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 Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Funding Opportunity Title

Innovation for HIV Vaccine Discovery (R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-AI-15-019

Related Notices
  • April 25, 2017 - This PAR has been reissued as PAR-17-263 .
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-16-171

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.855; 93.856 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite applications proposing innovative, high risk, high impact research to identify novel HIV vaccine concepts and targets. A further focus is to answer important scientific questions that will aid in the design and development of an effective immunogen that may provide long-term safe protection from either acquisition of, or ongoing infection by HIV.  Thus, this FOA aims to support early discovery research by supporting the testing of novel hypotheses and approaches, and the potential for continued funding that is dependent upon achieving applicant-proposed and pre-award negotiated “Go/No-Go criterion/criteria” by the year-2 progress report.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

April 7, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

July 1, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

August 1, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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)

August 1, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of AIDS and AIDS-related applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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

October 2016

Advisory Council Review

January 2017

Earliest Start Date

April 2017

Expiration Date

August 2, 2016

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, 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.


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

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite applications proposing research on innovative, high risk/high impact vaccine approaches, and on critical questions related to vaccine discovery that may provide long term safe protection from acquisition of, or ongoing infection by HIV.  Developing an effective vaccine requires a better understanding of how to optimally trigger multiple adaptive T and B cell responses, and possibly innate immunity as well, so as to prevent or limit the initial infection and/or elicit responses that contain and eliminate virus that manages to establish infection and latent reservoirs.

Projects proposed will be expected to explore and test novel hypotheses to significantly impact the design of immunogens or immunization strategies leading to an effective HIV vaccine.  Advances in biomedical technologies, such as molecular and structural imaging, high-throughput deep sequencing, new ways of probing antibody and cellular gene repertoires, improved animal models, novel adjuvants and more efficient vaccine delivery systems, have generated insights into the virology and immunology of HIV.  Thus, it is critically important that the vaccine discovery efforts being encouraged by this FOA continue to exploit and advance these evolving research tools. While aiming to support novel approaches that significantly impact our understanding of how to create an effective HIV vaccine, this FOA explicitly encourages applications from new investigators and investigators new to the HIV vaccine field, and seeks to promote interdisciplinary cross-collaborations among virologists, immunologists, molecular and systems biologists, microbiologists, clinical scientists and other relevant specialists.

Background

HIV continues to be an ominously deadly virus.  It is estimated that more than 36 million people have died as a result of HIV infection, and that 35 million are living with HIV.  In principle, and if ideally implemented, existing non-vaccine interventions could possibly control or even end the HIV-AIDS pandemic, but at present these fail in approximately 75% or more of infected persons.  Consequently, efforts to stem the AIDS pandemic remain enormously challenging and the effort to identify and develop a safe and effective prophylactic HIV vaccine continues to be a major priority of NIAID.

Results from HIV/AIDS vaccine research to date have been equivocal, and reflect the uncertainty of how best to confront the immense biological variability of the virus (principally in its envelope gene) as well as how to aptly exploit highly polymorphic, yet fundamental host genetic loci (e.g., Ig, MHC, TCR) that ultimately underlie immune response capacity upon vaccination.  So far, only limited immunogenicity and breadth have been achieved with multiple vaccine candidates tested in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, and only modest success was seen in the RV-144 efficacy trial (the vaccine regimen had modest efficacy of 31%).  Vaccine regimens tested to date have not reliably induced sufficiently broad and potent neutralizing antibodies, though many such antibodies have now been engineered and indeed are potent enough to provide significant protection when administered passively in nonhuman primate (NHP) models.  Human trials with passively administered antibody vaccines have begun.  These antibodies reveal epitope targets for a potentially effective vaccine-induced antibody response.  Investigators have also demonstrated in animal models that protection can be achieved without inducing antibodies.  For example, vaccines based on Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vectors have been shown to protect animals from establishment of infection in about 50% of animals tested.  These and other T cell vaccines are under intensive preclinical investigations to more precisely determine immunological mechanisms or correlates of protection and whether protection rates can be improved. 

With the apparent more pronounced polymorphisms of key immune response loci carried in most NHP species vs. those in humans (some have yet to be fully annotated at gene sequence and expression levels in NHPs), and the highly practical importance of NHP models in assessing the mechanisms of vaccine efficacy, further studies on these loci are needed to better understand the predictive significance of these animal models in developing correlates of vaccine efficacy.  For example, with improved genomic and phenomic technologies, carefully designed NHP studies are poised to show how vaccines can best induce functionally well-defined antigen-specific T and B cell responses, for example in promoting localized mucosal and/or lymphoid tissue B cell neutralizing antibody responses with appropriate somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination.

New discoveries in HIV pathogenesis and virus adaptation in the host continue to provide useful information for guiding development of effective strategies to prevent initial acquisition of infection, curb the spread of virus from initial entry to distant sites, or to eliminate infected host cells.  Such hypothesis-generating leads invigorate the field and stimulate novel vaccine design and testing.  There is a continuing substantial need to probe fundamental aspects of HIV immunity, both at the mucosal “portal-of-entry” and in critical tissue compartments (e.g., local and systemic lymph nodes) to gain insights for the future development of vaccines.  Many gaps exist in our understanding of the basic biological mechanisms for inducing broad mucosal and systemic immunity, priming, protection, and tolerance.  This lack of information hampers the design of effective vaccines that provide adequate protection.  The types of early immune responses that will be effective remain unclear.  For instance, it is still unknown and debated whether local IgA induction can result in protection.  Functional genomics studies with licensed vaccines have suggested some leads to designing effective vaccination strategies by modulating dendritic cells with appropriate Toll-Like or other Pattern Recognition Receptors.  While other similar leads are being explored, the HIV vaccine field must improve its fundamental understanding of viral immunity and expedite discovery of ways to achieve robust adaptive and innate immunity to prevent either initial virus acquisition or the establishment of chronic and or latent HIV infection.

Go/No-Go Criterion/Criteria

Key features of this FOA emphasize that applications should be very different from conventional investigator-initiated R01 applications.

In keeping with the high-innovation and high-risk research targeted by this Innovation for HIV Vaccine Discovery (IHVD) program, applicants are required to identify within the application Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria to be achieved for the Year 2 progress report in order to enable advancement to years 3-4 of funding. These Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria will be referenced in the Notice of Award.  Achievement of the stated goals (“Go” decision criterion/criteria) will enable up to 4 years of support, while failure to achieve the stated goals (“No-Go” decision criterion/criteria) will result in negotiation of a reduced budget for year 3 and award close out. Applications that do not include Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

The following list is not intended to emphasize or limit applications to any specific areas of research, but only to serve as a set of examples of high risk, high impact and novel research projects. Animal model evaluation of a proposed hypothesis; for example assessing vaccine immunogenicity or efficacy using simian-tropic HIV, SIV or pathogenic SHIV challenge, is strongly encouraged. Research projects and studies may include, but are not limited to, the following topics listed below:

  • Novel approaches to elicit durably protective cellular and/or humoral (e.g., broadly neutralizing antibody) responses against simian-tropic HIV and/or SIV or SHIV.
  • Novel approaches to direct protective adaptive and/or innate immune responses to relevant mucosal or systemic sites.
  • Development of new animal models, vectors, assays, adjuvant and/or vaccine formulations and delivery modalities, but only if specifically linked to a novel vaccine intervention strategy for prevention of simian-tropic HIV/SIV/SHIV acquisition or clearance of virus-infected cells.  
  • Studies of novel antigen processing, presentation or priming mechanisms that generate broadly reactive or non-canonical T cells.
  • Exploration of the feasibility/utility of novel vaccine delivery platforms to potentially better focus and improve immune responses, including but not limited to: micro-needles, nanoparticles, or other synthetic vectors delivered with molecular adjuvants or “targeting” molecules.
  • Use of clinical specimens to answer key questions about systemic and/or mucosal immune responses to HIV infection and vaccination in humans that could lead to vaccine improvements.
  • Evaluation of the selective modulation of protective innate/anti-viral factors in HIV-1 vaccine strategies.
  • Evaluation of the potential of host or non-host (e.g., allogeneic) proteins to act as immunogens alone or together with HIV/SIV/SHIV immunogens.
  • Evaluation of previously unexplored HIV-/SIV-/SHIV- encoded targets as immunogens.
  • Evaluation of vaccine induced/imprinted innate immune responses that can be recalled in response to subsequent vaccination or infection.
  • The use of functional genomics approaches to dissect effective adaptive and/or innate mucosal/systemic immune responses to vaccines and host responses after viral challenge.
  • Exploration of the mechanisms by which the host microbiome impacts vaccine responses.

This FOA will not support applications proposing any of the following research topics:

  • Clinical trials (however, clinical research is permitted).
  • Use of an oral antiretroviral therapeutic agent as part of a vaccination strategy.
  • Incorporation of a behavioral research component within a vaccination strategy.
  • Vaccines targeted to individuals with established HIV infection, e.g., for reduction of viral load; as therapeutic vaccines.
  • Purely descriptive basic research or structural studies not addressing a clear hypothesis for prevention of HIV infection through vaccination approaches.
  • Product development.
  • Iterative studies that propose the next step(s) in the development of a vaccination approach currently under development or in clinical studies.
  • Studies that are not linked to a novel intervention strategy for prevention of acquisition of simian-tropic HIV, SIV or SHIV infection, including: development of new animal models, assay development and validation, and vector development.
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

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 $350,000 per year in direct costs.  Applicants may request up to an additional $150,000 in direct costs per year in any year when research in nonhuman primate or humanized mice models is proposed and justified.

Award Project Period

Applicants should submit a 4 year R01 application, and are required to identify Go/ No-Go decision criterion/criteria to be achieved as deliverables for the Year 2 progress report. Achievement of the stated goal(s) (Go) will enable continuation of the R01 for up to 4 years, while failure to achieve the stated goal(s) (No-Go) will result in negotiation of a reduced budget for Year 3 and award close out. 

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)

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

Applicants must obtain 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 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, with the following additional instructions:

Include evidence or illustrations of exceptional innovativeness, and describe paradigm-shifting discoveries or experience in solving very difficult problems.  The biosketch may highlight the impact of past discoveries or solutions. 

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: 

Research Strategy:  Present a brief overview of the scientific problem being addressed and the magnitude of the project's potential impact on HIV vaccinology.  Applicants should offer a potential prophylactic vaccine solution for preventing HIV acquisition or clearing HIV infection, explicitly describe the novelty of the underlying hypothesis and proposed methodology in relation to the scientific problem being addressed, and highlight why the hypothesis or proposed solution to the problem is considered unconventional, unique or exceptionally novel while still being biologically plausible with a strong rationale.  Applicants should clearly state how their proposed new idea/approach can be stringently tested (for example, in a well-justified vaccine animal challenge model or using a unique research cohort), provide a clear rationale for the choice of methods for the proposed work, state how their proposed new idea/approach might be implemented, indicate how the hypothesis or proposed solution to the problem challenges standard paradigms (e.g., how it differs from current or previously failed approaches), and how it will contribute, inform, or provide more than incremental knowledge to the field regardless of the outcome of the proposed work.  The potential for gain in fundamental knowledge should also be described.  Applicants should also describe the likelihood of obtaining a significant outcome.

Since a goal of this FOA is to promote the inclusion of new investigators within multidisciplinary teams, and/or established investigators working in fields not traditionally directed toward HIV, applicants should describe any potential cross-disciplinary collaboration(s) for the proposed research.

This FOA does not require the inclusion of preliminary data.  However, applicants should include relevant information or data that support the development of a sound rationale/hypothesis.  The proposed research may require reliance upon relational and/or inferential data to establish the potential for research impact/success rather than substantial experimental data directly supporting application objectives. In lieu of investigator-generated data, it is suggested that appropriate justification for the proposed work be provided through literature citations or data from other sources, when available.

While the evaluation of immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccine approaches in animal models for a proposed hypothesis is strongly encouraged (e.g., that use simian-tropic HIV, SIV or SHIV to challenge vaccinated animals), the applicant should provide sufficient justification of the use of nonhuman primates, humanized mice, or any other animal species.

Go/No-Go Decision Criterion/Criteria

The Research Strategy must contain a section with a clearly identified Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria for year 2 of the application.  Applicants are required to identify Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria in the application to be achieved for the year 2 progress report and for advancement to years 3 and 4 funding.  Applicants should specifically address the rationale and justification for the proposed “Go/No-Go” decision criterion/criteria.  The Go/No-Go section should be placed at the end of the Research Strategy section.

The Go/No-Go criterion/criteria chosen by the applicant must identify critical measureable parameters that are essential for the success of the proposed research in subsequent years.  The Go/No-Go criterion/criteria should be robust and specific to the proposed research and represent quantifiable outcomes.  A restatement of an application's specific aim(s) is not considered adequate for Go/No-Go criterion/criteria.  Selected examples of possible Go/No-Go criterion/criteria are:

  • The formulated vaccine(s) or test immunogen(s) will demonstrate (fill-in the blank) expression and stability characteristics (e.g., in vitro and/or in vivo).
  • The formulated vaccine(s) or test immunogen(s) will demonstrate (fill-in the blank) specific immunogenicity outcomes (e.g., specified breadth and potency) in (fill-in the blank) in vitro assay system(s) or in an animal model(s).
  • The formulated vaccine(s) will induce a specified pre-defined threshold (fill-in the blank) of protection from a live virus challenge in a suitable animal model.
  • The technology proposed will measure (fill-in the blank) under the following conditions (fill-in the blank) with (fill-in the blank) precision.

In these examples, "fill-in the blank" denotes applicant-chosen specific criteria that are essential for the success of the proposed research in subsequent years.

Timeline: Applicants should provide timelines to support the choice and timing of the Go/No-Go decision(s). Provide a detailed but brief project performance timeline in a section entitled “Timeline” under the heading “Approach.”  The timeline section should indicate points on the timeline when essential aspects of the project are likely to be completed (e.g., protocol optimization, reagent generation, critical experimentation, etc.).  In addition, applicants should discuss alternate plans and timelines for conducting the study in the face of adverse outcomes or problems.

Letters of Support: Collaborations, particularly cross-disciplinary collaborations, are strongly encouraged. Include letters of collaboration and agreements addressing the proposed research.

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.

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.

Prior Consultation with Scientific/Research Staff

Because of the complexity in the research areas being solicited, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to communicate with the Scientific/Research Contact, to discuss their proposed work. NIAID staff will not evaluate the technical and scientific merit of the proposed application; technical and scientific merit will be determined during peer review using the review criteria indicated in this FOA. 

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

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.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

This IHVD initiative is designed to support research projects proposing innovative, high risk, high impact research to identify novel HIV vaccine concepts and targets. Preliminary data are not required. Each project is expected to develop innovative methods, to employ standard methods in innovative ways, or to test exceptionally innovative ideas. Accordingly, reviewers will focus their evaluation on the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge, understanding, or capability.  

 
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?   

Go/No-Go Decision Criterion/Criteria

Given the critical nature of the Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria for continuation of funding past year 2 of the award, is the proposed Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria well-defined with a quantifiable and measurable outcome appropriate for assessing the success of the first 2 years of the application? Is the Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria sufficiently described to enable a clear decision about its attainment? Given the potential benefits and innovation of the proposed research, is the applicant provided Go/No-Go decision criterion/criteria commensurate with the overall projects proposed advancement of the candidate, target, technology or strategy?  

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

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

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) convened by the Center for Scientific Review, 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 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.

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.

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
Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
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)

Jon Warren, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone: 240-627-3032
Email: JWarren@niaid.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Robert Freund, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review
Telephone: 301-435-1050
Email: freundr@csr.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

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