of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.nih.gov)
Title: Decision Making in Cancer: Single-Event Decisions (R21)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a reissue of PA-06-305, which was previously released on March 31, 2006.
Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:
NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this FOA for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.
This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).
A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least 4 weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.
(PA) Number: PA-08-064
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
Release/Posted Date: January 10, 2008
Opening Date: January 16, 2008 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not Applicable
NOTE: On-time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization).
Application Submission Dates: Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS
Peer Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Council Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Additional Information To Be Available Date (URL Activation Date): Not Applicable.
Expiration Date: January 8, 2011
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Table of Contents
Part I Overview
Part II Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives
Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism of Support
2. Funds Available
Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
A. Eligible Institutions
B. Eligible Individuals
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
1. Letter of Intent
B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH
C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements
Section V. Application Review Information
2. Review and Selection Process
A. Additional Review Criteria
B. Additional Review Considerations
C. Sharing Research Data
D. Sharing Research Resources
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)
Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations
PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND
The purpose of this FOA is to invite applications for research projects that will enhance understanding of human decision-making processes so that individuals can make more informed and satisfying choices regarding their health. Specifically, this FOA seeks to elucidate those single-event decision-making processes at the level of either the individual patient or health care provider that are considered pertinent to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, survivorship, or end-of-life care. Decisions involving the individual patient, provider, patient-provider dyad, patient-caregiver dyad, patient-partner dyad, or the patient-family system are appropriate for study. For the purpose of this FOA, a single-event decision is defined as a discrete decision made at a specific point in time. Examples of single-event decisions include selecting a particular cancer treatment, choosing to have mammography screening, and deciding to accept hospice care. Discrete, single-event decisions are distinct from decisions that must be made repeatedly, such as adhering to a weight-loss program or maintaining smoking abstinence. Studies that examine these kinds of repeated choice decisions, such as those required for long-term behavior maintenance, are not responsive to this program announcement
Advances in cancer prevention, detection,
treatment, and end-of-life care, coupled with advances in bioinformatics, have
all created a staggering array of health care options and sources of medical
information. Individuals at risk, patients, family members, and health care
providers face a multitude of decisions across the cancer continuum that may
profoundly affect outcomes in a number of domains, such as life expectancy and
quality of life. In recent years, as various options in cancer care have
increased, cancer patients and their physicians have been faced with
increasingly complex decisions. For example, a patient who is considering
surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy may need to consider the survival
benefit and toxicity profile of each treatment option. Additionally, a patient
may wish to weigh the costs and benefits of one treatment compared with
another, especially with respect to duration of symptom-free survival, time
spent with treatment-induced toxicity, time to relapse, and impact on daily
activities. Other decisions, such as choosing to undergo genetic testing for BRCA1/BRCA2
mutations, or to enroll in a cancer clinical trial, may also require an equally
complex cost-benefit analysis.
Having access to, and knowledge of clinical and quality of life information, is only a part of the decision process. It is equally important to understand the cognitive and affective processes involved in using this information to arrive at a decision. For example, despite strong evidence that Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening reduces the incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer, Pap smear screening is underused by large segments of the population, notably ethnic minority women and women living in geographically isolated areas. While lack of information, health insurance, or access to health care may impact adherence to screening recommendations, emotional factors, such as risk perception, fear of cancer, or embarrassment, may also play significant roles.
Often patients and physicians are faced with having to make prevention, screening, or treatment decisions under conditions of uncertainty, such as when there are no randomized clinical trials that establish the efficacy of a particular treatment. This is the case with prostate cancer, the most commonly-occurring malignancy amongst men in the U.S., which accounts for more than 220,000 cases annually. Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality for men, prostate cancer screening and treatment strategies are highly controversial. Because definitive treatment data for localized prostate cancer are lacking, men must choose between one or more options from four possible management strategies: observation (watchful waiting); hormone therapy; surgery; and radiotherapy. Each of these options is associated with potential benefits and risks. Results reported in the literature suggest that critical factors that impact upon the prostate cancer patient's decision include both the physicians influence and medical specialty. A major challenge for physicians is how to communicate effectively about the uncertainties that surround prostate cancer screening and treatment so that patients can make more informed decisions about their care.
Behavioral decision theorists recognize that human behavior is not always rational or consistent. The importance of intuition in making medical decisions has been well documented in the medical literature. Whereas intuitive decision-making may be appropriate in certain circumstances, in other situations it may result in suboptimal medical decisions. Some investigators have argued that if one is to help patients make optimal medical decisions, it is essential to develop a better understanding of the cognitive and emotional factors that may lead to pitfalls in reasoning. They suggest that it is important to understand the roles of heuristics and biases in decision making, and how variables such as framing effects, perception of safety and danger, risk aversion, irrational concerns, and worry, can factor into decision-making processes.
It is also well recognized that competent patients often make seemingly irrational medical choices, such as delaying treatment that they know is clearly in their best interests. This observation that people act in apparently irrational ways or in ways that appear contrary to their best interests, has been empirically demonstrated repeatedly in the behavioral science and medical decision-making literature. One example of this kind of apparently self-defeating behavior is the lung cancer or head and neck cancer patient who continues to smoke despite the evidence that smoking can adversely affect survival, functional status, and second primary tumors.
Understanding how patients and physicians gauge health risks may shed light on why competent people sometimes make suboptimal medical decisions. Numeracy, the ability to understand and use basic mathematical concepts, is critical to being able to evaluate health risks. It has been shown that educated laypersons and physicians alike have difficulty comprehending numeric risk estimates, whether risk is expressed in numerical (e.g., percentages) or graphical (e.g., survival curves) format. Treatment decisions by physicians and patients may be influenced by whether outcomes are expressed in absolute or relative terms. For example, in one study, physicians were more inclined to treat patients when the results of a clinical trial were reported in terms of relative risk reduction (e.g., a 20.3 percent decrease in mortality) than when results were reported in terms of absolute risk reduction (e.g., a decrease in mortality from 7.8 percent to 6.3 percent). Graphic representations of probabilistic information, such as survival and mortality curves, which present information about risk over time, appear to be subject to similar difficulties in interpretation. Investigators have found that the way in which data are framed (e.g., survival vs. mortality) impacts both comprehension and treatment preferences.
Innumeracy and framing are among many factors that have been proposed as critical in making health-related decisions. Other important variables that may substantially impact the decision-making process include perceived probability and severity of harm, affect, heuristics (e.g., anchoring), cognitive biases, and ambiguity.
This FOA encourages research that expands our knowledge of both basic cognitive and affective processes that underlie single-event decisions related to cancer control. Studies may include, but are not limited to, the following areas of research:
These processes and methods should be explored in the context of cancer prevention, detection, treatment, or survivorship. They may be examined with respect to social or structural factors, or other moderators and mediators of decision making (e.g., sociocultural factors, demographic factors, and health status).
The evolution and vitality of the biomedical sciences require a constant infusion of new ideas, techniques, and points of view. These may differ substantially from current thinking or practice and may not yet be supported by substantial preliminary data. By using the R21 mechanism, the NIH seeks to foster the introduction of novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.
The R21 mechanism is intended to encourage new exploratory and developmental research projects. For example, such projects could assess the feasibility of a novel area of investigation or a new experimental system that has the potential to enhance health-related research. Another example could include the unique and innovative use of an existing methodology to explore a new scientific area. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area, or to the development of novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models, or applications that could have a major impact on a field of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research.
Applications for R21 awards should describe projects distinct from those supported through the traditional R01 mechanism. For example, long-term projects, or projects designed to increase knowledge in a well-established area, will not be considered for R21 awards. Applications submitted under this mechanism should be exploratory and novel. These studies should break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications.
See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.
Mechanism of Support
This FOA will use the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) award mechanism. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.
This FOA uses Just-in-Time information concepts. It also uses the modular as well as the non-modular budget formats (see the Modular Applications and Awards section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Specifically, if you are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs), use the PHS398 Modular Budget component provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (see specifically Section 3.4, Modular Budget Component, of the Application Guide).
All foreign applicants must complete and submit budget requests using the non-modular Research & Related Budget component found in the application package for this FOA. See NOT-OD-06-096, August 23, 2006.
Exploratory/developmental grant support is for new projects only; competing renewal (formerly competing continuation) applications will not be accepted. Applicants may submit a resubmission, but such application must include an Introduction addressing issues raised in the previous critique (Summary Statement).
2. Funds Available
Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed 2 years. Although the size of award may vary with the scope of research proposed, it is expected that applications will stay within the budgetary guidelines for an exploratory/developmental project; direct costs are limited to $275,000 over an R21 2-year period, with no more than $200,000 in direct costs allowed in any single year. Applicants may request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to the total direct costs limitation of $275,000 for the combined 2-year award period. NIH grants policies as described in the NOT-OD-05-004, November 2, 2004.
1. Eligible Applicants
1.A. Eligible Institutions
You may submit an application(s) if your institution/organization has any of the following characteristics:
1.B. Eligible Individuals
Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources
necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Project Director/Principal
Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an
application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic
groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply
for NIH support.
More than one PD/PI, or multiple PDs/PIs, may be designated on the application for projects that require a team science approach that clearly does not fit the single-PD/PI model. Additional information on the implementation plans and policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PD/PI on individual research projects is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi. All PDs/PIs must be registered in the NIH eRA Commons prior to the submission of the application (see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm for instructions).
The decision of whether to apply for a single PD/PI or multiple PD/PI grant is the responsibility of the investigators and applicant organizations and should be determined by the scientific goals of the project. Applications for multiple PD/PI grants will require additional information, as outlined in the instructions below. When considering multiple PDs/PIs, please be aware that the structure and governance of the PD/PI leadership team as well as the knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PD/PIs will be factored into the assessment of the overall scientific merit of the application. Multiple PDs/PIs on a project share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI 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 required reports. For further information on multiple PDs/PIs, please see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi.
2. Cost Sharing or
This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement.
3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria
Applicants may submit more than one application, provided each application is scientifically distinct.
To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and
SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for
this FOA, link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.
A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:
PDs/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the eRA Commons.
Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant institution/organization can submit an electronic application, as follows:
1) Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Started
3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.
Both the PD/PI and AOR/SO need separate accounts in the NIH eRA Commons since both are authorized to view the application image.
Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer-reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.
Several of the steps of the registration process could take 4 weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.
1. Request Application Information
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.
Note: Only the forms package
directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use
any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA),
although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than
For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo -- Telephone 301-710-0267; Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.
Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. There are fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components that, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the Credential log-in field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile component must contain the PD/PIs assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
The SF424 (R&R) application is comprised of data arranged in separate components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY will include all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA will include the following components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
PHS398 Modular Budget
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan
PHS398 Modular Budget or Research & Related Budget, as appropriate (See Section IV.6., Special Instructions, regarding appropriate required budget component)
Research & Related Budget (required for Foreign applications)
PHS398 Cover Letter File
Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form
Foreign Organizations (Non-Domestic
NIH policies concerning grants to Foreign (non-U.S.) organizations can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement at https://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600260.
Applications from Foreign organizations must:
Proposed research should provide special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States or that augment existing U.S. resources.
Applications with Multiple PDs/PIs
When multiple PDs/PIs are proposed, NIH requires one PD/PI to be designated as the "Contact PI, who will be responsible for all communication between the PDs/PIs and the NIH, for assembling the application materials outlined below, and for coordinating progress reports for the project. The contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status in the same way as other PDs/PIs, but has no other special roles or responsibilities within the project team beyond those mentioned above.
Information for the Contact PD/PI should be entered in Item 13 of the SF424 (R&R) Cover component. All other PDs/PIs should be listed in the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component and assigned the project role of PD/PI. Please remember that all PDs/PIs must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to application submission. The Commons ID of each PD/PI must be included in the Credential field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person component. Failure to include this data field will cause the application to be rejected.
All projects proposing Multiple PDs/PIs will be required to include a new section describing the leadership of the project.
Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan: For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs, a new section of the research plan, entitled Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan, must be included. A rationale for choosing a multiple PD/PI approach should be described. The governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and the research project should be described, including communication plans, process for making decisions on scientific direction, and procedures for resolving conflicts. The roles and administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities for the project or program should be delineated for the PDs/PIs and other collaborators.
If budget allocation is planned, the distribution of resources to specific components of the project or the individual PDs/PIs should be delineated in the Leadership Plan. In the event of an award, the requested allocations may be reflected in a footnote on the Notice of Award.
Applications Involving a Single Institution
When all PDs/PIs are within a single institution, follow the instructions contained in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Applications Involving Multiple Institutions
When multiple institutions are involved, one institution must be designated as the prime institution and funding for the other institution(s) must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the prime institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the prime institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component. All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form. See Section 4.8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget form.
When submitting a modular budget, the prime institution completes the PHS398 Modular Budget component only. Information concerning the consortium/subcontract budget is provided in the budget justification. Separate budgets for each consortium/subcontract grantee are not required when using the Modular budget format. See Section 3.4 of the Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the PHS398 Modular Budget component.
Submission Dates and Times
See Section IV.3.A for details.
3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date: January 16, 2008 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable.
Application Submission/Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply, please see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
AIDS Application Submission/Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS
Peer Review Dates: Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Council Review Dates: Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
Earliest Anticipated Start Dates: Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward
3.A.1. Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.
3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the
To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/Apply and follow steps 1-4. Note: Applications must only be submitted electronically. PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
3.C. Application Processing
Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time(of the applicant institution/organization) on the application submission/receipt date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the receipt date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.
Once an application package has been successfully submitted through Grants.gov, any errors have been addressed, and the assembled application has been created in the eRA Commons, the PD/PI and the Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO) have 2 business days to view the application image.
Upon receipt, applications will
be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH.
Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons.
Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to check periodically on their application status in the Commons.
The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique. Note such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF424 (R&R).
4. Intergovernmental Review
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
5. Funding Restrictions
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Pre-award costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award.
The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
6. Other Submission Requirements
PD/PI Credential (e.g., Agency Login)
The NIH requires the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the PROFILE Project Director/Principal Investigator section, Credential log-in field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile component. The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see Registration FAQs Important Tips -- Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
PHS398 Research Plan Component Sections
While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan component as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.
All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF) are to be followed, incorporating "Just-in-Time" information concepts, and with the following requirements for R21 applications:
NIH has published new limitations on grant application appendix materials to encourage applications to be as concise as possible while containing the information needed for expert scientific review. See https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-018.html.
Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations. An application that does not observe the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.
Note: While each section of the PHS398 Research Plan component needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan component as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to monitor better formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.
Foreign Applications (Non-Domestic [non-U.S.] Entity)
Plan for Sharing Research Data
Sharing Research Resources
NIH policy expects that grant recipients make
unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified
individuals within the scientific community after publication (see the NIH
Grants Policy Statement at https://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131).
Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing
research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared
or explain why sharing is not possible.
The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3., Reporting.
Model Organism Sharing Plan: Reviewers are asked to assess the sharing plan in an administrative note. The sharing plan itself should be discussed after the application is scored. Whether a sharing plan is reasonable can be determined by the reviewers on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the organism, the timeline, the applicant's decision to distribute the resource or deposit it in a repository, and other relevant considerations.
1. Criteria (Update: Enhanced review criteria have been issued for the evaluation of research applications received for potential FY2010 funding and thereafter - see NOT-OD-09-025).
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.
2. Review and Selection Process
Applications submitted for this funding opportunity will be assigned to the ICs on the basis of established Public Health Service (PHS) referral guidelines.
Appropriate scientific review groups convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures (http://cms.csr.nih.gov/ResourcesforApplicants/) will evaluate applications for scientific and technical merit.
As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:
Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
The NIH R21 exploratory/developmental grant is a mechanism for supporting novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or the status of health-related research. Because the Research Strategy is limited to 6 pages, an exploratory/developmental grant application need not have extensive background material or preliminary information as one might normally expect in an R01 application. Accordingly, reviewers will focus their evaluation on the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. Reviewers will place less emphasis on methodological details and certain indicators traditionally used in evaluating the scientific merit of R01 applications, including supportive preliminary data. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required for R21 applications; however, they may be included if available.
The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.
Note that an application does not
need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major
scientific impact and thus deserve a high impact/priority score. For example, an
investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not
innovative but is essential to move a field forward.
Overall Impact. Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following five core review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Core Review Criteria. Reviewers will consider each of the five review criteria below in the determination of scientific and technical merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.
Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
Investigator(s): Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?
If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?
Additional Review Criteria
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider the following additional items in the determination of scientific and technical merit, but will not give separate scores for these items.
Protections for Human Subjects. For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials.
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children. When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children.
Vertebrate Animals. The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia.
Resubmission Applications. When reviewing a Resubmission application (formerly called an amended application), the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
Renewal Applications. When reviewing a Renewal application (formerly called a competing continuation application), the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.
Revision Applications. When reviewing a Revision application (formerly called a competing supplement application), the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.
Biohazards. Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
Additional Review Considerations
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will address each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.
Budget and Period Support. Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Select Agents Research. Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).
Applications from Foreign Organizations. Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.
Resource Sharing Plans. Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_guidance.htm); 2) Sharing Model Organisms (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-04-042.html); and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-088.html).
2.C. Sharing Research Data
Sharing Research Resources
NIH policy expects that grant recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement at https://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.
Program staff will be responsible for the administrative review of the plan for sharing research resources.
The adequacy of the resources
sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program
staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding
applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as
part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant
Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3.,
Model Organism Sharing Plan:Reviewers are asked to assess the sharing plan in an administrative note. The sharing plan itself should be discussed after the application is scored. Whether a sharing plan is reasonable can be determined by the reviewers on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the organism, the timeline, the applicant's decision to distribute the resource or deposit it in a repository, and other relevant considerations. For the R21 mechanism, the presence or adequacy of a plan should not enter into the scoring of the application.
Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his/her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons.
If the application is under
consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time"
information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH
Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards,
Subpart A: General.
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official.
Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Section IV.5., Funding Restrictions.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities.
When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
We encourage your inquiries
concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer
questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research,
peer review, and financial or grants management issues:
1. Scientific/Research Contacts:
Wendy Nelson, Ph.D.
Basic and Biobehavioral Research Branch
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, EPN Room 4064, MSC 7363
Bethesda, MD 20892-7363 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: (301) 435-3490
Fax: (301) 435-7547
Dr. Susan Marden, PhD
Program Director, Office of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH
6701 Democracy Blvd., Suite 710
One Democracy Plaza
Bethesda, MD 20892-4870
Telephone: (301) 496-9623
Fax: (301) 480-8260
3. Financial or Grants
Office of Grants Administration
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS Room 243, MSC 7150
Bethesda, MD 20892-7150 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for non-USPS delivery)
Telephone: (301) 496-8634
Fax: (301) 451-5391
Required Federal Citations
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.
Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45 CFR 46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).
Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (Phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); and efficacy, effectiveness, and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).
Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).
Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local institutional review board (IRB) rules, as well as local, State, and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the impact/priority score.
Access to Research Data through
the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are: (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds; and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.
Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time, the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh-Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement). Beginning October 1, 2004, all investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the SF424 (R&R) application; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.
Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).
Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.
Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-09-116.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s) to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.
NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.
NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from: 1) currently funded NIH research projects; or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.
For more information about the Policy or the submission process, please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools, including the Authors' Manual.
Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information," the "Privacy Rule," on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.
URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. For publications listed in the appendix and/or Progress report, internet addresses (URLs) must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles. Unless otherwise specified in this solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide any other information necessary for the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This FOA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.
Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.
Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for 2 years to the research. For further information, please see http://www.lrp.nih.gov.
Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
Office of Extramural
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
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