projects will be expected to provide innovative approaches to address and overcome important barriers to research in the setting of HCS partnerships. Health care systems have interest in participating in studies that may potentially impact the care they deliver, including pragmatic clinical trials, longitudinal cohort studies, population-based studies and studies addressing the incorporation of new technologies into care. Research conducted in partnership with health care systems is essential to strengthen the relevance of research results to ‘real world’ health practice. Successful approaches and best practices established through this initiative for research partnerships with health care systems should have a major impact on clinical research in the US. (See http://commonfund.nih.gov/hcscollaboratory/).

The increased adoption of health information technology tools is not only changing how care is delivered but also providing opportunities for expanded participation of health care delivery organizations in research. Equally, the potential to conduct research studies in real world settings on large numbers of participants allows questions to be addressed that researchers could not feasibly address with paper records. In the last two decades, health care delivery organizations have played valuable roles in a number of research projects and health surveillance activities funded by NIH institutes and centers (ICs) and by other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, most studies have utilized health care data, but have not conducted studies that require active engagement of patients or their practitioners as research participants or researchers. Moreover, these efforts have generally focused on the needs of specific studies and not on the overall process for engaging health care systems as partners.

Although the importance for biomedical research of strengthened partnerships with organizations that deliver health care is clear, many challenges exist, both cultural and practical. Many ethical and regulatory issues must be addressed to perform research in the health care delivery setting. Technical challenges to accessing and aggregating quality-controlled data from health care systems in understandable ways are not trivial. Health care providers’ focus is on providing the best treatment based on current knowledge whereas research studies have typically focused on studying which treatments work best in a precisely defined population. Research studies have frequently used endpoints that are not part of the normal evaluation of patients during a routine visit and interventions that are impractical in most care delivery settings. Policy issues can arise due to conflicts between the mission of delivering health care and that of generating new knowledge. Education and engagement of providers and patients on the value of research in the care setting, and of researchers on the relevance of their work to health systems, is urgently needed. This NIH HCS Research Collaboratory program will create a broad framework to tackle some of these major challenges.

The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications for UH2/UH3 cooperative agreements for Demonstration Projects for efficient, large-scale pragmatic clinical trials to be conducted within the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory. We define pragmatic trials as trials “primarily designed to determine the effects of an intervention under the usual conditions in which it will be applied”, in contrast with explanatory trials which “are primarily designed to determine the effects of an intervention under ideal circumstances” (http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/180/10/E47). The Collaboratory will be well-suited to measuring both the negative and positive health impacts, as well as resource implications, of treatments delivered in real world settings.

Demonstration Projects will be selected based both on the importance of the scientific questions and the potential to address impediments to research with health care delivery organizations. The NIH anticipates funding approximately six Demonstration Projects each year for the first three years of the funding period of this program. Demonstration Projects will utilize a phased award UH2/UH3 mechanism, with a planning (UH2) and an implementation (UH3) phase. The Coordinating Center will be responsible for providing support for the UH2 phase of these awards which will generally be one year in duration. Coordinating functions for the second (UH3) phase will be developed and negotiated separately. During the UH2 phase the Demonstration Project team in cooperation with the Coordinating Center will develop detailed plans for site implementation, determine resource needs, test data extraction methods for patient identification and outcome assessment, and develop plans for all aspects of ethical and regulatory oversight and protection of human subjects. All projects will be milestone-driven, and not all planning grants will be selected to move to the implementation phase.

NIH oversight of the HCS Research Collaboratory activities will include establishing an External Advisory Panel (EAP) to review the progress of all components of this unique program, and to make recommendations to the NIH.  At the end of year 3, the EAP will provide recommendations for the continuation or termination of the program, including options for sustainability, if continuation is recommended.

The HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of resources with broad availability of policies, practices, materials, and tools to facilitate collaboration, reuse, and replication.  In addition, the HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of study data from Demonstration Projects in a timely manner with appropriate privacy and confidentiality protections to facilitate further research, reuse of data, and replication.  Thus the HCS Research Collaboratory program expects grantees to implement a Resources and Data Sharing Plan consistent with achieving these program goals.  In addition, the HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of software and code that are developed or modified to accomplish aims of this program.  This may include, but is not limited to, software, tools, or code sets for extraction or definition of data from EHRs, clinical systems, and other health care data systems; implementation of new workflows for research studies; analytic and analysis programs; and tools for incorporation of patient input.  While software development is not the primary goal of this program, it is expected that software or sets of code may be developed under this program, thus, grantees and their sub-contractors are expected to implement a Software Sharing Plan consistent with achieving the goals of this program.

The first companion solicitation, Common Fund FOA (RFA-RM-11-021), seeks applications for the HCS Research Collaboratory Coordinating Center (CCC). The CCC will provide national leadership for the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory program. The Coordinating Center will 1) develop, adapt, and adopt technical and policy guidelines and best practices for the effective conduct of research studies in partnership with health care systems; 2) work collaboratively with each Demonstration Project team, including their partnering health care systems, to develop and test an implementation plan for the proposed Demonstration Projects while providing technical, design, and coordination support; and 3) disseminate widely Collaboratory endorsed policies and practices and lessons learned in the Demonstration Projects to inform best practices for broad participation of health care systems and their patients, practitioners, and staff in research studies to improve health and care delivery. The Coordinating Center will also serve as the central resource for the activities of the HCS Research Collaboratory program, including providing administrative support for the Steering Committee and its subcommittees.

2. Research Objectives

This FOA solicits applications for UH2/UH3 Phase Innovation cooperative agreements for Demonstration Projects for large-scale pragmatic trials  to be implemented through HCSs. All Demonstration Projects should address a question important for the health of the public. In some cases the Demonstration Project may provide a definitive test of the underlying question. In other cases, it may provide the ground work for a larger or longer study needed for definitive data to address the question.

The pragmatic trials should meet the criteria specified in http://www.cmaj.ca/content/180/10/E47.full, and the following criteria:

Partnerships with health care delivery organizations will be critical in implementing this work. It is anticipated that the Demonstration Projects will generally be performed with high volume electronically-supported integrated HCSs to establish efficiencies. The HCSs partnership must facilitate access to all data sources relevant to the project, which may include inpatient, outpatient, imaging, clinical laboratory and pharmacy data. Applicants, who may be from academic institutions or other organizations, must demonstrate experience in successful conduct of clinical research in partnerships with HCSs. The applicant must identify at least one HCS as a partner for the proposed Demonstration Project, and document the commitment of the organization to the project.

These projects will be funded as phased awards with a one-year planning phase (UH2) and the 2-4 year implementation phase (UH3). Applicants should clearly describe objectives and processes for both phases. Budgets for both phases should be included; the UH3 budget will undergo reassessment during the UH2 planning phase. Activities in both phases will depend on the specific study (e.g. disease domain, type of intervention, randomization strategy and proposed outcome measures).

During the UH2 or planning phase activities will generally include, but are not limited to:

Demonstration Project Implementation Phase (UH3): The objective of the 2-4 year UH3 implementation phase is to actually conduct the Demonstration Project within the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory, in accordance with activities planned in the UH2 phase. Implementation activities will depend upon the study, but in general the following goals should be achieved:

3. Research areas:

Examples of potential research questions that could be addressed by Demonstration Projects include, but are not limited to:

4. Milestones and UH2/UH3 Transition

The application should propose a well-defined set of milestones for the planning phase (UH2) and annual milestones for the implementation phase (UH3).  Milestones for each phase should be provided in a separate subheading at the end of the specific UH2 portion and the UH3 portion of the Research Strategy. It is understood that the proposed milestones for the UH3 phase will be revised as activities in the UH2 phase progress. In the event of an award, the Principal Investigator, NIH staff and the CCC will negotiate a list of milestones for each year of support.

At the completion of the UH2 planning phase, the applicant will be required to submit a detailed transition request for the UH3 Demonstration Project implementation phase. UH3 transition requests will undergo an administrative review to determine whether the Demonstration Project will be implemented. It is anticipated that not all funded UH2 projects will transition to the UH3 phase.

Prospective applicants should note that funding of UH2/UH3 Phase Innovation cooperative agreement does not guarantee support of the UH3 Demonstration Project implementation phase.  Applicants should understand that transition to the UH3 phase of the project will occur only if an administrative review process recommends that the UH2 planning activities have been successful and that the Demonstration Project can proceed with confidence of success. 

5. Additional Information

Description of the Demonstration Project should provide background on the underlying health question, and the evidence supporting the potential of the tested intervention to improve health and well-being. 

In preparing applications, applicants should note the following:

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement

Application Types Allowed

New
The OER Glossary and the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The Common Fund intends to commit $5 million in FY 2012 for approximately 10 UH2 (Planning Phase) awards, and $15 million in FY 2013-2016 for up to five subsequent UH3 (Implementation Phase) Demonstration Projects, contingent upon receiving scientifically meritorious applications.

Award Budget

The application budget for the one-year UH2 phase is limited to $500,000 in direct costs. Costs for each year of the UH3 phase are limited to $1 million in direct costs.

Award Project Period

The maximum period of funding for the entire UH2/UH3 application is 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 must complete the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations.

All Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s))

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 PD(s)/PI(s), visit the Multiple Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (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 in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial peer review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.

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 March 2, 2012 to:

Dale Birkle Dreer, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
6707 Democracy Blvd.
Suite 401, MSC 5475
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475 (For FedEx, etc., use 20817)
Telephone: 301-451-6570
Email: birkled@mail.nih.gov

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory 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.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exception or additional requirement:

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

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

For the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory Pragmatic Trial Demonstration Project application, the UH2/UH3 must be submitted as a single application and should be clearly organized into two phases: UH2 (Planning Phase) and UH3 (Implementation Phase). To clearly distinguish between the two phases, applicants should specify separate UH2 and UH3 information in each subsection (Specific Aims and Research Strategy) of the PHS 398 Research Plan as appropriate. 

In preparing the application, investigators should consider the fact that applications will be assigned a single impact/priority score for both UH2 and UH3 phases. Thus, clarity and completeness of the application with regard to specific goals and the feasibility of milestones are critical. 

PHS 398 Research Plan: For applications submitted for the FOA, the following should be included:

Specific Aims: Applicants should address the scientific questions to be answered, what specifically will be done during the proposed funding periods and the impact of addressing the research question on public health. Specific aims should be scientifically appropriate for the distinct phases of the project. Include separate aims for both the UH2 and UH2 phase, and clearly label them as UH2 specific aims and UH3 specific aims. Each specific aims section is limited to one page.

Research Strategy: Within the Research Strategy, applicants should first describe the UH2 Phase and then the UH3 Phase. The Research Strategy section should have a clear demarcation of the UH2 and UH3 portions of the application. It is not necessary to repeat background information or details of methods in the UH3 portion that were provided in the UH2 portion. The UH3 Phase must be described in sufficient detail to permit reviewers to assess significance and innovation of the proposed work and the strength of the experimental design.

Both the UH2 and the UH3 portions of the Research Strategy must have a section of proposed milestones, which should be well described, quantifiable, and scientifically justified to allow an assessment of progress. For UH2 milestones, applicants should delineate what they aim to achieve in order to proceed to the UH3 phase. The milestones should also include a timeline, a discussion of the suitability of the milestones for assessing success in the UH2 Phase, and a discussion of the implications of successful completion of these milestones for the proposed UH3 Phase. Annual milestones for the Demonstration Project implementation (UH3) phase should also be included, although it is understood that timelines and milestones for implementation in the UH3 phase that are proposed in the application will evolve as activities in the UH2 phase progress, if an Award is made.

The Research Strategy section is limited to 30 pages.

Other attachments:  Applications must include a letter of support from the HCS partner (s) that relates their commitment to the proposed research and outlines how the project fits with organizational priorities, the quality of the proposed EHR and data systems and the commitment of their IT staff to the project. The letter must provide a description of how the project would directly impact delivery of healthcare within their organization. The letter must also relate a willingness to adopt and implement the proposed Resources and Data Sharing Plan and Software Sharing Plan.

Sharing Plans

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, with the following modifications:

Resources and Data Sharing Plan

The HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of resources with broad availability of policies, practices, materials, and tools to facilitate collaboration, reuse, and replication.  In addition, the HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of study data from Demonstration Projects in a timely manner with appropriate privacy and confidentiality protections to facilitate further research, reuse of data, and replication.  Thus the HCS Research Collaboratory program expects grantees to implement a Resources and Data Sharing Plan consistent with achieving these program goals. 

A Resources and Data Sharing Plan is expected to be included in the application.  The initial review group will comment on the appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed Resources and Data Sharing Plan.  These comments will be factored into the determination of the overall score.  Program staff and advisors will also consider the adequacy of the proposed plan as one criterion for award.  The proposed Resources and Data Sharing Plan, after negotiation with the applicant when necessary, will be made a condition of award.  Evaluation of the annual non-competing progress reports will include assessment of the responsiveness to the Resources and Data Sharing Plan included in the Notice of Award.

Software Sharing Plan

The HCS Research Collaboratory program encourages sharing of software and code that are developed or modified to accomplish aims of this program.  This may include, but is not limited to, software, tools, or code sets for extraction or definition of data from EHRs, clinical systems, and other health care data systems; implementation of new workflows for research studies; analytic and analysis programs; and tools for incorporation of patient input.  While software development is not the primary goal of this program, it is expected that software or sets of code may be developed under this program by the Coordinating Center or the Demonstration Projects, thus, grantees and their sub-contractors are expected to implement a Software Sharing Plan consistent with achieving the goals of this program. 

A Software Sharing Plan, with appropriate timelines, is expected to be included in the application.  There is no particular software dissemination license required for this program.  However, NIH does have goals for software sharing and reviewers will be instructed to evaluate the sharing plan relative to the following goals:

The review group will comment on the appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed Software Sharing Plan to meet the goals of the NIH in this program and factor their review into the determination of the overall score. Program staff and advisors will also consider the adequacy of the proposed plan as one of the criteria for award. The proposed Software Sharing Plan, after negotiation with the applicant when necessary, will be made a condition of the award.  Evaluation of the annual non-competing progress reports will include assessment of the responsiveness to the Software Sharing Plan included in Notice of Award.

The application is expected to include letters from the officials responsible for intellectual property issues at the applicant institutions (including sub-contractor institutions) stating that the institution supports and agrees to abide by the Resources and Data Sharing Plan and the Software Sharing Plan put forth in the application.  These letters should be clear expressions of commitment consistent with achieving the goals of the program.

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 in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications via 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.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application 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 SF 424 (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 SF 424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). 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 components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.  

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

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.

This FOA includes Additional Review Criteria on Resource and Data Sharing and Software Sharing which require comment by reviewers and which are to be considered when determining the overall impact score.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority 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? Will addressing the research question realistically serve the goals of the overall Collaboratory program and strengthen the capacity, capability and cost-effectiveness of conducting large multi-site studies using primary clinical data and samples generated within health care delivery organizations? Is the proposed pragmatic trial addressing a major public health issue? Will the completion of the proposed pragmatic trial change the concepts, methods and technologies used in large scale community-based clinical research? Will the UH2 planning activities and subsequent Demonstration Project implementation in the UH3 phase achieve significant advances in the ability to perform large-scale pragmatic clinical trials?  

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(s)/PI(s), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Do the PD(s)/PI(s) and key personnel have the necessary expertise in design and implementation of large-scale clinical studies within a HCS network, (including using electronic health records for recruitment and outcomes assessment)? Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have extensive experience in performing proposed Planning Phase activities, and do they have a track record of successful investigative collaborations or partnerships with (within) health delivery organizations in conducting clinical studies within a HCS?    

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? Does the application challenge and seek to impact current conventional approaches to exploratory trials by utilizing novel approaches or methodologies for a pragmatic trial? Is a refinement, improvement or new strategy of approaches proposed? Does the application include mechanisms for leveraging novel collaboration and study oversight strategies?   

Approach

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

If the project involves 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? Will proposed planning activities (including plans for identifying a sufficiently large target patient population), and proposed milestones, allow for implementing the Demonstration Project?

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? Does the application provide sufficient rationale for the HCS (s) selected for the Demonstration Project? Has/have the HCS (s) successfully conducted clinical studies, such that there are sufficient infrastructure and expertise (e.g. clinical investigators, informaticists) to implement the proposed pragmatic trial within all proposed HCSs?       

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/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Milestones

Are the steps and milestones clearly defined? Are the milestones feasible, well developed and quantifiable with regard to specific goals and accomplishments? Are adequate criteria provided for the UH2 phase that will be utilized in determining milestone completion before proceeding to the next phase of the project? Are the UH3 milestones appropriate for the next phase of the project?

Resources and Data Sharing Plan 

The reviewers will comment on the appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed Resources and Data Sharing Plan to meet the goals of the HCS Research Collaboratory program and factor their evaluation into the determination of the overall impact score.

Software Sharing Plan

Reviewers will evaluate the Software Sharing Plan relative to the following goals:

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/priority 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) Sharing Model Organisms; and 2) 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(convened by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Review assignments 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 appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. 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(s)/PI(s) will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

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

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually 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

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading or navigating forms)
Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726
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

eRA Commons Help Desk(Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Catherine M. Meyers, M.D.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Telephone: 301-443-8206
Email: meyersc@mail.nih.gov

Barbara Wells, Ph.D.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Telephone: 301-435-0417
Email: wellsb@nhlbi.nih.gov

Russ Glasgow, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: 301-435-4912
Email: russ.glasgow@nih.gov

David Chambers, D. Phil.
National Institute of Mental Health
Telephone: 301-443-3747
Email: dchamber@mail.nih.gov

Peter Savage, MD
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Telephone: 301-594-8858
Email: savagep@niddk.nih.gov

Sarah Duffy, PhD
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Telephone: 301-443-6504
Email: duffys@nida.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Dale Birkle Dreer, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Telephone: 301-451-6570
Email: birkled@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

George Tucker, MBA
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Telephone: 301-594-9102
Email: tuckerg@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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