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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Continuation of Existing Grant Based Epidemiology Cohort Studies in Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Diseases and Disorders (U01-Clinical Trials Not Allowed)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type


Related Notices
  • August 23, 2019 - Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137.
  • July 26, 2019 - Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-128.
  • November 26, 2018 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Updates to Application Instructions and Review Criteria for Research Grant Applications. See Notice NOT-OD-18-228.
  • January 16, 2018 - Correction to the Application Forms Package issued for PAR-17-338. See Notice NOT-HL-18-581.
  • NOT-OD-18-009 - Reminder: FORMS-E Grant Application Forms and Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018.
  • September 28, 2017 - Notice of Update to PAR-17-338. See Notice NOT-HL-17-547 .
  • September 20, 2017 - Updates to Active Funding Opportunity Announcements to Prepare for Policy Changes Impacting Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018. See NOT-OD-17-114.
  • September 19, 2017 - Notice of Frequently Asked Questions for PAR-HL-17-338. See Notice NOT-HL-17-541.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number


Companion Funding Opportunity


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

93.837, 93.838, 93.839, 93.233, 93.840

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 21, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

January 22, 2018

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

February 22, 2018, February 21, 2019, February 20, 2020, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June 2018, June 2019, June 2020

Advisory Council Review

October 2018, October 2019, October 2020

Earliest Start Date

January 2019, January 2020, January 2021

Expiration Date
New Date January 9, 2020 per issuance of NOT-HL-19-474. (Original Expiration Date: February 21, 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


The NHLBI has dedicated a considerable investment in support of observational population studies. These studies have helped advance fundamental insights into key lifestyle and genetic determinants of heart, lung, blood and sleep related health outcomes. NHLBI recognizes that observational cohorts are a valuable resource that benefit the entire health community. The goal of this program is to support the necessary infrastructure to continue ongoing longitudinal follow-up of study participants and to conduct a basic content exam and/or data collection cycle. By creating stable funding for cohort infrastructure and maintenance for an extended project period (up to seven years), it is anticipated that the research community will have greater freedom to submit investigator-initiated grant applications proposing additional data collection content that address innovative hypotheses. This FOA provides an opportunity for NHLBI to support cohort infrastructure as a platform for investigator-initiated innovative hypotheses and is being implemented in response to one of the recommendations of a working group comprised of members from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council and Board of External Experts in 2013 to implement a competitive peer review–based model for its portfolio of large epidemiologic and population studies (Roger VL et al, Am J. Epidemiol 2015;181(6):363-367).


The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support reseach projects that will provide follow-up data collection and study maintenance activities of existing epidemiology cohorts that are prospectively following at least 2,000 participants. Through this FOA, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will support the planning and operation of a basic content exam or data collection cycle, and ascertainment and/or adjudication of events of clinical significance. The primary goal of this FOA is to maintain and maximize investments in existing prospective cohorts by supporting the identification of relevant outcome events and the infrastructure needed to facilitate new innovative research opportunities.


Types of Eligible Cohorts

Eligible cohorts must be prospectively following at least 2,000 participants and must be established to assess a broad array of exposures such as the confluence of diet, exercise, therapies, environmental, behavioral, and biological factors for development and/or progression of outcomes of interest. The cohort does not have to be currently funded by the NHLBI. However, planned activities to maintain the cohort must be relevant to NHLBI's mission to advance knowledge, methods, or prevention strategies in heart, lung, blood, or sleep diseases or disorders. Support through this FOA is intended for the following cohort types:

  • Epidemiological cohorts predominantly focused on U.S. populations and based on defined population groups (e.g., racial or ethnic minorities, geographic area, adolescents, families) or disease/disorder focused (e.g., participants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, adolescents with asthma, participants with cardiomyopathies, participants with hemoglobin disorders).
  • Cohorts established through either solicited or unsolicited awards, or through independent funding sources (e.g., industry, foundations).

Basic Content Exam and/or Data Collection Cycle

This FOA will support applications that propose to provide a basic content exam and/or data collection cycle that can serve as a foundation for concurrent innovative research hypotheses. The basic content exam and/or data collection components will ultimately depend on the nature of the prospective cohort. Potential content would include data elements fundamental to study objectives, such as demographics, anthropometry, blood pressure, smoking history, clinical characteristics and basic diagnostic information (e.g., functional status), co-morbidities (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and lifestyle factors (e.g., body mass index, smoking, alcohol use).

Supported Research Activities

In addition to the basic content exam and/or data collection cycle, supported study activities conducted within the scope of this FOA include, but are not limited to:

  • Retention and follow-up (active and/or passive) of enrolled participants
  • Ascertainment of events of clinical significance through medical record review or vital records searches
  • Activities related to the efficient planning and operation of cohorts to maximize their potential to respond to future scientific needs
  • Maintenance of data and biospecimen repositories, study operations, and facilitation of collaborations among investigators
  • Biospecimen collection, storage, and management
  • Data management, and administrative and communication tasks

Estimated Study Timeline

Awards made under this FOA have the opportunity for extended project periods (up to seven years) to accommodate the grant submission and funding process for ancillary content. The estimated timeline is provided below. The estimated timeline does not specifically address ongoing activities such as continued follow-up involving participant contact, cohort surveillance to capture events of clinical significance, or maintenance and distribution of data and stored biospecimens as these activities take place throughout the project period.

Year One and Two

Following notification of award, the first year will be dedicated to protocol and consent document development for the basic content exam/data collection cycle, finalization of the protocol and consent documents, submission and approval of protocol and consent documents to the IRB(s), site staff preparation, and site facility preparedness. To accommodate the NIH grant submission process for novel, ancillary content (described below under ancillary research), approximately 18 months will be allotted to allow ancillary content to be approved through internal study processes and provide the scientific community sufficient time to prepare grant applications and, if needed, resubmission applications.   

Year Three through Five

Examination of the cohort may take one to three years depending on the size and nature of the cohort. It is anticipated that the basic content exam/data collection cycle, along with collection of approved content from ancillary studies, will begin during year three.

Year Six

It is anticipated that during year six of the funding cycle, quality control and cleaning of the basic content exam/data collection cycle as well as quality control, cleaning, and integration of ancillary content into main study databases will take place.

Year Seven 

The value of cohort studies builds over time with accumulation of longer surveillance for clinical outcomes, integration of novel exam components and expansion of investigator collaboration. The proposed timeline will allow investigators a year or more (maximum study years six and seven) to demonstrate productivity and justification for continuing the study prior to submitting a renewal application. Epidemiological cohort studies are typically long-running studies, and the extended project period will prevent disassembly of study infrastructure and provide for continued cohort surveillance during the final year of the award.

Ancillary Research

As an adjunct to the activities supported under this FOA,  NHLBI intends to publish a Notice(s) in the NIH Guide announcing approximate dates of the basicexamination and/or data collection cycle for each cohort funded under this FOA, thereby announcing an opportunity for researchers to submit investigator-initiated grant applications proposing additional exam components that address innovative hypotheses.

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


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

Clinical Trial?

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

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

NHLBI expects to fund 3 awards (1 award per application due date).  As a guidance, applicants may requesttotal costs of up to $3,000,000 in FY 2019, $6,000,000 in FY 2020, $9,000,000 in FYs 2021 through 2025, $6,000,000 in FY 2026 and $3,000,000 in FY 2027.

Award Budget

As a guidance, application budgets may not exceed $1.95 million in direct costs per year in fiscal years 2019 through 2027.

Application budgets should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is 7 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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

For-Profit 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  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.

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:

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.

Letter of Intent

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Director, Office of Scientific Review
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Telephone: 301-435-0270

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.

Facilities and Other Resources: As appropriate, describe available resources such as clinical and laboratory facilities, geographic distribution of space and personnel, and resources relevant to the effective implementation of the basic content exam/data collection cycle and the maintenance and follow-up of existing prospective epidemiology cohort participants.

Other Attachments: The attachments listed below must be completed and attached or the application will not be peer reviewed, with the exception of the "Biospecimen Plan", which must only be provided if applicable.

1. Cohort History

A description of the cohort's history and research program must be provided as an attachment using the filename "Cohort History.pdf" and may not exceed 4 pages. Provide details for each bullet below:

2. Biospecimen Plan (Optional)

If applicable, a Biospecimen Plan should be provided as an attachment using the filename "Biospecimen Plan.pdf" and may not exceed 5 pages. The Biospecimen Plan must describe how study biospecimens will be collected, managed, analyzed, and stored. Applicants must describe biospecimen storage facilities, and plans for maintenance and organization of existing and future biospecimens. Describe plans for adherence to Good Laboratory Practices (GLP). Opportunities to leverage institutional resources should be detailed, if applicable.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

Biographical Sketch: The experience with epidemiological cohort studies for proposed PD(s)/PI(s) must be described, specifically documenting their respective abilities to organize and manage a cohort study and related activities.

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: 

Specific Aims: Provide Specific Aims for the enhancement and/or maintenance of the cohort infrastructure as well as research proposed in the application.

Research Strategy:

The Research Strategy must discuss the overall approach to coordinate and administer the cohort. Plans for study management, oversight of regulatory responsibilities, and maintenance of data should be described. Applicants must specifically address:

Coordination and Administration of the Cohort

Cohort Design and Relevance to the NHLBI

Letters of Support: A statement of commitment from each participating institution or organization must be provided. If parts of the study are to be provided by sources other than the NHLBI, provide Letter(s) of Support signed by an authorized representative. If an application is received without Letter(s) of Support, it will be returned without review.

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

Data collected under this FOA, along with previously collected data, are expected to be widely shared through the NHLBI data repository and/or other NIH-designated repository. Metadata, protocols, manuals of procedures, algorithms for calculated data elements, and other documentation necessary to describe the study and resultant data to investigators not affiliated with the study are also expected to be widely available. Applications should detail how data generated from studies ancillary to the parent cohort will be shared.


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 Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

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

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

Section 2 - Study Population Characteristics

Recruitment and Retention Plan

Specific to this FOA: Include a description of participant retention at the most recent examination or data collection cycle.

Study Timeline

Specific to this FOA:  A study timeline is required. Provide a summary of the milestones of the overall study. If funding support for the next renewal is not secured prior to the end of the project period, a description of close-out activities is required. The study timeline must include key milestones, a description of the key milestone, and the elapsed time from receipt of award to the key milestone.

Milestones may include, but are not limited to, the following: IRB approval(s), finalized protocols and informed consent/assent document(s), operations manuals, basic content exam/data collection participant recruitment targets, integration of ancillary content, and database cleaning/lock for analysis.

Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

Overall Structure of the Study Team

Specific to this FOA: The Overall Structure of the Study Team attachment is required.  Applicants must provide, but are  not limited to, the following:

Delayed Onset Study

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

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

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

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 20 weeks to schedule a consultation 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.

The NHLBI anticipates that all applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will be subject to the NIH policy that requires investigator-initiated applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any one year to obtain documented approval from the NHLBI. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the NHLBI's policy regarding applications with direct costs of $500,000 or more in any one year ( to learn more about the pre-submission review process, including required content in the Letter of Request. Following the consultation, formal Letters of Request are required no later than 14 weeks prior to the deadline for application submission.

Granting permission to submit the application for review does NOT guarantee that the NHLBI will fund the application or that it will fund the application at the requested levels, regardless of the outcome of peer review.

Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research

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

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information

Important Update: See NOT-OD-18-228 for updated review language for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.

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?

       In addition, specific to this FOA:

How will maintenance and follow-up of the proposed cohort advance scientific knowledge, methods, or prevention strategies in heart, lung, blood, or sleep disorders? How will continuation of the cohort address a broad research agenda? How will maintenance and follow-up of the cohort address current research needs in heart, lung, blood, or sleep disorders?


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

       In addition, specific to this FOA:

What are the strengths in the research team's accomplishments in managing the epidemiological cohort study? How will the applicant's plan to promote collaboration and outreach efforts with the proposed team and/or with other investigators enhance the productivity of the study? 


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

       In addition, specific to this FOA:

What are the strengths and potential weaknesses of the innovative approaches to the facilitation of data collection or data management of the cohort? 


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?

       In addition, specific to this FOA:

What are the strengths and potential weaknesses in the research strategy for addressing the needs of the research program and cohort that it will support? How appropriate are the proposed outcomes for the cohort? How will the cohort management and organization plan ensure the rigorous oversight and coordination of cohort activities and sites? How will the follow-up rates and/or prior cycles of examination/data collection response rates facilitate meeting the research agenda of the cohort? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed basic examination/data collection cycle as a platform for ancillary content? How effective are plans for continued longitudinal follow-up of cohort participants? How will meeting the study milestones and timeline ensure achieving the research aims? If applicable, have the investigators proposed reasonable plans for the acquisition, storage, and maintenance of biospecimens for the cohort?


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.


Not Applicable


Not Applicable

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 the NHLBI, 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:

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 Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

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 Part 75, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees 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.

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

The PD(s)/PI(s) assume(s) responsibility and accountability to the applicant organization officials and to the NHLBI for the performance and proper conduct of the research supported by the U01 award in accordance with these terms and conditions of the award. As such, the awardee PD(s)/PI(s) will be responsible for all aspects of the study and cohort, as well as any modification(s), unless otherwise provided for in these terms or by action of the Steering Committee. 

Specific responsibilities include:

The awardee will provide analytical data files (illustrative examples include: derived/calculated data variables; finalized questionnaire data; data from procedures, such as spirometry, echocardiography, ECG, exercise testing, polysomnography, etc.; participant follow-up data; clinical event outcomes data) to the NHLBI PO periodically based upon a mutually agreed schedule and format and at the end of the period of this award, along with documentation necessary for their use and including ancillary study data that have been incorporated into the main database. 

Awardees will be expected to evaluate and document compliance with NCI's Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources for collection, processing, and storage of future previously collected biospecimens  Awardees will be required to explore, with NHLBI staff, the feasibility of data harmonization and pooling with other cohorts and studies. Awardees are encouraged to register the cohort through (  Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

Awardees agree to the governance of the study through a Steering Committee and to accept and implement decisions approved by the Steering Committee (see "Joint Responsibilities" section below). 

Awardees are expected to make their data widely available to other investigators, per NIH/NHLBI data sharing policies [] [].

Study investigators are strongly encouraged to publish and disseminate results, tools, resources, and other products of the study, in accordance with the study protocols and governance.  It is expected that all methods, analyses, software, and algorithms will be made available in a timely manner to the scientific community. 

Support or other involvement of industry or any other third party in the study may be advantageous and appropriate. Participation by the third party; involvement of study resources; citing the name of the study or NHLBI support; or special access to study results, data, findings or resources requires notification and concurrence by NHLBI. Except for licensing of patents or copyrights, support or involvement of any third party will occur only following notification to and concurrence by NHLBI.

The PD(s)/PI(s) are required to commit to a minimum effort of 1.2 calendar months per year, equivalent to 10% effort.

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

A designated NHLBI Project Scientist(s) will have the following responsibilities:

At the discretion of the NHLBI, an independent Observational Study Monitoring Board (OSMB) may be appointed by the Director, NHLBI, to provide overall monitoring of data and safety issues in accordance with NHLBI DSMB/OSMB policy []. Meetings of the OSMB will ordinarily be held in Bethesda, MD. An NHLBI scientist other than the NHLBI Program Official or Project Scientist will serve as Executive Secretary to the Board. Because the OSMB serves as an independent group advisory to the NHLBI, study investigators shall not communicate with OSMB members regarding study issues, except as authorized by the Board's Executive Secretary.

In addition to the Project Scientist, a separate NHLBI Program Official will be responsible for the normal program stewardship of the cooperative agreement, and will be in the Notice of Award.  However, the NHLBI may elect to have a dual-role approach where a single individual may act as both the NHLBI Project Scientist and Program Official.  Final decision-making authority on matters of budgetary and funding actions, grants management actions, and management of intellectual property issues is assigned to NHLBI staff other than the Project Scientist.  The responsibility for final decision making may reside with Senior Institute management, separate organizational components, and/or oversight committees.  Because it is anticipated that the Program Official will participate in activities that rise to a level of involvement (i.e., additional role as Project Scientist), that results in conflicts of interest (e.g., co-publication), other staff members such as direct line supervisor and/or other Senior NHLBI Program management staff may serve as agency Program Officials and will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award.

The NHLBI policy on authorship and manuscript review of NHLBI-sponsored extramural research protects against conflicts of interest with the Program Officer.

The NHLBI reserves the right to withhold funding or curtail the study in the event that any of the following occur:

Areas of Joint Responsibility:

NHLBI will publish a guide notice announcing the date of the exam and the suggested timing to submit applications for ancillary study components (research projects that rely on study infrastructure and basic content exam/data collection cycle). The PD(s)/PI(s) will be expected to work collaboratively with investigators proposing ancillary study components.

Funding support for the basic content examination/data collection cycle is conditional upon obtaining support for at least one research project that relies on the study infrastructure and basical content examination/data collection cycle. The funding support for the research project must be obtained through a process that involves independent peer review.

Each cohort funded under this FOA shall have a Steering Committee (SC) that serves as the main governing board.  The SC voting membership shall be determined jointly by the PDs/PIs and the NHLBI, but shall minimally consist of the study center PIs, the NHLBI Project Scientist(s), the DCC PI (if applicable), and the biorepository PI (if applicable). 

The appointed voting Steering Committee members will be required to attend all Steering Committee meetings and teleconferences, or to appoint a substitute that will be fully briefed on the issues at hand. Additional non-voting members to serve in an advisory capacity may be added to the Steering Committee as needed by a decision of the existing voting committee members.  The Steering Committee may also form subcommittees as needed.  The NHLBI Project Scientist(s) may serve on such subcommittees as deemed appropriate.  The Chair of the Steering Committee will be selected from the SC voting members.

The Steering Committee will have primary responsibility for:

All investigators/staff within the study will be required to accept and implement the policies approved by the Steering Committee to the extent consistent with applicable grant regulations.

Where applicable, the awardee will work with the NHLBI on efforts to harmonize data across NHLBI cohorts and studies, and explore the feasibility of using common data standards and elements.

NHLBI will partner with the PD(s)/PI(s) to ensure dataset and documentation preparation is congruent for submission to the Biological Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC) ( as described in the NHLBI Policy for Data Sharing from Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Studies (, and the Guidelines for NHLBI Data Set Preparation (  Large-scale genomic data generated via ancillary studies are to be deposited along with associated phenotype data into the database of Genomic and Phenotype Data (dbGaP, accessed at in accordance with the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy available at

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. It will have three members: 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.

Multiple PD/PI Dispute Resolution:

If a conflict develops between the PD(s)/PI(s) in a multiple PD/PI application, the following procedures will apply:  The Departmental administrators representing the PD(s)/PI(s) shall meet and attempt in good faith to settle any dispute, claim, or controversy arising out of or relating to the interpretation, performance, or breach of this disagreement.  However, if the Departmental administrators fail to reach a resolution in 30 days then the NHLBI may invoke dispute resolution procedures as described in the above paragraph.

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 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: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Division of Cardiovascular Sciences

Sean Coady, MS
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-1289

Division of Lung Diseases

Lisa Postow, PhD
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-7843

Division of Blood Diseases and Resources

Ellen Werner, PhD
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-8298

Peer Review Contact(s)

Director, Office of Scientific Review
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-0270

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Benjamin Sakovich
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-8049

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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