Update to PAR-06-108 and RFA-AT-06-001, Developmental Centers for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Addition of the Option to Include Multiple Principal Investigators

Notice Number: NOT-AT-06-003

Key Dates
Release Date: March 15, 2006
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: July 11, 2006
Application Submission Date: August 11, 2006

Issued by
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), (http://www.nccam.nih.gov/)

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announces its participation in a pilot implementation of an NIH-wide initiative to allow multiple principal investigators (PIs) to be named on research grant applications. The pilot is described at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi/index.htm. Applications involving multiple PIs are not yet available for all mechanisms of NIH support.

In addition to the usual single PI applications, NCCAM will also accept applications with multiple PIs for Center programs submitted in response to PAR-06-108 and RFA-AT-06-001 (initiative texts at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-06-108.html and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AT-06-001.html, respectively). During this pilot, and for the DCRC initiatives, the number of PIs should be dictated by the needs of the Center program.. For multiple PI applications that involve multiple organizations, a subcontract/consortial arrangement will be used to allocate funds between the PIs. Applications with multiple PIs must comply with all other requirements described in the initiative texts.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of intent, as described in the relevant initiative, PAR-06-108 or RFA-AT-06-001.
The letter of intent should be sent to:

Barbara Sorkin, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Phone: 301-594-8018
E-mail: sorkinb@mail.nih.gov


NCCAM believes that permitting multiple principal investigators will help foster the collaborative CAM research objectives of the DCRC initiatives. If an award is made to a multi-PI grant, each named PI will be listed on the Notice of Grant Award, and each will be listed in the NIH CRISP database of federally funded research (http://crisp.cit.nih.gov). All named PIs will have access to summary statements and review status information through the NIH eRA Commons. Additional information on the implementation plans and policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PI on individual research projects or programs can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi. All PIs must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to the submission of the application (see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm for instructions).

Deciding whether to apply for a single-PI or multi-PI grant is the responsibility of the investigators and applicant organizations, and should be determined by the scientific goals of the Center program or research project. Applications for multi-PI grants will require additional information, as outlined in the instructions below, and the NIH review criteria will be modified as indicated below. Inclusion of a weak or inappropriate PI can have a negative effect on the review of an application.

For multiple organizations, a subcontract or consortial arrangement must be agreed on by the participating organizations, as described in special instructions below.

Definition of Principal Investigator:

The PI is the individual(s) designated by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the award. The applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as principal investigators who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the Center program, intellectually and logistically. Each principal investigator is responsible and accountable to the grantee organization, or, as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of all required reports. Each principal investigator must be able to fulfill all requirements of the relevant DCRC initiative.

Special Instructions for Applications with Multiple PIs:

When multiple PIs are proposed, NIH requires one PI to be designated as the contact PI, who will be responsible for all communication between the PIs and the NIH, for assembling the application materials outlined below, and for coordinating progress reports for the Center program or project. The contact PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PI status in the same way as other PIs, but has no other special roles or responsibilities within the program or project team beyond those mentioned above. The application should be submitted with a cover letter that lists the contact PI, the other PIs, their institutions, and the Center and project titles.
PIs at More than One Institution:
When multiple institutions are involved, PIs and their institutions must designate one institution as the lead organization and request funding for the other institution(s) via subcontract(s) to be administered by the lead institution. The application from the Contact PI’s organization should include comprehensive information for all participating organizations and sites, as described below. Those seeking a subcontract arrangement should follow the PHS 398 instructions for consortium/subcontract applications, plus additional instructions listed below.

  • Face page. Item 3a. Name of Principal Investigator: The name of the contact PI should be listed in block 3 of the Face Page from his/her institution. All other PIs should be listed in the Principal Investigator expansion page and in the Key Personnel section in alphabetical order. Note that the PI expansion page is not currently available but will be ready by the application receipt date. All PIs must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to the submission of the application (see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm for instructions).
  • Multiple Principal Investigator Leadership Plan: For applications designating multiple PIs, the section of the application overview describing the collaborative process and methods of communication must also delineate the roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for each PI within the DCRC, including responsibilities for human subjects or animal studies as appropriate. For competing continuation applications, the application should state how the research will be enhanced by employing a multiple-PI approach.
  • Consortial/Contractual Arrangements: If multiple institutions are involved, the Center program will be administered through a traditional consortium/contractual arrangement, and the usual documentation is required.

REVIEW CRITERIA for Multiple-PI DCRC Applications
The existing DCRC review criteria will be used, with added language for multi-PI applications as indicated in bold font, below:

  • RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT: Collaborative Environment:

For applications designating multiple PIs, does the Leadership Plan ensure that there will be sufficient coordination and communication among the PIs? Are the administrative plans for the management of the Developmental Center for Research on CAM appropriate, including plans for resolving conflicts?


The P.I.s will be evaluated with respect to:

  • Leadership and scientific ability to develop a program of integrated research projects; and
  • Time commitment of a minimum of 30% effort (15% as Principal Investigator/Administrative Core Leader and 15% as Project Leader of at least one project).

Multiple PI Website: The NIH Portal for the Multiple PI project contains background materials and information about programs participating in the pilot: http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi/.


If you have additional questions regarding the DCRC initiatives, please contact:

Barbara Sorkin, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Phone: 301-594 8018
E-mail: sorkinb@mail.nih.gov

For scientific/programmatic questions regarding the responsiveness of your proposal to the DCRC initiative, please contact the appropriate NCCAM Program Officer, listed at http://nccam.nih.gov/research/contact/index.htm.