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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Research Career Enhancement Award to Advance Therapy Development for Alzheimer's (K18)

Activity Code

K18 Career Enhancement Award

Announcement Type

New

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.
  • 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-17-052

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.866

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This NIA Research Career Enhancement Award (K18) program invites applications from qualified researchers to acquire training and career development experiences that close expertise gaps in data science and in drug discovery. The goal of the program is to allow Alzheimer's Disease (AD) researchers to expand their expertise to become more effective in leading cross-disciplinary, translational, team-science projects in AD or AD-related dementias (ADRD). This award will also allow data scientists to redirect their expertise toward the study of AD and ADRD.

Key Dates
Posted Date

November 7, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

January 12, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

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)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date

January 8, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


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

The overall goal of the NIH Research Career Development program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. In addition to this opportunity, NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) support a variety of other mentored career development programs designed to foster the transition of new investigators to research independence. These other programs may be more suitable for particular candidates.  NIH also supports non-mentored career development programs for independent investigators. More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.

Background

Alzheimer's disease (AD), characterized by neuronal changes that impair memory, thought processes, and functioning, is estimated to affect 36 million people worldwide. With no effective therapeutics to slow the advance of this disease in our growing elderly population, the number of affected individuals is expected to grow to over 100 million by 2050.

It has become apparent that one of the key factors standing in the way of successful bench-to-bedside translation and therapy development for AD is insufficient expertise in traditional and emerging data science and drug discovery disciplines among academics working in the field of AD and AD-related dementias (ADRD). The participants of the NIH AD Research Summit 2015 strongly endorsed the need for developing new individual and institutional training programs at all career levels to close this expertise gap. In fact, one of the overarching recommendations proposed by the different Summit working groups was to: “invest in the development of a new translational and data science workforce”.

Starting in 2005, NIA has been developing a robust translational research program for AD consisting of a series of funding opportunities covering all steps of drug discovery and preclinical drug development through first-in-human trials. These initiatives are being integrated with NIA’s new and existing clinical drug development programs and with the recently established AMP-AD and M2OVE AD consortia for novel target and biomarker discovery. The AMP-AD and M2OVE-AD programs are demonstrating the benefit of creating new translational teams that bridge the divide between experimental research and mathematical modeling as well as the gap between academic and industry approaches to drug discovery and drug development.

Program Objective

The objective of this Research Career Enhancement Award (K18) program is to help close the expertise gap in data science and drug discovery in two major ways as specified below. The central goals of this initiative are to bridge the current expertise gap and to allow independent investigators at all stages of their careers to redirect, retool or expand their expertise and become more effective in leading cross-disciplinary, translational, team-science projects on AD or AD-related dementias.

This program will provide up to one year of protected time for academic researchers (at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor) working in the AD and/or ADRD fields to gain expertise in data science or drug discovery/drug development by spending time in an academic or an industry laboratory specializing in various aspects of data science or drug discovery/drug development disciplines. These aspects include mathematics/predictive modeling, engineering, computational biology, systems/network biology, medicinal chemistry, chemo-informatics, quantitative pharmacology, pharmacometrics, and toxicology, among others.   

Protected time of up to one year for investigators at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor (or the equivalent in non-academic settings) will also be provided to allow researchers with expertise in the above data science or drug discovery/drug development areas who do not currently work in AD or ADRD to gain knowledge and expertise in research on AD or related dementias by spending time in an academic laboratory with a focus on AD/ADRD. 

This relatively short-term, intensive period of mentored research experience would be tailored to enhance the investigator's current expertise and allow for didactic experiences and mentor-driven, directed research that will lead to new research collaborations on all aspects of therapy development for AD and related dementia. The initiative will provide salary and research support for short-term, intensive mentored research experiences over a period of two and a half to twelve months to acquire new research capabilities through a mentored career enhancement experience. Junior candidates are expected to allot full time over a summer or a semester for proposed activities. For faculty at the rank of Associate level and above, a commitment of 50% effort over the course of a year is expected. Some of the research support funds may be used to offset expenses incurred at a host institution.

Candidates will not be required to have active research grant support at the time of application. However, they will be expected to identify one or more research mentors with the relevant expertise who are established, well-qualified, and willing to sponsor the short-term research career development experience. It is expected that this initiative will lead to new and augmented research collaborations that will be competitive for future NIH funding. 

The research career enhancement experience may be conducted in a different department within the candidate's home institution or in a different institutional setting from the location where the candidate holds his or her primary appointment, including a laboratory in a biotech or a pharmaceutical industry setting. The research experience proposed must have the potential to substantially augment the research capabilities of the candidate at their institution and provide new research opportunities and benefits that would not be achievable through a collaborative research grant with the mentor(s). The research career enhancement experience should be tailored to the individual needs and level of experience of the candidate, and will generally incorporate:

1) a didactic component (e.g., directed study/tutorials, semester-long courses, short courses, seminar series, journal clubs, laboratory-based training/instruction) directly relevant to the completion of the short-term research project proposed

2) a small-scale research project focused on Alzheimer's disease or AD-related dementias to be carried out in the host laboratory.

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 independent clinical trials

Note: Applicants may propose to gain experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor/co-mentor as part of their research career development.

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

Award budgets are composed of salary and other program-related expenses, as described below.

Award Project Period

A project period of 2.5 months to 12 months may be requested.

Other Award Budget Information
Salary

NIA will provide from 2.4 up to a maximum of 6 person months per year towards the salary of the career award recipient.

The total salary, however, may not exceed the legislatively mandated salary cap.  See: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

Other Program-Related Expenses

NIA will contribute $40,000 per year toward the research development costs of the award recipient, which must be justified and consistent with the stage of development of the candidate and the proportion of time to be spent in research or career development activities.

Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistants, etc. is not allowed.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

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

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

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • 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 candidate with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her mentor and 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. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status.

Candidates for this award must have a research or health-professional doctoral degree or equivalent.

This funding opportunity may support individuals who propose to train in a new field or individuals who would like to expand the scope of their current research in the field of Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's disease-related dementias

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, and each is from a different candidate.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. An individual may not have two or more competing NIH career development applications pending review concurrently. In addition, 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).

Candidates may submit research project grant (RPG) applications concurrently with the K application. However, any concurrent RPG application may not have substantial scientific and/or budgetary overlap with the career award application. K award recipients are encouraged to obtain funding from NIH or other Federal sources either as a PD/PI on a competing research grant award or cooperative agreement, or as project leader on a competing multi-project award as described in NOT-OD-08-065.

Level of Effort

Candidates are required to commit from 2.4 up to a maximum of 6 person months (equivalent to 20% to 50% of full-time professional effort) per year to their career development and research training during the mentored phase. Candidates may engage in other duties as part of the remaining effort not covered by this award, as long as such duties do not interfere with or detract from the proposed career development program.

Candidates who have VA appointments may not consider part of the VA effort toward satisfying the full time requirement at the applicant institution. Candidates with VA appointments should contact the staff person in the relevant Institute or Center prior to preparing an application to discuss their eligibility. Under certain circumstances, an awardee may submit a written request to the awarding component requesting a reduction in minimum required percent effort, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Details on this policy are provided in NOT-OD-09-036

Mentor(s)

Before submitting the application, the candidate must identify a mentor who will supervise the proposed career development and research experience. The mentor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research and be committed both to the career development of the candidate and to the direct supervision of the candidate’s research. The mentor must document the availability of sufficient research support and facilities for high-quality research. Candidates are encouraged to identify more than one mentor, i.e., a mentoring team (or advisory committee), if this is deemed advantageous for providing expert advice in all aspects of the research career development program. In such cases, one individual must be identified as the primary mentor who will coordinate the candidate’s research. The candidate must work with the mentor(s) in preparing the application. The mentor, or a member of the mentoring team, should have a successful track record of mentoring individuals at the candidate’s career stage.

Institutional Environment

The applicant institution must have a strong, well-established record of research and career development activities and faculty qualified in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research to collaborate with the applicant.

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

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

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF 424 (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.   

Other Project Information

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

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

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

R&R 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 Career Development Award Supplemental Form

The PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form is comprised of the following sections:

  • Candidate
  • Research Plan
  • Other Candidate Information
  • Mentor, Co-Mentor, Consultant, Collaborators
  • Environment & Institutional Commitment to the Candidate
  • Human Subjects Sections
  • Other Research Plan Sections
  • Appendix

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

Candidate Section

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

Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development

Candidate’s Background

  • Describe the candidate's prior training and accomplishments in health related research to date, including publications, prior research interests and experience, and history of research support.
  • Describe the candidate's commitment to a career in AD/ADRD.
  • Describe how this career enhancement program has the potential to augment the candidate's research career and ultimately have an impact on science.
  • Include a statement that the candidate will commit from 2.4 up to a maximum of 6 person months per year to the short-term career enhancement program. Include a description of the candidate’s professional responsibilities and show their relationship to the proposed activities of the career enhancement award.
  • It is expected that either the candidate or the mentor has sufficient research funding to support the proposed shared research project, in excess of the allowable costs of this award. If applicable, describe how the candidate’s independent research support will cover the costs of the proposed research project that will not be covered by this award or by the mentor’s independent research support.
  • Provide evidence of the candidate’s ability to interact and collaborate with other scientists, particularly those from other disciplines.
  • Provide evidence of the candidate's potential to develop into an academic investigator with expertise in data science or drug discovery/drug development in AD and AD/ADRC.

Career Goals and Objectives

  • Describe the candidate’s objectives and long-term career plans, and how these relate to the proposed activities in the career enhancement award, with a focus on how the proposed work will lead to an independent, rigorous Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's-related dementia research program.
  • Justify the need for further career enhancement in relation to the candidate’s future research goals.

Candidate’s Plan for Career Development/Training Activities During Award Period

  • The candidate and the mentor are jointly responsible for the preparation of the career development plan. A timeline is often helpful. The candidate and mentor may propose a mentoring team (or an Advisory Committee).
  • Provide details of the career enhancement plan, including the research and academic enrichment components (e.g., such as classes, seminars, and opportunities for interaction with other groups and scientists if applicable), tailoring it to the candidate’s goals, prior experience and career level, as well as the intent of the K18 award.
  • The candidate should describe any new or enhanced research skills, approaches and knowledge he/she will acquire during the career award period, and how these skills and experiences will significantly enhance his/her ability to engage in rigorous Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's-related dementia research.
  • If the candidate proposes to work with a mentor with whom he/she has had previous research collaboration, include justification as to why this mentored experience will facilitate career development that could not be achieved solely through a research grant or collaborative arrangement.
  • Provide a systematic plan for progression of activities for the period of the award and beyond to exploit the career enhancement activities provided by the K18, emphasizing the potential to enhance an existing research program in Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's-related dementia research, or to bring Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's-related dementia research to ongoing research in other scientific fields.

Research Plan Section

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

Research Strategy

  • A sound research project with a focus on Alzheimer's disease and/or Alzheimer's-related dementias that is consistent with the candidate’s level of research development and objectives of his/her career development plan must be provided. The research description should demonstrate not only the quality of the candidate’s research thus far but also the novelty, significance, creativity and approach, as well as the ability of the candidate to carry out the proposed research.
  • The application must also describe the relationship between the mentor’s research and the candidate’s proposed research plan.
  • Although it is not expected that the description of the research would be as detailed as an application for an investigator-initiated research grant (e.g., R01), enough information should be provided to permit an evaluation of the scientific merit of the candidate's research activities and mentored research training.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

  • All applications must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). See SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for instructions.

Mentor, Co-Mentor, Consultant, Collaborators Section

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

Plans and Statements of Mentor and Co-mentor(s)

  • The candidate must name a primary mentor (sponsor), who, together with the candidate, is responsible for the planning, direction, and execution of the program. The candidate may also identify co-mentors as appropriate to the goals of the program.
  • The mentor(s) should be recognized as an accomplished investigator in the proposed research area and have a track record of success in training individuals who have gone on to become independent investigators or whose mentees have successfully incorporated the expertise gained into their research programs.
  • The mentor(s) should have sufficient independent research support to cover the costs of the proposed research project in excess of the allowable costs of this award. 
  • The application must include a statement from the mentor providing: (1) information on his/her research qualifications and previous experience as a  research supervisor; (2) a plan that describes the nature of the supervision and mentoring that will occur during the proposed award period, including how the candidate’s scientific and professional independence will be promoted; (3) a description of the elements of the planned research career development, including any formal course work; and (4) a plan for the candidate to apply the expertise gained during the career enhancement experience
  •  The mentor(s) must agree to provide an evaluation of the candidate’s progress as required in the annual progress report.

Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors and Consultants

  • Signed statements must be provided by each collaborator, contributor, and/or consultant confirming their participation in the project and describing their specific roles. Collaborators and consultants generally do not need to provide their biographical sketches. However, information should be provided that clearly documents expertise in the proposed area(s) of collaboration/consultation. Any other opportunities for the candidate’s professional growth should also be documented in these statements.
  • Advisory Committee members (if applicable): Signed statements must be provided by each member of the proposed Advisory Committee. These statements should confirm their participation, describe their specific roles, and document the expertise they will contribute. Their biographical sketches do not have to be provided.

Environmental and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate

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

Description of Institutional Environment

  • Describe the host institution’s scientific environment, including research facilities and resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer time) that will be available to the candidate. Focus on their quality and show that they will meet the candidate’s needs.
  • Describe how the research environment of the host program and institution is particularly suited for the advanced development of the candidate’s research career and the pursuit of the proposed research plan.

Institutional Commitment to the Candidate’s Research Career Development

  • The candidate’s home institution must provide a clear and unambiguous statement of assurance that during the active period of the K18 award the candidate will be able to devote from 2.4 up to a maximum of 6 person months per year to the research career enhancement program. The institutional statement should also indicate what, if any, duties or commitments the candidate will continue to maintain, including how any grant, teaching or administrative responsibilities will be handled, if needed.
  • The host (mentor's) institution must provide assurances that appropriate time and support for any proposed mentor(s) and/or other staff consistent with the career enhancement plan will be provided.

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 (and when applicable, clinical trials research experience) 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 with the following additional instructions:

  • For FOAs that do not allow independent clinical trials, do not complete Section 4 - Protocol Synopsis information or Section 5 - Other Clinical Trial-related Attachments.

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. 

Letters of Reference

Candidates must carefully follow the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including the time period for when letters of reference will be accepted. Applications lacking the appropriate required reference letters will not be reviewed. This is a separate process from submitting an application electronically. Reference letters are submitted directly through the eRA Commons Submit Referee Information link and not through Grants.gov.

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.

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.

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 NIA Referral Office by email at ramesh.vemuri@nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

Reviewers should provide their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed career development and research plan will enhance the candidate’s potential for a productive, independent scientific research career in a health-related field, taking into consideration the criteria below in determining the overall impact score.

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.

Candidate

  • Is the candidate's prior training and research experience appropriate for this award?
  • Is the candidate's academic, clinical (if relevant) and research record of high quality?
  • Is there evidence of ongoing, high-quality research productivity as evidenced by contributions to the scientific literature and success in obtaining independent funding? Has the candidate demonstrated the ability to conceptualize and organize a long-term research approach in data science or drug discovery/drug development relevant to AD and ADRD research?
  • For candidates new to AD and ADRD, does the candidate have the potential to develop as an independent and productive researcher in AD and ADRD data science and drug discovery/drug development?
  • For candidates established in AD and ADRD research, does the candidate have the potential to expand his/her existing research program to incorporate new theories, tools, methods or approaches in data science and drug discovery/drug development that will benefit his/her research on AD and ADRD?
  • Is the career enhancement experience likely to augment the candidate’s research career?
  • Does the candidate demonstrate adequate requisite commitment of 2.4 to 6 person-months of full-time professional effort to the short-term career enhancement program?
  • Does the candidate demonstrate adequate evidence of his/her ability to interact and collaborate with other scientists, particularly with those from other disciplines?
  • Is the source(s) of funding, beyond what is provided by the K18 award, described and adequate for all of the proposed career enhancement activities and research?

Career Development Plan/Career Goals and Objectives

  • What is the likelihood that the career enhancement and mentoring plans will contribute substantially to the scientific development of the candidate leading to rigorous AD/ADRD research?  
  • Is there an adequate description of the need for further career enhancement of the candidate as it relates to rigorous AD/ADRD research?
  • Is the description of the progression of research experiences likely to enhance the candidate's ability to engage in new areas of AD/ADRD research?
  • Are the career goals, objectives and scope of the plan appropriate, when considered in the context of prior research experience and the proposed training experience and research aims?

Research Plan

  • Is there a strong scientific premise for the project?
  • Has the candidate presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed?
  • Has the candidate presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
  • Are the proposed research question(s), design and methodology of significant scientific and technical merit?
  • Is the research plan relevant to the candidate’s research career objectives?
  • Is the research plan appropriate to the stage of research development and as a vehicle for developing the research skills described in the career enhancement plan?
  • Is the research plan appropriate in developing a rigorous research program in AD/ADRD research?
  • Is the proposed research a novel extension of the research of the candidate? In cases where the candidate and the proposed host laboratory/research program have previous research collaborations, is there sufficient justification as to why this program will facilitate career development that could not be achieved solely through a research grant or current collaborative effort?

Mentor(s), Co-Mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s)

  • Are the mentor's research qualifications in the area of the proposed research appropriate?
  • Is there adequate description of the quality and extent of the mentor's proposed role in providing guidance and advice to the candidate?
  • To what extent are the mentor's research qualifications and experience, and scientific stature and mentoring track record appropriate for the candidate's career development needs?
  • Is there evidence of the mentor's previous experience in fostering the development of independent investigators?
  • Is there evidence of the mentor's research productivity and peer-reviewed support?
  • How well do the research activities of the candidate dovetail with the mentor's research funding and ongoing activities?
  • Do the mentor and his/her host institution have adequate resources available to the candidate to conduct the proposed research?
  • Are there signed statements from consultants/contributors that clearly state their role(s) in the career development of the candidate?
  • If co-mentors, consultants, and/or collaborators are identified, is there adequate description of roles and how each person will contribute to the career enhancement of the candidate? Is the coordination of mentoring reasonable? Will there be adequate communication and personal meetings with the candidate?

Environment & Institutional Commitment to the Candidate

  • Is the institutional commitment to the career development of the candidate appropriately strong?
  • Is there a strong commitment from the candidate's home institution to ensure that 2.4-6 person-months of the candidate’s full-time professional effort will be dedicated to the research career enhancement plan during the active period of the award?
  • Are the research facilities, resources and training opportunities, including faculty capable of productive collaboration with the candidate, adequate and appropriate?
  • Is the environment for scientific and professional development of the candidate of high quality?
  • Are the host laboratory/research program and institution well suited for the advanced development of the candidate’s research career and the pursuit of the proposed career enhancement activities and research plan?
  • Is there a strong commitment for the success of the mentored experience, including the proposed research project, from the mentor's (host) institution?
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.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the level of experience of the applicant, including any prior instruction or participation in RCR as appropriate for the applicant’s career stage, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the mentor(s) and other faculty involvement in the fellow’s instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction (at least eight contact hours are required); and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years.  Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee. See also: NOT-OD-10-019.

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

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants. More specifically, for K Awards, visit the Research Career Development (“K”) Awardees section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

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

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. The Supplemental Instructions for Individual Career Development (K) RPPRs must be followed. The Mentor’s Report must include an annual evaluation statement of the candidate’s progress.

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.

4. Evaluation

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

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

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Chyren Hunter, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-9322
Email: Hunterc@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Ramesh Vemuri, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-402-7700
Email: vemuri@nia.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Lesa McQueen
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-402-7738
Email: McQueenL.@nia.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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