Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Funding Opportunity Title
Accelerating Discovery of Efficacious Pre-erythrocytic Stage Malaria Vaccines (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code
U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements
Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • October 30, 2019 - Clarification of Research Areas for NIAID RFA-AI-19-059. See Notice NOT-AI-20-006.
July 26, 2019- Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-128

August 23, 2019- Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-AI-19-059
Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.855

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this initiative is to stimulate basic research, discovery, and early translational research to enable and accelerate the generation of highly efficacious pre-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccines, including sporozoite-based vaccines    . Cross-fertilization and collaboration among investigators from malaria vaccine research and other basic research areas such as parasite biology, parasite genomics, pathogenesis, and host immunology are highly encouraged. The goal is to generate one or more promising vaccine candidates against human malaria that exhibit performance superior to currently available sporozoite-based vaccines and are suitable for further downstream process development and future clinical evaluation.

Key Dates

Posted Date

October 11, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
December 17, 2019
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

December 17, 2019

Application Due Date(s)

 

January 17, 2020

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

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

 

 

Scientific Merit Review

June 2020

Advisory Council Review

October 2020

Earliest Start Date

February 2021

Expiration Date
January 18, 2020
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide,except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts ).

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

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

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

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

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.
  4. Table of Contents

    Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

    Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose

    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to stimulate basic research, discovery, and early translational research to enable and accelerate the generation of highly efficacious pre-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccines, including sporozoite-based vaccines. Cross-fertilization and collaboration among investigators from malaria vaccine research and other basic research areas such as parasite biology, parasite genomics, pathogenesis, and host immunology are highly encouraged. The goal is to generate one or more promising vaccine candidates against human malaria that exhibit potential performance superior to currently available sporozoite-based vaccines and are suitable for further downstream process development and future clinical evaluation.

    Background

    Despite substantial investments in global malaria control and elimination programs, progress towards malaria control and elimination has stalled in recent years. According to the latest World Malaria Report there were still 219 million cases and 435,000 deaths due to malaria in 2017 despite many years of global malaria control efforts. In addition, multiple reports of parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs, vector resistance to insecticides, and changes in vector behavior that compromise other control strategies have generated concerns about the long-term viability of these current interventions. Vaccines remain a potentially valuable tool to combat this devastating disease. In recent Phase 3 trials, however, the most advanced malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S/AS01, conferred only a modest level of efficacy (28-36%) against clinical malaria in children 5-17 months of age at first vaccination, and the protection waned rapidly. Data from clinical trials of candidate malaria vaccines based on different technology platforms, such as whole parasite vaccines or viral-vectored vaccines, have indicated that additional significant challenges exist for malaria vaccine research, including strain specificity and other host or mosquito vector-associated factors. As such, development of a second-generation malaria vaccine with improved efficacy and durability for populations in endemic regions is urgently needed.

    The pre-erythrocytic stage, especially the liver stage, of all malaria parasites represents a bottleneck in the parasite life cycle, and is, therefore, an attractive vaccine target. Live sporozoite vaccines, attenuated either by irradiation or genetic means, are in development, as are vaccine approaches based on early termination of infection by pre-emptive chemotherapy of blood-stage parasites. These different approaches have demonstrated promising protective efficacy in multiple studies and have in common that the immunologic targets appear to reside in the pre-erythrocytic, especially liver-, stages of the parasite. Furthermore, the sporozoite vaccine strategies that allow longer duration of sporozoite development in the liver confer greater vaccine efficacy. The greater efficacy is thought to be due to increased parasite biomass with increased quantitative and/or qualitative level of antigen expression that elicits a broader and stronger protective immunity. Recent scientific progress also suggests that deletion/inactivation of Plasmodium-encoded immunoregulatory genes can promote host protective immunity. Finally, novel immunization approaches may also enable superior induction of pre-erythrocytic stage immunity. Collectively, these recent scientific advances present novel opportunities to utilize the parasite sporozoite as a platform to identify promising novel liver stage antigens for immunogen and vaccine design , or to rationally design improved whole parasite vaccines, e.g., by increasing expression of selected parasite antigen(s) or biomass, deletion or suppression of identified parasite immunomodulatory genes, and/or exploration of novel immunization approaches or platforms.

    Recent discoveries and technological advances now allow for new approaches to design, construct or manipulate , and screen whole parasite-based constructs . These include new or improved genetic editing tools, novel pharmacologic interventions to manipulate parasite development, comparative genomics using model organisms, transcriptomic technologies and bioinformatics tools, and biological functional testing, such as in vitro or ex-vivo high throughput microculture systems, human immune mimics, or humanized animal models. Coupling increased scientific understanding of liver stage development with recent technological advancements, this FOA solicits applications to conduct basic research on pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria parasites relevant to, and design and generation of, highly efficacious and safe vaccines, including sporozoite-based vaccines. This initiative especially encourages an integrated approach encompassing innovative basic research coupled with a knowledge of product development strategies and novel technologies to achieve the proposed research objectives.

    Specific Areas of Research Interest

    This initiative will support multi-disciplinary research that expands our understanding of malaria pre-erythrocytic, especially liver-, stage biology, immunology, parasite genomics and pathogenesis which will support rational vaccine design, as well as construction, screening, and testing of novel, pre-erythrocytic vaccines against malaria. Applicants are highly encouraged to leverage knowledge of malaria sporozoite vaccine research (e.g., maximum parasite antigen expression, strain transcending immunity, novel and appropriate attenuation approaches, overcoming immunosuppression or immune evasion, novel vaccination strategies targeting liver stage immunity, etc.) and novel enabling technologies to achieve the proposed research objectives.

    The FOA will only support activities associated with malaria parasites that cause human diseases, especially Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Building on enhanced understanding of pre-erythrocytic malaria stage biology, the goal is to generate and preclinically validate novel immunogens or constructs, including sporozoite-based ones, or vaccine strategies that are superior to currently available ones, with the potential to overcome significant malaria vaccine challenges such as low level of vaccine efficacy, strain-specific protection, and/or short duration of protection.

    Applicants are encouraged to propose research efforts in the three major topic areas described below, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal of this FOA is to generate one or more promising vaccine candidates or strategies against human malaria by the conclusion of the project period:

    • Research & discovery: understanding pre-erythrocytic stage biology, genomics, immunology, or pathogenesis of malaria parasites. Examples include but are not limited to: genomic analyses and mechanistic understanding of regulatory pathways for sporozoite invasion, intrahepatic development and subsequent egress; understanding protective antigens, effective priming and characterization of protective immunity, functional studies of immune responses or parasite immune evasion or regulation. It is acceptable to focus work on only the relevant research area(s); applications need not encompass multiple research areas.
    • Vaccine design & construction: discovery of pre-erythrocytic stage sporozoite-based vaccines or novel vaccine approaches or identification of novel pre-erythrocytic stage vaccine constructs or immunogens based on improved understanding of pre-erythrocytic malaria stage biology.   Examples include, but are not limited to: generation of Plasmodium mutants with desired genotypes or phenotypes based on knowledge gained from parasite biology, metabolic pathways, or host-parasite interactions; development of innovative technologies or strategies to enable generation of highly efficacious pre-erythrocytic stage     vaccines by overcoming parasite immunosuppression mechanism(s) or effective priming of protective immunity.
    • Vaccine testing & evaluation: screening and assessment of highly efficacious vaccine candidates. Novel functional assays, model systems, or high throughput culture systems are highly encouraged to assess immunogenicity, safety, and efficacy of candidate vaccines (note: efficacy can be defined as prevention of infection, disease, or relapse [e.g., for P. vivax]).

    Milestones and timelines

    Applications must include measurable milestones and timelines to delineate research objectives and establish go/no-go criteria for stepwise approaches.

    External Advisory Committee (EAC)

    An External Advisory Committee will be established post-award to review progress and share recommendations with NIAID as part of the annual programmatic meeting. The EAC will also make recommendations regarding the continuation or re-direction of the research program on an ongoing basis and in consultation with NIAID program staff, and participate in annual programmatic meetings. Note that applicants should not name or contact potential EAC members in their application.

    Annual Programmatic Meetings

    A kick-off meeting and annual program meetings will be held to articulate and establish the major roles and functions of the program, facilitate collaborations, promote optimal research flexibility and efficiency, as well as to define key milestones and timelines, provide progress reporting, seek new research directions and ideas, and update NIAID on issues of need.

    Note that applications proposing any of the following topic areas will be considered nonresponsive and will not be reviewed:

    • Applications that only focus on parasite basic biology, immunology, pathogenesis studies, or technology development without a research component involving (a) pre-erythrocytic vaccine design and construction, and (b) vaccine testing and evaluation;
    • Research areas related to other life cycle stages of Plasmodium or using Plasmodium of animal species solely for the purpose of animal Plasmodium parasite research without addressing pre-erythrocytic stage human vaccine research;
    • Applications that propose process development or vaccine production to generate clinical trial materials;
    • Applications that do not include timelines and measurable milestones;
    • Clinical trials (all phases)
    See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

    Section II. Award Information

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

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

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

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    NIAID intends to commit $6M in FY 2021 to fund 4-6 awards.

    Award Budget

    The application budget may not exceed $750K in direct costs per year and should reflect the actual needs of the project.

    Award Project Period

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

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

    Section III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants

    Eligible Organizations

    Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

    • State Governments
    • County Governments
    • City or Township Governments
    • Special District Governments
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
    • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
    • U.S. Territory or Possession
    Other
    • Independent School Districts
    • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
    • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
    • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
    • Regional Organizations
    • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)
    Foreign Institutions
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply. Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed. 
    Required Registrations

    Applicant organizations

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

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration , but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
    • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

    Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

    All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)
    Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

    For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility

     

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

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

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

    Section IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Requesting an Application Package

    The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

     

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

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

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

    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    Ann-Marie Brighenti, Ph.D.

    Telephone: 301-761-3100

    Fax: 301-480-2408

    Email: brighentia@mail.nih.gov

    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, with the following additional instructions:

    Include details of the team's expertise in both basic research and translational science with regard to pre-erythrocytic stage     vaccine discovery without duplicating information in the biosketches.

     

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

    Include funds in the budget for the PD(s)/PI(s), other key personnel, and up to five to-be-named EAC members to travel and attend annual one-day programmatic meetings to be held in Rockville, MD. Do not include costs associated with organization and holding the meetings.

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

    Research Strategy: Applications should address the following:

    • Describe how the project will significantly advance the knowledge and understanding of pre-erythrocytic, especially liver-, stage of human malaria parasites and generate a highly efficacious malaria vaccine candidate or a novel immune-mediated preventive measure.
    • Describe how the proposed project has the potential of leading to the discovery of a promising pre-erythrocytic    vaccine or other immune-mediated strategy with significantly improved efficacy over currently available vaccine strategies, including sporozoite vaccine strategies, if applicable.
    • Describe how the research plan represents the best use of current knowledge or emerging technologies to explore, design, identify, and/or evaluate the proposed candidate vaccines.

    Milestones and Timelines: Clearly state the interim objectives and state detailed, quantitative annual milestones to be achieved during the project for assessing progress and success. Identify translational Go/No-go criteria for selection of vaccine candidates for final performance confirmation versus continued design and screening efforts. Provide a detailed timeline for the attainment of each goal.

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

    The following modifications also apply:

    • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.
    Appendix:
    Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
    When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials (and when applicable, clinical trials research experience) follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form
    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

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

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

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

    4. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

    Important reminders:

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

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

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

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

    Section V. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria

    Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.  Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

    Overall Impact
    Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
    Scored Review Criteria
    Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

     

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

    Specific to this FOA: Is this project likely to significantly advance the knowledge and understanding of pre-erythrocytic, especially liver-, stage of human malaria parasites and generate a highly efficacious malaria vaccine candidate or a novel immune-mediated preventive measure?

     

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: Does the proposed research team leverage basic research and translational science expertise to accelerate discovery of novel sporozoite-based vaccines or other pre-erythrocytic stage vaccines    or preventive approaches?

     

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: Does the research plan represent the best use of current or emerging knowledge and technologies to explore, design, identify, and/or evaluate the proposed candidate vaccines?

     

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

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

     

    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.

    Specific to this FOA: Milestones and Timelines: Are the milestones and timelines proposed to achieve the goals of the project appropriate and feasible? Are the criteria that will support translational go/no-go decisions in selection of vaccine candidates for final performance confirmation versus continued design and screening efforts clear and appropriate?

     

    For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

    For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

    Not Applicable

     

    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.

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 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.
    Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA. 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 submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
    • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
    • Availability of funds.
    • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.

    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

    Section VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

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

    For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.htmlhttps://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html 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 http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

    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 the primary responsibility for:

    • Serving as the administration oversight for the proposed research, including overseeing, managing, and coordinating the overall Program;
    • Working closely with NIAID staff in the scientific, technical, and administrative management of this program;
    • Sharing data collected under this award through a NIAID designated public portal(s), as well as sharing any collected biological samples with the scientific community, as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program;
    • Organizing Annual Programmatic/External Advisory Committee (EAC) meetings, teleconferences, and other activities to be defined over the course of the award period, including preparing reports of the meeting content, relevant discussions and EAC recommendations;
    • 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 DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

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

    • Providing input into the design of research activities and advise in project management and technical performance;
    • Coordinating NIAID staff assistance with regard to:
    • Oversight and monitoring of collaborative research
    • Feasibility of timely progress towards completion of planned activities
    • Plans for incorporation of new technologies or other resources
    • Evaluating the adequacy of data-sharing and other resource-sharing plans. NIAID program staff may require modifications of sharing plans with the applicant;
    • Facilitating collaborations with, and access to, other NIAID-supported research resources and services;
    • Periodically reviewing data and access confidential data generated under this Cooperative Agreement for use in the preparation of internal reports on the activities of the awardees.
    • Additionally, an agency program official or IC program director will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.
    •  

    Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

    • The NIAID Project Scientist and the PD(s)/PI(s) will coordinate the scientific objectives and progress at the annual meeting to facilitate the achievement of program goals;
    • Annual Programmatic Meetings: The meeting participants will include the PD(s)/PI(s) for each project, key scientific staff for each project, the NIAID Project Scientist, and other NIAID scientific staff, as well as members of the EAC.

    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.

    3. Reporting

    When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. A final RPPR, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

    We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
    Application Submission Contacts
    eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

    Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

    General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
    Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-945-7573

    Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
    Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
    Email: support@grants.gov

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

    Annie Mo, Ph.D.
    Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 240-627-3320
    Email: moa@niaid.nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Ann-Marie Brighenti, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 301-761-3100
    Email: brighentia@mail.nih.gov

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Paula Acevedo
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 301-435-2860
    Email: paula.acevedo@nih.gov

    Section VIII. Other Information

    Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
    Authority and Regulations
    Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.


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