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.
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.
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a significant cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis and a growing public health challenge in the United States. NASH has the potential to result in end-stage liver disease and primary liver cancer, both devastating complications with costly burdens on the health care system. Until recently, the impact of this condition was not fully appreciated but NASH is now among the leading indications for liver transplantation. With the advent of newer treatments for chronic hepatitis C, NASH may soon surpass this disease to become the major cause of chronic liver disease and leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States. It is estimated that 10-15 million Americans are affected by NASH. Not only are these individuals at risk for the consequences of chronic liver disease, but there is growing evidence that they also have an increased risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease and nonhepatic malignancies. NASH is classically considered to be a disease of obese, middle-aged adults -- often in association with other manifestations of the metabolic syndrome. A major shift in this thought has occurred, as NASH is now frequently recognized in young adults and children, and even occurs in the absence of obesity.
Accurate and rigorous diagnosis and staging of NASH requires a liver biopsy. However, this procedure is not readily accepted by patients and their caregivers, which hinders referral, accurate diagnosis, and assessment of response to interventions. From a public health perspective, the need for a liver biopsy for rigorous diagnosis hinders determining disease prevalence accurately. Efforts to replace liver biopsy as a diagnostic necessity have yielded studies fraught with inaccuracies and limited clinical translatability. Biomarkers and imaging techniques have been developed to assist in determining the risk of the presence of NASH, but these noninvasive approaches still require validation before they can be accepted as diagnostic tools.
The current standard of care for NASH is weight loss through diet and exercise which is a clinically challenging goal to achieve. There are no licensed therapies for NASH. The PIVENS and TONIC studies of vitamin E, conducted by the NASH CRN, have demonstrated the feasibility of conducting rigorous, entry and exit liver biopsy measures in adult and child intervention trials in this disease, as well as the potential of this low-cost therapy to modulate its clinical course. Despite these accomplishments, other therapies require rigorous evaluation to determine their effectiveness.
The discovery of the association of PNPLA-3 variants with fatty liver disease in 2008 was a major advance that validated observational studies of a hereditary factor. Genetic factors appear to be just one component in the propensity to develop fatty liver disease and NASH. A number of other factors such as the constituents of the diet, the constituents of the host microbiome, the inflammatory state of the host, the role of lipotoxicity, the host autophagy pathways via endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation, and a plethora of other invoked injury signaling pathways have been implicated in the pathogenesis of NASH. It remains unresolved which of these various factors are most relevant in the development of clinical disease.
In addition to the liver condition in and of itself, the presence of NASH has been independently associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular complications. Thus, NASH may serve as a surrogate marker for other extrahepatic complications. Several important unresolved issues related to the nonhepatic consequences in the setting of fatty liver disease remain with respect to metabolic, cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases.
The NASH Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN) has been sponsored by NIDDK since 2002. The network is currently composed of 19 clinical sites (funded through eight Clinical Center grants) across the United States and a Data Coordinating Center. The NASH CRN is a nationally and internationally recognized leader as a network that is focused on clinical studies of fatty liver disease and NASH. Over its existence, the NASH CRN has enrolled over 4000 adults and children in the network’s databases, including approximately 2200 adults and 900 children with biopsy proven NASH in the current Database 2. The Network has amassed a vast repository of serum, plasma, liver tissue and DNA in well-pedigreed cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Because of the unique prominence of the NASH CRN, the NIDDK has engaged several collaborative industry partners. These public-private partnerships have matured into the development of several clinical trials, including: Pioglitazone versus Vitamin E versus Placebo for the Treatment of Nondiabetic Patients with Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (PIVENS) (247 adults); Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) Ligand Obetacholic Acid in NASH Treatment Trial (FLINT) (283 adults); and, Cysteamine Bitartate Delayed-Release for the Treatment of NAFLD in Children trial (CyNCh) (169 children).
STOP-NAFLD will be studying the use of Losartan in the treatment of children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Several adult interventional studies are currently under consideration by the network and it is anticipated that one will be initiated prior to the end of the current funding cycle.
There are 117 ancillary or pilot studies currently being conducted, or previously completed, by the NASH CRN and a number of publications in various stages of preparation. Thus, this clinical research network is uniquely positioned to yield important new translatable clinical information with the potential to improve clinical management for patients with NASH.
The overriding objective of this research program is to pursue clinical research on adult and pediatric NASH with a secondary objective to encourage translational research focusing upon elucidating the pathogenesis that will provide the basis for understanding the natural history and developing means of diagnosis, treatment and clinical management, the NIDDK proposes to continue the NASH CRN. The specific objectives of the newly formed NASH CRN are:
1. Completing enrollment, execution, analysis and publication of the STOP-NAFLD clinical trial in children.
2. Completing enrollment, execution, analysis and publication of the pending adult therapeutic clinical trial(s).
The remaining specific objectives could include, but are not limited to:
1. Development and performance of clinical trials of novel therapeutic strategies for the management and treatment of NASH. It is anticipated that strategies that will be studied will be prioritized to agents with novel and innovative mechanisms of action and those with the potential for generalized, cost-effective, population-based implementation.
2. Utilization of the available biospecimens and clinical data of the NASH CRN as well prospectively obtained data and samples from newly enrolled subjects, to develop and validate non-invasive biomarkers for the diagnosis and staging of NASH. These may include both imaging and non-imaging modalities.
3. Development of an adequately powered natural history study of fatty liver disease, including both hepatic (eg, cirrhosis, liver decompensation, liver transplantation, hepatocellular carcinoma and death) and nonhepatic outcomes (eg, atherosclerotic, metabolic and neoplastic). It is anticipated that such an outcomes study may require the recruitment and staging of an appropriate control population.
4. Utilization of the resources of the NASH CRN to further advance the understanding of the genetic predictors of NASH and use any identified genetic markers to target cellular pathways and mechanisms for further study with respect to pathogenesis, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. The NASH CRN investigators are strongly encouraged to seek out scientific expertise outside of the NASH CRN Clinical sites to augment and synergize the scientific opportunities.
5. The study of fatty liver disease using innovative strategies which may include lipidomics, metabolomics, microbiomics and other emerging technologies to further characterize the disease. The NASH CRN investigators are strongly encouraged to seek out scientific expertise outside of the NASH CRN Clinical sites to augment and synergize the scientific opportunities.
This is a one-time funding opportunity announcement to continue the NASH CRN for a maximum of five years, contingent on satisfactory study recruitment, patient retention, progress of translational studies, and availability of funds.
ORGANIZATION OF THE NASH CRN:
The NASH CRN will consist of the following components: the NIH, up to eight Clinical Centers (CC), a Data Coordinating Center (DCC), 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 Network are described in the Terms and Conditions of Award.
The NIDDK will be responsible for organizing and providing support for the NASH CRN and will be involved substantially with the awardees as a scientific and administrative "partner", consistent with the Cooperative Agreement mechanism. A designated NIDDK Project Scientist, who will provide programmatic oversight, will monitor subject recruitment and study progress, ensure disclosure of conflicts of interest and adherence to NIDDK policies. The NIDDK will appoint Chairperson(s) of the Steering Committee and all members of the DSMB. An additional NIDDK Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.
Through subcontracts and/or involvement of appropriate clinical departments within an applicant institution, CC applicants are encouraged to involve both Adult and Pediatric investigators. CCs will be responsible for proposing protocols, participating in their overall development, conducting the research, and disseminating research findings. For each investigational or therapeutic protocol, one CC will take the lead responsibility in conjunction with a protocol development subcommittee for drafting the protocol, although the Steering Committee will provide input and will be responsible for assuring development of a common protocol to be implemented by all of the CCs. All CC principal investigators will be strongly encouraged to fully commit their center resources and efforts to the Network protocols and will disclose to the Steering Committee any applicant institutional specific clinical studies that may overlap with the clinical activities of the NASH CRN. The CCs will continue to recruit subjects into any newly prioritized and approved NASH CRN studies and will conduct the clinical trials and longitudinal follow-up as described in the study protocols. No deviations will be allowed. All individual CCs will be required to participate in a cooperative and interactive manner with one another, with the DCC, and with the NIDDK in all aspects of the NASH CRN (see Terms and Conditions of Award). Only investigators who wish to continue to carry out the protocols of the NASH CRN, are willing and able to participate in centralized Institutional Review Board at their institution, and agree to be governed by the policies and procedures of the NASH CRN and its steering committee should apply under this FOA.
STEERING COMMITTEE. The Steering Committee will be the main governing body of the NASH CRN (see Terms and Conditions of Award). The Steering Committee will be composed of the principal investigators of each CC in the Network, the principal investigator of the DCC, the NIDDK Project Scientist and the NIDDK Program Official. Pediatric and Adult co-Chairs will be appointed by NIDDK. Each CC, the DCC, and the NIDDK Project Scientist will have one vote. The Steering Committee will have primary responsibility for the general organization of the NASH Clinical Research Network, and approval of publications and ancillary studies. The Steering Committee will be responsible for the conduct and monitoring of studies and reporting study results. Topics for investigational and treatment protocols will be proposed and prioritized by the Steering Committee. An Executive Committee comprised of Pediatric and Adult Study Co-Chairs (appointed by NIDDK), the Principal Investigator of the DCC, the NIDDK Project Scientist, and NIDDK Program Official will be convened to effect management decisions required between Steering Committee meetings, as required for the function of the network. Other NIDDK personnel, as deemed necessary by the Project Scientist and Program Official, may also be included. Other subcommittees of the Steering Committee will be established and will operate as necessary, such as publications, ancillary, protocol, pathology and radiology. All face to face Steering Committee, DSMB, and other necessary face to face meetings requiring the presence of NIDDK personnel will be held in the Washington, DC/Baltimore metropolitan area or other suitable venue.
DATA SAFETY AND MONITORING BOARD. An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will be established by the NIDDK to review protocols and monitor patient safety and performance of each study. As a part of its responsibilities, the DSMB will submit recommendations to the NIDDK regarding the continuation of each study. The DSMB will be responsible for final approval of the Data and Safety Monitoring Plan developed by the DCC. All protocols or changes to protocols will be approved by Institutional Review Boards, the Steering Committee, the NASH CRN Data and Safety Monitoring Board, and the NIDDK before initiation.
OTHER SPECIAL PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS
The NASH CRN will continue to be a collaborative effort that will require frequent interactions of awardees between themselves and with the NIDDK. Applicants must explicitly indicate their willingness to:
1. Participate in Steering Committee meetings (expected to occur in person 3-4 times a year in the Washington DC/Baltimore metropolitan area or other suitable venue, and as monthly (or as needed) teleconference, site visits as required by the NIDDK, and regular subcommittee telephone conference calls;
2. Cooperate with other awardees in the development and design or modification of research protocols, and cooperate with other awardees in carrying out approved research protocols and state willingness to disclose to the Steering Committee any applicant institutional specific clinical studies that may overlap with the clinical activities of the NASH CRN;
3. Abide by common definitions; common methods for patient selection and enrollment; and common protocols, procedures, tests, and reporting forms as chosen by majority vote of the Steering Committee;
4. Actively seek to implement each consortium-wide protocol approved by the DSMB and the NIDDK that the site is selected for participation;
5. Comply with all study policies and quality assurance measures approved by the Steering Committee;
6. Agree to oversight of the study by a Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB),
7. Transmit study data to the Data and Coordinating Center in a timely and accurate manner (Clinical Centers and subsites only);
8. Report all adverse events in accordance with procedures established by the Steering Committee, and NIDDK and FDA policies;
9. Cooperate with other awardees in the publication of study results and the eventual release to the scientific community of study procedures and other resources;
10. Serve on and chair subcommittees and protocol committees as assigned by the steering committee or the NIDDK;
11. Engage a broader set of investigators external to the immediate study group to provide opportunities to analyze the data and participate in the parent study by means of ancillary studies;
12. Develop opportunities for local analysis of data by study investigators and other qualified researchers at their institutions, and investigators outside the study group (“disseminated data analysis”);
13. Identify fixed and variable costs and establish procedures for negotiation of third party agreements or selection of subcontractors (i.e. clinical sites, clinical/investigational pharmacies, clinical/research laboratories, drug distribution centers, biospecimen repositories, etc.), and develop processes to efficiently administer and manage same throughout the project;
14. Accept the “Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award” in Section VI.2.A “Award Administration Information”.
The NIDDK plans to commit $5 million dollars in FY 2019 to support two related approaches to the continuation of the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN), as embodied in RFA-DK-18-505, and RFA-DK-18-506. It is expected that up to 9 awards will be supported in FY 2019 in total under these two RFAs.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
This is a limited competition FOA: Only the awardee institutions that are the principal employers of the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) and the collaborating institutions of the NASH Clinical Centers are eligible to apply in response to this FOA.
Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))
All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account. PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
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.
The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not accept:
Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
The letter of intent should be sent to:
John F. Connaughton, Ph.D.
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
It is anticipated that the NASH CRN will continue to consider studies of novel diagnostics and therapeutics in partnership with private sector collaborators. The PD/PI of the DCC should outline their experience with collaborative research with private sector partners and their willingness and ability to coordinate such studies in the future. This should include the capability and willingness to fulfill the IND and/or IDE regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration to support clinical trials of the network.
The NIDDK Technology Advancement Office must be consulted early in the process when an NIDDK-funded study enters into a collaboration agreement and the NIDDK Regulatory Specialist consulted early in the process when a protocol may be required to operate under an IND/IDE.
If feasible, future NASH CRN clinical study protocols may be overseen by a centralized IRB. Investigators are encouraged to express their willingness to consider this model or comment on barriers to implementation of centralized IRB review and ongoing oversight at their individual institutions.
In order to maximize the impact and efficiency of the NASH CRN, investigators are requested to state their willingness to present site-specific fatty liver disease studies that may potentially conflict with the activities of the Network to the NASH CRN Steering Committee for comment and consideration as network-wide studies.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
The following modifications also apply:
If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or Delayed Onset Study record.
Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
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
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday , the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.
Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time. If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
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.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
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.
Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research
Many NIH ICs encourage the use of common data elements (CDEs) in basic, clinical, and applied research, patient registries, and other human subject research to facilitate broader and more effective use of data and advance research across studies. CDEs are data elements that have been identified and defined for use in multiple data sets across different studies. Use of CDEs can facilitate data sharing and standardization to improve data quality and enable data integration from multiple studies and sources, including electronic health records. NIH ICs have identified CDEs for many clinical domains (e.g., neurological disease), types of studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies (GWAS)), types of outcomes (e.g., patient-reported outcomes), and patient registries (e.g., the Global Rare Diseases Patient Registry and Data Repository). NIH has established a “Common Data Element (CDE) Resource Portal" (http://cde.nih.gov/) to assist investigators in identifying NIH-supported CDEs when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection. The Portal provides guidance about and access to NIH-supported CDE initiatives and other tools and resources for the appropriate use of CDEs and data standards in NIH-funded research. Investigators are encouraged to consult the Portal and describe in their applications any use they will make of NIH-supported CDEs in their projects.
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.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
Specific to this FOA:
Does the proposed Center address the needs of the research network that it will coordinate? Is the scope of activities proposed for the Center appropriate to meet those needs? Will successful completion of the aims bring unique advantages or capabilities to the research consortium?
Are the scientific rationale and need for a clinical trial to test the proposed hypothesis or intervention well supported by preliminary data, clinical and/or preclinical studies, or information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms? For trials focusing on clinical or public health endpoints, is this clinical trial necessary for testing the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of an intervention that could lead to a change in clinical practice, community behaviors or health care policy?For trials focusing on mechanistic, behavioral, physiological, biochemical, or other biomedical endpoints, is this trial needed to advance scientific understanding?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
Specific to this FOA:
Are the PD(s)/PI(s) and other personnel well suited to their roles in the Center? Do they have appropriate experience and training, and have they demonstrated experience and an ongoing record of accomplishments in managing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease research? Do the investigators demonstrate significant experience with coordinating collaborative clinical research? If the Center is multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise and skills; are their leadership approach, governance, plans for conflict resolution, and organizational structure appropriate for the Center? Does the applicant have experience overseeing selection and management of subawards, if needed?
With regard to the proposed leadership for the project, do the PD/PI(s) and key personnel have the expertise, experience, and ability to organize, manage and implement the proposed clinical trial and meet milestones and timelines? Do they have appropriate expertise in study coordination, data management and statistics? For a multicenter trial, is the organizational structure appropriate and does the application identify a core of potential center investigators and staffing for a coordinating center?
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?
Do es the design/research plan include innovative elements, as appropriate, that enhance its sensitivity, potential for information or potential to advance scientific knowledge or clinical practice?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable
Is the study design justified and appropriate to address primary and secondary outcome variable(s)/endpoints that will be clear, informative and relevant to the hypothesis being tested? Is the scientific rationale/premise of the study based on previously well-designed preclinical and/or clinical research? the study design adequately powered to answer the research question(s), test the proposed hypothesis/hypotheses, and provide interpretable results? Is the trial appropriately designed to conduct the research efficiently? Are the study populations (size, gender, age, demographic group), proposed intervention arms/dose, and duration of the trial, appropriate and well justified?
Are potential ethical issues adequately addressed? Is the process for obtaining informed consent or assent appropriate? Is the eligible population available? Are the plans for recruitment outreach, enrollment, retention, handling dropouts, missed visits, and losses to follow-up appropriate to ensure robust data collection? Are the planned recruitment timelines feasible and is the plan to monitor accrual adequate? Has the need for randomization (or not), masking (if appropriate), controls, and inclusion/exclusion criteria been addressed? Are differences addressed, if applicable, in the intervention effect due to sex/gender and race/ethnicity?
Are the plans to standardize, assure quality of, and monitor adherence to, the trial protocol and data collection or distribution guidelines appropriate? Is there a plan to obtain required study agent(s)? Does the application propose to use existing available resources, as applicable?
Data Management and Statistical Analysis
Are planned analyses and statistical approach appropriate for the proposed study design and methods ? Are the procedures for data management and quality control of data adequate at clinical site(s) or at center laboratories, as applicable? Have the methods for standardization of procedures for data management to assess the effect of the intervention and quality control been addressed? Is there a plan to complete data analysis within the proposed period of the award?
Specific to this FOA:
Are the overall strategy, operational plan, and organizational structure well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the goals of the research network the Center will serve? Will the investigators promote strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased scientific approach across the network, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? Are an appropriate plan for work-flow and a well-established timeline proposed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to ensure consideration of relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies of vertebrate animals or human subjects?
If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?
Specific to this FOA: Will the institutional environment in which the Center will operate contribute to the probability of success in facilitating the research network it serves? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the Center proposed? Will the Center benefit from unique features of the institutional environment, infrastructure, or personnel? Are resources available within the scientific environment to support electronic information handling?
If proposed, are the administrative, data coordinating, enrollment and laboratory/testing centers, appropriate for the trial proposed?
Does the application adequately address the capability and ability to conduct the trial at the proposed site(s) or centers? Are the plans to add or drop enrollment centers, as needed, appropriate?
If international site(s) is/are proposed, does the application adequately address the complexity of executing the clinical trial?
If multi-sites/centers, is there evidence of the ability of the individual site or center to: (1) enroll the proposed numbers; (2) adhere to the protocol; (3) collect and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion; and, (4) operate within the proposed organizational structure?
Is the study timeline described in detail, taking into account start-up activities, the anticipated rate of enrollment, and planned follow-up assessment? Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified? Does the project incorporate efficiencies and utilize existing resources (e.g., CTSAs, practice-based research networks, electronic medical records, administrative database, or patient registries) to increase the efficiency of participant enrollment and data collection, as appropriate?
Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?
Specific to this FOA:? Has the investigator stated their willingness to consider a centralized IRB for future protocols? Does the applicant have the experience and ability to fulfill the IND and/or IDE regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration to support clinical trials of the network? Does the applicant have an appropriate plan for interaction and collaboration with potential private sector collaborators?
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.
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.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.
Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
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).
For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available 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.
ClinicalTrials.gov: If an award provides for one or more clinical trials. By law (Title VIII, Section 801 of Public Law 110-85), the "responsible party" must register and submit results information for certain “applicable clinical trials” on the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration and Results System Information Website (https://register.clinicaltrials.gov). NIH expects registration of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see http://grants.nih.gov/ClinicalTrials_fdaaa/
Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee institutions must ensure that the application as well as all 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. Data and Safety Monitoring Requirements: The NIH policy for data and safety monitoring requires oversight and monitoring of all NIH-conducted or -supported human biomedical and behavioral intervention studies (clinical trials) to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. Further information concerning these requirements is found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/data_safety.htm and in the application instructions (SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398).
Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption Requirements: Consistent with federal regulations, clinical research projects involving the use of investigational therapeutics, vaccines, or other medical interventions (including licensed products and devices for a purpose other than that for which they were licensed) in humans under a research protocol must be performed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug (IND) or investigational device exemption (IDE).
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.
In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.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.
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 protocols) 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. 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 sites, a plan for analysis of pooled data will be developed by the Steering Committee.
6. Submitting interim progress reports, when requested or agreed upon by both parties, to the NIDDK Program Official including as a minimum, summary data on protocol performance. For coordinated multiple awards or a multi-site single award, the NIDDK Program Official may require additional information from individual awardees/sites. Such reports are in addition to the required annual noncompeting continuation progress report.
7. Reporting of the study findings. 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. 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.
8. Agree that any third-party (including both industry and academia) collaboration should be governed by a research collaboration agreement (e.g. Clinical Trial Agreement, Research Collaborative Agreement, Memorandum Of Understanding, etc.) with terms that ensure the collaboration is conducted in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement, applicable NIH/NIDDK policies and procedures. The NIDDK Program Official may consult with others at NIH including the NIDDK Technology Advancement Office.
9. Any involvement of a third party (including both industry and academia) in the study, including access to any study data; study results; using the name of the study; or the name of the NIH or NIDDK, is permitted only after written concurrence by the NIDDK Program Official who may consult with others at NIH including the NIDDK Technology Advancement Office.
10. Study investigators are required 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 archiving and storage of data and biosamples collected in large, multi-site studies funded by NIDDK. Prior to enrolling participants, the PI or his/her designee will coordinate with the NIDDK Central Repository to develop a Data Sharing Plan and 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, storage, and sharing 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.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_guidance.htm#goals , and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm ), as well as the NIDDK policy for data sharing in multi-center and large single-center clinical studies,
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 trials conducted under this grant are applicable clinical trials subject to FDAAA, the sponsor 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. In addition, grantees should be aware that clinical trials not covered by FDAAA may still require registration in an approved registry in order to be published, according to the guidelines issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (http://icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/clinical-trial-registration.html).
NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:
An NIDDK Project Scientist with substantial involvement will:
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 or Project Coordinator, 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, participate in the Steering Committee that oversees study conduct. The NIDDK Project Scientist or Project Coordinator will be a full participant and voting member of the Steering Committee and, if applicable, subcommittees.
3. Serve 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. Have 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 or Project Coordinator 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 or Project Coordinator 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) participation in analysis and interpretation of study results and (d) preparation and authorship of pertinent manuscripts.
The NIDDK Program Official identified in the Notice of Award will:
Areas of Joint Responsibility include:
In addition to the interactions defined above, NIDDK Project Scientist and Awardees shall share responsibility for the following activities:
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, in consultation with the Steering Committee. 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 and by interacting closely with the awardees during protocol development and implementation.
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.
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.
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Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
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