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

Nutrition Obesity Research Centers (NORCs) (P30 Clinical Trial Optional)

Activity Code

P30 Center Core Grants

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-DK-16-006

Related Notices
  • August 23, 2019 - Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137.
  • July 26, 2019 - Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-128.
  • June 28, 2019 - Notice of Correction to Award Budget Language for RFA-DK-19-002. See Notice NOT-DK-19-017.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-DK-19-002

Companion Funding Opportunity

 Not Applicable  

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.847  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications from institutions/organizations that propose to establish core centers that are part of an integrated and existing program of nutrition and/or obesity research. The Nutrition Obesity Research Centers (NORC) program is designed to support and enhance the national research effort in nutrition and obesity. NORCs support three primary research-related activities: Research Core services, a Pilot and Feasibility (P and F) program, and an Enrichment program. All activities pursued by Nutrition Obesity Research Centers are designed to enhance the efficiency, productivity, effectiveness and multidisciplinary nature of research in nutrition and obesity. The NIDDK Nutrition Obesity Research Centers program consists of 12 Centers, each located at outstanding research institutions with documented programs of excellence in nutrition and/or obesity research.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

March 13, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 23, 2019

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

October 23, 2019 and June 2, 2020, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

March/April 2020 and October/November 2020

Advisory Council Review

May 2020 and January 2021

Earliest Start Date

July 2020 and April 2021)

Expiration Date

June 3, 2020

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


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

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

  3. Table of Contents

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

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

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

    This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications for Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) grants to support research in nutrition and/or obesity. The mission of the NORC program is to serve as a key component of the NIDDK-supported research effort to advance nutrition and obesity research. The NORCs promote new discoveries and enhance scientific progress through support of cutting-edge basic, clinical, and translational research in nutrition science and obesity with the ultimate goal of improving public health. 

    To accomplish this mission, the NORCs:

    • Create an environment that supports important and innovative research;
    • Attract and retain early stage investigators and investigators new to nutrition/obesity research;
    • Provide core services that leverage funding and unique expertise;
    • Foster interdisciplinary collaborations, especially in emerging areas of research, to catalyze new ideas and scientific approaches;
    • Raise awareness and interest in fundamental and clinical nutrition and/or obesity research at their institutions, as well as locally, regionally, and nationally;
    • Promote the translation of scientific discoveries from bench to bedside to community to improve public health; and
    • Enhance nutrition and obesity research education and training opportunities.

    Institution and Research Base

    The NORC program is intended to bring together investigators from a variety of scientific disciplines in a manner that enhances and extends the effectiveness of their research. A NORC must be an identifiable unit within a single or a consortium of cooperating institutions, including affiliated universities, medical centers, and/or other research organizations; however, NORCs may also foster interactions and collaborations between investigators at multiple institutions to promote a multifaceted approach to a common goal. In either case, NORC applications must be associated with an existing program of excellence as evidenced by a consistent and outstanding record of productivity and peer-reviewed research funding in the areas of nutrition and/or obesity. NORC funding will provide support for core facilities (shared resources), pilot and feasibility studies, and program enrichment activities. Except for pilot and feasibility studies, NORC funds are not intended to fund or otherwise support individual biomedical or behavioral research projects other than through core usage.

    The NORC research base includes only currently-funded, peer-reviewed research grants awarded to the applicant institution/consortium. The research must be in the form of research project grants (e.g. R21, R01), program project grants (P01), RC2 interdisciplinary science, or other peer-reviewed research that is already funded by NIH, other Federal Agencies, or non-federal groups at the time of submission of the NORC grant application. Training grants, education grants, other NIH Center awards, and fellowship awards are not considered part of the research base, but opportunities for collaboration and synergy should be discussed. The focus, relevance, interrelationships, quality, productivity, and, to some extent, quantity are all important considerations for the adequacy of the research base. The biomedical research base will be given emphasis in the peer review process.

    The funding of the research base for the NORC, including any affiliated academic centers, hospitals, or proposed partners, must consist of at least $3,000,000 in direct costs of peer-reviewed research projects. Since "Facilities and Administration" costs vary considerably between institutions, those amounts should not be included in the calculation of the research base. In addition, there must be sufficient Federal support within the base to fulfill the requirement for a minimum of two federally-funded NORC members utilizing each Biomedical Research Core, and at least 50% of funding for the research base must come from Federal agencies or programs.

    NORCs are also expected to have ‘members’, and criteria for becoming a NORC ‘member’ must be clearly defined and well-justified.  Subsets of members based on their degree of participation or other quantitative measures are acceptable.  Suitable criteria include peer-reviewed independent funding, participation in NORC-related research, and need for the use of core facilities. All research base investigators must be NORC members. 

    Research programs/investigators outside of the primary institution or consortium where the NORC is based may utilize the core resources and participate in NORC activities, if space, time, and funds permit, and NORCs are encouraged to explore such opportunities; however, investigators and grant funding outside of the NORC institution/consortium may not be included as part of the NORC research base and funding. NORCs at an institution(s) with more than one NIDDK-funded Center, particularly Diabetes Research Centers, Centers for Diabetes Translation Research, or Digestive Disease Centers must disclose and address any potential for overlap in research base members such as to not inappropriately inflate the research base of the NORC. The possibility for overlap or duplication of the research base at applicant institutions with more than one NIDDK-funded Center program will be evaluated.

    Existing, competing NORCs are permitted to focus their efforts.  The direct cost cap for NORCs has not increased in recent years and thus more focused NORCs may be necessary so as to not dilute the effectiveness of the limited NORC support available.  Therefore, it is not necessary for each competing NORC to show growth in their research base when they have made the strategic decision to focus their research base (i.e. NORC membership) rather than continuously expand.  A flat or even slightly reduced research base in a renewal application is acceptable. 

    Center Structure and Activities

    The organization and structure of the NORC should reflect the goals of the NORC, encourage collaboration, develop and implement NORC-wide initiatives, and promote the use of shared resources and Pilot and Feasibility Program funds. The structure can change as needed based on new scientific opportunities and partnerships. This major underpinning of the NORC allows for modifications of programmatic and scientific activities and evolution of areas of support to fully capitalize on the most exciting research opportunities in nutrition/obesity-related research areas.

    Administrative Core (with Clinical Element and Enrichment Program)

    NORC applications must include an Administrative Core, which is responsible for allocation and oversight of NORC resources. The Administrative Core is expected to ensure the coordination and integration of NORC components and activities. The Administrative Core should have a process to a) assess the productivity, effectiveness, and appropriateness of NORC activities; b) determine the criteria and selection process for NORC membership; and c) foster collaborations and scientific opportunities among its members. In addition, all NORCs are required to maintain an institutional NORC website with the Administrative Core taking primary responsibility for its curation and oversight. The NORC program also maintains a central NORC program website (www.norccentral.org), and individual NORCs are required to regularly communicate with the NORC website administrators to assure that information regarding their NORC is accurate and up to date.

    The Administrative Core must provide support for enrichment activities to foster multidisciplinary approaches to nutrition/obesity research and to attract new investigators or investigators with relevant expertise to nutrition/obesity research. While many of these activities occur at the grantee institution, applicants are encouraged to suggest coordinated efforts, such as educational activities, that might operate on a regional or national level and involve multiple NORCs.

    Support for visiting scientists, seminars, and research fora are appropriate items for inclusion in an enrichment program as well as any appropriate, innovative means to support the goals of the NORC, e.g. workshops, etc. Also, limited travel support may be requested to allow NORC investigators to learn new laboratory techniques, to develop new collaborations, or to engage in scientific information exchange. In all cases, the enrichment program should further the overall aims and objectives of the NORC as well as its cores. Creative new programs, not precluded by NIH or NIDDK policies, are encouraged. While NORCs may not support stipends for graduate students or postdoctoral fellows, the environment fostered by the existence of the NORC with its core facilities in conjunction with its enrichment program and educational opportunities should serve to foster the careers of students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, including K-awardees.

    Clinical Element

    NORCs are required to support clinical and/or translational research, and these efforts must be described in a 'Clinical Element' within the Administrative Core. A NORC's potential or past efforts to develop clinically-relevant specialized services that are applicable and useful for the NORC research base are an important aspect of the NORC program and will be evaluated.

    NORCs may support clinical/translational research and services through a variety of approaches, as follows: 

    • A clinical biomedical research core, i.e., clinical research services are provided for and budgeted through stand-alone research core(s)
    • The administrative core, or
    • A combination of the above in a manner that best meets the needs of the NORC.

    The clinical research services offered, the qualifications of the relevant personnel supported within the overall NORC, as well as the number of physician scientists, and perhaps basic researchers, who will make use of available/relevant clinical research services should be addressed. Any efforts to encourage collaboration between NORC clinical and basic science investigators should be described in the Clinical Element. The pilot and feasibility (P and F) program and the Enrichment Program may also be included if they contribute to efforts to foster clinical research within the NORC. 

    NORC Director

    The NORC Director, who is the Program Director/Principal Investigator on the P30 application and Director of the Administrative Core, must be a scientist who can provide effective administrative and scientific leadership and who has demonstrated proficiency in managing a large, multi-component project. The Director will be responsible for the organization and operation of the NORC and for communication with the NIDDK on scientific and operational matters. NORC Directors are required, and their administrators are strongly encouraged, to attend NORC Director's meetings to be held at a location to be determined by the NIDDK. One or more Associate Directors should be named who will be involved in the administrative, scientific, or training efforts of the NORC and who will serve as Acting NORC Director in the absence of the Director. A process must be in place that would be used to recommend a successor to the Director, if needed. An administrative assistant may also be proposed. 

    Biomedical Resource Cores

    NORCs are designed around Research Cores that provide shared, specialized technical resources and/or expertise that enhance the efficiency, productivity, and multidisciplinary nature of research performed by NORC-affiliated investigators. The goal of the NORC program is to make state-of-the art technologies and resources readily accessible to a broad spectrum of investigators who are pursuing studies in nutrition, obesity and other related research areas. Moreover, cores are intended to facilitate basic, clinical, and translational research to accomplish the stated goals of the individual NORC and of the overall NIDDK NORC program.

    Two to five biomedical research Cores are usually included in a NORC. NORCs are encouraged, but not required, to interact with the broader research community, serving as resources to support research of importance to NIDDK.  Therefore, Core usage by (1) Members of other NORCs; (2) Members of other NIDDK-funded Centers; and (3) Non-NORC members, both locally and nationally, is encouraged when Core capacity allows and institutional policies can be accommodated.

    Each Research Core should provide state-of-the art services to multiple, funded research projects. Examples of biomedical research cores that would be considered responsive to this FOA may include, but are not limited to:

    • Nutrigenomics
    • Metabolomics
    • Dietary and/or physical activity assessment
    • Basic behavioral science
    • Molecular biology
    • Nutritional biochemistry
    • Adipocyte biology
    • Imaging
    • Translational research (bench to bedside; bedside to community/practice)
    • Clinical research
    • Bioinformatics
    • Biostatistics

    These cores are not listed in any particular order, nor do they represent a comprehensive list of possibilities.  In responding to this FOA, applicants are encouraged to propose cores that address specific objectives based on the unique requirements of the research base at the applicant institution(s). Particular emphasis should be placed on services that support and foster interdisciplinary, integrated and translational approaches to research in nutrition, obesity and related topic areas. Preference will be given to core support services that are not readily available or cost-effective when supplied from commercial sources as well as techniques or technologies that are technically challenging or require specialized expertise, equipment or infrastructure. The quality, usage, and appropriateness of biomedical research cores for the research base will be given emphasis in the peer review process.

    When appropriate, Core staff should provide instruction for investigators, laboratory personnel, or fellows to learn, and then become proficient in, technologies that will become part of the repertoire of the user's laboratory. Teaching new or complex techniques and methodologies is an important function of a Core. In addition to providing products or services, a Core must ensure appropriate quality control and maintain a record of use.  Limited developmental research is also an appropriate function of a Core facility as long as it is directly related to enhancing the function or usefulness of the Core and is not an undertaking that should more appropriately be funded through other mechanisms.  Plans for responding to the changing needs of the NORC members should also be a part of each Core.

    Justification for proposing a core:  The establishment and continued support of biomedical research cores within a NORC are justified based on use by independently-funded NORC research base investigators.  The minimum requirement for establishing a core is significant usage by two or more investigators with independently-funded, peer-reviewed projects; however, the minimum of two independently-funded users does not in itself provide sufficient justification. Proposing to join an institutional core is acceptable but must be well-justified. While investigators holding awards from the NORC pilot and feasibility program are appropriate users of the core facilities, their use does not contribute to justification for establishment or continued support of a core. 

    Pilot and Feasibility (P and F) Program

    The Pilot and Feasibility (P and F) program provides modest support for new initiatives or feasibility research studies. It is anticipated that up to $50,000 in direct costs per year for up to two years will be provided for the majority of approved P and F projects. This program is directed at new and early stage investigators, at investigators established in other research disciplines with expertise that may be applied to obesity or nutritional sciences research, and at established investigators who wish to make a substantial change in the direction of their nutritional sciences or obesity-related research.

    It is expected that the majority of P and F project investigators will fall into the new or early stage investigator category, and only in exceptional circumstances will established investigators be supported. Efforts to increase the number of P and F awards and availability of funds for the program using program income or alternative funding sources are particularly encouraged. P and F grants may be awarded to investigators outside of the parent NORC institution/consortium.

    In addition, temporary salary support for one ‘Named New Investigator’ in a specified area of research with a defined P and F study may be requested for up to 24 months, with subsequent individuals to be named by the NORC Director. Any ‘Named New Investigator’ candidates must receive prior approval from the NORC's External Advisory Board and the NIDDK Program Official. 

    Enrichment Program

    NORCs are expected to support program enrichment activities such as seminars, visiting scientists, consultants, and workshops. The NORC enrichment program should be designed to advance translational research in nutrition and obesity and promote scientific exchange among investigators with research interests in these topic areas, and to enhance interactions between nutrition and obesity researchers and investigators from other fields with relevant expertise. The enrichment program can support activities such as seminars, guest speakers, visiting scientists, consultants, and workshops. 

    In all cases, the enrichment program should further the overall aims and objectives of the NORC as well as its cores. Creative new programs, not precluded by NIH or NIDDK policies, are encouraged. While NORCs may not support stipends for postdoctoral fellows, the environment fostered by the existence of the NORC with its core facilities in conjunction with the enrichment program educational opportunities should serve to foster the careers of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, including K-awardees.

    Additional Features

    Cooperation, Coordination and Integration:  Applicants from institutions with an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program (https://www.ctsacentral.org/) are strongly encouraged to utilize the CTSA as a resource for enhancing clinical research programs with the NORC. NORC directors should also be willing to collaborate with other NIDDK-funded NORCs.

    Center Evolution: It is anticipated that advances in research, development of new research technologies/methods, and growth of the NORC 's research base will require existing NORCs to evolve over time. NORCs are encouraged to develop a plan to continuously evaluate and respond to the changing needs of their research base members by adding, eliminating, or expanding cores/core services during the life course of the NORC.

    Applicants are encouraged to consult with NIDDK staff concerning plans for the development of a Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the organization of the application.

    NORC Directors' Meeting

    Every 12 months, all NORC Directors and administrators are expected to attend a meeting at one of the NORCs to exchange information, highlight the host NORC, and interact with NIDDK senior staff.

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

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

    Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

    Application Types Allowed

    New
    Renewal
    Resubmission to RFA-DK-16-006

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

    Clinical Trial?

    Optional: Accepting applications that either propose or do not propose clinical trial(s)

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    The NIDDK will commit up to $5,600,000 in FY 2020 to fund up to five awards and up to $4,500,000 in FY 2021 to fund up to four awards.

    Award Budget

    Application budgets are limited to $750,000 direct costs but need to reflect actual needs of the proposed Center. This budget limit is exclusive of F&A costs for consortium and subcontract arrangements. It is anticipated that the award budget will be directly correlated to the breadth, quality, and relevance to nutrition/obesity and related areas of the research base being served by the Center. Within the direct cost cap, up to $150,000 may be requested for the Pilot and Feasibility program.

    Award Project Period

    The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed five years.

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

    Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible Organizations

    Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

    • State Governments
    • County Governments
    • City or Township Governments
    • Special District Governments
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
    • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
    • U.S. Territory or Possession

    Other

    • Independent School Districts
    • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
    • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
    • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
    • Regional Organizations
    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are 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) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
    • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
    • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

    Because a NORC has a large and complex administrative structure, the PD/PI(s) must have strong leadership abilities and demonstrated proficiency in managing large, multi-component programs. The NORC PD(s)/PI(s) must also be willing to participate in annual meetings of the Center Directors.   

    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

    Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

    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).

    Only institutions at which there is an ongoing, strong base of nutrition and/or obesity-related research are eligible. For new applications, at least 50% of the nutritional sciences and obesity or other related research comprising the research base must be supported with funds from Federal Agencies. In renewal applications, the NIH-supported research base may be less than 50% due, typically, to a growing number of investigators entering nutrition and/or obesity research from other fields. Each proposed core must be utilized by a minimum of two federally-funded investigators.

    Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    1. Requesting an Application Package

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

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

    Letter of Intent

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

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

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

    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    John Connaughton, Ph.D.
    Chief, Scientific Review Branch
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
    Telephone: 301-594-7797
    Email: NIDDKletterofintent@mail.nih.gov 

    Page Limitations

    Available Component Types

    Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

    Overall (use for Center Overview)

    12

    Admin Core

    12

    Core (use for Biomedical Research Cores)

    12

    P and F (use for Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    12

    Enrichment Program

    6

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

    Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

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

    The application should consist of the following components:

    • Overall: 1 Required (Minimum: 1, Maximum: 1)
    • Administrative Core: 1 Required (Minimum: 1, Maximum: 1)
    • Biomedical Research Cores: Required (Minimum: 2, Maximum: 5)

    Note: Cores will be listed in the final application in the order in which they were entered in ASSIST

    • Pilot and Feasibility (P and F) Program: Required, (Minimum: 1, Maximum: 1)
    • Enrichment Program: Required (Mimimum:1, Maximum: 1)
    Overall Component

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

    Complete entire form.

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

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

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

    Follow standard instructions.

    Project Summary/Abstract: Describe the research focus or scientific theme(s) of the NORC and the need for a NORC to support the investigators in the research base. Include the number of NORC members and the overall direct costs present in the research base. Provide a brief overview of the research base as it relates to the theme(s) of the NORC, as well as an overview of the biomedical research cores, the pilot & feasibility program, and the enrichment program.

    Project Narrative: In 1-3 sentences describe the relevance of the research to be supported and facilitated by NORC activities (Core services, Pilot and Feasibility, and Enrichment programs) on public health.

    Facilities and Other Resources: Describe the existing environment and facilities briefly in the context of how the NORC will use or change existing access, space, and usage; include space maps as needed. Scientific personnel and institutional resources capable of supporting the research base must be available.

    Equipment: A general listing of major, shared pieces of equipment to be used by NORC members should be provided. Note: Specific research core facilities, equipment, and special resources should be listed in each proposed biomedical research core component.

    Other Attachments: The following attachments must be included with the NORC Overview to aid in the review of applications. The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image. All attachments need to be in .pdf format.

    Grant Support: Please title this attachment "Grant Support" and list all Federal and non-federal grant support for the NORC research base investigators. Complete and organize alphabetically by the last name of the NORC research base investigator who is listed as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) on the grant. Include Supporting Organization/Grant Numbers, Complete Grant Title, Project Period, Annual Direct Costs, and identify any Other NIDDK Centers utilized (if the grant listed is also included in the other Center(s) research base). Applicants are strongly encouraged to use Table A (see: NORC Application Resources). The attachment must include, in order: Current Grant Support (Table A.1) for nutrition and obesity-related research project grants, Other Grant Support (Table A.2) and Pending Grant Support (Table A.3). The 'Current Grant Support' table would include research project grants relevant to nutrition and obesity research which are considered to be potential or likely users of the core services. 'Other Grant Support' would include infrastructure/services grants (other Centers or CTSA awards), training (such as T- or F-awards) grants, and other such grants that support nutrition/obesity research but would not be direct users of the core services.  

    Biographical Sketches of NORC Research Base Investigators: Please title this attachment "NORC Research Base Biographical Sketches." Provide biographical sketches for all NORC members, as defined by the NORC within the application and organize them alphabetically by the last name of the Research Base Investigator. Provide biosketches for all research base investigators. Do not include duplicate biosketches for Senior/Key personnel that have already been provided under the Senior/Key Personnel profile for the Overall Component.  

    Description of NORC Research Base Investigators: Please title this attachment “Description of NORC Research Base Investigators” and organize alphabetically by investigator's last name. Provide a narrative description of no more than one page per research base investigator; try to limit each to less than one page. These narratives must include: the active grant number(s), title(s), and a few descriptive sentences of the investigator’s research projects, as well as a brief description regarding what aspect of the investigator’s research justifies the use of NORC core facilities. In the description of the research base, include ONLY those grants awarded, or subcontracted, to investigators at the applicant institution or consortium, not to investigators at other locations. It is particularly important to provide a few sentences indicating the relatedness of a cited grant to research in nutrition, obesity and/or related conditions when this is not readily apparent from the project title of the grant.

    Core Use by Center Members: Please title this attachment "Core Use by NORC Center Members" and organize alphabetically by research base investigator (last name). List all NORC investigators including Membership Category (only if more than one category of Membership is designated by the NORC), and for each NORC research base investigator indicate those NORC Core Facilities that will be used. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use Table B, which is provided for applicant assistance (see: NORC Application Resources).

    NORC Collaborations: Please title this attachment “NORC Collaborations” and organize alphabetically by NORC Member (last name, first name). List all NORC Members. Provide primary Department Affiliation, key words for research interests, names of other NORC members who are collaborators (through publications, grants or research projects), and the number of collaborative publications (only those relevant to the NORC). Applicants are strongly encouraged to use Table C, which is provided for applicant assistance (see: NORC Application Resources).

    Progress Report Publication List (renewal applications only): In this attachment, list the titles and complete references to all appropriate publications and manuscripts accepted for publication, that have resulted from the project since it was last reviewed competitively. Identify the core(s) utilized in association with the publication.  Applicants are able to use Table F, which is provided for applicant assistance with documenting the contribution of individual cores to peer-reviewed publications by the research base (see example at the NORC Application Resources page). Only list publications once. Within individual biomedical research core descriptions, refer to publications associated within the core by number as listed in the table of publications. Use an asterisk to indicate any publication that fails to cite NORC grant support.

    Optional: Please title this attachment "Relation to Overall NORC". Provide Charts and Tables such as an organizational chart(s) to illustrate the structure, interactions, and leaders of the institution and the NORC.

    Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

    Enter primary site only.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

    Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application. Note that Senior/Key Person biosketches should only be submitted once. Do not submit duplicate biosketches for Senior/Key Persons within other attachments.

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

    Budget (Overall)

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

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the Overall component.

    Specific Aims: Describe the broad long-term objectives of the proposed NORC. Provide a brief overview of the research focus or the central theme(s) of the NORC. The focus/theme may be broad or targeted, depending upon the goals of the Center. However, it should also be cohesive and well-articulated to ensure that the NORC will substantially advance a defined area of nutrition/obesity-related science. Outline the existing skills and technologies available in the research base as well as other resources at the institution(s) and summarize how the NORC will enhance ongoing projects, assist in the development of new projects, respond to future opportunities, and promote collaborations leading to advances in nutrition and obesity research.  

    Research Strategy: The Research Strategy should include the following sections:

    Research Base: The NORC program provides a mechanism for fostering interdisciplinary cooperation within a group of established investigators conducting high quality research on nutrition/obesity and related areas. Therefore, applicants should demonstrate the existence of a strong, substantial funded research base in nutrition/obesity or related topics and describe how that research base will benefit from the establishment of a new or continuation of an existing NORC.

    Applicants should include an overview of the funded research in nutrition/obesity and related areas being conducted at their institution in sufficient detail to allow reviewers to judge its extent and the interrelationship of ongoing research. The relevance to nutrition/obesity of all research included in the research base should be clearly described. Applicants should indicate how the establishment or continuation of a NORC will provide added dimensions, such as greater focus and increased cooperation, communication, and collaboration that would not likely occur without NORC resources.

    A high level of integration and close collaboration among NORC personnel from diverse scientific disciplines is an important feature of a successful NORC. Accordingly, the applicant should state considerations for NORC membership with specific reference to the potential of members to form interactive, collaborative and synergistic relationships. Specific membership criteria, and any affiliation categories (if applicable), should be clearly defined in order to better organize and facilitate the focus of the NORC’s mission. Subsets of members based on their degree of participation or other quantitative measures are acceptable. Applicants should also provide clear guidelines for the application and selection processes for NORC membership, the obligations of NORC membership, and criteria for termination of membership. Suitable criteria for membership include, but are not limited to, peer-reviewed independent funding, participation in nutrition/obesity-related research, and the need for the use of core facilities. All research base investigators should be NORC members. Designation as a NORC member without the need for the use of core facilities must be well-justified.

    Applicants should provide a full narrative description of the nutrition/obesity and related research activities at the applicant institution and any collaborating institutions. The research of each NORC participant should be presented, including its relationship to nutrition/obesity, if not readily apparent, and interrelationships of research being conducted by NORC participants should be highlighted. Since most, if not all, of the research base will have undergone separate peer review, the quality of the individual funded projects should already be established. The more important aspects are: (a) interactions and interrelationships of the research efforts; (b) uses and benefits of core services; (c) plans to develop productive collaborations among NORC investigators; and (d) willingness of NORC investigators to contribute to the overall objectives of the NORC.

    Strategic Vision:

    Theme – Although not required, NORCs may choose to establish a central theme(s) to direct the likely supported research base and resources with clear relevance to nutrition/obesity. The theme(s) may be broad or focused, depending upon the goals of the NORC. Applicants may also subdivide the research base into areas of research emphasis or central research themes that link NORC members and their research programs.

    Goals and directions – Describe the current and future directions for the NORC in the forthcoming project period. Indicate how the research supported by the NORC will impact the understanding of nutrition/obesity and, ultimately, public health. Describe the short, mid- and long-term goals and measures of success.

    Summarize the services and resources provided by the NORC, briefly describe how the biomedical research cores will address the scientific needs of the research base and explain how the biomedical cores are managed. Relevant examples of ongoing or planned research should be discussed as appropriate with reference to the supporting Core. Describe the expected, widely-applicable research tools and scientific advances that will emerge from the NORC’s emphasis. Describe any basic science work that has successfully been translated to the bedside or community or plans to enhance that translation in the next project period. Providing support to the broader research community is encouraged but not required. In cases where time and resources permit, describe how the NORC has or can advance the field of nutrition/obesity in the broader research community.

    Renewal applications must also describe the accomplishments of the NORC in the preceding project period and how it intends to build upon its successes. These accomplishments should be presented, as appropriate, in the areas of basic science, clinical research, and public health research. The impact of NORC-based science should be discussed in detail.

    Integration of investigators of multiple skills and talents – Outline steps the NORC will take to promote interdisciplinary studies and collaborations, especially among basic scientists and clinical researchers. Describe the types of initiatives that will stimulate the teams and attract high-caliber researchers. Applicants should describe any academic and research partnerships that have been or will be pursued in order to advance the goals and mission of the NORC.

    Building research capacity – Within this section, describe the research capacity and clearly identifiable major scientific focus in nutrition/obesity research. Provide details on the special talents and resources that will be drawn to and built upon at the NORC. Indicate how these talents will be harnessed and used to promote new collaborations and produce multidimensional teams to address more complex questions. Include a plan for bringing investigators into the NORC from within and outside the area of nutrition/obesity research. Describe the expertise that these individuals will share with the NORC. Describe academic and research partnerships that will be pursued by the NORC to advance its goals and missions.

    Describe how the NORC will address the scientific needs of the research base, including plans to determine the need for services and instrumentation of the NORC. Indicate if any of the proposed cores will utilize or expand cores already existing at the institution. Describe how the proposed NORC will leverage existing resources and fill gaps in the services available. Also describe how the NORC will enhance the research base through enrichment activities. Address the steps that will ensure that the NORC proceeds at the cutting edge of technology and concepts. It is expected that biomedical research core needs may change with time. Include information on the process of re-evaluation of needs and implementation of changes.

    Innovation: Address how the NORC will not only evolve with the science conducted by the NORC Investigators, but also challenge and seek to advance or change current research or clinical practice paradigms by using novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions. Explain how the synergy of the NORC with the research base will lead to novel services and resources in the cores and their application to important questions in nutrition/obesity research. Describe the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations among NORC Investigators. For a Biomedical Research Core that by its nature is not innovative, describe how it is essential to advance the field.

    Leveraging of existing resources is strongly encouraged, particularly when this provides a range of services or efficiency that would not otherwise be available. Furthermore, applicants should demonstrate that support for the existing resource through the NORC provides added value to the resource beyond that which would be provided by paying for use of the resource through a fee for service. Applicants from institutions that have a Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) funded by the NIH may wish to identify the CTSA as a resource for conducting the proposed research, if appropriate. In such cases, appropriate letters of support from the CTSA program director or principal investigator should be included with the application detailing plans for appropriate integration and synergy of the NORC and CTSA activities (See Letters of Support).

    In addition, applicants should address the potential for integration, harmonization, and enhancement of NORC activities through cooperation with other NIH-supported core facilities at the applicant institution. Applicants are encouraged to suggest coordinated efforts, such as enrichment programs or pilot and feasibility programs. Other NIH-supported NORCs and associated cores at the institution should be identified, and assurances provided that overlap or redundancy in NORC activities will be avoided unless expressly required to fulfill the mission of the NORC.

    For renewal applications: Briefly describe the progress in the research base during the previous project period including development of multidisciplinary, collaborative, and cooperative interrelationships, and any alterations in the original NORC design in order to meet the evolving needs of the research base. These accomplishments should be presented, as appropriate, in the areas of basic science, clinical research, public health, prevention, and translation. Since one of the objectives of the NORC is to extend research relevant to nutrition/obesity, new areas of research and acquisition of new funding should be highlighted in the overview.

    Letters of Support: Include any letters of support for the proposed NORC by appropriate institutional officials. Letters should address the commitment of the parent organization, or any of its partners, to the NORC and its goals. The parent institution is expected to recognize the NORC as a formal organizational component and provide documented evidence of space dedicated to the needs of the NORC, protected time to devote to NORC activities, staff recruitment, dedicated equipment, or other financial support for the proposed NORC. The parent institution should provide assurance of its commitment to continuing support of the NORC in the event of a change in directorship and a well-defined plan for this eventuality should be in place. In addition, it is expected that the Institution will support the goal of providing to NORC members priority access to Institution’s and NORC’s facilities and services at minimal or reduced cost. Both the institution and pertinent departments must show a strong commitment to supporting the NORC.

    If collaborative linkages are being developed between the NORC and the local CTSA staff and/or research personnel, a letter of agreement from the CTSA PD(s)/PI(s) should be included. For any collaborative linkages between the CTSA and a specific Biomedical Research Core, the letter of support should be included within the specific Biomedical Research Core component of the application.

    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. Applications should describe any research resources that are/will be made available to the broader nutrition/obesity research field.   

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Overall)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form (Overall)

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

    Administrative Core

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

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

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

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

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

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

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

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘NORC Director(s)’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.
    •  In this component, also provide biographical sketches for any consultants. For renewal applications only, provide biographical sketches for the members of the External Advisory committee.  In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list these Senior/Key persons in the Project Role of 'Other' with Category of 'Consultant,' or 'Advisory Committee.' New applications should NOT provide names or biosketches for External Advisory Committee members. Overall qualifications and areas of scientific expertise for the EAC members may be included.
    Budget (Administrative Core)

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

    Personnel:  The Center Director must devote a minimum of 2.4 person months to the NORC, and at least 1.2 of those months must be within the Administrative Core to ensure adequate oversight of the NORC. In a multiple-PD/PI application, the combined effort of the PD(s)/PI(s) must be 2.4 person months. Most NORC s find that the size and complexity of a NORC warrant inclusion of a program administrator, so salary support for this individual should be included in the Administrative Core. Again, where possible and applicable, NORCs are encouraged to leverage administrative resources in other NIH-funded centers (e.g. Centers for Diabetes Translation Research, Diabetes Research Centers, and Clinical and Translational Science Awards) to maximize efficiency of resources.

    Equipment:  If pieces of specialized equipment or computers costing more than $5,000 are requested, the application must identify similar equipment already available within the institution and provide a clear justification for purchase based on core service provided to NORC investigators.  Requests for general-purpose equipment should be included only after ascertaining the availability of such items within the institution. Justify the request based on this availability. Equipment may only be requested in the initial budget period.

    Travel:  Include the costs of domestic and foreign travel only if the travel is directly related to the activities of the NORC.  Include travel costs for the NORC Director, Associate Director, and others as appropriate (i.e. Core Directors) to attend Nutrition Obesity Research Center Directors' meetings held every 12 months.

    Supplies:  Consumable supplies directly related to the operational aspects of the Administrative Core facilities are an allowable expense.

    Consultants:  Include costs associated with consultants (consultant fees, per diem, teleconferences and travel) when their services are required by the NORC, such as the members of the External Advisory Board.

    Alterations and Renovations:  Funds for the alteration and renovation of an existing structure to provide suitable space for core facilities may be requested.  ‘Cosmetic’ renovations are not appropriate.

    Other Expenses:  Funds for development/maintenance of the NORC’s website may be requested.  Include funds to support Enrichment Program activities such as workshops, research fora, symposia, NORC retreats and seminar series.  Funds for Enrichment Program-associated activities such as the printing and distribution/mailing of brochures, programs, and meeting materials, as well as posters and other advertisement materials, may be requested. 

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims: Clearly state how the Administrative Core will contribute to the goals of the NORC and outline interactions of the Administrative Core with each of the other Cores and Programs (P and F and Enrichment). Provide an overview of how the Administrative Core will set the overall direction of the Center and ensure optimal utilization of NORC resources.    

    Research Strategy:  The NORC must be an identifiable organizational unit within a university medical center or a consortium of cooperating institutions including the university-affiliated NORC. Such a NORC will involve the interaction of broad and diverse elements; thus, lines of authority and approval by the appropriate institutional officials must be clearly specified. The Administrative Core plays a key role in the coordination and functioning of the NORC.

    Within the Research Strategy, the applicant should describe how the Administrative Core will take a leadership role in ensuring the synthesis of findings and activities from research projects and cores towards solving the central problem proposed by the NORC. In addition, direct lines of communication between the Administrative Core, Biomedical Research Cores, the P and F Program, and the Enrichment Program should be delineated, as all of these cores/programs serve critical roles for NORC integration. A process must be in place, and should be described in the application, that would be used to recommend a successor to the Director, if needed.

    It is expected that the organization of the Administrative Core should encompass a supportive structure sufficient to ensure accomplishment of the following: coordinating and integrating the NORC components and activities; reviewing the utilization and quality of core resources/services; interacting with the scientific and lay communities and the NIDDK in order to develop relevant goals for the NORC; and interacting with the administrative and scientific leadership at the applicant institution(s) to enhance the visibility and effectiveness of the NORC as a focus for nutrition/obesity research. The application should include a statement of willingness of the PD/PI, Associate NORC Director, or other key personnel to attend this annual meeting of NORC Directors.

    It is expected that organization of the Administrative Core will provide a supportive structure sufficient to ensure accomplishment of the following:

    • Coordination and integration of NORC components and activities;
    • Assessment of productivity, effectiveness, and appropriateness of NORC activities and determination of NORC membership, assessment of scientific opportunities, and areas for collaboration among NORC members;
    • Organization of NORC activities, such as retreats, invitation of consultants, meetings, and focus groups;
    • Organization of the Internal and External Advisory Committees;
    • Recordkeeping of meeting minutes and measures of success including: use of NORC facilities, publications, pilot and feasibility awards, and new grant applications resulting from preliminary data enabled by the NORC;
    • Interactions with other NORC, the NIDDK, and other appropriate individuals, groups, or organizations; and
    • Maintenance of a NORC website with the administrative core taking primary responsibility for its curation and oversight and likewise for ensuring proper and seamless integration of the institutional NORC website with the NIDDK NORC-wide program website (www.norccentral.org).

    Clinical Element (required)- Provide an overview of how the NORC will support and encourage clinical/translational research. Clinical/translational services may be provided within the Administrative Core, a Biomedical Research Core(s), or a combination thereof. A summary of the services, relevant personnel, as well as the number of physician scientists and/or translational scientists who will make use of available/relevant clinical research services should be addressed. Any efforts to encourage collaboration between NORC clinical and basic science investigators should be described in the Clinical Element. Refer to, but do not duplicate, information provided within biomedical research cores that have a clinical/translational research focus.

    NORC Evolution: Applicants must describe policies and procedures for ensuring continuing evolution of NORC activities, such as core services, in response to changing needs.  NORCs should address the issue of allocation of resources to development of new technologies versus provision of services with existing technologies.

    The administrative structure must include an Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) and an External Advisory Committee (EAC). New applications should NOT list members of the EAC but should describe what expertise is needed and the process by which they will be selected should be described. Renewal applications should provide information on membership of the IAC/EAC and must document the functions and effectiveness of the External and Internal Advisory Committees.

    The final administrative structure of the NORC will be left largely to the discretion of the applicant institution. However, past experience has demonstrated that the effective development of the NORC programs requires close interaction between the NORC director, Core/Program Leaders, appropriate institutional administrative personnel, and the members of the community in which the NORC is located. Therefore, each NORC applicant should establish an administrative structure that will permit the development of such interactions. Within this structure, each applicant institution must also establish a mechanism to oversee the use of funds for the proposed pilot and feasibility program. This mechanism must include the use of appropriate consultants for review from the scientific community outside the NORC institution. These same consultants may be utilized, if desired, for review of other activities of the NORC.

    Letters of Support: A letter(s) from the PD/PI of any related NIDDK-funded T32, T35, and/or other institutional training grant(s) at the NORC institution should be included that acknowledges and details how the PD/PI of the T32 or T35 training grant intends to promote cohesive interactions between the two programs. Include any other letters of support for the proposed Core, as appropriate.

    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:

    Generally, Resource Sharing Plans are expected, but they are not applicable for this component.

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Administrative Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

    Biomedical Research Core

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

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Biomedical Research Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Biomedical Research Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Biomedical Research Core)

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

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

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

    Facilities and Other Resources:  The description of the physical arrangements and instrumentation for the cores should be given special attention.  Arrangements for sufficient space for core activities or for access to appropriate established facilities must be made.  NORCs may enter into cooperative arrangements with cores already established within their institution, or with other NORCs in close proximity, when the existing cores offer the services needed.  These arrangements are important whenever greater efficiency or cost savings can be realized by such an agreement.  When proposing the use of a shared facility, details about access, fee-schedules, and prioritization of NORC members' use of the shared facility must be described.  It may be advantageous for a NORC to provide support for appropriate personnel to work specifically for NORC members in an existing facility/core (e.g., transgenic animal core) at the institution.  In that case, the designated NORC Core Director must work closely with the parent facility Core Director to coordinate services, unless the same individual assumes both roles.

    Other Attachments: The following attachment must be included to aid in the review of applications. The filename provided for the attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image. The attachment should be in .pdf format.

    Core Facility Use: Please title this attachment "Core Facility Use" and indicate the Core User, Funded Project that supports the Core use, Period of Core Use, services used, and estimated use and comments. An example of Table D is provided at the NORC Application Resources for applicant assistance with this requirement.

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

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Biomedical Research Core)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Director(s)’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

    Budget (Biomedical Research Core)

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

    Personnel: This category should include salary support for key personnel, including the core director, co-director(s), and other professional and technical personnel. The Core Director must devote a minimum of 1.2 person months to the Core to ensure adequate oversight. The salary amount charged to the NORC grant must be commensurate with the time spent on Core activities and is subject to institutional and NIH salary policies. A Core Director with requisite expertise may devote a greater effort to the core and with exceptionally strong justification could devote up to 12 person months. Salary support for technicians and other core personnel are allowable in accordance with the volume and type of work in the core. Stipends (and tuition) for research trainees (e.g. graduate students, postdoctoral fellows) are not available through the NORC. Such funding must be sought through other grant mechanisms.

    Equipment: If specialized equipment costing more than $5,000 per piece is requested, the application must identify similar equipment already available within the institution NORC Research Center investigators. Requests for general-purpose equipment should be included only after ascertaining the availability of such items within the institution. Justify the request based on this availability. This includes all equipment in future budget years as well as the initial budget period.

    Travel: Funds for NORC investigators/faculty to attend national or international scientific meetings or workshops may not be requested. If well-justified and related directly to Core activities/functions, limited travel funds for Core professional staff may be requested to support travel to national scientific meetings/workshops.

    Supplies: Consumable supplies directly related to the operational aspects of the NORC core facilities are an allowable expense. This includes office materials as well as laboratory supplies. The supply budgets of separately funded individual research projects must be appropriately reduced to reflect such support, thus eliminating duplication.

    Research Patient Care Costs: Research patient care costs (both in-patient and out-patient) are an allowable expense. Attempts should be made to utilize existing clinical facilities, such as those supported by Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) and individually supported beds. If the CTSA is to be used, include a letter of agreement from the PD/PI of the CTSA; such a letter (in .pdf format) may be attached as a 'Letter of support' for the appropriate Biomedical Research Core(s).

    Request costs relating to the clinical research efforts of NORC investigators ONLY if there is no overlap with other funding. Costs already budgeted in individual projects should be appropriately reduced if such costs are to be transferred to the Center. The NORC is not intended to be a facility for health care delivery. Thus, only those patient costs directly related to research activities may be charged to the NORC.

    Other Expenses: Funds for equipment maintenance/service contracts may be requested but should reflect only an equivalent percentage of the service contract based on the overall use of the specified equipment by NORC investigators versus other users. The budget justification for any maintenance/service contracts should document usage of the equipment by NORC members. Only in very rare cases should full support for a maintenance/service contract be requested, and strong justification must be provided in such cases.

    Alterations and Renovations: Funds for the alteration and renovation of an existing structure to provide suitable space for core facilities may be requested. ‘Cosmetic’ renovations are not appropriate.

    Consultants: Include costs associated with consultants (e.g. consultant fees, per diem, teleconferences, and travel) when their services are required by the core.

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Biomedical Research Core)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims:  Clearly state the aims of the Biomedical Research Core.  

    Research Strategy:

    A biomedical research core is a shared facility that provides a needed service to NORC investigators enabling them to conduct their funded individual research projects more efficiently and/or more effectively.  A Core should be designed to furnish a group of investigators with materials, techniques, determinations, instrumentations, and/or quality control to enhance research and contribute to cost effectiveness.  A Core may be proposed to support any research activity of the NORC but usually falls into one of five categories: (1) provision of a technology that lends itself to automation or preparation in large batches; (2) complex instrumentation; (3) animal preparation, care and characterization; (4) clinical resources; and (5) service and training.  Limited developmental research is also an appropriate function of a core facility.  Such activities, however, must be directly related to enhancing the function or utility of the Core.  

    The need for core support from the NORC must be well justified, with clear documentation of a broad user base of NIDDK-funded investigators pursuing research activities in NORC topic areas, as well as nutrition/obesity investigators with other sources of peer-reviewed support.  Provide the rationale for establishing or continuing the core and the activities of the core.

    Cores may be proposed to support any research activity of the NORC.  The description of the Core should indicate how it will support the NORC’s research effort in a cost-effective manner.  Include a definition of qualified users and provide a list of research base investigators who will use the core, including the expected extent of their proposed use.  The Core must be utilized by a minimum of two federally-funded investigators who are NORC members.  While investigators holding awards from the NORC pilot and feasibility program are appropriate users of the core facilities, their use does not contribute to justification for establishment or continued support of a core.  Additionally, the minimum of two independently-funded users does not in itself provide sufficient justification.   Emphasize the anticipated benefits that investigators will derive from using core facilities.  Criteria for use and for prioritization must be included in the application.  In addition, if NORCs provide any discounts for core use by NORC members

    Each core must have an operational plan which must include methods to:

    • Assure quality control,
    • Prioritize investigator use,
    • Monitor core use, and
    • Adapt to new technology and to the needs of the NORC members.

    Limited use of cores by investigators in other fields who are not NORC members is encouraged, as is use by trainees, students, and junior faculty, but rules to regulate this use should be defined.  If the core supports user training, the approach to and extent of training being performed in the Core should be detailed.  Training is an appropriate and worthwhile activity of a Core and is encouraged.

    Any Core with a relatively limited number of users must develop plans to broaden the number of Core users.  Such plans are particularly important for any Core that, while not extensively used, is considered essential by the NORC administration. Describe any plans to use the Core for limited developmental research, including the relevance of this research to Core services, effectiveness, and adaptability.

    NORCs are strongly encouraged to enter into cooperative arrangements with cores already established within their institution or with other NORCs in close proximity, when the existing cores offer the services needed. These arrangements are important whenever greater efficiency or cost savings can be realized by such an agreement. However, it should be clear that the NORC cores can function independently. It may be advantageous for a NORC to provide support for appropriate personnel to work specifically for NORC members in an existing facility/core (e.g., transgenic animal core) at the institution. In this case, the designated NORC Core Director must work closely with the parent facility Core Director to coordinate services, unless the same individual assumes both roles.  These arrangements are important whenever greater efficiency or cost savings can be realized by such an agreement. Therefore, financial justification such as comparative costs of other sources of proposed core services as well as plans for cost recovery from users should be detailed.

    Because cooperation between NORCs is also encouraged, but not required, any plans to work with one or more other established NORC s may be provided along with a description of the benefit(s) to the NORC being proposed.  Benefits might include, but are not limited to, cost savings, ability to provide additional or improved services, or enhanced productivity by NORC members.

    Proposed NORC cores may be an institutional shared research core.  In such cases applicants must provide a rationale for using such institutional cores, such as:

    • Support for the existing resource through the NORC will provide added value and access to the resource beyond that which would be provided by paying for the use of the resource through a fee-for-service process; 
    • The institutional/departmental core represents a unique resource which would not otherwise be available (e.g. is too costly, too labor-intensive, or too specialized to be available to individuals);
    • The institutional/departmental core provides a service done more effectively (i.e. more inexpensively or by specially trained personnel or requiring specialized facilities) than would be feasible in individual cores, e.g. histology, animal facilities, and thus using the institutional/shared core avoids duplication and lowers cost for NORC-center members; and/or
    • The service/instrumentation/expertise in the centralized core can only exist with the participation of multiple centers and their user fees and NORC members need the service; instrumentation, and/or expertise in proportion to the buy-in from the center to which they belong.

    When a NORC proposes to join an institutional or shared core, the application must describe how the research base members benefit beyond gaining access to pre-existing services already available to them through an established fee-for-service or charge-back system. For example, in joining the institutional core, the NORC may choose to provide support for additional core personnel or expand capacity for services relevant to the NORC research base members, to subsidize the research base members’ use of core services, and/or to support new services and/or instrumentation appropriate for the NORC members. The potential for overlap should be addressed, and it should be clear that the NORC works appropriately with the institutional Core Director/staff and has a role in oversight, management, and prioritization of core and service utilization.

    Program Income: NORCs are encouraged, where appropriate, to develop a program income (re-charge/fee-for-service) system for use of core services. Such a program income system would constitute a method of charging core users for their usage of expertise and research resources. Program income must be re-invested into direct support of NORC -related activities and/or expenses and may not generate a profit for the NORC. 

    Renewal applications only:  Information relative to cores in renewal applications should generally cover all of the same points as initial applications.  In addition, past performance and accomplishments should be described and highlighted.  The effect of the service provided by a core on investigator productivity and cost effectiveness should also be addressed.  In renewal applications, any changes should be carefully documented. 

    Progress Report Publications List (renewals only): Core productivity and accomplishments as demonstrated by peer-reviewed research publications supported by the core should be documented by listing the number(s) of the relevant publication(s) from Table F, which was attached in the Center Overview component.  Do not duplicate publication lists for each Biomedical Research Core.

    Letters of Support: For any collaborative linkages between the CTSA and a specific Biomedical Research Core, a letter of support should be included within the specific Biomedical Research Core component of the application.  Also provide letters to address the career potential of and institutional commitment to junior scientists who serve as core managers/technical directors. In addition, other letters of support for the proposed Core may be included, as appropriate.

    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.

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Biomedical Research Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

           Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start      

           immediately (i.e., delayed start). All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be   

           followed.

    Pilot and Feasibility Program

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘P and F’

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

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

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

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

    Other Attachments: The following attachments must be included in order to aid in the review of applications. The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.  All attachments should be in .pdf format.

    Pilot Project Outcomes (renewal applications only): Please title this attachment "Pilot Project Outcomes" and list all Pilot Projects supported in full, or in part, by the NORC. Provide information on the most recent 5 years, or for NORCs with 10 or more years of continuous funding, provide information on the most recent 10-year period.  Include the years funded, awardee, dates and amount of P and F funding, pilot project title and brief description, P and F award type (i.e. new investigator; established investigator), numbers of abstracts and publications derived from pilot support, resulting grants funded or pending applications (including grant number/funding agency and project period), and whether the P and F awardee is still involved in nutrition/obesity research. Table E is provided as an example on the NORC Application Resources page for applicant assistance with this requirement.

    Pilot Project Summary/Abstract (for all applications): Please title this attachment "Pilot Project Information" and provide a brief narrative overview for each proposed pilot and feasibility project (including any proposed Core use). Include a biosketch for Pilot and Feasibility project investigator only if not already included as part of the research base investigator biosketches in the 'Overall' component. Do not duplicate biosketches.  

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Pilot and Feasibility Program Director(s)’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

    Budget (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

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

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

    Personnel: This category should include salary support for key personnel, including the P and F Program Director, and other professional and administrative personnel. The P and F Program Director must devote a minimum of 0.6 person month to the Program to ensure adequate oversight.  The salary amount charged to the Nutrition Obesity Research Center grant must be commensurate with the time spent on P and F Program activities and is subject to institutional and NIH salary policies.

    Other Expenses:  Include funds to support individual Pilot and Feasibility projects. Typically, at least 20-25% of the overall Center direct costs, exclusive of equipment, should be for support of P and F projects. It is anticipated that up to $50,000 in direct costs per year for up to two years will be provided for the majority of approved P and F projects. However, a limited number of P and F applications may be selected for support as enhanced P and F awards with prior NIDDK approval. Enhanced P and F awards require prior approval from NIDDK and will be selected from worthy proposals in the following three project categories: clinical and translational research awards, clinical and basic research innovative partnership awards, or technology research and development awards. These enhanced awards may be funded at up to $100,000 direct costs per year and for up to two years. Efforts to increase the number of P and F awards and availability of funds for the program using program income or alternative funding sources are particularly encouraged.

    Consultants:  Include costs associated with consultants (e.g. consultant fees/honoraria, per diem, and teleconferences) when their services are required by the Pilot and Feasibility Program, such as any external reviewers for P and F applications.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims: Clearly state the aims of the Pilot and Feasibility Program.   

    Research Strategy: Describe the overall goals and structure of the Pilot and Feasibility Program. Requirements:  Each NORC must propose a minimum of 2 pilot and feasibility studies to be supported from NIDDK funds each year. 

    P and F award eligibility and related guidelines:  Investigators eligible for pilot and feasibility funding generally fall into three categories: (1) new investigators without current or past NIH research support as a PD/PI (current or past support from other sources should have been modest); (2) established investigators with no previous work in nutrition/obesity who wish to apply their expertise to a problem in this area; and (3) established investigators in nutrition/obesity who propose testing innovative ideas that represent clear departure from ongoing research interests.  It is expected that the majority of the investigators will fall into the first category. Each pilot and feasibility study proposal should state clearly the justification for eligibility of the investigator under one of the above three criteria.  P and F awards are not intended to serve as 'bridge' funding for established nutrition/obesity researchers who may be experiencing a gap in research funding.

    A proposed pilot and feasibility study should present a testable hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail the procedures and approaches to be followed, and discuss how the data will be analyzed.  It must be on a topic related to the objectives of the Center. Projects should be focused, since funding for these studies is modest. Individual investigators are eligible only once for this P and F support, unless the additional proposed pilot and feasibility study constitutes a real departure from his/her ongoing research.

    The application should clearly describe and justify the pool from which potential pilot and feasibility applications will be selected.  This can be limited to investigators at the parent institution or expanded to include investigators at institutions with a well-defined affiliation with the Center.  Such an affiliation can occur either through a sub-contractual relationship for support of core resources, or through inclusion of funded projects at a collaborating institution in the research base utilizing the shared resources of the Center.  The mechanisms by which information on the availability of pilot and feasibility awards will be disseminated and by which applicants will apply and be selected for these awards must be described and will be an important element in the review of the pilot and feasibility component of the Center.

    Since pilot and feasibility studies can be awarded for varying periods of time, these studies may end at various times.  In addition, the studies may also be terminated by the Center administration before their approved time limit for various reasons:  e.g., (1) the investigator may receive outside funding for the project; (2) the project was found not to be feasible; or (3) the investigator has left the Center institution. When this occurs, the Center may make new awards for pilot and feasibility studies with the remaining funds. 

    While a Center's administrative framework for management of the pilot and feasibility program is basically left up to each Center (subject to NIH peer review), certain minimal requirements must be met.  There must also be a committee representing all the aspects of the Center to assist the P and F Director in the management of the program.  The major responsibilities of the P and F Program Director and the committee will be to:

    (1)  Prepare and ensure appropriate distribution of announcements of the availability of pilot and feasibility funding;   

    (2)  Arrange and preside over the scientific merit review of proposals.  At least one reviewer from outside the parent institution must be used for each proposal.  All reviewers should assign impact scores in accordance with the NIH system.  Copies of all of the proposals with written documentation of their reviews, impact scores, and final action must be retained by the Center;

    (3)  Maintain oversight and review of progress for ongoing pilot and feasibility studies;

    (4)  Make recommendations to the Center for final funding decisions.  A record of actions by this committee must be documented;  

    (6) Develop and maintain a mechanism for the oversight and review of ongoing P and F projects; this is especially important as a requirement for a second year of P and F support;

    (7)  Make recommendations regarding termination or other actions to the Center; and

    (8)  Maintain, insofar as is possible, a record of subsequent career events of each pilot and feasibility study recipient.  This record must also be made available to reviewers at the time of the renewal application.

    All applicants should describe how these requirements will be met and have been met in the case of renewal applications.  Also included should be an assessment of the relevance of the proposed individual pilot and feasibility studies and of the program as a whole to research on nutrition and obesity and to the specific goals and objectives of the individual NORC and of the NIDDK-supported NORC program generally.

    The description of the management of the program should present in detail the current system used to manage the pilot and feasibility program, including its integration with and relationship to the rest of the administrative structure.  The use of outside consultants for review should be included in the discussion.  Important features of the solicitation process should be provided including the distribution and the number of respondents.

    Pilot and feasibility program in new applications: Provide relevant information on proposed and funded projects, as applicable. These should be the best applications received by the NORC and should be reviewed in the manner proposed for all future P and F applications.

    Pilot and feasibility program in renewal applications: In general, a renewal application should include: (1) an historical overview; (2) a description of the management of the program; (3) a description of the method for solicitation for pilot and feasibility projects and the number of respondents received for each solicitation; and (4) a statement of the benefits of the program to the Center, as well as the contribution of the uniqueness of the Center environment to the program.  Some of these points are detailed in the following paragraphs.

    The historical overview should cover the pilot and feasibility program since the inception of the Center.  The pilot and feasibility program director may wish to highlight certain Pilot and Feasibility projects or particular aspects of the past projects such as research advances, collaborations which resulted in lasting relationships, acquisition of new skills by the study recipient, or other significant outcomes. The relationship of the scope of the various studies to that of the Center should be emphasized. 

    Oversight Plan for NORC P&F Programs involving HS research (required):

    Although all P&F projects should be monitored for productivity, NORCs that fund P&F projects involving Humans Subjects Research must develop a detailed, formal plan for assuring compliance with all relevant NIH regulations. The plans for implementation of this oversight plan must be included in the application, as appropriate for either clinical studies or clinical trials. Do not duplicate information already provided in the PHS Human Subjects Clinical Trial Information form.

    The following elements or procedures are required as part of the oversight plan:

    • Development and implementation of appropriate data and safety monitoring plans,
    • Documentation of IRB approval,
    • Registration of all clinical trials in clinicaltrials.gov,
    • Development and monitoring of appropriate milestones,
    • Oversight of participant recruitment and retention,
    • Results reporting in www.clincaltrials.gov, as appropriate, and
    • Planning for dissemination of research results.

    Requirements:  Each Center must propose a minimum of 2 pilot and feasibility studies to be supported from NORC funds each year. 

    Progress Report Publications List: Productivity and accomplishments of the P and F Program as demonstrated by peer-reviewed research publications supported by the Center should be documented by listing the number(s) of the relevant publication(s) from Table F, which was attached in the Overall component. Do not replicate publication lists in the Pilot and Feasibility Program section.  

    Letters of Support: Include any letters of support for the Pilot and Feasibility Program by appropriate institutional officials at partnering organizations (other than the parent institution), if applicable.

    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.

    Appendix:

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Pilot and Feasibility Program)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

    Enrichment Program

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Enrichment Program’

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

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Enrichment Program)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Enrichment Program)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Enrichment Program)

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

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

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

    Other Attachments (renewal applications only; optional): If not already described, limited additional critical documentation of Center-supported Enrichment Program activities, such as agendas/flyers for Nutrition Obesity Research Center retreats, symposia, workshops, meetings, specialized courses, seminar series, etc., which illustrate the interactions among Center members and other investigators, as well as other educational opportunities may be included in the application.  The attachment should be uploaded as a file in .pdf format titled "Enrichment Program".

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Enrichment Program)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

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

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Enrichment Program)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Enrichment Program Director(s)', and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

    Budget (Enrichment Program)

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

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

    Personnel: This category should include salary support for key personnel, including the Enrichment Program Director and any other professional and administrative personnel. The Enrichment Program Director must devote a minimum of 0.6 person months to ensure adequate oversight of the Program. Salary support charged to the Nutrition Obesity Research Center grant must be commensurate with the time spent on Program activities and is subject to institutional and NIH salary policies. 

    Other Expenses:  Include funds to support Enrichment Program activities such as workshops, research fora, symposia, NORC retreats and seminar series.  Funds for Enrichment Program-associated activities such as the printing and distribution/mailing of brochures, programs, and meeting materials, as well as posters and other advertisement materials, may be requested. 

    Consultants:  Include costs associated with consultants (e.g. consultant fees/honoraria, per diem, and teleconferences) when their services are required by the Enrichment Program.

    Travel: Travel funds to support visiting scientists under the auspices of the Enrichment Program may be requested.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Enrichment Program)

    Introduction to Application: For Resubmission applications, an Introduction to Application is allowed for each component.

    Specific Aims: Clearly state the aims of the Enrichment Program.   

    Research Strategy: The Nutrition Obesity Research Center enrichment program should be designed to advance translational research in nutrition and obesity and to promote scientific exchange among investigators with research interests in these topic areas, and to enhance interactions between nutrition and obesity researchers/investigators from other fields with relevant expertise. 

    The enrichment program can support activities such as seminars, guest speakers, visiting scientists, consultants, and workshops.  Applicants should describe any educational opportunities afforded by the Nutrition Obesity Center for Center participants, and document ways the Center may facilitate, enhance or foster the institutional educational environment.  Specifically, NORC applicants should provide information on nutrition/obesity-related NIDDK or other NIH Institute T32 programs at the NORC institution(s), and describe how the NORC will help to integrate, facilitate and enhance activities of any T32-supported trainees, if appropriate. 

    Training postdoctoral fellows to conduct research in nutrition and obesity is an associated activity of a NORC.  While stipends for fellows cannot be funded from the Center, the establishment of a NORC should provide an enhanced environment for educational and enrichment opportunities.  Funding for fellowships may be sought from other sources, such as NIH NRSA institutional training grants (e.g. T32, T35), individual fellowships (e.g. F30, F31, F32), and other organizations such as private foundations and commercial companies.   

    Letters of Support:  A letter(s) from the PD/PI of any related NIDDK-funded T32 and/or other institutional training grant(s) at the Center institution should be included that acknowledges and details how the PD/PI of T32 or other training grants intend to promote cohesive interactions between the two programs.  Such letters should also briefly describe how any trainees supported by NIDDK-funded T32 or other training grants will participate in NORC activities related to the proposed Enrichment Program.

    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.

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

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Enrichment Program)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

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

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

    4. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

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

    Important reminders:

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

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

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

    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. 

    Post Submission Materials

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

    Section V. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria

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

    A proposed Clinical Trial application may include study design, methods, and intervention that are not by themselves innovative but address important questions or unmet needs. Additionally, the results of the clinical trial may indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted or lead to new avenues of scientific investigation.

    For these P30 Center applications, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the following individual sections. The overall impact score is not the average of the scores for all these components.

    • Research base, including the focus, quality of research, collaborations among members, relevance to the NORC's stated research focus, and, for renewal applications, the growth, re-focusing, or evolution of the research base.
    • Each Biomedical Research Core, including the documented need for the proposed services; number of users; qualifications of personnel; management, including prioritization and responsiveness to the needs of the users; quality control management; and any appropriate developmental work.
    • Administrative Core, including NORC Director(s), committee structure, NORC membership criteria, and lines of communication. Evaluation of the enrichment component will include the quality of proposed activities and likelihood for promoting new scientific collaborations and directions/approaches.
    • Pilot and Feasibility Program, including the organization of the overall process of solicitation, review, and monitoring of P and F projects, and for renewal applications the quality, appropriateness and outcomes of supported P and F projects. The Named New Investigator, if requested, will also enter into this evaluation.
    • Enrichment Program, including the quality of proposed activities and likelihood for promoting new scientific collaborations and directions/approaches.
    Overall Impact - Overall

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

    Scored Review Criteria Overall

    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 Center that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

    Significance

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

    In addition, for applications involving clinical trials:

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: What are the strengths of the Center's research base (its breadth and depth)?  Is there a strong, scientifically excellent research base in nutrition/obesity and related areas at the Center?  Do the focus, relevance, interrelationships, quality, productivity, and, to some extent, quantity of the research base support the stated theme of the Center?  Will the research base investigators benefit from the services/programs supported by the Center? What is the likelihood that the Center will increase efficiency; promote new research directions and meaningful collaborations among Center investigators; facilitate interactions and collaborations among the investigators; and prove cost-effective?  If collaborations with other Centers or individuals outside of the research base are described, do they enhance the productivity or quality of the research base; enhance the services offered by the Center; strengthen the Enrichment Program; allow for a more efficient use of the Center's available resources; or otherwise benefit the research base?

    Investigator(s)

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

    In addition, for applications involving clinical trials:

    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?

    Specific to this FOA: Are the Center investigators responsible for the individual components [i.e., Core Director(s); P and F Program Director(s), and Enrichment Program Director(s)] willing to interact with each other and contribute to the overall objectives of the NORC? What are the scientific and administrative leadership abilities of the proposed Center Director and Associate Director(s) and their commitment and ability to devote adequate time to the effective management of the Center program? Are the Core Directors well-qualified and 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?

    In addition, for applications proposing clinical trials:

    Does 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?

    Specific to this FOA: Are the Pilot & Feasibility (P AND F) applicants eligible and does the selection process by which the individual studies were selected appear appropriate? Does the Center appear to encourage ‘high-risk’, innovative ideas through their P AND F program? Do the Biomedical Research Cores provide new methods, techniques, and/or resources and demonstrate the ability to adapt when needed to support investigators in emerging areas of nutrition/obesity, as appropriate, to the purpose of the Core and the research supported by the Center? 

    Approach

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

    If the Centerinvolves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address:

     1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and

     2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

    In addition, for applications proposing clinical trials:

    Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable:

    Study Design

    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? Given the methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions, is 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 used to assign participants and deliver interventions? 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: How appropriate and relevant are the proposed cores for the research base? How well will the modes of operation, such as potential utilization, prioritization of requests for services, cost-recovery, and quality control monitoring serve the research base? Will the cores provide opportunities not otherwise available to the investigators through other available federally-funded and/or institutional resources; represent appropriate cost savings/cost sharing advantage; and stimulate the development of new approaches? Will the Center appropriately support and stimulate clinical/translational research? Are criteria for membership in the Center clear and appropriate? Is appropriate administrative organization proposed for the following:(a) coordination of ongoing research between the separately funded projects and the Center, including mechanisms for internal monitoring;(b) establishment and maintenance of internal communication and cooperation among the Center investigators;(c) mechanism for selecting and replacing professional or technical personnel within the cores;(d) mechanism for reviewing the use of, and administering funds for, the P and F program;(e) management capabilities, including fiscal administration, procurement, property and personnel management, planning, budgeting, and other appropriate capabilities? Is there efficient and effective use and/or planned use of the limited enrichment funds, including the contribution of these activities to the stated goals of the Center? Are there adequate institutional plans and procedures to assure compliance with applicable federal regulations and NIH policies for the protection of human research participants, including the evaluation of risks and protections in project proposals, appropriate ethical oversight of funded projects, and plans for monitoring data and safety in clinical research projects?

    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?  

    In addition, for applications proposing clinical trials:

    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? 

    Specific to this FOA: Is there evidence of institutional commitment to the Center program, including lines of accountability, regarding management of the Center grant and the institution's contribution to the management capabilities of the Center? Is there clear potential for interaction with scientists from other departments and institutions?

    Additional Review Criteria Overall

    As applicable for the Center 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.

    Study Timeline

    Specific to applications involving clinical trials:

    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)?

    Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan  

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

    Vertebrate Animals

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

    Biohazards

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

    Resubmissions

    For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

    Renewals

    For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

    Specific to this FOA:

    Research Base:  Does the Center show continued evidence of a strong research base with a consistent record of scientific excellence and achievement reflected in an outstanding level of productivity and success in securing peer-reviewed research funding?  Does the Center show evidence of fostering multi-disciplinary collaborations among its Center investigators?  Have such collaborations resulted in new research directions?

    Biomedical Research Cores: Are the number and impact of research publications that acknowledge the Center sufficient to justify each core? Is there a significant fraction of papers that a) acknowledge the Center and b) do not have core personnel as co-authors? Are the number and listing of Center investigators who have used the core and resultant key advances consistent with the level of core investment? Do the number and listing of investigators who have used the core multiple times indicate satisfaction and continuing need for core services? Are there sufficient numbers of users who are not core personnel or their collaborators? Are the number and listing of users who are not Center personnel or members consistent with the best utilization of the core by the community? Are the numbers of services/tests completed by each core indicative of a growing need and sufficient to justify continued support? Is the capacity of each core with current resources sufficient to serve the needs of the Center community? Does the Center provide evidence of ability to evolve cores to meet changing needs of the research community? Does the Center provide evidence of Program Income and/or sufficient institutional support? If applicable, has the national/regional shared resource core been effective as well as beneficial to both the Center members and partnering institution(s)?

    Administrative Core (including Clinical Component): Has the administrative structure proven effective? Has oversight of Center activities, including the P and F and Enrichment programs, been effective?  Does the Center website show evidence of continuing maintenance and a high level of quality and usability?  Has the Center fostered multidisciplinary approaches to nutrition/obesity research? Does the Center encourage and support high quality, productive clinical research?

    Pilot and Feasibility Program: Are the numbers and types of P and F awards well justified and related to the goals of the Center? Was the P and F program fully utilized during the previous project period? Were awards made to investigators who fully met the eligibility criteria (as described in the FOA) for pilot and feasibility support? Is the oversight plan appropriate? Are data provided to document the outcome of all P and F projects completed in the last five years, including those that failed to lead to further funding? Has the P and F program led to publications of significant impact, subsequent independent R01 or other peer-reviewed support, and/or attracted new investigators into nutrition/obesity-related research? Are research papers generated under these awards, projects successfully funded with independent grants, and key advances linked to these awards well-documented and consistent with the level of support provided? For those Centers who provided P and F support to investigators new to nutrition/obesity research and/or to experienced nutrition/obesity researchers with innovative ideas, were the P and F awardees successful in their outcomes?  If applicable, has the national/regional P and F program been effective as well as beneficial to both the Center and partnering institution(s)?

    Enrichment Program: Has the Enrichment program fostered multidisciplinary approaches to nutrition/obesity research and to attract new investigators or investigators with relevant expertise to nutrition/obesity research?

    Revisions

    Not Applicable

    Additional Review Considerations - Overall

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

    Applications from Foreign Organizations

    Not Applicable.

    Select Agent Research

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

    Resource Sharing Plans

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

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

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

    Budget and Period of Support

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by 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 Advisory Council (NDDKAC). The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

    • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
    • Availability of funds.
    • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.  
    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

    Section VI. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

    Individual awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by, the NIH and are subject to the IC-specific terms and conditions identified in the NoA. 

    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 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). 

    In accordance with NIH policy http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/index.htm and the NIH Guide

    Announcement NOT-OD-15-129, the awardee institution is responsible for ensuring that any awarded P&F projects follow all relevant regulations and policies for Human Subjects Research. The following elements or procedures must be included in the awardee institution’s P&F program oversight plan, as appropriate for all HS research inclusive of both clinical studies and clinical trials:

    • Development and implementation of appropriate data and safety monitoring plans
    • Documentation of IRB approval
    • Registration of all clinical trials in clinicaltrials.gov
    • Development and monitoring of appropriate milestones
    • Oversight of participant recruitment and retention
    • Results reporting in clincaltrials.gov, as appropriate
    • Planning for dissemination of research results
    Prior Approval of Pilot Projects

    Awardee-selected projects that involve clinical trials or studies involving greater than minimal risk to human subjects require prior approval by NIH prior to initiation.

    The awardee institution will provide NIH with written study protocols that address risks and protections for human subjects in accordance with NIH’s Instructions for Preparing the Human Subjects Section of the Research Plan.

    The awardee institution will provide NIH with specific plans for data and safety monitoring, and will notify the IRB and NIH of serious adverse events and unanticipated problems, consistent with NIH DSMP policies.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

    For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.html; and https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

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

    Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

    Not Applicable

    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.

    Progress reports should briefly describe status of pilot projects, including data and safety monitoring, and any changes to the Humans Subjects research oversight plan. Awardees should notify NIH of serious adverse events and unanticipated problems.

    A final RPPR, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

    We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

    Application Submission Contacts

    eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

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

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

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

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

    Mary E. 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)

    Thomas Tatham, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
    Telephone: 301-594-3993
    Email: tathamt@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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