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 Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIH Revision Awards for Creating Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER)(R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project Grant

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-14-050

Related Notices
  • NOT-OD-18-009 - Reminder: FORMS-E Grant Application Forms and Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018.
  • September 20, 2017 - Updates to Active Funding Opportunity Announcements to Prepare for Policy Changes Impacting Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018. See NOT-OD-17-114.
  • May 10, 2017 - New NIH "FORMS-E" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018. See NOT-OD-17-062.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-ES-17-002

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.113

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of the ViCTER program is to foster and promote transdisciplinary collaborations and/or translational research efforts among basic (technology and mechanism oriented), clinical (patient-oriented) and population-based researchers and other individuals with expertise relevant to environmental health who have come together in common interest around a particular environmental stressor(s) of interest.  A key component of the Virtual Consortia Program is the stimulation of innovative and novel cross-disciplinary and/or translational collaborations that can be more difficult to achieve in a typical R01 application, thereby accelerating the public health impact of the research.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

October 27, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 7, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

March 7, 2017; March 6, 2018; March 6, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

May/June 2017, May/June 2018, May/June 2019

Advisory Council Review

October 2017, October 2018, October 2019

Earliest Start Date

December 1, 2017, December 1, 2018, December 1, 2019)

Expiration Date

March 7, 2019

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


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

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

  3. Go to Grants.gov to download an application package to complete the application forms offline or create a Workspace to complete the forms online; submit your application to Grants.gov; and track your application in eRA Commons.
Learn more about the various submission options.

Table of Contents

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

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


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

Environmental health sciences research has traditionally been organized into broad areas of scientific interest with limited integration across disciplines. This approach is reflected in the diverse research activities supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/portfolio/).  NIEHS currently supports research to understand the impact of environmental agents on human health using many types of approaches and methods such as in vitro cell culture systems, in vivo animal exposures, and population-based studies.

The application of new technological and methodological advances to environmental health research has provided unprecedented insight into the dynamic and complex nature of biological systems.  Investigators in the field of environmental health sciences have started to integrate these tools into their investigations to better characterize exposure and disease relationships including early biological perturbations, genetic and epigenetic variations, vulnerable populations, and complex mixtures. This integration includes an investment in approaches to effectively translate and disseminate complex research findings to the public to improve lives. 

However, these multi-factorial (disciplinary) efforts usually occur in select or limited laboratories and institutions due to lack of availability of resources, expertise or access to technology. Many investigators could greatly benefit from a more coordinated and integrated approach to facilitate translational/transdisciplinary research among basic laboratory-based research, population studies, and clinical programs.

NIEHS recognizes that to achieve an integrated translational and/or transdisciplinary research agenda, many experimental approaches need to be employed in a systematic and sustained fashion. To a limited extent many of NIEHS’ larger programs such as the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research, Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program and Centers for Neurodegeneration Science have moved in this direction by requiring both basic and human-based translational research. Some have required community outreach and education cores as well. However, these programs are large structured multicomponent grants that require strong preliminary evidence in areas of research with solid evidence of exposure/disease relationships. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with set-aside funds and a special review offers such an opportunity by encouraging submission of Revision applications from current NIEHS-funded R01 awardees to develop and implement a Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER).

For purposes of this FOA:

Translational research is defined as research that involves the bidirectional flow of information across the spectrum of in vitro, model organisms, animal models, human population or clinically-based research to provide data useful for the prevention of, or the intervention in human disease.  

Transdisciplinary research is defined as research that involves scientists from multiple disciplines working interactively on a common problem to develop novel cross-disciplinary methods, insights and research approaches that would not have occurred with a traditional uni-disciplinary investigation. For the purposes of this FOA, applications may be translational or transdisciplinary and need not be both.

This initiative will allow investigators to expand the scope of a current NIEHS-funded R01 by developing new research teams creating a virtual consortium to include new perspectives, such as basic mechanistic, clinical, epidemiological, computational, engineering and/or health risk communication approaches, thereby expanding the translational and/or transdisciplinary nature of the grants with the goal of improving their impact on public health. ViCTER projects are expected to foster a better understanding of the mechanism of disease/dysfunction in those areas where environmental factors are known or are suspected to influence the development or progression of the disease. These Revisions can be the start of a whole new direction for the parent R01.

Research Objectives

The ultimate goal for creating this Virtual Consortia Program is to support the exchange of knowledge among individuals from this diverse set of disciplines and accelerate the translation of scientific research into meaningful improvements in human health in those areas where environmental factors are known or suspected to influence the development or progression of disease.  This Virtual Consortium Program is expected to initiate research in the development and application of novel approaches for understanding the role of environmental chemicals in the etiology of disease as well as the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment/intervention of harmful exposures, and an understanding of the etiology of diseases and disorders that will impact clinical or public health practice.  It is envisioned that these new Virtual Consortia will augment existing research teams with additional expertise and use of basic mechanistic, clinical, epidemiological, computational, engineering, and/or health risk communication approaches, to focus on a central theme relevant to environmental exposures or exposure-related diseases. 

One of the critical components of the ViCTER Program is their virtual aspect. This allows researchers at remote locations to form a consortium to integrate their research through the development of a virtual center that “houses” the ViCTER and includes a consortium director (also referred to as the PD/PI of the consortium) who is responsible for scheduling regular (at least monthly) conference calls and encouraging annual update meetings.

The intent of this program is to stimulate a variety of possible results and outcomes including but not limited to the following:

  • Generation and analysis of new biological, environmental data to provide insight into disease causation.
  • Addition of the use of state of the art technologies (-omics, optogenetics, imaging) to understand the role of environmental exposures in disease and disease susceptibility.
  • Improved understanding of the role of single and multiple exposures across the lifespan in the etiology and progression of disease.
  • New insights into integration of environmental effects data across tissues and time leading to disease.
  • New insights into the role of environmental exposures in diseases linked by a common underlying pathway(s).
  • Development and application of biomarkers of exposure, susceptibility and/or effect which illuminate health risks.
  • Development and application of novel tools and methods to help determine exposure risk and/or better predict health outcomes with greater specificity.
  • The use of developed tools and methods for improved analysis of health risks to inform decision-making at the state and local levels.
  • The use of basic science and/or population-based research findings in policy decision-making arenas to limit environmental exposures potentially harmful to health.
  • Advances in cross-disciplinary training in environmental health based on the latest scientific discoveries.
  • Generation of original peer-reviewed papers.

NIEHS particularly encourages applicants to propose new aims that are high risk/high reward which, if successful, are likely to contribute significantly to the ViCTER program’s environmental health science field and be the motivator of future collaborative research.

Each ViCTER program must consist of at least three participants (the PD/PI plus two new collaborators).  A new collaborator is defined as someone who has not published with the PD/PI within the last five years (excluding reviews, white papers etc.).  We strongly recommend that at least one new collaborator be at a different institution from the PD/PI, but it is not required.

The PD/PI must be a current NIEHS-supported R01 awardee and is responsible for providing the environmental health science focus of the Virtual Consortium Program and “housing” the virtual consortium.  The PD/PI will partner with two new collaborators (no prior or current research funding on their part is needed) to develop, write and implement an expanded research focus (at least one new aim per collaborator) that are thematically related and will expand the science, develop new ideas, and foster collaboration, integration and translation among the ViCTER virtual consortium team.  The overall research focus developed by the team must fall within the environmental health theme or focus of the proposed consortium and must be new (i.e., consortium members should not have published an original research article together on these specific topics previously). 

Examples of possible ViCTER projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Environmental health scientist working on a particular toxicant and effects on reproduction in a higher animal model (PD/PI of consortium) develops a consortium with two other environmental health scientists examining the site and mechanism of the same toxicant on the same tissues, one working in a rodent model and another using an in vitro system to understand the mechanism across species to predict the mechanism in humans.
  • Environmental epidemiologist (PD/PI of consortium) following a cohort of children to examine the impact of multiple endocrine disruptors (EDs) on growth develops a consortium with an environmental scientist who has developed an assay to measure the overall “estrogenic effect” of complex ED mixtures to estimate the total estrogenic impact of “real life” complex exposure patterns observed in the epidemiological cohort and a community outreach program to alert the local community of the potential health hazards of the environmental agents on children.
  • Environmental epidemiologist (PD/PI of consortium) conducting an observational study of a robust association between exposure to an ambient air pollutant and a specific disease develops a consortium with a clinician to understand the potential role of known susceptibility genes in predisposition to the disease process, and with a basic scientist exploring mechanistic studies in vitro or rodent models to integrate their findings to develop biomarkers or potential interventions.
  • Environmental health scientist (PD/PI of consortium) working on chemical exposure-induced obesity in a rodent model develops a consortium with another scientist working on the physiology and endocrinology of diabetes in a rodent model and a scientist who is an expert in brain signaling and obesity to understand the effects of the environmental chemical on critical pathways involved in obesity and diabetes development.
  • Environmental health scientist (PD/PI of consortium) examining the effects of chemical X on disease Y in a human epidemiology study develops a consortium with an animal researcher examining adult exposure to X and disease Y, and an animal researcher studying developmental exposures to X and disease Y in order to better understand metabolism, effect of timing and doses and mechanism of chemical X on disease Y across species.
  • An environmental health scientist (PD/PI of consortium) measuring the epigenome of a tissue in response to chemical X develops a consortium with two other environmental health researchers measuring the epigenome in response to chemical X in other glands/tissues, in order to develop a comprehensive epigenome of chemical X across tissues.
  • An environmental health scientist (PD/PI of consortium) examining an exposure that has the potential to be a risk for a disease outcome collaborating with two other researchers who can expand this idea using new tools (optogenetics, imaging, etc.) as well as clinical expertise in the relevant disease.

PDs/PIs are encouraged to consult with the Program Officer of their current grant with any questions about the eligibility of their R01 or their collaborators or any other issue relevant to the ViCTER application.

Additional Information:

Applicants are encouraged to review answers to frequently asked questions about the ViCTER program in this link, which will be updated on a regular basis.   

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

Revision

Resubmissions to Revisions

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

Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials Not Allowed for due dates on or after January 25, 2018: 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

NIEHS intends to fund an estimate of 3-4 awards, corresponding to a total of $2,000,000 for each fiscal year, FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $300,000 direct cost per year and should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

Applicants must request support for 2 or 3 years (no partial years), not to exceed the remaining number of years on the parent grant at the time of the earliest start date of the award. The parent grant must be active during the entire project period proposed in the Revision application

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

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:

o   Hispanic-serving Institutions

o   Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

o   Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

o   Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions

o   Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • 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) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

Applications must be submitted by the same PD/PI (or Contact PD/PI for multi-PD/PI grants) as listed on the current award. Eligibility is limited to PD(s)/PI(s) of active NIEHS-supported R01 awards with a minimum of 2 years remaining on the grant at the time of the earliest start date.

Please note that the minimum is 3 years of non-competing funding remaining if requesting a project period of 3 years. If there are 3 years remaining, then an unsuccessful ViCTER application may be amended and resubmitted but for 2 years only.  Two-year applications cannot be amended and resubmitted.

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

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Janice B. Allen, Ph.D.
Telephone: 919-541-7556
Fax: 301-480-3705
Email: Allen9@niehs.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. 

Although it is recommended that at least one of the consortium members be at a different institution then the rest of the project team, it is not required.  However, since the goal is to develop new collaborations, the consortium members must not have published with the PD/PI or each other within the last 5 years.

R&R or Modular Budget

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

Applicants can request support for a variety of activities, including but not limited to, the sharing of tissues, assays, animals, and biosamples; coordination of bioinformatics for sample analysis; coordination of analyses; cross training of students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians among labs; research dissemination and community outreach activities; and yearly grantee meeting.

Allocation of Funds among Collaborators: Requested funds may be allocated to 1) the PD/PI for the one to two new specific aims that are proposed to expand the scope of the current grant, and 2) for the one to two specific aims for the other ViCTER participants. While the budget allocations may be predicated by need, no one subproject should be less than $50,000 direct cost.  The activities of each new collaborator and related costs must be separately identified and justified in the budget justification.

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:

  • One to two new aims should be proposed for the parent grant that will incorporate the two new collaborators
  • Describe these new specific aims for the current NIEHS-funded research project as well as a brief description of the specific aims from each of the new collaborators
  • Show how these aims will expand the scope of the current project significantly.
  • Describe how the specific aims relate to the overall theme of the ViCTER and what the collaborative arrangements are to integrate the data into the ViCTER program.
  • Applicants must demonstrate the translational and/or transdisciplinary nature of the research aims proposed in the Revision application and describe how the creation of the consortium will lead to synergy (the whole being greater than the sum of its parts) among the individual research projects.
  • Include a summary paragraph describing what new data will be expected from the ViCTER and what its impact will be on the field.

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

Organizational and Administrative Structure of ViCTER

  • As part of the overall research strategy, begin with a description in detail and by diagram of the organizational structure of the program including an administrative and management plan that will achieve an integrated, coordinated interdisciplinary research program. 
  • In broad terms describe how the administrative core supports the goals and organization of the program. 
  • Describe the role of the Director and the investigators responsible for the direction of the research. Indicate how the Consortium’s progress towards the expected scientific and training outcomes will be monitored and adjusted as needed.
  • Describe the relationships between the proposed ViCTER and other existing research, academic, and administrative units of the applicant institution such as schools, centers, institutions, departments, and central administration.
  • Annual face-to-face or virtual meetings are encouraged (include in administrative cost) and regular (at least monthly) teleconferences to coordinate the research which should be documented in the progress report.

Research Aims of ViCTER

It is anticipated that the new aims proposed to expand the project will be exploratory in nature, may not yet be supported by preliminary data and be high risk/high payoff. These newly added aims should be well-defined and focused such that they can realistically be completed in two or three years, as well as contribute to data and feasibility for future applications. Preliminary data are not required but may be submitted.

The Research Strategy should be divided among the proposed new aims and contain significance/innovation and approach with the focus on the approach and methods.  It should note the high risk and preliminary nature of the proposed new aims as well as their defined nature.

The new research aims should have a clearly stated overall objective and explanation of their relevance to the central theme of the ViCTER program.  In addition, a description how the aims relate to and enhance the research focus of the ViCTER program should be included.

State and justify the complex biological problem to be solved. Describe in adequate detail and explain the scientific synergy to this program and explain why the collaborative projects are critical to its solution. Describe the range of scientific expertise to be brought to bear on the problem. Make clear the significance and extension of the parent grant, and explain the value-added benefit of pursuing the problem with a collaborator within the parent grant rather than individual grants.  Although preliminary data is not required, discussion of potential outcomes, feasibility, rigor and reproducibility should be included. 

All proposed research projects must be new (i.e., consortium members should not have published an original research article together on these specific topics previously).

Each consortium member must contribute to the intellectual development of the subprojects. Providing tissue samples, reagents or simple analyses is of itself not sufficient.

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:  Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

Form only available in FORMS-E application packages for use with due dates on or after January 25, 2018.

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

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

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Delayed Onset Study: 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 Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

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 NIEHS. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NIEHS Referral Office by email at Allen9@niehs.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow our Post Submission Application Materials policy.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

The ViCTER will be reviewed as a whole for its translational or transdisciplinary nature as well as the degree of synergy (interaction and collaborative research opportunities) that will be stimulated by the consortium. 

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 there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Is the environmental health focus of the proposed Virtual Consortium an area where environmental factors are known or expected to influence the development or progression of disease?  

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? Does each of the collaborators involved in the proposed ViCTER contribute unique expertise, resources, methods and/or technologies to the Virtual Consortium? Does the PD/PI have a track record of embracing the ideas of rigor and reproducibility and of transparency in science including data sharing and collaboration?

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? Does the proposed Virtual Consortium represent a new, unique opportunity to foster translational and/or transdisciplinary research that has not been possible previously?

Approach

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

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

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?  

Additional Review Criteria

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

Translational and/or Transdisciplinary Nature

Do the aims cross multiple disciplines or stimulate the bidirectional flow of information across the spectrum of in vitro, model organisms and animal models, human populations or clinically-based research to provide data useful for the prevention of or the intervention in human disease?  

Synergy

Are there strong synergy and integration among the combined efforts of the various investigators within the overall program? Will the creation of the Virtual Consortium make a greater contribution to the central environmental health problem of focus than if each of the individual collaborators conducted their projects alone?  Will the outcome move the field in a new direction or stimulate new collaborations? How will data from one aim feed into the other aims?

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following 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

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

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 NIEHS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences 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.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

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

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

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

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

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 registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, 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)

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

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

Telephone: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Jonathan A. Hollander, PhD
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-9467
Email: jonathan.hollander@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Janice B. Allen, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-7556
Email: Allen9@niehs.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

James Williams
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-1403
Email: williamsjr@niehs.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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