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 (Common Fund) through the NIH Office of the NIH Director, Office of Strategic Coordination ( The FOA will be administered by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) ( on behalf of the NIH.

Funding Opportunity Title

Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites (U24)

Activity Code

U24 Resource-Related Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type


Related Notices
  • April 4, 2016 - Notice of Date Change for the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) Steering Committee Meeting. See Notice NOT-RM-16-010.
  • December 16, 2015 - Notice of New Application Forms Package for RFA-RM-15-010. See Notice NOT-RM-16-003.
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-006 - Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals Section of NIH Grant Applications and Contract Proposals (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number


Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-RM-15-011, U24 Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements
RFA-RM-15-012, U24 Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements
RFA-RM-15-013, U01 Research Project--Cooperative Agreements
RFA-RM-15-014, U24 Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements
RFA-RM-15-015, U01 Research Project--Cooperative Agreements

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


Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this FOA is to invite applications for Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites to join the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC; Awards made through this FOA will support the establishment of sites that will use appropriate technology to conduct genomics, epigenomics, and transcriptomics analysis of tissues collected from human participants and animals undergoing a physical activity intervention, contribute that data to a public consortium database, and participate in the initial statistical analysis to generate fingerprints of candidate molecular transducers of physical activity.

Six companion FOAs will establish the elements of the MoTrPAC. Clinical Centers will collect tissues such as blood, muscle, and fat from well-characterized participants engaging in physical activity. Biospecimens will be analyzed by Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites and Metabolomics and Proteomics Chemical Analysis Sites. Preclinical Animal Studies Sites (PASS) will provide additional tissues that cannot be obtained from human subjects and allow for further characterization and validation of molecular transducers identified from the chemical analysis of human samples. A Bioinformatics Center will oversee data standardization, integration, and storage and will implement data sharing and computational tools for the integrated analysis of clinical and molecular data. Overall coordination will be provided by a Consortium Coordination Center (CCC).

Awardees will comprise the MoTrPAC and must work collaboratively to plan and execute a large study to discover and characterize the molecular transducers (the 'molecular map') that underlie the beneficial effects of physical activity in humans. The product will be a publically available data resource that will enhance and accelerate subsequent mechanistic research on diseases and conditions affected by physical activity.

Key Dates
Posted Date

October 8, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 18, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

February 18, 2016

Application Due Date(s)

March 18, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date. No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June-July 2016

Advisory Council Review

October 2016

Earliest Start Date

September 2016

Expiration Date

March 19, 2016

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

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

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

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

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 rapid progress.


The purpose of this FOA is to invite applications for the Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) ( The MoTrPAC is a national research consortium designed to discover and perform preliminary characterization of the range of molecular transducers (the ‘molecular map’) that underlie the effects of physical activity in humans. Awards made through this FOA will support the establishment of sites that will use appropriate technology to conduct genomics, epigenomics, and transcriptomics analysis of tissues collected from human participants and animals undergoing a physical activity intervention, contribute that data to a public consortium database, and participate in the initial statistical analysis to generate fingerprints of candidate molecular transducers of physical activity.


The goal of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans Consortium (MoTrPAC) is to assemble a comprehensive map of the molecular changes that occur in response to physical activity and, when possible, relate these changes to the benefits of physical activity. This map will contain the many molecular signals that transmit the health effects of physical activity, and indicate how they are altered by variables such as age, sex, body composition, fitness level, and chronic exposure to exercise. Information will be housed in a user-friendly public data resource that any researcher can access to develop hypotheses regarding the molecular mechanisms through which physical activity can improve or preserve health.

Lack of physical activity is at the root of numerous common chronic health problems plaguing many individuals around the world. Despite this, we have a poor understanding of the actual molecular mechanisms by which the benefits of physical activity are realized. Molecular signals produced by physical activity are likely to be numerous and diverse, with impacts on many target tissues. The development of a ‘molecular map’ of circulating signals produced by physical activity and the molecular changes that result in target tissues is a daunting task. Yet, it is now possible because of recent advances in several powerful high-throughput discovery approaches, including metabolomics, proteomics, genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics.

Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC)

The MoTrPAC will be funded via cooperative agreements as a consortium, through six interrelated FOAs. Clinical Centers (RFA-RM-15-015) are central to the overall success of the project. The clinical cohort will consist of healthy males and females of all ages and of different races/ethnicities; some volunteers will be highly active at the beginning of the study, while others will have sedentary lifestyles. Investigators will characterize all participants at baseline with respect to age, sex, and objective physiologic, morphometric, and metabolic fitness measures, as well as collect biospecimens (e.g., blood; skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue) before and at several times after a single episode of endurance or resistance exercise. Sedentary participants will participate in a multi-week endurance or resistance training program, after which the investigators will again assess appropriate objective physiologic, morphometric, and metabolic fitness measures before and sample blood and tissues before and after an acute bout of exercise. Samples will be extensively analyzed using high-throughput technologies that allow rapid identification of many different biological molecules from large numbers of samples. This service will be provided by the Metabolomics and Proteomics Chemical Analysis Sites (RFA-RM-15-011) and the Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites (RFA-RM-15-010). Thorough analysis will enable characterization of a variety of molecules that are altered following physical activity and may thereby contribute to mediating the effects of physical activity. Additional awards will allow Preclinical Animal Study Sites (PASS, RFA-RM-15-013) to conduct experiments in animals that will provide tissues to the Chemical Analysis Sites for the identification of molecular transducers induced by physical activity in tissues that cannot be obtained from humans (e.g., lung, liver, brain, and heart), as well as conduct studies focused on preliminary characterization of novel transducers. Molecular data from the Chemical Analysis Sites and physiologic, morphometric, and metabolic data from the Clinical Centers and PASS will be integrated, stored, and shared by the Bioinformatics Center (RFA-RM-15-012). A Consortium Coordinating Center (CCC, RFA-RM-15-014) will coordinate the entire project including PD/PI meeting organization, training, biospecimen storage and shipping, and workshops. A Steering Committee will design and oversee the entire study to ensure that all aspects of the clinical and animal protocols and the analysis plans will contribute to the mapping of molecular changes that occur in response to physical activity and to prioritize which molecules merit additional characterization by the PASS. An institution can apply to more than one of these FOAs.

Study timeline: The first year will be set aside to assemble the Steering Committee and plan the study, during which time only limited funds will be awarded. It will be followed by five additional funded years during which the study will be implemented. PASS are expected to begin to generate tissues at the end of the first year, and so Chemical Analysis Sites will likely begin to analyze animal plasma and tissues early during the second awarded year, while clinical studies get underway. Molecular data should be continually and sequentially available to Consortium members as it is acquired in order to best inform all aspects of the study. Human tissue samples will be analyzed on a rolling basis as they are made available, which is expected to be late in year 2. Clinical Centers are expected to complete their studies by the end of year 5. Analysis of tissues will continue through year 6, and all data are expected to be deposited in a public data resource by the end of year 6. Molecular fingerprints will be gleaned from the data as they are collected, and it is expected that substantial data analyses will take place in year 6. Staff from all MoTrPAC elements are encouraged to participate in analysis of this highly complex and rich dataset. The Bioinformatics Center personnel will facilitate these data analyses and data dissemination.

Applicants are expected to take full advantage whenever possible of resources such as databases, catalogues, technologies, protocols, and data standards developed through other national and international efforts, particularly NIH Common Fund programs which are described at Examples include Big Data to Knowledge (; Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (; Libraries of Integrated Networks of Cellular Signatures (LINCS) (; Epigenomics (; Extracellular RNA Communication (; Human Microbiome Project (; Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) (; and Metabolomics (

Prospective applicants are invited to an informational webinar with NIH staff on 10/22/2015 at 2:00 pm EDT. Details will be posted at

Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Sites

NIH plans to fund one to two sites with expertise in next generation nucleic acid sequencing and other high throughput technologies necessary for DNA sequencing, transcriptional profiling of coding and non-coding RNA, and epigenomics, to aid in discovery of a broad range of molecular transducers (the ‘molecular map’) that underlie the effects of physical activity in humans. Two to four similar sites with expertise in metabolomics and proteomics will be awarded via a separate FOA (RFA-RM-015-011). All awarded Chemical Analysis Sites will work together to provide a comprehensive molecular analysis of human and animal tissue samples to describe the molecular signals and changes that transduce the benefits of physical activity.

Although the clinical study protocol is not yet known, it can be assumed for planning purposes that approximately 3000 healthy participants of both sexes, all ages including children, races and ethnicities, with a variety of BMI and fitness levels will be enrolled. Participants will be thoroughly characterized physiologically and metabolically. Whole genome sequencing should be done on all human participants. They will be exposed to acute physical activity (either resistance or endurance exercise) and blood and skeletal muscle or adipose tissues will be sampled before and at several times afterward to describe the time course of molecular changes in response to physical activity. A subset of the participants will undergo approximately twelve weeks of exercise training, after which they will be characterized using the same battery of tests used at baseline. They will be subjected to another acute bout of physical activity with blood and tissue samples taken before and at several times afterward, to monitor the changes in response to physical activity due to chronic exposure. Although the number of tissue samples has not yet been determined, for the purposes of planning an application it can be assumed that there will be approximately 5000 acute exercise bouts with 5 blood samples and 2-3 tissue samples each, resulting in about 25,000 human blood samples, 7500 skeletal muscle (200mg each), and 7500 adipose tissues (1g each). Half of these will be in response to endurance physical activity, half in response to resistance physical activity. In parallel, animal studies will be conducted in an appropriate model of physical activity, such as rats, that best mimics the human study, and additional tissues that cannot be obtained from people will be harvested, leading to 5,000 to 10,000 samples of tissues such as blood, muscle, heart, brain, kidney, liver, and white and brown fat.

The overall goal of the study is to identify and characterize to the extent possible the molecules that are likely to transmit the healthful benefits of physical activity, and arise in response to acute and chronic physical activity. These molecular transducers will be correlated with the age, body composition, sex, race/ethnicity, fitness level measured by several indices, and changes due to chronic exposure to physical activity. Molecular changes occurring in skeletal muscle in response to endurance and resistance exercise have been quite well described, and several peptide and small molecule myokines and other cytokines have been discovered that communicate from exercising tissues to non-exercising tissues. A recent study showed that some of the benefits of exercise could be conferred to sedentary rodents by transplanting subcutaneous white adipose tissue from chronically exercised rodents. Therefore, an important focus should likely be on identifying all circulating signals in blood, and their originating and target tissues and putative pathways.

Applicants should plan to conduct whole genome sequencing on all human participants. Many metabolite concentrations are highly heritable: in a recent study using the Framingham cohort, heritability explained greater than 20 percent of the inter-individual variation for 66 percent of measured metabolites. These new ‘omics GWAS’ approaches for quantitative traits may allow MoTrPAC data to be mapped onto genes that are protective or dispose toward disease and used to explore databases developed in larger scale clinical trials and studies. Plans for genomic analysis should include estimated power to correlate variants with molecular or physiological traits.

Transcriptomics, either RNAseq or microarray approaches, will be extremely important for the analysis of plasma. Circulating coding and non-coding RNAs and DNA may be important signals and should be thoroughly investigated. Exosomes, which are small vesicles and are secreted during physical activity, contain mRNA, miRNA, proteins, and small molecules; they can be targeted specifically from one tissue to another. Exosome analysis may therefore be particularly informative and will require collaboration between several types of chemical analysis sites. The circulating molecules arising in response to physical activity and known to alter transcriptional or translational programs in target tissues may then be compared to such changes described in potential target tissues. The time courses of these molecules in blood may be highly informative.

The analysis of non-blood tissues should focus on finding signal molecules that are secreted in response to physical activity and changes in the tissues themselves that are likely to occur directly in response to physical activity or to signals arising from other tissues. These changes include transcription of coding and noncoding RNA and epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation or protein binding. Applicants should describe the highest priorities for transcriptional and epigenetic analysis. The time courses of such changes following acute or chronic physical activity exposures may be highly informative. Different tissues may require a tailored set of analyses. Targeted and non-targeted approaches can be employed. Profiles of these molecules should be related to reference data when possible and strategies should be described for analysis in relation to other extant or developing data resources.

Proteomics and Metabolomics Sites awarded through RFA-RM-015-011 will synergize with the Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Sites funded through this FOA. For example, they will use their expertise to monitor lipids, modified amino acids, peptides, and other small molecules, and a limited set of proteins in plasma. These Sites will also conduct a thorough analysis of metabolites and proteins in human skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, and in other tissues from animal models. The emphasis will be on the metabolic and post-transcriptional changes induced directly by physical activity as well as those that occur in response to circulating or other (neural) signals from exercising tissues. Efforts will result in time courses of small molecules, peptides, proteins and their post-translational modifications, such as those that are regulated via phosphorylation, methylation and redox state. Researchers will also measure histone modifications to complement the epigenetics analyses done at the Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Sites.

Given the extensive scope of signals and molecular changes expected to occur in response to physical activity, the many powerful technologies that can be brought to bear for analysis, and the broadly inclusive nature of the expected clinical study, Chemical Analysis Site investigators will need to prioritize and strategize to obtain a reasonably thorough integrated analysis across the human participants and animal tissues, using the available funds. Applications should therefore propose a strategy to best analyze tissues to discover as many of the molecular transducers that arise over time following acute physical activity as possible, and to characterize them across a wide range of age, sex, body composition, race/ethnicity, fitness, and exposure to chronic physical activity. Applicants should justify the choice of analyses with reference to technical and scientific validity and cost-effectiveness. A final overall analysis plan will be devised by the Steering Committee in the first year of the project. Awarded sites will work together to provide the approved range of analyses. Molecule identification will likely be the key to a complete molecular description of the response to physical activity, and Chemical Analysis Sites should propose a strategy for identification of novel signals likely to be important. To facilitate timely sharing and analysis of data, Chemical Analysis Sites will assess the data quality and identify important fingerprints of molecules that respond to physical activity, and work closely with the Bioinformatics Center to deposit data quickly so that other Consortium members can have access to it and can apply appropriate secondary data analysis techniques such as gene network and pathway analyses.

Applicants may want to propose limited pilot projects of some analytical approaches/platforms on a small sample of tissues early in the project, such as specific epigenomic marks or specialized exosome analysis. These may then be expanded into a larger set of tissues if proven to be informative. Applicants may also propose well-justified pilot studies to analyze samples that are not currently planned for collection, such as urine, or stool samples for microbiome metagenomics analysis. These will be considered by the Steering Committee during the planning stage of the project.

Chemical Analysis Sites will be expected to

  • Work with the Steering Committee to finalize a plan for the overall study during the first year of award, including the development of common data elements, metadata and data sharing agreements;
  • Propose a plan for tissue analysis, and work with other Chemical Analysis Sites to devise the final plan for the optimum analysis of tissue samples collected from human participants and animals (this can include but is not limited to whole genome sequencing on all human participants, RNAseq to discover and/or measure coding and noncoding RNA species in plasma and solid tissues, microarray analysis of circulating miRNA, analysis of RNA and DNA in isolated exosomes, changes in tissue epigenetic features such as DNA methylation and nucleosome position, and patterns and time courses of bound transcription factors in solid tissues using ChIP-seq).  ;
  • Advise and facilitate appropriate sample handling and preparation for all assays at the Clinical Centers, PASS, and Chemical Analysis Sites;
  • Provide an appropriate state-of-the-art set of assays, with protocols, for targeted quantitative measurements, and for untargeted discovery analysis of tissues;
  • Propose and carry out pilot studies of well-justified, high-potential types of analyses in small numbers of tissues;
  • Design and validate assays as needed, although completely novel assays should be rare;
  • Perform qualitative and/or quantitative assays and generate datasets of the molecules that change in response to physical activity in human and animal tissues, with appropriate quality controls;
  • Perform initial analysis of datasets to generate fingerprints of candidate molecular transducers and aid the efforts of the Bioinformatics Center;
  • Identify important novel features within those fingerprints;
  • Carefully track all data and metadata throughout the analysis, from sample receipt to data deposit in an appropriate database;
  • Provide all data in a standard format, in collaboration with the Bioinformatics Center and other Chemical Analysis sites. The goal is to ensure that all data (proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, genomics, epigenomics, physiologic and metabolic data) can be analyzed together. Whenever possible, the data formats and common data elements should be drawn from existing widely used data repositories; and
  • Contribute to overall data analysis and interpretation, and preparation of publications and resources originating in the MoTrPAC.

Proteomics and metabolomics will be performed at additional chemical analysis sites which are invited via RFA-RM-015-011.  Therefore, applications with such technologies will not be considered responsive to this FOA.

Program Formation and Governance

The award funded under this FOA will be a cooperative agreement (see Section VI.2.A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award). Close interactions amongst the awardee, awardees from the companion FOAs, and NIH will be required. Shortly after the award, the PDs/PIs and NIH program staff will form the MoTrPAC Steering Committee. Each funded element will have one vote and the NIH Project Scientist(s) will have one vote. Consortium governance rests with the Steering Committee and is subject to oversight by an NIH MoTrPAC Working Group of the NIH Common Fund.

The NIH will appoint a chair of the Steering Committee from among the MoTrPAC PDs/PIs. The Steering Committee Chair will preside at all Steering Committee meetings and serve on an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will invite expert consultants as needed, assist as necessary with annual progress reports, and appoint and charge members of subcommittees. These subcommittees will facilitate development, implementation, and monitoring of specific MoTrPAC functions as needed, such as participant phenotyping, study monitoring (protocol adherence, participant safety, etc.), disbursement of tissues among the Chemical Analysis Sites, tissue analysis, data handling, and quality control. Key personnel will be expected to serve on subcommittees as appropriate according to their expertise.

The Steering Committee will meet in person three times per year during the first year and at least annually thereafter. Monthly teleconferences will be held for the Steering Committee and its subcommittees, and these may be more frequent at times to facilitate planning, etc. The CCC will be responsible for arranging and facilitating the meeting and teleconferences. Applicants should plan to attend an initial planning meeting of the Steering Committee in Bethesda, Maryland, on October 13-14, 2016.

The Steering Committee will have responsibility for developing the overall scientific direction of the program; assuring compliance with program policies and procedures; designing study protocols; implementing studies; ensuring data quality and completeness; planning for analysis and interpretation of data; and reporting results in presentations and publications. The Steering Committee must work cooperatively and interactively during the first year to develop the final protocols and all of the materials necessary to begin the human studies twelve months after award. The final plan, with a study timeline and milestones, will be submitted for consideration by the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group and the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) before the second year of funds will be awarded.

First year planning activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing physical activity protocols and plans for physiologic, morphometric, metabolic, and other phenotyping of participants;
  • Standardizing measures of fitness and physical activity;
  • Selecting inclusion/exclusion criteria and sample size;
  • Determining the kind of tissues to be sampled, and the number and timing of biospecimen collection from participants;
  • Overseeing plans to address the various bio-ethical issues and concerns (e.g., handling of sensitive data, participatory risk, involvement of vulnerable populations, incidental findings) that are likely to arise during the conduct of the research;
  • Obtaining approvals as needed at the Consortium Site institutions, such as IRB and IACUC approvals;
  • Preparing a Manual of Operations with primary responsibility residing with the CCC;
  • Planning the animal studies that will augment/complement the clinical protocol by providing tissues for analysis from exercised animal models that cannot be obtained from people;
  • Developing a detailed plan for storage and shipping of all biospecimens;
  • Developing detailed plans for the thorough analysis of sampled tissues in the Chemical Analysis Sites, using genetics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, and proteomics. This includes deciding which tissues will be analyzed by each method and adjusting these decisions as results and technologies become available;
  • Planning for repositing tissue samples and establishing protocols for access to those samples;
  • Planning for data standards, anonymization, assembly, curation, access, analysis, and storage, with primary responsibility residing with the Bioinformatics Center;
  • Agreeing to abide by a common data sharing plan as appropriate and consistent with achieving goals of the program; and
  • Developing a detailed timeline with concrete milestones for the entire study.

External Study Monitoring

Five to seven External Scientific Advisors will provide input based on their individual areas of expertise as needed over the course of the program. They will assist the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group regarding processes and substantive issues that arise during the project and will help ensure that the resources to be delivered by the program are as useful as possible for the end users.

An independent DSMB will be established to monitor and provide recommendations to the NIH regarding participant recruitment/enrollment, safety, data quality, and other issues, as appropriate. The DSMB will also review the Steering Committee-approved common protocol, informed consent templates, milestones, and monitoring plans prior to the start of recruitment. A single central Institutional Review Board (IRB) may be used if it serves to streamline the protocol approval process and to standardize the monitoring of human subjects’ protection in the MoTrPAC.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.

Application Types Allowed


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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIH intends to fund an estimate of 1-2 awards. The amount of funds available for these awards is $150,000 for FY2016, and a total of approximately $31,000,000 for fiscal years 2017-2021. Actual amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $50,000 direct costs in the first year, $3,000,000 direct costs in year 2, $4,500,000 in direct costs in each of years 3 through 5, and to $3,500,000 direct costs in year 6.  Budgets should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

Applicants should request a project duration of six years.  

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

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

    • Hispanic-serving Institutions
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
    • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
    • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)


  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government ? NIH Intramural Program
  • U.S. Territory or Possession


  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).
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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Richard Ingraham, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-496-8551

Page Limitations

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

  • For this specific FOA, the Research Strategy section is limited to 30 pages.
Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

Facilities & Other Resources. The following information should be included in the Facilities and Other Resources attachment.  Provide detailed information regarding the resources--such as laboratory equipment, instrumentation, computers and software--available to the applicant, either in the applicant lab or in a core facility.  Define the proposed Site’s capabilities relative to the current state-of-the-art of the field. Provide sufficient detail to allow reviewers to judge the contributions and interrelationships of relevant ongoing research. Briefly describe any additional features of the institutional environment that will contribute to the success of the MoTrPAC.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  Key personnel should demonstrate strong scientific, administrative, technical, and management expertise in the areas that are critical to the success of the application, including experience with working productively in collaborative environments; and experience with administrative management of resource-based operations that serve the biomedical research community, such as reagent-generating or service-providing consortia or centers. Applicants are encouraged to include in their team expertise in physical activity research so that the application best captures the kinds of analyses likely to be valuable to describe the molecular map of physical activity.

R&R Budget

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

The budget for the first year will be for participation with the Steering Committee, in study planning activities, and preparation for sample analysis only. This should include minimal personnel costs and travel to three Steering Committee Meetings.

The budgets for year 2 and following years will include costs incurred for analysis of human and animal tissues. These include personnel, supplies, sample preparation and analysis, quality control and appropriate bioinformatics, and any costs associated with data transfer to the CCC. Budgets for the second year and after of the award may be adjusted after the study has been completely planned in year 1.  It is not the purpose of this FOA to support the purchase of instrumentation, which will not be allowed unless there is compelling justification.

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

It is recognized that applicants will NOT know in advance with whom they will be collaborating because the members of the MoTrPAC will not be known before award; therefore applicants should make reasonable assumptions as to the types of collaborations that will be available and build flexibility into their research plans.

Specific Aims: The overall goal is to contribute to the development of a molecular map of transducers that underlie the effects of physical activity in humans by analyzing tissues collected in MoTrPAC Clinical Centers and PASS using genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics technologies. Describe each specific goal and the role of the applicant Chemical Analysis Site in achieving the overall objectives of the MoTrPAC.

Research Strategy:

Tissue Analysis Plan: Each application should include a tissue analysis plan which outlines the type and number of human and animal tissues to be analyzed by each proposed technology, along with the amount of tissue needed. At a minimum, genome sequencing will be done on all human participants. It is unlikely that all desired analyses can be done on all tissue samples. Therefore, the plan should indicate which analyses should be done on all or most samples, and which should be done on a subset. Each element of this plan should be justified in terms of cost and scientific contribution to the overall goals of the MoTrPAC. It is permissible to suggest that some analyses be piloted on a small number of samples early in the course of the project; in that event, criteria should be provided for deciding to scale up analysis to larger numbers of tissues.

Project Structure: It is anticipated that at a minimum the Chemical Analysis Site will have an Administrative, a Bioinformatics, and one or more Chemical Analysis elements.

Administrative Element: This element will be led by the PD/PI and be responsible for the overall management of the work done by the Chemical Analysis Site and for coordination with the CCC and other MoTrPAC sites. It will work closely with the Chemical Analysis Element to ensure receipt, preparation and analysis of the various tissue specimens collected at the Clinical Centers and PASS. The PD/PI will likely be assisted by a program coordinator who will oversee day-to-day operations and manage budgets, travel, communication with the Consortium, etc.

The description should include the following:

  • The roles of staff;
  • Overall management plan including travel;
  • Plan for communication and collaboration with the CCC, Bioinformatics Center, and other Consortium Sites;
  • Willingness to work with the Steering Committee to plan the entire study during the first year, including a complete plan for analysis of collected tissues, to comply with any common protocols devised during the planning year, to work closely with other awarded Chemical Analysis Sites, and to share all data in a timely manner (defined by the Steering Committee) with the Bioinformatics Center and all members of the Consortium during the lifetime of the project as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program, and with the greater public upon completion of the project;
  • Management of the Bioinformatics and Chemical Analysis Elements, including receipt and records associated with tissue samples; and
  • Evidence for the ability to receive tissues collected at the Clinical Centers and PASS and to submit data to the Bioinformatics Center in a timely and standardized fashion.

Bioinformatics Element: The Bioinformatics Element will include expertise to assist in organization, curation and assignment of spectral features to specific molecules, and analysis of the data arising from the Chemical Analysis Element(s). Bioinformatics staff will likely work closely with similar staff in the other Chemical Analysis Sites as well as the Bioinformatics Center to assemble, integrate, and analyze data.

The description should include the following:

  • The roles of staff;
  • Proposed data formats for each type of analysis;
  • Plans and timelines for data management, protection, quality control, and movement to an appropriate site for access by the MoTrPAC Bioinformatics Center;
  • Bioinformatics tools and plans for data analysis to take place at the Chemical Analysis Site, including curation, quality control, and statistical analyses;
  • How the site intends to participate in data analysis and data interpretation of the entire MoTrPAC dataset; and
  • Potential for comparison of MoTrPAC data with existing or developing datasets such as GWAS data, Libraries of Integrated Networks of Cellular Signatures (LINCS), etc.

Chemical Analysis Element(s): Each Site will have one or more Chemical Analysis Elements in which tissue samples will be analyzed. The staff will be expert and experienced in one or more high-throughput discovery chemical analysis approaches. Staff will assist the PD/PI and inform the planning process regarding the development of standard operating procedures for sample collection, processing, choice of analyses, etc. They will be able to provide high quality, reproducible analysis of tissue samples collected at the Clinical Centers and PASS.

The description should include the following:

  • The roles of staff;
  • The types of tissues to be analyzed from among those to be collected by the Clinical and Animal Studies Sites, such as human or animal plasma, human and animal skeletal muscle or adipose tissue, or other tissues from animals such as heart, liver, kidney, brown adipose tissue, etc.;
  • The scope of analytes to be measured and the specific separation and analytic approaches employed including the rationale for their selection and brief protocols. This should include how many samples could be analyzed in each assay and a justification for assay and tissue choice;
  • Tissue handling/preparation needed at the site where it is obtained (clinical or animal site) and handling/preparation that would be done at the proposed Genomics, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics Chemical Analysis Site;
  • Quality controls to be employed, including plans for standardization and validation;
  • Any analyses proposed to be done as small pilots early in the project period and how the decision would be made to scale up those analyses;
  • The capacity of the proposed site (# tissues/year) for each type of analysis, as well as a projected timeline for analyzing tissues as they are collected; and
  • Strategies to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the analysis pipeline and/or reduce the turnaround time.

Preliminary Data: Preliminary data should indicate that the expertise of the staff and the resources available in terms of equipment and infrastructure are appropriate for the project. Preliminary data should indicate the feasibility of proposed assays, as well as the quality, reliability, and reproducibility of resulting data. Applicants should indicate an ability to handle large sets of tissue specimens for the proposed analysis. In addition, data can be presented to illustrate proposed bioinformatics strategies for identifying important molecular fingerprints and strategies for identification of novel signals in those fingerprints.

It is appropriate to provide evidence that the site can function well in a consortium, adhere to agreed-upon common protocols, receive tissues, produce and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion, and operate within the proposed organizational structure.

Milestones and Timeline: Because this Consortium will require specific achievable goals, milestones should be proposed by the applicant.  Describe an approximate timeline for the proposed analyses, along with milestones. These should address at a minimum the time to full production, throughput at full production, and time from tissue receipt to data deposition at full production.

Letters of Support: Institutional commitments made to the Chemical Analysis Site should be clearly documented.

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

  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. Data from the MoTrPAC are expected to be handled so as to increase the value of the significant public investment in the creation and operation of the Consortium. Consistent with achieving the goals of the program, NIH expects that all project datasets will be widely shared with the scientific community via existing databases such as dbGaP and/or via the Bioinformatics Center for the promotion of additional research, while carefully observing standards of participant privacy, confidentiality, and secure management of health information. Information such as new analytical methods and metabolic, proteomic, and transcriptomic data are expected to be made available through the Bioinformatics Center or via an open access section of a database [such as the Human Metabolome Database (HMDB) or the Scripps Metabolite and Tandem MS Database (METLIN)], other public web sites, and publication in the scientific literature. Cloud-based access to the data and associated informatics elements will be expected to be made widely available, first within the Consortium, and subsequently within the general scientific community. All funded elements are expected to participate in achieving high data quality, making the data available publicly in a timely and accessible manner, and analyzing this rich and valuable dataset.  All applicants should name a responsible individual as contact for data sharing both within and outside the Consortium, and clearly identify support requested for data sharing.
  • Resources generated by the MoTrPAC are also expected to be widely shared with the Consortium and the broader scientific community for research. The Steering Committee will develop and implement Consortium-wide approaches for resource deposition and use, including submission to national repositories as appropriate. Resources include human and animal biospecimens, instrumentation and assays, special standards, protocols, bioinformatics tools, and animal models.

Specific Plan for Sharing Software: A software dissemination plan, with appropriate timelines, is expected in the application. There is no prescribed single license for software produced in this project; however, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the software sharing and dissemination plan based on its likely impact. A dissemination plan guided by the following principles is thought to promote the largest impact:

1. The software should be freely available to biomedical researchers and educators in the non-profit sector, such as institutions of education, research institutions, and government laboratories. 

2. The terms should also permit the dissemination and commercialization of enhanced or customized versions of the software, or incorporation of the software or pieces of it into other software packages.

3. To preserve utility to the community, the software should be transferable such that another individual or team can continue development in the event that the original investigators are unwilling or unable to do so.

4. The terms of software availability should include the ability of researchers outside the Center and its collaborating projects to modify the source code and to share modifications with other colleagues as well as with the Center. An applicant should take responsibility for creating the original and subsequent “official” versions of a piece of software.

5. Given the long-term goals of this initiative to create software and tools for MoTrPAC research that will serve as a resource to biomedical researchers across the nation, applicants are asked to propose a plan to manage and disseminate the improvements or customizations of their tools and resources by others. This proposal may include a plan to incorporate the enhancements into the “official” core software, may involve the creation of an infrastructure for plug-ins, or may describe some other solution.

6. Any software dissemination plans represent a commitment by the institution (and its subcontractors as applicable) to support and abide by the plan.

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

Planned Enrollment Report

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

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Part I. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirements for obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and for completing and maintaining an active System for Award Management (SAM) registration. Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to on or before the application due date.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

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

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the CSR by email at when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Applications Involving the NIH Intramural Research Program

The requests by NIH intramural scientists will be limited to the incremental costs required for participation. As such, these requests 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 or F&A costs). 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. Applicants should indicate the number of person-months devoted to the project, even if no funds are requested for salary and fringe benefits.

If selected, appropriate funding will be provided by the NIH Intramural Program. NIH intramural scientists will participate in this program as PD/PIs in accord with the Terms and Conditions provided in this FOA. Intellectual property will be managed in accord with established policy of the NIH in compliance with Executive Order 10096, as amended, 45 CFR Part 7; patent rights for inventions developed in NIH facilities are NIH property unless NIH waives its rights.

Should an extramural application include the collaboration with an intramural scientist, no funds for the support of the intramural scientist may be requested in the application. The intramural scientist may submit a separate request for intramural funding as described above.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information

Important Update: See NOT-OD-16-006 for updated review language for applications for due dates on or after January 25, 2016.

1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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


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?  


Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?   


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?   


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? 

Is there a sound rationale for the selection of cutting edge technologies? Is there evidence of technical excellence and capacity for the proposed analytics, demonstrating general feasibility of the proposed approaches? Are proposed tests efficient in terms of cost and tissue sample use? Are the projected capacity and throughput of the site adequate? Are there plans for standardization and validation, if needed? Are procedures in place to ensure quality of data and consistency of the experimental techniques as well as adequate data management and statistical plans for the proposed analyses?

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  


Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?   

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Consortium Activities

Have the investigators stated their willingness to collaborate with NIH scientists and staff, and with investigators and staff from other elements of the MoTrPAC? Have the investigators stated a willingness to participate in planning the study and to use common protocols?Have the investigators stated a willingness to work with other awarded Chemical Analysis Sites to carry out analyses on human and animal tissues as planned by the Steering Committee? Have the investigators stated a willingness to share all data, biospecimens, and protocols in a timely manner with MoTrPAC members during the project period, and with the broader research community after the completion of the MoTrPAC project, consistent with achieving the goals of the program?

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

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


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.


Not Applicable


Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; 3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan; and 4) Software Sharing Plan.

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by CSR, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

Milestones are goals that are quantifiable for measuring success, and include associated annual or semi-annual quantitative criteria.  Final milestones will be designed during the first year in the planning phase.  After consideration by the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group, the final set of approved milestones will be specified in the NoA.  Progress toward achieving the final set of milestones will be evaluated by NIH program staff on an annual basis.  If justified, future year milestones may be revised based on data and information obtained during the previous year.  If, based on the progress report, the project does not meet the milestones, funding for the project may be either restricted or discontinued.

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 Part 75, 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:

  • Working together under the auspices of the MoTrPAC Steering Committee to determine research approaches, including definitions of objectives, protocol design, sample size and power calculations, and biospecimen analysis plans, and procedures for participant recruitment and follow-up, data collection, quality control, interim data and safety monitoring, final data analysis and interpretation, and publication of results.
  • Setting project milestones and conducting research in collaboration with the MoTrPAC Steering Committee and the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group.
  • Participating in group activities, including the Steering Committee and its subcommittees, as needed. This includes participation in planning activities during the first awarded year.
  • Refining and implementing the resulting consensus project plan at their sites and consortium-wide, in collaboration with the Steering Committee, CCC, and Bioinformatics Center.
  • Abiding by common definitions, protocols, procedures, as chosen by majority vote of the Steering Committee.
  • Providing protocols, reports, and data in a timely fashion as agreed upon by the Steering Committee.
  • Submitting periodic progress reports in a standard format, as agreed upon by the Steering Committee and NIH MoTrPAC Working Group.
  • Submitting all data to a Consortium-wide database, as agreed upon by the Steering Committee. All data generated by the MoTrPAC will be made public via the Consortium database and publications.
  • Publishing or otherwise disseminating results and other products of the study in accordance with study protocols and Steering Committee policies on publications. PI(s)/PD(s) will therefore prepare abstracts, presentations, and publications and collaborate Consortium-wide in making the public aware of the program.
  • Adhering to policies regarding data access, publication, and intellectual property established by the NIH and the Steering Committee. The NIH will have access to and may periodically review all data generated under an award. NIH staff may co-author publications of findings with awardees consistent with NIH and study policies.
  • Supporting involvement of industry or other third party in the study (e.g., participation by the third party; involvement of study resources or citing the name of the study or NIH support; or special access to study results, primary data/summary information, or resources) when determined to be advantageous and appropriate by the Steering Committee. However, except for licensing of patents or copyrights, support or involvement of any third party is permitted only after concurrence by NIH.
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of participant information acquired by the investigators as well as proprietary information of any company collaborating with the study.
  • Retaining custody of and having the primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

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

The Project Scientist(s) will have substantial scientific and programmatic involvement during the conduct of this activity through technical assistance, advice, and coordination. However, the role of NIH staff will be to facilitate and not to direct the activities. It is anticipated that decisions in all activities will be reached by consensus and that NIH staff will be given the opportunity to offer input to this process.

The Project Scientist(s):

  • Will serve as the contact point for all facets of the scientific interaction with the awardee(s). As required for the coordination of activities and to expedite progress, NIH may designate additional NIH staff to provide advice to the awardee on specific scientific and/or analytic issues. Such staff may include additional program officials and/or advisory personnel, who will provide direct technical assistance to the awardees to optimize the conduct and/or analysis of the study, or who may assist in the coordination of activities across multiple centers.
  • Will participate fully as a voting member of the Steering Committee and, where applicable, its subcommittees. The Project Scientist(s) will assist and facilitate the group process and not direct it. This includes assisting in developing operating guidelines, quality control procedures, and consistent policies for dealing with situations that require coordinated action. The Project Scientist(s) will be responsible for working with the awardee as needed to manage the logistic aspects of the project.
  • Will invite five to seven External Scientific Advisors, who do not hold MoTrPAC awards, to work with the Steering Committee as needed and advise the NIH regarding the planning and conduct of the study. The External Scientific Advisors will meet with the Steering Committee for its in-person meetings and teleconferences as needed.
  • Will serve as a liaison and help coordinate activities, including acting as a liaison to other NIH Institutes/Centers, and as an information resource for the awardees. The Project Scientist(s) will also help coordinate the efforts of the MoTrPAC with other groups conducting similar efforts.
  • Will report periodically on progress to the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group and through it to the NIH Common Fund.
  • Will serve as a resource to study investigators with respect to other ongoing NIH activities that may be relevant to the study to facilitate compatibility with the NIH missions and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
  • Will assist by providing advice in the management and technical performance of the investigations and by coordinating required regulatory clearances for investigational agents used in the study that are held by NIH.
  • May coordinate activities among awardees by assisting in the design, development, and coordination of a common research or clinical protocol and statistical evaluations of data; in the preparation of questionnaires and other data recording forms; and in the publication of results.
  • May serve as co-authors on study publications. In general, to warrant co-authorship, NIH staff must have contributed to the following areas: (a) design of the concepts or experiments being tested; (b) performance of significant portions of the activity; (c) participation in analysis and interpretation of study results; and (d) preparation and authorship of pertinent manuscripts.
  • In addition, a separate NIH Program Official identified in the Notice of Award (NoA) will be responsible for the normal stewardship and monitoring of the award including review and approval of all progress reports and all budgetary decisions. Additional responsibilities for the NIH Program Official include:
  • Interacting with the PD(s)/PI(s) on a regular basis to monitor study progress. Monitoring may include regular communications with the PD/PI and staff, periodic site visits, observation of field data collection and management techniques, quality control, fiscal review, and other relevant matters, as well as attendance at Steering Committee, DSMB, and related meetings. The NIH retains, as an option, periodic review of progress by researchers not involved with the study.
  • Reviewing and approving protocols prior to implementation to insure they are within the scope of peer review, for safety considerations, as required by Federal regulations.
  • Monitoring protocol progress, and may request that a study protocol be closed to accrual for reasons including (a) accrual rate insufficient to complete study in a timely fashion; (b) accrual goals met early; (c) poor protocol performance; (d) patient safety and regulatory concerns; (e) study results that are already conclusive; and (f) emergence of new information that diminishes the scientific importance of the study question. The NIH will not permit further expenditures of NIH funds for a study after requesting closure except as specifically approved by the NIH.
  • Making recommendations for continued funding based on (a) overall study progress, including sufficient patient and/or data accrual; (b) cooperation in carrying out the research (e.g., attendance at Steering Committee meetings, implementation of group decisions, compliance with the terms of award and reporting requirements); and/or (c) maintenance of a high quality of research, which will allow pooling of data and comparisons across multiple cooperative agreement awards for common data elements.
  • Appointing a DSMB as appropriate. The NIH Program Official or their designee will serve as the Executive Secretary and/or NIH program representative on the DSMB. The DSMB will review interim results periodically and provide guidance to the NIH.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

  • Close interaction among the participating investigators will be required, as well as significant involvement from the NIH, to develop the overall project. The PDs/PIs, key personnel and the Project Scientist(s) will make up a Steering Committee which will meet in person, along with the External Scientific Advisors, up to three times in the first year and at least annually after that, and monthly or as needed on conference calls to share information on data resources, methodologies, analytical tools, as well as data and preliminary results. PDs/PIs, key co-investigators, other key staff, and pre- and post-doctoral trainees are eligible to attend these meetings. The Steering Committee may invite additional experts as needed, and other government staff may attend the Steering Committee meetings as desired. Each funded element will each have one vote and the NIH Project Scientist(s) will have one vote.
  • The Steering Committee may establish subcommittees as needed to address particular issues.  Subcommittees will include representatives from the MoTrPAC and the NIH and possibly other experts. The Steering Committee will have the overall responsibility of assessing and prioritizing the progress of the various subcommittees.
  • The Chairperson of the Steering Committee will be selected by the NIH. The Chairperson provides leadership to the Steering Committee by conducting its meetings, representing the Consortium to the External Scientific Advisors, and by interacting closely with the other awardees during protocol development and implementation.
  • The Steering Committee has primary responsibility to design research activities, establish priorities, develop common protocols and manuals, questionnaires and other data recording forms, establish and maintain quality control among awardees, review progress, monitor patient accrual, coordinate and standardize data management, and cooperate on the publication of results. Major scientific decisions regarding the core data will be determined by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will document progress in written reports to the NIH Program Officials and the NIH MoTrPAC Working Group and will provide periodic supplementary reports upon request.
  • The External Scientific Advisors will work with the Steering Committee and provide advice as needed. The primary role of the External Scientific Advisors is to advise the NIH with regard to all aspects of the study as needed.

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 Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) 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 on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free) Customer Support (Questions regarding registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Padma Maruvada, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-8884

Peer Review Contact(s)

Richard Ingraham, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Officer (CSR)
Telephone: 301-496-8551

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Sharon Bourque
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-8846

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 Part 75.

NIH Office of Extramural Research Logo
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page
Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy
NIH... Turning Discovery Into Health®

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.