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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Mechanisms and Consequences of Sleep Disparities in the U.S. (R21)

Activity Code

R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-17-235

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-17-234, R01 Research Project Grant

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

 93.307, 93.399, 93.395, 93.393, 93.273, 93.866, 93.279 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to promote exploratory and developmental research to understand the underlying mechanisms of sleep deficiencies among health disparity populations and how sleep deficiencies may lead to disparities in health outcomes.

Key Dates
Posted Date

March 29, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

June 11, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date.

Application Due Date(s)

July 11, 2017, July 11, 2018, July 11, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

November 2017, November 2018, November 2019

Advisory Council Review

January 2018, January 2019, January 2020

Earliest Start Date

April 2018, April  2019, April 2020

Expiration Date

July 12, 2019

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/ Background:

The purpose of this initiative is to promote exploratory and developmental research to understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to sleep deficiencies among race and ethnic minorities and other health disparity populations and how sleep deficiencies may lead to disparities in health outcomes. For the purposes of this initiative, sleep deficiencies are defined as insufficient sleep duration, poor sleep quality, irregular timing of sleep, and sleep/circadian disorders. In addition, research on quality of sleep and excess sleep and their health consequences is of interest for this initiative. This FOA utilizes the Research Project Grant (R21) mechanism, and is suitable for early phase, pilot, or exploratory/developmental projects.  Investigators who are interested in proposing larger scale, later phase projects based upon substantial preliminary data should submit applications to the companion FOA of identical scientific scope, which uses the NIH (R01) grant mechanism.

Sleep is an important determinant of overall health and a prerequisite for individuals to achieve their full potential for health, and wellbeing across the lifespan. Inadequate sleep leads to poorer health and poorer cognitive, emotional, and social functioning. Good sleeping habits are just as important for our health as a healthy diet and adequate physical activity.

In the U.S., 30-40% of adults and 40-70% of adolescents report sleep deficiencies annually.  Racial, ethnic minorities, and low socioeconomic status (SES) populations have the highest prevalence of sleep deficiency. According to CDC, the prevalence of age-adjusted healthy sleep is lower for racial and ethnic minorities particularly for Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, and American Indians/Alaska Natives compared with Whites, Latinos, and Asians. The prevalence of healthy sleep was also lower for unemployed respondents compared to those employed or those with high school graduates compared to college degrees. Furthermore, there is geographic clustering of healthy sleep duration, the lowest prevalence of healthy sleep duration was observed in the southeastern United States and in states along the Appalachian Mountains, and the highest prevalence was observed in the Great Plains states.

Health disparities have been shown to be caused by multiple and overlapping contributing factors (i.e., cultural, biological, behavioral, environmental, and societal).  Few studies have investigated factors associated with sleep deficiencies in racial/ethnic minority populations. Circadian rhythm disruptions and disorders are likely to be linked to sociocultural and environmental factors, such as occupational shift work, economic adversity, financial insecurity, neighborhood deprivation, suboptimal housing exposure to allergens, noisy and crowded sleeping environment), urban residence, and residential segregation. Those with low SES have fewer psychosocial, economic, and environmental resources that promote adequate sleep or the prompt resolution of sleep problems. While some studies have found associations between sleep deficiencies and higher levels of chronic and major life stressors, and discrimination, there is a paucity of research investigating the underlying factors and potential causal mechanisms associated with sleep disparities in racial/ ethnic minority and low SES populations.

Sleep deficiencies have been associated with a variety of poor health outcomes. Shorter sleep duration is associated with increased risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and obesity. Studies have shown that short sleepers are more likely to be obese than those reporting =7 hours of sleep. Mental health issues such as depression and suicide are also associated with sleep deficiencies.

Racial/ethnic minorities are more likely than Whites to have persistent, severe, and under-diagnosed sleep disorders. Some cultural differences have been noted for the way in which sleep deficiencies are reported by persons from different populations, thus the level of disparity for sleep is speculated to be underestimated. While the majority of research has focused on describing differences in sleep across racial/ethnic populations and SES status, the underlying factors and the mechanisms contributing to disparities in healthy sleep are not well understood. More research is needed to explore links between social determinants of health and other factors that may causes sleep deficiencies and health disparities.

The R21 activity code is intended to encourage new exploratory and developmental research projects. For example, such projects could assess the feasibility of a novel area of investigation or a new methodology that has the potential to enhance health-related research. Another example could include the unique and innovative use of an existing methodology to explore a new scientific area. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area, or to the development of novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models, or applications that could have a major impact on a field of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research.

Applications for R21 awards should describe projects distinct from those supported through the traditional R01 activity code. For example, long-term projects, or projects designed to increase knowledge in a well-established area, will not be considered for R21 awards. Applications submitted to this FOA should be exploratory and novel. These studies should break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications.

Research Objectives:

The overall objective of this initiative to support exploratory and developmental research to 1) understand the underlying social, cultural, environmental or biological factors contributing to sleep deficiencies among minority and health disparity populations and 2) how sleep deficiencies may lead to disparities in health outcomes. In addition, research on how quality of sleep and excess sleep affect health and how differences in sleep quality may lead to health disparities, is of interest.

Many potential individual, contextual and structural factors influence health disparities; therefore, this initiative encourages applications that include multidisciplinary research to understand the interplay of multiple factors and mechanisms that explain sleep disparities. Successful projects will examine etiology of disparities in sleep deficiencies through a socioecological framework using multi-level determinants including individual, family/household, community, built environment, and healthcare factors. Studies for this initiative may include multi-disciplinary translational, behavioral, or epidemiological, or health services projects. In addition, projects can involve primary and/or secondary data collection and analysis. Because the goal of this initiative is to better understand the mechanisms of documented sleep disparities, studies whose sole purpose is to assess the incidence/prevalence of sleep deficiencies in specific populations or subpopulations are not targeted for support under this FOA.

Projects should include a focus on one or more NIH-designated health disparity populations (HD populations) in the United States, which include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, sexual and gender minorities and underserved rural populations. 

Projects are encouraged to involve collaborations among relevant stakeholders in U.S. health disparity population groups, such as researchers, community organizations, clinicians, public health organizations, consumer advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations.  As appropriate for the research questions posed, inclusion of key community members in the conceptualization, planning and implementation of the research is encouraged (but not required) to generate better-informed hypotheses and enhance the translation of the research results into practice.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

Research topics of specific interest include but are not limited to:    

  • Understanding how multiple determinants (i.e., social, environmental, biological/genetic, psychosocial, economic, and health care) contribute to sleep disparities in health disparity (HD) populations.
  • Investigating how multi-levels, e.g., individual, family/household, community, built environment contribute to disparities in sleep deficiencies.
  • Understanding the impact of sleep deficiencies across the life-course in HD populations, including whether sleep deficiencies during sensitive developmental periods impact susceptibility in later stages as well as modifiability over the life-course.
  • Investigating how sleep deficiencies influence risk of chronic disease prevalence, morbidity and mortality in HD populations.
  •   Understanding of how sleep attitudes, behaviors, and practices among HD populations, including self-management strategies contribute to sleep deficiencies.
  • Investigating the mechanisms through which sociocultural and environmental determinants of health contribute to disparities in circadian rhythm disruption. The differences in underlying circadian physiology and how these circadian disruptions directly affect various health outcomes in health disparity populations.
  • Understanding whether and how discrimination reported by HD population contributes to sleep disparities, as well as mechanisms on how this influences biological systems and pathogenesis that leads to health disparities.
  • Investigating the role of protective and resilience factors among HD populations for healthy sleep.
  • Examination of identification, diagnosis, and treatment/management of sleep deficiencies among health disparity populations by clinicians and other healthcare professionals and whether these contribute to disparities in sleep deficiencies.
  • Investigating patient, clinician, and system/policy-level factors that predict receipt and treatment outcomes among HD populations for sleep deficiencies.

In addition, different Institutes and Centers at NIH are interested to support research in the following specific areas:

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is particularly interested in:

  • Understanding the mechanisms underlying how sleep deficiency or sleep disruption among minority and health disparity cancer populations may contribute to the disparity of cancer therapeutic outcomes such as progression-free survival, or overall survival through effect on therapeutic efficacy and quality of life during cancer treatment.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is particularly interested in:

  • Research that illuminates the pathways by which social, psychological, economic, and behavioral factors affect sleep disparities—and health disparities more broadly—in middle-aged and older adults.
  • Behavioral and social research on the impacts of later life transitions (which can include, but are not limited to: retirement, bereavement, divorce, re-partnering, caregiving, children exiting/reentering the home, residential change) on changes in sleep among health disparity populations.
  • Research aimed at understanding and modifying organizational or individual behaviors that contribute to sleep disparities, including organizational and individual interventions in workplaces, health care and residential contexts.
  • Development of assessments of sleep quality and quantity suitable for use in population-based surveys of diverse groups of older adults and for interrogating age differences in aspects of sleep among health disparity populations.
  • Research aimed to understand how neurobiological and/or genetic factors contribute to sleep disparities in older adults from health disparities populations.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is particularly interested in:

Alcohol has a profound influence on sleep patterns. Alcohol consumption and effects vary among various racial and ethnic minorities. Clearly more research is needed to explore links between alcohol consumption and sleep deficiencies resulting in health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.

Some research topics include but are not limited to:

  • Determination of the contributions of the effects of alcohol on sleep quality in minority populations.
  • Understanding the mechanisms of alcohol-related sleep disorders in minority populations.
  • Investigations on the mechanisms of persistent sleep problems in abstinence from alcohol use.
  • Understanding the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on development of sleep patterns in minority populations.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is particularly interested in research to:

  • Better understand how sleep deficiencies among minority and health disparity populations may contribute to disparities in chronic pain conditions and/or the transition from acute to chronic pain.

NCCIH will not fund research proposing efficacy or effectiveness clinical trials with this funding opportunity, regardless of how well they score. Investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss their research plans with NCCIH Scientific/Research staff prior to submitting their application.

The Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) is particularly interested in research to:

Address women’s health and/or sex and gender influences on sleep disparities or comparison of female and male populations or subjects on the proposed measures or outcome from health disparity populations.

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

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New
Resubmission
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.

Award Budget

The combined budget for direct costs for the two-year project period may not exceed $275,000. No more than $200,000 may be requested in any single year.

Award Project Period

 The total project period may not exceed 2 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:

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • 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:

Dr. Rina Das
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD
Telephone: 301-496-3996
Fax: 301-480-4049
Email: dasr2@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy. Describe how the project will contribute to the understanding of etiologic factors and mechanisms that explain sleep disparities or how that influences minority health and health disparities. 

Describe how the project uses a multidisciplinary approach, including integration of the disciplines and expertise of the research team as a whole, to understand the complex factors that underlie sleep disparities.

If there are foreign component(s), describe how the proposed activities at foreign sites will improve minority health and/or help to reduce or eliminate health disparities in the United States.

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 R21 exploratory/developmental grant supports investigation of novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential for significant impact on biomedical or biobehavioral research. An R21 grant application need not have extensive background material or preliminary information. Accordingly, reviewers will focus their evaluation on the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required for R21 applications; however, they may be included if available.

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?

In addition, specific to the FOA, to what extent can the project contribute on the understanding of the etiology and/or mechanisms that influence sleep deficiencies and its health consequences in health disparities populations?

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? 

In addition, specific to the FOA, does the composition of the research team have appropriate breadth and inclusiveness of expertise and disciplines (such as for social science, or public health or health disparities or sleep research expertise)?   

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? 

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?

In addition, specific to the FOA, to what extent does the project integrate relevant strategies and approaches from various disciplines in a meaningful and appropriate way for sleep research on minority health and/or health disparities?

If there are foreign component(s), has the applicant stated how the proposed activities at foreign sites will improve minority health and/or help to reduce or eliminate health disparities in the United States? 

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.

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

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

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

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

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: 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: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Harold Gordon
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301.443.6504
Email: hgordon1@nida.nih.gov

Rina Das, Ph.D.
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Telephone: 301-496-3996
Email: dasr2@mail.nih.gov

Nancy L. Jones, Ph.D.
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Telephone: 301-594-8945
Email: jonesna@mai.nih.gov

Dan Xi, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone:240-276-6143
Email: xida@mail.nih.gov

Miroslaw (Mack) Mackiewicz, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-496-9350
E-mail: mackiewiczm2@mail.nih.gov

Soundar Regunathan, Ph.D.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health (NIAAA)
Telephone: 301-443-1192
Email: soundar.regunathan@nih.gov

Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D., FACSM
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-594-9346
Email: lanay.mudd@nih.gov

Irwin Feuerstein, MD, MBA, MSHCA
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)
Telephone: 301-451-2730
Email: irwin.feuerstein@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Maribeth Champoux, PhD
Center for Scientific Review
Telephone: 301-594-3163
Email: champoum@csr.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ericka Wells
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)  
Telephone: 301.827.6705
Email:  wellse2@nida.nih.gov

Priscilla Grant, JD
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Telephone: 301-594-8412
Email: pg38h@nih.gov

Shane Woodward
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 301-846-1017
Email: woodwars@mail.nih.gov

Kaye Mills
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-827-4886 
Email: kaye.miles@mail.nih.gov

Judy Fox
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Telephone: 301-443-4704
Email: jfox@mail.nih.gov

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

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.

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