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
Biomarkers for Diabetic Foot Ulcers through the Diabetic Foot Consortium (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code

R61/R33 Exploratory/Developmental  Phased Award

Announcement Type
New
Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-DK-21-001
Companion Funding Opportunity
None
Assistance Listing Number(s)
93.847
Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to promote the development of prognostic, monitoring, and diagnostic biomarkers for diabetic foot ulcers that can be used in clinical trials and patient care. This initiative will support early analytical and clinical validation of biomarkers through a phased award to encourage innovative research. The initiative will leverage the resources of the Diabetic Foot Consortium to facilitate the access to well-characterized patients and high-quality human samples. The goal of this initiative is to deliver candidate biomarkers that are ready for definitive analytical and clinical validation studies through the Diabetic Foot Consortium. 

Key Dates

Posted Date
January 13, 2021
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
March 22, 2021
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

March 22, 2021 and October 3, 2021

Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
April 22, 2021 April 22, 2021 Not Applicable July 2021 October 2021 December 2021
November 03, 2021 November 03, 2021 Not Applicable March 2022 May 2022 July 2022

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.

Expiration Date
November 04, 2021
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

Purpose:

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to promote the development of prognostic, monitoring, and diagnostic biomarkers that can be used in clinical care and clinical trials of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). This initiative would support early analytical and clinical validation of biomarkers through a phased award to encourage innovative research. The initiative would leverage the resources of the Diabetic Foot Consortium (DFC) to facilitate access to well-characterized patients and foot ulcers and high-quality human samples. The goal of this initiative is to deliver candidate biomarkers that are ready for definitive analytical and clinical validation studies through the Diabetic Foot Consortium.

Background:

Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are a frequent and devastating complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Each year in the United States, about 100,000 lower extremity amputations occur in people living with diabetes. Most of these amputations are due to a DFU that develops a serious infection or does not heal. For the ulcers that do heal, the median time to healing is 12 weeks with wound care costing the US health care system $9-13 billion annually. To date, clinical trials on a variety of interventions have not yielded meaningful improvements in outcome. The history of drug development, and approval for drugs for DFUs is abysmal with the last FDA approval for a pharmacological agent in 1997. The lack of validated biomarkers to detect a biological response, refine entry criteria, monitor treatment, and serve as surrogate end-points impairs progress at every stage of drug development.

The clinical risk factors for developing a DFU are micro- and macrovascular disease that decreases blood supply and diabetic neuropathy that leads to insensate and deformed feet with areas of increased plantar pressure and shear force. Once an ulcer forms, diabetes contributes by stalling the normal phases of healing at the inflammatory stage, leading to a chronic, non-healing ulcer that is prone to infection. Basic research has made considerable progress in understanding the effect of diabetes on macrophages in perpetuating inflammation, progenitor cells in blunting the regenerative response, and the microbiome in producing clinical infections and biofilms. These studies, often using animal models, have revealed many potential biomarker and therapeutic targets. Advancement and effective translation of these findings requires the study of human tissues that encompass skin and microbiome changes from the chronicity of diabetes, the unique features of plantar skin and foot pressure, and the inflammation of chronic wounds. However, obtaining an adequate number of biosamples from well-characterized patients is a significant challenge for individual investigators.

A biomarker is defined by the FDA-NIH Biomarker Working Group as "a defined characteristic that is measured as an indicator of normal biological processes, pathogenic processes, or responses to an exposure or intervention, including therapeutic interventions. Molecular, histologic, radiographic, or physiologic characteristics are types of biomarkers." Despite the active pace of discovery of novel biomarker candidates, few biomarkers for any condition proceed beyond discovery to clinical practice, and robust, well-validated biomarkers for use in Phase II clinical trials remain limited, especially for DFUs. Thus, there is a critical need to advance biomarkers through the early phases of development after a candidate biomarker has been identified, but the analysis methods need further development and the biomarker needs testing with human biosamples or clinical studies. The goal of this FOA, therefore, is to promote a rigorous process in the early evaluation of promising candidate biomarkers that will support thorough validation within the Diabetic Foot Consortium (DFC) and ultimately provide the tools necessary to improve clinical care and facilitate the development of new therapies.

The NIDDK initiated the DFC with the mission of validating biomarkers for DFUs and building a clinical research infrastructure. The DFC consists of clinical research units, biomarker analysis units, and a data coordinating center. The clinical research units enroll participants with an active or recently healed DFU; collect patient history, images of the DFU and biosamples; and perform bedside biomarker tests. The biomarker analysis units perform the biomarker measurements on biosamples or analyze the data from the clinical testing. The data coordinating center is responsible for operational oversight and the statistical analysis. Successful applicants are expected to become principal investigators of additional biomarker analysis units.

Research Objectives:

The long-range vision of this initiative is to improve the healing of DFUs through individualized therapies based on validated biomarkers. These biomarkers will improve clinical trial design by refining entry criteria, serving as surrogate end-points, and thereby facilitating approval of new, effective therapies for DFUs that will speed healing and prevent amputations. Here are examples of types of biomarkers that could improve the care and clinical study of DFUs:

  • Prognostic biomarkers - Identification of individuals who are more likely to heal their ulcer compared to individuals who are less likely to heal or develop a recurrence after healing. These biomarkers would personalize treatment to optimize healing and to avoid expensive, futile therapies. They would also lead to refinement of entry criteria for clinical trials. They could measure molecular or cellular components of wound tissue or fluid, blood or urine, or physiologic changes in the blood vessels, nerves, or skin.
  • Monitoring biomarkers - Assessment of a response to therapy that could be measured serially and guide therapeutic decisions. 
  • Diagnostic biomarkers - Detection of early infections and bacterial biofilms for facilitation of anti-microbial therapy development and inclusion as a confounding factor in clinical trials.

The scope of this initiative is to advance biomarkers through the early analytical and clinical validation phases of development so that successful biomarker candidates would undergo more extensive validation studies through the DFC and receive approval from the FDA Biomarker Qualification Program for a context of use important for therapy development and clinical care.

Specific research objectives:

  • Development and initial internal validation of the biomarker detection method.
  • Initial proof of concept of the biomarker.
  • Development of a working hypothesis regarding Context of Use.

Definitions of the following terms for the purpose of this FOA:

  • Internal validation of the detection method - Establishing that the performance characteristics of a measurement are acceptable in terms of its sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, precision, and other relevant performance characteristics using a specified technical protocol (which may include sample collection and standardization procedures). Research can include the study of a reportable range of test results, reference intervals (range of normal values) with controls and calibrators, harmonization of analytical performance if the assay or method of detection is to be performed in multiple laboratories, establishment of appropriate quality control and improvement procedures
  • Proof of Concept - Establishing that the biomarker acceptably identifies, measures or predicts the concept of interest and can include a demonstration of sensitivity and specificity for the intended use of the biomarker.  These studies must include either testing at a DFC clinical site or on stored samples or images from the DFC.
  • Context of Use (COU) - A statement that fully and clearly describes the way the biomarker is to be used and the biomarker-related purpose of the use. Considerations involved in defining the COU can include biomarker modality and method of detection, clinical population characteristics, unmet need for the new biomarker and type of biomarker (response prediction, stratification, prognostic, diagnostic, target engagement, susceptibility/risk, etc.). Context of Use statements are discussed extensively in this FDA document.
  • Use of the BEST (Biomarkers, EndpointS, and Other Tools Resource) standardized biomarker definitions is required for all studies.

This funding opportunity uses a R61/R33 Phased Innovation Award mechanism to encourage novel, high-risk projects. The R61 phase will support early proof of concept studies and preliminary analytical validation of the detection method. If the clearly defined and scientifically justified milestones are met, the project can advance to the R33 phase of more extensive analytical and/or biological validation, such that a successful biomarker could undergo clinical testing through a multi-site study in the DFC.

Entry criteria:

  • A candidate biomarker with a biological rationale and preliminary data to support further investigation. The preliminary data may be exclusively from animal studies or from other relevant clinical conditions.
  • Data or publications showing that the investigative team can carry out the proposed biomarker studies.
  • An initial context of use for clinical research on DFUs based on the FDA definition that will be further refined based on results from the proposed research.
  • Approval of the DFC Steering Committee for the plans to use DFC resources. The Steering Committee or its designee will only evaluate the feasibility of the proposed research based on resources available from the DFC. They will not evaluate the rationale, preliminary data, study design, or other aspects of the project.

Milestones:

A project timeline including milestones is a required component of the application (see Section IV.2). Milestones are quantitative goals that will be used for a "go/no-go" decision as the project advances from the R61 to the R33 phase, and therefore should have quantitative criteria associated with them. All milestones should be useful as a measure of progress toward the overall goal of the project. A list of activities planned for each phase are not considered milestones because they do not provide decision-making goals.

Milestones could address, but are not limited to:

  • The desired magnitude and reliability of the association between the biomarker and wound pathophysiology.
  • Desired precision, accuracy and dynamic range of the biomarker detection method.
  • Feasibility of biomarker measurement.

The NIDDK Project Scientist will contact the applicant to discuss the proposed milestones prior to the award to discuss any recommended changes to the research plan or suggestions from peer reviewers, and the plan will be revised as appropriate prior to the award.  At the completion of the R61 phase, the PD/PI(s) will submit a report that includes the progress on each of the milestones.  The NIDDK program staff will review the report and make recommendations on funding of the R33 grant based on the research results and achievement of the milestones.   

Criteria for further evaluation:

At the successful completion of the R33 phase, the biomarker will need to meet these criteria for further evaluation in the Diabetic Foot Consortium.

  • Proof of concept studies that show the biomarker can predict healing or recurrence, monitor treatment effects or diagnose infections or other complications of diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Analytical tools and detection methods that are robust and validated.
  • A defined Context of Use.

Examples of studies that are not responsive to this FOA:

  • Biomarker studies for diseases other than DFUs or for prediction of a primary DFU.
  • Studies aimed at understanding disease pathophysiology, genetic, or epigenetic mechanisms.
  • Collection of human biosamples or clinical samples outside of the DFC.
  • Preclinical animal studies except for obtaining material for method development.
  • Development of candidate therapeutics.
  • Clinical trials (The studies may make measurements of participants and/or their DFU who are receiving a specific intervention as part of the standard of care, but the study cannot assign a participant to an intervention.)

Pre-Application Consultation

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with NIDDK staff early in the application planning process. This early contact will provide an opportunity to discuss and clarify NIDDK policies and guidelines, including the scope of the project relative to the intent of this FOA.   A webinar will be scheduled approximately one month after publication of the FOA in the NIH Guide.  Contact Gizem Fern gizem.fern@nih.gov for an invitation to the webinar.  In addition, a Notice of Pre-Application Webinar will be published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

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
Resubmission

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

Clinical Trial?

Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials.

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIDDK intends to commit $1.5 million in FY 2021 and in FY 2022 to fund two to three awards each year.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $325,000 in direct costs per year. 

Award Project Period

The project period for the R61 grant is limited to one or two years and the R33 grant to two or three years.  The project period for the combined R61 and R33 grants is limited to four 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
  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply.

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.

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

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

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

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

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

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, 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 (NIDDK)
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.

The budget should only include amounts for research performed at the Biomarker Analysis Unit. A budget for research at the Clinical Research Units and the Data Coordinating Center of the DFC should not be included. The budget should include travel to two DFC Steering Committee meetings per year.

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:

Specific Aims:

Within the Specific Aims, include two sections entitled R61 Phase Specific Aims and R33 Phase Specific Aims that state the objectives of each grant phase.

Research Strategy:

The Research Strategy Section should include the following sections:

1. Rationale

  • Provide a strong biological rationale that supports the candidate biomarker for diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Describe the possible methods of detection for the biomarker.
  • Address the acceptability of the biomarker and feasibility of the detection method for eventual use in Phase II clinical trials or clinical practice.
  • Propose the intended clinical Context of Use for the biomarker.

2. Preliminary Data

  • Provide preliminary data supporting the biological rationale for the candidate biomarker and the feasibility of the proposed detection method. Describe the overall strengths, weaknesses, and rigor of the preliminary data.

3. Approach

  • Propose a plan for refinement and development of the biomarker that takes into consideration its biologic rationale and culminates by the end of the R33 grant with robust and validated methods and and proof of concept studies supporting a defined Context of Use for clinical trials. The biomarker should have adequate data in the target patient population and with the analysis method to justify validation in a large clinical study in the DFC.
  • Include the specific resources needed from the DFC. These resources could include performance of a clinical test, such as imaging, the collection of new biosamples, such as wound fluid or plasma, or the use of stored samples or data.
  • Describe the plan to ensure appropriate standardization of samples and data (across sites, instruments and technicians) that are used in the biomarker identification and early evaluation process.
  • Provide a statistical analysis plan and a power analysis to support the number of participants or biosamples.

4. Timeline and Proposed Milestones (required)

  • Transition from the R61 to the R33 phase is contingent upon the successful completion of the proposed milestones. The specific milestone(s) proposed in the application will depend on the goals of the application and the accomplishments necessary in the R61 phase for advancement into the R33 phase. Milestones must be provided under a separate, specific heading at the end of the Research Strategy Section and will be evaluated as part of the scientific and technical merit of the R61/R33 application.
  • Milestones should be proposed for completion at the end of the R61 phase. Quantitative milestones are required to provide clear indicators of a project's feasibility, continued progress or emergent difficulties and will be used to evaluate the application not only in peer review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of the R33 phase.
  • Please see “Project Milestones” (End of Section I) for guidance in writing go/no-go, quantitative milestones.

Letter of Support:

  • Applicants are required to obtain a letter of support from the DFC indicating that the proposed research is feasible given the resources of the consortium. This letter should be requested from the DFC Steering Committee no later than March 24, 2021 and Sept. 22, 2021 for the first and second receipt dates.. Documentation of approval of the DFC Steering Committee for the plans to use DFC resources may be submitted no later than May 22, 2021 for the first due date and December 3, 2021 for the second due date, if this is not available at the time of application submission.   Approval letters submitted as post-submission material must be provided as a PDF emailed directly to the Peer Review contact by the appropriate institutional representative.  Further information about obtaining the DFC letter of support can be obtained at the DFC website.

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.

The following modifications also apply:

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.

The DFC uses a single IRB to conduct the ethical review required for the protection of human subjects of all of its research protocols.

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.

Foreign Institutions

Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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" (https://cde.nlm.nih.gov/home) 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.

Documentation of approval of the DFC Steering Committee for the plans to use DFC resources may be submitted no later than May 22, 2021 for the first receipt date and December 3, 2021 for the second receipt date, if this is not available at the time of application submission. Approval letters submitted as post-submission material must be provided as a PDF emailed directly to the Peer Review contact by the appropriate institutional representative.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

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?

Specific to this FOA: What is the strength of the biological rationale for the biomarker? Do the preliminary data and publications support further research on the biomarker and detection method? How likely is the biomarker and its assay to be broadly adopted for clinical trials or practice? Is the proposed Context of Use meaningful and feasible for the biomarker?

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?

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?

Specific for this FOA: How is the biomarker and/or its detection method within the clinical context both innovative and feasible?

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?

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?

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 Milestones

Are the milestones robust and associated with clear, quantitative criteria for success that allow go/no-go decisions at the R61/R33 transition point? Does the set of milestones allow the evaluation of progress in the R61 phase and will successful completion of these milestones provide confidence that the investigator will be able to successfully implement the R33 phase and achieve its end goals within the timeline of this grant mechanism?

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

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

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

Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

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).  The Data Sharing Plan should acknowledge a willingness to share data generated from the FOA with the NIDDK Data Repository. 

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 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 National Institute of 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 recipient's business official.

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

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

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Recipient institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Recipients, 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

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.

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)

Teresa L.Z. Jones, MD
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-435-2996
Email: teresa.jones@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Michele Barnard, PhD
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-594-8898
Email: michele.barnard@nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Eunica Haynes
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-827-4018
Email: haynese@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.

This FOA is supported under the authority of P.L. 116-260, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021; Section 302. Diabetes Programs.


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