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 Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Funding Opportunity Title

Limited Competition for the Continuation of Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) Clinical Centers (Collaborative U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-DK-12-502

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-DK-15-501

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-DK-15-502, U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

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

93.847 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a limited competition FOA inviting cooperative agreement (U01) applications from the Clinical Centers for the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) Consortium. The purpose of this limited competition will be to allow an additional 5 year follow-up period of all currently enrolled participants. RFA-DK-15-502 will support continuation of the Look AHEAD Biostatistics Research Center.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

March 26, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

May 1, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

May 1, 2015

Application Due Date(s)

June 1, 2015, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date. No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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/November 2015

Advisory Council Review

January 2016

Earliest Start Date

April 2016

Expiration Date

June 2, 2015

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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

Table of Contents

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

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

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

This FOA invites applications from the current awardees of the Look AHEAD (Action for Health and Diabetes) Clinical Centers to undertake continued follow-up of the Look AHEAD cohort.  The application submitted under this FOA is linked to RFA-DK-15-502, which will support the Look AHEAD Biostatistics Research Center (BRC). 

NIDDK has supported Look AHEAD since December of 1999. The Look AHEAD Consortium enrolled 5,145 participants who were randomized to either a behavioral intervention designed to produce weight loss (Intensive Lifestyle Intervention- ILI) versus a comparator group of Diabetes Support and Education (DSE). The intervention was discontinued in September 2012 for futility of the primary outcome of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality; however, Look AHEAD participants continue to be followed for additional outcomes.  Although Look AHEAD demonstrated that an intensive lifestyle intervention designed to produce weight loss did not reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events compared with usual medical care, the intervention produced positive effects on a number of secondary outcomes, including cardiovascular biomarkers, sleep apnea, kidney disease, medication use and healthcare utilization during the intervention period.  The long-term health effects of the intensive lifestyle intervention on these and other important health outcomes in a population of older adults with type 2 diabetes remain undetermined. 

This FOA invites applications from the existing Look AHEAD clinical centers to continue follow-up of Look AHEAD participants with a goal of assessing important health-related outcomes over time. Emphasis should be placed on outcomes that are relevant to healthy aging and resilience, major health events, healthcare utilization and relevant behavioral and other factors that predict, mediate, or otherwise inform the long-term health effects of a lifestyle intervention designed to produce and maintain weight loss in aging adults with type 2 diabetes. Outcomes should also focus on physical function, mobility, and strength with a follow-up of body composition and activity assessment in a pre-identified subset. Study activities and outcomes must be feasible within the resources provided.

Organization of the Look AHEAD Consortium

The Look AHEAD Consortium will consist of the following components: the NIH, sixteen clinical centers, a Biostatistics Research Center, a Steering Committee and its subcommittees, a Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), and other committees as needed.  The responsibilities of each component of the Look AHEAD Consortium are described in the Terms and Conditions of Award.

Clinical Centers.

The clinical centers are responsible for collecting outcomes in all consented participants. The CCs will be expected to implement the protocol. The CC will collect data in accordance with established study procedures and submit all samples and data to the BRC and reading centers, as appropriate and required by the protocol. All individual CCs will be required to participate in a cooperative and interactive manner with one another and with the BRC in all aspects of the Look AHEAD Consortium (see Terms and Conditions of Award).

Biostatistics Research Center (BRC)

There will be a single BRC. The BRC biostatisticians will work with the Clinical Center investigators to develop the scientific design of the study. The BRC investigators will have primary responsibility for ensuring that the design of the study, including the primary and secondary outcomes, is scientifically sound and is supported by appropriate power calculations.  The BRC will also provide biostatistical and analytic expertise and conduct analysis and interpretation of the data, as applicable, in conjunction with investigators at the Clinical Centers. The BRC will be responsible for guiding development of the statistical analysis plan for the study as a whole and for each manuscript reporting pre-specified primary and secondary outcomes. The BRC is will also be responsible for establishing all scientific collaborations for specialized outcomes.

In addition to conducting the research described above, the BRC is responsible for the collection and management of all study data. The BRC will be responsible for ensuring subject confidentiality and safety, and quality control. The BRC will conduct training and certification of study staff, and maintain and update the manual of operations. The BRC will oversee implementation of and adherence to the study protocol. The BRC will coordinate communication among and with the CCs.

The BRC will prepare appropriately detailed reports to the Steering Committee and to the Look AHEAD DSMB, and to the NIDDK staff at regular intervals. The BRC will be responsible for the planning and logistics of meetings of the Steering Committee and its subcommittees, and will assist NIDDK with the logistics for DSMB meetings.

NIDDK Project Scientist

The NIDDK will be responsible for organizing and providing support for the Look AHEAD Consortium and will be involved substantially with the awardees as a "partner", consistent with the Cooperative Agreement mechanism.  A designated NIDDK Project Scientist will assist the Steering Committee in carrying out the study. The NIDDK has appointed the Chair and co-chair of the Steering Committee and all members of the DSMB. A NIDDK Program Official will administer budgets and manage the DSMB.

Study Governance

Steering Committee. A Steering Committee will be the main governing body of the Look AHEAD Consortium (see Terms and Conditions of Award). An Executive Committee comprised of the Study Chair and Co-Chair; the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) of the BRC; and the NIDDK Project Scientist also will be convened to make management decisions required between Steering Committee meetings, as needed for efficient progress of the study. Other subcommittees of the Steering Committee have been established and will continue to operate as designated in the protocol, including but not limited to publications, ancillary studies, and retention.

Data Safety and Monitoring Board. An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will be established by the NIDDK to monitor participant retention and data quality.  As a part of its responsibilities, the DSMB will submit recommendations to the NIDDK regarding the continuation of each study.

All protocols or changes to protocols will be approved by local Institutional Review Boards, the Steering Committee, the Look AHEAD Data and Safety Monitoring Board, and the NIDDK before initiation. Any specific collaboration involving the resources of Look AHEAD will require approval by the Steering Committee.

Investigators at the clinical centers will conduct analyses in conjunction with the Biostatistics Research Center. The Look AHEAD study group will have exclusive access to data from the Look AHEAD study population for a defined period, according to NIDDK data sharing policies. All study data analyzed for publication of the primary study outcome(s) are expected to be provided to the Repository so that they can be shared within six months of the publication date for the primary outcome publication or within two years of the date that the database is locked for analysis, whichever occurs first, consistent with achieving the goals of the program.  All data analyzed for publication of the secondary outcome(s) are expected to be provided to the Repository so that they can be shared within two years of the date that the database for these outcomes is locked for analysis, consistent with achieving the goals of this program. The Look AHEAD Steering Committee has already established policies under which ancillary studies may be conducted while the study is ongoing, consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

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.

Application Types Allowed

Renewal

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIDDK intends to commit up to $7.1 million in Fiscal Year 2016 to support the continuation of the Look AHEAD under RFA-DK-15-501 and RFA-DK-15-502. It is expected that up to 15 awards will be made under this FOA. One award will be made under the companion RFA-DK-15-502.

Award Budget

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

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is 5 years.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

This FOA is limited to the current awardees of the Look AHEAD Clinical Centers (CCs).

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

  • 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:

Francisco Calvo, Ph.D.
Chief, Review Branch
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK)
6707 Democracy Blvd, Room 752
Bethesda, MD 20892-5452
(Courier: 20817)
Phone: 301-594-8897
Email: calvof@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

Descriptive Title of Applicant's Project: To allow NIH to identify a group of applications as a related set of collaborative applications, the titles for each application in the set must have the following format: a "1/N indicator + identical Title (e.g., 1/3 where the 1/3 means this is site 1 of 3 sites in the set. The other sites will be labeled 2/3, etc.). A set of applications is defined as all applications submitted in response to this FOA as well as the companion FOA (RFA-DK-15-502). Titles of all collaborative applications must be identical except as follows: Applications submitted in response to this FOA must include "Research Project" at the end of the title; the application submitted in response to RFA-DK-15-502 should include "Biostatistics Research Center" at the end of the title. The numbering order of the collaborative applications in the consortium is at the discretion of the applicants. Titles may not exceed 200 characters in length, including the tag (e.g., 1/3) at the beginning of the title.

Cover Letter Attachment: The Cover Letter is one pdf file only.  The following collaborative information is required in the Cover Letter: a listing of all the applications that are part of the set of collaborative applications being submitted, including for each: 1) the PD/PI(s) name(s); 2) the Title (including the tag, e.g., "1/3"); and 3) the Applicant Institution.  Each site should submit an identical listing.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

Other Attachments. The following items should be included as attachments under "Other Attachments."

1. Clinical Protocol Synopsis

The file name "Clinical Protocol Synopsis.pdf" should be used and will be reflected in the final image bookmarking for easy access for reviewers.

The clinical protocol synopsis must include the following information:

  • A description of the study population in aggregate for the entire study, including participant eligibility and inclusion/exclusion criteria;
  • Participant re-enrollment plans, including a discussion of the availability of subjects for the proposed study and the ability of clinical center(s) to retain the proposed number of participants; a table showing the past retention and the demographics of the available population at every site should be included;
  • The process to be used for obtaining informed consent and, if applicable, assent;
  • Approaches to be used for retention and follow-up of procedures and to address any anticipated changes in the composition of the study population over the course of the study, for example, due to aging of the population under study;
  • A description of each clinical site and how data from the site(s) will be obtained, managed, and protected;
  • Descriptions of all clinical, laboratory, physiological, and/or behavioral tests to enable the research questions to be answered; and
  • A description of the data management and quality control plan, including methods for monitoring the quality and consistency of the intervention(s) and data collection; policies and methods for ensuring blinding of study results; and data confidentiality and subject privacy.

Applications that lack the Clinical Protocol Synopsis are incomplete and will not be peer reviewed.

2. Statistical Analysis Plan

The filename "Statistical Analysis Plan.pdf" should be used and will be reflected in the final image bookmarking for easy access for reviewers.

The applicant(s) should describe the statistical methods to be used, including the sample size and power calculations and plans for the primary and secondary analyses. This plan is critical to knowing whether applicants have selected the correct cohort size based on proper power calculations and/or are using the most appropriate methods to analyze the resulting data and make correct conclusions at the end of the study.

Applications that lack the Statistical Analysis Plan are incomplete and will not be peer reviewed.

3. Data and Safety Monitoring Plan (DSMP)

The filename "Data and Safety Monitoring Plan.pdf" should be used and will be reflected in the final image bookmarking for easy access for reviewers.

The DSMP should be commensurate with the risk level of the proposed clinical research and must be included for all clinical trials (see: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html)

and multi-center clinical studies. Information about DSMPs is available on the NIDDK website: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/process/human-subjects-research/policies-for-clinical-researchers/data-safety-monitoring-plans/Pages/data-and-safety-monitoring-plans.aspx

All applications or study protocols must include a general description of the monitoring plan, policies, procedures, responsible entities, and approaches to identifying, managing and reporting reportable events (adverse events and unanticipated problems, as applicable) to the applicable regulatory agencies (e.g., Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Office of Human Research Protections, and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board.

The DSMP should be site-specific and must address the following areas:

  • Who will manage and conduct the monitoring;
  • What will be monitored;
  • Proposed monitoring time points;
  • Where the monitoring will occur;
  • How the reportable events will be managed and reported.

Applications that lack the DSMP are incomplete and will not be peer reviewed.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy: Each application must contain a Research Strategy that clearly describes those aspects of the project that are common to all sites of the collaboration.  The Research Strategy must be identical across the linked U01 applications, with the exception of the section under the header "Elements Unique to This Site." All variations in the Research Strategy, no matter how minor, should be highlighted in this subsection.  In this subsection, clinical center PD/PIs should describe their site's expected participant enrollment, including demographic characteristics, and retention.

The common Research Strategy section should include:

  • A discussion of the significance of the problem being studied, the need for the study, and the potential impact of the results of the study, as well as how the study will test the hypothesis(es) proposed;
  • A concise description of the overall strategy, methodology and analyses to be used to accomplish the goals and specific aims of the study;
  • A description of and rationale for the proposed study design;
  • A description of the intervention to be tested and the protocol to be followed, including a discussion of potential biases or challenges in the protocol and how they will be addressed;
  • A brief description of the statistical methods that are appropriate for the study design, including sample size and power calculations and the underlying assumptions (and data) used to link these calculations to the endpoints and to the hypothesis(es) being tested;
  • A discussion of studies that led to the proposed clinical study and information or data from preliminary studies that address the need for and the feasibility of continued follow-up; and
  • A brief acknowledgement of responsibilities as part of a multi-center, collaborative project.

In this section, there should be sufficient description of the items listed above to permit thorough evaluation of the proposed study. Technical details contained in the 'Clinical Protocol Synopsis', statistical analysis plan, and data and safety monitoring plan can be referenced from within the Research Strategy section, in order to avoid duplicating text.

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.

The NIDDK has established Central Biosample, Genetic, and Data Repositories for the archiving and storage of data and biosamples collected in large, multi-site studies funded by NIDDK. The investigator(s) should be prepared to transfer all data and samples to the Repository at the conclusion of the study. The study group will have exclusive access to data for a defined period, according to NIDDK data sharing policies (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/process/human-subjects-research/Documents/PublicversionNIDDKdatasharingpolicy2013July2013.pdf)

Appendix:  Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. The complete clinical protocol and informed consent templates may be submitted as appendices.

Planned Enrollment Report

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

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 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.

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

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.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. 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.

Clinical Centers should adhere to the study-wide Look AHEAD Staffing Model and Budgetary Guidelines.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

Important reminders:

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

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NIDDK Referral Office by email at calvof@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

For this particular announcement, note the following:

Look AHEAD is an on-going study proposing a 5-year extension. Unless previously published, data regarding some primary or secondary outcomes may not be available for review. A NIDDK-appointed DSMB and an independent study safety monitor provide regular safety and data quality oversight.

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? 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 PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or 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? Do the PDs/PIs demonstrate appropriate commitment to lead the clinical center and contribute to study-wide governance and activities during the proposed project period and have they included an appropriate succession plan, as appropriate?  

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? 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? 

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

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?   

Additional Review Criteria

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

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. 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, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

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 NIDDK 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 Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDK) Advisory 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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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 Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), 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:

1. Developing the research design and study protocol, including definition of objectives and approaches, sample size and power calculations, and establishing procedures for participant recruitment and follow-up, data collection, quality control, interim data and safety monitoring, final data analysis and interpretation, and publication of results.

2. Establishing a Steering Committee to implement, coordinate and manage the project(s). Awardee(s) will name investigators to serve as members on a Steering Committee and other subcommittees, as appropriate, meeting periodically. Awardees will be required to accept and implement the common protocol(s) and procedures approved by the Steering Committee.

3. Designating Protocol Chairs. The Program Directors/Principal Investigators (for studies involving multiple coordinated awards) shall designate a single Protocol Chairperson (if the Program Director/Principal Investigator does not assume this role) for each protocol to be carried out by the study group. The Protocol Chairperson shall function as the scientific coordinator for the protocol and shall assume responsibility for obtaining approval to implement the protocol from the Steering Committee and for developing and monitoring the protocol. Significant modifications to approved protocols must be approved by the Steering Committee.

4. Implementing collection of data specified by the study protocol, by the Steering Committee. For a multi-center study, each awardee/site is required to ensure that data will be submitted expeditiously to the Data Coordinating Center. Additionally, individual investigators/sites must demonstrate the ability to implement the strategy specifically designed for their individual study population.

5. Establishing procedures for data quality and completeness. Awardees are responsible for ensuring accurate and timely assessment of the progress of each study, including development of procedures to ensure that data collection and management are: (1) adequate for quality control and analysis; (2) for clinical trials, as simple as appropriate in order to facilitate cooperation/referral of study participants by physicians to avoid unnecessary expense; and (3) sufficiently staffed across the participating institutions. For research involving multiple awards, a plan for analysis of pooled data will be developed by the Steering Committee.

6. Submitting interim progress reports, when requested, to the NIDDK Program Director including as a minimum, summary data on protocol performance. For coordinated multiple awards or a multi-site single award, the NIDDK Program Director may require additional information from individual awardees/sites. Such reports are in addition to the required annual noncompeting continuation progress report.

7. Establishing procedures, where applicable, for all participating institutions in coordinated awards to comply with FDA regulations for studies involving investigational agents or devices and to comply with the requirements of 45 CFR Part 46 for the protection of human subjects, and the NIH policy requirements for the inclusion of women, minorities and children.

8. Reporting of the study findings. The awardee(s) will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data developed under these awards, subject to the Government rights of access consistent with current HHS, PHS and NIH policies. The awardee must also be adherent to Study Publication and Presentation Policy.  The NIDDK will have access to and may periodically review all data generated under an award. NIDDK staff may co-author publications of findings with awardees consistent with NIH and study policies.

9. Support or other involvement of industry or any other third party in the study -- e.g., participation by the third party; involvement of study resources or citing the name of the study or NIDDK support; or special access to study results, primary data/summary information, or resources -- may be advantageous and appropriate. However, except for licensing of patents or copyrights, support or involvement of any third party is permitted only after concurrence by NIDDK.

10.  Study investigators are encouraged to publish and to release publicly and disseminate results and other products of the study, in accordance with study protocols and steering committee policies on publications.

11.  Maintaining confidentiality of information:  The awardee(s) will maintain the confidentiality of the information developed by the investigators (i.e., protocols, data analysis, conclusions, etc.) as well as proprietary information of a company collaborating with the study.

12. The NIDDK has established Central Biosample, Genetic, and Data Repositories for the

archival and storage of data and biosamples collected in large, multi-site studies funded by NIDDK. The PI or his/her designee are expected to coordinate with the NIDDK Data Repository to prepare the collected data for eventual archiving and distribution. In addition, if applicable, the PI or his/her designee will work with the NIDDK Biosample Repository to coordinate procedures for coding, shipping, processing, receipt, and storage of study samples that are to be maintained in the Repository. All samples and data transferred to the Repositories will be under the custodianship of the NIDDK, although the study’s Steering Committee will have proprietary control of and exclusive access to the samples and data for an agreed-upon period of time. Subsequently samples and data will be available to the wider scientific community in accordance with the NIH policy on Data Sharing   (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/ and,

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_guidance.htm#goals, and https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm).

13. The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA or US Public Law 110-85) was passed on September 27, 2007. The law requires mandatory registration and results reporting for certain clinical trials of drugs, biologics, and devices. If applicable, the PI or his/her designee will perform the mandatory study registration and reporting of study results to ClinicalTrials.gov. For more information about this law and requirements for sponsors and/or investigators, visit the PRS and U.S. Public Law 110-85 Information Page at http://prsinfo.clinicaltrials.gov/fdaaa.html

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

1. Serve as the contact point for all facets of the scientific interaction with the awardee (s). As required for the coordination of activities and to expedite progress, NIDDK may designate additional NIDDK staff to provide advice to the awardee on specific scientific and/or analytic issues. Such staff may include another Project Scientist, who will provide direct technical assistance to the awardees to optimize the conduct and/or analysis of the study; or who may assist in the coordination of activities across multiple sites.

2. For multi-center studies, participation in the Steering Committee that oversees study conduct. The NIDDK Project Scientist  will be a full participant and voting member of the Steering Committee and, if applicable, subcommittees.

3. Serving as a resource to study investigators with respect to other ongoing NIDDK activities that may be relevant to the study to facilitate compatibility with the NIDDK missions and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

4. Substantial involvement assisting in the design and coordination of research activities for awardees as elaborated below:

a. Assisting by providing advice in the management and technical performance of the investigations, coordinating required regulatory clearances for investigational agents used in the study, which are held by NIDDK. The NIDDK may reserve the right to cross file or independently file an Investigational New Drug Application or an Investigational Device Exemption form with the FDA.

b. The NIDDK Project Scientist may coordinate activities among awardees by assisting in the design, development, and coordination of a common research or clinical protocol and statistical evaluations of data; in the preparation of questionnaires and other data recording forms; and in the publication of results.

c. Reviewing procedures for assessing data quality and study performance monitoring.

d. The NIDDK Project Scientist may be co-authors on study publications. In general, to warrant co-authorship, NIDDK staff must have contributed to the following areas: (a) design of the concepts or experiments being tested; (b) performance of significant portions of the activity; (c) participate in analysis and interpretation of study results and (d) preparation and authorship of pertinent manuscripts.  

In addition, a separate NIDDK Program Official identified in the Notice of Grant Award will be responsible for the normal stewardship and monitoring of the award including review and approval of all progress reports and all budgetary decisions.  Additional responsibilities of the NIDDK Program Official include: 

  • nteracting with the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) on a regular basis to monitor study progress. Monitoring may include: regular communications with the Program Director/Principal Investigator and staff, periodic site visits, observation of field data collection and management techniques, quality control, fiscal review, and other relevant matters; as well as attendance at Steering Committee, data safety and monitoring board, and related meetings. The NIDDK retains, as an option, periodic review of progress by researchers not involved with the study.
  • Reviewing and approving protocols prior to implementation to insure they are within the scope of peer review, for safety considerations, as required by Federal regulations.
  • The NIDDK Program Official will monitor protocol progress, and may request that a protocol study be closed to accrual for reasons including: (a) accrual rate insufficient to complete study in a timely fashion; (b) accrual goals met early; (c) poor protocol performance; (d) patient safety and regulatory concerns; (e) study results that are already conclusive; and (f) emergence of new information that diminishes the scientific importance of the study question. The NIDDK will not permit further expenditures of NIDDK funds for a study after requesting closure except as specifically approved by the NIDDK.
  • Making recommendations for continued funding based on: a) overall study progress, including sufficient patient and/or data accrual; b) cooperation in carrying out the research (e.g., attendance at Steering Committee meetings, implementation of group decisions, compliance with the terms of award and reporting requirements); and/or c) maintenance of a high quality of research, which will allow pooling of data and comparisons across multiple cooperative agreement awards for common data elements.
  • Appointment of a Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as appropriate; the NIDDK Program Official or their designee will serve as the Executive Secretary and/or NIDDK program representative on the DSMB.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

In addition to the interactions defined above, NIDDK Project Scientist and Awardees shall share responsibility for the following activities:

1. Steering Committee.

A Steering Committee organized by the study investigator(s) will be the main governing body of the study.

The Steering Committee has primary responsibility to design research activities, establish priorities, develop common protocols and manuals, questionnaires and other data recording forms, establish and maintain quality control among awardees, review progress, monitor patient accrual, coordinate and standardize data management, and cooperate on the publication of  results. Major scientific decisions regarding the core data will be determined by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will document progress in written reports to the NIDDK Program Official, and will provide periodic supplementary reports upon request.

The Steering Committee will be composed of all Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s), (including those of data coordinating /statistical centers, if any) and co-investigators as deemed necessary, and the NIDDK Project Scientist. The final structure of the Steering Committee and voting procedures will be established at the first meeting. The NIDDK Project Scientist will have voting membership on the Steering Committee, and as appropriate, its subcommittees. The frequency of Steering Committee meetings will be dictated by a vote of the members of the Steering Committee.

A Chairperson of the Steering Committee, other than the NIDDK Project Scientist, will be selected by the NIDDK. The Chairperson provides leadership to the Committee by conducting the Steering Committee meetings, representing the study group to the External Oversight Committee established by the NIDDK (see item D2 below) and by interacting closely with the awardees during protocol development and implementation.

2. External Study Oversight.

An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board will be established by the NIDDK for Phase III clinical trials or other high risk studies as appropriate. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board will review interim results periodically and provide guidance to the NIDDK.

Dispute Resolution

Any disagreement that may arise on scientific/programmatic matters (within the scope of the award), between award recipients and the NIDDK may be brought to dispute resolution. A dispute resolution panel will be composed of three members --one selected by the awardee (or the Steering Committee, with the NIDDK member not voting), a second member selected by NIDDK, and the third member elected by the two prior selected members. These special dispute resolution procedures in no way affect the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulations at 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D, and HHS regulations at 45 CR 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 progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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 Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Mary Evans, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-4578
Email: evansmary@niddk.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Paul Rushing, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-8895
Email: rushingp@extra.niddk.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Elizabeth Gutierrez
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-8844
Email: gutierrezel@niddk.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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