Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Neuroscience Research on Drug Abuse (R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project Grant

Announcement Type

Reissue of PA-13-338

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number


Companion Funding Opportunity

PA-17-112, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant

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


Funding Opportunity Purpose

Long-term misuse and chronic exposure to abused substances can produce widespread changes in brain structure and function. Although much progress has been made, additional research is still needed to identify the neurobiological changes that result from substance use, and how these changes contribute to substance use disorders. The overarching goals of the research areas described in this FOA are to understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying substance use disorders, with special emphasis on identifying changes and neuroadaptations that occur during dependence, withdrawal, and relapse to chronic substance use. An understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying substance use disorders can help to identify targets for prevention and treatment interventions. Research utilizing basic, translational, or clinical approaches is appropriate.

Key Dates
Posted Date

January 9, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

January 9, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

Any due dates on or after Jan 25, 2018 must use reissued FOA.

Standard dates apply , 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)

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

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

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date
New Date January 24, 2018 per reissuance of FOA (Original Expiration Date: January 8, 2020)
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow 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 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.

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

Substance misuse and addiction places a large burden on the nation’s health care systems and the economy, costing billions of dollars each year. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 or older, or about 8.1 percent of that segment of the population, needed treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) in the past year. Substance use often begins during adolescence, and its effects are more long-lasting and resistant to treatment than when initiation occurs during adulthood. Additionally, substance use often co-exists with other psychiatric disorders, can involve the use of multiple substances, and is more prevalent within certain populations such as those positive for HIV/AIDS infection and among individuals having chronic pain. SUDs are serious national health issues; understanding their neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms would enable us to develop strategies for effective treatment and prevention.

Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing neurobehavioral disorder that is characterized by the compulsive self-administration of chemical substances despite their negative consequences. NIDA-supported research has made significant progress in identifying the mechanisms of action, at a genetic, molecular, cellular, and systems level of analysis, for each major drug of abuse. In addition, there is a reasonable understanding of the changes that occur in the brain as a result of acute exposure to drugs. However, there remains a need to know more about the changes that occur during the different stages of SUDs: initiation of use, transition from volitional to compulsive use, abstinence, relapse, and successful recovery. Similarly, we need to understand how pharmacological, behavioral, or other therapeutic interventions affect the brain and which mechanisms the brain uses to protect itself from the deleterious effects induced by chemical substances. Finally, we currently have a limited understanding of individual differences resulting in differential susceptibility and resilience to SUDs. The research encouraged by this FOA should lead to improved understanding of SUD, its determinants and consequences, and potential treatment.

Research Scope

This FOA encourages basic neurobiological studies that use in vivo and in vitro model systems as well as studies in humans. Applicants are especially encouraged to include appropriate behavioral models and paradigms of behavioral components or stages of addiction in their research proposals, especially in response to chronic exposure to drugs, different drug administration regimens, withdrawal, or recovery. The subject of study can be at the level of a single protein or gene, neurobiological system, or the entire organism. Research may be conducted across multiple levels of analysis, and applications that incorporate changes over time and/or across multiple scales (e.g., gene to behavior, abuse to dependence, adolescence to adulthood) are sought. Multi- and inter-disciplinary studies are especially encouraged. Topics that would be appropriate to this FOA are described below, but they are not intended to be exhaustive or exclusionary.

Developmental Approaches

This FOA encourages the conduct of neurodevelopmental studies throughout the lifespan, such as:

  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Research that characterizes neural development and its interaction with abused substances during sensitive developmental periods, such as the peripubertal period
  • Research on the effects of abused drugs, and those that are potential treatments for drug abuse, on neurogenesis, cell differentiation, proliferation, migration and survival in young and adult animals, including assessment of consequences and reversibility of these alterations
  • Research during aging, particularly on interactions of drugs of abuse with therapeutic pharmaceuticals

Genetic, Molecular and Cellular Approaches

NIDA encourages the use of genetic, such as human genetics, molecular genetics, epigenetics, and pharmacogenetics, cellular and molecular approaches to identify and understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying addiction. Research may include, but is not limited to:

  • Use of genome or epigenome editing technologies to investigate neuroplasticity-relevant gene expression changes
  • Functional comparisons of populations of subjects with different gene dosing, whether naturally-occurring (such as comparison of different strain along a dimension) or manipulated experimentally
  • Mapping of gene variants in either animals or humans using linkage or association studies
  • Genetic and epigenetic screening and analysis of addiction variations and genetic mechanisms using novel cellular systems, such as induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived from samples from SUD patients or substance-using participants
  • Nucleosynaptic signaling studies to understand the mechanisms by which nuclear processes can influence synaptic structure and how synapses can signal back to the nucleus
  • Identification and validation studies for novel targets or ligands on neurons and glia
  • The use of patient- and disease-specific inducible pluripotent stem cells as a model system for the study of unique cellular and molecular events that occur in individuals with SUDs for the purpose of developing therapeutic agents or screening drug toxicity
  • Functional studies of novel receptor-receptor interactions (homo- and hetero- dimerization of receptor subunits, or receptor mosaics) and their response to drugs. Functional studies of the effects of novel receptor-protein interactions, including those with scaffold, RGS, kinase, arrestin, GPCRs, TRP ion channels, and PDZ proteins
  • Investigations into cytoskeletal regulatory processes and how they can influence processes relevant to substance use disorders
  • Development, characterization, and validation of organoid models to answer questions relevant to substance use disorders

Neural Circuit and Systems Neuroscience Approaches

Applications using neural circuit and systems-level approaches are encouraged. Of particular interest are studies that address how drug exposure and/or withdrawal leads to persistent changes that underlie relapse to compulsive use. These approaches might include in vivo or in vitro studies of normal and drug-exposed tissues from humans and animals to determine the effects of abused

substances on neurophysiology, changes in distributions of receptors, or delineation of circuits through the use of neuroimaging or neuromodulation techniques such as two-photon imaging, photoacoustics, adaptive optics, in vivo spectroscopy, genetically encoded activators/inhibitors, PET or MR imaging, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Such studies might include, but are not limited to:

  • Examination of the temporal course of the addictive process on dendritic spine development and retraction in na ve, drug-treated, and drug-withdrawn tissues within specific brain regions and circuits, especially in compulsively using animals and those in recovery, linked to their physiological and behavioral outcomes
  • Modulation of neural systems by the neurochemical environment, including steroid hormones and peptides, trophic factors and cytokines/chemokines
  • Use of systems-level approaches to understand the effects of drugs on the biology of glia and neurons
  • The interaction of abused substances with the neuronal-glial interface, the study of glial-derived inflammatory and protective factors (neuroimmunology), and the linkage of the anatomy and physiology with outcomes
  • Comparison of the neural circuits and behaviors that are central to non-drug reward processes with those directly linked to drug-induced reward
  • Drug-induced modifications of glia that impact the function of the neural circuit, including synaptic excitability, alterations of neurotransmission, or the formation of synapses and/or synaptic elements such as spines
  • Investigation of brain regions or processes that underlie avoidance learning including those involved in behaviors and cognitive strategies maintained by negative reinforcement
  • Investigation of individual differences in neural circuitry underpinning SUD-related behavior and outcomes, including studies to understand the neurobiology underlying important risk factors for drug use and addiction (e.g., stress, impulsivity)
  • Resting state functional connectivity studies examining specific SUD-related neural circuits or large-scale network function in the context of SUDs, including those that predict SUD-related behavior and clinical outcomes
  • Modulation of SUD-related circuits using non-invasive brain stimulation to investigate neural mechanisms underlying cognition, behavior, and clinical outcomes relevant to substance use disorders
  • Studies investigating gene environment interaction effects on SUD-related behavior and neural circuitry
  • Studies that further investigate hemispheric asymmetries in cognitive function, neurocircuitry, neurotransmitter concentration, and neuronal activation relevant to drug use and addiction
  • Studies of the relationship between glymphatics, circadian rhythm, and/or sleep on aspects of SUDs such as craving, relapse, susceptibility or resilience
  • Studies employing novel genetic tools to map circuits critical to the understanding of SUDs. These may include tools such as spatial-temporal, or conditional knockouts, receptor- or subtype-selective antagonists that can demonstrate conclusively the site, developmental stage, and the receptor type(s) involved in the action of drugs of abuse

Behavioral Approaches

NIDA is committed to supporting behavioral neuroscience research on SUDs, conducted with human participants or using animal models that best mimic the complexity of the human condition. Research may include, but are not limited to:

  • The study of behavioral or cognitive processes (e.g., learning, memory, emotion), and their neurobiological mechanisms, as variables contributing to substance use initiation, escalation, maintenance, abstinence, or relapse
  • Characterization of transition points and stages in the development of SUDs, including the use of biomarkers or other neurobiological signatures that predict transition to more compulsive patterns of intake
  • Behavioral and neurobiological phenotyping to characterize patterns of vulnerability and resilience; to identify propensity for transition to more compulsive patterns of behavior and responsivity to interventions (i.e., malleability in SUD trajectories)
  • Vulnerability phenotyping that considers complex patterns or constellations of individual differences across multiple dimensions (e.g., cognitive processes, drug sensitivity, response to environmental stimuli including social stimuli, reward reactivity, punishment sensitivity) and levels of analysis (e.g., individual differences at genetic or neurobiological levels)
  • Influences on decision-making, risk-taking, attention or higher order executive functions involved in SUDs, including interactions with emotional processing involved in top-down or bottom-up control
  • Use and development of refined measures of behavioral choice in complex environments in preclinical models that mimic the human phenomenology of SUDs (e.g., value assessments, probability, flexibility, economic trade-off), including models of compulsive behaviors and behavioral dysregulation
  • Testing of environmental, behavioral or pharmacological manipulations that leverage potential treatment or prevention targets in all phases of drug taking behavior seen in the progression to development of SUDs, and identification of mechanisms of action
  • Investigation of individual differences in the role of negative affective processes and their associated neurobiological substrates to the progression through phases of abuse to the development of SUD

Development of Tools and Reagents for the Study of Substance Use

The study of the genetic, molecular, cellular, behavioral, and circuit-based mechanisms involved in SUDs, and the development of associated therapeutic strategies, will benefit from method, tool, and reagent development research and approaches as well. There is a need for:

  • Improved neuroimaging techniques as well as novel, innovative molecular probes/ligands for receptors, transporters, enzymes, and other neurobiological targets that permit non-invasive deep imaging of neuronal activity at the level of the single cell
  • Development and application of genetically encoded voltage sensors to map neural activity with circuits involved in SUDs and neuroplasticity
  • Development and use of high throughput screening methods and application of associated technologies to discover new endogenous ligands and critical biomarkers of known drug effects
  • Development of innovative technologies in the service of behavioral and neurobiological assessments and the assessment of novel therapeutic regimens aimed at producing favorable neuroadaptations
  • Classification of cell types by genetic and/or protein complement and activity before and after chronic exposure to/withdrawal from abused substances or therapeutics aimed at mitigating drug use
  • Single cell analysis-based approaches to study heterogeneities of the neurons that form identified circuits that underlie learning and motivation
  • Development of novel cellular and behavioral screens that predict treatment the response to potential medications for SUDs

Computational Modeling and Secondary Data Analysis

  • Development of computational models of neural function in the presence and absence of drug to integrate structural and behavioral neurobiology
  • Development of computational models of network-level neural function and connectivity in the context of substance use disorders0
  • Methods for analyzing and interpreting large data sets (preclinical and clinical data) related to substance abuse and its treatment using big data analytical tools
  • Secondary data analysis of molecular, preclinical, and clinical data

Additional Areas of Interest

HIV/AIDS and SUDs: There is a need to characterize the interactions and synergies of addictive drugs with the functional and structural alterations and neuroadaptations within the central nervous system produced by HIV-1 infection that cause the development and expression of neuroAIDS. This includes studies that examine the role of substance use in exacerbating the pathophysiology underlying HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND). Additionally, research to develop methods and approaches that protect and potentially repair neurons damaged or dysregulated by exposure to combined HIV-1 infection and drugs of abuse, anti-retroviral therapies (ARTs), and/or host inflammatory factors, is needed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include relevant animal behavioral models or study substance abusing populations in their research proposals.

Chronic Pain: Studies are needed that aim at understanding the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of chronic pain and its treatment by opioid analgesics. Research might include the study of the changes that occur in response to chronic pain and exposure to its treatment; mechanisms that underlie the sex differences in the response to chronic pain; and the development of non-addicting analgesics for the control of chronic pain. For example, the development of non-opioid analgesics or analgesic approaches that combine different classes of drugs with opiates to reduce opioid abuse liability would be of interest.

Psychiatric Comorbidity and Polysubstance Abuse: The high incidence of comorbidity between SUDs and other psychiatric disorders, or the concurrent misuse of multiple substances by individuals, are well documented. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying these associations remain poorly understood. Preclinical and clinical studies could further our understanding of the extent to which these disorders do or do not share a common neurobiological etiology. Research is encouraged that incorporate comorbidity behavioral models or models of polysubstance use to discern the neurophysiological and neural circuitry similarities and differences between these co-occurring disorders.

Special Considerations

National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Recommended Guidelines for the Administration of Drugs to Human Subjects: The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) recognizes the importance of research involving the administration of drugs with abuse potential, and dependence or addiction liability, to human subjects. Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain and review these recommendations of Council before submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects. The guidelines are available on NIDA's Web site at

Points to Consider Regarding Tobacco Industry Funding of NIDA Applicants: The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) encourages NIDA and its grantees to consider the points it has set forth with regard to existing or prospective sponsored research agreements with tobacco companies or their related entities and the impact of acceptance of tobacco industry funding on NIDA's credibility and reputation within the scientific community. Please see for details.

Data Harmonization for Substance Abuse and Addiction via the PhenX Toolkit: NIDA strongly encourages investigators involved in human-subjects studies to employ a common set of tools and resources that will promote the collection of comparable data across studies and to do so by incorporating the measures from the Core and Specialty collections, which are available in the Substance Abuse and Addiction Collection of the PhenX Toolkit ( Please see NOT-DA-12-008 ( for further details.

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


The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

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 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 in response to 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)


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


  • 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 not 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) (formerly CCR) 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 and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or registration. 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.
  • Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the 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

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms 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 Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

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.


Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

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

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

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 (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 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 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 Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. 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.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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


Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? 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?


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?


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


Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators 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 children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?


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

Additional Review Criteria

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

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six 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 six 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 Children

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 children 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.


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


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


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


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

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 (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 Center for Scientific Review in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see; and Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at

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 progress report, 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 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 registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free) Customer Support (Questions regarding registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Roger Sorensen, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301- 443-3205

Peer Review Contact(s)

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

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Yinka Abu
National Institution on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-827-6691

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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