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 Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Funding Opportunity Title
Development and Application of PET and SPECT Imaging Ligands as Biomarkers for Drug Discovery and for Pathophysiological Studies of CNS Disorders (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code
R01 Research Project Grant
Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

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.

  • January 31, 2020 - Notice of Participation of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in PAR-20-037. See Notice NOT-AG-20-013.

  • 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-20-037
    Companion Funding Opportunity

    PAR-20-038, R01 Research Project Grant

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

    93.242, 93.273, 93.866

    Funding Opportunity Purpose

    This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites research grant applications that propose the preclinical development of novel radioligands for positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging in rodent and nonhuman primate brain and incorporation of pilot or clinical feasibility evaluation in pre-clinical studies and appropriate model development. Projects proposing clinical assessments of novel radioligands should respond to FOA PAR-20-038 .

    Key Dates

    Posted Date

    January 8, 2020

    Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
    January 08, 2020
    Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

    Not Applicable

    Application Due Date(s)

    Standard dates apply.

    The first standard application due date for this FOA is February 5, 2020

    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.

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

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

    The first AIDS application due date for this FOA is May 7, 2020.

    Scientific Merit Review
    Advisory Council Review
    Earliest Start Date
    Expiration Date
    January 08, 2023
    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

      This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages the submission of research grant applications for the development of PET and SPECT tracers for molecular targets (e.g., receptors, intracellular messengers, disease-related proteins) that are implicated in mental disorders and alcohol abuse as tools to study disease pathophysiology and/or for assessing target engagement of potential therapeutic candidates. The objective of this FOA is to stimulate research in the identification and development of PET and SPECT probes for disorders of primary interest to the NIMH or NIAAA.

      The use of radiotracers for imaging molecular events in preclinical and clinical studies is essential for understanding the circuitry that underlies normal brain function and the pathophysiology of brain disorders. The long-term goal of this FOA is to facilitate the broad application of neuroimaging probes that are fit-for-purpose for their intended use in pathophysiological studies, drug discovery/development research, or biomarker development/qualification studies as quantifiable indicators of disease progression and treatment efficacy.

      Background

      Tremendous opportunities exist for the application of PET and SPECT imaging in studies of the pathophysiology and treatment of brain disorders, but relatively few radioligands are currently available for functional imaging of target molecules implicated in normal brain function and in behavioral disorders. Increasing the availability of PET and SPECT radiotracers will aid in: a) understanding the biological processes that underlie mood and cognitive disorders and other brain disorders; b) determining the interaction of a drug or drug candidate with a specified target; c) guiding initial dosing for new therapeutic agents; and d) identifying central biomarkers of the illness, with the potential to predict symptom onset, monitor the progression of the disease, and assess the efficacy of therapeutic compounds.

      Research Scope

      This FOA is intended to stimulate the development of radioligands for molecular targets (e.g., receptors, cell adhesion molecules, intracellular messengers, and disease related proteins) that are of broad interest to the scientific community. The widespread availability and use of these radioligands are expected to: 1) accelerate research on identifying and characterizing the neural circuits and pathways implicated in the pathophysiology of mental disorders and alcohol abuse, and 2) facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets and the development of new compounds as potential therapeutic agents. Research partnerships among investigators in both academia and pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are encouraged to more rapidly develop PET and SPECT radiotracers and apply neuroimaging in drug discovery, biomarker development/qualification, and pathophysiological studies.

      The proposed development of a radioligand (agonist, antagonist, or allosteric modulator) for a molecular target or for a radioimaging probe to monitor changes in a cellular process should be well justified and the resulting radiotracer fit for the intended purpose. There is limited interest, without compelling justification, in a tracer of the same class of targets listed in the CNS Radiotracer Table, or for targets in which a radioligand development effort is underway in the pharmaceutical industry.

      The preponderance of tracers for molecular targets developed and utilized to date fall into the pharmacologic class of orthosteric antagonists with the most notable exceptions being ligands for benzodiazepine and opiate receptors. Our understanding of the relationship between occupancy and downstream effects of agonists and allosteric modulators is still at an early stage such that ligands that would enable more in-depth exploration of such relationships would be of particular interest, especially for those neurotransmitter targets that represent opportunities for novel drug discovery.

      In addition to PET tracers for potential therapeutic molecular targets, there is interest in tracers that bind to targets that can be used to monitor changes in cellular processes that are linked to brain plasticity or pathophysiology (e.g., neuroinflammation, neurogenesis, integrity of synapses, mitochondrial function). For instance, markers of microglial activation would fall into this class as would any binding site alteration that could be linked to neurodegenerative processes. Applications to develop these classes of tracers that are not amenable to validation with existing pharmacologic tool compounds should include a description of a feasible validation path (e.g., differences in binding as a function of degree of brain pathology).

      Prioritization of molecular targets for ligand development is an ongoing exercise and interested parties are encouraged to contact one of the NIH Scientific/Research Contacts to discuss the perceived level of need for a particular PET tracer.

      Some examples of areas of interest to this initiative may include, but are not limited to:

      • Lead compound identification/development and syntheses of chemicals with suitable binding affinity and selectivity, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and physiochemical properties allowing radiochemical synthesis.
      • Pre-clinical studies, including: initial pharmacology and toxicology to screen out compounds that are unlikely to be promising candidates for PET or SPECT imaging; radiolabeling procedures; in vitro and ex vivo autoradiography; in vivo imaging including micro PET (rodent and/or primate); and studies of pharmacological specificity, biodistribution, and pharmacokinetics.
      • Establishment of appropriate compartmental models and/or graphical plots to quantify kinetic profiles, including binding potential, volume of distribution and test-re-test consistency for target engagement studies.

      This FOA is not intended to support applications or research projects that propose human studies. Applicants interested in developing novel human PET or SPECT radioligands may apply using the companion R01(PAR-20-038)

      Researchers uncertain as to whether their intended project meets the overall focus of this FOA are encouraged to contact the appropriate NIH Program Officer listed in the NIH Scientific/Research Contacts to discuss the perceived level of need for a particular PET or SPECT tracer.

      The development and strengthening of partnerships between scientists from academia and the pharmaceutical industry are highly desirable outcomes of this FOA and are strongly encouraged. Pharmaceutical scientists are encouraged to actively participate as PDs/PIs or key personnel/collaborators.

      Institute Interests

      Projects proposing to develop probes where PET or SPECT ligands already exist may be of lower programmatic interest to participating ICs, unless applicants provide a compelling case that there are significant advantages to their approach.

      NIMH

      NIMH supports neuroscience research to discover the causes of mental illness and to develop more effective and safer treatments. Specifically, the NIMH is interested in the discovery of innovative treatment development targets for mental disorders and for advancing our understanding of the pathological processes contributing to disorders.

      NIMH is particularly interested in developing probes that can be used to assess adequacy of target engagement in clinical trials that employ an experimental medicine approach http://www.nimh.nih.gov/funding/opportunities-announcements/clinical-trials-foas/index.shtml

      Further information on NIMH research priorities can be found in the NIMH Strategic Plan, Strategic Research Priorities, and Interventions Workgroup Report.

      Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss applications with NIMH staff listed in Section VII - Agency Contact(s) Scientific/Research Contacts.

      NIAAA

      NIAAA promotes discovery, synthesis and screening of novel small molecules for innovative priority targets and supports evaluation of their efficacy in validated preclinical models to assess their therapeutic potential for treating alcohol dependence. The focus of proposed research projects should follow that described above but should be relevant to the mission of NIAAA.

      The identification and pursuit of agents towards novel targets previously un-recognized or understudied for the treatment of alcohol abuse disorders are especially encouraged. In particular, NIAAA encourages applications focusing on agents that alleviate craving and dysphoria during protracted abstinence, and agents effective in patients who have co-morbid psychiatric illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). Applications that essentially propose to further extend established or well-studied strategies and agents are not appropriate for this FOA.

      Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss applications with NIAAA staff listed in Section VII - Agency Contact(s) Scientific/Research Contacts.

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

      Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

      Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

      Award Budget

      Direct costs are limited to $275,000 per budget period.

      Award Project Period

      The total project period may not exceed 3 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
      • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)
      Foreign Institutions

      Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply

      Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.

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

      Required Registrations

      Applicant organizations

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

      • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
      • System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
      • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM.
      • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number 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.

      The development and strengthening of partnerships between scientists from academia and the pharmaceutical industry are highly desirable outcomes of this FOA and are strongly encouraged. PDs/PIs of grant applications are encouraged to actively engage pharmaceutical scientists as key personnel/collaborators.

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

      Research Strategy: Applicants must include the following information as part of the Research Strategy:

      1. Provide a strong justification for why a radiotracer is needed for the target. Include the intended uses of the tracer and examples of questions that the tracer will enable to be addressed. The involvement of a biological advisor or collaborator, who would use the radiotracer to address clinical questions, or feedback from the field, is encouraged in the selection of the tracer target. There is limited interest, without compelling, justification, in another tracer of the same class of targets listed in the CNS Radiotracer Table, or for targets in which a radioligand development effort is underway in the pharmaceutical industry.

      2. Address the feasibility of developing a radiotracer for the target: data regarding the density and affinity of the tracer target in brain region(s) of interest in post-mortem human brain) must be included, or reference to such information in the published literature provided, before submission of a tracer discovery project.

      3. State a plan and timeline for achieving the desired properties for the radiotracer (see considerations below).

      Critical considerations for lead compound identification and development:

      1. Feasibility based on the density and affinity of the tracer target in brain region(s) of interest in post-mortem human brain.

      2. Affinity, lipophilicity, and target selectivity

      a. Bmax/Kd > 5 in human subjects

      b. Lipophilicity: logD (ideally ~ 2)

      c. Target selectivity in brain region of interest; appropriate for proposed context of radiotracer use

      3. Delivery: adequate penetration of blood-brain barrier with standardized uptake values (SUV) > 2 in the brain regions of interest, without influence by ABC efflux transporters, and lack of substrate for ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein) or ABCG2 (BCRP)

      4. Amenability to labeling with 11C or 18F and metabolic stability of the label (e.g., 18F label is in a metabolically stable position)

      5. Amenability to production: radiochemical yield (%); practical yield (MBq); specific activity

      6. Specific binding: sufficient binding potential (BP) or volume of distribution (BP > 2) to assess target occupancy by drugs or to characterize CNS pathophysiology

      Considerations for in vivo assessment of a PET radiotracer candidate:

      1. Lack of radiometabolites: within brain, or of [18F] fluoride ion in skull

      2. Amenability to accurate quantification: e.g., stable total distribution volume (VT) within scan session

      3. Time-activity curves for brain and plasma

      4. Robust test-retest reliability: < 10% by variation

      5. Compartmental modeling with arterial input function

      Letters of Support: The involvement of a biological advisor or collaborator, who would use the radiotracer to address clinical questions, or feedback from the 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.
      • Investigators responding to this funding opportunity are expected to include a plan to share protocols, procedures, unlabeled PET and SPECT ligands, analytical tools, and other materials that may be developed in the course of the project with the scientific community.
      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-definedclinical 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.  

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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?

      Is there a compelling justification for the development of a radiotracer for the target or cellular process, for the proposed tracer's intended use(s), and types of questions that it would enable to be addressed?

       

      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?

      Is there evidence of involvement of a biological collaborator or advisor, who would use the radiotracer in the selection of the tracer target?

      Is there evidence of feedback from the field in the selection of the tracer target?

       

      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?

       

      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?

      Is there evidence of feasibility that the target can be detected in the brain region(s) of interest with a radiotracer? Are the desired properties for the radiotracer clearly stated and reasonable for the proposed target? Are there a clearly delineated plan and the timeline for achieving the desired properties for the radiotracer?

      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?

      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.

       

      For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of thecategories 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.

       

      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.

      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 . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
      • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
      • Availability of funds.
      • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.

      3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

      Section VI. Award Administration Information

      1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

      2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

      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.htmlor 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 agreementsare 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 threatensubmission 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)

      Enrique Michelotti, Ph.D.
      National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
      Telephone: 301-443-5415
      Email: michelottiel@mail.nih.gov

      John A. Matochik, Ph.D.
      National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
      Telephone: 301-451-7319
      Email: jmatochi@mail.nih.gov

      John Hsiao, M.D.
      National Institute on Aging (NIA)
      Telephone: 301-496-9350
      Email: jhsiao@mail.nih.gov

      Peer Review Contact(s)

      Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

      Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

      Terri Jarosik
      National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
      Telephone: 301-443-3858
      Email:theresa.jarosik@nih.gov

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

      Priscilla Garner
      National Institute on Aging (NIA)
      Telephone: 301-496-9323
      Email: garnerp@nia.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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