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

Three-Dimensional (3D) Human Biomimetics for Infectious Diseases (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

U19 Research Program – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • May 6, 2020 -NIAID Late Application Policy for Funding Opportunities RFA-AI-20-001 and RFA-AI-20-009. See Notice NOT-AI-20-048.
  • March 17, 2020 - Notice of Clarification of Additional Considerations listed in NIAID RFA-AI-20-009. See Notice NOT-AI-20-039.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-AI-20-009

Companion Funding Opportunity

None    

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

93.855 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will establish Human Biomimetics for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (Biomimetics CRCs) focused on multidisciplinary research advancing and/or developing innovative in vitro human-cell- or -tissue-derived three-dimensional (3D) models for basic and translational research on infectious diseases.  

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

February 25, 2020

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

April 29, 2020

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

May 29, 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

October 2020

Advisory Council Review

January 2021

Earliest Start Date

April 2021

Expiration Date
New date – June 13, 2020 per NOT-AI-20-048. (Original Expiration Date: May 30, 2020).
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


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

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



  3. Table of Contents

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

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


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

    The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to solicit applications for a three-dimensional (3D) Human Biomimetics for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (Biomimetics CRCs) program. Biomimetics or biomimicry is defined as “the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems”.  This new initiative will support multidisciplinary, multiproject collaborations that advance human induced-stem cell- or tissue-derived models towards a more physiologic architectural environment.  Models with increasingly complex human physiology might incorporate components of the host immune response, the circulatory system, and/or the peripheral or central nervous system.  Examples include the inclusion of vasculature, innervation, and components of the adaptive immune response, as well as expression of the innate immune response. 

    In developing 3D biomimetics for infectious diseases research, investigative teams should strive to replicate host-pathogen interactions observed in natural infections, such as the expression of microbial virulence factors induced by the host environment or the presence of antibiotic-resistant microbial subpopulations.  This initiative focuses on microbial pathogenesis research and, ultimately, preclinical activities that complement results from IND-enabling animal model studies to predict better translational or clinical outcomes in human infectious disease.  A long-term goal is for 3D human organ biomimetics to serve as a bridge between preclinical animal models and first-in-human clinical trials.

    Background

    This program will address longstanding scientific obstacles through integrating advances in tissue engineering with the needs of infectious disease research. For this announcement, the following statement should be used as the conceptual basis for the use of the term “tissue engineering": Tissue engineering brings together the knowledge of cells, cellular environment and materials, and this can be coupled with biochemical cues to replicate tissues and their functions (paraphrased from the journal Tissue Engineering https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.1995.1.3).

    Many infectious diseases have no or inadequate corresponding animal models; some human pathogens do not infect any other vertebrate animal species; and many animal infections do not mimic the human disease. A critical issue for therapeutic and vaccine development is that preclinical studies performed in animals frequently do not predict the outcome of the human clinical trial. Thus, better predictors of toxicity and efficacy, along with better predictors for host-targeted therapies, are urgently needed. For pathogens that have no relevant non-human vertebrate animal models, a long-term goal is to have model systems that can be used in IND-enabling studies. Furthermore, current in vitro culture systems have inherent limitations; they lack a tissue-like environment, do not replicate the pathologic effects of human disease, and do not adequately reflect the host response. Moreover, there are human pathogens that cannot be cultured routinely in the laboratory, which has stymied the development of genetic tools.

    This initiative will build upon advances from NIAID/Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)-supported collaborative research in tissue engineering and infectious diseases to optimize or develop 3D human-cell- or -tissue-derived models; to implement newly engineered bioreactors, chambers, or devices; and to incorporate new insights in microbial cultivation, pathogenesis, and physiology.

    This program is designed to foster partnerships between appropriate experts (e.g., tissue engineers, microbiologists, infectious disease specialists, immunologists or pathologists) with the objective of developing improved 3D human tissue models for infectious diseases research and, as a long-term goal, models to facilitate the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

    Research Objectives and Scope

    The objective of this FOA is to establish a program of Biomimetics CRCs focused on the development of advanced human tissue models for infectious diseases research and related activities. Each Biomimetics CRC will comprise researchers with expertise in tissue engineering technologies, infectious diseases, and other relevant scientific areas, such as the microbiome, to develop in vitro model(s) that mimic biological structures, recapitulate human physiology and disease pathology, and incorporate components critical to disease and human host response. The intent is that the proposed model(s) will facilitate basic and translational research with long-term potential to extend to related product development.

    Thus, responsive research programs shall include development of the model system (e.g., organ-like structures that incorporate key aspects of pathophysiology), implementation to demonstrate feasibility, and application of the model to address key questions for infectious diseases that range from basic science to preclinical studies. The use of clinical samples (e.g., bacterial isolates, human tissues, human blood, immune components, and stem cells) in these studies will reinforce the pertinence to human disease. Importantly, technologies must be developed with the end use in mind, i.e., sufficiently simple for routine use in infectious disease laboratories or adequately robust for use in preclinical studies.

    Specific Areas of Research Interest

    This FOA will focus on the development of novel 3D models derived from human stem cell or tissue origin that reflect the anatomic architecture and functionality of the genitourinary tract or the respiratory tract.  Further improvement of existing 3D human-derived models of the gastrointestinal tract is also a focus of the FOA.  Examples of research areas of interest include but are not limited to:

    • Advancing complexity of existing GI models to recapitulate human physiology and function
    • Developing advanced lung models, e.g.,
    • Tuberculosis granuloma model
    • Respiratory Syncytial Virus acute infection model
    • Developing a genital tract model comprised of vaginal and cervical structures

    Desired model characteristics may include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Three-dimensional models that include relevant anatomical and cellular components
    • Inclusion of immune components relevant to the model of interest
    • Influence of the microbiome on model complexity and microbial pathogenesis
    • Accurate reflection of human host - pathogen interactions
    • Capacity to test vaccines or therapeutics with models that mimic the human host
    • Markers or readouts to confirm that the model(s) of interest mimic human disease
    • Methodologies to accommodate non-cultivable or slow-growing pathogens, where applicable

    Additional Considerations

    • Pathogens: Applicants are encouraged to develop tissue models that are relevant to one or more human pathogens.
    • Cells: The use of organ explants or transformed / immortalized cell lines is discouraged, except for preliminary, proof of concept studies. The use of primary cells or pluripotent stem cells, e.g., induced pluripotent stem cells, is encouraged. Multipotent or unipotent stem cells also may be utilized where appropriate. The current NIH guidance on stem cell usage can be found at https://stemcells.nih.gov/policy/2009-guidelines.htm.
    • Biomaterials: Native extracellular matrices (ECM) are dynamic, complex microenvironments that can drive functional and biomechanical development. Applicants should consider the biological properties and potential downstream effects when choosing ECM materials.
    • Materials should be chosen to avoid confounding characteristics, e.g., the plastic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) binds hydrophobic drugs or reagents, which decreases the intended concentration, and can leach the endocrine disruptor cyclosilane into the medium.
    • Collaborative Interactions: Model system(s) development will require extensive collaboration; thus, in depth communication between the infectious diseases and tissue engineering/tissue biology experts is imperative.
    • Preliminary Data: Collaborative efforts between the Tissue Engineering and Infectious Diseases communities represent a recent scientific area for these communities; thus, substantial preliminary data will not be required but sufficient information should be supplied to establish the feasibility of the proposed research.

    Applications including the following types of studies will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed:

    • Applications that propose 3D models focusing on organ systems other than genitourinary, respiratory and GI systems
    • Applications that propose the use of organ explants “as is” for the 3D model system
    • Applications that propose to develop animal models
    • Applications that propose to develop tissue models for prions
    • Applications that focus on HIV/SIV/AIDS
    • Clinical trials:  Clinical research may be supported; however, clinical trials are not to be initiated or conducted through the Biomimetics CRC Program. See NOT-OD-15-015 for the NIH Definition of a Clinical Trial.
    Collaborative Interdisciplinary Teams

    The scope of this work requires that interdisciplinary teams be formed that are capable of pursuing coordinated activities that bridge disparate scientific disciplines and expertise in bioengineering and infectious diseases.  Each Biomimetics CRC is expected to include researchers with unique and diverse expertise that will enhance the overall quality of the CRC.  This expertise may be in any discipline that will contribute to the success of the Biomimetics CRC, e.g., microbiology, cell biology and development, pathology, and non-destructive imaging technologies. 

    Biomimetics CRC Program Components

    This research program will consist of an Administrative Core, Scientific or Resource Cores, as needed, and at least three Research Projects organized around a common theme or hypotheses. Component projects and cores within a single application should not only relate to a central theme relevant to the specified diseases of interest, but also relate to the other components within the same application. The components of a Biomimetics CRC includes:

    Administrative Core

    The Administrative Core will be responsible for managing, coordinating, monitoring overall progress, and supervising the entire range of the Biomimetics CRC’s activities.

    Scientific or Resources Cores

    Scientific or Resource Cores provide shared support services or resources to at least two Research Project(s). Cores must be well justified and clearly non-duplicative of other services or facilities available to Biomimetics CRC investigators. Examples of services that might be provided by a shared Core include tissue construct resources and fabrication, microbiota resources, clinical specimen acquisition, or statistical support.

    Research Projects

    Each Biomimetics CRC should be composed of at least three Research Projects organized around a common theme.  These collaborative projects may build on information that is available to the scientific communities and should utilize the latest appropriate technology to discover novel and innovative ways of addressing any scientific obstacles or gaps in knowledge. Projects must propose research with one or more infectious pathogens and are encouraged to incorporate human microbiota where relevant. These projects should advance the overall understanding of human infectious diseases and accelerate translational application through the development of innovative tissue models.

    Annual Programmatic Meetings

    Annual Programmatic Meetings will be held to facilitate communication and collaboration among funded Biomimetics CRCs. 

    Biomimetics CRC Executive Committee

    A Biomimetics CRC Executive Committee (EC) will be established by the NIAID Project Scientist to facilitate interaction, collaboration, and communication among the Biomimetics CRCs and NIAID staff. The EC will include the PD(s)/PI(s) of each Biomimetics CRC. The EC must meet within six months of award in conjunction with the first Annual Programmatic Kick-Off Meeting. Thereafter, the EC will meet annually in conjunction with the Annual Programmatic Meetings, and quarterly, or as needed, via conference calls.

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

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

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

    Application Types Allowed

    New
    Renewal of U19 CRCs submitted in response to RFA-AI-14-011

    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 $4.5 million in FY 2021 to fund 2-4 awards.

    Award Budget

    The budget for each CRC cannot exceed $1 million in direct costs per year.  Application budgets need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

    Award Project Period

    The scope of the proposed Biomimetics CRC 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:

    o   Hispanic-serving Institutions

    o   Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

    o   Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

    o   Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

    o   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
    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.

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

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

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

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

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

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

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

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

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    It is critical that applicants follow the Multi-Project (M) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

    Letter of Intent

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

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

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

    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    Lynn Rust, PhD 
    Telephone: 240-669-5069
    Email: lrust@niaid.nih.gov  

    Page Limitations

    Available Component Types

    Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

    Overall

    12 Pages

    Admin Core (use for Administrative Core)

    12 Pages

    Core (use for Scientific Cores)

    12 Pages (per Core)

    Project (use for Research Projects)

    12 Pages (per Project)

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

    Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

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

    The application should consist of the following components:

    • Overall: Required
    • Administrative Core: Required; maximum of 1
    • Cores: Optional, but each scientific or resources Core should support at least 2 research projects.
    • Projects: Required, Minimum of 3
    Overall Component

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

    Complete entire form.

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

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

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

    Follow standard instructions.

    Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

    Enter primary site only.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

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

    The PD(s)/PI(s), or the Contact PD/PI for Multi-PD/PI applications, will oversee, manage and coordinate the research of the Biomimetics CRC; ensure that the individual Cores and research projects are synergized to advance the goals of the Biomimetics CRC; and serve as the principal point(s) of contact for the Biomimetics CRC.  The biosketch should reflect the experience and expertise that demonstrate the ability of this individual to manage all aspects of the Biomimetics CRC successfully.  

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

    Budget (Overall)

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

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

    Specific Aims:  List in priority order, the broad, long-range objectives and goals of the proposed Biomimetics CRC. Concisely describe the hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested.     

    Research Strategy:  Summarize the overarching theme of the proposed Biomimetics CRC program, and explain how, in the long-term, the work proposed can address critical gaps, longstanding obstacles, or key biomedical questions in infectious diseases research. The multi-component, multi-disciplinary application should be viewed as a confederation of interrelated Cores and research projects, each capable of standing on its own merit, but complementary to one another. This is an important section for it provides the group of investigators an opportunity to give conceptual wholeness to the entire program and then lays out a broad strategy for accomplishing the stated goals. When describing the Biomimetics CRC’s design, each Core and Research Project should be cited briefly as to its place in the overall scheme. Summarize the special features in the environment and/or resources that make this application strong or unique. A visual representation of the interactions amongst the components and complementary scientific endeavors can assist reviewers in evaluating the collaborative and synergistic potential of the proposed Biomimetics CRC

    Provide proposed timelines and milestones for the overall Biomimetics CRC.

    • A clear description of interim objectives (research and/or developmental milestones) to be achieved to meet the Center’s overall goals.
    • Detailed criteria by which milestone achievement will be assessed.
    • A timeline for the anticipated attainment of each milestone and the overall goal(s).

    Note: Collaborative efforts between the Tissue Engineering and Infectious Diseases investigators represent a recent alliance for these scientific communities; thus, substantial preliminary data shall not be required. Without duplicating information in the biosketches, sufficient information about the scientific expertise, technical capabilities of the investigative team members, and proposed strategy should be supplied to establish feasibility, i.e., the potential to accomplish the work proposed. Moreover, in depth communication and collaboration between the infectious diseases and tissue engineering/tissue biology experts are critical for success; thus, applicants must define how these experts will work together   

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

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. A Resource and Data Sharing Plan for the entire program should be included in the Overall Component.  Separate Resource and Data Sharing Plans for other components are not necessary. 

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Overall)

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

    If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, there must be at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or a Delayed Onset Study record within the application. The study record(s) must be included in the component(s) where the work is being done, unless the same study spans multiple components. To avoid the creation of duplicate study records, a single study record with sufficient information for all involved components must be included in the Overall component when the same study spans multiple components.

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form (Overall)

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

    Administrative Core

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

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

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

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

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

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

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

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    • For institutions/organizations proposing a single PD/PI, the PD/PI will serve as the Administrative Core Director. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PD(s)/PI(s), the Contact PD/PI must serve as the Administrative Core Director. Through the required Administrative Core functions indicated below, the Administrative Core Director provides leadership and guidance in fulfilling the stated objectives of his or her Biomimetics CRC, and is responsible for generating, within the Administrative Core, an infrastructure that promotes cross-discipline interactions among all of the Cores and Research Projects and provides oversight and governance over fiscal and resource management.  
    Budget (Administrative Core)

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

    Meetings:  Request funds to attend the Kick-Off Meeting and Annual Programmatic Meetings. Annual Programmatic Meetings of all Biomimetics CRCs funded under this FOA are to start during the second year of award. Each Biomimetics CRC should fund travel and attendance at yearly meetings by the PD(s)/PI(s), the Project Leads and Core Leads, and other Key Personnel who are expected to attend. These individuals should also budget and plan to attend the Kick-Off Meeting to be held within six months of award. These meetings are anticipated to be held at a location at/near Bethesda, Maryland or at another agreed-upon site following consultation with NIAID staff. Travel and per diem costs to attend the Annual Programmatic Meeting must be included in the budget; costs associated with organizing an Annual Programmatic Meeting are not allowable expenses.

    External Scientific Consultants (ESCs):  If proposing to form an optional ESC group, funds may be requested for costs associated with site visits by the ESCs.  

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

    Specific Aims: List in priority order, the broad, long-range objectives and goals of the proposed Administrative Core.         

    Research Strategy:  Describe plans and procedures for establishing and managing an Administrative Core that provides the organizational capacity to ensure the following:

    • Coordinating, supervising and managing all Biomimetics CRC activities, which includes sponsoring activities to advance the Biomimetics CRC’s integration.
    • Providing a supportive structure sufficient to ensure the accomplishment of all CRC goals.
    • Assisting Core and Research Project Leaders with administrative aspects of their projects, such as gathering of annual progress reports and facilitating other communications with awardees and their mentors.
    • Promoting collaboration and coordination among Core and Research Project Leaders.
    • Communicating with other Biomimetics CRCs regarding collaboration and coordination of activities and projects.
    • Fostering outreach activities to promote collaborations with the pertinent scientific communities.
    • Communicating and interacting with the NIAID Project Scientist, Program Officer, or other staff.

    Management Plan-Required:  Include a Management Plan that describes the organization of the proposed program and its management structure. The Management Plan sections should be clearly indicated in the application. The Management Plan must include:

    • A description of how the organization of the Biomimetics CRC and its management structure will form a cohesive, integrated and efficient Biomimetics CRC that provides scientific, fiscal, and administrative oversight of all CRC Cores and Research Projects.
    • An overview of how the multiple Research Projects will be coordinated, integrated, and scientifically and technically managed to answer the scientific questions and hypotheses proposed within the application and within the scope of the FOA.

    The Management Plan must also include a Staffing Plan that describes:

    • The structure and roles of administrative staff;
    • How the collective training and experience of proposed staff (non-Senior/Key staff) contributes to the functions to be performed.

    External Scientific Consultants (ESC) – Optional:  The formation of an ESC group is encouraged, but optional. If under consideration, describe how the ESC will function, but do not name or contact any of the prospective members.      

    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:

    Not Applicable for each component. A Resource and Data Sharing Plan should be submitted only in the Overall section only.  See instructions in Overall section. 

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Administrative Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

    Scientific/Resources Cores

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Scientific/Resources Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

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

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Scientific/Resources Core)

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

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

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

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Scientific/Resources Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Scientific/Resources Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   
    • The Core should be headed by a Core Leader whose expertise is appropriate to manage all aspects of that particular Core successfully.
    Budget (Scientific/Resources Core)

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

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Scientific/Resources Core)

    Specific Aims:  List in priority order, the broad, long-range objectives and goals of the proposed Core.  

    Research Strategy:  Describe how the proposed Core activities will contribute to meeting the Biomimetics CRC's goals and objectives and explain the rationale for selecting the general methods and approaches to accomplish the Core activities. Indicate the relevance of the Core to the primary theme of the application and provide justification for the Core to support at least two of the Research Projects. Applications that propose Shared Cores must give a clear description of the resources, techniques and skills that the Core will provide to the Research Projects. Refer to the Facilities’ section for description of facilities that the core will provide, but do not duplicate information in this section that is already provided there.  Core(s) should not be duplicative of other services or facilities available elsewhere to CRC investigators. Examples of services that might be provided by a shared Core include, but are not limited to, tissue construct resources and fabrication, microbiota resources, clinical specimen acquisition, or statistical support.

    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:

    Not Applicable for each component. A Resource and Data Sharing Plan should be submitted only in the Overall section only.  See instructions in Overall section.

    Appendix:  

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Scientific/Resources Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    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

    Research Project

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Research Project)

    Complete only the following fields:

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

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Research Project)

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

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

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

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

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Research Project)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Project Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used. 
    • The Research Project should be headed by a Project Leader whose expertise is appropriate to manage all aspects of the project successfully. In particular, the scientific expertise of the Project Leader should be reflected in the goals and objectives of the proposed Research Project. 
    Budget (Research Project)

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

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Project)

    Specific Aims: List, in priority order, the broad long-term goals and specific objectives of the proposed Research Project. Concisely describe the hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested. In addition, state the Research Project’s relationship to the Biomimetics CRC’s goals and how they relate to other Cores or Research Projects in the application. 

    Research Strategy:  Describe how the proposed project will contribute to meeting the Biomimetics CRC’s overall goals and explain the rationale for selecting the methods to accomplish the Specific Aims. State the biological significance of the research and indicate the project's relevance to the primary theme of the application.

    Given the overall focus of developing novel 3D in vitro human tissue models, the potential of these constructs to model the human disease is a critical component. Iterative microbial pathogenesis studies may be used to refine model systems; these experiments may reflect or confirm established knowledge. As the model begins to replicate in vivo pathogenesis, more advanced infectious diseases/microbiology studies should be initiated. Ultimately, the microbiology/infectious diseases experimental designs and approaches should comprise pathogenesis studies with a biomimetic model that is sufficiently complex to address critical gaps or obstacles in infectious diseases.

    Describe the research design, conceptual procedures, and analyses to be used to accomplish the Specific Aims of the project. Describe any new methodology and its advantage over existing methodologies. Describe any novel concepts, approaches, tools, or technologies for the proposed studies. Discuss associations with Core(s) or other Research Projects. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and provide alternative approaches to achieve the aims. The use of clinical samples is strongly encouraged where applicable and/or appropriate, but the use of clinical samples is not necessarily required for all projects or grant applications.

    Milestones and Timelines: - Required. In a clearly labeled section, provide annual timelines and milestones for the proposed project.

    • A clear description of interim objectives (research and/or developmental milestones) to be achieved during the course of the project.
    • Detailed criteria by which milestone achievement will be assessed.
    • A timeline for the anticipated attainment of each milestone and the overall goal(s).

    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:

    Not Applicable for each component. A Resource and Data Sharing Plan should be submitted only in the Overall section only.  See instructions in Overall section.

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Research Project)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

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

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

    4. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

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

    Important reminders:

    All PD(s)/PI(s) and component Project Leads must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

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

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

    Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review 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 may provide late-breaking results from preliminary studies (1 page / project or core) prior to review, but no later than 30 days before the date of the scientific review meeting.  New and/or additional key personnel, collaborators, or letters of support, etc. must not be included.  Applicants should contact the Scientific Review Officer prior to submitting post-submission materials for instructions and any clarifications.

    Applicants may provide late-breaking results from preliminary studies (1 page / project or core) prior to review, but no later than 30 days before the date of the scientific review meeting.  Changes in scope and new and/or additional Specific Aims, key personnel, collaborators, or letters of support, etc. must not be included.  Applicants should contact the Scientific Review Officer prior to submitting post-submission materials for instructions and any clarifications.

    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 - Overall

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

    For this particular announcement, note the following:

    The following statement should be used as the conceptual basis for the use of the term, “tissue engineering:”  Tissue engineering brings together the knowledge of cells, cellular environment and materials, and this can be coupled with biochemical cues to replicate tissues and their functions (paraphrased from the journal Tissue Engineering https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.1995.1.3).  Collaborative efforts between the Tissue Engineering and Infectious Diseases Community represent a recent alliance for these scientific communities; thus, substantial preliminary data are not required. High risk, high reward approaches with documented expertise and feasible methodologies are welcome. Given the overall focus of developing novel in vitro tissue models, the potential of these constructs to model the human disease is a critical aspect. Iterative microbial pathogenesis studies may be used to refine model systems; these experiments may be incremental and reflect or confirm established knowledge. As the model begins to replicate in vivo pathogenesis, more advanced infectious diseases and microbiology studies should be initiated.

    Review Criteria - Overall

    Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

    • Are the overall goals of the Biomimetics CRC conducive to generating significant multidisciplinary investigations, i.e., generating novel human induced-stem cell- or tissue-derived models for studies of infectious diseases that will advance basic science and/or product development?
    • Does the Biomimetics CRC focus on critical gaps to address important questions or obstacles in infectious disease studies?
    • Does the Biomimetics CRC provide a feasible strategy for collaboration among the scientific fields relevant to this FOA, e.g., infectious diseases, tissue engineering, and the microbiota/microbiome?
    • Do the individual projects appropriately relate to the overall goals of the Biomimetics CRC and provide a cohesive and synergistic whole?
    • Will successful completion of the Biomimetics CRC goals impact the understanding of microbial pathogenesis and, in the long-term, advance the capacity to develop interventions more effectively?
    • Does the Biomimetics CRC PD(s)/PI(s) have the leadership and scientific ability, scientific and technical skills, and managerial competence to develop, manage, and direct an integrated and focused research center, including the time commitment and demonstrated ability to establish and manage collaborations?
    Overall Impact - Individual Research Projects

    Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the Research 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 - Research Projects

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

    Significance

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

    Investigator(s)

    Are the Core Leads, 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?  

    Innovation

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

    Approach

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

    If the 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?

    Specific to this FOA

    Are the experimental designs and approaches for the microbiology/infectious diseases research and the complexity of the bioengineered model adequately matched to advance the Biomimetics CRC’s goals? Do the microbiological studies address critical gaps or obstacles in infectious diseases? Are the cell sources, reagents, and other bioengineering tools sufficiently advanced to accomplish the work proposed? 

    Environment

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

    Overall Impact –  Administrative Core, Scientific/Resource Cores.

    Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the Core activities to meet the needs of individual Research Projects or other Cores, and to contribute to the Biomimetics CRC’s goals and objectives, in consideration of the following points (as applicable for the Core proposed). A Core does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a Core that, by its nature, is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

    Review Criteria – Administrative Core, Scientific/Resource Cores

    Reviewers will consider each of the points below, as appropriate for the Cores, in the determination of scientific merit and provide an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

    Administrative Core
    • Are the Management and Staffing Plans appropriate to facilitate attainment of the objectives of the proposed Biomimetics CRC?
    • Are the experience, level of commitment, and availability of the Admin Core Director adequate to manage the overall Biomimetics CRC?
    • Are the plans for coordination, problem identification and resolution, and the establishment of a strong collaborative environment for the program appropriate?
    • Is the management plan for fiscal accountability and communication within the Biomimetics CRC appropriate?
    Scientific/Resource Cores
    • Are the proposed Cores justified and relevant to the theme of the overall Biomimetics CRC?
    • Is adequate justification provided for how each Core will support two or more Research Project(s)?
    • Are the facilities or services provided by the Core (including procedures, techniques, and quality control) high quality?
    • Will the services be used effectively?
    • Are the Core Leader and Key Personnel well qualified and is there an adequate commitment of time?
    Additional Review Criteria - Overall, Cores and Research Projects

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

    Milestones and Timelines:

    Are the proposed timeline and milestones for the Overall and Research Projects adequate?

    Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan  

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

    Vertebrate Animals

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

    Biohazards

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

    Resubmissions

    Not Applicable    

    Renewals

    For Renewals, For Renewals of U19 CRCs submitted in response to RFA-AI-14-011, the reviewers will consider the progress made in the last funding period. For the renewal applications, the science is expected to be very similar to the original application.    

    Revisions

    Not Applicable

    Additional Review Considerations - Overall, Cores and Research Projects

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

    Applications from Foreign Organizations

    Not applicable

    Select Agent Research

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

    Resource Sharing Plans

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


    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

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

    Budget and Period of Support

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

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

    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.html; and https://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.

    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 the primary responsibility for:

    • Overseeing, managing, and coordinating the Research Projects and Cores within the overall Biomimetics CRC;
    • Ensuring that the individual projects and Cores are synergized to advance the goals of the Biomimetics CRC;
    • Retaining primary responsibility for the planning, directing, and executing the proposed scientific activities;
    • Report on yearly progress for the Biomimetics CRC as a whole and for each individual Research Project according to proposed milestones;
    • Participating in Executive Committee (EC) meetings, teleconferences, and other activities to be defined over the course of the award period;
    • Keeping the NIAID Program Official apprised of any potential impediments to execution of the goals of any one Research Project or Core;
    • Establishing an Annual Programmatic Meeting agenda when serving as the EC Chair; and
    • Extending invitations to the NIAID Project Scientist and Program Official(s) for specific Biomimetics CRC meetings, including the Annual Programmatic Meetings.

    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.

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

    • The role of the NIAID Project Scientist (PS) in the cooperative agreement is to support and encourage the recipient's activities by substantial involvement as partners and facilitators in the process without assuming responsibilities that remain with the PD(s)/PI(s).
    • The PS will work closely with the PD(s)/PI(s) and other Biomimetics CRC member scientists to facilitate collaborations and to leverage the resources available to the Biomimetics CRC;
    • The PS will monitor the progress of the Biomimetics CRC, help coordinate research approaches, and contribute to the shaping of research projects or approaches as warranted. The PS will support and facilitate this process but will not direct it;
    • The PS will keep the Biomimetics CRC informed about other ongoing studies supported by NIAID to avoid duplication of effort and encourage sharing/collaboration in infectious diseases research. The PS will coordinate access for the Biomimetics CRC to other NIAID resources, as well as assist the research efforts of the Biomimetics CRC by facilitating access to fiscal and intellectual resources provided by industry, private foundations, NIH intramural scientists and other federal government agencies as appropriate;
    • The PS will serve as a non-voting member of the Biomimetics CRC’s Executive Committee (EC) and will assist in developing the operating guidelines and consistent policies for dealing with situations that require coordinated action;
    • The PS will retain the option to recommend, within the NIH grants policy, the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of the award or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award;
    • The PS will assist in the determination of the site for the Annual Programmatic Meeting; and
    • The PS will coordinate the quarterly conference calls with PD(s)/PI(s) as needed.

    Additionally, an NIAID Program Official 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 (PS) and the PD(s)/PI(s) will coordinate to facilitate the achievement of program goals.
    • Biomimetics CRC Executive Committee (EC). A Biomimetics CRC Executive Committee (EC) will be established. The PD(s)/PI(s) from each Biomimetics CRC and the PS named in the award notice will form the EC. The EC will select one PD/PI from among the awardees to serve as Chair of the Committee.

    Dispute Resolution:

    Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Executive 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)

    Melody Mills, PhD
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 240-627-3318 
    Email: millsm@mail.nih.gov 

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Lynn Rust, PhD
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Telephone: 240-660-5069
    Email:  lrust@niaid.nih.gov 

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Yescenia Mendoza 
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)  
    Telephone: 240-627-3671 
    Email: Yescenia.mendoza@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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