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 Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34)

Activity Code

R34 Planning Grant 

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-15-166

Related Notices
  • NOT-OD-18-009 - Reminder: FORMS-E Grant Application Forms and Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018.
  • September 20, 2017 - Updates to Active Funding Opportunity Announcements to Prepare for Policy Changes Impacting Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018. See NOT-OD-17-114.
  • July 21, 2017 - Notice of Clarification to the Award Budget for PAR-16-446 . See Notice NOT-AR-17-018.
  • May 10, 2017 - New NIH "FORMS-E" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018. See NOT-OD-17-062.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-16-446

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-15-115, R01 Research Project Grant
PAR-14-192, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant
PAR-16-447, U01 Research Project - Cooperative Agreement
PAR-17-293, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Grants

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

93.846

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support planning grants for investigator-initiated clinical interventional trials. The R34 planning grant is designed to permit the necessary planning, design, and preparation of documentation prior to implementation of investigator-initiated clinical trials. Completion of the agreed upon milestones of an R34 planning grant is recommended prior to submission of an application through a U01 clinical trial implementation application that will support the actual implementation and conduct of the study.  The planning should be intended to support trials that are hypothesis-driven, milestone-defined, and have the potential for high impact within the research mission of the NIAMS.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

September 23, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 1, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days before application due date

Application Due Date(s)

March 1, 2017; July 3, 2017; November 1, 2017; March 2, 2018; July 2, 2018; November 1, 2018; March 1, 2019; July 1, 2019; November 1, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June/July 2017, October/November 2017, February/March 2018, June/July 2018, October/November 2018, February/March, 2019, June/July 2019, October/November 2019, February, March 2020   

Advisory Council Review

October 2017, January 2018, May 2018, October 2018, January 2019, May 2019, October 2019, January 2020, May 2020

Earliest Start Date

December 2017, April 2018, July 2018, December 2018, April 2019, July 2019, December 2019, April 2020, July 2020 

Expiration Date

November 2, 2019

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research 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). 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. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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


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

The NIAMS is committed to identifying effective approaches to address arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and disorders.  Improving health through the generation of high quality data from well-designed and executed clinical trials is a high priority for the NIAMS.

A clinical trial is defined by NIH as “a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more intervention (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes." See more at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-015.html.  It is highly recommended that applicants consult with NIAMS Scientific/Research staff to determine if the R34 is the appropriate mechanism for planning the proposed clinical trial.  Investigators considering applying to the NIAMS for a clinical trial award should refer to the NIAMS Clinical Trials Policy web site.

The NIAMS has designed its clinical trials program to support the spectrum of such studies with funding mechanisms tailored to different levels of complexity. For clinical trials involving a relatively small number of subjects and short-term interventions, applications should be submitted to PAR-14-192, “Exploratory Clinical Trial Grants in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R21).” Clinical observational studies (studies that do not involve an intervention) that aim to obtain information necessary for designing future clinical trials and feed into the other components of the NIAMS overall program should be submitted to PAR-15-115, “Clinical Observational (CO) Studies in Musculoskeletal, Rheumatic, and Skin Diseases (R01)." For trials involving greater numbers of subjects or of greater complexity or risk, investigators should apply for funding through the NIAMS Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U01) for a single- or multi-site trial. These larger and more complex trials require substantial planning and preparation prior to opening for recruitment, and investigators are expected to be able to begin the trial without further planning activities when the U01 is awarded.  In order to accomplish necessary planning with NIAMS support, investigators may apply for a NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34) prior to submitting an application for the U01 to implement the trial.  The planning grant will allow an investigator to accomplish the planning activities [e.g., preparation of the manual of operating procedures, development of informed consent forms and case report forms (CRFs)] that are often necessary prior to implementing a clinical trial.  Investigators who have already completed planning activities either by a previously awarded NIAMS U34, R34, or other means may also submit a U01 implementation application, but are strongly encouraged to consult with NIAMS staff in advance. Investigators considering applying to the NIAMS for a clinical trial award should refer to the NIAMS Clinical Trials Policy web site.

Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts prior to submitting applications for an R34 clinical trial planning application or a U01 clinical trial implementation application. This FOA, NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34), addresses the planning phase; a companion FOA addressing the second part of the process for implementing a Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U01) is also available through PAR-16-447.

Overview of the NIAMS Clinical Trials Policy

Background

Clinical research is a significant NIAMS investment aimed at answering critical questions about a particular disease or disease process. Support for clinical studies to test promising new interventions with the potential to improve health practices and clinical care is essential. Special attention must be paid to enabling these important studies to get through the administrative and other planning requirements at a reasonable pace so that the conduct of the study, analysis of data, and dissemination of results are not delayed.

The NIAMS has determined that many investigator-initiated, interventional clinical trials requesting NIAMS support would benefit from a rigorous planning, design, and documentation phase before a decision is made to implement a study with a substantial fiscal and human resource investment. The implementation of a clinical trial requires extensive administrative planning (e.g., protocol finalization, manual of operations development, establishing collaborations and estimating recruitment potential) before participant recruitment can occur.  The NIAMS is offering this two-part process that separates planning from subject recruitment and study implementation to provide adequate support and facilitate the timely implementation of the studies important to the mission of the Institute.

The R34 planning grant provides the opportunity, the time and the necessary funds for investigators to complete detailed clinical trial planning necessary to meet NIAMS and NIH standards and regulatory requirements. A structured planning process will allow studies to determine the optimal design strategy and to complete the administrative activities as expeditiously as possible so that the implementation phase (U01) can start and finish the required activities within a five-year grant period. 

Part 1: Clinical Trial Planning Phase (R34)

The R34 planning grant is expected to precede the submission of a clinical trial cooperative agreement (U01) application, although this is not a requirement.  The R34 will provide support to complete the administrative and planning activities that are required prior to subject recruitment.  These activities may include, but are not limited to: establishing the research team, identifying collaborators and clinical sites, developing the protocol and clinical investigators brochure, writing of the manual of operating procedures (MOP), developing a data and safety monitoring plan, developing tools for data collection and data management, and initiating the IRB approval process. (The NIAMS strongly encourages the use of a central IRB for studies proposing to involve multiple domestic sites. Applications received after May 2017 that propose multi-site studies with multiple domestic sites, are subject to the new NIH Single IRB policy as indicated in NOT-OD-16-094.) If appropriate, the activities may also include establishing a relationship with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek advice on the need for an Investigational New Drug (IND), Investigational Device (IDE) or an exemption.  Guidelines to help investigators develop a MOP and data and safety monitoring plan can be found on the NIAMS clinical research page.

The NIAMS R34 is intended to support necessary administrative study activities before enrollment of subjects into the future clinical trial begins.  This FOA may not be used to conduct research with human subjects for the collection of preliminary data (clinical or preclinical) or the collection of prospective data to support the rationale for a clinical trial. The only allowable use of human subjects is for testing and refining recruitment strategies on a pool of interested and eligible subjects through the use of focus groups, surveys, or questionnaires referred to as "model recruitment."

This FOA is not designed for the conduct of pilot studies to support the rationale for a clinical trial or the collection of preliminary data. Additionally, enrollment into the proposed future clinical trial cannot begin under the NIAMS R34. Please refer to PAR-14-192 "Exploratory Clinical Trial Grants in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R21)" or PAR-15-115 "Clinical Observational (CO) Studies in Musculoskeletal, Rheumatic, and Skin Diseases (R01)" for clinical trial/observational study funding opportunities supported by the NIAMS.

Prospective applicants should note that funding of a R34 planning grant does not guarantee or imply funding for a subsequent application for a U01 clinical trial. The R34 cooperative agreement will provide up to two years of support; although it is expected most will only need one year of support.

Part 2: Clinical Trial Implementation Phase (U01)

As the end of the R34 planning process nears, the PD/PI is strongly encouraged to contact the NIAMS Program Official to discuss the potential next steps. It is anticipated that a successful R34 planning grant may lead to an application for a U01 Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement.  However, NIAMS support for/interest in the proposed clinical trial is not guaranteed simply by the success of the planning process.

It is expected that investigators who are considering submitting an application for a U01 Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement will begin by submitting a R34 application.  However, an applicant may not need a R34 planning grant if all of the administrative activities relating to the start-up of the study (e.g., the R34 milestones) are complete.  If a clinical trial is ready for implementation without a planning phase, and readiness is adequately supported by documentation, a U01 application may be submitted without a preceding R34. The investigators must be ready to implement the proposed trial by the time the U01 is to be awarded.  Note that for U01 applications which have direct costs of $500,000 or greater in any year, prior approval for submission must be obtained from the NIAMS per the NIH large grant policy.   Please refer to the NIAMS website for details on what should be included in the request to NIAMS.

All U01 clinical trial cooperative agreement applications will be peer-reviewed, and the NIAMS will consider the results of the peer-review process when deciding whether to support the study.

Scope of the R34 Planning Grant

The R34 planning grant process is designed to permit early peer review of the rationale for the proposed clinical trial and to provide support for the applicant to establish the research team, develop tools for data management and oversight of the research, define recruitment strategies, develop and finalize the clinical protocol and all essential elements of the study required for the clinical trial including all the appropriate documents.

The activities proposed in the R34 planning grant will depend on the type and complexity of the study intervention (e.g., pharmacologic drug, biologic, surgical, or social/behavioral). Activities supported by the R34 planning grant include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • Develop a clinical study protocol adhering to International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) E6 Good Clinical Practice Consolidated Guidance
  • Develop a manual of operating procedures (MOP) using the NIAMS guidelines which include a detailed description of study procedures and process details, validation, and quality control for any non-standard clinical or laboratory/mechanistic testing which will be performed
  • Develop a preliminary data and safety monitoring plan using the NIAMS guidelines to address how risk to subjects in the clinical trial will be minimized and the process for collecting and reporting of adverse events to the appropriate regulatory bodies
  • Develop an investigator’s brochure or equivalent
  • Develop a quality and data management plan
  • Initiate the IRB approval process; the NIAMS strongly encourages the use of a central IRB
  • Develop consent form(s) and, if applicable, assent form(s)
  • Develop a recruitment and retention plan which incorporates the NIH policy on the inclusion of women and minorities, and children in clinical research
  • Conduct “model recruitment” (as described in the FOA) to test recruitment feasibility
  • Develop a statistical analysis plan
  • Identify collaborators and clinical site(s), which may include negotiating sub-contracts
  • Develop training materials and training/certification plans for study staff  who will carry out the study
  • Develop a plan for the acquisition and administration of study agent(s)
  • Negotiate agreements with industry or other partners, to provide drugs, devices, or other resources for trial implementation
  • Develop a complete set of suitable documents for submission to the appropriate regulatory authorities such as the FDA (i.e., Investigational New Drug (IND) application or IND exemption, or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE)  application)
  • Develop a preliminary timeline and budget for conduct and completion of the future clinical trial including funding for orderly close-out of clinical sites and preparation of a final study report
  • Develop a detailed project timeline for submission of the U01 clinical trial

In the event of an award, the NIAMS and the PD/PI will agree on a list of milestones to be completed during the R34 project period. They are derived from the specific activities that need to be completed before an implementation trial can be initiated. The submission of the application for the U01 may be one of the milestones and may precede the end of the R34. The milestones will be incorporated into the notice of grant award (NoA). 

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
Resubmission

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

Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials Not Allowed for due dates on or after January 25, 2018: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

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 $300,000 in direct costs over a period of two years.  The amount of support requested should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is two years.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

o   Hispanic-serving Institutions

o   Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

o   Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

o   Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

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

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

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

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

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research Instructions for 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.

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:

Ms. Shahnaz Khan
Telephone: 301-451-9893
Fax: 301-480-4543
Email: Khanshah@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy: The following items should be included in the Research Strategy:

Rationale/Significance - Provide the rationale for the proposed clinical trial, documenting the significance and need to perform the study, detailing potential risks and benefits.  Also provide justification of the need for the planning activities prior to conducting the trial. Describe the potential of the clinical trial to affect health care, policy or practice.  Include sufficient background information to enable reviewers to assess appropriateness of design, selection of experimental and comparator arms, and appropriateness of proposed study population.

Study Premise - Describe the premise of the future planned trial.  This description should include previous studies in animals or humans.  Also, the application must describe and address the availability of the requisite patient/subject population and plans for recruitment outreach and follow-up.  Plans for addressing issues and challenges regarding adherence to the proposed intervention protocol should be included.

Planning Activities - Specify how the planning period will be used.  The application should include the rationale for the planning period, descriptions of the activities to be carried out, and a clear explanation as to how each aim and activity will be completed during the planning period.  Enough information should be provided to allow reviewers to evaluate how the clinical trial documents will be developed.  Clear milestones and a timeline for completion of each should be provided. 

Research Team - The application must include a description of the leadership and proposed organization of the clinical trial, including proposed clinical sites (letter of commitment are not required at this stage).  This includes the ability of the PD/PI to bring together the necessary study network.  Describe the mechanism for identification and selection of additional collaborators.

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.

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 Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

Form only available in FORMS-E application packages for use with due dates on or after January 25, 2018.

When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

If you answered "Yes" to the question "Are Human Subjects Involved?" on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or a Delayed Onset Study record.

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Delayed Onset Study: All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

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

Prior consultation with the NIAMS is strongly encouraged for submission of the NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34) application, including new and resubmission applications.  NIAMS staff will consider whether the proposed clinical trial meets the goals and mission of the Institute and whether it is appropriate to conduct it as an investigator-initiated clinical trial, but will not evaluate the technical and scientific merit of the proposed trial.  Technical and scientific merit will be determined during peer review.  In the pre-submission consultation phase, if the proposed trial does not meet the goals and mission of the NIAMS, applicants will be so informed.

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.

 
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? 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?

Specific to this FOA:

Is there a clear rationale for the proposed hypothesis or intervention in the planned trial? Is the premise for the proposed intervention well supported by preliminary data, information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms as described in the premise section of the research strategy? Are the proposed planning activities well justified? Do the proposed planning activities address all major barriers to the future clinical trial and prepare for timely recruitment and enrollment of subjects and implementation of the future clinical trial? Has a clear rationale been presented to justify the development of each study document? 

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those 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?

Specific to this FOA:

Are the investigators involved in the planning period and are their roles in the future clinical trial clearly specified? Are the expertise and ability of the investigator (and the clinical trial team) adequate to develop, organize, manage, and execute the proposed trial?  

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?

Specific to this FOA:

Does the application take on an important clinical question or apply rigorous methodology to an outstanding clinical question?   

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  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?

Specific to this FOA:

Are the aims and activities of the planning period clearly and adequately described, such as the specification of the study documents, data and safety monitoring plans, subject recruitment plans, identification of collaborators and sites, staff training, and protocol/study development?  For projects where basic trial design is not yet complete; is there an adequate plan to do so? Is there an appropriate and feasible timeline for these activities? Are clear milestones presented and are they appropriate for the design, implementation and evaluation of the planning phase?  How feasible is the plan and how appropriate is the plan for the development and preparation of the subsequent trial?

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?

Specific to this FOA:

Is there evidence for adequate resources, such as a data coordinating center or study personnel that would allow for adequate trial performance, including safety monitoring, compliance with human subject's protection, and monitoring of data integrity?  

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

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

Renewals

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

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 (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 NIAMS in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council (NAMSAC). 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

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: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Ms. Shahnaz Khan
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-451-9893
Email: Khanshah@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Dr. Kathy Salaita, Sc.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-594-5033
Email: SalaitaK@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Mark Langer
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-451-8216
Email: langerm@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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