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 Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Mechanisms of Alcohol Tolerance (R21/R33 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-18-659

Companion Funding Opportunity

PA-18-660, R01 Research Project Grant

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

93.273

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) focuses on sensitivity and tolerance mechanisms underlying the development of alcohol use disorders. The intent of this FOA is to: (1) develop hypotheses about cellular, molecular or network mechanisms that regulate sensitivity and tolerance to alcohol, and (2) develop quantitative models to predict the development of tolerance and the progression to alcohol dependence. These objectives will be accomplished with a Phased Innovation (R21/R33) mechanism, in which secondary data analysis or pilot studies can occur during the R21 phase, and research testing the hypotheses can be expanded in the R33 phase. The transition to the R33 phase will be determined by NIAAA program staff after evaluation of the achievement of specific milestones set for the R21 phase. Applicants interested in the genetic basis of tolerance may consider FOA (PA-18-660).

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

February 15, 2018

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

May 16, 2018

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

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

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

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

May 8, 2021

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. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.
  4. Table of Contents

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

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


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

    Background

    While many Americans imbibe in alcoholic beverages, for some, drinking becomes problematic, potentially leading to an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The response to the initial alcohol experiences, sometimes known as sensitivity, may predict AUD later in life. Low sensitivity is associated with high probability of developing an AUD. Following initial exposure, responses to alcohol change with subsequent drinking. Alcohol tolerance is a complex phenomenon in which increased alcohol intake is required to achieve a given effect, e.g., the feeling of intoxication, and is a defining feature of AUD. Stated in another way, tolerance decreases the effect of a defined alcohol dose. Alcohol sensitivity and tolerance vary in the population, yet, research on underlying mechanisms is sparse and findings are disparate. Experimental subjects vary in age, sex, previous alcohol exposure, drinking context and genetics. Response variables are often subjective, while objective measures are not comparable between studies of the same species or cross-species. The goal of this FOA is to build a framework for the systematic analysis of the factors that contribute to alcohol sensitivity and tolerance and the mechanisms that regulate tolerance and transition to alcohol dependence.

    In contrast to the scarcity of studies directly addressing mechanisms of tolerance, there is an abundance of behavioral and physiological data from subjects with AUD or alcohol dependence, and thus alcohol tolerance. Clinical studies include retrospective data regarding the need to increase the number of drinks over time for the same effect. In animal models, responses to alcohol exposure paradigms (e.g., including changes in blood alcohol concentrations, and changes in behavioral and physiological measurements with subsequent alcohol intake), may vary within a cohort, representing differences in sensitivity and tolerance. The clinical studies and reports of animal models of drinking behavior usually focus on the withdrawal, relapse and re-instatement phases of AUD, but the same models and data can inform tolerance and progression to dependence.

    The physiological nature of tolerance has been classified as either metabolic or functional. Metabolic tolerance describes changes in efficiency or capacity to metabolize ethanol resulting in a decrease in the blood alcohol concentration following a given dose of alcohol. Functional tolerance refers to lessened response to alcohol independent of the rate of metabolism of alcohol. Little is known about the interplay between metabolic and functional tolerance, as many of the molecules that metabolize alcohol in the liver are expressed in the nervous system.

    Functional tolerance is further defined based upon the duration of alcohol exposure.

    • Acute tolerance develops during a single exposure to alcohol. Acute tolerance is also called within session tolerance, which is historically known as the Mellanby effect.  Responses are measured minutes after alcohol administration and throughout the session.
    • Rapid functional tolerance, or intersessional tolerance, refers to the lessened response following a second or third exposure to alcohol at a time after the complete metabolism of an initial dose of alcohol, often within 24- 36 hours.
    • Chronic tolerance develops after repeated episodes of alcohol intake and/or chronic exposure to alcohol over days or weeks.

    Different time frames for the forms of tolerance suggest separate underlying mechanisms. Tolerance diminishes after periods of abstinence, and thus, an individual may experience multiple episodes of tolerance. The dependence of the alcohol responses on previous periods of alcohol exposure, context(s), and abstinence has not been systematically studied under the framework of tolerance, nor have relationships between acute, rapid or chronic tolerance been well studied. It is unknown whether the common mechanisms mediate multiple forms of tolerance.

    Sensitivity and tolerance are assessed by multiple methods. For human subjects, measurements include self-reported number of drinks to achieve intoxication, cortisol levels, or electrophysiological changes. Brain imaging studies have combined blood (or breath) alcohol concentration with self-reported assessment of intoxication, performance on cognitive and memory tasks with blood oxygen level-dependent response and functional connectivity measures. Recent studies of tolerance measured drinking and blood alcohol concentrations in complex motor and cognitive tasks, such as driving simulators. Animals studies focus on motor and physiological responses such as loss of righting reflex and hypothermia, but there are few reports of effects on cognition or learning and memory function.

    The development of tolerance requires a compensatory response. For example, to overcome the alcohol induced hypothermia, the animal increases body temperature. Behavioral tolerance describes tolerance in response to specific cues. Thus, an individual or research subject may exhibit tolerance to alcohol in one context (i.e. bar), but not in another (i.e. workplace). The repeated pairing of the situational cues with alcohol represents Pavlovian conditioning. With behavioral tolerance, the cues alone can elicit the compensatory response, such as the increase in body temperature, and the tolerance can be extinguished after repeated presentation of cues in absence of alcohol. Behavioral tolerance contributes to the dependence, withdrawal and abstinence phases of AUD.

    Alcohol responses and tolerance capacity widely vary among humans and are influenced by multiple factors, including genetics, sex, behavioral context, and age. A spectrum of responses is observed, yet the underlying mechanisms for individual variability are not known. By contrast, individual heterogeneities are rarely reported in animal studies, in part because animal experiments are often designed to minimize variance among subjects. Yet inherent variations within subjects is present in animal and human subjects. Hence drinking patterns of individual subjects within a cohort are not reported, but rather the average and variance. However, the blood alcohol concentration is often measured and correlated with alcohol intake on an individual basis, providing an indication of variability within the study population. Similarly, self-report surveys highlight drinking patterns (or maximum number of drinks per day) and analyze individual perception of intoxication but often are not accompanied by objective measurements of functional outcomes or genetic variation. In summary, individual differences in the research subjects and the measurements of response and tolerance have been overlooked, and the translation and interpretation of the results between human and animal studies do not converge into common mechanisms and neural circuits.

    Specific Areas of Research Interest

    This FOA encourages studies that identify the mechanisms of sensitivity and tolerance in AUD in relation to other variables (e. g. sex, behavioral context, age) through an R21/R33 mechanism. The R21 phase is the first two (2) years of the application, while the R33 spans the following three (3) years.

    There is little convergence of published parameters, drinking models and patterns, and assessment paradigms. The R21 phase supports re-analysis of data from human and animal experimental paradigms leading to dependence and AUD, with the goal of developing new hypotheses and common experimental framework(s) to characterize the sensitivity and tolerance (including individual variations). For example, animal studies of dependence started with naïve animals that were administered increasing amounts of alcohol exposure and likely developed tolerance. While tolerance may not have been the goal of the previous research, measurements of blood alcohol concentrations, in addition to the behavioral or physiological measurements, may provide insight into the mechanisms of tolerance. Re-analysis of these data and new pilot studies, through the lens of understanding sensitivity and tolerance, have the potential to provide preliminary data to develop and test new hypotheses about the roles of sensitivity and tolerance in AUDs in the R33 phase. Animal studies that specifically test the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of human genetic candidates that regulate sensitivity and tolerance are encouraged. Study topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Studies that determine the effects of sex, age, environmental context, metabolites, and dose on the response (sensitivity) to alcohol

    Studies that define common parameters leading to the acquisition of chronic tolerance, including factors that define response heterogeneity (genetics, epigenetic modifications, biomarkers (including metabolites), age, sex)

    Studies that define overall exposure regimen (i.e. oral, intravenous, low dose, voluntary choice, binge drinking, self-administration, and periods of abstinence) and the effects of prediction and control (learning mechanisms) in alcohol tolerance, persistence, and extinction

    Development and testing of quantitative models describing the relationship between sensitivity and tolerance, defining relationships between acute, rapid and chronic tolerance, and identify common and distinct mechanisms of sensitivity and forms of tolerance

    Examination of behavioral responses and neural circuitry following repeated periods of tolerance and abstinence and relationship to dependence and relapse

    Studies of adaptation of neural circuits of behavioral, emotional and cognitive measures during acquisition and loss of tolerance, including molecular and cellular changes. Adaptations leading to the allostatic static within a neural circuit or across neural circuits due to tolerance is of high programmatic priority

    Interactions of neural circuitry of the physiological responses (cortisol and temperature changes) of tolerance and the neural circuitry of alcohol dependence and relapse, including methods of electrophysiology, fMRI, whole animal imaging

    Studies that utilize state-of-the-art multi-omics approaches in humans and animal models to identify and validate molecular signaling, cellular and extracellular interactions, and epigenetic mechanisms, underlying sensitivity and tolerance to alcohol

    Studies that examine the interactions of metabolic and functional forms of tolerance, with special consideration to molecules involved in alcohol metabolism that are expressed in the brain

    Milestones

    Studies are encouraged to use existing data from one or more Program Directors/Principal Investigators to develop hypotheses of the roles of sensitivity and tolerance in AUD. Projects should include the following:

    Clear milestones for the R21 phase and related scientific goals for the R33 phase

    Identification of previous studies and data that will be used to generate or support hypotheses about sensitivity or tolerance. The heterogeneity of previous samples (i.e. subjects that did not meet criterion for dependence or relapse) should be considered

    Development of hypotheses of cellular and molecular mechanisms, signal transduction pathways, or network models for chronic tolerance

    The objectives for the R33 phase should be based on the findings from the R21 phase. Examples of the goals for the R33 phase include, but are not limited to:

    Generation of a quantitative model that predicts the influence of sensitivity or tolerance on the development of dependence

    Identification of the neurobiological mechanisms of sensitivity and tolerance

    Identification of points of prevention or intervention of alcohol abuse or dependence, based on the sensitivity or tolerance criteria or mechanisms of acquisition of tolerance

    Identification of the molecular genetic bases for the individual differences in sensitivity and tolerance

    Studies of pharmacological targets or drug candidates for prevention of alcohol abuse or dependence based on mechanisms of tolerance

    Notes on priorities

    Applications of cross-tolerance effects of alcohol with other drugs of abuse or multiple substances are not appropriate for this FOA. Studies that include a focus on environmental moderators of sensitivity or tolerance (e.g. fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, teratogens, or adverse childhood experiences) will not be considered appropriate to this FOA. This FOA will not support the generation of new rodent lines through selective breeding strategies for desired traits. The use of standardized models and transgenic animals is preferred. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the Scientific/Research Contact listed below to discuss the alignment of their proposed work with the objectives of this FOA.

    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.

    Clinical Trial?

    Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials)

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

    Award Budget

    For the R21 phase, the combined budget for direct costs during the two-year project period may not exceed $275,000 with no more than $200,000 requested in a single year. For the R33 phase, the direct costs should not exceed $500,000 per year.

    Award Project Period

    The project period is limited to 2 years for the R21 phase and up to 3 years for the R33 phase. The total project period may not exceed 5 years.

    NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made from 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
    • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)
    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are   eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are   eligible to apply.
    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are   allowed.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

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

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

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

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

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

    Page Limitations

    All page limitations described in the SF424 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 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: 

    Specific Aims: Applicants must provide a single attachment of Specific Aims to include both the R21 and R33 phases.

    Research Strategy: In preparing the R21/R33 application, investigators should consider that the application will be assigned a single overall impact score. Thus, clarity and completeness of the application with regard to specific goals and the feasibility of each phase and the Milestones are critical. The Research Strategy should contain separate sections for both the R21 and R33 phases. It is not necessary to repeat information or details in the R33 section that are described in the R21 section.

    Milestones and R21/R33 Transition

    Applicants must propose a well-defined set of measurable milestones to achieve by the end of the R21 phase (R21), as well as milestones for the R33 phase. Examples of milestones for the R21 phase include, but are not limited to:

    Analyses of previously acquired data from human and animal studies of alcohol (ab)use or dependence to identify (1) relationships of sensitivity or tolerance with future alcohol (ab)use, or (2) mechanisms of sensitivity or tolerance

    Additional data acquisition or analysis from current studies to address roles of sensitivity and tolerance

    Identification of common parameters of sensitivity or tolerance between human subjects and animal studies.

    The objectives for the R33 phase should be based on the findings from the R21 phase. Examples of the goals for the R33 phase include, but are not limited to:

    Generation of a quantitative model that predicts the influence of sensitivity or tolerance on the development of dependence

    Identification of the neurobiological mechanisms of sensitivity and tolerance

    Identification of points of prevention or intervention of alcohol abuse or dependence, based on the sensitivity or tolerance criteria or mechanisms of acquisition of tolerance

    Identification of the molecular genetic bases for the individual differences in sensitivity and tolerance

    Studies of pharmacological targets or drug candidates for prevention of alcohol abuse or dependence based on mechanisms of tolerance

    Milestones should be specific, quantifiable, and scientifically justified; they should not be simply a restatement of the specific aims. Transition to the R33 phase is contingent upon programmatic review that will include, but is not limited to, satisfactory demonstration that the R21 milestones have been achieved. Transition to the R33 phase is not guaranteed for all grants awarded under this FOA.

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

    Appendix:

    Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

    Use only for applications with due dates on or after January 25, 2018. When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials (and when applicable, clinical trials research experience) follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form

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

    Foreign Institutions

    Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions.

    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. Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions 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.

    For this particular announcement, note the following

    The R21/R33 phased innovation grant supports investigation of novel scientific ideas or new interventions, model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential for significant impact on biomedical or behavioral and social sciences research. An R21/R33 grant application need not have preliminary data, extensive background material or preliminary information; however, they may be included if available. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data.  Accordingly, reviewers will emphasize the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding.  Reviewers will assign a single impact score for the entire application, which includes both the R21 and R33 phases.

     
    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?  

    Investigator(s)

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

    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?  

    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.

     Milestones

    Are the R21 milestones clearly defined? Are the milestones feasible, well-developed, and objectively measurable with regard to specific goals and accomplishments? Are adequate criteria provided for the R21 phase that can be utilized to determine milestone completion before proceeding to the next phase of the project? Is it clear how the R33 phase of the study will develop and expand once the R21 milestones are achieved?  

    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

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

    Select Agent Research

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

    Resource Sharing Plans

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

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

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

    Budget and Period of Support

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 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 Councilon Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 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 RPPR, 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)

    Elizabeth M Powell, PhD
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    Telephone: 301-443-0786
    Email: elizabeth.powell3@nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Ranga Srinivas, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    Telephone: 301-451-2067
    Email: srinivar@mail.nih.gov.

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

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