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
Liver Cirrhosis Network: Scientific and Data Coordination Center (U24 Clinical Trial Optional)
Activity Code

U24 Resource-Related Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
None
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-DK-20-004
Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-DK-20-003 - Liver Cirrhosis Network: Clinical Research Centers (U01 Clinical Trial Required)

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

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

The NIDDK is proposing the establishment of the Liver Cirrhosis Network through this Funding Opportunity Announcement which is seeking a single Scientific Data Coordination Center; and in conjunction with RFA-DK-20-003 seeking Clinical Research Centers, in order to promote clinical and translational research on cirrhosis of the liver in adults.

Key Dates

Posted Date
August 14, 2020
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
November 01, 2020
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

November 1, 2020

Application Due Date(s)

December 1, 2020. No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s). Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

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

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

February-March 2021

Advisory Council Review

May 2021

Earliest Start Date

July 2021

Expiration Date
December 02, 2020
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide,except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts ).

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

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

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

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

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.


  4. Table of Contents

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seeking applications for a single Scientific and Data Coordination Center (SDCC) in support of the clinical and translational science pursuits of the Liver Cirrhosis Network.  

Background:

Cirrhosis represents not a single disease, but rather the consequence and major serious outcome of many chronic liver diseases, caused by a wide range of conditions.  The etiologies of cirrhosis in the United States include infectious causes such as chronic hepatitis B, C and D; genetic causes such as Wilson disease, hemochromatosis and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency; metabolic causes such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; autoimmunity such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and sclerosing cholangitis; and toxic causes such as alcoholic liver disease and chronic liver injury from medications such as methotrexate and amiodarone.  Cirrhosis from these diseases is almost always the result of chronic injury with persistent inflammation and cell damage that results in faulty healing and fibrosis. As fibrosis accumulates it causes distortion of the architecture of liver, portal hypertension and compromise of liver function.  Clinical complications of cirrhosis include symptoms of fatigue, weakness, weight loss, itching and jaundice; gastrointestinal bleeding from varices or portal hypertensive gastropathy, ascites and disturbance of fluid and electrolyte balance, renal dysfunction and hepatic encephalopathy.  The most dreaded complication of cirrhosis is hepatocellular carcinoma, a highly fatal cancer that arises in 1 to 3% of persons with cirrhosis yearly.  Once cirrhosis is present, treatment of the underlying liver disease can impede further progress and deterioration but it does not eliminate all risk of complications.  

Mortality due to liver disease remains a significant public health burden in the United States, currently ranked 11th overall and ranking 6th in persons below the age of 65 years.  Cirrhosis  appears to be rising in some populations such as persons living with HIV infection and cystic fibrosis.  Hepatocellular carcinoma incidence is also rising in the United States and is a surrogate for the prevalence of cirrhosis.  

Treatment of underlying causes of chronic liver disease such as antivirals for chronic hepatitis B and C; therapeutic phlebotomy for genetic hemochromatosis; ursodiol for primary biliary cirrhosis; and cessation of alcohol consumption for alcoholic liver disease, all underpin the overarching clinical approach to prevent the development of cirrhosis by early abrogation of ongoing injury to the still noncirrhotic liver. Neutralization of the liver disease etiology may allow the injured liver to invoke endogenous mechanisms to reverse the consequences of chronic inflammation and the accumulation of mild or even modest amounts of liver fibrosis.  However, once cirrhosis has been established, neutralization of the causes of liver disease generally will not reverse the cirrhosis.

Liver transplantation is currently the only medically viable avenue for patients with end-stage liver disease that will extend their longevity.  On an annual basis, despite treatment success rates for chronic hepatitis C and other liver diseases, the national wait list for liver transplantation in the United States remains essentially unchanged at approximately 13,000 patients.  Only 8000 liver transplantations are performed annually.  However, far, far more patients with end-stage liver disease are not even placed on liver transplantation lists for a variety of co-morbid or psychosocial issues.  

Given the discrepancy between the need and the availability of liver organs for patients on liver transplant waiting lists and the even more numerous patients who are unable to be considered for listing for liver transplantation, there is a significant need to improve our understanding of clinical and translational scientific aspects of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.  In addition, there is a need for furthering fundamental understanding of both the underlying pro- and anti-fibrotic mechanisms as well as risk factors and mechanisms that accentuate pro- and anti-fibrotic processes.  

There has been a growing body of literature regarding the use of statins for advanced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.  Statins have been reported to have pleomorphic effects that have encompassed anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and diminished stellate cell activation.  Clinically, statins have been suggested to reduce portal venous pressure, reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, and improved survival.  The Liver Cirrhosis Network would be poised to further investigate the effects of statins in the liver cirrhosis population that if beneficial may

translate into improved care of patients afflicted with this condition and a lessening of the cirrhosis disease complication burden.

Organization, Components, and Governance:

The Liver Cirrhosis Network will be administered under a Cooperative Agreement and be composed of Clinical Centers (CC), a single Scientific Data Coordination Center (SDCC), and the NIDDK and other components of the NIH as deemed appropriate by the NIDDK.  The Liver Cirrhosis Network will be governed by a Steering Committee composed of investigators from each of the Clinical Centers, the Scientific Data Coordination Center, and the NIDDK and other components of the NIH as deemed appropriate by the NIDDK.  Other subcommittees, working groups, and task forces of the Steering Committee will be prioritized and operationalized as necessary, such as publications, ancillary, protocol, pathology and radiology.  An Executive Committee comprised of at a minimum the Network Chair and Co-Chair who will be appointed by the NIDDK at the establishment of the Liver Cirrhosis Network; the Program Director/Principal Investigator of the SDCC; and the NIDDK Project  Scientist and Program Official; and other NIDDK personnel and other components of the NIH as deemed necessary by the NIDDK will be established to effect management decisions required between Steering Committee meetings, that is needed for efficient progress of the Network scientific activities.  An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will be established by the NIDDK to review protocols and monitor patient safety and performance of each Network study.  As a part of its responsibilities, the DSMB will submit recommendations to the NIDDK regarding the continuation of each study. The DSMB will be responsible for final approval of the Data and Safety Monitoring Plan developed by the SDCC.  All protocols or changes to protocols will require to be approved by a central or single Institutional Review Board, the Steering Committee, the Liver Cirrhosis Network Data and Safety Monitoring Board, and the NIDDK before initiation.  Any specific collaboration involving the resources of the Liver Cirrhosis Network will require approval by the Steering Committee and the NIDDK Program Officer. Voting privileges for Steering Committee decisions will be by the Principal Investigator or designee of the grantees for the Clinical Centers, the Scientific Data Coordination Center, and the NIDDK and other components of the NIH as deemed appropriate by the NIDDK.  All face to face Steering Committee, DSMB, and other necessary face to face meetings requiring the presence of NIDDK and NIH personnel will be held in the Washington, DC/Baltimore metropolitan area or other suitable venue as appropriate for the operational efficiency of Network scientific activities and for the Programmatic oversight of cost efficient Network resource management.

The CCs of the Liver Cirrhosis Network will be sought through a separate FOA, the details of which may be accessed at RFA-DK 20-003.  CCs will be responsible for developing primarily the NIDDK protocol concepts and other new protocols pending availability of Network resources, participating in their overall development, conducting the research, and disseminating research findings.  For each investigational or therapeutic protocol, one CC will take the lead responsibility in conjunction with a protocol development subcommittee for drafting the protocol, although the Steering Committee will provide input and will be responsible for assuring development of a common protocol to be implemented by all of the Liver Cirrhosis Network CCs.  The CC PD/PI leading the development of the protocol will also provide protocol oversight and management if implemented as a Liver Cirrhosis Network study.  All CC PDs/PIs will be strongly encouraged to fully commit their center resources and efforts to the Network protocols.  

The CCs should have access to a large population of patients with cirrhosis.  With the advent of electronic medical record systems, CCs now have the potential to efficiently screen for patients with cirrhosis already seen at their CC.  Furthermore, many CCs are now integral components of a larger medical network of outlying hospitals and clinics all linked with an integrated EMR that should further expand the screening pool of patients for cirrhosis.  Ideally, CCs will have demonstrated ability through prior scientific publications of utilizing their EMR to recruit study subjects from their CCs or have augmented their recruitment to include the outlying medical network hospitals and clinics with an integrated medical network EMR.  CCs may alternatively demonstrate a history of a consistent annual referral rate of patients with cirrhosis to their CC.  All individual CCs will be required to participate in a cooperative and interactive manner with one another, with the SDCC, and with the NIDDK and other components of the NIH in all aspects of the Liver Cirrhosis Network (see Terms and Conditions of Award).  Only investigators who wish to carry out the protocols of the Liver Cirrhosis Network and agree to be governed by the policies and procedures of the Liver Cirrhosis Network and its Steering Committee should apply under this FOA.

The SDCC will abide by the NIDDK Regulatory Policies and Guidance document at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/human-subjects-research/policies-clinical-researchers; and additionally will support protocol development, provide sample size calculations, statistical advice, questionnaires, and data analysis; coordinate implementation, training, and logistical and management support for the conduct of the studies; support manuscript preparation; organize committee meetings; assist in the establishment, coordination, and management of a central or single Institutional Review Board for the Liver Cirrhosis Network; and provide overall study coordination and quality assurance, including coordination of the logistical activities of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, the Steering Committee and other standing committees; coordination of the biospecimens, tracking, distribution, and eventual depositing of both data and biospecimens into the NIDDK Data and Biospecimen Repository as per NIDDK policy (https://repository.niddk.nih.gov/home).

The NIDDK/NIH will be responsible for organizing and providing support for the Liver Cirrhosis Network and will be involved substantially with the awardees as a "partner," consistent with the Cooperative Agreement mechanism.  A designated NIDDK Project Scientist, who will provide scientific oversight, will monitor subject recruitment and study progress, ensure disclosure of conflicts of interest and Network adherence to NIDDK policies. The NIDDK will appoint the Chairperson(s) of the Steering Committee; the members of the Executive Committee; and all members of the DSMB. An additional NIDDK Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

Objectives:

To accelerate the purpose of this FOA through the establishment of the Liver Cirrhosis Network, the NIDDK is proposing two broad approaches to be undertaken.  First is the establishment of a Longitudinal Cohort of patients with cirrhosis.  Second is the development and implementation of an intervention trial using an HMG-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor (“statin”).  All studies undertaken by the Liver Cirrhosis Network will be performed with adult subjects.  The findings and results emanating from these two approaches should advance the understanding about the pathophysiological mechanistic aspects of liver fibrosis from both pro- and anti-fibrotic processes; improve the assessment of clinical risk factors associated with advancement or recession of liver fibrosis; an opportunity to assess noninvasive measures of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in conjunction with clinical measures; and determine the safety and efficacy of statin therapy in preventing disease progression and adverse clinical outcomes of cirrhosis.

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

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed
New

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

Clinical Trial?
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 intends to commit $6 million in FY 2021 to support two related approaches to the establishment of the Liver Cirrhosis Network as embodied in RFA-DK-20-003 and RFA-DK-20-004. It is expected that up to 11 awards will be supported in FY 2021 in total under these two RFAs. It is expected that only one Scientific and Data Coordination Center will be supported in FY 2021 under this FOA.

Award Budget

 Initial award request may be no more than $1,500,000 direct costs. Based on project data provided in the future annual RPPR, the award may be adjusted (e.g., reduced or increased above the initial budget threshold) to accommodate scientific needs associated with the Network operations and approved scientific projects.

Award Project Period

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

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Local 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)

Federal Governments

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

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

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed. 

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

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)

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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 F. Connaughton, Ph.D.

Chief, Scientific Review Branch

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Telephone: 301-594-7797
Email: NIDDKLetterofIntent@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R Budget

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

 Initial award request may be no more than $1,500,000 direct costs.  Based on project data provided in the future annual RPPR, future awards may be adjusted (e.g., reduced or increased above the initial budget threshold) to accommodate recruitment and other scientific and patient care needs associated with the Network operations and approved scientific projects. Additionally, applicants should request travel costs to the Washington, DC area for up to three Steering Committee meetings during the first year of the Liver Cirrhosis Network.

R&R Subaward Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

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

Research Strategy:

The SDCC will take on the administrative and data collection/analysis functions and will be responsible for the conduct of all the studies of Liver Cirrhosis Network. Thus, they should include methodology and plans for approaches to accepting data across a range of data platforms that may potentially exist across various CCs. In addition, the SDCC will be responsible for supporting any protocol development or modifications; coordinate implementation, training, and logistical support for the conduct of the studies; providing sample size calculations, statistical advice, questionnaires, and data analysis; support development, implementation, and maintenance of a data base of clinical information and blood samples; developing or modifying any data safety and monitoring plans; supporting manuscript preparation; exploring, developing, and implementing the integration of web based data entry, digital data storage, automated electronic medical record downloads of data to a centralized database; and provide overall study coordination and quality assurance, including coordination of the operational activities and meetings (including conference calls and face to face meetings) of the Data and Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMB), the Steering Committee, and other needed committees of the Liver Cirrhosis Network; and the development of a Liver Cirrhosis Network website that may serve as a portal for the repositing and dissemination of study and Network policy documents and other Liver Cirrhosis Network documents such as those for the DSMB. The SDCC will prepare or modify and track protocols for submission to the DSMB and the Steering Committee for their approval prior to the implementation of any study protocols or protocol change. The SDCC will assist in or undertake the establishment, coordination, and management of a central or single Institutional Review Board for the Liver Cirrhosis Network. The SDCC will be responsible for preparation of documents to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in support of Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs) held by the NIDDK on behalf of the Liver Cirrhosis Network. The SDCC will also prepare all reports including data reports for review by the DSMBs at their meetings. The SDCC will also be responsible for the logistics and planning of the meetings of the Steering Committee and the various operational committees of the Liver Cirrhosis Network. The SDCC will be responsible for acquiring and administering subcontracts as needed and as directed by the NIDDK for the operational aspects of carrying out the management of Network protocols. (See Terms and Conditions of Award). The NIDDK has established a Central Biosample, Genetic, and Data Repositories for the ongoing and archival storage of data and biospecimens collected in large, multi-site studies funded by NIDDK. The SDCC will identify or establish a Liver Cirrhosis Network biosample respository that will receive, store, and distribute samples during the project period; and will work with the CCs to coordinate procedures for coding, shipping, processing, receipt, and storage of study samples that are to be maintained in the Liver Cirrhosis Network biosample repository; coordination of the biospecimens, tracking, distribution, and eventual depositing of both data and an archival biospecimen set into the NIDDK Data and Biospecimen Repository as per NIDDK policy (https://repository.niddk.nih.gov/home/); and dispensing biospecimens from the Liver Cirrhosis Network biosample repository and data to steering committee approved ancillary study sites. All samples and data transferred to the NIDDK Data and Biospecimen Repository will be under the custodianship of the NIDDK, although the Liver Cirrhosis Network Steering Committee will have proprietary control of and exclusive access to the samples and data for an agreed-upon period of time as per NIDDK policies. Applicants for the SDCC should also propose a subcontract selection process that may be utilized to develop additional services in support of the scientific activities of the Liver Cirrhosis Network if scientifically needed that may include for example but are not limited to a Bioinformatics Core; digital pathology services; a DNA extraction service; analytic genomics services among other possible services in the support of the Network scientific activities. Ultimately, the specific activities of any core or services in the conduct of any translational scientific activities of the Liver Cirrhosis Network will be dependent upon the scientific priorities of the Steering Committee.

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 Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

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

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

Delayed Onset Study

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

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

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

4. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

Important reminders:

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

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

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.

In addition, for applications involving clinical trials:

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.

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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

Significance

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

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?

Investigator(s)

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

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?

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 involving 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?

Approach

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

In addition, for applications involving 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:

Is the data collection system robust and flexible to accommodate a wide range of platforms and electronic medical record systems that may exist across various CCs? Are the data and biospecimen monitoring plans supportive of clinical protocols and for providing real time data on specimen status? Are the protocol development approaches cooperative in nature with the CC investigators and scalable for providing a range of statistical expertise? Are the protocol training and support processes and methods conducive to the initiation and operation of clinical trials and studies? Is the administrative framework appropriate for the efficient planning and logistical support of Liver Cirrhosis Network meetings? Are the plans for the structure and architecture of the Liver Cirrhosis Network website supportive of the clinical research activities and intuitive for the Liver Cirrhosis Network investigators and DSMB members? Is the single or central IRB vetting process plan sufficiently robust to identify suitable potential candidates?

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

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 involving 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?

Additional Review Criteria

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

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

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 the 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 will receive a written critique.

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.

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 NIDDK Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. 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 and results reporting of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/reporting/index.htm

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).  

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 laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex. This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.

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.

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.

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility reside with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.
 

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Any third-party (including industry, academia, and foundations) collaboration should be governed by a research collaboration agreement (e.g. Clinical Trial Agreement, Research Collaborative Agreement, etc.) or any third-party contract mechanism(s) with terms that ensure the collaboration is conducted in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement, applicable NIH/NIDDK policies and procedures, and with written approval from NIDDK Program staff. Any relevant proposed third-party agreements related to the network studies between grantee and third-party will be provided to the NIDDK Program staff and NIDDK Technology Advancement Office for review, comment, and approval to assure compliance with NIH/NIDDK policies and network policies. Further, at the request of the NIDDK Program staff, any other network-relevant third-party agreements must be shared with NIDDK. Failure to comply with this term may prompt action in accordance with NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 8.5 titled: “Special Award Conditions and Remedies for Noncompliance (Special Award Conditions and Enforcement Actions”, and Section 8.5.2, titled: “Remedies for Noncompliance or Enforcement Actions: Suspension, Termination, and Withholding Support”, noncompliance with the terms and conditions of award will be considered by the funding IC for future funding and support decisions and may result in termination of the award.”

9. Any involvement of a third-party (including industry, academia, and foundations) in the study and network activities that includes access to any network study data and biosamples, or study results that are not publicly available, or using the name of the network or study or the name of the NIH or NIDDK, is permitted only after written permission by the NIDDK Program staff who will consult with others at NIH and NIDDK Technology Advancement Office.

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

11. Maintaining confidentiality of information: The awardee(s) will maintain the confidentiality of the information developed by the investigators (i.e., protocols, data analysis, conclusions, etc.) as well as proprietary information of an individual company or other entity collaborating with the study. Any exception requires written approval from NIDDK Program staff.

12. The NIDDK has established Central Biosample, Genetic, and Data Repositories for the archiving and storage of data and biosamples collected in large, multi-site studies funded by NIDDK. Prior to enrolling participants, the PD/PI or his/her designee will coordinate with the NIDDK Central Repository to develop a Data Sharing Plan and prepare the collected data for eventual archiving and distribution. In addition, if applicable, the PD/PI or his/her designee will work with the NIDDK Biosample Repository to coordinate procedures for coding, shipping, processing, receipt, storage, and sharing of study samples that are to be maintained in the Repository. All samples and data transferred to the Repositories will be under the custodianship of the NIDDK, although the study’s leadership will have proprietary control of and exclusive access to the samples and data for an agreed-upon period of time. Subsequently samples and data will be available to the wider scientific community in accordance with the NIH policy on Data Sharing (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/ and, https://grants.nih.gov/policy/sharing.htm, and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_faqs.htm), as well as the NIDDK policy for data sharing in multi-center and large single-center clinical studies https://www.niddk.nih.gov/-/media/Files/Research-Funding/Process/PublicversionNIDDKdatasharingpolicy2013July2013.pdf  

13. Study investigators are required to comply with NIH Policy on the Dissemination of NIH Funded Clinical Trial Information as stated at https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/reporting/understanding/nih-policy.htm. Per policy, the awardee is responsible for meeting the expectations of this policy. Refer to additional information at https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials/reporting/index.htm

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

An NIDDK Project Scientist with substantial involvement will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

d. The NIDDK Project Scientist or Project Coordinator may be co-authors on study publications consistent with NIH, study, and Steering Committee policies

The NIDDK Program Official identified in the Notice of Award will:

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


 

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

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

Steering Committee

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

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

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

A Chairperson of the Steering Committee, other than the NIDDK Project Scientist, will be selected by the NIDDK. The Chairperson provides leadership to the Committee by conducting the Steering Committee meetings, representing the study group to the External Oversight Committee or Data and Safety Monitoring Board established by the NIDDK and by interacting closely with the awardees during protocol development and implementation.

Dispute Resolution

Any disagreement that may arise on scientific/programmatic matters (within the scope of the award), between award recipients and the NIDDK may be brought to dispute resolution. A dispute resolution panel will be composed of three members --one selected by the awardee (or the Steering Committee, with the NIDDK member not voting), a second member selected by NIDDK, and the third member elected by the two prior selected members. These special dispute resolution procedures in no way affect the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulations at 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D, and HHS regulations at 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

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

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Edward Doo, M.D.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-451-4524
Email: dooe@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Najma Begum, Ph.D.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Telephone: 301-594-8894

Email: najma.begum@nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Jeni Smits

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-827-4020
Email: jeni.smits@mail.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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