Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Reissue of PAR-18-650.
October 28, 2021 - Reminder: FORMS-G Grant Application Forms & Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2022 - New Grant Application Instructions Now Available. See Notice NOT-OD-22-018.
September 13, 2021 - Updates to the Non-Discrimination Legal Requirements for NIH Recipients. See Notice NOT-OD-21-181.
August 5, 2021 - New NIH "FORMS-G" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2022. See Notice NOT-OD-21-169.
August 5, 2021 - Update: Notification of Upcoming Change in Federal-wide Unique Entity Identifier Requirements. See Notice NOT-OD-21-170
April 20, 2021 - Expanding Requirement for eRA Commons IDs to All Senior/Key Personnel. See Notice NOT-OD-21-109
March 10, 2020 - Reminder: FORMS-F Grant Application Forms & Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After May 25, 2020- New Grant Application Instructions Now Available. See Notice NOT-OD-20-077.NOT-OD-19-128 - Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research
NOT-OD-19-137 - Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites grant applications for research to examine 1) the impact of Human-Animal Interactions (HAI) on typical and atypical child development and health; 2) the evaluation of animal-assisted intervention for children and adults with disabilities or in need of rehabilitative services; 3) the effects of animals on public health, including cost effectiveness of involving animals in reducing and preventing disease.
October 17, 2019
30 days prior to application due date
All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).
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.
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.
Nearly 75% of US households have pets. The decreasing size of families, with the reduction in the number of younger siblings, babies, and elderly from family homes, means that many children may be more likely to grow up with an animal than with a younger sibling or grandparent in the home. It has been documented in the literature that pets offer a source of emotional support to children, and studies suggest they may be helpful to prevent allergies, ease anxiety and encourage exercise. However, most of the studies focusing on how animals affect children's health, development and well-being are correlational and stop short of providing answers to key developmental questions and establishing causal relationships. Likewise, most studies conducted to date have not included diverse samples that would allow researchers to examine possible cultural, racial or ethnic differences in HAI.
A solid research base is needed focusing on information about how children perceive, relate to and think about animals and how pets in the home impact children's social-emotional and cognitive development. In addition, research is needed on the impact of pets in the home on children's health-related behaviors (e.g. dog walking and the mitigation of obesity). On a practical level, issues such as at what age and how parents select and introduce pets into their home has important implications for child health and safety, e.g. how best to prevent injury or disease from pets. There is a need for evidence-based advice for parents and child care professionals.
There also is a need for more research on Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs), including Animal-Assisted Therapies (AAT), which purposefully include an animal for therapeutic gains in humans across the lifespan. Studies of the inclusion of animals in therapeutic interventions and rehabilitation for individuals with intellectual, developmental, physical and mental health-related disabilities have become increasingly common (e.g., equine-assisted therapy), even though conclusive evidence for the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of AAIs has been limited. Likewise, the use of service animals by individuals with special needs (e.g., children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)) has grown in the absence of controlled studies documenting their safety and efficacy. Finally, popular media reports commonly feature stories on the use of animals in a variety of service settings (e.g., schools, hospitals, nursing homes) for a variety of HAI activities ranging from companion animal visitation programs to targeted therapeutic interventions by certified therapy animals and their handlers (e.g., therapy dog visits to child oncology inpatient units), but there are very few standardized data collection methods in place to systematically document these activities at a descriptive level much less provide information on reported positive and adverse outcomes.
NICHD engages in a Public-Private Partnership with the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, a Division of Mars, Inc., which has a shared interest in this area of research. This shared interest resulted in Mars donating funds to NICHD to enhance NICHD's ability to support research in this field. Waltham/Mars was not involved in developing this FOA nor in any decision, past or future, regarding funding for this area of NICHD support.
The objective of this program of research is to encourage interdisciplinary studies to determine the impact of HAI in and outside the home environment on child and adolescent health and development, as well as therapeutically across the lifespan, through observational studies, experiments and clinical trials. For the adult population, the objective of this FOA is to build the empirical evidence base around animal-assisted interventions for those with intellectual, developmental or physical disabilities and for those in need of therapeutic and/or rehabilitative services.
This FOA calls for research to examine 1) the impact of HAI on typical and atypical child development and health; 2) the evaluation of animal-assisted intervention for children and adults with disabilities or in need of rehabilitative services; 3) the effects of animals on public health, including cost effectiveness of involving animals in therapeutic interventions to treat or prevent disease. Both clinical trials and other clinical research can be submitted under this FOA.
Projects should be theoretically based and seek to answer questions that address key developmental, health and safety issues regarding the interactions with animals in home, institutional or therapeutic settings. Research to identify human and animal temperamental, biobehavioral, or genetic markers of suitable behavioral traits for HAI, including markers that are predictive of future success as service, therapy or companion animals, as well as markers that are amenable to change via HAI and how these markers are associated with positive impacts on child health and development, and therapeutic and rehabilitation intervention outcomes, as also encouraged.?
Physiologic measures (e.g. neuroendocrine, genetic, heart rate, neuroimaging), as well as direct or observational measures of behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and/or psychoeducational outcomes are encouraged.
Research is needed to better understand the nature of interactions between people and various types of companion and domesticated animals, as well as the contexts and conditions under which these interactions occur. Studies are encouraged which address why relationships with pets are more important to some children than to others and to explore the quality of child-pet relationships, noting variability of human-animal relationships within a family. The presence of pet may be a solace to a maltreated child. Research is needed on the effects of separation from pets resulting from natural or man-made disasters as well as family member illness or seeking shelter from abusive situations, as even a temporary separation from a pet can add to the traumatic effects of these circumstances. Developmental studies are needed which examine child-pet interactions and relationships as they change over time and within changing family dynamics. Community-level and social benefits of pets also should be considered, beyond the benefits of the individual pet owner.
There are several critical public health issues facing children today, such as childhood obesity or autism spectrum disorder, for which HAI may have direct impacts. It will be important to determine empirically which situations, under what conditions and for whom HAI can offer the greatest public health benefits and to examine the cost-effectiveness of such interactions or treatments. Both formal and informal situations, i.e. pet ownership and formal therapeutic interactions, should be studied for potential health impacts. In designing studies to address these questions it will be important to determine what outcome measures are needed to demonstrate a causal relationship between animal interaction and improved health. Cost-effectiveness analysis indicating potential societal benefits such as decreased hospitalizations or reduced length of stay in hospitals, lower risk of childhood obesity, or lower incidence of problem behaviors, should be included where possible.
The use of animals in interventions for children and adults with disabilities or for those in need of rehabilitation must be empirically studied. A clinical trial approach using experimental or quasi-experimental methods is desirable; both designs benefit from the use of rigorous qualitative and quantitative measures to fully examine intervention implementation and fidelity issues, whether the intervention is effective,why, and under what conditions. While randomized controlled trials are a gold standard, it is recognized that there may be times when such a design cannot be fully implemented. Where it can be used, it should, and where it cannot, the next most rigorous design should be used. Dose-response issues should be carefully targeted in research designs wherever possible.
Public health research through population studies is needed, including the development of survey instruments and/or adjunct studies taking advantage of ongoing large-scale studies where this is feasible given the length of the grant funding period. Collaborating with population-based studies aimed at studying health and development offers a cost-effective way of gathering important information about pets in the home and community and their impact on health and development for children, adults, and families. While this information can be useful and informative in cross-sectional population studies, it also is important to gain information longitudinally on the same subjects where possible, with attention given to collaborating with studies that have appropriately diverse samples.
Ethical considerations must be kept in mind as HAI research is designed and conducted. Protection for all participants (human and animal) should be in place for any research conducted on HAI. Gathering information ethically and responsibly from children who are particularly vulnerable and for whom parental consent may be difficult to obtain (e.g. foster care) is a challenge that must be carefully addressed. Animal welfare is important and must be considered at all times, especially when animals are working with children or adults whose diagnosis or disability is characterized by episodic uncontrolled emotional or behavioral outbursts that could intentionally or unintentionally place the animal at heightened risk for injury or trauma.
In the studies reporting health or therapeutic effects of HAI to date, few, if any, have examined the extent to which the relationship between pet ownership and health varies by race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status (SES). Minorities and members of low SES groups consistently exhibit higher rates of negative health behaviors, morbidity, and mortality. Investigators are encouraged to ensure that their studies have a sufficient number of minorities and variation in SES to bolster our knowledge regarding the role of pets across racial/ethnic and SES groups. These efforts will provide key information necessary for health promoting strategies and interventions that may ultimately inform policies.
The following are examples of questions that may be addressed in this FOA. This is not an exhaustive list; however in all such studies, the focus must be on the interaction between the human and animal, the influence or impact of that interaction on human development and/or health, or in therapeutic settings, the efficacy of HAI as an intervention or adjunct to intervention.
Descriptive survey and secondary analysis studies examining the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between HAI and child development and health.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Direct costs are limited to $275,000 over a two-year period, with no more than $200,000 in direct costs allowed in any single year.
The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is two years.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
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.
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.
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.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
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:
The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace 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.
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:
The letter of intent should be sent to:
Layla Esposito, PhD
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Research Strategy: Without duplicating information in the biosketches, describe how composition of the research team includes the necessary expertise and disciplines (such as developmental and clinical psychology, ethology and other behavioral sciences, social sciences, including economics, public health, animal behavior or veterinary medicine) to conduct the proposed Human-Animal Interaction research.
Describe how the project proposes to measure and analyze the specific interaction(s) between humans and animals when appropriate. For coding of HAIs, describe the availability of manuals for training and assessment of reliability.
For applications that include animals, describe plans to assess the welfare of the animals (e.g., stress, fatigue) and plans to address welfare concerns should they arise.
For research employing service, assistance and/or therapy animals, document the source, nature and date(s) of training and certification for the animals and the handlers.
For clinical trials, describe if the intervention is manualized and whether training, implementation and fidelity assessments are available.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.
The following modifications also apply:
NICHD Plans for Sharing Human and Non-Human Data and/or Biospecimens
NICHD expects that data, biospecimens, and results of NICHD-funded research will be shared with the wider scientific community to the extent feasible and in a timely manner. NIH Data Sharing Policy expects the timely release and sharing of data to be no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings from the final dataset. All NICHD applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, are expected to include a Sharing Plan that addresses sharing of data as well as biospecimens, if applicable. Ideally, this plan would include submitting data or biospecimens to an appropriate repository. These plans will also be considered by program staff as award decisions are being made as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program.
Specifically, for human data, the NICHD encourages the use of the Data and Specimen Hub (DASH), a centralized resource for researchers to store and access de-identified data from studies funded by NICHD. They can also submit information about the location and availability of biospecimens to DASH, if applicable. Submission of data to the NICHD DASH is one way that grantees may meet the requirements of the NIH Data Sharing Policy and make study data available for secondary analyses. Information about DASH may be obtained at https://dash.nichd.nih.gov/If use of DASH is not feasible, NICHD expects awardees to share data and/or biospecimens through other equivalent broad-sharing data and/or biospecimen repositories. For projects generating large-scale human genetic data, applicants should provide a Provisional or Institutional Certification specifying whether the individual-level data can be shared through an NIH approved repository, such as dbGaP, in line with the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-14-124.html).
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
Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
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
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.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
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.
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 How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
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.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.For this particular announcement, note the following:
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 emphasize 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.
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials:
A proposed Clinical Trial application may include study design, methods, and intervention that are not by themselves innovative but address important questions or unmet needs. Additionally, the results of the clinical trial may indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted or lead to new avenues of scientific investigation.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? 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, for applications involving clinical trials
Are the scientific rationale and need for a clinical trial to test the proposed hypothesis or intervention well supported by preliminary data, clinical and/or preclinical studies, or information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms? For trials focusing on clinical or public health endpoints, is this clinical trial necessary for testing the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of an intervention that could lead to a change in clinical practice, community behaviors or health care policy? For trials focusing on mechanistic, behavioral, physiological, biochemical, or other biomedical endpoints, is this trial needed to advance scientific understanding?
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?
In addition, specific to the FOA, does the composition of the research team have appropriate breadth and inclusiveness of expertise and disciplines (such as developmental and clinical psychology, ethology and other behavioral sciences, social sciences, including economics, public health, animal behavior or veterinary medicine) to conduct the proposed research?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
With regard to the proposed leadership for the project, do the PD/PI(s) and key personnel have the expertise, experience, and ability to organize, manage and implement the proposed clinical trial and meet milestones and timelines? Do they have appropriate expertise in study coordination, data management and statistics? For a multicenter trial, is the organizational structure appropriate and does the application identify a core of potential center investigators and staffing for a coordinating center?
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?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
Does the design/research plan include innovative elements, as appropriate, that enhance its sensitivity, potential for information or potential to advance scientific knowledge or clinical practice?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed 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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
In addition, specific to the FOA, does the application propose to measure and analyze the specific interaction(s) between the human and the animal when appropriate? For live coding and as well as coding from video of HAIs, are manuals available documenting the training for and assessment of initial and periodic checks of inter-rater reliability? For clinical trial applications, is the proposed intervention manualized and are training, implementation and fidelity assessment measures available?
Does the application consider the welfare of animals (e.g., stress, fatigue) included in the research? Are appropriate plans in place to address animal welfare concerns should they arise?
For research employing service, assistance and/or therapy animals, does the application document the source, nature and date(s) of training and certification for the animals and the handler?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable
Is the study design justified and appropriate to address primary and secondary outcome variable(s)/endpoints that will be clear, informative and relevant to the hypothesis being tested? Is the scientific rationale/premise of the study based on previously well-designed preclinical and/or clinical research? Given the methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions, is the study design adequately powered to answer the research question(s), test the proposed hypothesis/hypotheses, and provide interpretable results? Is the trial appropriately designed to conduct the research efficiently? Are the study populations (size, gender, age, demographic group), proposed intervention arms/dose, and duration of the trial, appropriate and well justified?
Are potential ethical issues adequately addressed? Is the process for obtaining informed consent or assent appropriate? Is the eligible population available? Are the plans for recruitment outreach, enrollment, retention, handling dropouts, missed visits, and losses to follow-up appropriate to ensure robust data collection? Are the planned recruitment timelines feasible and is the plan to monitor accrual adequate? Has the need for randomization (or not), masking (if appropriate), controls, and inclusion/exclusion criteria been addressed? Are differences addressed, if applicable, in the intervention effect due to sex/gender and race/ethnicity?
Are the plans to standardize, assure quality of, and monitor adherence to, the trial protocol and data collection or distribution guidelines appropriate? Is there a plan to obtain required study agent(s)? Does the application propose to use existing available resources, as applicable?
Data Management and Statistical Analysis
Are planned analyses and statistical approach appropriate for the proposed study design and methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions? Are the procedures for data management and quality control of data adequate at clinical site(s) or at center laboratories, as applicable? Have the methods for standardization of procedures for data management to assess the effect of the intervention and quality control been addressed? Is there a plan to complete data analysis within the proposed period of the award?
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?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
If proposed, are the administrative, data coordinating, enrollment and laboratory/testing centers, appropriate for the trial proposed?
Does the application adequately address the capability and ability to conduct the trial at the proposed site(s) or centers? Are the plans to add or drop enrollment centers, as needed, appropriate?
If international site(s) is/are proposed, does the application adequately address the complexity of executing the clinical trial?
If multi-sites/centers, is there evidence of the ability of the individual site or center to: (1) enroll the proposed numbers; (2) adhere to the protocol; (3) collect and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion; and, (4) operate within the proposed organizational structure?
Specific to applications involving clinical trials
Is the study timeline described in detail, taking into account start-up activities, the anticipated rate of enrollment, and planned follow-up assessment? Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified? Does the project incorporate efficiencies and utilize existing resources (e.g., CTSAs, practice-based research networks, electronic medical records, administrative database, or patient registries) to increase the efficiency of participant enrollment and data collection, as appropriate?
Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the 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 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.
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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by the 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:
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available 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.
Individual awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by, the NIH and are subject to the IC-specific terms and conditions identified in the NoA.
ClinicalTrials.gov: If an award provides for one or more clinical trials. By law (Title VIII, Section 801 of Public Law 110-85), the "responsible party" must register and submit results information for certain “applicable clinical trials” on the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration and Results System Information Website (https://register.clinicaltrials.gov). NIH expects registration and results reporting of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/reporting/index.htm
Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee institutions must ensure that all protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols. Data and Safety
Monitoring Requirements: The NIH policy for data and safety monitoring requires oversight and monitoring of all NIH-conducted or -supported human biomedical and behavioral intervention studies (clinical trials) to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. Further information concerning these requirements is found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/data_safety.htm and in the application instructions (SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398).
Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption Requirements: Consistent with federal regulations, clinical research projects involving the use of investigational therapeutics, vaccines, or other medical interventions (including licensed products and devices for a purpose other than that for which they were licensed) in humans under a research protocol must be performed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug (IND) or investigational device exemption (IDE).
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.
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.
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 https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.htmlhttps://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.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.
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.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Layla Esposito, PhD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Maribeth Champoux, Ph.D
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Bryan Clark, MBA
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
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