Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for NHLBI Program Project Applications (P01)

Notice Number: NOT-HL-17-529

Key Dates
Release Date:   July 28, 2017

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: September 2017
First Estimated Application Due Date: January 25, 2018
Earliest Estimated Award Date: December 2018
Earliest Estimated Start Date: December 2018

Related Announcements
PAR-18-405

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Purpose

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has a long history of supporting investigator-initiated team science through program project grants (PPGs). The upcoming expiration of the NHLBI Program Project Applications P01 (PAR-16-402) presents an opportunity for NHLBI to implement new approaches to enhance the PPG Program at NHLBI while continuing to support collaborative, integrated, team-led research on fundamental processes and diseases relevant to the research mission of the NHLBI (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov).

The purpose of this Notice is to inform potential applicants that the NHLBI intends to publish a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that will support investigator-initiated PPGs centered around a key biomedical theme or research question(s) through the P01 mechanism. The FOA is expected to be published in Fall 2017 with the first application due date January 25, 2018. These changes are in response to recommendations from an external Working Group convened by NHLBI charged with evaluating the NHLBI PPG portfolio. The Working Group recommendations can be found at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/research/funding/public-report-nhlbi-program-project-working-group.

Research Initiative Details

Details regarding the PPG (P01) FOA are being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop appropriate applications and meaningful collaborations and to begin to consider the new requirements of the FOA.

Key differences between the current (PAR-16-402) and new PPG FOA include:

  • An Administrative Core will no longer be required, but is optional
  • Each Scientific Core will require an institutional letter describing the existing related infrastructure, which will be evaluated during the first step of review
  • PPG applications including an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) as a Project Leader may have a larger budget cap per year if at least four projects are included in the application
  • Modifications to the first step of review: Projects will be assessed based on intrinsic and scientific merit within the field and a percentile descriptor ranking score will be provided, as well as an additional scored criterion “integration” to evaluate the integration of the Project within the Overall Program
  • PPGs will be limited to one competitive renewal

Administrative Core
An Administrative Core will no longer be required, but is optional. Applicants that do not propose an Administrative Core must provide the requested information in the Overall Program component of their application.

Scientific Cores
Each proposed Scientific Core will require an institutional letter describing the existing related infrastructure. Institutional letters must justify the need for the proposed Scientific Core and include information regarding what core facilities are currently provided at the institution.

ESI Project Leaders
The PPG environment presents an opportunity for emerging scientific leaders to gain insight into how to lead a successful scientific program. Applicants to the FOA will have the option of including a Project that is led by an ESI. PPG applications including an ESI as a Project Leader may have a larger budget cap per year if at least four projects are included in the application. Project budgets should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. If an ESI-led Project is included and the application contains at least four Projects, the maximum direct costs will increase to $1,765,000 per year (with a minimum of $250,000 per year in direct costs for the ESI-led Project). Letters of institutional support will be required in the application to demonstrate that the ESI Project Leader is an independent investigator, and that the PPG will provide an adequate training environment opportunity. Serving as a Project Leader, but not Program Director/Principal Investigator in a PPG grant will not impact the investigator’s New Investigator or ESI status.

Option 1: Standard/Typical PPG Applications

Option 2: PPG Applications include an ESI Project Leader

Minimum of 3 Projects

Minimum of 4 Projects, one of which must be led by investigator with ESI status

Maximum budget: $1,515,000/year Direct Costs

Maximum budget: $1,765,000/year in direct costs (minimum of $250,000/year direct costs to ESI-led Project)

Review Procedures
PPG applications will continue to be reviewed through a two-step review process prior to Council. First, applications will be reviewed individually by a tailored Special Review Committee, representing expertise in the specific scientific areas of the application. The Special Review Committee will evaluate the technical merit of the individual Projects and Cores. However, this Committee will use a different scoring system than what has been used in the past. Rather than provide a numerical score for the Project based on the NIH scoring system, the Special Review Committee will provide an assessment of each Project based on its intrinsic and scientific merit within the field and provide a percentile descriptor ranking score of that Project broken down into seven categories (i.e., top 1% of projects within the field, 1%-10% of projects within the field, 10-20% of projects within the field, 20-30% of projects within the field, 30-40% of projects within the field, 40-50% of projects within the field, and 50% or less of projects within the field). The Special Review Committee will also assess an additional criterion, “Integration;” determine if proposed Cores are adequately justified; and evaluate institutional letters describing the existing related infrastructure. In the second step, the application will be reviewed by the Program Project Review Committee (HLBP), which discusses the merit of the overall application and provides an overall impact score.

Eligibility
The FOA will allow for New, Renewal, and Resubmission applications. PPGs will be limited to one competitive renewal (Type 2). This will allow for a total award period of 10 years maximum for a Program. No competitive renewal (Type 2) applications beyond year 10 will be accepted to this FOA.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOT BEING SOLICITED AT THIS TIME.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Melissa Nagelin, PhD
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-7951
Email: nagelinmh2@nhlbi.nih.gov