Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Funding Opportunity Title

Center of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Integrative Health (P01)

Activity Code

P01 Research Program Projects

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-13-220

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-16-379

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.213

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages the submission of applications that requires multi-project, synergistic collaboration between outstanding scientists that blends multiple research approaches by multi-disciplinary research teams. This Center of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Integrative Health (CERCIH) program is designed to support three or more highly meritorious projects that can offer significant scientific advantages and "synergy" that could not be achieved by supporting the same projects as individual research grants. Each CERCIH must be focused on questions of high relevance to the mission of NCCIH.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

July 29, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 25, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

Standard dates apply, 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)

Standard AIDS dates apply, 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 these dates.

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

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date

January 8, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

** ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION REQUIRED**

NIH’s new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is available for the electronic preparation and submission of multi-project applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications to this FOA must be submitted electronically using ASSIST or an institutional system-to-system solution; paper applications will not be accepted. ASSIST replaces the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities and provides many features to enable electronic multi-project application submission and improve data quality, including: pre-population of organization and PD/PI data, pre-submission validation of many agency business rules and the generation of data summaries in the application image used for review.

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Multi-Project Instructions for 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) and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. 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.

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

The purpose of NCCIH's Centers of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Integrative Health (CERCIH) program is to support synergistic, multidisciplinary, multi-project research programs that have strong potential to significantly advance the mission of NCCIH and address areas of high research priority, as described in its current Strategic Plan [nccih.nih.gov/about/plans]. Basic, mechanistic, and translational approaches are appropriate for the CERCIH, but should not propose clinical trials of efficacy/effectiveness. Studies proposing to use human participants are allowed, and indeed for some complementary health interventions, using human participants may be the only current way to conduct mechanistic studies.  The criteria for a CERCIH application are as follows:

1. A clearly defined, unifying central theme to which each project relates and to which each investigator contributes. The CERCIH should be directed toward a range of scientific questions having a central research focus, in contrast to the more narrow thrust of the traditional research project grant (R01). Investigators are strongly encouraged to carefully review NCCIH's Strategic Plan (http://nccih.nih.gov/about/plans), which describes its goals and the areas of high research priority that should be encompassed in a CERCIH application.

2. The inter-relationships of projects and collaborations among investigators will yield synergy (i.e., results beyond those achievable if each project were to be pursued independently). A CERCIH should not simply be a collection of R01-level projects; rather, the projects (and optional research cores) should be chosen and designed such that the contributions from each of the projects inform the other projects and result in greater scientific impact than would have occurred had the projects been conducted independently.

3. Leadership of the CERCIH as a whole should have a program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) (or multi-PD/PIs) who is an established, nationally-recognized research scientist and who has the experience, ability, and sufficient time commitment to ensure project completion, quality control, effective administration, and integration of all components of the CERCIH. This person should be an investigator with a strong track record (which includes peer-reviewed research publications) in one or more research areas proposed by the CERCIH, as well as a strong record of successful leadership of large research enterprises. Multiple PD/PIs are allowed.

4. Leadership of each research project (and each core if proposed) should be by an experienced investigator(s) with an established record of productivity and independent funding. The participation of experts in several disciplines or several areas of one discipline should greatly enhance the goals of the CERCIH. All investigators must contribute to, and share in, the responsibilities of fulfilling the program objectives. Generally, it would be inappropriate to have a postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty (e.g., early-stage investigator) as a project leader.

5. At least three projects in the CERCIH need to be judged to have significant scientific merit, and to be innovative, complementary, and deemed to contribute to the central theme of the CERCIH. Although investigators are allowed to submit a given project as a separate R01 application and as part of the CERCIH for review in the same review cycle, this practice is not encouraged. If, however, such a project were to receive impact scores that merit funding of both the R01 and P01 applications, funding of the project in the CERCIH will take precedence, and the R01 application would be inactivated administratively. All projects should run in parallel and for the duration of the CERCIH funding.

6. An administrative core that is responsible for the overall management of the CERCIH. The administrative core may also include program enrichment activities such as seminars and research workshops, and supporting an External Advisory Committee (EAC).

7. Optionally - one or more research core facilities that provide services to at least two research projects. Each core leader is expected to be scientifically and administratively well qualified, with responsibility for the scientific, administrative, budgetary, and operational aspects of the core and for coordination with the PD/PI and other core/research project directors.  A Core can be a laboratory, a facility, a service, or other shared resource that supports other program project components in their activities

Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact NCCIH Scientific/Research staff early in the process to discuss a potential CERCIH application. The discussion could include the choice of funding mechanism, relevance of the topic to NCCIH's strategic plan and research priorities, and the scope and approach of the project. If the requested budget exceeds $500,000 in direct costs in any grant year, then pre-approval is required (see Section IV.6 Other Information. Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year). It is expected that most, if not all, applications to this FOA will exceed this $500,000 threshold, and applicants will need to seek pre-approval to submit an application.

This program may involve human participants, but it does not support clinical trials of efficacy or effectiveness (i.e., the primary outcome is a measure of efficacy/effectiveness). Applications that propose such a clinical trial for one or more of the projects will not be accepted for review.

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

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission
Revision

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NCCIH intends to fund an estimate of up to 2 awards, corresponding to a total of up to $3.6M, for fiscal year 2017. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited, but it is strongly recommended that applicants not request a budget of more than $1,250,000 in direct costs per year. These costs are exclusive of subcontract facilities and administrative costs.

No annual increases in noncompeting years may be requested.

Applicants should discuss equipment requests with NCCIH staff early in the planning phase. Final decisions on equipment requests will depend on the nature of the justification and NCCIH's fiscal situation.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed program should determine the project period. The maximum program period is 5 years, and only one competitive renewal is allowed.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

o    Hispanic-serving Institutions

o    Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

o    Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

o    Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
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 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

A button to access the online ASSIST system is available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

Most applicants will use NIH’s ASSIST system to prepare and submit applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications prepared and submitted using applicant systems capable of submitting electronic multi-project applications to Grants.gov will also be accepted.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Multi-Project Instructions for the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. 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.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Martina Schmidt, Ph.D.
Chief, Scientific Review
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 401
Telephone: 301-451-6570
Email: SchmidMa@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

Component Types Available in ASSIST

Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

Overall

12

Admin Core (use for Administrative Core)

6

Core (use for Research Core)

6

Project

12

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

Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and should be used for preparing a multi-component application.

Revision applications must include an Overall component and the components that are affected by the revision. Therefore, the component requirements listed below may not apply to the revision application.

The application should consist of the following components:

  • Overall: required
  • Administrative Core: required
  • Research Cores: optional, maximum of 2
  • Projects: 3 required; maximum of 4
Overall Component

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Overall’.

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

Complete entire form.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

Note: Human Embryonic Stem Cell lines from other components should be repeated in cell line table in Overall component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

Follow standard instructions.

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

Enter primary site only.

A summary of Project/Performance Sites in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application.

A summary of Senior/Key Persons followed by their Biographical Sketches in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons will be generated upon submission.

Budget (Overall)

The only budget information included in the Overall component is the Estimated Project Funding section of the SF424 (R&R) Cover.  

A budget summary in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from detailed budget data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the Overall component.

Specific Aims: Describe the specific aims for the CERCIH as a whole. List the goals of the research and summarize expected outcomes.  

Research Strategy: Provide information on the proposed CERCIH as a whole. Describe how the overall CERCIH would directly address areas of high research priority for NCCIH, as described in the NCCIH Strategic Plan.  Describe how the CERCIH would yield synergistic results, which should include why the components (i.e., projects and cores) are both necessary and sufficient to achieve the overall research goals of the CERCIH; include why the proposed CERCIH activities could not be done as individually funded projects (e.g., via R01 grants). For the purpose of this FOA, "synergy" is referring to a combined effect that is greater than simply the sum of the parts, and that just having a central theme, while necessary, is not sufficient to establish synergy. Further, projects may be well "integrated" as a whole, but still not achieve synergy.  Describe the track records of the teams and investigators that provide evidence of a strong collaborative environment for the proposed CERCIH. Describe how the various components of the proposed program will be coordinated into one interdisciplinary effort within the CERCIH. Describe what functions, commitments and contributions each collaborating entity will bring to the CERCIH; this should include the extent of prior collaborations (e.g., for how long have the entities been collaborating; how many co-authored articles have been published, etc.). Describe the nature, scope, and effectiveness of the prior communication, coordination, and/or collaboration amongst the project leaders. Describe the process(es) that will be implemented to utilize results from individual projects to inform the interpretation of results from other projects.

For renewal applications only: Include a progress report that summarizes the aims and accomplishments of the CERCIH during the prior funding period. See the SF424 instructions for details about what to include in the progress report. If a project from the prior funding period is being discontinued, explain in the overall progress report. Describe how the publications from the prior funding period (listed in the Progress Report Publication List) demonstrate achieved synergy. Identify and justify any changes in research emphasis and funds requested. If the structure of individual projects and cores has changed, identify the cores and projects consecutively (numbers for projects and letters for cores) according to how they are arranged in the current application. Show the correspondence to the prior structure.

Progress Report Publication List:  For renewal applications, provide a list of all publications (i.e., from all projects and cores) that arose from the CERCIH grant during the prior funding period. It is encouraged that this be arranged as a table in which publications are organized based on the following categories: a) overall (for publications that were not clearly related to a given Project); b) each Project; c) each Core (as appropriate)

Letters of Support: Attach letters of support relevant to the CERCIH as a whole (e.g., letters of institutional support). Letters of support relevant to specific projects or cores should be attached in the relevant Project or Core research plans. The letters should describe the institutional commitment by each participating institution, and describe prior productive collaborations among the research team(s).

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.

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 Assignment Request Form (Overall)

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

Administrative Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Admin Core.’

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Administrative Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Administrative Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
 
  • The Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is the CERCIH Director and head of the Administrative Core. The Director is responsible for the organization, scientific and administrative leadership of the CERCIH and is expected to devote substantial effort to the CERCIH
  • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   
Budget (Administrative Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

The Administrative Core may include limited funds for program enrichment activities such as seminars and research workshops. Funds from the CERCIH grant cannot be allocated for web site development or maintenance, newsletters, consumer information or outreach activities.

Support for the External Advisory Committee (EAC) must be explicitly budgeted in the Administrative Core. If it is anticipated that the EAC will include individuals who require travel expenses, these costs should be reflected in the administrative budget.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

Specific Aims: Describe the specific aims for the Administrative Core.

Research Strategy:  The organization of the Administrative Core should encompass a support structure sufficient to ensure accomplishment of the following:

  • coordinate the research mission, monitor timeline for achieving research milestones;
  • coordinate and integrate CERCIH activities; implement a plan for regular evaluation of scientific progress; interact with advisory groups (as appropriate);
  • work with the applicant institution to enhance the visibility and effectiveness of the CERCIH as a focus for complementary and integrative health research.

There should be a clear, detailed plan for managing the CERCIH's research and administration, ensuring appropriate prioritization of research, needed course corrections and problem identification and resolution, and effective sharing of resources, that conveys a high likelihood of effective, productive management of the CERCIH as whole.

Chain of Responsibility: Describe in detail, and by diagram (if appropriate), the chain of responsibility for decision making and administration, beginning with the PD/PI and including the leaders of the research projects and core units. Indicate where, in the chain of responsibility, advisory groups (internal and external consultants) would be used, and describe their function in ensuring quality control in the research efforts.

External and Internal Advisory Boards: Every CERCIH grant should have plans for both an External Advisory Board and an Internal Advisory Board. For an External Advisory Board, describe the expertise and responsibilities of your potential Board members. If submitting a new application, do not contact, recruit, or name potential members of the External Advisory Board.  New CERCIH grant applications should not constitute an External Advisory Board prior to or during the review of their application because individuals identified in an application cannot participate in its peer review. Renewal applications should provide the names of current and former members. The External Advisory Board should consist of three or four named advisers committed to the evaluation of the program by written documentation. Two or three additional advisers may be added once the progress of the program and its needs are clearer. The Internal Advisory Board should consist of three to five members outside of the Program but within the applicant institution who are able to assist in frequent, ongoing oversight.

Relation of the CERCIH to the Administration of the Applicant Institution: Describe the relation between the proposed CERCIH and other existing research, academic, and administrative units of the applicant institution such as schools, centers, institutions, departments, and central administration.

Relation of Core Units to Research Projects: In tabular form, provide information as to which research projects each core unit would serve and the proportion of the cost of the core unit associated with each research project.

Administrative Core Progress (renewal applications only): A progress report must be provided for the administrative core in renewal applications. Provide the beginning and ending dates of the most recent award period. Summarize the specific aims of the core during this period and the importance of the accomplished activities. Provide justifications for major changes in the core.  

Letters of Support: As appropriate, include relevant letters of support.

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.

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 (Administrative Core)

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

Research Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Research Core.’

A Research Core provides infrastructure and should result in increased productivity that contributes to synergy of the research effort as a whole. If a Research Core is to be included, then it must be utilized by a minimum of two research projects. It is expected that leaders of the research cores will participate in developing the conceptual framework for the research conducted by the CERCIH.

While a Research Core may function primarily as a service entity, core scientists are often involved in conducting original and developmental research. For example, proteomics and mass spectrometry cores may develop new methods and innovative procedures essential to advancing the research of the CERCIH.

Core resources should not duplicate resources already available to CERCIH investigators. Generally, fee-for-service core components (i.e., CERCIH use of existing facilities) should be included and budgeted within relevant research projects.

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Research Core)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Research Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Research Core)

Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

Project Narrative:  Do not complete.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Research Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Research Core)

In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.

In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.

Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.

If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   

Budget (Research Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Core)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

Specific Aims:  Describe in priority order the broad, long-range objectives and goals of the proposed Research Core. In addition, state the Core's relationship to the proposed program goals and how it relates to the individual Research Projects and other Cores in the application.  

Research Strategy

A Research Core is a resource for the entire program. The application should list the projects it will serve and services it will provide as well as a prioritization plan for providing the services. A Core must provide service to at least 2 research projects in the CERCIH. Describe the facilities, techniques, and skills the Core will provide and the role of the core Leader and each key participant. Describe how the Core resources will contribute to the objectives of the research Projects.

For renewal applications, discuss progress in this Core during the prior funding period, and the rationale for any proposed changes.

Progress Report Publication List: Do not complete. Rather, publications should be listed in the Overall Component, Progress Report Publication List.

Letters of Support:  Include any letters of support to confirm commitment to this CERCIH.

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.

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 (Research Core)

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

Projects

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Project.’

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Project)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Project)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Project)

Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

Project Narrative:    Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Project)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Project)

  • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Project Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   

Budget (Project)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Project)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

Specific Aims:  Describe the specific aims for the Project.  

Research Strategy:  Describe the research strategy for the project. Even though it is required that the research projects included in the CERCIH be synergistic, this section should focus on this specific Project and not the potential synergy between this Project and the other projects and/or cores. Synergy should be discussed in the Overall component.

Significance

Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses. Explain how the proposed project will significantly improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields. Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventive interventions that drive the field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.

Innovation

Explain how the proposed CERCIH would shift current scientific paradigms that could not be addressed otherwise. Describe the novel theoretical concepts, hypotheses, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s) to be developed or used, and their advantage(s) over existing methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s).

Approach

Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analysis to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Unless addressed separately in another section, include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.. In so far as possible, describe the experiments in the sequence in which they would be conducted. (It is important to convey to the reader that the proposed effort would require the time requested and is feasible for the project period.) Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.

If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of the high-risk aspects of the proposed work.

Preliminary Studies for New Projects

For new projects, include information on Preliminary Studies as part of the Approach section. Discuss the preliminary studies and data pertinent to this project. Preliminary data/evidence is an essential part of a project application and helps to establish the likelihood of success of the proposed project.

Progress Report

For renewal applications only: Include a detailed Progress Report that discusses the progress in this Project during the prior funding period, and the rationale for any significant changes that may have occurred during the prior funding period.

Progress Report Publication List: Do not complete. Rather, the publications should be included in the Overall Component, Progress Report Publication List.

Consortium/Contractual Arrangements: Describe in detail any collaborative arrangements, either within the applicant institution, between it and other institutions, or among other institutions.

Letters of Support:  Attach letters of support relevant to the Project

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.

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 (Project)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in 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) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. 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.

For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission go to: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Electronic_Multi-project_Application_Image_Assembly.pdf.

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) and component Project Leads 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 and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

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

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

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

Although a written "Request for Permission to Apply" is due at least 6 weeks prior to the application due date, NCCIH strongly encourages investigators to submit the request for permission much earlier in the cycle (e.g., 3 - 5 months prior to the application due date). This can significantly aid the investigators in the subsequent development of the application itself. NCCIH reviews Requests for Permission to Apply on a rolling basis and typically will inform investigators within 4 weeks of submission of the pre-approval request whether they will be allowed to submit an application. The request can be sent as a single attachment (PDF) to an e-mail (this is the preferred method) or by regular mail to the NCCIH Scientific/Research Contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts.

NCCIH will inform the applicant of the permission to apply, and then the applicant should include a cover letter with the CERCIH application that includes the communique from NCCIH staff giving this approval.  NCCIH will also notify the NIH Division of Receipt and Referral of the willingness to accept the application for consideration.

Post Submission Materials

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.

In assigning the impact score for the application as a whole, although primary emphasis will be placed on scientific merit of the research projects, the assessment of scientific synergy (i.e., the extent to which the potential for scientific impact of the proposed CERCIH as a whole is deemed likely to be greater than the sum of its component research projects and cores) should contribute significantly to the overall score.

FOAs for research resources or that include an Administrative or Coordinating component must use the “Review Criteria for Administrative Centers or Cores” or provide justification for using the review criteria below.  These include P30, P40, P41, P2C, U41, U42, and U2C activity codes."

Overall Impact - Overall

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the CERCIH 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 CERCIH proposed).

Scored Review Criteria - Overall

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 CERCIH that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the CERCIH 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 CERCIH 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 CERCIH? 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? Do(es) the CERCIH PD(s)/PI(s) have: (a) track record(s) of consistently producing highly significant research publications in one or more of the research areas proposed for the CERCIH; (b) track record(s) demonstrating the ability to effectively and productively manage a large, interdisciplinary project in the proposed research area(s)? 

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? Would the proposed CERCIH significantly innovate in the field of complementary and integrative health?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the CERCIH? 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 CERCIH 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?  Are there adequate data in support of feasibility of recruiting sufficient participants from the proposed population to achieve the stated objectives, and are there data to support adherence of participants to a proposed intervention?

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? Is there evidence of substantial institutional commitment on the part of each participating institution? Is there evidence of prior productive collaboration of the research team (including in the CERCIH application)? Are the application and investigator track records indicative of the establishment of a strong collaborative environment for the CERCIH?  

Additional Review Criteria - Overall

As applicable for the CERCIH 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.   Synergy

Each application will receive a merit descriptor (highly synergistic, synergistic, not synergistic) that reflects the degree of synergy of the proposed CERCIH.

In particular, program synergy will be evaluated on the extent to which the combined approaches to the research question proposed for the CERCIH yield results that are likely to be greater than the sum of the component research projects (and cores, as appropriate), and the integration and parallel pursuit of the projects and cores are likely to advance this research area to a greater extent than could be achieved as separately funded projects. The following factors should be considered in evaluating synergy:

  • What specific scientific components are likely to yield results such that overall contributions of a CERCIH would be greater than those of the sum of its component research projects and cores?
  • What are the strengths for conducting the proposed work within the context of a CERCIH as opposed to independent research grants?
  • How will the various components of the proposed program be coordinated into one interdisciplinary effort within the CERCIH? What is the strength of the evidence of a collaborative, integrated, interdisciplinary research approach?
  • What functions, commitments and contributions does each collaborating entity bring to the CERCIH? What is the extent of the collaborations (e.g., for how long have they been collaborating; how many joint articles have been published, etc.)
  • What are the nature, scope, and effectiveness of the plans for communication, coordination, and collaboration among research project investigators?
  • What is the potential that results from individual projects will inform the interpretation of other projects?
Review Criteria for Individual Research Projects

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit of each proposed research project, and give a separate numerical (1 through 9) score for each criterion, as well as an overall impact score for the project. A project 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 yet 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? Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? How well does the project contribute to the overall aims of the program project?

Investigator(s)

Are the Project leader 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, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership and research track records appropriate for the project?

Innovation

Does the proposed project challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?

Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? 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 research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed? Is there adequate data in support of feasibility of recruiting sufficient participants from the proposed population to achieve the stated objectives?

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?

Review Criteria for Administrative Core

The Administrative Core will receive a merit descriptor (outstanding, acceptable, unacceptable) that reflects:

  • Is there a clear, detailed plan for managing the CERCIH's research and administration, ensuring appropriate prioritization of research, needed course corrections and problem identification and resolution, that conveys a high likelihood of effective, productive management of the CERCIH as whole? 
  • Are the core personnel qualified and experienced in the administration of a large, multi-component research program?
  • Is there an organizational structure that will facilitate coordination, integration and timely evaluation of CERCIH activities and progress?
  • Are there innovative features in the organizational design and decision making process?
  • Are there adequate plans for use of an External Advisory Board and an Internal Steering Committee to provide scientific and managerial oversight?
Review Criteria for Research Cores

Each Core will receive a merit descriptor (outstanding, acceptable, unacceptable) that reflects:

  • Technical merit and justification of the proposed Core - Does each scientific core provide critical facilities or services for two or more funded research projects?
  • Qualifications, independent research track record, and commitment of the personnel involved in the Core;
  • Adequacy of plans for use of the Core by the research projects, including criteria for prioritization, and the benefit to the projects from Core resources or services;
  • Appropriateness of the timetable in relation to the scope of the proposed research support;
  • If human subjects, vertebrate animals, or biohazards are to be used in the core, the adequacy of these sections must be assessed and will be considered in determining the merit descriptor of the individual core.
Additional Review Criteria - Overall, Administrative Core, Research Cores, and Projects

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

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

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

Additional Review Considerations - Overall

As applicable for the overall CERCIH, core or 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

Not Applicable

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 .


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 NCCIH 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 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 NCCIH National Advisory 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. 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.

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

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. 

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

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

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Craig Hopp, Ph.D.D
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-496-5825
Email: hoppdc@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Martina Schmidt, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-594-3456
Email: schmidma@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Shelley Carow
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-594-3788
Email: carows@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 Part 75.

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