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)

Funding Opportunity Title

Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers (P50 Clinical Trial Optional)

Activity Code

P50 Specialized Center

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
None
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-20-286

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.242

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications

for research centers to support integrated programs of high-impact, practice-based research with near-term potential to address NIMH suicide prevention priorities and help achieve the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention goals of reducing the rate of suicide in the US. The Centers are intended to support transdisciplinary teams of clinical and mental health services researchers, behavioral/social scientists, health information and communications technologists, health systems engineers, decision scientists, and mental health stakeholders (e.g., service users, family members, clinicians, payers)

engaged in transdisciplinary programs of research that could not be achieved using standard research project grant mechanisms. Research Centers will support the rapid development, refinement, and testing of effective and scalable approaches for intervening at key intercepts in the chain of care: for identifying high-risk individuals, for promoting continuity across key care transitions (e.g., following identification in the emergency department or discharge from inpatient care), and for intervening (including prevention strategies and treatment for acute risk).

Support will be provided for individual research projects and for cores that are critical for the integration across Center components. The Centers are expected to provide plans for rapid, widespread sharing of relevant data, methods, and resources that will promote near-term improvements in clinical practice, and to accelerate research in suicide prevention. A strong vision of how the Center will advance the field beyond the goals of the individual projects is essential for successful applications. Recognizing that advancing suicide prevention depends on a diversity of scientific perspectives and contributions from a diverse research workforce, these Centers are also expected to provide opportunities for new transdisciplinary collaborations and for research education and training for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and investigators in early stages of independent careers, to help ensure a well-trained, diverse research workforce. 

Applicants interested in submitting applications to support transdisciplinary programs of research focused on other topics consistent with the priorities of NIMH are directed to ALACRITY ("Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness (ALACRITY)") Research Centers FOA (see NOT-MH-20-070).

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 5, 2020

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 19, 2020

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

October 19, 2020, May 26, 2021 and January 26, 2022    

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not applicable

Scientific Merit Review

March 2021, November 2022 and July 2023

Advisory Council Review

May 2021, January 2022 and October 2022

Earliest Start Date

July 2021, January 2022 and December 2022

Expiration Date

January 27, 2022

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Multi-Project (M) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.



  3. Table of Contents

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

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

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

    This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications for research centers to support integrated programs of high-impact, practice-based research with near-term potential to address National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suicide prevention priorities and help achieve the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention goals of reducing the rate of suicide in the US. The Centers are intended to support transdisciplinary teams of clinical and mental health services researchers, behavioral/social scientists, health information and communications technologists, health systems engineers, decision scientists, and mental health stakeholders (e.g., service users, family members, clinicians, payers) engaged in transdisciplinary programs of research that could not be achieved using standard research project grant mechanisms. Research Centers will support the rapid development, refinement, and testing of effective and scalable approaches for intervening at key intercepts in the chain of care: for identifying high-risk individuals, for promoting continuity across key care transitions (e.g., following identification in the emergency department or discharge from inpatient care), and for intervening (including prevention strategies and treatment for acute risk).

    Support will be provided for individual research projects and for cores that are critical for the integration across Center components. The Centers are expected to provide plans for rapid, widespread sharing of relevant data, methods, and resources that will promote near-term improvements in clinical practice and accelerate research in suicide prevention. A strong vision of how the Center will advance the field beyond the goals of the individual projects is essential for successful applications. Recognizing that advancing suicide prevention depends on a diversity of scientific perspectives and contributions from a diverse research workforce, these Centers are also expected to provide opportunities for new transdisciplinary collaborations and for research education and training for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and investigators in early stages of independent careers, to help ensure a well-trained, diverse research workforce. 

    Background

    More than 48,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2018. Moreover, rates of suicide attempts and ideation are much higher; it is estimated that 10.7 million Americans have suicidal thoughts annually and that 25 suicide attempts occur for each death by suicide. The rate of suicide has increased by one-third over the past two decades from 10.5/100,000 in 1999 to 14.2/100,000 in 2018, with differential rates of increase among selected groups. At the population level, individuals who are members of certain groups have consistently experienced higher rates of suicidal behavior and ideation and/or experienced documented disparities in healthcare access and quality. 

    Consistent with the goals of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NAASP), the NIMH is committed to reducing the suicide rate by 20% by 2025 and has prioritized suicide prevention research that emphasizes risk detection, screening, and intervention in settings where at-risk individuals are served. Advancing research with near-term impact in order to realize these suicide prevention goals demands that we combine current knowledge about effective suicide prevention strategies with emerging health information and communication technologies, health care informatics, data science tools, and novel organizational structures for delivering health care to address increasing rates of suicide in the US population and pronounced rates among differentially affected groups of Americans. This FOA is based on the NIMH ALACRITY (“Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness”) research program and  encourages applications for transdisciplinary research centers to support integrated programs of high-impact, practice-based research with near-term potential to address NIMH suicide prevention priorities and help achieve the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention goals. 

    Scope of Research

    The primary purpose of these Practice-Based Research Centers is to support rapid development, testing, and refinement of innovative approaches for (1) identifying, preventing, and treating suicide risk within well-defined target populations, with an emphasis on high-risk and underserved groups; (2) organizing and delivering optimized suicide prevention services within real world settings where at-risk individuals are served; and (3) continuously improving the quality, impact, and sustainability of optimized interventions and service delivery strategies within diverse care systems. To achieve these ambitious goals, each Center is intended to support multidisciplinary teams of leading clinical and mental health services researchers, and experts from allied disciplines such as behavioral scientists, social scientists, health information and communications technologists, health systems engineers, decision scientists, and mental health stakeholders (e.g., service users, family members, clinicians, payers) to engage in studies focused on selected populations for whom existing suicide prevention services do not adequately address urgent, unmet needs. 

    The Center mechanism is intended to facilitate transdisciplinary projects that could not be achieved using standard research project grant mechanisms and to enable cohesive programs of practice-based suicide prevention research that are defined in terms of:

    • Setting(s), including in and across settings where suicide risk might be identified and addressed, such as health-care systems, mental health or primary care practices and networks, or other systems and settings that serve individuals at risk for suicide (e.g., schools, criminal justice systems); and
    • Target Population(s), with an emphasis on vulnerable populations, including: individuals with mental illness or substance-use disorders; groups at elevated risk in terms of demographic characteristics (e.g., members of certain racial/ethnic groups, sexual and gender minorities), social/environmental history and context (e.g., early adversity, economic hardship, geographic location), or developmental context (e.g., in older adulthood, during the transition to adolescence); and individuals who experience disparities in healthcare access, engagement, or quality, including NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations.

    The Center approach is also intended to facilitate integrated research programs that simultaneously optimize and test scalable patient-, provider-, and systems- level interventions and service delivery approaches for intervening at key intercepts in the chain of care including:

    • Identification of individuals at elevated risk, including acutely suicidal individuals (e.g., innovative assessment strategies and computationally informed approaches to screening and risk stratification);
    • Referral/continuity of care, including approaches to promote access to specialists when needed (e.g. telehealth), and continuity over high-risk transitions and across care settings (e.g., Emergency Department (ED) to outpatient care, discharge from inpatient care); and
    • Intervention, including a range of prevention strategies and treatment for acute risk (e.g., rapid-acting treatments, safe and effective alternatives to inpatient hospitalization).

    The scope of science for these Centers spans interventions science (optimizing the effectiveness of therapeutic or preventive interventions) through services research (innovative strategies to improve access, engagement, coordination and quality of service delivery). Given NIMH's goal to address research gaps that will have a near-term impact on routine care, examples of potential research questions include, but are not limited to research focused on optimizing and testing:

    • Delivery-oriented, efficient approaches for screening, and clinical decision support tools for risk stratification;
    • System-level approaches for surveillance and detection of individuals at elevated risk (e.g., using predictive analytics, practice alerts, dashboards);
    • Research-informed strategies for matching individuals to services of appropriate intensity (including stepped-care approaches) and for promoting engagement and continuity across care transitions, including transitions across settings;
    • System-level approaches that measure the effectiveness of interventions for individuals with predisposing conditions and varying levels of risk (e.g., promoting preventive coping skills; adequate interventions for risk conditions such as mental disorders; self-management skills to reduce mental or substance use disorder relapse; access to crisis care to avert hospitalization);
    • Pragmatic strategies to promote measurement-based care and monitor the quality of suicide prevention services in practice settings;
    • Scalable preventive and therapeutic interventions that can be delivered using existing personnel and typically available resources in settings where at-risk individuals are served;
    • Practice-ready tools to support providers in their delivery of research-supported preventive and therapeutic interventions (e.g., fidelity aids to promote high-quality delivery of evidence-based practices (EBPs));
    • Research-informed strategies and tools for training providers to initial competence and for promoting sustained fidelity in the delivery of EBPs (e.g., interactive training that utilizes simulated patients); and
    • Deployment-ready treatment packages to improve/optimize the therapeutic impact of inpatient psychiatry settings, tailored for youth and adults.

    The Centers program provides a mechanism for maximizing synergies across various components of the mental health research ecosystem, including new discoveries in clinical research, transformative health care technologies, advances in information science, and new federal and state mechanisms for organizing suicide prevention services. These Centers provide a unique opportunity for addressing NIMH research priorities related to implementing evidence-based practices in settings where at-risk individuals are served and addressing knowledge gaps that will have a near-term impact on suicide rates.

    Some general characteristics of these Centers are listed below: 

    • These Centers are intended to support a cohesive program of science that is defined in terms of (a) a target population for whom existing suicide prevention services do not adequately address risk and mental healthcare needs; (b) the therapeutic or preventive interventions or service delivery strategies to be studied and optimized; and (c) the service setting(s) intended to implement optimized interventions and/or services.
    • While the scope of science for these Centers spans interventions science (optimizing the effectiveness of therapeutic or preventive interventions for well-defined target populations) through services research (innovative strategies to improve access, engagement, coordination, quality, and equity of service delivery), it is not necessary for an individual Center to emphasize intervention refinement and health services research activities equally. In all cases, however, research studies should address necessary features for rapid dissemination, adoption, implementation, and sustainability of new suicide prevention approaches in clinical and community settings, thus facilitating translation from research to practice.
    • To facilitate translation into practice, Center projects that are primarily aimed at testing the effectiveness of preventive, therapeutic, or services interventions should be designed as hybrid effectiveness-implementation trials, depending on the level of pre-existing effectiveness evidence and implementation readiness. Thus, in addition to testing the effectiveness of the intervention, trials should be designed to assess and examine consumer-, provider- and setting- level factors that might be associated with implementation fidelity (i.e., as Hybrid Type-I trials) or to simultaneously test strategies to promote successful implementation (i.e., as Hybrid Type II trials).  Likewise, studies that are primarily aimed at testing an implementation strategy should be designed to also assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the intervention/approach that is being implemented (i.e., as Hybrid Type III trials).
    • Regardless of where the Center’s focus falls on the continuum of research spanning optimization of therapeutic/preventive interventions through services research, Centers are intended to support research that reflects a deployment-focused model of intervention and services design and testing. Deployment-focused studies consider the perspective of relevant stakeholders and key characteristics of settings intended to implement optimized suicide prevention services. This attention to end-user perspectives and characteristics of intended clinical and/or community practice settings is intended to ensure that the resultant interventions and service delivery strategies are feasible and scalable, and to ensure that the research results will have utility for end users.
    • Given the focus on research with near-term potential, NIMH encourages scalable, sustainable intervention and service-delivery strategies. Accordingly, NIMH encourages approaches that can readily be integrated into practice with minimal reconfiguration or adjustment, that can be delivered using existing personnel and typically available resources, and that incorporate features that are specifically designed to prevent threats to implementation fidelity. Strategies that might be used to enhance scalability and sustained implementation include but are not limited to: consumer-facing technology (e.g., self-administered content) and provider-facing technology (e.g., technology to support provider training and sustained implementation fidelity); expert consultation via existing resources or other sustainable means (e.g., telehealth, ECHO model, or collaborative care approaches); or other robust design features that promote provider competence and sustained implementation fidelity.   
    • The goal of these Centers is to support transdisciplinary research that brings together diverse teams of clinical scientists, mental health services researchers, and experts from allied disciplines that bring new perspectives and tools relevant to enhancing the effectiveness, delivery, reach, and continuous improvement of suicide prevention for children, adolescents, and adults (including older adults) who are at risk. Center teams should also include members with real world experience of care within target clinical and/or community practice settings, including service users, family members, mental health care providers, program administrators, and payers. NIMH strongly encourages involvement of stakeholders in multiple roles throughout the research enterprise, including involvement as external consultants who provide input as members of advisory committees, as practice-partners who are members of the research team, and as research participants whose perspectives are systematically assessed via qualitative and quantitative methods.
    • Given the explicit goal of encouraging synergies across research projects and across diverse areas of science and technology, and in partnership with relevant stakeholders, these Centers are intended to provide research infrastructure and coordination in the form of Cores that provide support for overall organization, administration, and collaboration (Administrative Core); and support for implementing the Center’s transdisciplinary research projects and additional pilot studies, as well as support for methodological development and consultation (Methods Core). Each Core should also facilitate the development of new collaborative research opportunities and future directions that extend the Center’s activities.
    • Beyond methodological, technical, and analytic support to the Center's investigators and projects, the Methods Core should serve as an incubator for innovative methods development that facilitate research on more efficient risk identification, effective intervention, and service delivery (e.g., novel assessment and data collection strategies; innovative study designs; new analytic strategies, including computational approaches for leveraging large, complex data). NIMH encourages Centers that leverage technical, methodological, and analytic innovations to address research challenges unique to suicide prevention research (e.g., challenges related to studying low base-rate events, understanding the time course and transition from ideation to behavior).
    • While the Centers should principally be focused on research with near-term potential for improving practice and reducing suicide, the Methods Core should include expertise and capacity for incorporating translational assessment approaches that can inform basic understanding of suicide risk and ultimately guide intervention development and intervention matching.   Furthermore, the Methods Core should encourage and facilitate harmonization of assessment measures across studies and sites. NIMH encourages multi-level, translational assessment approaches to characterize functional domains of behavior and relevant cognitive/affective processes, as well as aspects of the environmental, social, and developmental context that have implications for the emergence and maintenance of risk and the response to interventions.  Translational assessment approaches could include, but are not limited to, multi-level assessment of RDoC-like domains and constructs, such as negative valence, cognitive control, arousal and regulatory systems, habit, and social processes via low-burden approaches that go beyond self-report and can feasibly be incorporated in the effectiveness context (e.g., mobile-/sensor- based assessments, computerized or task-based assessments). NIMH encourages the assessment of core constructs, domains of functioning, and aspects of the environmental/social/developmental context (e.g., exposure to early adversity or economic hardship; geographic location/neighborhood context; familial/social context and support; developmental stage) that have been empirically linked with suicide risk states and that are relevant to the empirical/theoretical models that underly the Center’s intervention strategies (e.g., emotional lability, stress reactivity, cognitive rigidity, social belongingness, and reward sensitivity/responsiveness). Elevated suicide risk is complex and dynamic, often reflecting the interaction of multiple cognitive/affective and behavioral constructs in response to specific confluences of life events. Consequently, NIMH encourages assessments that span multiple domains/constructs, rather than focusing on a single domain/construct in isolation, to more comprehensively characterize risk processes and trajectories and potentially identify multiple, distinct risk phenotypes and pathways.  
    • The scope of science should comprise one (1) Signature Project that involves a fully powered (R01-level) study, and three (3) Exploratory Research Projects modeled on the NIMH R34 grant mechanism program. All projects should address significant problems that are relevant to the goals of the Center and are related to prevention, treatment, management, and/or delivery of services to at-risk individuals who are served in the target setting(s).  
    • Signature Projects should exemplify the Center’s focus and should address a significant problem, such that the findings have potential to inform practice (i.e., results will guide decisions about whether to adopt and implement the optimized strategy or otherwise change current practices). These studies should be adequately powered to definitively answer the primary research question(s), with well-justified hypotheses supported by pilot data. Signature projects should be of sufficient scale and be designed to examine questions regarding mediators and moderators of effects (e.g., whether the observed results differ across individuals from different racial-ethnic backgrounds; with different health literacy levels; with medical, mental health, or substance use comorbidities) and address additional exploratory aims to inform future research directions.  The overall scope of research should be based on NIMH R01 research mechanisms for Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions (RFA-MH-18-701) or for Innovative Mental Health Services Research Not Involving Clinical Trials (PAR-17-264).
    • Exploratory Research Projects should be designed to examine the feasibility of the research approach, (e.g., feasibility of recruiting and retaining participants); should provide an opportunity to refine and pilot test the experimental protocols, including assessment protocols and the experimental intervention protocol, as relevant; and should yield pilot data necessary for informing next steps and for enhancing the probability of obtaining meaningful results in subsequent, well-powered studies. Exploratory Research Projects should be modeled on the NIMH R34 Research Mechanisms for Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions (RFA-MH-18-706) or for Pilot Services Research not Involving Clinical Trials (PAR-19-189).
    • The Centers are intended to facilitate emerging opportunities for additional pilot research through a process for soliciting, reviewing, and selecting promising pilot feasibility projects of 1-2 years duration similar in scope to the NIH R03 grant mechanism that can be launched within the project period. Accordingly, the scope of science should include such pilot feasibility projects that can be proposed by new or established investigators to address innovative, interdisciplinary research that is consistent the Center’s focus, in order to position the investigator(s) for subsequent research that aligns with the Center’s program of research.
    • Consistent with the NIMH experimental therapeutics approach, all Center projects that involve clinical trials must be designed to not only examine the intervention effects on outcomes of interest, but to also inform understanding of the intervention’s mechanisms of action. As such, the scope of work must include specification of intervention target mechanism(s) and assessment of intervention-induced changes in the presumed target mechanism(s) that are hypothesized to account for the intervention outcomes (see Support for Clinical Trials at NIMH).
    • The Centers are intended to support transdisciplinary science through research projects and cores at a single institution or across multiple institutions. Collaborations among mental health interventions research programs, services research programs, behavioral and social science programs, and healthcare technology research programs are encouraged, even if this means that investigators are geographically distributed.
    • Ultimately, advancing suicide prevention will require a diversity of scientific perspectives and contributions from a diverse research workforce. Accordingly, these Centers are intended to serve as incubators for new transdisciplinary collaborations and for research education and training in suicide prevention science that will ensure a well-trained, diverse research workforce. Beyond the Center’s core transdisciplinary teams, the Center should include provisions for identifying and incorporating additional Collaborating Scholars across all career levels. NIMH strongly emphasizes the importance of including Emerging and Advanced Scholars from diverse backgrounds (see NOT-OD-20-031) with a goal of increasing the number of scholars from underrepresented backgrounds who contribute to suicide prevention research. NIMH also encourages including individuals with an abiding interest in health disparities, including scholars who can contribute to efforts to understand and address suicide risk among differentially affected groups (e.g., sexual and gender minorities, Black youth, Native American/Alaska Native and rural-dwelling individuals).
    • Opportunities for Emerging Scholars, including graduate students and postdoctoral trainees, who are pursuing advanced training in relevant disciplines, and early-career faculty, who have the potential to contribute to high-quality suicide prevention science, will help ensure that there is a strong investigator pipeline and diverse research workforce. The Center should include opportunities for trainees and investigators in early stages of independent research careers at the applicant institution as well as those who might participate remotely as Collaborating Emerging Scholars. Mentoring and training should include opportunities to work with and learn from participating investigators (e.g., through formalized mentorship, in-house/guest lecture series/webinars, meetings with potential practice partners from new community settings), roles on Center research projects, opportunities to lead investigator-initiated pilot projects, and other opportunities to capitalize on unique Center resources. Center mentoring and training should leverage training infrastructure and support at existing applicant institutions (e.g., NIH-funded T32 and other training support, Institutional graduate and postdoctoral training programs), but should not substitute for or duplicate them.
    • Opportunities for Advanced Collaborating Scholars should be used to expand the set of collaborators beyond the Center’s core transdisciplinary investigator team to include researchers who might not be currently focused on suicide prevention, but can offer complementary research perspectives/methods to advance suicide prevention science (e.g., via time-limited positions for established investigators, who might participate remotely). Roles for Advanced Collaborating Scholars should go beyond consultation and should include opportunities to actively collaborate on Center projects, to contribute to innovative methods development, to propose new collaborative projects, and to capitalize on Center infrastructure and resources in order to incorporate a focus on suicide prevention within the scholars’ own programs of research.
    • The Centers are intended to function as a national consultation resource beyond the Center collaborations, and should include plans for developing and disseminating research resources (e.g., new data collection/assessment approaches and analytic methods; web-based platforms for identifying and recruiting participants and accelerating research; data sets that can be shared for re-analysis/meta-analysis; other common-source materials (e.g., new methods and analytic strategies for mining and analyzing "big data" from large-scale data collection efforts, programming for technology-assisted approaches)). To this end, NIMH intends to convene joint Center Directors' meetings to provide opportunities to share strategies: for incorporating common data elements and harmonizing data collection efforts; for building stakeholder partnerships for deployment-focused, practice-based research; for integrating trans-disciplinary collaborations; for incorporating technology and other innovations to transform research and the delivery of interventions and services; for soliciting, vetting, and supporting new Center-relevant research; and for integrating, training, and supporting early career investigators.

    Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their research concept and approach, and alignment of planned Center goals with NIMH priorities for suicide prevention research, with appropriate NIMH contacts before developing their application [see section VII Agency Contacts]. 

    The NIMH has published updated policies and guidance for investigators regarding human research protection and clinical research data and safety monitoring (NOT-MH-19-027). The application’s Protection of Human Subjects section should reflect the policies and guidance in this notice.  Plans for the protection of research subjects and data and safety monitoring will be reviewed by the NIMH for consistency with NIMH and NIH policies and federal regulations.

    Technical Assistance Teleconference

    A Technical Assistance teleconference will be held for potential applicants on August 28, 2020 from 2:00-3:30PM EDT. Please use the following link to access the webinar: https://nih.zoomgov.com/j/1601602692?pwd=UmMvNERNUU1DK0drc3ltaUcwYWhXQT09

    password:

    08282020

    NIMH staff will be available to answer questions related to this FOA.

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

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

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

    Application Types Allowed

    New

    Renewal of applications submitted in response to PAR-16-354 and PAR-18-701

    Resubmission of applications submitted in response to PAR-18-701 and PAR-20-286

    Revisions of applications submitted in response to PAR-16-354, PAR-18-701, and PAR-20-286

    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 total amount awarded and the number of awards are contingent upon NIH appropriations and will depend upon the numbers, quality, duration, and costs of meritorious applications received.

    Award Budget

    Direct costs are limited to $2,000,000 per year

    Award Project Period

    The total project period may not exceed 5 years.

    NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made from this FOA.

    Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible Organizations

    Higher Education Institutions

    • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
    • Private Institutions of Higher Education

    The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

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

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

    • State Governments
    • County Governments
    • City or Township Governments
    • Special District Governments
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
    • U.S. Territory or Possession

    Other

    • Independent School Districts
    • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
    • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
    • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
    • Regional Organizations
    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are  allowed.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

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

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM) – 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.

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

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

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

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

    The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST or an institutional system-to-system solution. A button to apply using ASSIST is 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 Multi-Project (M) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. 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.

    Letter of Intent

    Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

    By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

    • Descriptive title of proposed activity
    • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
    • Names of other key personnel
    • Participating institution(s)
    • Number and title of this funding opportunity

    The letter of intent should be sent to:
    Email: nimhpeerreview@mail.nih.gov   

    Page Limitations

    Component Types Available in ASSIST

    Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

    Overall

    6

    Admin Core (Use for Administrative Core)

    6

    Core (use for Methods Core)

    12

    Signature Research Project

    12

    Exploratory Research Projects

    6 for each Project

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

    Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

    The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and should be used for preparing a multi-component application.

    Revision applications must include an Overall component and the components that are affected by the revision. Therefore, the component requirements listed below may not apply to the revision application.

    The application should consist of the following components:

    • Overall: required
    • Administrative Core: required; maximum one
    • Methods Core: required; maximum one
    • Signature Research Project: required; maximum one
    • Exploratory Research Projects: required; minimum of 3; maximum 3
    Overall Component

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Overall’.

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

    Complete entire form.

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

    Note: Human Embryonic Stem Cell lines from other components should be repeated in cell line table in Overall component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

    Follow standard instructions.

    Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

    Enter primary site only.

    A summary of Project/Performance Sites in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

    Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application.

    It is expected that a Center Director (PD/PI) will have a demonstrated capability to organize, administer, and direct the Center. Center Director must demonstrate leadership in the area of science proposed, have a strong record of high impact scientific achievements.

    A summary of Senior/Key Persons followed by their Biographical Sketches in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons will be generated upon submission.

    Budget (Overall)

    The only budget information included in the Overall component is the Estimated Project Funding section of the SF424 (R&R) Cover.  

    A budget summary in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from detailed budget data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the Overall component.

    Specific Aims: Provide a concise description of the overall Center focus and aims. Outline how the research projects and Cores will contribute to attaining the Center objectives.

    Research Strategy:  The Research Strategy should begin with an overview of the Center describing the target population(s) for whom existing interventions or services do not adequately address suicide risk, the therapeutic or preventive interventions or service delivery strategies to be studied and optimized, the service settings intended to implement optimized interventions and/or services, the integration of the Center components, and why these components are essential for accomplishing the goals of the overall Center. The overview should be targeted to a broad audience and be concise. The overview should include:

    1. Goals, relevant background, significance and a description of the impact of the proposed research in relation to the state-of-the-art of the field. This section should also include an explanation of how the work proposed is both innovative and potentially impactful for advancing clinical practice and suicide prevention outcomes with members of the target population. The focus of the Center should be justified in terms of the potential impact of research, vis-à-vis the:

    • target population (e.g., the number of affected individuals, the associated level of suicide risk, and/or overall burden associated with unmet mental health needs);
    • therapeutic/preventive interventions or services that will be studied, including the potential for optimized intervention or service delivery strategies to substantially improve outcomes beyond existing approaches;
    • potential reach and overall impact of embedding optimized approaches in target clinical and/or community practice settings; and
    • anticipated dissemination, adoption and sustained use of new approaches that can be achieved through partnerships with identified mental health stakeholders. 

    Centers may include technology development as an element, but not as the main focus, of the Center. When technology development is an integral part of the scientific goals, it should be proposed as a project. When technology development is part of a standard service provided to support Center projects, it should be proposed as an element of the Methods Core. 

    2. Value added by an interdisciplinary Centers approach. This section should address why the proposed research justifies a Center and should include a description of the contribution of each of the projects and cores in achieving the Center’s major objectives, a description of how the Center as a whole will benefit from interdisciplinary interactions, an explanation of why this work cannot be accomplished by a cluster of individual research project grants (e.g., R01s, R34s), and why the whole is significantly better than the sum of its parts. The application should describe how Center resources and Investigator support will be leveraged to create efficiencies within other projects beyond the Center-supported Signature and Exploratory research projects and pilot feasibility projects of 1-2 year duration.

    3. An explanation of the potential importance and relevance of the proposed research for increasing the effectiveness of existing interventions for a target population with unmet needs, improving delivery and quality of optimized evidence-based suicide prevention services, and/or accelerating the diffusion, implementation, and continuous improvement of new suicide prevention practices in diverse settings. NIMH is particularly interested in programs of research that will lead to near-term reductions in suicide rates.  

    The Research Strategy should also address:

    Preliminary Data: This section should include evidence for feasibility and preliminary findings. This section should also present very clear evidence that the research team has been/will be able to work together effectively to accomplish the research proposed in the projects.

    Center Approach: This section should describe the working scientific and logistical design, as well as the resource support necessary to implement the research. When multiple institutional sites are involved, a detailed description of the cooperative administrative arrangements should be included. (Documentation of these arrangements should be included in the Letters of Support section.)

    Letters of Support: Include letters of support relevant to the overall center here. Letters detailing contributions to individual components are to be placed in their respective individual Research Project and Core components.

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

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

    To advance the goal of facilitating research through widespread data sharing among researchers, investigators funded under this FOA are expected to share those data via the NIMH Data Archive (NDA) (see NOT-MH-19-033). Established by the NIH, the NDA is a secure informatics platform for scientific collaboration and data-sharing that enables the effective communication of detailed research results, tools, and supporting documentation.

    Investigators funded under this FOA are expected to use NDA technologies to submit data and include a resource sharing plan formatted in accordance with the NDA Data Sharing Terms and Conditions.

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Overall)

    When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials 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, there must be at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or a Delayed Onset Study record within the application. The study record(s) must be included in the component(s) where the work is being done, unless the same study spans multiple components. To avoid the creation of duplicate study records, a single study record with sufficient information for all involved components must be included in the Overall component when the same study spans multiple components.

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

    3.1 Protection of Human Subjects

    Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly.

    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 (Overall)

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

    Administrative Core

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Admin Core.’

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates
    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Administrative Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Administrative Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Admin Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • It is expected that the Center Director will be the primary leader of the Administrative Core. Multiple leads are allowed for the Administrative Core.
    Budget (Administrative Core)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.


    Each proposed Center Director must commit a minimum effort of 3 person months per year overall to the Center and be a leader of one of the projects and of the Administrative Core. The 3 person months should be a total of the Center Director's efforts on his/her project(s) and core(s). The 3 person months requirement applies to each individual listed as a Center PD/PI in a multiple PD/PI Center.

    The Leadership of the Administrative Core must commit a cumulative minimum effort of 1 person month per year to the Administrative Core. Multiple leaders are allowed for the Administrative Core. If there are multiple leaders for this Core, the combined effort of the identified multiple Administrative Core Leaders must total at least 1 person month per year.

    The Administrative Core budget should include costs for:

    • For each year of the award, support for soliciting, reviewing, selecting, and executing 2 or more pilot feasibility projects of 1-2 years duration, proposed by early-stage investigators or established investigators, that will inform the development of larger, peer-reviewed research applications that can compete successfully for NIH or other funding. In general, the scope and support for these pilot feasibility projects should be similar to NIH R03 grant mechanisms, depending on the nature of the project and the resources that are available to the project through the Cores.
    • Support for data and resource sharing (e.g., personnel, assessment and intervention protocols, software and/or programming for technology assisted approaches, data analytic strategies, etc.) as appropriate. For data sharing, the NDA website provides a customizable Excel worksheet that includes tasks and hours for the Program Director/Principal Investigator and Data Manager to budget for data sharing (see NDA Data Contribution).
    • Support for Investigator and advisory board travel, including travel for the Center PD(s)'s and Core Directors' participation in annual NIMH-convened cross-Center meetings.  
    • Support for Website and Dissemination
    • Support for Advanced Collaborating and Emerging Scholars, which can include salary support for a pre-defined level of effort and period of collaboration and/or research training. (see NOT-OD-20-070). The Scholars’ level of effort and term of support should be justified based on the proposed scope of research and mentoring/training activities.  As appropriate, related costs might also include support for travel (e.g., for periodic on-site meetings for Collaborating Scholars who are not local, for research conferences and other meetings) and support for formal training that will facilitate the Scholars’ meaningful contribution to suicide prevention science (e.g., coursework related to suicidology). Centers should include plans for and dedicate resources to supporting 2-3 Emerging and/or Advanced Scholars over the course of the project period. The number of positions should be justified based on the anticipated pool of interested and qualified applicants and the proposed roles and activities for these scholars. The proposed research education and training should leverage and complement other ongoing training programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support and provide added value. Training provided through the Center is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and cannot be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims:  Provide a concise description of the goals of the Administrative Core   

    Research Strategy: The Administrative Core is expected to have appropriate and effective administrative and organizational capabilities to (a) facilitate innovative and nimble transdisciplinary research in suicide prevention, (b) foster synergy among research disciplines and cores, (c) oversee the solicitation, review, and selection of additional innovative pilot studies that capitalize on center resources and extend the research program, (d) support training opportunities, (e) communicate the Centers aims and activities, (f) oversee evaluation activities, and (g) carry out future planning.

    Highlight features of the Administrative Core that will enhance the collaborative effort, including optimizing communication, decision-making and sharing between the Research Projects and the Methods Core.

    Describe how each Research Project and Methods Core (as applicable) will draw upon the Administrative Core and how it in turn will respond to Research Project or Methods Core needs. The description of the Administrative Core should clearly indicate the facilities, resources, services and professional skills that the Core will provide. Moreover, information must be provided about how the collective operation of the Core will be affected in a coherent manner.

    Support for Pilot Feasibility Studies: For each year of the award, the Administrative Core should include provisions for 2 or more pilot feasibility studies of 1-2 years duration that can be proposed by new or established investigators, including projects that are proposed by or involve trainees preparing for independent research careers. These pilot projects should be similar in purpose and scope to small research project grants (R03), and address innovative, interdisciplinary research consistent with the Center's focus. Pilot feasibility studies should serve as a mechanism for conducting nimble proof-of-concept studies (e.g., to rapidly refine/optimize intervention and service delivery approaches) that will position the investigator(s) for subsequent research that aligns with the Center's scientific goals. The application should detail a systematic approach for soliciting, reviewing, selecting, and monitoring the progress of the pilot studies. All pilot projects must comply with applicable NIH policies and the evidence that proposed plans for protection of human subjects; inclusion of women, minorities, and children; and assurance of animal welfare must be submitted to the NIMH Program Official prior to study initiation.

    Support for Collaborating Scholars.  The application should describe plans for broadening the Center collaborations and expanding the suicide prevention research workforce through opportunities for Advanced Collaborating- and Emerging- Scholars, including investigators from diverse backgrounds who can offer new perspectives and insights. Advanced Collaborating Scholars include scientists who may not have been previously engaged in suicide prevention research, but who have an established record of productivity in a complementary field of science that could offer new perspectives and methods to advance suicide prevention science. Emerging Scholars include  graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and investigators in early stages of independent careers who can benefit from opportunities to work with and learn from participating investigators (e.g., through formalized mentoring, in-house/guest lecture series/webinars, meetings with potential practice partners from new community settings), opportunities to propose and lead investigator-initiated pilot projects, and opportunities that capitalize on other unique institutional resources, including, but not limited to NIH-supported T32 and other training. The application should detail plans for:

    • Soliciting applications from candidates for Collaborating Scholar positions (e.g., describe: sources or venues from which candidates will be identified, the schedule and plans for outreach/advertising Collaborating Scholar positions);
    • Vetting and selecting Collaborating Scholars (e.g., describe: the process for reviewing and ranking potential candidates, the criteria that will be used to identify Advanced and Emerging Scholars who have potential to contribute to research that is consistent with the Center’s focus);
    • Training and mentoring (e.g., describe: plans for matching Collaborating Scholars with mentors/collaborators and relevant training opportunities);
    • Facilitating Scholars’ participation in Center relevant research (e.g., describe: plans for integrating Scholars into Center Investigators’ existing research projects, opportunities for Scholars to propose and conduct new pilot studies consistent with the Center’s mission, plans to support Scholar’s research activities through Methods Core support);
    • Evaluating the Scholars’ progress/impact (e.g., describe the process for: evaluating progress at research training goals and research projects, ensuring research activities are aligned with the Center’s suicide prevention focus); and
    • Facilitating the Scholars’ ongoing involvement and success at suicide prevention science. (e.g., describe strategies that will be used to facilitate collaborative publications, future collaborative efforts/projects, applications for new suicide prevention research project grants and/or training applications, applications for faculty-level appointments to establish independent careers in suicide research).

    Additional information required in the Administrative Core Research Strategy:

    • Stakeholder Component: Describe plans for establishing partnerships with key mental health stakeholders (e.g., service users, family members, clinicians, payers) who will help identify unmet suicide prevention needs within the target population, develop and refine strategies for optimizing interventions and services, inform research topics, and maximize the external validity of the Center's research findings.
    • Website: Describe plans for establishing and maintaining a website. The website should target a broad audience, convey the aims and activities of the Center in plain language, and describe the implications of research supported by the Center for increasing the effectiveness of existing interventions and promoting near-term improvements in clinical practice related to suicide prevention. The website should also include information pertaining to the sharing of resources with the scientific community. This website is intended to be distributed to a variety of audiences with broad backgrounds and interests.
    • Evaluation Plan: Describe plans for coordinating the evaluation of the Center's research activities and public health impact, with input from the Methods Core. Describe how the evaluation plan will be used to iteratively refine the Center's ongoing activities and inform plans for future collaborative research.
    • Timeline and Milestones: A graphic Timeline and a descriptive Milestones section must be included for the Administrative Core. Milestones should be identified along the timeline. Milestones should be well described, quantifiable, and scientifically justified benchmarks at critical junctures as well as annual indicators of progress. This section should also include alternative strategies should any component efforts fail to perform as expected. During the project period, the Center Director will be expected to refer to these milestones in annual progress reports.
    • Advisory Board:
    • For applications for new ALACRITY Centers, the timeline should include the establishment of a to-be-named Advisory Board to be convened annually to assess progress and accomplishments, and to advise the Center. It is very important that potential Advisory Board members not be identified in the application in order to minimize conflicts during the application review process and so that all individuals with appropriate scientific expertise remain eligible for consideration by NIMH review staff for the peer review panel that evaluates Center applications. Advisory Board members should only be identified and convened after an application is funded. While individuals should not be named, the anticipated composition, in terms of requisite areas of expertise, and the schedule for convening Board should be detailed. NIMH encourages inclusion of stakeholders as members of the external Advisory Board.
    • For renewal applications for existing ALACRITY Centers, the description and plans for the Advisory Board should list the current Advisory Board members and describe their expertise and roles.

    Letters of Support: Include letters of support relevant to the Administrative Core (e.g., letters from stakeholders who will partner to inform research topics, conduct research, and help ensure the research has external validity and utility.)

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

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

    To advance the goal of facilitating research through widespread data sharing among researchers, investigators funded under this FOA are expected to share those data via the NIMH Data Archive (NDA)  (see NOT-MH-19-033). Established by the NIH, the NDA is a secure informatics platform for scientific collaboration and data-sharing that enables the effective communication of detailed research results, tools, and supporting documentation.

    Investigators funded under this FOA are expected to use NDA technologies to submit data and include a resource sharing plan in accordance with the NDA Data Sharing Terms and Conditions.

    Information on the sharing of all resources generated by Center activities should be consolidated and detailed in this section, and include the following elements as appropriate:

    • Project management of resource sharing.
    • Description of what specific resources will be shared (e.g., assessment and intervention protocols, software and/or programming for technology assisted approaches, data analytic strategies, de-identified data collected in research studies, etc.).
    • Schedule/timeline for availability of resources to other users.
    • Persons who will have access to the resources (written as broadly as possible to the extent consistent with applicable laws, regulations, rules, and policies).
    • Plan for post award disposition of resources.

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

     
    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Administrative Core)

    When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials 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 a 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

    Methods Core

    When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Core.’

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Methods Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Core
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Methods Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Methods Core)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Methods Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Methods Core)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Methods Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • It is expected that the Methods Core Lead(s) demonstrates competence in the area of science proposed and have a record of interacting and working well with other investigators at their institution and elsewhere.  

    Budget (Methods Core)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    The Leadership of the Methods Cores must commit a cumulative minimum effort of 3 person months per year to the Methods Core. Multiple leaders are allowed for Methods Cores. If there are multiple leaders for this core, the efforts of the identified leaders must total at least 3 person months per year.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Methods Core)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims: Provide a concise description of the goals of the Methods Core. Explain how the Methods Core will contribute to the Center's research projects and to attaining the Center's objectives.

    Research Strategy: Describe how the Methods Core will function as an incubator for innovative approaches to optimizing and enhancing the effectiveness of interventions/service delivery models for selected mental disorders. Describe how the Methods Core will facilitate novel and convergent solutions to intractable suicide prevention challenges by integrating input from clinical and services researchers, insights from key mental health stakeholders, and contributions from diverse experts in complementary fields, as relevant (e.g., behavioral and social science, health information and communications technology, health system engineering, decision science, bioinformatics, and/or data modeling). Describe how the Methods Core will stimulate additional research collaborations, identify future research directions, and ultimately boost the clinical impact, delivery, reach, and continuous improvement of suicide prevention practices. Detail how the Core's collective expertise will function to facilitate each of the following:

    Development of Research Projects: Detail how the Methods Core will facilitate the development and design of the Center's Signatures and Exploratory Research Projects. Describe how the Core will identify and apply scientific, technological, and methodological innovations and tools to facilitate the research enterprise (e.g., identify opportunities to rapidly refine/optimize intervention content and delivery; apply innovative approaches to study design, participant selection/engagement, ecologically valid assessment, and monitoring of study progress). Describe how the Core's efforts will accelerate delivery of convergent interventions and services in clinical and community settings (e.g., identify and test novel applications of emerging technologies, information science, systems engineering, and other approaches that can be used to seamlessly integrate research-supported strategies into routine practice).

    Operational Support to Research Projects: Describe how the Methods Core will provide expert conceptual, methodological, technical, and analytic statistical support to the Center's investigators. Describe the facilities and resources that will be available for conducting research projects of the Center, including (a) laboratories, research clinics, and/or community practice settings, (b) a Central Institutional Review Board (IRB), and (c) centralized clinical assessment and data management services. Present the plan for data collection, data quality assurance, and data management for Center projects presented in the Research Projects section, together with the plans for statistical analyses. If the research activities of the Center include clinical trials, describe the operational structures that will ensure good clinical practice as well as human subject protections.

    Generate Innovative Research Methods: Detail how the Methods Core will function as an incubator for innovative new methods (e.g., novel assessment and data collection strategies; innovative study designs; new analytic strategies, including computational approaches for leveraging large, complex data), including capacity and plans for addressing methodological barriers/challenges in suicide prevention research. Describe how the Core will facilitate opportunities for embedding common data elements and for harmonizing data collection and analysis across Center projects. Detail how the Methods Core will facilitate translational assessment approaches (incorporation of multi-level assessments and common data elements that can be feasibly incorporated in the effectiveness context (e.g., via mobile-/sensor- based assessments, computerized or task-based assessments, other low-burden assessments).  Describe plans to incorporate assessment of core constructs and domains of functioning (for example, though not mandatorily, via RDoC-like assessments). Provide the rationale for the selection of constructs/domains and social/environmental/contextual factors. Describe plans for integrating the assessments into the research strategy (including but not limited to plans to explore how constructs/domains of functioning relate to symptom presentations and course; to parse heterogeneity among individuals at risk; to explore potential moderators of intervention outcomes and identify potential variables that can be used to tailor more prescriptive interventions; to characterize mechanisms/mediators of intervention effects; to identify potential targets for optimized interventions). 

    Chart Future Research Directions: Describe the Core's role in generating new research opportunities that capitalize on the Center's transdisciplinary nature. Detail the Core's role in catalyzing, selecting, and rapidly implementing pilot studies proposed by Center collaborators, including trainees, junior faculty, and new investigators, during the 5-year project period. Describe strategies that will be used to monitor and incorporate emerging scientific, technological, methodological, and analytic innovations and to identify and engage new collaborators working in allied areas, such as adult learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, etc. Describe how collaborative activities among Core investigators and stakeholders will culminate in future projects and grant applications that build off of the Signature Project and the three Exploratory Research Projects.

    Dissemination of Methodological Advances and other Center-generated Resources: Describe how the Core will function as a national consultation resource beyond the Center collaborations. Detail the Core's role in facilitating the development and dissemination of research resources (e.g., new data collection/assessment approaches and analytic methods; web-based platforms for identifying and recruiting participants and accelerating research; data sets that can be shared for re-analysis/meta-analysis; other common-source materials (e.g., new methods and analytic strategies for mining and analyzing "big data" from large-scale data collection efforts, programming for technology-assisted approaches)).

    Evaluation of the Center's Research Productivity and Impact:  Describe how methodological and analytic expertise within the Methods Core's will contribute to a comprehensive and valid evaluation of the Center's progress, including evaluation of the Center's:

    • Research progress and impact (e.g., progress on the Signature Project, the three Exploratory Research Projects, and other pilot studies that may be proposed during the project period; success at: disseminating research results; developing and disseminating technological, methodological, and analytic innovations; identifying, integrating, and mentoring junior investigators; generating new interdisciplinary collaborations and new R01 research projects and grant applications).
    • Public health benefit (e.g., modeling the incremental benefit and potential public health impact of optimized interventions and service delivery approaches; quantifying the uptake of Center-generated prevention, treatment, and service delivery approaches; engaging new end-users and forming academic-stakeholder partnerships to implement research-supported strategies in clinical and community practice settings).

    Letters of Support: Include letters of support relevant to the Methods Core (e.g., letters from stakeholders who will partner to inform research topics, conduct research, and help ensure the research has external validity and utility).

    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. All information on the sharing of resources should be consolidated in the Administrative Core.

    Appendix:

    Limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Methods Core)

    When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials 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 a 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. 

    Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

    3.1 Protection of Human Subjects

    Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly.

    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.

    Signature Research Project

    When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Signature Research Project'.

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Signature Research Project)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Signature Research Project)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Signature Research Project)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Facilities & Other Resources:

    This section should also explain how available resources will contribute to the success of the project in the context of the overall goals of the Center.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Signature Research Project)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Signature Research Project)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Project Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • It is expected that each Research Project leader be at the forefront in the area of science proposed and have a successful record of bringing novel and significant projects to fruition as the principal investigator.
    • The Center Director must be a Project Lead of one of the projects (the Signature Project or one of the Exploratory Research Projects).

    Budget (Signature Research Project)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    The Project Lead(s) must commit a total minimum effort of 1.8 person months per year to each project. Multiple project leads are allowed for Projects. If there are multiple leads on a Project, the combined efforts of the identified project leads must total 1.8 person months per year. Do not include costs for staffing that are already included in the Administrative or Methods Cores.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Signature Research Project)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.    

    Specific Aims: The specific aims should provide a concise description of the aims the project.

    Research Strategy: This section of the application can be organized with the headers below for ease and clarity of review.

    Significance:  Describe overall goals and the impact of the science proposed in the project in relation to the state-of-the-art in the area of suicide prevention. This section should also explain the contribution of the project to the overall goals of the Center, how the project will interact with and benefit from other components of the Center and the appropriateness of the center approach and environment. 

    Innovation:  Describe the unique and innovative contributions that will be made by the research project. Explain how these contributions will synergize with the rest of the Center to achieve more than what could be achieved through an independent research project. Research projects should propose novel, transdisciplinary, convergent solutions to intractable suicide prevention challenges by integrating input from the diverse experts brought together in the Center.

    Approach: Signature research projects should constitute fully powered studies that address a significant problem that exemplifies the Center’s specific suicide prevention focus. The application should cite pilot data, from the investigator team's prior studies or from the extant literature, to support well-justified hypotheses and the overall approach. 

    The application should justify the scale and scope of the study in terms of:

    • power to definitively answer the primary question(s);
    • utility for addressing mediators and moderators of effects (e.g., whether the observed results differ across individuals from different racial-ethnic backgrounds; with different health literacy levels; with medical, mental health, or substance use comorbidities);
    • features designed to increase generalizability of findings to other settings,
    • potential for guiding practice decisions (i.e., inform decisions about whether to adopt and implement the optimized strategy or otherwise change current practices); and
    • plans for using the results, including data from exploratory aims, to inform future research directions consistent with the Center's goals.  

    The application should describe how the Signature Project leverages the Center's infrastructure to efficiently conduct a large-scale project that will advance the Center's suicide prevention mission.

    The application should describe how the assessment of suicidal behavior and related outcomes uses strategies that can facilitate integration and sharing of data as appropriate (see NOT-MH-15-009 and the PhenX Toolkit website for constructs and corresponding assessment strategies). Provide the rationale for the selection of suicide-related constructs and corresponding assessment instruments (e.g., measures of ideation, attempts), the time periods assessed (e.g., lifetime history, current), and the assessment schedule for administration (e.g., baseline, during intervention, post-intervention, follow-up), taking into account the nature of the target population, participant burden, etc. Address provisions for clinical management when suicidal behavior is reported. (This NIMH document provides resources on the conduct of research with participants at elevated risk for suicide with regard to safety and study design: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/funding/clinical-research/conducting-research-with-participants-at-elevated-risk-for-suicide-considerations-for-researchers.shtml).

    Signature Research Projects involving Clinical Trials:

    • Signature Research Projects might involve effectiveness trials that are focused on testing effectiveness of 1) optimizing preventive and therapeutic interventions, for use with the target population(s) in the identified community practice settings, or 2) innovative services interventions that target patient-, provider-, or systems-level factors in order to improve care quality, coordination, delivery, or scalability of suicide prevention services. The overall scope of research should be based on NIMH R01 research mechanisms for Clinical Trials to Test the Effectiveness of Treatment, Preventive, and Services Interventions (RFA-MH-701).
    • Signature Projects that involve clinical trials should be statistically powered to provide a definitive answer regarding the study intervention's effectiveness in comparison to usual care practices or alternative intervention/services approaches. The study should also be designed to address hypotheses regarding predictors and moderators of effectiveness and questions regarding the action of mediators and mechanisms that underlie clinical benefit. 
    • The application should justify the practical effect of the intervention or service approach in terms of the estimated hypothesized effect size (in terms of key outcomes, such as clinical benefit, safety/tolerability, value and efficiency, or scalability), compared with already available approaches. The application should address both (1) the empirical basis for the anticipated effect size (e.g., citing data regarding the magnitude of the association between the target and the clinical endpoint of interest and/or effect sizes obtained in prior efficacy studies), and (2) the clinical meaningfulness of the anticipated increment in effects compared to existing approaches.
    • The application should address the dissemination potential of the approach and detail plans to incorporate design features that enhance scalability and promote sustained fidelity, such as: consumer-facing technology (e.g., self-administered content); provider-facing or system-level technology (e.g., technology to support provider training and sustained implementation fidelity, automated assessment and dashboards to promote measurement-based care and quality monitoring); expert consultation (e.g., telehealth, ECHO model, collaborative care, or other sustainable approaches for expert consultation or supervision); and other design features that will ensure the approach is robust against threats to fidelity.   
    • Consistent with the NIMH experimental therapeutics approach (see NIMH Support for Clinical Trials), applications that propose studies that test the effectiveness of interventions or service delivery approaches should explicitly address whether the intervention engages the proximal target(s)/mechanism(s) presumed to underlie the intervention effects (the mechanism that accounts for changes in clinical/functional outcomes, changes in provider behavior, etc.). The applications should include the following, without duplicating information in the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information: 1) the conceptual framework that clearly identifies the target(s)/mechanism(s) and the empirical evidence linking the target(s)/mechanism(s) to the clinical symptoms, functional deficits, or patient-, provider- or system-level behaviors/processes that the intervention seeks to improve; (2) plans for assessing engagement of the target(s)/mechanism(s), including the specific measures, the assessment schedule, and the justification for the assessment strategy (e.g., evidence regarding the validity and feasibility of the proposed measures in the effectiveness context); and (3) a statistical analysis plan and corresponding power calculations for data analyses that will be used to examine whether the intervention engages the target(s) and whether intervention-induced changes in the target(s) are associated with clinical benefit (i.e., mediation). In the case of interventions that involve multiple components or strategies, the application should specify the conceptual basis, assessment plan, and analytic strategy, as detailed above, for the target(s)/mechanism(s) corresponding to each intervention component, as appropriate, in the effectiveness context.

    Alternatively, the Signature Research Project might include services research that is consistent with NIMH's suicide prevention priorities and the Center’s focus but is not focused on clinical trials that test services interventions. The overall scope of research should be based on NIMH R01 research mechanism for Innovative Mental Health Services Research Not Involving Clinical Trials (PAR-17-264 or any reissuance). Such research might seek to: 1) Identify mutable factors that impact access, continuity, utilization, quality, value, and outcomes, including disparities in outcomes, or scalability of suicide prevention services; 2) Develop and test new research tools, technologies, measures, or methods and statistical approaches to study these issues; and/or 3) Integrate and analyze large data sets (e.g., data from electronic health records, claims data, or other administrative data) to understand factors affecting service use, quality, and outcomes using sophisticated computational and predictive analytic approaches.

    The Signature Research Project should be directly linked to the Center’s primary suicide prevention focus and should follow the deployment-focused model of intervention and services design and testing that characterizes the overall Center. It is expected that these projects will have highly innovative cross-disciplinary linkages and high-risk/high-pay-off components designed to address the identified unmet mental health needs of the target population. The application should describe the feasibility of the proposed research study, the advantages of any new methodologies, potential pitfalls, and alternative approaches for the project and how these might impact on progress in the overall Center. 

    The application should describe the anticipated interactions between this project and other components of the Center and anticipated progress in the overall Center. 

    Letters of Support:  Include letters of support relevant to the project.

    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. All information on the sharing of resources should be consolidated in the Administrative Core.

    Appendix:

    Limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Signature Research Project)

    When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials 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 a 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.

    Section 2 - Study Population Characteristics

    2.5   Recruitment and Retention Plan

    Applications must include a single attachment that clearly describes the following information:

    Participant Recruitment and Retention Procedures:

    • Recruitment and Referral sources, including detailed descriptions of the census/rate of new cases and anticipated yield of eligible participants from each source;
    • Procedures that will be used to monitor enrollment and track/retain participants for any proposed follow-up assessments;
    • Strategies that will be used to ensure a diverse, representative sample beyond the information in plans for inclusion of women, minorities, and children;
    • Potential recruitment/enrollment challenges and strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls (e.g., additional outreach procedures, alternate/back-up referral sources);
    • Evidence to support the feasibility of enrollment, including descriptions of prior experiences and yield from research efforts employing similar referral sources and/or strategies.

    Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

    3.1 Protection of Human Subjects

    Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly.

    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.

    Exploratory Research Projects

    When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Exploratory Research Project'.

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Exploratory Research Projects)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Exploratory Research Projects)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Exploratory Research Projects)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Facilities & Other Resources: This section should also explain how available resources will contribute to the success of the project in the context of the overall goals of the Center.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Exploratory Research Projects)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Exploratory Research Projects)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Project Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • It is expected that each Research Project leader be at the forefront in the area of science proposed and have a successful record of bringing novel and significant projects to fruition as the principal investigator.
    • The Center Director must be a Project Lead of one of the projects (the Signature or one of the Exploratory Research Projects).

    Budget (Exploratory Research Projects)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    The Project Lead(s) must commit a total minimum effort of 1.8 person months per year to each project. Multiple project leads are allowed for Projects. If there are multiple leads on a Project, the combined efforts of the identified project leads must total 1.8 person months per year. Do not include costs for staffing that are already included in the Administrative or Methods Cores.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Exploratory Research Projects)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims: The specific aims should provide a concise description of the aims the project.

    Research Strategy: This section of the application can be organized with the headers below for ease and clarity of review.

    Significance:  Describe overall goals and the impact of the science proposed in the project in relation to the state-of-the-art of the field. This section should also explain the contribution of the project to the overall goals of the Center, how the project will interact with and benefit from other components of the Center and the appropriateness of the center approach and environment. 

    Innovation:  Describe the unique and innovative contributions that will be made by the research project. Explain how these contributions will synergize with the rest of the Center to achieve more than what could be achieved through an independent research project. Research projects should propose novel, transdisciplinary, convergent solutions to intractable suicide prevention challenges by integrating input from the diverse experts brought together in the Center.

    Approach: Exploratory Research projects proposed for Centers should be designed to yield preliminary data of sufficient quality to guide the design of future, more definitive investigations centered on optimizing the effectiveness of therapeutic or preventive interventions for suicide risk within well-defined target populations; organizing and delivering optimized suicide prevention services within clinical or community practice settings; or continuously improving the quality, impact, and durability of optimized interventions and service delivery strategies within diverse care systems.

    The application should detail how the Exploratory Research Project is designed to:

    • examine the feasibility of the research approach, (e.g., feasibility of: recruiting and retaining participants; implementing assessment and intervention protocols);
    • provide an opportunity to refine and pilot test the experimental protocols, including assessment protocols and, as relevant, the experimental intervention protocol (e.g., the manual for a psychosocial intervention, the dosing schedule for a psychosocial or pharmacological approach, the comparison intervention protocol and randomization procedures); and
    • yield pilot data necessary for informing next steps and for enhancing the probability of obtaining meaningful results in subsequent, well-powered studies.

    The application should describe how the assessment of suicidal behavior and related outcomes uses strategies that can facilitate integration and sharing of data as appropriate (see NOT-MH-15-009 and the PhenX Toolkit website for constructs and corresponding assessment strategies). Provide the rationale for the selection of suicide-related constructs and corresponding assessment instruments (e.g., measures of ideation, attempts), the time periods assessed (e.g., lifetime history, current), and the assessment schedule for administration (e.g., baseline, during intervention, post-intervention, follow-up), taking into account the nature of the target population, participant burden, etc. Address provisions for clinical management when suicidal behavior is reported. (This NIMH document provides resources on the conduct of research with participants at elevated risk for suicide with regard to safety and study design: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/funding/clinical-research/conducting-research-with-participants-at-elevated-risk-for-suicide-considerations-for-researchers.shtml).

    Exploratory Research Projects involving Clinical Trials:

    • Exploratory research projects might involve pilot effectiveness trials that are focused on 1) refining and optimizing preventive and therapeutic interventions, for use with the target population(s) in the identified community practice settings, or 2) development and preliminary testing of innovative services interventions that target patient-, provider-, or systems-level factors in order to improve care quality, coordination, delivery, or scalability of suicide prevention services. Exploratory Research Projects that test preventive, therapeutic, or services interventions should be modeled on the NIMH R34 Research Mechanisms for Pilot Effectiveness Trials for Treatment, Preventive and Services Interventions (RFA-MH-18-706).
    • The application should justify the practical effect of the intervention or service approach in terms of the estimated hypothesized effect size (in terms of key outcomes, such as clinical benefit, safety/tolerability, value and efficiency, or scalability), compared with already available approaches. The application should address both (1) the empirical basis for the anticipated effect size (e.g., citing data regarding the magnitude of the association between the target and the clinical endpoint of interest and/or effect sizes obtained in prior efficacy studies), and (2) the clinical meaningfulness of the anticipated increment in effects compared to existing approaches.
    • The application should address the dissemination potential of the approach and detail plans to incorporate design features that enhance scalability and promote sustained fidelity, such as: consumer-facing technology (e.g., self-administered content); provider-facing or system-level technology (e.g., technology to support provider training and sustained implementation fidelity, automated assessment and dashboards to promote measurement-based care and quality monitoring); expert consultation (e.g., telehealth, ECHO model, collaborative care, or other sustainable approaches for expert consultation or supervision); and other design features that will ensure the approach is robust against threats to fidelity.   
    • Consistent with the NIMH experimental therapeutics approach (see NIMH Support for Clinical Trials), pilot studies that test the effectiveness of interventions or service delivery approaches should explicitly address whether the intervention engages the proximal target(s)/mechanism(s) presumed to underlie the intervention effects (the mechanism that accounts for changes in clinical/functional outcomes, changes in provider behavior, etc.). The application should include the following, without duplicating the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information: 1) the conceptual framework that clearly identifies the target(s)/mechanism(s) and the empirical evidence linking the target(s)/mechanism(s) to the clinical symptoms, functional deficits, or patient-, provider- or system-level behaviors/processes that the intervention seeks to improve; (2) plans for assessing engagement of the target(s)/mechanism(s), including the specific measures, the assessment schedule, and the justification for the assessment strategy (e.g., evidence regarding the validity and feasibility of the proposed measures in the effectiveness context); and (3) analytic strategies that will be used to examine whether the intervention engages the target(s) and to conduct a preliminary examination of whether intervention-induced changes in the target(s) are associated with clinical benefit, as appropriate in the pilot trial. In the case of interventions that involve multiple components or strategies, the application should specify the conceptual basis, assessment plan, and analytic strategy, as detailed above, for the target(s)/mechanism(s) corresponding to each intervention component, as appropriate, in the effectiveness context.

    Other exploratory research projects might include services research that is consistent with NIMH's suicide prevention priorities and the Center’s focus but is not immediately focused on development and testing of services interventions. Such research should be modeled on the NIMH exploratory R34 mechanism for Pilot Services Research Grants Not Involving Clinical Trials (PAR-19-189) and might include studies focused on: 1) identifying and elucidating mutable factors that impact access, utilization, quality, financing, outcomes including disparities in outcomes, or scalability of suicide prevention services, to identify potential targets for future intervention development; 2) developing and validating of new research tools, measures, or methods; or 3) testing the feasibility of integrating existing data sets to understand factors affecting access, quality, delivery or outcomes of care; and 4) piloting strategies for learning mental health care system models as a means to enable practical studies of the value and effectiveness of suicide interventions and services.

    The content of all Exploratory Research Projects should be directly linked to the Center’s primary focus and should follow the deployment-focused model of intervention and services design and testing that characterizes the overall Center. It is expected that these projects will have highly innovative cross-disciplinary linkages and high-risk/high-pay-off components designed to address the identified unmet mental health needs of the target population. The application should describe the feasibility of the proposed research study, the advantages of any new methodologies, potential pitfalls, and alternative approaches for the project and how these might impact on progress in the overall Center. 

    The application should describe the anticipated interactions between this project and other components of the Center and anticipated progress in the overall Center.  

    Letters of Support:  Include letters of support relevant to the project.

    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. All information on the sharing of resources should be consolidated in the Administrative Core.

    Appendix:

    Limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Exploratory Research Project)

    When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials 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 a 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.

    Section 2 - Study Population Characteristics

    2.5   Recruitment and Retention Plan

    Applications must include a single attachment that clearly describes the following information:

    Participant Recruitment and Retention Procedures:

    • Recruitment and Referral sources, including detailed descriptions of the census/rate of new cases and anticipated yield of eligible participants from each source;
    • Procedures that will be used to monitor enrollment and track/retain participants for any proposed follow-up assessments;
    • Strategies that will be used to ensure a diverse, representative sample beyond the information in plans for inclusion of women, minorities, and children;
    • Potential recruitment/enrollment challenges and strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls (e.g., additional outreach procedures, alternate/back-up referral sources);
    • Evidence to support the feasibility of enrollment, including descriptions of prior experiences and yield from research efforts employing similar referral sources and/or strategies.

    Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

    3.1 Protection of Human Subjects

    Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly.

    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.

    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) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. 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.

    For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission go to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Electronic_Multi-project_Application_Image_Assembly.pdf.

    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) and component Project Leads 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.

    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 (SAM). 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.

    Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research

    Many NIH 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" (http://cde.nih.gov/) 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.

    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 - Overall

    Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the Center 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 Center proposed).

    Scored Review Criteria - Overall

    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 Center that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

    Significance

    Does the Center 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 Center 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? 

    How compelling is the justification for the Center’s focus and the overall significance of the program of research in terms of:

    • the target population (e.g., the number of affected individuals, the associated severity of symptoms or disability, and/or overall burden associated with unmet suicide prevention needs);
    • the therapeutic/preventive interventions or services that will be studied, including the potential for optimized intervention or service delivery strategies to substantially improve outcomes beyond existing approaches;
    • the potential reach and overall effect of embedding optimized approaches in the target clinical and/or community practice settings; 
    • the anticipated dissemination, adoption and sustained use of new approaches that can be achieved through partnerships with identified mental health stakeholders; and
    • the description of how the center-based, interdisciplinary approach will facilitate T2 translational research in a manner that cannot be accomplished by a collection of individual research project grants (i.e., how the whole is significantly better than the sum of its parts)?

    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 therapeutic 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?

    Investigator(s)

    Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the Center? 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? 

    Evaluate the proposed Center Director's record of leadership in the area of suicide prevention science and the Director's record of scientific achievements. To what extent does the Center Director have a proven record that demonstrates his/her ability to organize, direct, and administer complex projects? 

    Is (are) the proposed Research Project Leader(s) at the forefront in the proposed scientific area; to what extent do the Research Project Leaders have a successful record of bringing novel and potentially high-risk projects to fruition? To what extent do the Research Project Leaders bring complementary and integrated expertise to the overall Center? 

    To what extent do the Core Leader(s) have demonstrated competence in the area of suicide prevention science and do they have a record of interacting and working well with other investigators at their institution and elsewhere? 

    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?

    Innovation

    Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

    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?

    Approach

    Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the Center? Have investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?

    If the Center 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?

    How will the proposed research designs maximize the reliability and replicability of the findings? 

    Evaluate the quality of the plans for managing the Center's research and administration, fostering collaboration and efficiencies, ensuring appropriate prioritization of research, needed course corrections and problem identification and resolution. How likely are these plans to contribute to the effective, productive management of the Center as a whole? How will the organizational structure facilitate coordination and integration of Center activities and progress?

    To what extent does the overall approach take into account the perspective of relevant stakeholders/end-users and key characteristics of the settings that will implement optimized suicide prevention interventions and services in order to ensure that the resultant interventions and service delivery strategies are feasible and scalable and to ensure that the research results will have utility for end users? 

    Evaluate the quality of the plans for effective sharing of resources.  How adequate are the plans for sharing research resources (e.g., assessment and intervention protocols, software and/or programming for technology assisted approaches, data analytic strategies, de-identified data collected in research studies, etc.) with the scientific community?

    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?   

    Environment

    Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? 

    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 - Overall

    As applicable for the Center project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

    Milestones

    To what extent are the proposed milestones feasible, well developed, and quantifiable with regard to the specific aims for each project and core, and for the goals of the Center as a whole? What additional intermediate and overall goals, if any, should be monitored?

    Administrative Core

    To what extent is(are) the Administrative Core leader(s) qualified and experienced in the administration of a large, multi-component research program?

    Evaluate the provisions for pilot feasibility studies of 1-2 years duration that can be proposed by new or established investigators and the strength of the plans for soliciting, reviewing, and selecting pilot feasibility projects. How strong are the plans for outreach to relevant investigator audiences, including early-career investigators, to advertise Center opportunities for support for pilot feasibility studies; how likely is it that the outreach plan will yield strong applications?   How likely is it that the proposed plan for evaluating the merit of potential pilot feasibility studies will yield pilot projects that will position the Center investigators for subsequent research that advances and extends the Center’s overall program of research?

    Evaluate the plan for broadening the Center collaborations and expanding the suicide prevention research workforce through opportunities for Advanced Collaborating- and Emerging- Scholars, including investigators from diverse backgrounds.  Assess the plans for:

    •   Soliciting applications from candidates for Collaborating Scholar positions: How likely is it that the sources or venues from which candidates will be identified and the schedule and plans for outreach/advertising Collaborating Scholar positions will yield strong candidates?
    •   Vetting and selecting Collaborating Scholars: How likely is it that the proposed process for reviewing and ranking potential candidates and the criteria that will be used to identify Advanced and Emerging Scholars will identify strong candidates who have potential to contribute to research that is consistent with the Center’s focus.
    •   Training and mentoring Emerging Scholars: How likely is it that the proposed plans for matching Collaborating Scholars with mentors/collaborators will result in appropriate mentoring matches? To what extent will the proposed training activities (e.g., formalized mentoring, in-house/guest lecture series/webinars, meetings with potential practice partners from new community settings) provide early-career investigators with the background and requisite skills needed to pursue independent research careers in suicide prevention research?
    •   Facilitating Scholars’ participation in Center relevant research: How likely is it that the proposed opportunities to work with participating investigators, to propose and lead investigator-initiated pilot projects, and to capitalize on Methods Core support and other unique institutional resources will lead to meaningful research involvement for the Scholars?
    • Evaluating the Scholars’ progress/impact: How strong is the process for evaluating Scholars' progress at research training goals and research projects and for ensuring research activities are aligned with the Center’s suicide prevention focus?
    • Facilitating the Scholars’ ongoing involvement and success at suicide prevention science:  To what extent will the proposed experiences facilitate Scholars' collaborative publications, future collaborative efforts/projects, applications for new suicide prevention research project grants and/or training applications, and applications for faculty-level appointments to establish independent careers in suicide research?

    How likely is it that the plans for establishing partnerships with key mental health stakeholders – e.g., service users, family members, clinicians, payers – will help Center investigators identify unmet suicide prevention needs within the target population, develop and refine strategies for optimizing interventions and services, inform research topics, and maximize the external validity of the Center's research findings?

    How strong are the plans for coordinating the evaluation of the Center’s research activities and public health impact, with input from the Methods Core? To what extent will the evaluation plan be useful for iteratively refining the Center’s ongoing activities and informing plans for future collaborative research?

    Evaluate the quality of the dissemination plan and the potential to reach a broad and diverse audience.  How likely is it that the plans for developing and maintaining a website and overall plans for disseminating/sharing research-generated resources (e.g., data, analytic strategies, assessment and intervention tools) will advance research and clinical purposes?  To what extend will the proposed plans will promote dissemination of research results to both scientific audiences and to relevant stakeholders (service users, providers, policy makers)?   

    Methods Core

    To what extent will the qualifications, past performance (if applicable), and time commitments of the Methods Core Leader(s) contribute to the likely success of the Center? Evaluate the appropriateness of the expertise for carrying out the functions proposed for the core.

    • To what extent does the Methods Core integrate input from clinical and services researchers, insights from key mental health stakeholders, and contributions from diverse experts in complementary fields, as relevant (e.g., behavioral and social science, health information and communications technology, health system engineering, decision science, bioinformatics, data modeling, research design, and/or biostatistics)?  Will the collective expertise of the Core function as an incubator for innovative approaches and facilitate novel and convergent solutions to intractable suicide prevention challenges?
    • How likely is it that the plans for embedding common data elements and for harmonizing data collection and analysis across Center projects will promote data sharing and integration? 
    • To what extent will the Core help to promote translational assessment approaches involving multi-level assessments that can be feasibly incorporated in the effectiveness context (e.g., via mobile-/sensor- based assessments, computerized or task-based assessments, other low-burden assessments) in order to explore how core constructs and domains of functioning and social/environmental/contextual factors relate to risk and intervention response?
    • To what extent does the Core include expertise and describe strategies that will facilitate development and design the Center’s Signature and Exploratory Research Projects, and identify and apply scientific, technological, and methodological innovations and tools to facilitate both the research enterprise and accelerate delivery of interventions and services in clinical and community settings?
    • To what extent will the Core offer expert conceptual, methodological, technical, and analytic statistical support to the Center’s investigators?
    • To what extent does the Core offer facilities and resources that are appropriate and optimal for conducting Signature and Exploratory research projects, given the goals of the Center?
    • To what extent will the Core facilitate research via centralized functions (e.g., IRB review, clinical assessment, data collection/management, quality assurance, data analysis, good clinical practice/human subject protections)?
    • How strong is the capacity for generating research methods, identifying future directions, including pilot feasibility projects of 1-2 years duration proposed by center collaborators?
    • To what extent do the plans and structure allow the Core to incorporate emerging scientific, technological, methodological, and analytic innovations and identify and engage new collaborators working in allied areas?
    • How likely is it that the Core will function as a national consultation resource beyond the Center collaborations in order to disseminate methodological advances and other Center-generated resources?
    • To what extent is the Core's expertise be used to facilitate the Administrative Core’s efforts to evaluate Center progress by providing methodological and analytic expertise that informs a more comprehensive and valid evaluation of the Center’s research progress and public health impact?

    Research Projects

    For all Signature and Exploratory Research Projects:

    How does the project complement and contribute to the Center as a whole? How well is the project integrated with the scientific objectives of the Center?

    How qualified is the Research Project Leader; is the Research Project leader at the forefront of the area of science proposed? 

    To what extent is the project original and innovative? 

    For projects that involve clinical trials:

    • How well does the application justify the practical effect of the intervention or service approach in terms of the estimated hypothesized effect size (in terms of key outcomes, such as clinical benefit, safety/tolerability, value and efficiency, or scalability), compared with already available approaches? Does the application adequately address both (1) the empirical basis for the anticipated effect size (e.g., citing data regarding the magnitude of the association between the target and the clinical endpoint of interest and/or effect sizes obtained in prior efficacy studies), and (2) the clinical meaningfulness of the anticipated increment in effects compared to existing approaches?
    • Does the approach incorporate technology or other design features that enhance scalability and help guard against threats to implementation fidelity? If the approach is successful, will it be scalable, adoptable, and/or sustainable and could it be disseminated into practice given typically available resources (e.g., trained, skilled providers), typical service structures (including health care financing), and typical service use patterns?
    • How well does the study design address whether the intervention engages the mechanism(s) presumed to underlie the intervention effects (the mechanism(s) that accounts for changes in clinical/functional outcomes, changes in provider behavior, etc.)? To what extent does the application include (1) a well-supported empirical framework that clearly identifies the target(s)/mechanism(s); (2) well justified plans for assessing engagement of the target(s)/mechanism(s)(; 3) an appropriate analytic strategy that will be used to examine whether the intervention engages the target(s)/mechanism(s) and whether intervention-induced changes in the target(s)/mechanism(s) are associated with clinical benefit (e.g., through mediational analysis for fully-powered Signature Projects or through preliminary examination in Exploratory Research Projects)?

    For the Signature Project:

    • Does the application include an appropriately detailed and justified power analysis? Is the study powered to provide conclusive results? Are hypotheses well supported and justified with pilot data, as appropriate?
    • Evaluate plans to addressing mediators and moderators of observed effects.
    • How likely is it that the results will have potential to guide practice decisions (e.g., inform decisions about whether to adopt and implement the optimized strategy or otherwise change current practices) and inform future research directions consistent with the Center's goals. 

    For Exploratory Research Projects:

    • Evaluate plans to examine the feasibility of the approach and refine and pilot test the experimental protocols.
    • How likely is it that the project will yield preliminary data of sufficient scope and quality to guide the design of future, more definitive studies and to inform support the development of future research applications consistent with the Center’s research focus? 

    Study Timeline -Overall

    Specific to applications proposing 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)?

    Protections for Human Subjects

    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.

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan  

    When the proposed Center 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.

    Vertebrate Animals

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

    Biohazards

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

    Resubmissions

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

    Renewals

    For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

    Revisions

    For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

    Additional Review Considerations - Overall

    As applicable for the Center proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

    Applications from Foreign Organizations

    Not applicable

    Select Agent Research

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

    Resource Sharing Plans

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

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

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

    Budget and Period of Support

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by NIMH 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 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 National Advisory Mental Health Council. 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 of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see http://grants.nih.gov/ClinicalTrials_fdaaa/   

    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). 

    Prior Approval of Pilot Projects

    Awardee-selected projects that involve clinical trials, studies involving greater than minimal risk to human subjects, or foreign components require prior approval by NIH prior to initiation. 

    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 laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex.  This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS.  Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.

    HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.  For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.

    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.    

    In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award.  An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS.  The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”  This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

    Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

    Not Applicable

    3. Reporting

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

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

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

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

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

    Application Submission Contacts

    eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, 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)

    Joel Sherrill, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Telephone: 301-443-2477  
    Email: jsherril@mail.nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Nick Gaiano, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Telephone: 301-827-3420
    Email: nick.gaiano@nih.gov

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Tamara Kees
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Telephone: 301-443-8811  
    Email: tkees@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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