Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Eye Institute (NEI)

Funding Opportunity Title

NEI Institutional Mentored Physician Scientist Award [K12]

Activity Code

K12 Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA)

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-12-002

Related Notices
  • April 17, 2015 - Notice of Policy Change Regarding NEI Institutional Mentored Physician Scientist Award (K12) Program. See Notice NOT-EY-15-003.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-14-352

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.867

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage institutions to propose creative and innovative institutional research career development programs which prepare clinically-trained vision scientists for independent research careers.  This initiative is intended to expand and strengthen the community of investigators engaged in clinical research.  Such an increase in the number of well-trained clinical researchers is necessary to achieve a pool of scientists with contemporary, multidisciplinary expertise able to leverage recent advances in ocular genetics, therapeutics, bioengineering, and bio-behavioral research in order to enhance patient treatment and to increase scientific momentum in these fields.

Key Dates
Posted Date

September 26, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

April 14, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

May 14, 2015; May 16, 2016; and May 15, 2017, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS 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)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

October/November 2015, October/November 2016, and October/November 2017

Advisory Council Review

January 2016, January 2017, and January 2018

Earliest Start Date

April 2016, April 2017, and April 2018

Expiration Date

May 16, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide including the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, 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
Purpose and Background Information

The overall goal of the NIH Research Career Development programs is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.  More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.

This FOA encourages applications from organizations that propose creative and innovative institutional research career development programs in the mission area(s) of the NIH.

The proposed institutional research career development program may complement other, ongoing research training and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed career development experiences must be distinct from those career development programs currently receiving Federal support.

Program Objective

Eye disease is a major public health problem in the United States, causing significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life for Americans.  Conditions such as dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, amblyopia, glaucoma, myopia, strabismus, and cataract affect over 150 million people in the US.  The economic impact of visual disorders and disabilities estimated to be over $40 billion each year.

NEI has supported the highest-quality laboratory and clinical research aimed at increasing our understanding of the eye and visual system in both health and disease.  While there has been tremendous progress, the means to prevent or successfully treat some of the most devastating eye diseases are still elusive.  Inherent in the NEI mission is the application of knowledge gained through research to benefit those who suffer from diseases of the eye and disorders of vision.  Because such translational research focuses on preventing disease and developing new treatments and diagnoses for disease, the scientific principles on which it is based may vary in depth.  Thus, a collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians is essential for more rapid translational accomplishments.

The NEI National Plan for Eye and Vision Research calls for strengthening the pipeline of clinical researchers dedicated to vision research.   This FOA encourages applications from organizations that propose creative and innovative institutional mentored research career development programs in vision.  Such programs would increase the number of clinical investigators able to translate recent basic science advances into enhanced patient treatment and to advance scientific momentum in understanding the eye and visual system in both health and disease. Other expected outcomes of this FOA are improved mentoring for new clinician scientist researcher leaders who will apply for and obtain independent funding, the creation of a robust clinical research community applying novel approaches to vision research, and an increased number of multidisciplinary research teams led by junior clinically-trained investigators new to vision research related fields.

Research experiences for scholars supported under this FOA are welcome from all areas of vision research.  However, the NEI will not fund career development programs in which scholars propose to conduct a new, free-standing clinical trial or clinical study.  Instead, scholars seeking experience in the conduct of clinical trials or studies should instead propose an ancillary study within an on-going research program, see the NEI policy statement at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-EY-09-001.html

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 limited to total annual direct costs of $1,125,000, but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

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

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the career development program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program, up to 0.6 person-months per year.  Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap.

No funds may be requested for salary support of mentors.

Limited program-related administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when they are in accordance with applicable cost principles.  For institutions covered by OMB Circular A-21, this type of training program may qualify as a “major project” where administrative salaries are allowable as a direct cost.  When specifically identified and justified, these expenses must be itemized in Sections A and B, as appropriate, of the R&R Budget.  

 
Participant Costs

Scholars are those individuals who benefit from the proposed activities and experiences involved in the career development program.  Scholar costs must be justified as specifically required for the proposed career development program and based on institutional policies for salaries paid to individuals in similar positions, regardless of the source of funds.  The NEI imposes no salary restrictions beyond that imposed legislatively.  These expenses must be itemized in the proposed budget.

Other Program Related Expenses

Annual direct costs of up to $30,000 per scholar may be requested for the following types of expenses:  consultant costs, research supplies, equipment, and technical personnel; travel to attend research meetings or training; tuition, fees, and books related to didactic courses or career development activities; and statistical services, including personnel and computer time.  These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.

Costs may not be pooled and used for advertising, recruitment, or other programs unrelated or indirectly related to the research activities of individual scholars.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

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:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • 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)

Governments

  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.

The applicant institution must have a strong and high quality research program in the area(s) proposed under this FOA and must have the requisite faculty and facilities on site to conduct the proposed institutional program. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed program will complement other ongoing career development programs occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participating scholars may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not 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.
  • 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 training program as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training 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.

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 SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required. The PD/PI has responsibility for the day to day administration of the program and is responsible for appointing members of the Advisory Committee (when applicable), using their recommendations to determine the appropriate allotment of funds for research and career development.

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 programmatically 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).

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows.  The NIH will accept submission:

To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;

Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or

Of an application with a changed grant activity code.

Preceptors/Mentors

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program.  Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.  Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Participants/Scholars

Scholars to be supported by the institutional career development program must be at the career level for which the planned program is intended. Scholars are expected to devote a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) during the appointment on the K12 award.

Details on citizenship requirements are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the 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 (R&R) 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

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). 

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following additional modifications:

Substitute the term “scholars” for all references to “trainees” in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and substitute the term “career development” for all references to “training” in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Project Summary/Abstract. Provide an abstract of the entire application. Include the objectives, rationale and design of the research career development program, as well as key activities in the training plan. Indicate the planned duration of appointments, the projected number of scholars including their levels (i.e., l, postdoctoral, faculty), and intended scholar outcomes.

Other Attachments. An Advisory Committee is a required component of the NEI career development program.  Provide a plan for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to monitor progress of the career development program. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members, frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted.  Renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include the names of all committee members during the past project period.  Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”.

The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following additional modifications:

Research and Related (R&R) Budget

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

  • Include all personnel other than the Training PD(s)/PI(s) in the Other Personnel section, including clerical and administrative staff. Also include proposed salary costs for planned scholars.
  • Do not complete the section on Participant/Trainee Support Costs.
PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

All Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Substitute the term “scholars” for all references to “trainees” in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and substitute the term “career development” for all references to “training” in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Program Plan

Program Administration. Describe the acknowledged strengths, leadership and administrative skills, training experience, scientific expertise, and active research of the PD/PI. Relate these strengths to the proposed management of the training program. Describe the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the program. If there are multiple PDs/PIs, then the plan for Program Administration is expected to synergize with the “Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan” section of the application.

Institutions with existing programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how their programs will synergize with one another, if applicable, and make it clear that the pool of faculty, potential scholars, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs. When a program administrator position is planned, a description of the scientific expertise, leadership, and administrative capabilities essential to coordinate a program for developing investigators must be included in the application.

Program Faculty. The application must include information about the program faculty who will be available to serve as preceptors/mentors and provide guidance and expertise appropriate to the level of trainees proposed in the application. Describe the complementary expertise and experiences of the proposed Program Faculty, including active research and other scholarly activities in which the faculty are engaged, as well as experience mentoring and training individuals at the proposed career stage(s). For any proposed Program Faculty lacking research training experience, describe a plan to ensure successful trainee guidance by these individuals. Describe the criteria used to appoint and remove faculty as Program Faculty and to evaluate their participation.

Proposed Training. Provide an overview of the proposed program. Outline the objectives of the program and the program activities that will be used to meet these objectives. Describe for whom the training program is intended, including the training level(s) of the trainees, the academic and research background needed to pursue the proposed training, and, as appropriate, plans to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees. Include information about planned courses, mentored research experiences, and any activities designed to develop specific technical skills or other skills essential for the proposed research training. Describe how trainees will be educated in the human health- and disease-related aspects of their research training.

For renewal applications, highlight how the training program has evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, educational practices, and to evaluation of the training program.   

Program Evaluation. Describe a plan to review and determine the quality and effectiveness of the training program. This plan should include the metrics to be evaluated (including program activities completed, degree completion (if applicable), publications, fellowships/honors, and subsequent positions) as well as plans to obtain feedback from current and former trainees to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements. Specified evaluation metrics should be tied to the goals of the program.

Trainee Candidates. Describe, in general terms, the size and qualifications of the pool of trainee candidates including information about the types of prior clinical and research training and career level required for the program. Do not name prospective Trainees. Describe specific plans to recruit candidates and explain how these plans will be implemented (see also section on Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity). Describe the nomination and selection process to be used to select candidates who would be offered admission to the program and criteria for trainees’ reappointment to the program.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program.

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program including assurance that sufficient time will be allowed for the PDs/PIs and other Program Faculty to contribute to the proposed program, and that there will be protected time for scholars (9 person months, equivalent to 75%) selected for the program. The application must include a signed letter, on institutional letterhead, that describes the applicant institution’s commitment to the planned program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program. This commitment may also include features such as PD/PI salary, stipend or tuition support for individuals involved in the proposed training program, or other commitments essential to a successful training program. Institutions with ongoing research training, student development, or career development programs that receive external funding should explain what distinguishes the proposed program from existing ones at the same trainee level, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, whether trainees are expected to transition from one support program to another, and how the training faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are sufficiently robust to support the proposed program in addition to existing ones.

Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

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.  

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 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.

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.

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.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

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 only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. .

6. 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.

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.

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 (SAM). 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 by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NEI Referral Office by email at libermane@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Applicants are required to follow our Post Submission Application Materials 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/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed training program will prepare individuals for successful, productive scientific research careers and thereby exert a sustained 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 the merit of the training program, and give a separate score for each. When applicable, the reviewers will consider relevant questions in the context of proposed short-term training. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Career Development Program and Environment

  •  Does the proposed program clearly outline a plan to recruit and develop well-qualified junior investigators for successful careers as biomedical or clinical researchers?
  • Is there evidence of an adequate pool of potential scholars who could benefit from receiving career development support?
  • Are the content and duration of any proposed didactic, training-related, and research-related activities of the program appropriate?
  • Are appropriate timelines indicated for career progression and transition to independence?
  • Does the institutional environment (e.g., research facilities and other relevant resources) in which the program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success?
  • Does the proposed career development program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements?
  • Is the institutional commitment to the proposed program appropriate?
  • If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the career development and research experiences provided?
  • Is there sufficient assurance that the required effort of the PD/PI, mentors and scholars will be devoted directly to the research training, career development, and related activities?

When applicable, is there adequate documentation describing the responsibilities of the advisory committee with regard to the provision of input, guidance and oversight of the program?

Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s))

Do the PD/PI and Research Administrator (if applicable) have the experience to develop, direct and administer the proposed program? 

Does the leadership team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure program objectives?

Are the research qualifications, scientific stature, previous leadership and mentoring experience, and track record(s) appropriate for the proposed career development program?

Are the PD(s)/PI(s) currently engaged in research relevant to the scientific area of the proposed program?

  • For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:
  • Is a strong justification provided that the multiple PD/PI leadership approach will benefit the career development program and the scholars?
  • Is a strong and compelling leadership approach evident, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the aims of the career development program and the complementary expertise of the PDs/PIs?

Mentors

  • Do the mentors have appropriate expertise and experience, as well as track records of past mentoring and training?
  • Are the quality and extent of the mentors’ roles in providing guidance and scientific advice to the scholars acceptable? Are the mentors currently engaged in relevant research?

Candidate/Scholars

Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies likely to attract high quality scholar candidates?

Are there well-defined and well justified recruitment and selection strategies?

Is there evidence of a sufficiently large, competitive scholar pool to warrant the proposed size of the career development program?  

Are the content, phasing, and proposed duration of the career development plan appropriate for achieving scientific independence of the scholar candidates?

What is the likelihood that the career development plan will contribute significantly to the scientific development of the scholars?

Does the plan for selection of the scholars include all of the eligibility criteria stated in the FOA?

Training Record

Is there evidence of a successful past training record of the PD/PI and mentors, including the success of former scholars in seeking independent support and establishing productive scientific careers? Does the program have a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training?  Is there evidence that the program has produced clinician scientists who are pursuing vision research with independent fund??

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

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Vertebrate Animals

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Biohazards

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

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, including on the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)?  Are changes proposed that would improve or strengthen the career development experience? Is there evidence of a successful past training record of the PD/PI and mentors, including the success of former scholars in seeking independent support and establishing productive scientific research careers?

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.

Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups. The plan will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the consensus of the review committee will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the specific characteristics of the career development program, the level of scholar experience, and the particular circumstances of the scholars, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR career development in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g. lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups, including face-to-face interaction?  (A plan involving only on-line instruction is not acceptable.); 2) Subject Matter – Does the plan include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics? 3) Faculty Participation - Does the plan adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction?  For renewal applications, are all career development faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period named in the application?  4) Duration of Instruction - Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least eight contact hours of instruction? 5) Frequency of Instruction – Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least once during each career stage (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels) and at a frequency of no less than once every four years? 

For renewal applications, does the progress report document acceptable RCR instruction in the five components described above? Does the plan describe how participation in RCR instruction is being monitored? Are appropriate changes in the plan for RCR instruction proposed in response to feedback and in response to evolving issues related to responsible conduct of research?

Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

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).

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), convened by the NEI 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. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Eye Council. 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

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.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted. Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, must be followed.

Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.

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. 

Other Reporting Requirements
  • The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each scholar appointed for eight weeks or more. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.
  • A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271). Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status must first meet full (non-conditional) Permanent Residency requirements before receiving support.

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. Evaluation results should be included as part of the final Progress Report.

4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.

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)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

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)
Telephone: 301-945-7573
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Neeraj Agarwal, Ph.D.
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Telephone: 301-451-2020
Email: Neeraj.agarwal@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Anne Schaffner, Ph.D.
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Telephone: 301-451-2020
Email: Schaffnera@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

William Darby
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Telephone: 301-451-2020
Email: darbyw@mail.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 Parts 74 and 92.

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