Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIDCR Prospective Observational or Biomarker Clinical Validation Study Cooperative Agreement (U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • 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-17-154

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

 93.121 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

 This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support, through the cooperative agreement mechanism, investigator-initiated observational studies or biomarker validation studies that require prospective collection of data/biospecimens or continued analysis of data/biospecimens collected as part of a previous cooperative agreement award from NIDCR.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

February 3, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

March 14, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

First receipt date, April 14, 2017, for all application types. Subsequently, Standard dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Standard AIDS dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of AIDS and AIDS-related applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date

January 8, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

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 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support, through the cooperative agreement mechanism, investigator-initiated observational studies or biomarker validation studies that require prospective collection of data/biospecimens or continued analysis of data/biospecimens collected as part of a previous cooperative agreement award from NIDCR.

Background and Scope

NIDCR is committed to identifying effective preventive, diagnostic and treatment approaches for dental, oral and craniofacial diseases and disorders. Improving health through the generation of high-quality data from adequately-powered, well-executed clinical studies is a high priority for NIDCR.

Various types of well-designed clinical studies involving the prospective collection of data and/or biospecimens have the potential to generate robust data and contribute to the knowledge base to improve oral health. Longitudinal studies allow for prospective assessment of risk factors (exposures) and their relation to disease development. Also, disease and standard-of-care treatment outcomes can be observed and measured systematically. A biomarker clinical validation study is designed to validate a candidate biomarker(s) for which robust preliminary data exist that support utility in diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring, and/or prediction of response to treatment. Rigorous scientific inquiry in genomics, gene-gene and gene-environment interactions or disease/treatment mechanisms through multi-omics analyses require large numbers of study participants from whom biospecimens are collected in a standardized manner. Continued analysis of potential targets in preclinical models may contribute to knowledge gaps in the pathophysiology of disease and/or pathways for treatment. 

Because prospective observational and biomarker clinical validation studies are resource intensive, NIDCR anticipates funding only those studies of highest priority and mission relevance. Aspects of studies that are of key interest to NIDCR include the appropriateness of the design to answer the study question, rigor in exposure and outcome assessment, evidence that an appropriate study population can be enrolled quickly and be retained, selection of appropriate methodologies for biospecimen collection, storage and analysis, and involvement of collaborators with expertise in the design, implementation and analysis of large observational studies, such as experienced statisticians and data managers. For applications proposing prospective collection of data and/or biospecimens, we strongly encourage that the investigative team include a data coordinating center. Investigators considering preparing and applying are strongly encouraged to consult with NIDCR Scientific/Research staff prior to beginning the application process to determine NIDCR interest in the concept that would be proposed in the application.

Prospective observational studies: Study designs considered appropriate to this FOA would be epidemiologic studies of disease prevalence or incidence, cohort studies prospectively ascertaining risk factors for disease development, cohort studies that provide longitudinal follow-up of treatment outcomes, case-control studies with longitudinal follow-up, and large cross-sectional studies or case-control studies evaluating genetic factors, gene-gene or gene-environment interactions, or disease/treatment mechanisms through multi-omics analyses.

Biomarker validation studies: Applicants to this FOA should be aware of the rigors of biomarker validation and the regulations that clinical laboratory assays need to meet for use on patients. This FOA will allow validation of biomarkers and assays for diagnostic or prognostic utility. It is expected that the initial discovery of the biomarker or assay will have been performed on a pre-existing set of human biospecimens with the same disease or condition as that in the proposed validation application.  This biomarker validation FOA will support studies that validate the proposed biomarkers in a new, independent cohort; studies that establish the analytic accuracy, precision, sensitivity, specificity, reportable range of test results for the test system; studies establishing reference intervals (normal values) with controls and calibrators; and studies that demonstrate test reproducibility.  To help investigators complete planning, design and documentation needed for an investigator-initiated biomarker clinical validation study, the NIDCR offers the NIDCR Clinical Trial or Biomarker Clinical Validation Study Planning Grant (R34). The R34 grant will provide up to one year of support for clinical trial or biomarker clinical validation study planning.  However, biospecimen collection and analysis are not supported through the R34 mechanism.

Examples of studies that might be supported by this FOA include, but are not limited to:

  • Applications of multi-center observational cohort studies assessing risk factors for development of oral or dental diseases (e.g. dental caries, periodontal disease, head and neck cancer, orofacial pain conditions);
  • Applications of observational cohort studies assessing treatment outcomes for oral diseases or conditions (e.g. periodontal disease, Sjögren's syndrome, craniofacial anomalies, orofacial pain conditions);
  • Research to establish the natural history of oral HPV infection and persistence;
  • Research to establish the natural history of dental/oral diseases in patients who have undergone or are undergoing head-and-neck radiation to eradicate malignancy;
  • Observational cohort or cross-sectional studies developing or establishing algorithms for tailoring or targeting behavioral or social interventions for individuals, groups, communities, or settings in which further assessment is justified;
  • Applications of cross-sectional or cohort studies collecting and analyzing biospecimens to assess genetic/genomic markers of risk for dental, oral, and/or craniofacial diseases or treatment responses;
  • Applications of cross-sectional or cohort studies collecting and analyzing biospecimens to assess mechanisms of dental, oral, and/or craniofacial diseases or treatment pathways through multi-omics analyses;
  • Applications for competitive renewal proposing further analysis of complex codependencies that include oncogene addiction, tumor-suppressor hypersensitivity and metabolic dependencies in oral cancer and the identification of combinations of targets which could be exploited for therapeutic interventions;
  • Clinical validation of biomarker(s) through prospective collection and analysis of biospecimens and data on clinical outcomes of oral or dental diseases, e.g. caries, periodontal diseases, head and neck cancers, salivary dysfunctions, orofacial pain conditions, or systemic diseases significantly impacting the oral cavity.

Applicants should also consider the relevance of their proposed research to NIDCR programs and priorities as described in the NIDCR Strategic Plan.

This FOA will not support studies that meet the NIH Definition of a Clinical Trial. Investigators proposing clinical trials must use the U01 clinical trials mechanism (see http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/DER/ClinicalResearch/ClinTrials.htm).

The proposed clinical study must meet all applicable NIH and Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) policy requirements. Awardees are required to comply with NIDCR Clinical Terms of Award. After NIDCR approval of the final clinical research protocol and associated documents, clinical sites will complete study staff training and other site initiation activities prior to study subject recruitment. The materials contained in the U01 application should be sufficient to demonstrate readiness to complete site initiation requirements in a timely manner, once the study documents are approved.

Investigators considering smaller prospective observational studies should consider submitting a NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01) application or an application in response to other appropriate FOAs. Investigators are strongly encouraged to consult with NIDCR Scientific/Research staff prior to beginning the application process regarding the suitability of this FOA for their particular study.

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
Resubmission
Revision

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. The total amount awarded and the number of awards will depend upon the relevance of the proposed study to the NIDCR mission and strategic plan, the study complexity, its anticipated duration, and its associated costs.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

A project duration of up to five years may be requested.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

o   Hispanic-serving Institutions

o   Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

o   Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

o   Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

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

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

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

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

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

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the 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:

Yasaman Shirazi, PhD
Telephone: 301-594-5593
Fax: 301-480-8303
Email: yasaman.shirazi@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.

Other Attachments: The application must contain the following information, according to the instructions below. The information provided here will be considered by reviewers and is meant to supplement, not duplicate, information provided in the Research Plan attachments.

1. Quality Management Plan. The purpose of the Quality Management Plan is to establish standard processes for all study-related activities, to assess and document adherence to all clinical study procedures, and to ensure the quality of data collection procedures.

  • Describe plans to standardize study processes, train study staff, and monitor adherence to the clinical protocol.
  • Describe the methods and systems for data collection (e.g., Case Report Forms/CRFs), including timely data entry, and review to ensure accurate and consistent data collection.

2. Data Management Plan. The purpose of the Data Management Plan is to establish validated systems and controls to ensure the integrity of the clinical research data being collected for the proposed study:

  • Describe the methods and systems for data verification and data validation. Describe the frequency of data verification, data query process, and any planned mitigation strategies in the event of data system noncompliance.
  • Describe methods and systems to ensure data confidentiality and subject privacy.

 3. Schedule of Events.

  • Provide a schematic, table, or text description of the protocol-specified schedule of events for an individual study participant. It should capture each study visit/assessment time point and planned activity(ies) for each time point.
SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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.

The budget should include funding needs for the entire study and data analysis period.

If parts of the costs of the study are to be borne by sources other than NIH, these contributions must be presented in detail in the budget justification. These outsource costs do not constitute cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement and should not be presented as part of the requested budget.

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy:

Significance:

The significance and biological relevance of the proposed study must be stated clearly. It should be supported by the following:

  • Provide a clear statement of the question(s) that the study will address and its importance.
  • Describe the scientific rationale and clinical need (if applicable) for the study, including an assessment of previous preclinical and/or clinical studies and their quality.
  • Describe the potential for the study results to impact knowledge, clinical practice or health care policy
  • For biomarker validation studies, describe the preliminary analytical performance of the biomarker assay(s) (e.g. laboratory validation studies demonstrating the accuracy, precision, sensitivity, specificity, reportable range of test results, reference intervals (normal values) with controls and calibrators, and reproducibility) that demonstrate its (their) suitability for validation testing.

Approach:

  • Address the feasibility of recruiting participants who are eligible for the proposed research. For an application proposing a multi-site study, applicants are expected to provide evidence that each recruiting center has access to sufficient study participants who meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Provide a concise snapshot of the planned clinical study. It is expected to:
  • Clearly state the study objectives.
  • Describe the study design, including study groups and number of sites.
  • Specify the primary and important secondary outcome measures that align with each objective and the criteria for measuring the outcome variables.
  • Describe the study population, including the sample size, sex, age, other pertinent demographic information, required health status or disease condition, and geographic location.
  • Describe plans and strategies for participant recruitment, including outreach activities and pre-study assessments of the ability of participating sites to recruit the proposed target number of participants.
  • Describe approaches to be used for retention and follow-up of those enrolled and address any anticipated changes in the composition of the study population over the course of the study.
  • Provide a statistical analysis plan, including power calculations, data analysis approaches, and plans for handling missing data.
  • Discuss potential biases or challenges in the proposed study and how they will be minimized and/or addressed.
  • Provide a timeline for implementing and completing the study, including the estimated time to: a) open study to enrollment; b) complete data collection; and c) complete final data analysis.
  • For studies that include multiple sites and/or a separate data coordinating center or laboratory, describe the organizational structure of and communication plans for the study.
  • For biomarker validation studies, describe the number of study participants/biospecimens needed to test prevalence of the marker and associate assay results with a pre-specified clinical outcome within the clinical context.
  • For biomarker validation studies, describe the plans for analytical validation such as establishing the threshold or cut-off for assay, plans for clinical validation of the assay within the intended clinical context of use, and metrics for clinical validation of the assay.
  • For studies involving genetic/genomic or multi-omic analyses, provide the plan for biospecimen analysis.

Letters of Support: Letters of support from clinical partners, research collaborators, or other groups the investigators propose to work with should be included.

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 Resource 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.

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

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

  
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 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? Does the proposed study have a clear statement of the question(s) that the study will address, its importance and the potential of the study results to impact knowledge, clinical practice or health care policy? Does the application provide sufficient scientific rationale and clinical need (if applicable) for the study? For biomarker validation studies, does the application provide sufficient preliminary evidence of the analytical performance of the biomarker assay(s) to demonstrate its(their) suitability for validation testing?

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? Does the overall team have sufficient expertise to organize and implement the planned study and perform appropriate analyses of data and/or biospecimens collected? 

Innovation

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

Approach

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

Does the application provide evidence that each recruiting center has access to a sufficient number of study participants who meet the eligibility criteria? Are the study objectives stated clearly? Is there a description of the proposed study design, and is it appropriate to address the study objectives? Are the primary and secondary outcome variables described, justified, and is there a description of how they will be measured? Is the study population appropriate and justified? Are the recruitment and retention plans appropriate to recruit the proposed target number of participants and retain those who are enrolled? Is the statistical analysis plan justified? Does the application address potential biases or challenges, and are plans to minimize these biases appropriate? Is the timeline for implementing and completing the study appropriate?

For biomarker validation studies, does the application propose sufficient study participants/biospecimens for testing prevalence of the marker and associating assay results with a pre-specified clinical outcome within the intended clinical context? Are the plans for analytical validation, plans for clinical validation of the assay within the intended clinical context of use, and metrics for clinical validation of the assay appropriate?

For studies involving genetic/genomic or multi-omics analyses, is the plan for biospecimen analysis appropriate and justified?

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?   

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.

Regarding the additional documents included as "Other Attachments":  

  • Are the processes in the Data Quality Management Plan adequate to assess and document adherence to clinical study procedures and ensure the quality of data collection procedures?
  • Is the Data Management Plan adequate to describe validated systems and controls to ensure the integrity of the clinical research data being collected?
  • Is the Schedule of Events for an individual study participant described and appropriate for the study design and data to be collected?
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

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

Revisions

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

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

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

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NIDCR, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

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.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have primary responsibility for:

  • All aspects of the study, including any modification of study design, conduct of the study, quality control, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of publications, dissemination of data, tools, and technologies, and collaboration with other investigators are the PD(s)/PI(s) responsibilities. The awardee agrees to accept close coordination, cooperation, and participation of NIDCR staff in those aspects of scientific and technical management of the study as stated in these terms and conditions.
  • The PD(s)/PI(s) will meet NIDCR policy requiring that studies be monitored commensurate with the degree of potential risk to study subjects and the complexity of the study. An NIDCR policy notice was published in the NIH Guide on March 27, 2008, and is available at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-DE-08-001.html. The full policy, including terms and conditions of award, is available at the following NIDCR Website: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/GrantsAndFunding/PoliciesandGuidance/ClinicalResearch/NIDCRClinicalTermsofAward.htm.
  • Upon implementation of the protocol, each study, whether a single entity or a consortium of entities, will follow the procedures required by the protocol regarding study conduct and monitoring, participant management, data collection, and quality control.
  • The PD(s)/PI(s) 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 HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.
  • The PD(s)/PI(s) will manage involvement of industry or any other third party in the study. Except for licensing of patents or copyrights, support or involvement of any third party will occur only following notification of and concurrence by the NIDCR.
  • The PD(s)/PI(s) will make all study materials and procedure manuals available in the public domain. Awardees are expected to publish and publicly disseminate results, data, and other products of the study, concordant with governance policies and protocols. Publications and oral presentations of work performed under this agreement will require appropriate acknowledgment of support by the NIDCR/NIH.
  • The PD(s)/PI(s) will obtain prior written approval of the NIDCR Grants Management Specialist, in consultation with the NIDCR Program Officer, for changes in any of the key personnel identified in the Notice of Grant Award.

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

An NIDCR Project Scientist will be assigned. The NIDCR Project Scientist will:

  • Have access to data generated under this Cooperative Agreement and may periodically review the data and progress reports. NIDCR staff may use information obtained from the data for the preparation of internal reports on the activities of the study. However, awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to all data developed under these awards, subject to Government right of access consistent with HHS, PHS and NIH policies;
  • Serve as a resource to provide scientific/programmatic support during the accomplishment of the research by participating in the design of the activities and advising in the management and technical performance;
  • Participate in teleconferences with PDs/PIs to monitor study progress and conduct and track accrual of participants;
  • Review the progress of the study, and of each participating component, through consideration of the annual reports, site visits, logs, etc. This review may include, but not be limited to, compliance with the study protocol, meeting patient enrollment targets, adherence to uniform data collection procedures, and the timeliness and quality of data reporting.

An NIDCR Program Official will be assigned. The NIDCR Program Official will:

  • Carry out continuous review of all activities to ensure that the objectives are being met and that all regulatory, fiscal, and administrative matters are handled according to NIH guidelines;
  • Have the option to withhold support to a participating institution if technical performance requirements are not met;
  • Perform other duties required for normal program stewardship of grants.

An NIDCR Project Scientist (Medical Officer) will monitor the studies and serve as the Medical Monitor.

  • The NIDCR reserves the right to terminate or curtail a study or any portion of a study in the event of (a) failure to implement the study protocol, (b) a substantial shortfall in participant recruitment, follow-up, data reporting and dissemination, quality control or other major breach of the protocol, (c) substantive changes in the agreed-upon protocol with which the NIDCR does not concur, (d) reaching a major study objective substantially before schedule with persuasive statistical evidence, or human subject ethical issues that may dictate a premature termination.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

None, all responsibilities are divided between awardees and NIH staff as described above.

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. Members will be: a designee chosen by the PD/PI, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two. 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 Part 16.

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)

Dena Fischer, DDS, MSD, MS
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-4876
Email: dena.fischer@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Yasaman Shirazi, PhD
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-5593
Email: yasaman.shirazi@nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Diana Rutberg, MBA
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-4798
Email: rutbergd@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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