Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title

NCI National Clinical Trials Network - Network Group Operations Centers (U10)

Activity Code

U10 Cooperative Clinical Research – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-CA-12-010

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-CA-12-011; RFA-CA-12-012; RFA-CA-12-013; RFA-CA-12-014; RFA-CA-12-504

Number of Applications

Only one application from an eligible institution is allowed as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.394, 93.395

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicits applications from institutions/organizations that propose to establish Network Group Operations Centers for the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The goal of the NCTN is to develop and conduct state-of-the-art cancer treatment and advanced imaging clinical trials, especially large, definitive multi-institutional trials evaluating new cancer therapies and related clinical approaches for both adult and pediatric patients. The NCTN consists of six components, each with its own FOA, which are: Network Group Operations Centers (covered by this FOA); Network Group Statistics and Data Management Centers; Network Group Integrated Translation Science Support Centers; Lead Academic Participating Site Centers; Network Radiotherapy and Imaging Core Services Centers; and a Canadian Collaborating Clinical Trials Network.

The NCTN Network Group Operations Centers will provide scientific leadership for developing and implementing multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional trials in a range of cancer types and special populations with specific scientific strategy and goals.

Key Dates
Posted Date

July 23, 2012

Letter of Intent Due Date

December 15, 2012

Application Due Date(s)

January 15, 2013

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

June 2013

Advisory Council Review

October, 2013

Earliest Start Date(s)

March 1, 2014

Expiration Date

January 16, 2013

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable.

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the PHS398 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. While some links are provided, 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 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

Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is one of six FOAs that reflect the comprehensive effort by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to transform the previous NCI-sponsored Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program from supporting several individually operating Cooperative Groups into a new consolidated and integrated NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program. The overall goal for the entire NCTN Program is to conduct definitive, randomized, late phase clinical treatment trials and advanced imaging trials across a broad range of diseases and diverse patient populations as part of the NCI’s overall clinical research program for adults and children with cancer. The NCTN will also conduct, as necessary, smaller developmental studies preliminary to the definitive trials. The NCTN Program will be based on an integrated network of clinical trials groups that will collaborate with each other as well as with other NCTN components and other NCI-sponsored programs and investigators.

The NCTN Program will support the following components that will be individually awarded through the respective FOAs indicated below:

1) Network Group Operations Centers under RFA-CA-12-010 (U10) (this FOA, up to 5 awards);

2) Network Group Statistics & Data Management Centers under RFA-CA-12-011 (U10) (up to 5 awards);

3) Network Group Integrated Translational Science Centers under RFA-CA-12-012 (U10) (5-7 awards);

4) Network Lead Academic Participating Sites under RFA-CA-12-013 (U10) (30-40 awards);

5) Network Radiotherapy & Imaging Core Services Centers under RFA-CA-12-014 (U24) (up to 1 award); and

6) Canadian Collaborating Clinical Trials Network -RFA-CA-12-504 (Limited Competition U10) (up to 1 award).

The new consolidated structure of the NCTN is designed to comprise five U.S. Network Groups (up to 1 pediatric group and up to 4 adult groups) and up to 1 Canadian Network Organization. Each U.S. Network Group will be organized around a dedicated Operations Center working with an affiliated Statistics and Data Management Center and other NCTN components as appropriate.

Note: An overview of the roles of individual NCTN components is outlined below. However, it is imperative that prospective applicants read the individual FOAs for those components for which they intend to apply.

This FOA provides expanded information specific to the Network Group Operations Centers and details needed to apply for a Network Group Operations Center award.

Background

For more than 50 years, the NCI has supported a standing clinical trials infrastructure – the NCI National Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program (also referred to as the "Group Program") – funded through the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) to conduct large-scale, clinical treatment trials across the nation. The Group Program has successfully completed many important trials that have led to new treatments for cancer patients. Its activities have involved more than 3,100 institutions and 14,000 investigators enrolling between 20,000 to 25,000 patients in clinical treatment and advanced imaging trials each year over the past decade. The Group Program has promoted the evaluation of multi-modality treatments and combinations of novel agents. In addition, studies supported by Group Program have emphasized clinical trials in members of special populations (e.g., children, young adults, and underserved populations) and clinical trials focused on rare tumor types. This focus has allowed the Group Program to complement, rather than duplicate, research supported by the private sector.

Cancer medicine has evolved in recent years into a more molecularly-based discipline. Diagnosis is being improved through genetic sub-classification as well as functional imaging of tumors and new treatments are being developed aimed at specific cancer-related pathways. As part of its effort to take advantage of new discoveries in oncologic science, NCI asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2009 to review the NCI-sponsored Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program. The IOM report (http://iom.edu/Reports/2010/A-National-Cancer-Clinical-Trials-System-for-the-21st-Century-Reinvigorating-the-NCI-Cooperative.aspx) noted that, despite its impressive record of accomplishment, the current trials system has become less efficient, has difficulty prioritizing studies, and has been underfunded for the number of trials that it conducts. The IOM report recommended that the existing adult Clinical Trials Cooperative Groups be consolidated into a smaller number of Groups, each with greater capabilities and appropriate incentives to promote better overall system integration. Consolidation should promote efficiency by encouraging a structural makeover of clinical trial group operations centers and statistics and data management centers. It should also facilitate prioritization in clinical research by focusing trials even more than before on questions unlikely to be addressed by the private sector.

Based on the IOM review recommendations as well as additional input received by the NCI from stakeholders across the oncology community, the NCI has developed a comprehensive plan to transform the previous NCI-sponsored Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program that funded several separate organizations conducting cancer treatment trials into a new consolidated and integrated Program referred to as the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN).

Overall Goal of the NCTN Program

The overall goal of the NCTN Program is to conduct definitive, randomized, late phase clinical treatment trials and advanced imaging trials across a broad range of diseases and diverse patient populations, as well as development efforts preliminary to those trials, as part of the NCI’s overall clinical research program for adults and children with cancer.

In order to achieve the overall goal of the Program, essential features of the NCTN will include:

Anticipated Organization of Key Components of the NCTN Program

In the NCTN Program, a Network Group is defined as a clinical trials group with a dedicated Operations Center and an associated Statistics and Data Management Center responsible for the design and development of clinical trials as well as the conduct of trials via member institutions/sites that enroll patients. Member sites of Network Groups include institutions/sites that are funded either directly by the Network Group Operations Center for their participation in NCTN trials or through other funded key components of the NCTN (i.e., Lead Academic Participating Sites award) or through related NCI-sponsored programs that fund participation (i.e., Community Clinical Oncology Program, Minority-based Community Clinical Oncology Program). Network Groups are expected to collaborate with each other and with NCI to achieve the overall goal of the Program. Member institutions/sites of Network Groups will be able to enroll patients on all adult Phase 3 trials as well as select early phase trials, irrespective of the specific Network Group that is leading the trial. In addition, select trials for adolescent and young adults will be open to all member institutions/sites. Network Groups will also provide trial operations, data management, and statistical support for approved, multi-center Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials originating outside the Network.

Each Network Group will have an integrated organizational structure encompassing scientific leadership, statistics, clinical trial operations, data management, and administration. Network Groups will be funded through an Operations Center award (covering scientific leadership, trial operations, and general administration including oversight of member institutions/sites enrolling patients) and a separate Statistics and Data Management Center award (covering statistical design and data management). Organizations may also apply for a separate, integrated, translational science support center award with support from one or more Network Groups - i.e., Operations Center(s) and associated Statistics and Data Management Center(s) – to facilitate integration of translational science into the design of clinical trials conducted by the supporting Network Group(s).

In addition to the awards described above, the NCTN Program will involve several awards to Lead Academic Participating Sites or institutions to support scientific leaders at those sites who are affiliated with one or more Network Groups to provide leadership in the design and conduct of trials as well as to support patient enrollments at their sites to NCTN trials. The Program will also support an award for an organization to provide core services related to incorporating appropriate quality assurance and credentialing of radiotherapy and imaging techniques/approaches in clinical trials to all the Network Groups and an award to sponsor a corresponding Canadian clinical trials organization to partner with the Network Groups in the U.S. in the design and conduct of NCTN trials.

Each of these key components of the NCTN Program is described briefly below.

Interactions with Other NCI-supported Programs. In addition to the six key components of the NCTN that are described above and will be directly funded by the NCTN Program, other NCI grant and contract supported Programs and their awardees as well as NCI Advisory Committees will have important supporting roles in carrying out the research objectives of the NCTN Program. Thus, the NCTN awardees will be expected to interact as appropriate with such entities/programs as the NCI Clinical Trials Tumor Banks, the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) and Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MB-CCOP), the NCI Cancer Trials Support Unit, the pediatric and adult NCI Central Institutional Review Boards, and NCI Advisory and Scientific Committees including the NCI Scientific Steering Committees.

Specific Objectives and Requirements of this FOA

The Network Group Operations Center application must address the following 4 required functional components:

PROGRAM EVALUATION: The NCTN program will be subject to external evaluation near the end of the funding period (to be coordinated by the NCI Program Staff). Such evaluation is part of NIH efforts to optimize the efficiency of the funded research. The evaluation process will involve monitoring and assessing the progress of the NCTN toward achieving its goals. This aspect includes evaluating the quality, value, and scientific impact of the clinical trials and other research activities conducted by the NCTN, timeliness of clinical trial development and completion, efficiency of operations, effort integration, and collaborations across the Network, and interactions with other relevant NCI-sponsored organizations and programs. For the efficient evaluation of the NCTN Program, cooperation of all the NCTN awardees (for all types of the NCTN components) will be important and expected.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement

Application Types Allowed

New

The OER Glossary and the PHS398 Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The National Cancer Institute intends to commit an estimated total of $90 million for up to 5 awards (up to 1 pediatric and up to 4 adult Network Group Operations Centers in FY 2014). Future amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect actual needs of the proposed project. Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, the size of each award will vary.

Award Project Period

5 years

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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 allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations as described in the PHS398 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 least4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.

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

With the restrictions defined below 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 PHS398 Application Guide.

Important Restriction

An individual who is designated as a PD/PI on the application for a Network Group Operations Center MUST NOT be listed as a PD/PI on an application for any of the NCTN key components listed below:

However, an individual who is designated as a PD/PI on the application for a Network Group Operations Center can, if appropriate, be listed as key personnel on the application for its associated Network Group Statistics and Data Management Center and/or on the application for the Network Radiotherapy and Imaging Core Services Centers (RFA-CA-12-014), but not on the other applications listed above and not on applications for other Network Group Statistics and Data Management Centers.

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

Each applicant organization may submit only one application in response to this FOA. An organization applying for the Network Group Statistics and Data Management Center award under RFA-CA-12-011 or for the Network Radiotherapy and Imaging Core Services Center award under RFA-CA-12-014 cannot apply for a Network Group Operations Center award under this FOA.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package

Applicants are required to prepare applications according to the current PHS 398 application forms in accordance with the PHS 398 Application Guide.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the PHS398 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.

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 NCI staff members to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Meg Mooney, MD
Clinical Investigations Branch, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 7024, MSC 7340
Bethesda, MD 20892-7340 (for US Postal Service regular or express mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: 301-496-2522
Email:  ncictepanalyst@mail.nih.gov

Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application forms and instructions for preparing a research grant application. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

At the time of submission, two additional paper copies of the application and all copies of the Appendix files must be sent to:

Referral Officer
Division of Extramural Activities
National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Boulevard, Room 8041, MSC 8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329 (for U.S. Postal Service regular or express mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: 301-496-3428
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the PHS398 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exceptions or additional requirements: Section 3 - Research Strategy of the PHS 398 Research Plan must consist of the new sub-sections A-E with the following individual page limits as noted below.

A. Operations Center Overview - 12 pages

B. Clinical Trial Development Program - 30 pages

C. Member Site Accrual Program– 12 pages

D. Operational Management - 12 pages

E. Program for Collaborations and Collective Management - 12 pages

Resources Section

In addition to standard information, provide in this section documentation of important capabilities and available resources as indicated for specific functional components of the Network Group Operations Centers below. Relevant information may be provided in tabular form as listed below. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use, as appropriate, table templates provided in Part 4 - Appendices - Section II.A. of the Guidelines document for the NCTN Program (http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/default.htm#guidelines_policies).

Table 1.    Key Leadership Staffing

Table 2.    Primary Scientific Achievements for Trials by Disease Area, Trial Phase, & Trial #

Table 3.    Other Important Achievements for Trials by Disease Area, Trial Phase, & Trial #

Table 4.    List of Approved Applications for Use of “Banked” Biospecimens from Clinical Trials

Table 5.    Summary Accrual for All Clinical Trials (All Diseases & All Phases)

Table 6.    Summary Accrual for Major Disease Categories (All Phases)

Table 7.    Summary Accrual for Trial Phase within Major Disease Categories

Table 8.    Operational Timelines for Development of Clinical Trial Proposals

Table 9.    Operational Timelines for Trial Conduct by Disease Category, Trial Phase/#

Table 10.  Operational Timelines for Trial Completion by Disease Category, Trial Phase/#

Table 11.  Summary of Onsite Auditing Activity for Clinical Trials

Research Plan

All instructions in the PHS398 Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Strategy Section

This section must consist of the subsections A-E described below. For full details on the content and organization of the individual sub-sections, please see the Guidelines document for the NCTN Program (http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/default.htm#guidelines_policies) in Part 2 - Section II.B.2.

Sub-Section A.  Operations Center Overview (up to 12 pages)

In this section, applicants are expected to provide a general overview of the proposed Operations Center and describe the general features and operations of the Center. Include a diagram illustrating the organizational structure of the proposed Operations Center and outline how the Operations Center would interact with the other key components of the NCTN Program.

Sub-Section B.  Clinical Trial Development Program (up to 30 pages)

In this section, applicants are expected to address the following aspects:

Research Directions. Define the overall research directions for the development of clinical trials in specific disease areas and patient populations. In particular, the applicant team must identify the diseases that the proposed Operations Center will pursue in its research and outline how its particular research objectives will benefit the NCTN Program as a whole. The applicant team should also address how its research strategy will address unmet clinical needs in rare cancers.

Capabilities and Experience. Summarize the capabilities and experience of the applicant team in successfully developing, organizing, and coordinating large-scale, definitive clinical trials as well as experience in leveraging resources from multiple funding sources for the conduct of ancillary studies (e.g., correlative science studies) associated with clinical trials. Outline the most important achievements in these areas over the past 5-6 years.

Promising Directions. Identify the most promising current and future research initiatives and clinical trials as an indication of the potential of the applicant team to contribute to the NCTN Program. It is expected that applicants' emphasis will be placed on studies with potential to change clinical practice and the importance of the overall research strategy being pursued and not on individual disease clinical trial portfolios.

Role of Senior Members of Research Teams. Include information on the current participation of senior members of applicant’s research teams in relevant committees (e.g., scientific research committees and administrative committees). Outline the current situation and plans for the involvement of senior members in the mentoring of new/junior investigators in clinical trial research.

NOTE: Information on the applicant’s scientific leadership in clinical trial development as well as achievements of its past (over the prior 5 to 6 years) and current clinical trial development program may be summarized in tables as described in the Resources Section above.

Sub-Section C.  Member Site Accrual Program (up to 12 pages)

This functional component is critical for the role of the Operations Center. Include in this sub-section a well-defined plan for robust accrual of patients to NCTN clinical trials. In this plan, describe how the Operations Center will work with the member institutions/sites of clinical trials that are or will be affiliated with the applicants. This plan must encompass accrual to clinical trials led by the applicant as well as trials that may be led by other Network Groups. Emphasis should be placed on overall accrual to the NCTN not on accrual specific to trials led by the Network Group Operations Center. Summarize the potential of the proposed Operations Center to accrue (via its member institutions/sites) patients to oncology clinical treatment trials and advanced imaging trials in a publicly funded clinical trials system across a broad range of diseases, including rare cancers.

NOTE: In this sub-Section, the applicants are expected to highlight the track record of the applicant team and its member sites for accrual over the past 5-6 years, in addition to details presented in accrual summary tables to be included under "Resources", as indicated above.

Sub-Section D.  Operational Management (up to 12 pages)

In this section, address the organizational structure of the proposed Operations Center, its governance, standard operating procedures, and operational efficiency program. All these elements are expected to be designed to optimize the applicant's capability to develop, activate, and conduct clinical trials in a timely manner. Specifically, address the following aspects:

The applicant should also present a plan and demonstrate its ability to adhere to regulations regarding trial registration in the NCI Clinical Trials Reporting Program and in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) (www.clinicaltrials.gov) along with results reporting, as applicable.  The applicant should also describe its plan to ensure that results from clinical trials will be published in peer-reviewed manuscripts in a timely manner consistent with NCTN Program requirements and demonstrate its potential to do so.  The applicant should also describe its plans for and demonstrate its capability to make data and biospecimens from clinical trials accessible to the public for further research or explain why sharing is not possible.

The applicant’s key standard operating procedures for the conduct of clinical trials related to the following may be provided in the Resource section of the application:

NOTE: The applicants' capabilities and potential to conduct large-scale operations related to developing, activating, and conducting clinical trials are essential and will be a factor in the application merit evaluation. In this sub-Section, the applicants are expected to highlight their most relevant achievements over the past 5-6 years, in addition to details presented in summary tables to be included under "Resources", as indicated above.

Sub-Section E.  Program for Collaborations and Participation in Collective Management (up to 12 pages)

In this section, address the following aspects:

In addition, address the potential of the applicant team to participate in the collective management of the NCTN and relevant experience in the past 5-6 years:

Resource Sharing Plan

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the PHS398 Application Guide, with the following modifications:

Appendix

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix (please note all format requirements) as described in the PHS398 Application Guide.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 

Information on the process of receipt and determining if your application is considered “on-time” is described in detail in the PHS398 Application Guide.

Applicants may track the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

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 received on or before the due dates in Part I. Overview Information. If an application is received after that date, it will not be reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the NIH Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by the NCI. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

Awardees must agree to the "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award" in Section VI. "Award Administration Information." The applicant should review the Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award prior to preparing the application as these terms include information and clarifications needed by the applicant to understanding the complete requirements of a Network Group Operations Center award.

Note on Section “Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children”:

Information on the targeted/planned enrollment for minorities and members of both genders as well as children, if applicable, should be based on accrual summarized across all diseases for the planned project period, not on a study or disease-specific basis.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115. Note: Because applications submitted in response to this FOA have only one due date, applicants may submit materials per the exceptions list provided in NOT-OD-10-115 using the specified page limits.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

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

For this particular announcement, the emphasis is on the capabilities and experience of the applicant team in successfully developing, organizing, and coordinating large-scale definitive clinical trials. As all applications submitted in response to this FOA will be “new” applications, those aspects will be largely evaluated based on the prior performance and productivity of the applicants. These capabilities and commensurate performance/productivity must be appropriate and consistent with specific requirements stated in this FOA. The required capabilities and experience are expected to reflect the properly documented successful performance of the applicant team under the former NCI National Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program or equivalent large-scale NIH or other non-profit clinical trials networks or programs in the last 5-6 years. Reviewers will be using this information as benchmarks in evaluating all aspects of the application, including plans for the specific components of the proposed NCTN Operations Center and its overall scientific potential.

Overall Impact - Overall

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

Scored Review Criteria - Overall

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 proposed Network Group Operations Center that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the proposed Network Group Operations Center address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the proposed Network Group Operations Center are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the proposed Network Group Operations Center and its research strategy? 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)? Given that the NCTN Operations Centers will be involved in collaborative activities (and irrespective of whether the applicants choose to use the multi-PD/PI option), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the proposed Network Group Operations Center?

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

Approach

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

Are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Environment

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

Additional Scored Review Criteria

In addition to the above review criteria, the following additional Criteria A-D will be applied in the determination of scientific merit and the impact/priority score:

A. Clinical Trials Development Program;

B. Member Site Accrual Program;

C. Operational Management; and

D. Program for Collaborations and Participation in Collective Management of NCTN.

Reviewers will consider each of the additional review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each.

A. Clinical Trial Development Program

(Note: The entire Criterion A will receive one individual score; the subcategories and aspects listed will be assessed but not scored separately).

Significance

Overall Research Strategy: How well does the applicant's research strategy reflect an integrated scientific approach within oncology disease areas as well as across disease areas? Does the research strategy address important unmet clinical needs? Is the research strategy sufficiently practical and feasible? Are the disease areas included in the applicant’s overall research strategy appropriate and beneficial to the NCTN? How well would the applicant team contribute to the development of clinical trials for patients with rare cancers and how well would the applicant address underserved patient populations through trials that it leads or participates in across the NCTN?

Quality of Clinical Trials: Based on the clinical trials currently being conducted as well as those proposed, what is the likelihood that the applicant's team can contribute meaningfully to the goals of developing and implementing multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional trials in a broad range of cancer types and special populations?

Do the trials contain important integral and integrated translational science research questions that are appropriate and well justified? To what degree do their results reflect qualitatively new knowledge that advances the field and may inspire future clinical trials? Will (or have) the results lead (led) to meaningful practice changes for cancer care or other meaningful results (e.g., Phase 2 trials leading to Phase 3 trials conducted by government or private sector, provision of important toxicity or dosing information)? Does the applicant team have effective mechanisms for promoting timely presentation and publications of the results of clinical trials and associated studies?

Investigator(s)

Senior Group Leadership for Clinical Trials Development: How well can the PD(s)/PI(s) and the entire team of investigators assembled by the applicant provide scientific leadership for state-of-the-art early and late phase clinical trials in adults and/or children with cancer? Will these investigators be able to work as a cohesive research team to efficiently and expeditiously develop and conduct NCTN clinical trials? Does the applicant have appropriate and clearly defined succession and transition plans for the senior leadership of the proposed Network Group Operations Center? Does the applicant have reasonable and appropriate limitations on terms for senior leadership that encourage rotation of leadership responsibilities?

Scientific Research Committee Leadership: Do the research experience and qualifications of the leadership of the applicant's Scientific Research Committees provide multi-disciplinary representation (e.g., medical oncology, radiation oncology, imaging, surgery, pathology, translational science, patient advocacy) across a broad range of oncology diseases appropriate to the stated research goals? Does the leadership of the scientific committees have a track record of successful multi-institutional early phase and especially late phase clinical trials research as evidenced by publications? Do the Scientific Research Committees provide leadership opportunities for a broad range of investigators and are there reasonable and appropriate limits on terms for senior leadership of the Scientific Research Committees that encourage rotation of leadership responsibilities and provide continuity and stability in the Committees?

Administrative Committee Leadership: Are the experience and qualifications of the leadership of the applicant's Administrative Committees appropriate for development and oversight of the administrative management categories needed for conducting both early phase and especially late phase, multi-institutional, clinical trials (e.g., support functions for trials including involvement of patient advocates, support programs for enrollment of members of underserved patient populations, financial management)?

Innovation

Innovation in Early and Late Phase Clinical Trials: Within the confines of the ethical constraints applicable to early and late phase clinical trials for oncology patients, does the applicant propose novel or improved ways and/or methods to enhance or better serve its overall research strategy and the goals of developing and implementing multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional trials in a range of cancer types and special populations with specific scientific strategy and goals.?

Approach

Approach to Clinical Trial Development: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific clinical aims of the applicant? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented for specific clinical trials?

Environment

Leveraging Resources to Support Research: How successful are the members of the applicant team in obtaining other funding (from NCI, other governmental agencies, industry, charitable foundations, etc.) for the conduct of integral and integrated translational research and other ancillary studies related to their clinical trials?

New & Junior Investigator Leadership Mentoring/Training: Does the applicant team have in place an adequate mentorship/training program for new and junior investigators that provides opportunities for leadership of clinical trials (e.g., developing concepts for trial proposals, serving as study chairs for trials, participating in scientific committees in support or leadership roles, participating in other clinical trial activities) at appropriate levels as well as the potential to provide opportunities to these investigators to participate in the future in NCTN activities or initiatives?

B. Member Site Accrual Program

(Note: The entire Criterion B will receive one individual score; the aspects listed will be assessed but not scored separately).

Accrual Potential: Given its past record of accrual, does the applicant have the potential to provide substantial accrual to clinical trials conducted across the NCTN as a whole, especially in the applicant's stated areas/diseases of research interest? Does the applicant team have the potential to contribute to accrual of minority and underserved patient populations to trials at an appropriate level? Doethe applicant's member institutions/sites have the potential to contribute to accrual of patients to NCTN clinical trials in rare tumors as needed for the NCTN goals? Does the applicant's membership appear able to accrue to trials for rare subset populations of more common cancers? Does the applicant demonstrate the ability to meet protocol-specified accrual goals in a timely manner for trials it conducts? Are the PDs/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers who comprise the scientific and technical leadership team for this application well suited to help drive accrual for NCTN trials?

Accrual Monitoring: Have the applicant and its member institutions/sites developed novel means to assess accrual potential to clinical trials? How good are the applicant's systems/procedures to rapidly assess and monitor accrual and implement appropriate corrective action plans if accrual is lagging at a specific site or across all sites? Do the applicant's member institutions/sites demonstrate high levels of biospecimen collection in conjunction with clinical trials indicating the potential to contribute to biospecimen collection in NCTN trials?

Member Institution/Site Support for Accrual: How will the scientific and administrative environment of the applicant's member institutions/sites contribute to the probability of accrual success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available at member institutions/sites adequate for the level of accrual proposed? How will accrual to NCTN trials benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, patient populations, and/or collaborative arrangements with other organizations provided by applicant's member institutions/sites?

C. Operational Management

(Note: The entire Criterion C will receive one individual score; the aspects listed will be assessed but not scored separately).

Operational Structure, Policies, and Procedures: Are the organizational structure and management policies of the proposed Network Group Operations Center clear and appropriate? Does the applicant incorporate procedures and tools that enhance coordination and productivity of operational activities including protocol development? Does the staffing plan for the proposed Network Group Operations Center provide appropriate and clearly defined position descriptions and qualifications and is it adequate for required activities? Does the applicant propose sound financial management policies and procedures for grant administration, subcontracting with collaborating organizations, purchase service agreements for member institutions/sites, and other related activities (e.g., laboratory testing needed for specific clinical trials)?

Governance: Does the applicant team define a clear governance structure for the proposed Network Group Operations Center? If the application includes multiple PD(s)/PI(s), (is it clear how activities and responsibilities will be carried out among the multiple PD(s)/PI(s) and is the delineation of responsibilities appropriate? Are the scope and authority of the senior leadership, Director of Operations position, and Executive/Advisory Committee for the proposed Network Group Operations Center clearly and appropriately addressed? How comprehensive are the expertise and experience of the applicant's senior administrative management team? Are the background and expertise of the proposed Director of Operations appropriate to oversee the operational management of the Group? Are the policies and procedures for institution/site membership  clear and appropriate for the NCTN Program? Are the proposed operating procedures for interactions with member institutions/sites appropriate?

If the applicant proposes to include international institutions/sites as full members of the Network Group Operations Center, does the applicant have appropriate monitoring plans for these sites as well as performance assessment monitoring to ensure that the NCTN-supported activities meet the same requirements regarding conduct of clinical trials expected of a full U.S. member institution/site? If the applicant plans to enrolls patients on trials that are led by non-NCTN international clinical trials organizations, does the applicant propose appropriate policies and procedures to comply with the applicable regulations and requirements defined in the Terms and Conditions of the Award for a Network Group Operations Center?

Clinical Trial Operations - Development: Are the structure and composition of trial proposal and protocol development teams proposed by the applicant appropriate? How well does applicant's proposed trial proposal and protocol development process mesh with NCI standard tools and services, including use of Common Data Elements and standard Case Report Form modules? How appropriate are the proposed Network Group Operations Center's policies and standardized procedures for development and monitoring of trial proposals and protocols (including its tracking and project management systems) for ensuring that the applicant would meet NCI-mandated trial activation timelines for operational efficiency (i.e., Operational Efficiency Working Group [OEWG] timelines)?

Clinical Trial Operations – Conduct: How appropriate are the proposed Network Group Operations Center's policies for timely and efficient development and processing of protocol amendments, including timely communication of new safety information and amendments to member institutions/sites? Are appropriate communications policies proposed to support the work of the scientific research and administrative committees, coordinate activities with the associated proposed Network Group Statistics and Data Management Centers as well as member institutions/sites and the NCI Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) related to trial conduct? Does the applicant propose appropriate training programs for protocol chairs, institutional site PDs/PIs, and CRAs? Does the proposed Network Group Operations Center have appropriate key standard operating procedures related to a Data and Safety Monitoring Board Policy for Phase 3 trials and randomized Phase 2 trials, Data and Safety Monitoring Plans for phase 1 and Phase 2 trials, Conflict of Interest Policies, and a standard template for the Informed Consent Document for clinical trials that are in compliance with NCI/CTEP, NIH, and federal regulations?

Compliance/Quality Assurance/Auditing: How well do the applicant's proposed policies and procedures for clinical trial conduct comply with good clinical practice, including all Federal/HHS/NIH/NCI requirements related to clinical trial research with human subjects, as well as with NCI/DCTD requirements related to NCI/DCTD Intellectual Property policy, NCI/DCTD Cooperative Research and Development Agreements for clinical trials conducted under an NCI

Investigational New Drug (IND) or Device Exemption (IDE) or other NCI binding collaborative agreement? How appropriate are the applicant's plans to ensure the quality assurance of clinical trial data and collection of biospecimens? How appropriate are the applicant's proposed policies and procedures in meeting the onsite audit requirements of the NCI Clinical Trials Monitoring Branch Guidelines (CTMB) for its member institutions/sites? How appropriate are the applicant's plans to appropriately address issues with member institutions/sites noted at the time of audit, including non-compliance, data quality, data reporting requirement, and timeliness of audits and re-audits? Does the applicant propose a quality assurance program with its associated Statistics and Data Management Center that is adequately proactive in terms of ensuring ongoing quality control of data during trial conduct?

D. Program for Collaboration & Participation in Collective Management

(Note: The entire Criterion D will receive one individual score; the aspects listed will be assessed but not scored separately).

Collaborations with NCTN Network Groups, NCTN Programs/Initiatives, and other NCI-sponsored Programs/Investigators: Does the applicant have a track record for collaborations with other trial organizations and other NCI-sponsored programs and investigators (e.g., SPORE awardees, NCI Cancer Centers, R01/P01 investigators) on clinical trials and translational science studies that demonstrates its potential for collaboration within the NCTN Program? Has the applicant demonstrated that it has the capacity to conduct clinical trials that come from investigators outside its own organization?

Collective Management Activities: Does that applicant have a track record that demonstrates that the members of it scientific leadership teams (i.e., scientific research committee members) actively participate in or can actively contribute to NCI-supported clinical trial activities (e.g., disease-specific Scientific Steering Committees and related task forces or working Groups, Clinical Trials Planning Committees for meetings supported by the NCI disease-specific Steering Committees, membership on the NCI Central IRB, participation in other NCI programs and initiatives related to clinical research)? Do Group members participate as members of the NCI Central IRBs? Do Group members participate in the onsite auditing program for the Network Group Operations Center?

Additional Review Criteria - Overall

As applicable for the clinical research that the Network Group Operations Center has 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.

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 

Since the proposed Network Group Operations Centers will involve 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 - Overall

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) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate Scientific Review Group, convened by the NCI 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 NCI and 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 Cancer Advisory 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 (HHS) 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:

Awardees are allowed to accept funds from non-governmental sources to support NCTN research that is not supported in part or in full by the NCI.  These funds are considered “Program Income” (e.g., additional per case data management funding supplementing the NCI/DCTD per case data management funding, support for correlative science studies that use biospecimen or image collections funded by the NCI/DCTD for trials under the NCTN Program) and must be reported under the Terms and Conditions of Award for the NCTN Program unless they are associated with an exempted category under the NIH grant policy for program income, available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2011/nihgps_ch8.htm#_Program_Income.

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

An NCI Program staff member(s) acting as a Project Scientist(s) will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below. Additional NCI staff members may be designated to have substantial involvement (e.g., in the role of Project Coordinators). The NCI Project Scientist(s)/Coordinator(s) will not attend peer review meetings of renewal (competing continuation) and/or supplemental applications. If such participation is deemed essential, these individuals will seek NCI waiver according to the NCI procedures for management of conflict of interest.

Additionally, an NCI program director acting as Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. Some Program Officials may also have substantial programmatic involvement (as Project Scientists/Coordinators). In that case, the individual involved will not attend peer review meetings of renewal (competing continuation) and/or supplemental applications or will seek NCI waiver as stated above.

The main NCI responsibilities are related to research efforts of the Network and include but are not limited to the following activities:

The programmatic responsibilities for the NIH staff are completely described in NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program Guidelines available at http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/default.htm#guidelines_policies with the "NCI/DCTD Responsibilities" described in detail in Part 1 - Section IV.C. of the Guidelines document.

The NCI will have access to all data (including imaging data) collected and/or generated under this Cooperative Agreement and may periodically review the data. The NCI may also review all records related to awardees’ performance under the award for appropriate collection, review, and distribution of biospecimens collected in association with NCTN trials.

In case of insufficient patient accrual per the protocol specified timelines and/or NCI/DCTD slowly accruing guidelines for trials, inability to meet the scientific aims of the Cooperative Agreement, or noncompliance with the Terms and Conditions of Award, the NCI reserves the right to reduce award budget, withhold support, suspend or terminate the award.

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, except for areas of dispute that are already addressed by the appeal process within the Terms and Conditions of Award for decisions regarding approval of NCTN study proposals and the types of studies supported by the NCTN Program as described in detail under "Appeals Process for Decisions Regarding Study Proposals & Types of Studies Performed by NCTN Program" in Part 1 – Section IV.E. of the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program Guidelines (http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/default.htm#guidelines_policies).

For other scientific and programmatic matters that are not covered by the appeals process, a Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Network Group representatives on the NCTN Leadership Management Committee chosen by them 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.

The appeals process and this special dispute resolution procedure do 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.  Additional required reporting by the Network Group Operations Center awardees is described in detail in the section on the Specific Awardee Rights and Responsibilities of the Network Group Operations Center under the Terms and Conditions of Award in the Guidelines document for the NCTN Program in Part 1-Section IV.B.1 (http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/default.htm#guidelines_policies).

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 theNIH 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

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)

General Research Programmatic Information and Administrative Information:

Meg Mooney, MD
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: 301-496-2522
Email: ncictepanalyst@mail.nih.gov

Information on Scientific Program for Adult Network Group Operations Center Applicants:

Meg Mooney, MD
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: 301-496-2522
Email: ncictepanalyst@mail.nih.gov

Information on Scientific Program for Pediatric Network Group Operations Center Applicants:

Malcolm A. Smith, MD, PhD
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: 301-496-2522
Email: smithm@ctep.nci.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer 
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Cancer Institute 
6116 Executive Boulevard, Room 8041, MSC 8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329 (for U.S. Postal Service regular or express mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: 301-496-3428
FAX: 301-402-0275
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Crystal Wolfrey
Deputy Director
Office of Grants Administration
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Blvd., Suite 243
Bethesda, MD 20892 (for U.S. Postal Service regular or express mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: 301-496-8634
Email: wolfreyc@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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