Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title

HIV-1 infection of the Central Nervous System (R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project Grant

Announcement Type

Reissue of PA-14-094

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PA-17-100

Companion Funding Opportunity

 None

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.242, 93.866; 93.273; 93.853; 93.855; 93.856; 93.279

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites research grant applications focused on defining and understanding the pathogenic mechanisms involved in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-1 induced CNS dysfunction, but within the context of viral suppression and Antiretroviral therapy (ART). The FOA further supports research to identify therapeutic targets against which treatments may be developed to prevent the neurobehavioral and neurological co-morbidities in HIV-1 infected individuals. Basic and translational research in domestic and international settings are of interest. Multidisciplinary research teams and collaborative alliances are encouraged but not required.  

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

January 5, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

April 7, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

Standard AIDS dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Standard AIDS dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date

January 8, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.

  3. Go to Grants.gov to download an application package to complete the application forms offline or create a Workspace to complete the forms online; submit your application to Grants.gov; and track your application in eRA Commons.
Learn more about the various submission options.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Background

Mild to moderate CNS dysfunction continues to persist despite viral suppression in patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The phenotype of neurologic and neurocognitive complications are evolving in the era of ART compared to outcomes observed in the Pre-ART era. Current understanding of HIV-1 neuropathogenesis is largely based on clinical outcomes that were predominantly seen in the pre-ART era. Majority of the basic research in the NeuroAIDS field has been focused on evaluating neuronal damage in the context of active viral replication and outcomes related to encephalitis and neuronal death. With the 90-90-90 goal and new WHO guidelines, more patients are on treatment and getting treated early, making it critical to examine neuronal impairment caused by HIV-1in the context viral suppression and ART. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between pathogenesis research and clinical outcomes observed, by including factors like impact of ART, vascular co-morbidities, chronicity of infection, and aging.

Despite excellent viral control in the CNS as a result of ART, continuing low levels of replication in specific brain regions and chronic inflammatory changes appear to play pivotal roles in the pathophysiology of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction. The extent of pathology identified in virally suppressed individuals diagnosed with milder neurocognitive impairment is minimal with relative absence of encephalitis or brain atrophy. Other studies in HIV-1 infected individuals on ART have demonstrated synapto-dendritic degenerative changes with loss of synapses, decreased numbers of dendritic branches, and retraction of dendritic spines. However, there may be other unexplored pathways that are driving the pathogenesis of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction such as subtler neuro-metabolic changes associated with altered neuronal circuits and networks. New research directions could include studies of factors related to neural membrane channel function, synaptic plasticity and neural activity anomalies. Several recently explored modulators of neuro-inflammation like extracellular vesicles (EVs) and microRNAs could also possibly play a critical role in causation of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.

An emerging area of research interest is the interaction of chronic HIV-1 infection, living with ART long term, and aging associated neurodegenerative processes. Currently, the CDC estimates that over half of all HIV-infected individuals in the United States are over the age of 50, including HIV-infected individuals surviving to older ages because of the efficacy of ART in reducing mortality, as well as newly-infected older individuals. As a result of a major demographic shift in the HIV-1 infected population in the US, there is an urgent need to better define the underlying pathophysiology of neurological complications and neurocognitive decline in the aging HIV-infected populations. 

Viral and host genetic factors contribute to pathophysiology of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction. New genetic technologies can assist in enhancing our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms, provide unique perspectives, and also aid in the identification of innovative strategies for the discovery of therapeutic drug targets. GWAS data are available from a reasonably large number of HIV-infected patients from several large cohorts [(Multi-center AIDS Cohort Study (MACS); Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS); CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER)] and can be utilized to understand how host genetics impacts the development/progression of cognitive impairment induced by HIV. The use of state-of-the-art genetic approaches (including transcriptomics, phenomics, epigenomics, single genome sequencing, whole genome association studies, ultra-deep sequencing, exome sequencing, and systems biology) as well as the use of human sample resources and animal model systems are encouraged to study, and validate, viral and host genetic contributions to HIV-1 neuropathogenesis.

Development of biological measures to assess neurological dysfunction associated with HIV-1 is another area of high research priority for the field. Recent technological advances in mass spectrometry, proteomics and systems biology may be harnessed to enable discovery of disease progression tracking biomarkers detectable in blood and serum. Despite several neuroimaging studies showing both structural and functional deficits in HIV-1 infected patients, pathognomonic neuroimaging signatures with the ability to diagnose HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction remain elusive. This FOA encourages neuroimaging studies in the context of suppressed individuals both to understand the mechanisms of mild to moderate forms of CNS dysfunction and identify diagnostic signatures of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.

Another key focus area of this initiative is to encourage research leading to the development of therapeutics for HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction. These therapeutic strategies include the development of CNS optimized ART therapies by including assessments of CNS pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetic profiles. The benefits of increasing bioavailability of ART drugs in the CNS needs to be examined further due to the possibility of neurotoxic effects of ART therapy. In addition to less toxic anti-viral approaches, novel therapeutics including immuno-modulatory agents, neuroprotective strategies and modulators of neuronal receptors that are identified from basic research on HIV-1 neuropathogenesis need to be advanced. 

There are several in vitro and in vivo models being used for investigating the pathogenesis of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction, but these models have limitations in their ability to mimic current clinical phenotypes. Additional research is needed to develop better models that consider the effect of chronicity and persistence of viral infection in the CNS in the context of ART as well as models to validate potential therapeutics for HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.

NOTE: Studies utilizing in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo models that can mimic the current clinical phenotypes in the context of viral suppression and ART are highly encouraged under this FOA.

In summary, the goals of this FOA are to stimulate further research on delineating the pathophysiology of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction in the setting of chronic viral suppression on long-term ART and to identify potential targets for novel therapeutic strategies in domestic and international settings. Applications ranging from basic research to clinical diagnosis and treatment are of interest. Multidisciplinary research teams and collaborative alliances are encouraged, but not required.

 
Areas of Research Interest

The research areas that are pertinent to this FOA include, but are not limited to:

Pathogenesis of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction

  • Basic research on HIV-1 induced neuronal dysfunction focusing on neuronal receptors, neural activity, neural circuits and synapto-dendritic damage using models with clinically relevant outcomes;
  • Clinical studies to adapt existing diagnostic neuroimaging and electrophysiology based methods to study neuronal circuits that are specifically compromised in HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction;
  • Identify novel molecular biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood linked with milder and chronic forms of HIV-associated CNS disease using state-of-the art techniques including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology and neuroimaging;
  • Assess the mechanisms of extracellular vesicles release in CNS derived cells in the setting of HIV-1 infection in vivo/in vitro and analyze extracellular vesicular cargo (inflammatory mediators, viral proteins) derived from HIV-1 infected cells as well as evaluate the potential role of exosomes as biomarkers for HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction;
  • Identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurological impairment in acute and early infection in addition to assessing the impact on early initiation of treatment on immune recovery and resulting long term neurological outcomes;
  • Evaluate the role of substance abuse on the pathogenesis of HIV-induced CNS dysfunction in the context of ART.

Viral and Host Genetics

  • Study the role of viral and host genetic/epigenetic factors in the pathophysiology of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction;
  • Understand the role of viral and host transcriptional regulation (including viral protein modifications, histone modifications, changes in chromatin structure, and non-coding RNA) in HIV-1 neuropathogenesis;
  • Evaluate interactions of drugs of abuse with viral and host genetic/epigenetic factors and their role in the pathophysiology of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction;
  • Identify host genetic factors regulating responsiveness to anti-retroviral therapy and neuroprotective adjuvant therapies (pharmacogenomics).

Neuroimaging Studies

This FOA encourages neuroimaging studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), blood oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and arterial spin-labeling MRI (ASL-MRI),  chemical shift imaging and other novel imaging technologies in the context of virally suppressed individuals under ART therapy exhibiting mild to moderate forms of CNS dysfunction to:

  • Study pathogenesis of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction across the lifespan;
  • Identify the pathognomonic signatures with the ability to diagnose HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction across the lifespan utilizing systems biology/machine learning approaches;
  • Evaluate the effects of substance abuse on CNS HIV-1 pathology in the presence of ART.

Aging, Co-morbidities, Co-infections and HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction

  • Determine the mechanism of HIV-1 neuropathogenesis in the aging HIV-1 infected population in the context of chronic viral suppression and ART;
  • Examine molecular and cellular mechanisms of accelerated brain aging in HIV-1 infection and AIDS;
  • Assess the impact of metabolic changes relating to ART on neurocognitive outcomes among HIV-1 infected patients including but not limited to studies on the effect of insulin resistance, lipid abnormalities and mitochondrial dysfunction on HIV-associated CNS disease;
  • Assess the contributions of non-infectious co-morbidities (vascular, stroke, epilepsy) to HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction and reciprocal interactions of HIV-1 induced CNS damage with other neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Evaluate interactions of substance abuse with aging, co-morbidities, co-infections and HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.

Therapeutics

  • Advance adjunctive therapeutic strategies to treat HIV-induced CNS dysfunction by targeting CNS inflammation, cellular activation, and altered neuronal circuits in individuals with chronic HIV-1 disease on suppressive ART;
  • Discover novel clinical approaches to prevent HIV-induced CNS dysfunction including therapeutics with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and target the CNS to alleviate neuronal dysfunction in HIV-infected individuals on ART;
  • Ascertain the impact of long term ART on the CNS including the role in accelerated brain aging;
  • Develop integrated therapeutic strategies to treat neuronal dysfunction associated with HIV-1 infection and substance abuse;
  • Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics studies to comprehend CNS bioavailability of ART and other relevant therapeutics.

Animal Models and Specimen Resources

The use of animal models and development of novel in vitro, ex vivo or in vivo models for research on HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction that reflect current clinical phenotypes in the context of chronic viral suppression and ART are encouraged. The use of human specimen resources from the large NIH-funded HIV-1 related studies listed below is also encouraged. These resources include but are not limited to the:

  • Multi-center AIDS Cohort Study (MACS);
  • Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS);
  • CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER);
  • AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG); and the
  • National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC).

Note: Clinical trials will not be accepted in response to this FOA

Protections for Human Subjects:

Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly. The NIMH has published updated policies and guidance for investigators regarding human research protection and clinical research data and safety monitoring (NOT-MH-15-025).  The application’s Protection of Human Subjects section and data and safety monitoring plans should reflect the policies and guidance in this notice.  Plans for the protection of research subjects and data and safety monitoring will be reviewed by the NIMH for consistency with NIMH and NIH policies and federal regulations. 

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission
Revision

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 years.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

o   Hispanic-serving Institutions

o   Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

o   Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

o   Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

o   Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) 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.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

R&R or Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions: 

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. Generally, Resource Sharing Plans are also expected.

Appendix:

 Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Assignment Request Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

Foreign Institutions

Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. 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 only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A) must contact a Scientific/ Research Contact at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact 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 review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific 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? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? 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(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, 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? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? 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? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects? 

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?   

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, 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. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

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.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, 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.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

For Revisions, 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.

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

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.

Select Agent 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).

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; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3)  Genomic Data Sharing Plan (GDS).

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate National Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. 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.

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

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. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award.  An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS.  The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”  This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)

Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)

Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Jeymohan Joseph, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 240-627-3869
Email: jjeymoha@mail.nih.gov

Kendall J. Bryant, Ph.D
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Telephone: 301-402-0332
Email: kbryant@mail.nih.gov

Diane Lawrence, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
Telephone: 240-627-3202
E-mail: Diane.Lawrence2@nih.gov

Miroslaw (Mack) Mackiewicz, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-9350
E-mail: mackiewiczm2@mail.nih.gov

Vishnudutt Purohit, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-594-5753
Email: vpurohit@nida.nih.gov

May Wong, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1431
Email: wongm@ninds.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)

Rita Sisco
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-2805
Email: siscor@mail.nih.gov

Judy S. Fox
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Telephone: 301-443-4705
Email:  jfox@mail.nih.gov

Ann Devine
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone: 240-669-2988 
Email: adevine@niaid.nih.gov

Kathleen L. Moy
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-827-2856
Email: kathleen.moy@nih.gov

Debra Dudley
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-827-6698
Email: ddudley@nida.nih.gov

Tijuanna DeCoster
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9531
Email: Tijuanna.DeCoster@ninds.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

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 Part 75.

NIH Office of Extramural Research Logo
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page
Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
USA.gov - Government Made Easy
NIH... Turning Discovery Into Health®


Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.