Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Quantitative Imaging Tools and Methods for Cancer Response Assessment (U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-17-129

Companion Funding Opportunity
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.394, 93.395  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to provide a mechanism of support to research organizations interested in clinically translating already optimized quantitative imaging software tools capable of measuring or predicting the response of cancer to clinical therapies, or in translating imaging tools for planning and validating radiation therapy treatment strategies in clinical trials. The quantitative tools must have been developed and optimized during a performance period in the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) or under other separate funding. The proposed research effort should be an extension of the research that successfully completed the tasks of developing and optimizing the chosen software tools or data collection methods intended to facilitate clinical decision making during clinical trials. This FOA is intended to support the efforts of validating those tools in prospective multisite clinical trials in order to test tool performance and to demonstrate that the tool can be integrated into clinical workflow with a minimum of disruption.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

January 19, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

April 9, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

New Date 30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

May 9, 2017; September 12, 2017; January 9, 2018; May 9, 2018; September 12, 2018; January 9, 2019; May 9, 2019; September 12, 2019; January 9, 2020, 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

August 2017; February 2018; June 2018; August 2018; February 2019; June 2019; August 2019; February 2020; June 2020;

Advisory Council Review

January 2018; May 2018; August 2018; January 2019; May 2019; August 2019; January 2020; May 2020; August 2020

Earliest Start Date

April 2018; July 2018; September 2018; April 2019; July 2019; September 2019; April 2020; July 2020; September 2020

Expiration Date

January 10, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Research (R) 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
Purpose

This purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to provide a mechanism of support to research organizations interested in clinically translating already optimized quantitative imaging software tools capable of measuring or predicting the response of cancer to clinical therapies, or in translating imaging tools for planning and validating radiation therapy treatment strategies in clinical trials. The quantitative tools must have been developed and optimized during a performance period in the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) or under other separate funding. The proposed research effort should be an extension of the research that successfully completed the tasks of developing and optimizing the chosen software tools or data collection methods intended to facilitate clinical decision making during clinical trials. This FOA is intended to support the efforts of validating those tools in prospective multi-site clinical trials in order to test tool performance and to demonstrate that the tool can be integrated into clinical workflow with a minimum of disruption.

Background

The goal of quantitative imaging (QI) is to create the condition where clinical imaging devices behave as measuring instruments, providing clinicians with reliable and reproducible numeric (i.e. quantitative) information to predict or measure the health status of patients, or to plan treatment strategies. The primary goal of this FOA, then, is to enhance the value of QI in clinical trials for treatment planning, prediction and/or measurement of response to therapy in order to achieve the stated goal of quantitative imaging. This can be accomplished by creating and validating state-of-the-art open source software algorithms, data collection and data processing protocols, and/or treatment planning guidelines to extract quantitative information from clinical images where the measurement bias and variance that can exist across imaging platforms has been reduced.

Research Objectives

Projects proposed for this FOA are expected to advance QI methods to reduce the bias and variance in imaging platforms used in clinical trials, to create methods for extracting reliable and reproducible quantitative measurements from clinical images and/or to improve treatment planning during clinical trials. The requirements for testing QI approaches in both single and multisite research settings have been addressed at recent NCI-supported workshops and in numerous QIN-related publications, QIN progress reports, and QIN working group documents. For this FOA, the applicants are strongly urged to be familiar with the published research progress to date from the QIN and other research groups. For details, see the following links:

Current or former QIN members who submit to this FOA are indicating their interest in continuing their research objectives as outlined in their previous application. As a result, an application to this announcement by QIN members will be considered a renewal of the previous research. If the QIN member is considering specific aims and research activities that represent a new research direction, application must be made through PAR-17-129. Applicants without past support from any FOAs relating to the Quantitative Imaging Network program but with developed and optimized clinical tools for decision support in cancer clinical trials may submit to this FOA as a new application to validate and incorporate the candidate tools in multisite clinical trials. This will not only validate the tool or method in the clinical environment, it will also show how the tool or method integrates into clinical workflow.

Specific Objectives for the Clinical Validation Effort

The specific objective for the research supported by this announcement is to validate and clinically test the software tools and/or methods previously developed by the applicant. The development and optimization may have been done as a member of the QIN or under separate support. Only minimal development and optimization of tools and/or methods will be permitted in this U01 effort. Such additional development and optimization activities include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Participation in software challenges, where tools are tested against a standard data set to determine optimized performance,
  • Transposing a tool or method optimized for one cancer problem to another type of cancer or cancer site,
  • Inclusion of a tool or method into a pipeline of tools.

Validation of optimized software tools must be the primary goal of this research effort. During this project, investigators may initially use retrospective clinical trial data for tasks such as testing and demonstrating utility of the software tool across vendor platforms. Eventually, however, one or more prospective multisite clinical trials must be selected as the venue for clinical trial validation of tool performance. Not only will the tool(s) be validated, but the challenges of fitting the tool(s) into clinical workflow can be addressed.

Note: this FOA will not support any clinical trials. It will, however, support the cost of obtaining imaging and metadata from existing clinical trials as needed to validate QI tools and methods. When tested in clinical trials, tools and methods being validated can only be a secondary measure or prediction of response to therapy, and will not be used as (nor will they interfere with) standard of care in any clinical trial.

Related Funding Opportunities:

Research teams including those currently funded as a part of the Quantitative Imaging Network PAR-14-116 or PAR-11-150 and interested in initiating a new research direction within the Quantitative Imaging Network may apply to PAR-17-128 with a combined UG3/UH3 application. In addition, research groups interested in advancing QI tools and methods but do not qualify as having clinical support tools as defined in this FOA are encourages to apply through PAR-17-129.

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

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal (restricted to applicants currently performing research under PAR-14-116 or PAR-11-150)
Resubmission of applications previously submitted to this FOA
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project but must not exceed $500,000 (direct costs) for each proposed year.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is 5 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 eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

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

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

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 Research (R) 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.

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:

Robert J. Nordstrom, Ph.D.
Cancer Imaging Program
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5934
Email: nordstrr@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.

PD(s)/PI(s) Effort: The PD/PI must include a minimum of 1.0 person month of his/her time per year. For multiple PD/PI applications, the contact PD/PI must include a minimum of 1.0 person month of his/her time per year and all other PDs/PIs must include a minimum of 0.6 person month of their time per year to the award. This commitment cannot be reduced in later years of the award.

Budget Information related to Collaborative Activities, and the release and use of Restricted Funds: Applicants must budget a set-aside of funds for annual collaborative activities. The use of these funds will be restricted to activities reviewed and approved by NCI program staff. The amounts budgeted for this set-aside should amount to 10% of budgeted direct costs in each year of the project. All collaborative activities will be subject to review and approval by a NCI program staff review committee. See Section VI.2. Release and Use of Restricted Funds for details. The release of these restricted funds by the NCI will be contingent upon the recommendation of the review committee. These amounts should be presented in the Other Expenses category under the heading “Restricted Network Collaborative Fund.”

Restricted Travel Expense Budget: Applicants must budget appropriate travel and per diem for two persons (e.g., a PD/PI and another senior investigator) for each year of the project to attend one QIN Investigators Meeting per year (to be held at the NCI). Duration of the meeting will be two full days.

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

Applications to this FOA must describe a research project that proposes to validate quantitative imaging software tools or methods intended to provide clinical decision support in cancer clinical trials. This validation must involve the use of the tools or methods in at least one prospective multisite clinical trial, and the candidate tools or methods must have been developed and optimized as the time of application submission.

For applications that were awarded under PAR-14-116 (Quantitative Imaging for Evaluation of Response to Cancer Therapies (U01), the continuation must emphasize the process for clinical validation of tools developed and optimized during the U01 project.

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

Specific Aims: Provide the overall goals for the application listed in well-defined specific aims.

Research Strategy: Organize the Research Strategy in Sub-Sections A - D identified below.

Sub-section A. Background and Significance

  • Discuss the nature of the software tool previously developed and optimized during the initial research effort and justify why the quantitative imaging tool/method is needed and how its clinical use can benefit, facilitate, and support clinical decision making during clinical trials.
  • Outline the main characteristics and applicability of the proposed tool/method (identifying, for example, a specific cancer type or a specific population of focus) and describe the clinical endpoint to be captured (e.g., treatment planning-/outcome-related information, recurrence, risk factors, or other).
  • Explain (and justify) the potential of the proposed tool/method for clinical utility beyond the project.

Sub-section B. Preliminary Data and Collaborative Arrangements

  • Summarize prior efforts on the QI tool/method to be validated; indicate whether it is new or adapted from existing tools; if applicable, indicate for which types of cancer it has been tried;
  • If available, summarize preliminary data documenting the tool’s potential to achieve both analytical sensitivity and specificity (e.g., when applied to a suitable "gold standard" source); and
  • Explain the nature of the investigator collaborations within the proposed research group and collaborations anticipated with other members of the Quantitative Imaging Network.

Sub-section C. Approach

  • Describe any anticipated development and optimization efforts that might be needed in preparation for clinical trial validation. These should be brief;
  • Describe the data requirements needed to challenge the tool/method in a training/test evaluation of tool/method performance;
  • Identify any plans/needs for creating infrastructure for the tool/method to be incorporated into a clinical trial;
  • Provide a plan for engaging the tool/method in at least one clinical trial (preferably a multisite trial); and
  • Identify potential pitfalls and impediments that could require a revision to the research strategy, milestones, or timeline (discuss alternative approaches/strategies, as needed, indicating whether they would require revision of the Milestones).

Sub-section D. Milestones and Timeline

In this Sub-section describe specific milestones and measurable goals for the entire project. Identify a detailed project timeline. The milestones must be well-defined to serve as appropriate objective performance targets. As a rule, milestones should be quantitative parameters, such as an appropriate level of detection, coefficient of variation, or sensitivity/specificity etc.

Specifically, address the following items:

  • Present measurable milestones as goals/benchmarks that will identify progress (or signal emergent difficulties); 
  • For each milestone, provide appropriately detailed (quantitative) criteria by which milestone achievement can be assessed;
  • Provide a detailed timeline for the anticipated attainment of each milestone and the overall goal (use of a Gantt chart is strongly recommended).

Note: Reviewers will evaluate the quality, appropriateness, and rigor of the proposed milestones. To be considered for funding, applications must be viewed as strong in all these aspects.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix:

 Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

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.

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.

The priority of this FOA is on validation of previously developed and optimized clinical decision support tools that will aid in therapy planning or support prediction or measurement of response to therapy in the clinical trial setting.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Specific for this FOA: Does the proposed research plan of the multi-disciplinary research team address translational research and focus on clinical validation of quantitative imaging methods as required for the advancement of the role of quantitative imaging in a multi-center clinical trial setting?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Specific for this FOA: Is there evidence that the research team members can work together effectively? Does the multi-disciplinary team have experience in quantitative imaging and in clinical trials?

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 for this FOA: Does the application propose methods for promoting translational efforts that will validate technologies toward implementation in clinical trials and eventual commercial adaptation? Does the proposed research team address reasonable solutions for the translation research goal of the QIN? Are the proposed clinical trials appropriate examples to substantiate the need for these methods?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?

Specific for this FOA: Given the intended usage of the tool/method and the available preliminary data, is the validation strategy reasonable?

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

Specific for this FOA: Do the participating research and clinical centers demonstrate adequate commitment to this project?

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.

Milestones

Are the milestones and their associated criteria sufficient, appropriate, quantitative, and rigorous to serve as strategic and objective benchmarks of project progress?

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

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

Revisions

Not applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3)  Genomic Data Sharing Plan (GDS).

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NCI, 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 submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

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

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

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.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

Primary Responsibilities of the PD(s)/PI(s)

Each of the PD(s)/PI(s) retains the primary responsibility, authority, and dominant role for planning, directing, and executing the activities of the award under this FOA. The PD(s)/PI(s) assume responsibility and accountability to the applicant organization officials and to the NCI for the performance and proper conduct of the research supported by the U01 award in accordance with these terms and conditions of the award.

Specific PD(s)/PI(s) responsibilities and rights will be to:

  • Define the overall research objectives and approaches;
  • Determine experimental approaches, setting milestones for tools/methods development, and overseeing the conduct of analyses of data and other steps related to tools/methods implementation;
  • Oversee and coordinate the effort of the investigator's team and participating institutions to ensure optimal effort integration;
  • Oversee the conduct of  research projects and ensuring their scientific rigor;
  • Ensure compliance with the applicable mandatory regulations (including protection of confidentiality of any clinical data);
  • Adhere to the NIH policies regarding intellectual property, data release, and other data/resource policies;
  • Submit a comprehensive annual update report to the NCI Project Scientist (apart from the Non-Competing Progress Report RPPR and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement) for inclusion in the Annual QIN Overview Report.
  • Participate in webinars, annual meetings, and conference calls to share research findings with the research community
  • Notify the NCI Project Staff Scientist approximately 60 days prior to the termination of the UG3 phase of the project that a review of milestones and progress must be scheduled. Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

Primary Responsibilities of the NCI Staff:

NCI staff, acting as Project Scientist will have scientific and programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below.

Specifically, the NCI Project Scientist will:

  • Provide advice to the awardees on specific scientific, analytical, and clinical issues, as appropriate;
  • Serve as a liaison between the U01 awardees and the NCI;
  • Facilitate interactions, sharing of data, and other forms of scientific integration across the U01 awardees;
  • Promote collaborations/interactions with other NIH-supported initiatives or investigators and assisting with coordination of such efforts;
  • Advise awardees with regard to various regulatory and compliance issues;
  • Participate in teleconferences with PDs/PIs to monitor progress and facilitate cooperation; and
  • Monitor progress of the projects towards meeting milestones and adherence to the strategic goals of the program.

Additionally, an NCI Program Director acting as the NIH Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. A Program Official may also have substantial programmatic involvement (as a Project Scientist) and may be the same person as Project Scientist.

NCI reserves the right to phase out or curtail an individual award in the event of inability to meet milestones or insufficient progress towards meeting milestones.

Areas of Joint Responsibility

The NCI Project Scientist and the PDs/PIs of the Cooperative Agreement awards funded under this FOA will be jointly responsible for the formation of an Executive Committee (EC) that will be the main governing board for the network.

The EC will be jointly established by the lead PD/PIs of the awarded multi-disciplinary teams and selected NCI staff members. The EC will consist of the following voting members:

  • Two representatives from each awarded team (e.g., one from the clinical center and the other from the basic science group), who will collectively have a single vote for each team; and
  • Two designated NCI Program staff members (Project Scientist[s] and Coordinator), who will collectively have one vote for the NIH.

The EC will elect one of the team investigators as its chair for a 1-year term annually during the period of the program.

Responsibilities of the EC will include the following:

  • Discuss progress of each team and make recommendations that encourage intra-team collaborations to enhance progress and consensus on validation methods;
  • Review and facilitate the efforts aimed at sharing of validation methods and related databases across the Network;
  • Review the efforts of the Research Resource teams during the course of their efforts;
  • Schedule and organize an annually meeting at which network members will present their scientific progress and future plans;
  • Schedule monthly telephone conference calls to coordinate the activities of the network; and
  • All EC decisions and recommendations that require voting will be based on a majority vote.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Executive Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR.

Release and Use of Restricted Funds

The awardee is required annually to set aside 10% of the direct costs planned for that year of the project. These restricted funds will be released annually when the following conditions are met:

  • At any time prior to 4 months prior to the close of a particular year, the awardee can petition to have the funds released by submitting a plan (not to exceed 5 pages) to supplement the clinical validation collaboration with collaborative efforts with research teams within the QIN network or outside the network.
  • A portion or all of the set-aside funds can be requested for a specific collaboration project, and the set-aside funds are to be used only for the efforts of that team.
  • NCI program will have 30 days to evaluate the plan and recommend the release of the funds or recommend changes to the plan.
  • If changes are recommended, the investigator has 30 days to make the changes and resubmit the plan for evaluation.
  • If the plan is rejected by the NCI staff at that point, the funds will not be released.
  • Petition for release of restricted funds can be made each year of the project. See reporting requirements below.
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: 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)

Robert J. Nordstrom, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5934
Email: nordstrr@mail.nih.gov

Darrell Tata, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276 5894
E-Mail: darrell.tata@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Dianna N. Bailey
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6179
Email: baileydianna@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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