Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration  (FDA)

The policies, guidelines, terms, and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH.  Where this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides specific written guidance that may differ from the general guidance provided in the grant application form, please follow the instructions given in this FOA.

The FDA does not follow the NIH Page Limitation Guidelines or the NIH Review Criteria. Applicants are encouraged to consult with FDA Agency Contacts for additional information regarding page limits and the FDA Objective Review Process.

Components of Participating Organizations

Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Advancing Conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) (U18)

Activity Code

U18 Research Demonstration – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-FD-17-007

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.103

Funding Opportunity Purpose

 The intended outcome of this FOA is to advance efforts for a nationally integrated food safety system by assisting retail food regulatory programs in achieving conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS or Retail Program Standards). The Retail Program Standards apply to the operation and management of a retail food regulatory program that is focused on the reduction of risk factors known to cause or contribute to foodborne illness and to the promotion of active managerial control of these risk factors. These cooperative agreements are intended to assist regulatory food retail programs in developing, implementing, and improving the infrastructure necessary to support conformance with the VNRFRPS.       

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

March 14, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

March 31, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

April 14, 2017

Application Due Date(s)

May 15, 2017, by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

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.

Applicants should be aware that on-time submission means that an application is submitted error free (of both Grants.gov and eRA Commons errors) by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the application due date. 

Late applications will not be accepted for this FOA.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June 2017

Advisory Council Review

Not Applicable

Earliest Start Date

July 2017

Expiration Date

May 16, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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



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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

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Office of Partnerships (OP) is announcing the availability of cooperative agreements to be awarded under Limited Competition to State, local, territorial, or tribal retail food regulatory programs. The intended outcome of this FOA is to advance efforts for a nationally integrated food safety system through the conformance with and advancement of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS or Retail Program Standards). The VNRFRPS apply to the operation and management of a retail food regulatory program that is focused on the reduction of risk factors

known to contribute to foodborne illness and the promotion of industry action to achieve active managerial control of these risk factors. The Retail Program Standards include nine individual Program Standards. Each Program Standard has one or more corresponding worksheets, forms and guidance documents. 

In developing the Retail Program Standards, FDA recognized that the ultimate goal of all retail food regulatory programs is to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of illnesses and deaths from food produced at the retail level and there are different approaches toward achieving that goal. Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies continue to employ a variety of mechanisms with differing levels of sophistication in their attempt to ensure food safety at retail. The Retail Program Standards encourage regulatory agencies to improve and build upon existing programs. Further, the Retail Program Standards provide a framework designed to accommodate both traditional and emerging approaches to food safety.

While the Retail Program Standards represent the effective, focused food safety program to which we

ultimately aspire, they begin by providing a foundation and system upon which all regulatory programs can build through a continuous improvement process. The Retail Program Standards are intended to reinforce proper sanitation (good retail practices) and operational and environmental prerequisite programs while encouraging regulatory agencies and industry to focus on the factors that cause and contribute to foodborne illness, with the ultimate goal of reducing the occurrence of those factors.

Background

This funding opportunity furthers FDA's efforts to enhance state, local, territorial, and tribal retail food safety programs. Recent legislative and strategic initiatives have addressed FDA's relationship with state, local, territorial and tribal authorities in retail food protection activities.   Please visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/default.htm for more information.

a. Retail Food Safety Initiative

Announced in October 2010, the Retail Food Safety Initiative is part of the Food and Drug Administration’s overall prevention-based, farm-to-table food safety strategy to reduce foodborne illness. The FDA actions in this initiative are prompted by a 10-year study of more than 800 retail food establishments to determine compliance with five key risk factors in nine types of retail operations.

FDA's partnerships with the retail food industry; state, local and tribal authorities; and other government agencies are a foundational building block of the initiative and key to its success in four action areas:

  • Make the presence of certified food protection managers common practice.
  • Strengthen active managerial controls at the retail level and ensure better compliance.
  • Encourage widespread, uniform, and complete adoption of the FDA Food Code.
  • Create an enhanced local regulatory environment for retail food operations.

To help create an enhanced local regulatory environment for retail food operations, FDA is committed to:

(1) Promote wider implementation by state, local and tribal regulatory programs of the FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Programs Standards.

(2) Ensure universal participation by local regulators in consistent, high quality training through increased access and increased portability and transferability of FDA courses

(3) Seek increased multi-year funding for the state, local and tribal programs as part of an integrated food safety system.

b. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA)

Under section 1004 of FDAAA (21 U.S.C. 2104), the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (which includes FDA) is required to work with the states to improve food safety.

Section 1004(a) of FDAAA (21 U.S.C. 2104(a)) states that the Secretary shall provide assistance to encourage states to:

(1) Establish, continue, or strengthen state food safety programs, especially with respect to the regulation of retail commercial food establishments; and

(2) Establish procedures and requirements for ensuring that processed produce under the jurisdiction of state food safety programs is not unsafe for human consumption.

This assistance to plan, develop, and implement such a food safety program may include:

(1) Advisory assistance;

(2) Technical assistance, training, and laboratory assistance; and

(3) Financial and other assistance (21 U.S.C. 2104(b)).

c. FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011, provides FDA with tools to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus on preventing food safety problems rather than reacting to problems after they occur. It also provides FDA with new enforcement authorities designed to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention- and risk-based food safety standards and to better respond to and contain problems when they do occur. These include authorities such as mandatory recall, expanded administrative detention and suspension of facility registration. FSMA also gives FDA important new tools to hold imported foods to the same standards as domestic foods.

FSMA directs FDA to build an integrated national food safety system in partnership with state and local

authorities, explicitly recognizing that all food safety agencies need to work together in an integrated way to achieve national public health goals. FSMA identifies some key priorities in working with partners in areas such as: reliance on federal, state, and local agencies for inspections; improving foodborne illness surveillance; and leveraging and enhancing State and Local food safety and defense capacities.

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

Objectives

When first enrolling in the Retail Program Standards, regulatory retail programs are encouraged to conduct a comprehensive self-assessment to identify program needs and then establish priorities to maximize the effectiveness of resources. Post-assessment, cooperative agreement funds should be used to enhance or establish systems to:

a. Identify program areas where an agency can have the greatest impact on retail food safety.

b. Promote wider application of effective risk-factor intervention strategies.

c. Promote wider application of active managerial control strategies by industry targeted to the risk factors associated with foodborne illness.

d. Assist in identifying program areas most in need of additional attention and strategies to address identified areas.

e. Develop and implement innovations in program implementation and administration.

f. Improve industry and consumer confidence in food protection programs by enhancing uniformity within and between regulatory agencies.

These cooperative agreements are intended to develop, implement, and continuously improve the

infrastructure and effectiveness of retail food programs using the FDA VNRFRPS. Under the cooperative agreement, the state, local, territorial, or tribal jurisdiction would implement a continuous program improvement/enhancement strategy (strategic plan) using the FDA VNRFRPS. The strategic plan may include implementing individual standards that have not yet been met, pursuing enhancements to implemented standards, or developing innovative intervention strategies designed to reduce the occurrence of contributing risk factors associated with foodborne illness. The strategic plan should identify the timeframes, personnel and other resources required for implementation. Funds may be used to increase personnel to support the FDA VNRFRPS Cooperative Agreement (such as team coordinators, technical experts, and epidemiologists). Funds may also be used for supplies, training, and equipment, including investigational, GPS interface, communication, and laboratory.

The goal of developing and sustaining the FDA VNRFRPS is in concert with long-term goals to: enhance the food inspection, food safety and foodborne illness response programs; increase the programs' ability to inspect and obtain compliance in their jurisdiction involved in retail food regulation; and verify compliance with state, local and tribal laws and regulations, food defense, and other food protection requirements in support of the state, local, territorial, and tribal program and the FDA Food Safety Initiative. Extensive cooperation and coordination with FDA Regional Offices and other FDA program offices is expected.

Outcomes

The outcomes of the work provided under this cooperative agreement are as follows:

1. Retail food regulatory programs shall achieve greater conformance with the Retail Program Standards, which promotes uniformity and an integrated national food safety system.

2. Retail food regulatory programs shall contribute to the continuous improvement and advancement of the Retail Program Standards.

3. Retail food regulatory programs shall develop strategies for achieving and sustaining conformance with the Retail Program Standards that can be shared and duplicated by other agencies.

4. Provide the retail food regulatory program the ability to implement innovative intervention strategies designed to reduce the occurrence of contributing risk factors associated with foodborne illness that can be shared and duplicated by other agencies.

Only state, local, territorial, and tribal agencies with primary regulatory responsibility for retail food

establishments, or those government agencies with substantial involvement and control over such agencies, are eligible to apply.  In addition, the retail food regulatory agency must be enrolled in the VNRFRPS and have completed a current self-assessment against the Retail Program Standards as required by Standard 9.  Retail food regulatory agencies currently receiving VNRFRPS cooperative agreement funding under FOA RFA-FD-15-018 (awarded in 2015) are not eligible to apply.

A jurisdiction initiates the enrollment process by notifying their FDA Regional Retail Food Specialist of its intent to enroll in the Retail Program Standards. To enroll, a jurisdiction must complete and sign the related sections on the FDA National Registry Report (FDA Form 3519) and Permission to Publish in National Registry (FDA Form 3520), and submit these forms to the FDA Regional Specialist.

Upon submission of the completed enrollment form, FDA will add the jurisdiction to its on-line Listing

of Jurisdictions Enrolled in the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The

listing is organized by State and contains basic information about the jurisdiction, the key contact

person, and the Retail Program Standards milestones achieved by the jurisdiction. The on-line listing will be reviewed to confirm registration.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon FDA appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Award(s) will provide one (1) year of support and include future recommended support for two (2) years contingent upon annual appropriations, availability of funding and satisfactory awardee performance.

FDA/ORA intends to fund up to $2,300,000, for fiscal year 2017 in support of this grant program.

It is anticipated that up to 33 awards will be made, not to exceed $70,000 in total costs (direct plus indirect), per award.

Award Budget

Application budgets need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project and should not exceed the following in total costs (direct and indirect):

YR 01: $70,000

YR 02: $70,000

YR:03: $70,000

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is three (3) years.

HHS grants policies as described in the HHS 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

This opportunity is only available to the following agencies:

Governments

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

The agency shall have primary regulatory responsibility for retail food establishments within their jurisdiction, or the agency must have substantial control and responsibility for those agencies with primary regulatory responsibility for retail food establishments. Substantial control and responsibility includes conducting standardization and training, promulgating regulations, providing significant funding, and/or directing the activities of agencies with primary responsibility for regulating retail establishments.

Competition is limited to these retail food regulatory agencies since the intent of the VNRFRPS is to promote greater uniformity of agencies that regulate the retail food industry using regulations modeled after the FDA Food Code.

Competition is further limited to retail food regulatory agencies that are enrolled in the VNRFRPS and have completed a current self-assessment against the Retail Program Standards as required by Standard 9. The self-assessment allows the agency to identify program needs and then establish priorities to maximize the effectiveness of resources, including the funds received under this cooperative agreement.  Enrollment will be confirmed with the FDA on-line jurisdiction enrollment data. See Section IV 7 for required documentation and enrollment information. 

Retail food regulatory agencies currently receiving VNRFRPS cooperative agreement funding awarded under FOA RFA-FD-15-018 are not eligible to apply.

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 HHS Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. 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 FDA 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 require cost sharing as defined in the HHS Grants Policy Statement (and see FDCA section 1009, 21 USC 399). 

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit only one application.

The FDA will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the FDA 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.
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Links 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.

The application shall include the content requirements set forth in FDCA 1009(b)(2) (21 USC 399(b)(2)):

 (A) an assurance that the eligible entity has developed plans to engage in the types of activities described in subsection (a);

(B) a description of the types of activities to be funded by the grant;

(C) an itemization of how grant funds received under this section will be expended;

(D) a description of how grant activities will be monitored; and

(E) an agreement by the eligible entity to report information required by the Secretary to conduct evaluations under this section.

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 FDA 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), email 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 via electronic mail as a PDF file with the FOA Number and the Institution's Name in the message subject heading to:


Email: Allison.Mandel@fda.hhs.gov

A technical session will be held for prospective applicants April/May 2017. The conference call information will be provided to prospective applicants that submit a letter of intent.  The technical session will provide an overview of the submission requirements and allow prospective applicants an opportunity to ask questions regarding the application process.  Participation in the technical session is optional, but strongly encouraged. 

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exceptions or additional requirements:

  • For this specific FOA, the Research Strategy section is limited to 15 pages.
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 with the following additional instructions:

  • Applications requesting multiple years of support must complete and submit a separate detailed budget breakdown and narrative justification for each year of financial support requested.
  • If an applicant is requesting indirect costs as part of their budget, a copy of the most recent Federal indirect cost rate or F&A agreement must be provided as part of the application submission.  This agreement should be attached to the RESEARCH & RELATED Other Project Information Component as line #12 'Other Attachments'.
  • If the applicant organization has never established an indirect cost rate and/or does not have a negotiated Federal indirect cost rate agreement, a de minimis indirect cost rate of 10 percent (10%) of modified total direct costs (MTDC) will be allowed.  MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and subaward and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subaward or subcontract.  MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
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. 

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 Application Guide(R&R) With the following modification

  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.
  • Generally, Resource Sharing Plans are expected, but they are not applicable for this FOA.

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 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.

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, FDA's electronic system for grants administration. eRA Commons 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. Late applications will not be accepted for this FOA.

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

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

These awards may only be used for achieving and sustaining conformance with the Retail Program Standards within retail food regulatory programs. 

The FDA will provide up to three years of funding, contingent on continued availability of federal funds. Applications budgets are limited to $70,000 (direct and indirect costs) of funding requested and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed activities.

Allowable costs include:

1) Audio/visual materials such as videotapes, DVDs, public service announcements, etc.

2) Consultant services

3) Employee salaries, wages and fringe benefits

4) Rental, purchasing, calibration, and maintenance of supplies and equipment, including investigational, GPS interface, communication, and laboratory

5) Indirect costs

6) Recruitment costs for hiring new employees

7) Registration fees

8) Purchase or development of IT equipment, software, and support

9) Shipping and mailing of equipment and supplies

10) Travel

11) Speaker fees

12) Conducting standardizations

13) Training programs, including the development, delivery, and attendance

14) Subcontracting to third parties (other than local/county/tribal agencies) is allowed but limited to 25% of each year's award. No limit exists for subcontracting to local/county/tribal agencies.

Non-allowable costs:

1) Facilities, work, and training reimbursed under other cooperative agreements, grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms shall remain distinct and separate from this cooperative agreement.

2) Vehicle purchases are not permitted.

3) Cooperative agreement funds may not be utilized for new building construction; however, remodeling of existing facilities is allowed, provided that remodeling costs do not exceed 10% of the grant award amount.

4) Cooperative agreement funds may not be utilized for uniforms or clothing.

Additional funding restrictions may be part of the Notice of Award.  

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. 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 FDA. 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 assigned Grants Management Specialist and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, FDA. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

The applicant shall specifically address the ability to achieve the following objectives in the cooperative agreement:

1. Demonstrate the ability to develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan that includes goals and project milestones that shall significantly advance conformance with the Retail Program Standards (either within an individual regulatory program or across multiple regulatory programs).

2. Demonstrate the ability to fully participate in efforts supporting the Retail Program Standards and the FDA's Retail Food Safety Initiative, such as participating on committees, sharing of best practices, and engaging the retail food industry to promote effective management of foodborne illness risk factors and improve compliance with regulations modeled after the FDA Food Code.

3. Demonstrate the availability of adequately train staff and the criteria and ability to hire and/or train personnel to meet the deliverables of the cooperative agreement.

4. Provide a properly detailed budget (one for each of the three years) that is intended to advance conformance with the Retail Program Standards (either within an individual regulatory program or across multiple regulatory programs).

5. Demonstrate the ability to satisfy the reporting requirements outlined in section VI.3 of this announcement.

6. Provide the previous year and current funding level certification for the retail food regulatory program.

7. Outline a detailed methodology for program assessment, improvement, and collaboration to accomplish the work, as described in this announcement, and ensure program sustainability.

8. Provide justification for hiring new staff, including qualifications, training needs, and new equipment needs. 

9. Applicants must be enrolled in the Retail Standards with FDA.  A jurisdiction initiates the enrollment process by notifying their FDA Regional Retail Food Specialist of its intent to enroll in the Retail Program Standards. To enroll, a jurisdiction must complete and sign the related sections on the FDA National Registry Report (FDA Form 3519) and Permission to Publish in National Registry (FDA Form 3520), and submit these forms to the FDA Regional Specialist. Upon submission of the completed enrollment form, FDA will add the jurisdiction to its on-line Listing of Jurisdictions Enrolled in the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The listing is organized by State and contains basic information about the jurisdiction, the key contact person, and the Retail Program Standards milestones achieved by the jurisdiction. The on-line listing will be reviewed to confirm registration. 

10.  Provide a completed current self-assessment against the Retail Program Standards as required by Standard 9. A completed Program Self-Assessment and Verification Audit Form or an equivalent form or process documenting the current status of the jurisdiction is acceptable. 

  
Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit.

Significance (35 Points)

Does the project rationale and design meet the goals and project milestones of this cooperative agreement to advance conformance to the Retail Standards? Are the overall strategy, methodology, and evaluations well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of conformance to the Retail Standards? Does the project address areas of need found in the Retail Standards self-assessment they performed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?

Approach (35 Points)

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to advance conformance to the Retail Standards?  Have adequate resources (including staff and infrastructure) been proposed to meet the objectives of the cooperative agreement? If not, has the ability to obtain the needed resources been demonstrated? Is there adequate demonstration of effectiveness in working with federal, state, and local partners and other appropriate organizations to implement the goals of the cooperative agreement?

Sustainability (25 Points)

Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? Does the project provide a likelihood that capabilities developed can be sustained after the project period? Does the application provide justification for hiring new staff, including qualifications, training needs, and new equipment needs?

Investigator(s) (5 Points)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? Is the leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Additional Review Criteria

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

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 FDA-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

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

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 Objective Review Committee using the stated review criteria.

As part of the objective review, all applications:

  • Will receive a written critique.

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

Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

Successful applicants will be notified of additional information that may be required or other actions leading to an award. The decision not to award a grant, or to award a grant at a particular funding level, is discretionary and is not subject to appeal to any FDA or HHS official or board.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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.6. 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 in the HHS Grants Policy Statement.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All FDA grant and cooperative agreement awards include the HHS Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA.

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), codified as amended at 41 U.S.C. 2313, FDA awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials are required to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 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 judgment 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. This provision will apply to all FDA grants and cooperative agreements.

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.

FDA considers the sharing of research resources developed through FDA-sponsored research an important means to enhance the value and further the advancement of research. When research resources have been developed with FDA funds and the associated research findings published, those findings must be made readily available to the scientific community.

Upon acceptance for publication, scientific researchers must submit the author’s final manuscript of the peer-reviewed scientific publication resulting from research supported in whole or in part with FDA funds to the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC). FDA defines the author's final manuscript as the final version accepted for journal publication, which includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process. The PMC archive is the designated repository for these manuscripts for use by the public, health care providers, educators, scientists, and FDA. Please see the FDA Public Access Policy.

Additional terms and conditions regarding FDA regulatory and ORA programmatic requirements may be part of the Notice of Award.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

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

Support will be in the form of a cooperative agreement. Substantive involvement by the awarding agency is inherent in the cooperative agreement award. Accordingly, FDA will have substantial involvement in the program activities of the project funded by the cooperative agreement.

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 Notice of Award.

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 HHS 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 FDA 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. 

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.

Mid-year progress and End of Year reports shall contain the elements below as applicable to their proposal and award, including but not limited to, the following:

1. Detailed progress report on the grantee meeting the project milestones identified in the proposal.

2. Status report on the hiring and training of food program personnel.

3. Certification of current appropriation funding levels for the retail food regulatory program.

4. A strategic plan that accurately reflects when specific objectives and tasks have been, or will be, completed and/or implemented and when new objectives and tasks are identified to advance conformance with the Retail Program Standards. The strategic plan should include significant milestones or action items, anticipated completion dates, responsible personnel, and other required resources.

5. A full description of achievements with conformance to the Retail Program Standards and what activities have been done to promote more effective control of foodborne illness risk factors.

6.  A completed Program Self-Assessment and Verification Audit Form for each standard or an equivalent form or process documenting the current status of the jurisdictions.  The Self-Assessment and Verification Audit Form can be found in the Voluntary National Retail Food Program Standards.  

The final program progress report shall provide full written documentation of the entire project and summaries of accomplishments and goals, as described in the grant application. The documentation shall be in a form and contain sufficient detail such that other agencies could reproduce the final project. The final program progress report should also detail the strategy to continue advancing conformance with the Retail Program Standards (current and future versions).

Monitoring Activities

The ORA Project Officer and Technical Advisor will monitor award recipients periodically. The monitoring may be in the form of face-to-face meetings, telephone conversations, e-mails, or written correspondence between the project officer/grants management officer and the principal investigator. Periodic site visits with officials of the recipient organization will occur, including program assessments and audits.

The results of these monitoring activities will be recorded in the official cooperative agreement file and will be made available to the grant recipient, upon request, consistent with applicable disclosure statutes and FDA disclosure regulations.  Also, the grantee organization shall comply with all special terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement, including those which state that future funding of the project will depend on recommendations from the Project Officer and Technical Advisor.

The scope of the recommendation will confirm that:

(1) There has been acceptable progress on the project; (2) there is continued compliance with all FDA

regulatory requirements; and (3) if necessary, there is an indication that corrective action has taken place.

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Maribeth G. Niesen
Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Office of Partnerships
Food and Drug Administration
Telephone: 513-679-2704
Email: maribeth.niesen@fda.hhs.gov

Objective Review Contact(s)

Allison Mandel
Office of Acquisitions & Grants Services (OAGS)
Food and Drug Administration
Telephone: 240-402-7602
Email: allison.mandel@fda.hhs.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Allison Mandel
Office of Acquisitions & Grants Services (OAGS)
Food and Drug Administration
Telephone: 240-402-7602
Email: allison.mandel@fda.hhs.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

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

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of section 1009 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USC 399) and 21 USC 2104.( and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.

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