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 Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title
NINDS Efficacy Clinical Trials (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Required)
Activity Code

UG3/UH3 Exploratory/Developmental Phased Award Cooperative Agreement

Announcement Type
Reissue of PAR-18-422
Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
PAR-21-237
Companion Funding Opportunity
None
Assistance Listing Number(s)
93.853
Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage grant applications for investigator-initiated efficacy clinical trials to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The trials must address questions within the mission and research interests of the NINDS and may evaluate drugs, biologics, and devices, as well as surgical, behavioral and rehabilitation therapies. Information about the mission and research interests of the NINDS can be found at the NINDS website (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/).

Key Dates

Posted Date
May 19, 2021
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
May 25, 2021
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

The following table includes NIH standard due dates marked with an asterisk.
Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
June 25, 2021 July 26, 2021 September 07, 2021 * November 2021 January 2022 April 2022
October 13, 2021 November 12, 2021 January 07, 2022 * March 2022 May 2022 July 2022
February 09, 2022 March 09, 2022 May 07, 2022 * July 2022 October 2022 December 2022
June 09, 2022 July 08, 2022 September 07, 2022 * November 2022 January 2023 April 2023
October 11, 2022 November 10, 2022 January 07, 2023 * March 2023 May 2023 July 2023
February 09, 2023 March 09, 2023 May 07, 2023 * July 2023 October 2023 December 2023
June 09, 2023 July 10, 2023 September 07, 2023 * November 2023 January 2024 April 2024
October 10, 2023 November 09, 2023 January 07, 2024 * March 2024 May 2024 July 2024
February 09, 2024 March 11, 2024 May 07, 2024 * July 2024 October 2024 December 2024

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).

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

Expiration Date
May 08, 2024
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).

Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.

Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

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

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

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.


  4. Table of Contents

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage grant applications for investigator-initiated efficacy clinical trials to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The trials must address questions within the mission and research interests of the NINDS and may include studies of drugs, biologics, and devices, as well as behavioral or other types of interventions meant to prevent or treat disorders of the nervous system within the NINDS mission. This FOA uses the UG3/UH3 mechanism. Only projects that provide satisfactory progress in the UG3 phase may move to the UH3 phase.

Scope

(1) Scope of this FOA: NIH defines a clinical trial as "a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes." Note the following:

  • For purposes of this FOA, the proposed study should be intended to prevent or treat a neurological disorder.
  • An application involving a clinical experiment that is not directly intended to develop a preventative or therapeutic intervention is not suitable for this FOA. This would include, for instance, an experiment where the objective is to elucidate the pathogenesis of the disease or to identify potential therapeutic targets for future trials.
  • Under this FOA NINDS will accept renewal applications to request additional years or funds to complete the original scientific aims of the efficacy clinical trial.
  • This FOA will only support Phase 3 or Phase 4 clinical trials conducted to provide a definitive answer regarding the safety and efficacy of an intervention or to compare the effectiveness of two or more interventions. The proposed research must address a scientifically important question, provide valuable information to the existing knowledge base, and have public health relevance. The trial design should ensure that high quality, complete data regarding the primary outcome will be collected in the most efficient manner in terms of time, resources, and burden to subjects. Secondary outcomes should be included only when they are anticipated to provide important supportive or explanatory data. The necessity of each secondary endpoint must be justified in light of cost and burden. Pragmatic trials requiring minimal data collection and low cost per subject are encouraged.
  • This FOA also may be used for the submission of an adaptive trial utilizing a seamless Phase 2/3 transition where data from subjects in Phase 2 are included in the analysis of Phase 3.

(2) Devices: NINDS recognizes that devices can differ greatly in terms of basic form and function, physiological bases for therapy, degree of invasiveness, etc. Due to the broad scope of possible medical devices and the varied nature of the regulatory path, investigators considering applications to evaluate devices are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research staff as early as possible to discuss these issues and determine the suitability of their project for this funding mechanism.

(3) StrokeNet: NINDS has a network called StrokeNet specifically designed to implement multicenter efficacy trials in stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation (see http://www.nihstrokenet.org/). NINDS requires that all large stroke trials using five or more sites be considered for StrokeNet. Only under exceptional circumstances will NINDS consider funding such trials outside of the StrokeNet program (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-NS-14-043.html). An important advantage of StrokeNet is that it can provide clinical, statistical and logistical expertise in developing study protocols as well as a standing national network of experienced clinical sites prepared to enroll study participants.

(4) SIREN: NINDS supports the SIREN network which performs clinical trials that impact the care of the patient with a neurological emergency other than stroke in the pre-hospital or emergency department setting. NINDS requires that all such trials be first considered for the SIREN network, though the study PI may come from outside of the network. The study PI will work with the SIREN network to write the protocol and lead the operations committee for the trial.

(5) Study Rationale: The rationale for a clinical trial must be based on (i) an unmet medical need; (ii) a plausible biological mechanism; and (iii) robust supporting data, e.g., from non-clinical (in vivo and/or in vitro data) studies or preliminary clinical studies that demonstrate there is an adequate scientific foundation to justify the proposed trial. The scientific premise for the trial should be based on preclinical and/or clinical data from rigorously performed studies (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-103.html). If previous research does not meet the rigor criteria outlined to an acceptable degree, applicants should address how the current study design addresses the deficiencies.

(6) Project Stages: The implementation of an efficacy clinical trial should be divided into two stages stages that include the activities listed below. The first stage will be supported under the UG3 mechanism. Only studies that have satisfactorily met all of the milestones of the UG3 phase will be allowed to proceed to the full clinical trial.

UG3 Stage

  1. Development of data management system, case report forms and data dictionaries, incorporating applicable NINDS Common Data Elements (CDEs) and other NIH-funded CDE Projects (e.g. PhenX Toolkit);
  2. Development of tools for data and quality management;
  3. Enrollment, retention, plans to minimize losses to follow-up, and acceptable attrition rates;
  4. Development of recruitment and retention strategies
  5. Finalization of protocol, manual of procedures, consent forms, and data management plan;
  6. Finalization of statistical analysis plan (including interim analyses, if appropriate);
  7. Finalization of the study data sharing plan
  8. Protocol approval from Data and Safety Monitoring Board;
  9. Initiation of contracts and training of clinical site personnel (NINDS expects the initiation of all study sites to occur in the start-up stage; if a large number of sites is needed, a plan that describes how additional sites will be added after the initiation of the study should be included);
  10. Initiation of processes for including proposed international clinical sites, if applicable;
  11. Plans for site activation, execution of contracts and training of additional clinical sites, including any international sites, if applicable.
  12. Enroll at least one patient from each site.

UH3 Stage

  1. Complete enrollment and follow-up of all subjects
  2. Minimize losses to follow-up
  3. Register results with www.clinicaltrials.gov as per FDAAA 801 requirements: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/manage-recs/fdaaa
  4. Submit the primary publication within one year of completion of subject followup
  5. Provide a complete, cleaned, and de-identified dataset and any supporting documentation (including but not limited to the study protocol, statistical analysis plan, and data dictionary) required for the analysis of the data within one year of the primary publication or within 18 months of the last study visit of the last subject, whichever occurs first. See the NIH guidelines on sharing research data (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/) and the NINDS Procedures for Submitting Datasets (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Current-Research/Research-Funded-NINDS/Clinical-Research/Archived-Clinical-Research-Datasets).

Adaptive Designs: The use of innovative and efficient study designs is encouraged, such as adaptive dose-finding designs, designs incorporating plans for sample size recalculation, and futility designs.

Ancillary studies: Ancillary studies, defined as research undertaken to address scientific questions relevant to the parent study and that require access to data or records from the parent study, and/or involve collection of additional data, specimens, or records, are not permitted within the clinical trial application. Applicants are advised to discuss their ideas with Scientific/Research staff for direction on an appropriate funding mechanism.

Rare Diseases:

Trials in rare diseases are encouraged, particularly in conditions for which definitive outcome measures and prior data from natural history studies are available. It is recognized that available patient pools may not be adequate to meet the sample size requirements typically seen in efficacy trials in other disorders of the nervous system, and innovative trial designs, including crossover designs and adaptive designs, can be appropriately considered. Regardless of the design it is especially important to ensure that the study design and statistical analysis plans will meet the stated objectives,and allow for the most efficient evaluation of the limited subjects. The application should clearly demonstrate recruitment feasibility at the participating sites and applicants are encouraged to fully engage patient advocacy groups or similar representatives of the affected disease community in study design, execution, and reporting.

Applicants proposing studies to support a licensing application should contact the FDA to gain concurrence on the trial design. Applicants are also advised to contact NINDS Scientific/Research contacts early in the planning process.

Relationships with Patient Groups: Applicants are strongly encouraged to establish relationships with patient groups and solicit their input on recruitment, the clinical meaningfulness of the question under study, the relevance of the proposed clinical outcomes, and approaches to minimizing the burden on study subjects.

IRB documentation: IRB approval of the protocol and informed consent is not required at the time of application submission, but it is required prior to funding. As such, NINDS encourages investigators to begin these processes as early as possible. NINDS also will require documentation of any other necessary regulatory approvals (e.g., Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee) prior to funding.

NIH Resources: As appropriate, applicants are encouraged to make use of the following resources for clinical research including:

(12) Innovative Technologies: Applicants are encouraged to consider utilizing (at least experimentally) digital/mobile/sensor technologies and web-based systems to facilitate data collection (including data collection in a continual, contextual, real-world setting rather than through a traditional milestone-based approach), as well as to enhance protocol adherence.

(13) Consultation with NINDS: Applicants are encouraged to consult with NINDS Scientific/Research staff as plans for an application are being developed (see Section VII, Agency Contacts), and no later than 12 weeks prior to the anticipated application submission date (with the exception of the first receipt date).. This early contact will provide an opportunity to clarify NINDS policies and guidelines as well as to discuss how to develop an appropriate project timeline and milestone plan, which is subject to peer review. Scientific/Research contacts are also available to discuss strategies for recruitment and inclusion of women and minorities. Enrollment must comply with the NIH Policy and Guidelines on The Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (https://grants.nih.gov/policy/inclusion/women-and-minorities/guidelines.htm) and Inclusion Across the Lifespan(https://grants.nih.gov/policy/inclusion/lifespan.htm )

Funding period: The grant mechanism used to support this funding announcement is a cooperative agreement (UG3/UH3) mechanism with two phases. The initial milestone-driven planning phase (UG3) will last for up to 2 years, with possible transition to the clinical phase, as outlined below. Only UG3 projects that have met scientific milestones and feasibility requirements will be approved to transition to the UH3 phase. The UG3/UH3 application must be submitted as a single application. The UG3 phase will permit both scientific and operational planning activities. The UH3 phase of the award will support the clinical trial of the drug, biologic or device.

The UG3 Phase may not exceed 1 years

The UH3 Phase may not exceed 4 years

The total length of the project may not exceed 5 years

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

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed
New
Renewal
Resubmission
Revision

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.

Clinical Trial?

Required: Only accepting applications that propose clinical trial(s).

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

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

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

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Local 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)

Federal Governments

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

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

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

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

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

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations

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

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • 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, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

The clinical trial must be directed by PD(s)/PI(s) with experience in the conduct of clinical trials and expertise in the disease area. Such experience must be documented in the biosketch, including timely submission of primary publications from previous trials, ideally within one year of completion of subject follow-up. The application should also indicate the prior experience of other study team members in clinical trial design and implementation.

R&R Budget

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

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

Costs must be budgeted on a per-subject or per-procedure basis. Applicants should provide a breakdown of the total per subject costs as part of the budget justification and should indicate how the cost for an item or procedure was determined.

Applicants should budget for preparing a clean, de-identified dataset and data dictionary for submission to the NINDS. NINDS will serve as a repository for de-identified datasets.

Applicants should budget for the services of a Medical Safety Monitor (who should be independent of the study investigators) to provide timely reviews of Serious Adverse Events (SAEs).  Additionally, applicants should expect an annual one-day, in-person meeting of the NINDS-appointed Data and Safety Monitoring Board and should budget to allow up to 6 persons from the investigator team to attend. The travel expenses of DSMB members and the meeting room rental will be handled by NINDS.

If some trial costs are to be borne by sources other than NIH, these contributions must be presented in detail in the budget justification. These costs borne by third parties do not constitute cost-sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement and should not be presented as part of the requested budget.

The release of funds will be milestone-driven, according to milestones pre-specified in the Notice of Grant Award

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Significance and Biological Relevance: Describe the significance of the proposed efficacy clinical trial in the context of the status of therapeutics for the disease and the costs and benefits of the proposed study intervention. Discuss how the trial will test the hypotheses proposed and how the results of the trial (positive or negative) will advance the field.

Preliminary Studies: Present the major findings of the preclinical and clinical studies that led to the proposed efficacy clinical trial. Ensure that the data supporting the proposed trial meet the NIH scientific rigor guidelines (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-103.html). If the proposed trial plans to study the intervention(s) based upon preclinical mechanistic studies, summarize and reference the results from these studies. If preclinical data (e.g. animal studies) do not meet the rigor guidelines, the applicant should discuss the limitations of those data and any plans to address those gaps in knowledge through the current study design.

Approach: The summary of the proposed research should include:

  •  
  • Evidence that relevant stakeholders (e.g. potential subjects, referring and treating physicians, patient groups) have equipoise, view the question to be important and consider the study design to be acceptable.
  • A discussion of potential biases and/or challenges in the protocol and how they will be addressed.

Note that in order to increase the value of its funded research, NINDS will serve as a repository for de-identified datasets. The expectation is that a complete de-identified dataset containing all variables collected in the trial and a data dictionary will be submitted to NINDS for data sharing within an agreed upon timeframe, ideally within one year of publication of the primary outcome paper. Please refer to the NINDS website for details (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Current-Research/Research-Funded-NINDS/Clinical-Research).

Letters of Support: If there will be subcontracts or service agreements for personnel or facilities, include documentation of such commitments, co-signed by a business official and the investigator at the participating center.

If there are agreements with collaborating industry partners, include documentation of the agreements, co-signed by a business official and an appropriate official at the company.

If CTSA resources will be utilized, include letter of support from each site CTSA program officer concurring with the specific plan for using these resources.

If some trial costs are to be borne by sources other than NIH, include documentation of this support, signed by individuals who have the authority to make a commitment on behalf of the organization they represent.

Applicants are encouraged to include letters or other supporting documentation from patient organizations, professional organizations or treating physicians to show that patients and physicians believe the study question to be relevant, that equipoise exists, and that patients were included as partners in the concept development and design of the trial.

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 applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.
Appendix:
Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials (and when applicable, clinical trials research experience) follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

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

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

Section 2 - Study Population Characteristics

Design, Analysis, and Sample Size for Studies to Evaluate Group-Based Interventions:

Investigators who wish to evaluate the effect of an intervention on a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome may propose a study in which (1) groups or clusters are assigned to study arms and individual observations are analyzed to evaluate the effect of the intervention, or (2) participants are assigned individually to study arms but receive at least some of their intervention in a real or virtual group or through a shared facilitator. Such studies may propose a parallel group- or cluster-randomized trial, an individually randomized group-treatment trial, a stepped-wedge design, or a quasi-experimental version of one of these designs. In these studies, special methods may be warranted for analysis and sample size estimation. Applicants should show that their methods are appropriate given their plans for assignment of participants and delivery of interventions. Additional information is available at https://researchmethodsresources.nih.gov/.

2.5 Recruitment and Retention Plan

For a multicenter trial, applicants should survey the potential clinical sites to ensure that recruitment targets can be met. Present the survey results using a table where the rows represent potential clinical sites and the columns include responses to questions from the survey. The survey questions will depend on the nature of the trial and the protocol-specified screening procedures but might include these:

  •  
  • Has the PD/PI previously recruited patients with this disease into a clinical trial?
  • Does this site have all necessary equipment to complete eligibility evaluations?
  • If not, how far (in miles) will patients need to travel to complete eligibility evaluations?
  • What is the total number of patients seen at this site in the past 12 months?
  • How many of these appear to meet the pre-screening eligibility criteria?
  • How many of these are likely to be found fully eligible and consent to be enrolled?
  • Do the sites have an appropriate demographics to comply with the Inclusion of women and minorities NIH Policy?
  • Is there a clear plan for recruitment of diverse patients, based on the patient population seen at that facility or in the local community?
  • If applicable, are participants across the lifespan included in the target population?

2.7 Study Timeline

Applicants should provide detailed project performance and timeline objectives. The proposed milestones must include achievable goals for each stage of the project as follows:

For the UG3 Phase:

  1. Development of data management system and case report forms, incorporating applicable NINDS Common Data Elements;
  2. Development of tools for data and quality management;
  3. Enrollment, retention, plans to minimize losses to follow-up, and acceptable attrition rates;
  4. Development of recruitment and retention strategies;
  5. Finalization of protocol, manual of procedures, consent forms, and data management plan;
  6. Finalization of planned analyses (including interim analyses, if appropriate);
  7. Finalization of the study data sharing plan;
  8. Protocol approval from a Medical Monitor and/or Study Monitoring Committee;
  9. Initiation of contracts and training of clinical site personnel (NINDS expects the initiation of all study sites to occur in the start-up stage; if a large number of sites is needed, a plan that describes how additional sites will be added after the initiation of the study should be included);
  10. Initiation of processes for including proposed international clinical sites, if applicable;
  11. Plans for site activation, execution of contracts and training of additional clinical sites, including any international sites, if applicable;
  12. Enroll at least one patient from each site.

For the UH3 Phase:

  1. Completion of start-up activities (finalization of protocol, contracting of sites, registration in ClinicalTrials.gov, completion of any final regulatory approvals, etc.)
  2. Earliest possible enrollment date
  3. Enrollment of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the targeted sample size
  4. Completion of all study data collection
  5. Completion of primary endpoint and secondary endpoint data analyses
  6. Completion of final study report
  7. Publication of primary study results
  8. Reporting of results in ClinicalTrials.gov
  9. Submission of final public use dataset to NINDS
  10. If an adaptive design is to be used, indicate when adaptions will be considered.

Milestones and timelines will be refined and finalized in consultation with Program staff at the time of award.

Proposed milestones should be included for the entire trial, including any time beyond the five-year award. This information will be used for planning purposes and to support the rationale for the full trial but does not guarantee continued funding beyond the initial funding cycle.

Milestones and timelines will be refined and finalized in consultation with Program staff at the time of award.

.

Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

3.3 Data and Safety Monitoring Plan

Applicants should refer to the NINDS Guidelines for Data and Safety Monitoring in Clinical Trials (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Funding/Apply-Funding/Application-Support-Library/NINDS-Guidelines-Data-and-Safety-Monitoring) when developing their DSMP.

3.5 Overall Structure of the Study Team

Describe a Clinical Site Monitoring Plan including how site adherence to the protocol and consenting process will be ensured, who is responsible for site monitoring, the frequency of planned monitoring activities, and the plan for handling deficiencies. Also describe plans for training and, if needed, certifying site personnel to complete study procedures.

Describe a Data Management Plan including the methods and systems for data collection and quality control, and for ensuring data confidentiality and privacy, and the process for locking the final dataset and providing for data sharing. Describe the plans, if any, to use non-traditional data collection approaches (e.g., digital/mobile/sensor technologies and web-based systems) and why these are appropriate.

Describe the composition and role of any advisory committees.

Discuss the responsibilities, oversight and coordination of any centers or cores.

Describe any subcontracts or service agreements for personnel or facilities.

If applicable, include a statement regarding how Clinical and Translational Science award (CTSA) program (https://ctsacentral.org/) resources will be leveraged. Describe what CTSA services will be used at each participating CTSA site and how the use of the CTSA impacts the trial budget.

Section 4 - Protocol Synopsis

4.1. Study Design

4.1.a Detailed Description

As applicable, state how the following resources for clinical research will be utilized:

4.3 Statistical Design and Power

Applicants should provide a Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP) including details on the analyses specified in the study protocol, including a description of how the statistical analysis of the primary, secondary and other endpoints will be performed, how the sample size was determined, how missing data will be handled, plans for interim analyses for safety, efficacy and futility, plans for recalculation of the sample size midway through the trial (if applicable), etc. If computer simulations were used to investigate the operating characteristics of complex clinical trial designs (such as adaptive designs), to choose between alternative outcome measures, or to determine sample size, accounting for the impact of noncompliance, missing data, subject eligibility criteria, etc., sufficient details about the simulations should be provided if the SAP. It is particularly important to discuss the range of conditions that were considered in the simulation and why this range was considered appropriate, how robust the findings were across the range of conditions considered, and how the study will adjust for any design deficiencies (e.g., bias, loss of power) the simulations revealed.

4.5 Will the study use an FDA-regulated intervention?

4.5.a. If yes, describe the availability of Investigational Product (IP) and Investigational New Drug (IND)/Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) status:

If the study intervention is a drug, biologic, or device, applicants must provide documentation from the FDA providing information on one of the following scenarios:

(a) The protocol has been submitted under an open IND and the IND is not under full or partial hold. Under this scenario, applicants must provide documentation such as a "may proceed" email or letter from the FDA.

(b) The protocol has been submitted as an original IDE or as a new study under an open IDE, and FDA has fully approved the IDE or IDE supplement. Under this scenario, applicants must provide documentation of an IDE or IDE supplement full approval letter from the FDA.

(c) The protocol has been submitted under an IND and is on full or partial hold. Under this scenario applicants must provide full documentation from the FDA on the reasons for hold and the FDA recommendations. Applicants should discuss how they intend to address the hold issues and when they believe they will have FDA approval to proceed with trial implementation.

(d) The protocol has been submitted as an original IDE or as a new study under an open IDE, and FDA has conditionally approved the IDE or IDE supplement. Under this scenario applicants must provide full documentation from the FDA on the conditions of approval. Applicants should discuss how they intend to address these conditions and when they believe they will have FDA approval to proceed with trial implementation.

(e) The protocol is exempt from an IND. Under this scenario applicants must provide a copy of the exemption letter from the FDA.

(f) The protocol is either exempt from the IDE regulations or does not require IDE approval because it is determined to be nonsignificant risk. Under this scenario applicants must provide either an IDE exemption letter or a copy of the risk determination letter from the FDA.

Applications that do not include this information at the time of submission must indicate i) that it will be submitted subsequently and ii) when the regulatory documentation from the FDA is likely to be available. After the assignment of the application to a review group is visible in the eRA Commons, the applicant should contact the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) for that review group to discuss logistics for submission of the regulatory information. Applications that are not able to provide this information will be withdrawn and not reviewed. Prior to grant award, awardees who do not have an exemption from the FDA must provide any additional FDA correspondence regarding the status of the protocol to the NINDS, especially if the trial has been placed under full or partial hold.

Delayed Onset Study

Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

Foreign Institutions

Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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

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

4. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year

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

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy. Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

IRB Communications (Optional – 5 pages max). Submissions that exceed this limit will not be accepted:

  • This attachment should be entitled “IRB Communications.pdf”.
  • Applicants should submit relevant approval letters and associated attachments.
  • For projects requiring non-clinical testing to support an IRB NSR designation, preliminary communications (e.g., letter or other documentation) with the IRB indicating what non-clinical testing will be necessary to support the NSR clinical study

FDA Communications (Optional - 10 pages max):

Applicants should include a summary (1-page max) of interactions with the FDA, supported by the following associated and attached documentation):

  • approved minutes from all pre-submission meetings
  • notice of approval and any associated attachments
  • notification of risk determination
  • breakthrough device designation (if applicable)
  • 513(g) letter (if applicable)
  • communications on official FDA letterhead
  • email communications with substantive information regarding the review or outcome.

Prior to grant award, awardees who do not have an exemption from the FDA must provide any additional FDA correspondence regarding the status of the protocol to the NINDS, especially if the trial has been placed under full or partial hold.

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.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

Design, Analysis, and Sample Size for Studies to Evaluate Group-Based Interventions:

Has the application described   either (1) the groups or clusters which are assigned to study arms and how individual observations are analyzed or (2) the participants that assigned individually to study arms but receive at least some of their intervention in a real or virtual group or through a shared facilitator.

Has the applicationdescribed and supported the choice of trial designm such as a parallel group- or cluster-randomized trial, an individually randomized group-treatment trial, a stepped-wedge design, or a quasi-experimental version of one of these designs?

. Has the applicant described any special methods that may be warranted for analysis and sample size estimation. Does the application show that these methods are appropriate given the plans for assignment of participants and delivery of interventions.

A proposed Clinical Trial application may include study design, methods, and intervention that are not by themselves innovative but address important questions or unmet needs. Additionally, the results of the clinical trial may indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted or lead to new avenues of scientific investigation.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

  • If preclinical data (e.g. animal studies) do not meet the rigor guidelines, how well does the application discuss the limitations of those data? How well will the current study design address those gaps in knowledge?
  • How convincing is the evidence that equipoise exists in the medical and patient communities and the intervention is ready for clinical development?
  • Would the results of proposed trial change clinical practice? If so, how?
  • For Renewal applications to complete the aims of the original trial: Has the rationale or significance of the trial changed (e.g., recent relevant findings or new treatments that would alter the trial impact)?

Are the scientific rationale and need for a clinical trial to test the proposed hypothesis or intervention well supported by preliminary data, clinical and/or preclinical studies, or information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms? For trials focusing on clinical or public health endpoints, is this clinical trial necessary for testing the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of an intervention that could lead to a change in clinical practice, community behaviors or health care policy? For trials focusing on mechanistic, behavioral, physiological, biochemical, or other biomedical endpoints, is this trial needed to advance scientific understanding?

Investigator(s)

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

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?

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

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Has appropriate consideration been given to utilizing the NINDS Common Data Elements?

  • If an FDA-regulated intervention will be studied:
  1. Does the application document FDA approval to proceed with implementing this trial? Otherwise, if the trial is on full or partial hold, does the application make clear that the hold issues are readily addressable?
  2. How well does the application show evidence of involvement of patient groups in study design and recruitment plans?

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?

  • How well does the project leverage the use of existing NIH tools and other resources, including partnership with existing research networks?

If proposed, are the administrative, data coordinating, enrollment and laboratory/testing centers, appropriate for the trial proposed?

Does the application adequately address the capability and ability to conduct the trial at the proposed site(s) or centers? Are the plans to add or drop enrollment centers, as needed, appropriate?

If international site(s) is/are proposed, does the application adequately address the complexity of executing the clinical trial?

If multi-sites/centers, is there evidence of the ability of the individual site or center to: (1) enroll the proposed numbers; (2) adhere to the protocol; (3) collect and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion; and, (4) operate within the proposed organizational structure?

Additional Review Criteria

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

Study Milestones

  •  
  • Do the project milestones appear achievable for each of the two stages of the project?

Study Timeline

Specific to applications involving clinical trials
Is the study timeline described in detail, taking into account start-up activities, the anticipated rate of enrollment, and planned follow-up assessment? Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified? Does the project incorporate efficiencies and utilize existing resources (e.g., CTSAs, practice-based research networks, electronic medical records, administrative database, or patient registries) to increase the efficiency of participant enrollment and data collection, as appropriate?

Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?

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 project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

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.

If an FDA intervention will be studied, for renewal applications to complete the aims of the original trial, reviewers should also address the following under the approach criterion:

  1. Has the administration of the trial to date been appropriate?
  2. Has recruitment proceeded at the expected rate, and if not, are the plans to reach the desired sample size appropriate?
  3. Is the trial as designed and executed likely to achieve the stated aims?

Revisions

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

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

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

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

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

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NINDS, 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 will receive a written critique.

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.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

Individual awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by, the NIH and are subject to the IC-specific terms and conditions identified in the NoA.

ClinicalTrials.gov: If an award provides for one or more clinical trials. By law (Title VIII, Section 801 of Public Law 110-85), the "responsible party" must register and submit results information for certain “applicable clinical trials” on the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration and Results System Information Website (https://register.clinicaltrials.gov). NIH expects registration and results reporting of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/reporting/index.htm

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Recipient institutions must ensure that all protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

Data and Safety Monitoring Requirements: The NIH policy for data and safety monitoring requires oversight and monitoring of all NIH-conducted or -supported human biomedical and behavioral intervention studies (clinical trials) to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. Further information concerning these requirements is found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/data_safety.htm and in the application instructions (SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398).

Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption Requirements: Consistent with federal regulations, clinical research projects involving the use of investigational therapeutics, vaccines, or other medical interventions (including licensed products and devices for a purpose other than that for which they were licensed) in humans under a research protocol must be performed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug (IND) or investigational device exemption (IDE).

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Recipients, 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

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part75, and other HHS, PHS and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, and "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the recipient is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

  • NINDS reserves the right to terminate or curtail the study (or an individual award) under a range of scenarios including but not limited to (a) failure to implement the study protocol, (b) a substantial shortfall in subject recruitment, follow-up, data reporting and dissemination, quality control, or other major breach of the protocol, (c) substantive changes in the agreed-upon protocol with which NINDS does not concur, (d) reaching a major study objective substantially ahead of schedule with persuasive statistical evidence, (e) human subject safety or ethical issues that may dictate a premature termination, or (f) a change in the state of science that changes equipoise or has other significant impact on the relevance of the question.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

  • The Program Director/Principal Investigator will have the primary responsibility to define research objectives and approaches and to plan, conduct, analyze and publish results, interpretation and conclusions of their studies and for providing overall scientific and administrative leadership for the research project.
  • The PD/PI will oversee all aspects of the organization and execution of the studies outlined in the application and approved by NINDS after peer review.
  • Awardees have primary and lead responsibilities for the project as a whole, including any modification of study design, conduct of the study, quality control, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of publications, and collaboration with other investigators, unless otherwise provided for in these terms or by action of the primary leadership committee.
  • Awardees will be responsible for reporting recruitment data to the NINDS Recruitment Planning & Monitoring System (RPMS).
  • Awardees will be responsible for putting all study materials and procedure manuals into the public domain. Awardees are expected to publish and publicly disseminate results, data and other products of the study, concordant with governance policies and protocols. Publications and oral presentations of work performed under this agreement will require appropriate acknowledgement of support by the NINDS/NIH.
  • Awardees will be responsible for obtaining prior written approval of the NINDS Grants Management Specialist in consultation with the NINDS Program Officer for any change in any of the key personnel identified in the Notice of Grant Award.

NIH staff has substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

An NINDS Project Scientist will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the typical stewardship role in other awards, as described below.  In addition to the Project Scientist, an NINDS Administrative Program Director will be responsible for programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.  This stewardship will include detailed monitoring of trial progress and milestones as described below.  A third NINDS Program Official from the Office of Clinical Research will serve as the NINDS liaison to the NINDS appointed Data and Safety Monitoring Board.

The NINDS Project Scientist will:

NINDS reserves the right to terminate or curtail the study (or an individual award) under a range of scenarios including but not limited to (a) failure to implement the study protocol, (b) a substantial shortfall in subject recruitment, follow-up, data reporting and dissemination, quality control, or other major breach of the protocol, (c) substantive changes in the agreed-upon protocol with which NINDS does not concur, (d) reaching a major study objective substantially ahead of schedule with persuasive statistical evidence, (e) human subject safety or ethical issues that may dictate a premature termination, or (f) a change in the state of science that changes equipoise or has other significant impact on the relevance of the question.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

  • Have access to data generated under this Cooperative Agreement and may periodically review the data and administrative progress reports.  Program staff may use information obtained from the data for the preparation of internal reports on the activities of the study. However, awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to all data developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.
  • Serve as a resource to provide scientific/programmatic support during the accomplishment of the research by participating in the design of the activities, advising in the selection of sources or resources (e.g., determining where a particular reagent can be found), provision of research resources and reagents available from NINDS grantees and contractors, advising in management and technical performance, or participating in the preparation of publications.
  • Oversee the adequacy of adverse event management and reporting, and have regular communications with the PD/PI and study team, which may include attendance at the DSMB and related committee meetings.
  • Review the progress of the study, and of each participating facility, through consideration of the annual reports, site visits, screening logs, etc.  This review may include, but is not limited to, compliance with the study protocol, meeting enrollment targets, adherence to uniform data collection procedures, and the timeliness and quality of data reporting.
  • Monitor progress of study milestones; as with any award, continuation, even during the period recommended for support, is contingent upon satisfactory progress. Progress will be monitored by NINDS.  The schedule for these interim reviews will be based upon the duration of the clinical trial period.  Continuation of funding will be dependent upon the awardee’s ability to show adequate progress towards milestone accomplishment.
  • Compare, at each scheduled interim review, actual enrollment to the benchmarks and criteria identified in the application and negotiated prior to award.  Awardees who do not accomplish the negotiated milestones shall submit a milestone report which will include a discussion of why the milestones were not met in the agreed upon timeframe and propose a corrective recruitment action plan.  The corrective recruitment action plan shall include: amended milestones, plans to achieve the amended milestones and any additional items required by Program staff. The plan shall be provided to Program staff no later than 2 months following the missed milestone.  Studies in which recruitment milestones are not met as per criteria established pre-award, or for which regulatory approval has not been met within one year, and are unlikely to improve sufficiently to bring the study to completion within an acceptable budget or time frame, may be closed for lack of progress.  If NINDS or the awardee concludes that the study is no longer feasible, the investigator will be required to submit a close-out plan to NINDS within 2 months.  The plan must be approved and signed by the Institutional Officials and the PI/PD(s) listed on the awards prior to submission. 
  • The NINDS Project Scientist will serve on the primary leadership committee.  In addition, the Project Scientist, or other NINDS Program Officials, may serve on other study committees regarding recruitment, intervention, follow-up, quality control, protocol adherence, assessment of problems affecting the study and potential changes in the protocol, interim data and safety monitoring, final data analysis and interpretation, preparation of publications, and development of solutions to major problems such as insufficient participant enrollment.  The NINDS Project Scientist will have voting membership on the primary leadership committee and its subcommittees.
  • Each full member will have one vote.  Awardee members of the Steering Committee will be required to accept and implement policies approved by the Steering Committee. 

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

Continuation of Funding:

The award and administrative continuation of funding are subject to milestones to be specified in the notice of grant award according to NINDS policies (see NINDS policy for continuation of Phase 3 clinical trials (NOT-NS-10-009). The Terms and Conditions will include site activation and recruitment milestones, accrual goals for women and minorities (as appropriate) and any other identified requirements for completion of the approved research.

As with any award, continuation is conditional upon satisfactory progress, even during the period recommended for support. If recruitment falls significantly below the projected milestones at any time, the NINDs may consider ending support and implementing a phase-out of the award. The NINDS retains the option to obtain periodic external peer review of progress.

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)

Jeremy Brown, MD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9135 
Email: Jeremy.brown@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone:  301-496-9223
Email: nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Chief Grants Management Officer
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Email: ChiefGrantsManagementOfficer@ninds.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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