Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Research Centers of Excellence (U54)

Notice Number: NOT-NS-18-009

Key Dates
Release Date:  September 19, 2017

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  December 2017 
First Estimated Application Due Date:  September 2018
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  July 2019 
Earliest Estimated Start Date:  July 2019 

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), intends to re-issue a Program Announcement with Special Review Considerations (PAR) to solicit applications for "Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Research Centers of Excellence (U54)". The goal of this initiative is to provide support for translational research to develop therapeutics for reducing mortality and morbidity caused by acute exposures to chemical threat agents. Chemical threats are toxic chemicals that could be used in a terrorist attack or accidentally released from industrial production, storage or shipping.  The scope of the research includes target and candidate identification and characterization, through candidate optimization and demonstration of in vivo efficacy consistent with the product's intended use in humans.  For applicants submitting U54 renewal applications, research under this FOA should culminate in an optimized lead compound ready for advanced development.  See for a description of the NIH CounterACT research program.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.  A general description of the planned FOA is provided below. Be sure to follow guidance and specific instructions of the final published FOA once it is released. 

Research Initiative Details

The planned FOA will encourage collaborative multidisciplinary investigations, combining expertise in toxicology and drug discovery and development, to discover and develop new or improved therapeutics for treating victims of acute chemical exposures.

The NIH CounterACT research program will utilize Specialized Center Cooperative Agreements (U54) to support Research Centers of Excellence for up to 5 years.  Each Center will include several individual research projects and scientific and administrative cores to create an interdisciplinary and multifaceted research approach. There should be a unifying well-defined goal or problem area of research to which each project relates and contributes, thereby producing a synergistic research environment that allows each research effort to share the resources and creative strengths of the others. There is the expectation that support of inter-related projects and collaborating investigators would yield results beyond those achievable if each project were pursued separately without formal interaction among the participating investigators.

The civilian chemical threat spectrum includes chemical warfare agents (e.g., sarin), toxic industrial chemicals (e.g., cyanide), pesticides (e.g., parathion), and other chemicals.  These agents are included on the current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Terrorism Risk Assessment (CTRA) list, which is for USG official use only and will not be included in the planned FOA.  Therefore, applicants are strongly urged to contact the Scientific/Research staff listed in this Notice to determine if their proposed threat agent(s) is of interest to the NIH.   

Each Research Center must establish milestones that include discrete and quantitative goals that create go or no-go decision points in the project.



Please direct all inquiries to:

David A. Jett, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS
Telephone: 301-496-6035