Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements to NCATS CTSA Program T32/TL1 Institutional Training Program as part of the INCLUDE (Investigation of Co-occurring Conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndrome) Project
First Available Due Date:
October 01, 2022
July 02, 2025
PA-20-272 - Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional) or its subsequent reissued equivalent
PAR-21-338 - Limited Competition: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Research Training Grant for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program (T32 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-21-337 - Limited Competition: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Research Training Grant for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program (T32 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
PAR-18-940 - Clinical and Translational Science Award (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-18-464 - Clinical and Translational Science Award (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
This Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) announces NIH support for the professional development of trainees aiming to establish a career in Down syndrome (DS)-related research through an administrative supplement to an active NCATS Institutional Training Grant (T32 or TL1). This NOSI will support additional trainee slots to those T32/TL1 grants currently approved under the CTSA Program. By providing these scientists with career development research experiences, resources, and mentorship, the NIH intends to foster a pipeline of investigators in DS and other intellectual disabilities who will lead future research to improve the understanding of the biology of DS and support development of new treatments for health conditions experienced by those with DS.
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 Down syndrome. 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.
Several trans-NIH research initiatives were created in response to the 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/. The INCLUDE Project has 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
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 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).
All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, mustaddress a Data Management and Sharing Plan that follows the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. The Data Management and Sharing Plan will be considered by program staff as award decisions are being made as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program. It is expected that the results of INCLUDE-funded research will be shared with the wider scientific community in a timely manner.
For further information on INCLUDE priorities, resource sharing expectations, and participating NIH Institutes and Centers, see Frequently Asked Questions.
Applicants must have an active NCATS-funded institutional training (T32/TL1) award.
Application and Submission Information
Applications in response to this NOSI for this initiative must be submitted to PA-20-272- Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional) or its subsequent reissued equivalent
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and PA-20-272 must be followed, with the following additions:
- Application Due Date(s) - July 1, 2023. July 1, 2024, and July 1, 2025 by 5:00 PM local time of the applicant organization.
- For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-OD-22-191” (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.
- Only existing awardees of T32 (PAR-21-338, PAR-21-337) / TL1 (award funded previously under PAR-18-940 or PAR-18-464) active awards are eligible to apply. The supplement must comply with all of the parent FOA requirements of T32/TL1 programs, respectively.
- To be eligible, the parent award must be active (i.e., not be in an extension period), and the activities proposed for the supplement must be accomplished within the remaining active project period. A grant must have at least two years remaining to request a supplement for a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow to provide an optimal career development experience for the candidate.
- Award Project Period. Requests must be for a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years of consecutive funding for each trainee, consisting of 12-month appointments (depending on the eligibility of the parent award). The proposed project period of the supplement cannot extend beyond the current project period end date of the active T32/TL1 award.
- Trainee appointment(s) must be able to be fulfilled within the active project period.
- Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the program contact at the Institute supporting the parent award that a request has been submitted in response to NOT-OD-22-191 in order to facilitate efficient processing of the request.
- Applicant organizations may submit more than one application to this NOSI. Each application should include only one named candidate for the supplement. Use unique project titles for each application to ensure that each application is treated as a distinct submission
- R&R Budget, PHS 398 Training Budget. Application budgets must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project with the following limitations.
- Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Trainees:
- NIH will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of award. Stipend levels, as well as funding amounts for tuition and fees and the institutional allowance are announced annually in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, and are also posted on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) webpage.
- Trainee Travel: NIH will provide up to $1,500 per trainee to travel to scientific meetings. Trainee travel to attend scientific meetings and workshops that the institution determines to be necessary for the individual’s research training experience is an allowable trainee expense for predoctoral trainees.
- Training Related Expenses: NIH will provide funds to help defray other research training expenses, such as health insurance, staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and faculty/staff travel directly related to the research training program. The most recent levels of training related expenses are announced annually in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, and are also posted on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) webpage.
- Indirect Costs: Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.
Instructions for Electronic Application Submission through Grants.gov: Use the “Apply” button(s) in Part I of the PA-20-272 program announcement to access the application forms package posted at Grants.gov.
Prepare applications using the SF424 (R&R) forms associated with the chosen package. Please note that some forms marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this announcement.Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate required and optional forms, with the following additional guidance:
Program Plan:(may not exceed 12 pages)
- Background: Include a summary or abstract of the funded parent award project. Provide rationale for the proposed supplement program and its alignment with the main goals of the INCLUDE Project (to accelerate the development of new therapies, while simultaneously bringing promising agents already in development to individuals with DS as quickly as possible).
- Research Program Plan: The proposed plan should align with the missions of the INCLUDE Project and the NCATS CTSA Program. Describe how the proposed project will contribute to the trainee's career goals and path to independence. Present a timeline for career development activities and potential publications and grant applications for future support.
- Career Development Plan: Describe key activities of the candidate trainee during the supplement, included mentored team science activities, didactic coursework (including formal degree programs if appropriate), and other activities. Describe how the proposed career development activities experiences will enhance the candidate's clinical and translational science skills and prepare them for an independent research career.
- Mentoring Faculty: Provide information about the program faculty who will be involved in the supplement activities, including the complementary expertise and experiences, active research and other scholarly activities in which the faculty are engaged, as well as experience mentoring individuals at the proposed career stages. If any co-mentor is not located at the sponsoring institution, describe the frequency and type of communication that will be used to engage the trainee.
- Mentoring Plan: A mentoring plan for the candidate must include a plan for the candidate to contribute intellectually to the research, and to enhance her/his research skills and knowledge regarding the selected area of biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social science. It also must provide evidence of a focus on the enhancement of the research capability of the candidate and that the research experience is intended to provide opportunities for development as an independent investigator. The selected mentor(s) should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research, committed to both the career development of the candidate, and able to the direct supervision of the candidate’s research. Candidates are encouraged to identify more than one mentor, (i.e., a mentoring team [or advisory committee]), as this is deemed advantageous for providing expert advice in all aspects of the research.
- Data Management and Sharing Plan: Data sharing plans should describe how an applicant will share their final research data. The specifics of the plan will vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of data to be shared and how the investigator plans to share the data, but should follow the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy.
Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters from all individuals confirming their roles in the proposed supplement program. Include a signed letter, on institutional letterhead, that describes the applicant institution’s commitment to the planned proposed research project. The letter should confirm that the trainee will be supported by the T32/TL1 if the supplement is funded. The letter should also identify the laboratories, centers, and other specialized institutional facilities that will be made available to the trainee for the research project.
Project/Performance Site Location form: Include the primary site where the proposed supplement activities will be performed. If a portion of the proposed supplement activities will be performed at any other site(s), identify the locations in the fields provided.
Senior/Key Person form:
- List the PD/PI as the first person (regardless of their role on the supplement activities).
- List Senior/Key Personnel who will be serving as members of the trainee's mentoring team.
- List the trainee proposed to be added through this supplement. Trainees for this supplement support must have an eRA Commons account, and the trainee's Commons Username must be entered in the Credential field.
- Biographical sketch Senior/Key Personnel: Include a biographical sketch of the T32/TL1 PD/PI(s) and of each of the individuals who will compose the trainee's mentoring team. The personal statement of each individual who will serve on the trainee's mentoring team should include a description of his/her specific role in mentoring the trainee, how the mentoring will occur (e.g., frequency and mode), and how the trainee's progress will be monitored during the supplement award period.
- Biographical sketch, Trainee: The personal statement of the trainee's biographical sketch should include a description of his/her research objectives and career goals, and why their experience and qualifications make them particularly well-suited to receive an INCLUDE / NCATS CTSA Program T32/TL1 supplement award. Relevant factors include previous training and research accomplishments in clinical and translational science research and any source(s) of current funding.
Budget forms: Using the R&R budget form only include funds requested for the additional supplement activities.
R&R Other Project Information form, Facilities and Other Resources attachment: Describe how the scientific environment in which the career development activities will be done contributes to the probability of the trainee’s success (e.g., institutional support, physical resources, and intellectual rapport). For CTSA Program hub Training Resources, describe the training resources that are available to the trainee.
PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form: Clinical trials are not allowed.
Please direct all inquiries to:
Jamie Mihoko Doyle, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)