Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Funding Opportunity Title
Getting To Zero: Understanding HIV Viral Suppression and Transmission in the United States (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
Activity Code
R01 Research Project Grant
Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-18-411

Related Notices
  • December 5, 2019 - Notice of NIDA Participation in PAR-20-036. See Notice NOT-DA-20-016.
  • November 6, 2019 - Notice of NICHD Participation in PAR-20-036. See Notice NOT-HD-19-040.

July 26, 2019- Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-128

August 23, 2019- Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
PAR-20-036
Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.855; 93.242; 93.865, 93.279

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support grants to improve understanding of viral suppression and HIV transmission in the United States (U.S.) using population-level epidemiology, novel tools from data science approaches and m/eHealth, and implementation science research. Data generated through this research will be used to inform and evaluate context-specific HIV control strategies towards the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S.

Key Dates

Posted Date

October 23, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
December 07, 2019
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

Only accepting applications for the AIDS Application Due Dates listed below.

 

 

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Standard AIDS dates apply.

All applications are due 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 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.

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date
September 08, 2022
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in 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 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 2. Full Text of Announcement

    Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose

    The purpose of this FOA is to address gaps in our understanding of HIV viral suppression and transmission in the U.S. and to inform novel strategies for tracking infections and linking individuals to testing, treatment, and prevention services. Research is sought that will leverage extensive data and resources available to public health researchers to develop and test new methods for tracking infections, implementing testing and treatment, and linking individuals to care. Ultimately this research should devise effective strategies for sustained HIV suppression and to halt HIV transmission in the U.S. Research utilizing m/eHealth, real-time epidemiologic databases, data science, or similar novel technologies and computational approaches to bring together existing and emerging data in ways that provide new insights into the dynamics of the epidemic are especially encouraged. Investigators may extend findings to conduct implementation science evaluations of these strategies within these applications.

    Background

    All steps along the testing, linking, and treating care continuum are vital to achieve durable viral suppression and prevent new HIV transmission. While initial progress to control the U.S. epidemic has been substantial, continued progress on the U.S. HIV elimination goals will require novel approaches to achieve and sustain suppression. Gaps occur at all stages of the treatment continuum and these gaps result in a failure to suppress the virus and the risk of onward transmission. 2014 data from CDC show that testing rates overall are at 85% for U.S. persons living with HIV but testing rates for young adults are poor with only 56% of those infected knowing their HIV status. Currently, U.S. rates of first linkage to care, as reported to the CDC by 32 states and D.C. (2015) vary from 48% to 86.7% among individuals aged 13 and older. In addition, retention in care after initial linkage is poor, between 36.7% and 49%. Furthermore, differences in HIV suppression exist when data are stratified by geography, urban status, gender, or race/ethnicity. Each subgroup faces unique challenges to achieve and maintain HIV viral suppression.

    In January 2019 the “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” (EHE) initiative was announced. This plan targets HIV efforts on the 48 highest burden counties, the District of Columbia, San Juan (PR) and the seven states with the highest rural HIV burden (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina). Four pillars or strategic areas have been identified:

    • Diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible
    • Treat the infection rapidly and effectively to achieve sustained viral suppression
    • Prevent new HIV transmissions by using proven interventions, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and syringe services programs (SSPs)
    • Respond quickly to potential HIV outbreaks to get needed prevention and treatment services to people who need them.

    A variety of strategies can be used to address gaps in our understanding of HIV viral suppression and transmission and contribute to the EHE efforts. Substantial data resources exist in the U.S. to understand how to optimize HIV control programs and to design interventions that will benefit those at risk of HIV infection or with poor viral control. Rapid advances in technology have increased data storage capacity and the liquidity of data. Harnessing data from mHealth allows the use of mobile phones or other wireless technologies in medical care and personal assistive applications and can be used to spread prevention messages, conduct disease surveillance and management, and track epidemics. Similarly, eHealth, referring to electronic medical records in care and research, is expanding our ability to measure health outcomes in HIV. These data sources are characterized by high volume and variation, and research is needed to apply emerging data science approaches to capture, manage, organize, harmonize and analyze data to extract useful information for public health use.

    Focused epidemiology is needed to elucidate the correlates and predictors of successful viral suppression and prevention and develop empirical public health approaches to achieve “getting to zero.” Data are currently insufficient in some areas of the country to fully describe the epidemiologic patterns. Current surveillance systems are not optimized for real-time responses, resulting in delays in response to outbreaks. Outbreaks of HIV can be explosive as in Scott County, Indiana (2011-2015) and Lowell, Massachusetts (2014-2018), highlighting the need for timely data. The advent of treat-all strategies increases in the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), changes in health care access, fluctuations in substance abuse and access to clean needles all impact transmission risk. Methods that can measure the impact of these prevention efforts on transmission rates much closer to real-time can appropriately guide public health responses and improve the ultimate outcome.

    Finally, implementation science can be used to translate research knowledge into practice. Implementation Science is defined as the study of methods and strategies to promote the uptake of effective interventions or research findings into routine healthcare. Different public health strategies may be required to attain HIV viral suppression in different racial and ethnic groups, in different age strata and in different geographic areas of the U.S. Identifying the potential gaps and barriers to implementing proven-effective interventions in these groups will be crucial in ending the HIV epidemic.

    Research Objectives and Areas of Interest

    This initiative is intended to support the application of data-based epidemiology and analyses to the complex factors impacting HIV viral transmission, suppression, and retention in care. Research should be focused on the U.S. epidemic with the intent to deepen understanding of the broader context of viral suppression. Applicants to this initiative should propose approaches to increase the precision and timeliness of measures along the treatment cascade and to determine critical components of rapid and sustained viral suppression at the individual and population level. These findings could then be tested, using implementation science methodology, to determine the effectiveness of new approaches to achieve more rapid and durable viral suppression. If proposed, implementation science approaches should be in partnership with HIV care implementers in the public or private sector. Research may be proposed which combines data from clinical care, laboratory measures, clinical trials, observational research, human behavior surveys, viral phylodynamics, bioinformatics, sexual networks, transmission clusters, geospatial mapping, and the larger human and environmental digital footprint to improve the understanding of viral transmission and suppression. Applicants may propose innovative crowd source approaches to generate new shared data resources based on electronic individual-level data which can be triangulated with other data sources to validate inferences from big data methods. Proposed research may include:

    • Improved accuracy and speed to describe the epidemiology of HIV transmission or care indicators (testing, transmission networks, linkage to care, engagement, and suppression of viral load) at jurisdictional or national population levels
    • Data-driven epidemiology to evaluate HIV care in a timely manner and stratified by sub-populations, such as by gender, transmission risk, race, age, or geographic region
    • Data-based epidemiology approaches to understand long-term viral suppression and the correlates and predictors of success
    • Research to uncover novel correlates and predictors of initial and sustained HIV viral suppression capitalizing on a rich understanding of the contextual factors impacting suppression: For example, what proportion of new cases have experienced a change in housing such as unstable housing, recently aged out of foster care or had a recent incarceration? How does stigma impact access to care and success in preventing or treating HIV? What components of syringe substitution programs (SSP)s are most successful for promoting testing and referral to HIV care?
    • Implementation science research that combines knowledge derived from epidemiology, data science and or modeling with on-the-ground experiences to improve viral suppression. Such research could focus on testing approaches to identify and diagnose hard-to-reach populations, strategies to improve service delivery, or strategies targeting barriers to service delivery and stigma. Partnerships with care implementers and community are key elements of these studies.

    Data generated by this project are expected to adhere to the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles and to be shared in accordance with NIH’s policies.

    Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research

    NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) encourage the use of common data elements (CDEs) in basic, clinical, and applied research, patient registries, and other human subject research to facilitate broader and more effective use of data and advance research across studies. CDEs are data elements that have been identified and defined for use in multiple data sets across different studies. Use of CDEs can facilitate data sharing and standardization to improve data quality and enable data integration from multiple studies and sources, including electronic health records. NIH ICs have identified CDEs for many clinical domains (e.g., neurological disease), types of studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies (GWAS)), types of outcomes (e.g., patient-reported outcomes), and patient registries (e.g., the Global Rare Diseases Patient Registry and Data Repository). NIH has established a “Common Data Element (CDE) Resource Portal" to assist investigators in identifying NIH-supported CDEs when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection. The Portal provides guidance about and access to NIH-supported CDE initiatives and other tools and resources for the appropriate use of CDEs and data standards in NIH-funded research. Investigators are encouraged to consult the Portal and describe in their applications any use they will make of NIH-supported CDEs in their projects.

    Applications proposing projects in the following areas below will NOT be supported through this FOA:

    • Projects using data sources from outside the United States.
    • Establishment of new cohorts.
    • Clinical trials that are not implementation science including trials of new products or medical devices that would require an IND.
    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. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.

    Clinical Trial?
    Optional: Accepting applications that either propose or do not propose clinical trial(s)

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

    The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 years.

    NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made 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:

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

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

    • State Governments
    • County Governments
    • City or Township Governments
    • Special District Governments
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
    • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
    • U.S. Territory or Possession
    Other
    • Independent School Districts
    • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
    • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
    • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
    • Regional Organizations
    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed. 

    Required Registrations

    Applicant organizations

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

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM) – 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.
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration , but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. 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

     

    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

    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.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in 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.
    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.

     

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

    R&R Subaward Budget
    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement
    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
    PHS 398 Research Plan
    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

    Research Strategy:

    Applicants must describe their plans for sharing data, including metadata, protocols, manuals of procedures, algorithms for calculated data elements, and other documentation that describes the study and resultant data.

    Applicants must describe how their procedures for data collection, curation and deposit will be sufficiently flexible to comply with rapidly changing expectations in this field.

    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:

    • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.
    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
    When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined 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

    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.

    PHS Assignment Request Form
    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

    3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov

    4. Submission Dates and Times

    Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday , the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

    Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

    Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

    Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

    All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement .

    Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

    Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

    Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

    For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit 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.

    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.

     

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

    Post Submission Materials
    Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy. 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.  Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

    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.

    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.

     

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: How well does the project address one or more of stated EHE pillars  ?

    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, 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?

    Specific to this FOA : If an implementation science trial is proposed, are HIV care implementers such as persons from health departments or relevant NGOs included in the investigative team?

     

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: Has the applicant described their plans for sharing data, including metadata, protocols, manuals of procedures, algorithms for calculated data elements, and other documentation that describes the study and resultant data  ? Are the procedures for data collection, curation and deposit sufficiently flexible to comply with rapidly changing expectations in this field?

    In addition, for applications involving clinical trials

    Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable

    Study Design

    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?

    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?

     

    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?

    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.

    Study Timeline

    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.

     

    Not Applicable

     

    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.

     

    Not Applicable

     

    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.

    2. Review and Selection Process

    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:
    • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
    • Will receive a written critique.
    Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
    • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
    • Availability of funds.
    • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.

    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

    Section VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

    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).

    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.

    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.

    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, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and 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)

    General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
    Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-945-7573

    Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
    Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
    Email: support@grants.gov

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

    Robin E. Huebner, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone 240-627-3216
    Email: rhuebner@niaid.nih.gov

    Pim Brouwers, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Telephone: 240-627-3863
    Email: ebrouwer@mail.nih.gov

    Bill G. Kapogiannis, MD
    Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    Telephone: 301-402-0698
    Email: kapogiannisb@mail.nih.gov

    Richard A. Jenkins, Ph.D.
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    Telephone: 301-443-1923
    Email: jenkinsri@mail.nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    John Pugh, Ph.D.
    Center for Scientific Review
    Telephone: 301-442-1059
    Email: pughjohn@mail.nih.gov

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Ann Devine
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 240-669-2988
    Email: adeine@niaid.nih.gov

    Rita Sisco
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Telephone: 301-443-2805
    Email: siscor@mail.nih.gov

    Bryan S. Clark, MBA
    Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    Telephone: 301-435-6975
    Email: clark1@mail.nih.gov

    Pam Fleming
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    Telephone: 301-480-1159
    Email: pfleming@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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