Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Developing Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) and Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Institutions with an emphasis on Down syndrome research (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Notice Number:
NOT-OD-22-136

Key Dates

Release Date:

May 31, 2022

First Available Due Date:
June 27, 2022
Expiration Date:
April 11, 2025

Related Announcements

PAR-21-357 - Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools (R15 Clinical Trial Required)

PAR-22-060 - Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PAR-21-154 - Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Required)

PAR-21-155 - Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Issued by

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)

National Eye Institute (NEI)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Purpose

The NIH INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE (INCLUDE) Project seeks to improve health and quality-of-life for individuals with Down syndrome (DS). This Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) announces NIH support for development of Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) and Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) applications to support small scale basic and translational research grants that meet programmatic objectives of the INCLUDE project at institutions that do not receive substantial funding from the NIH, with an emphasis on providing biomedical research experiences primarily for undergraduate and/or graduate students and enhancing the research environment at applicant institutions. Eligible institutions must award NIH-relevant baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health professions and have received less than $6 million per year of NIH support (total costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. In this FOA, a college is a stand-alone entity and not a component of a university system. The goal of this NOSI is also to build a pathway of meritorious undergraduate and graduate students engaged in Down syndrome research.

Background 

Down syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability, the most common autosomal trisomy, and one of the most visible and universally recognized genetic syndromes. Each year there are approximately 5300 babies born in the United States with DS. Within the past 25 years, the average lifespan for a person with Down syndrome has doubled, from 30 to 60 years. Despite this increase in lifespan, individuals with Down syndrome and their families face significant and changing health challenges with age, and they have often been excluded from participation in research that could improve their health outcomes and quality of life. While all people with Down syndrome are connected by the common feature of a complete or partial copy of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21), there are significant physical and cognitive differences among them, indicating that inter-individual variability exists.

Down syndrome is associated with an increased prevalence of autism and epilepsy. About 75% of individuals experience cognitive decline in a syndrome that resembles Alzheimer’s disease but has its onset a decade or two earlier than typical Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with Down syndrome also have high rates of hearing loss, eye abnormalities, congenital heart defects, sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, gastrointestinal malformations, thyroid disease, leukemia, and other autoimmune or immune dysregulation disorders including celiac disease. However, people with Down syndrome infrequently develop solid tumors such as breast or prostate cancer, and despite multiple risk factors for coronary artery disease and high rates of obesity, sleep apnea, and type 1 diabetes, they rarely develop atherosclerosis or have myocardial infarctions. Understanding this unique combination of risk and resiliencies will inform medical advances for individuals with Down syndrome, and for individuals who do not have Down syndrome but share these co-occurring conditions.

This FOA is one of several trans-NIH research initiatives created in response to Fiscal Year 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Reports, which encourage NIH to expand its current efforts on Down syndrome and common co-occurring conditions also seen in the general population, while increasing the pipeline of Down syndrome investigators. Together, the initiatives are called the INCLUDE Project (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE). Information about projects that were funded in prior years, as well as the NIH INCLUDE Down Syndrome Research Plan, are available on the INCLUDE Project website at https://www.nih.gov/include-project/.

Research Objectives

The purpose of this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) is to support development of Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) and Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) applications to support small scale basic and translational research grants that meet programmatic objectives of the INCLUDE project at institutions that do not receive substantial funding from the NIH and that meet programmatic objectives for the INCLUDE Project. Sharing of resources and effective communication of outputs of appropriate interest to broader communities are a high priority of the INCLUDE Project. Applicants responding to this NOSI are strongly encouraged to describe plans for rapid sharing of data and results as well as innovative data analytics approaches (see Goal 3, NIH Strategic Plan For Data Science).

A list of Funding Priorities by Institute and Center is available on the INCLUDE website. Applications in response to this NOSI should be aligned with the overall NIH INCLUDE Project Research Plan, which consists of three components:

  • Component 1: Targeted high risk - high reward basic science studies in areas highly relevant to Down syndrome

  • Component 2: Assembly of a large cohort of individuals with Down syndrome across the lifespan to perform deep phenotyping and study co-existing conditions

  • Component 3: Inclusive clinical trials of existing and future treatments and interventions for co-occurring conditions in individuals with Down syndrome

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) planning to submit applications in response to this NOSI are strongly encouraged to contact the scientific contacts of this NOSI prior to submission to be advised on appropriateness of the intended resource and research plans for this program, competitiveness of a potential application, and alignment with program priorities of the INCLUDE initiative. The INCLUDE website has a list of contacts for each participating NIH Institute and Center.

Projects that propose to recruit subjects with Down syndrome are encouraged to promote enrollment of research subjects in the Down syndrome patient registry supported by NIH,?DS-Connect®. For biospecimens collected from human genetic or non-genetic studies, awardees are encouraged to use biorepositories designated by INCLUDE staff that meet requirements for broad sharing. An NIH resource describing Common Data Elements may be helpful during the planning phases of a project when considering ways to optimize data collection in order to facilitate broad data sharing. For those applications that generate clinical data, it is expected that the data sharing plan will include the INCLUDE Data Coordinating Center (DCC).

Application and Submission Information

Applicants must select the IC and associated FOA to use for submission of an application in response to this NOSI. The selection must align with the IC requirements listed in order to be considered responsive to that FOA. Non-responsive applications will be withdrawn from consideration for this initiative. In addition, applicants using NIH Parent Announcements (listed below) will be assigned to those ICs on this NOSI that have indicated those FOAs are acceptable and based on usual application-IC assignment practices.

This notice applies to due dates on or after June 27, 2022 and subsequent receipt dates through February 26, 2025.

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

FOA

Title

First Available Due Date

Expiration Date

Participating IC(s)

PAR-21-154

Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Required)

June 27, 2022

Feb 26, 2025

NCI; NEI; NHLBI; NIA; NICHD; NIDCD; NINDS

PAR-21-155

Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

June 27, 2022

Feb 26, 2025

NCI; NEI; NHLBI; NIA; NIAMS; NICHD; NIDCD; NIDCR; NINDS

PAR-21-357

Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools (R15 Clinical Trial Required)

June 27, 2022

Feb 26, 2025

NCI; NEI; NHLBI; NIA; NICHD; NIDCD; NINDS

PAR-22-060

Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

June 27, 2022

Feb 26, 2025

NCI; NEI; NHLBI; NIA; NIAMS; NICHD; NIDCD; NIDCR; NINDS; ORIP

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include "NOT-OD-22-136" (without quotation marks)?in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

  • Resource Sharing Plan: NIH intends to maximize the availability of resources and data generated by INCLUDE-supported projects, while abiding with informed consent language and protecting the identity of participants. It is expected that data generated with support from this NOSI will be shared with the wider scientific community in a timely manner in coordination with the INCLUDE Data Coordinating Center (DCC). Applications generating data should describe the anticipated timelines, formats, and approach to submitting data to the INCLUDE DCC. For software tools, applicants should describe the anticipated timeline, formats, and methods of sharing code, how it will be documented (e.g., public GitHub links), and whether an open-source model will be used.

Applicants planning to submit applications in response to this NOSI are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research Contacts of this NOSI prior to submission to be advised on appropriateness of the intended resource and research plans for this program, competitiveness of a potential application, and alignment with program priorities of the INCLUDE initiative.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to the contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements with the following additions/substitutions:

The INCLUDE website has a list of contacts for each participating NIH Institute and Center.

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Sujata Bardhan, Ph.D.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Telephone: 301-435-0471
Email: sujata.bardhan@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Kelly Fritz
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Telephone: 301-827-5429
Email: kelly.fritz@nih.gov