National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Reissue of RFA-MH-19-130
August 23, 2019- Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137
The NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) award is intended to support the research and research career advancement of outstanding, exceptionally productive scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who plan to make a long-term career commitment to research in specific mission areas of the NIMH. This award seeks to assist these individuals in launching an innovative clinical, translational, basic, or services research program that holds the potential to profoundly transform the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of mental disorders. The NIMH BRAINS program will focus on the research priorities and gap areas identified in the NIMH Strategic Plan.
April 6, 2020
30 days prior to the application due date
June 20, 2020; June 20, 2021; June 20, 2022
No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement
All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
October 2020, October 2021, October 2022
January 2021; January 2022; January 2023
April 2021; April 2022; April 2023
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.
The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for recovery, prevention, and cure. An essential element of this mission is the support and career promotion of the future generation of exceptionally talented and creative new scientists who will transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses and enable the NIMH to fulfill its vision of a world in which mental illnesses are prevented and cured. The NIMH supports a number of training and fellowship programs for pre- and postdoctoral training, as well as mentored career development awards for faculty in the early stages of their career. However, even with these career development mechanisms in place, to fulfill its mission of assuring a cadre of productive, highly innovative mental health investigators for the future, the NIMH needs to support additional programs to identify and inspire the best new investigators and facilitate their establishing high impact, independent research programs in areas relevant to the mission of the NIMH. This award is intended to provide support for highly promising early stage investigators who may lack the preliminary data required for a traditional R01 and allow them to pursue their most innovative, creative, and potentially most impactful ideas at an earlier stage in their career.
Research Scope and Goals
The NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) award is intended to support the research and research career advancement of outstanding, exceptionally productive scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who plan to make a long-term career commitment to research in specific mission areas of the NIMH. This award seeks to assist these individuals in launching an innovative clinical, translational, basic or services research program that holds the potential to profoundly transform the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of mental disorders. The NIMH BRAINS program will focus on the research priorities and gap areas identified in the NIMH Strategic Plan.
In order to identify outstanding basic, translational and clinical investigators at the formative stages of their careers and assist them in launching innovative research programs with the potential to transform our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of mental illness and develop innovative treatments and prevention strategies, the NIMH has established this program of R01 research grants intended for Early Stage Investigators (ESI) according to NIH policy (NOT-OD-17-101). This program is designed specifically to support unusually creative investigators with highly innovative research ideas that may lack preliminary data necessary for a traditional R01. Accordingly, preliminary data are not required or expected but may be included to demonstrate feasibility. Competitive applications will balance the high risk of innovative methods and approaches with the potential for transformative gains to the field. The program emphasizes both the potential of the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) to be a future leader in the field and the innovation, creativity, and potential impact of the project. This program is expected to be highly competitive, and only a limited number of grants will be awarded per year.
Potential applicants are encouraged to consult the recent National Advisory Mental Health Council Genomics Workgroup report and research recommendations summary which describe NIMH priorities for genetics research on the etiology of mental disorders. Additionally, applicants should read two recent guide notices that clarify NIMH interests for stress-related research (NOT-MH-18-058) and considerations regarding the use of animals in research relevant to mental illness (NOT-MH-19-053).
Applicants must have a research career and a long-term commitment to a career in research on the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses consistent with the core mission areas of the NIMH. Applications submitted under this FOA are required to address one of the objectives of the NIMH strategic plan listed above. Applications that do not propose projects addressing one of the NIMH strategic objectives will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed.
The applications in this program are distinguished from most other research grants in that the projects include a statement of career goals relevant to the mission of the NIMH, active participation of an external advisory committee, and a commitment from the institution to actively support the research program development of PD/PI. Research projects proposed in response to this FOA will be expected to directly address the objectives and priorities of the NIMH strategic plan and to have a defined impact on our understanding of the pathophysiology, trajectories, effective treatment, and/or prevention of mental illness. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH Scientific/Research staff prior to submission to determine if their project meets the goals of the BRAINS program.
Project Effort for mentored K-awardees: Mentored K awardees are encouraged to seek R01 or equivalent funding to support their research programs. Therefore, the NIMH expects that such awardees may be particularly interested in seeking support through the BRAINS R01 program. Such PDs/PIs are encouraged to consult with their mentored K Program Official at NIH prior to submission to ensure that the large effort commitments of both awards are feasible for their individual circumstance. However, since the BRAINS program requires a minimum of 6 person months per year, BRAINS K-Awardees should not apply unless they will be in the final two years of the K-Award at the time of a BRAINS award in light of NIH policy limiting reduction in minimum required percent effort for K recipients (see NIH Guide NOT-OD-09-036).
Applications with data collection plans that involve multiple respondent groups (e.g., clients/patients, therapists/providers, supervisors, administrators) should address provisions for human subject protections and consenting procedures for all participant groups, accordingly. The NIMH has published updated policies and guidance for investigators regarding human research protection and clinical research data and safety monitoring (NOT-MH-15-025). The application's Protection of Human Subjects section and data and safety monitoring plans should reflect the policies and guidance in this notice. Plans for the protection of research subjects and data and safety monitoring will be reviewed by the NIMH for consistency with NIMH and NIH policies and federal regulations.
See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.
NIMH intends to commit $3,000,000 in FY 2020, 2021, and 2022 to fund 7-10 awards.
The total project period for an application submitted in response to this FOA may not exceed five years.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.
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.
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.
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.
Applicants must be designated Early Stage Investigators (ESI) by NIH as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. In addition, applicants must have faculty appointments which are tenure track or equivalent, generally at the level of Assistant Professor or equivalent, and have a research or health professional level degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent) at the time of application. If the applicant is at an institution/organization that does not have a tenure track, he or she must hold an equivalent appointment and must have demonstrated support from the institution. Individuals must show that they have established research independence from a mentor, and have dedicated independent laboratory and research resources available to conduct the research proposed in the grant application. If an ESI applicant loses their ESI status by virtue of successfully competing as a PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award prior to the award of a BRAINS award, they will lose their eligibility to receive the BRAINS award.
Potential applicants who anticipate developing or testing interventions that focus on measuring target engagement and mechanism of action are strongly advised to contact the Scientific/Research Contact for this FOA regarding the match between an application, current NIMH priorities, and the unique goals of this FOA.
If a PD/PI has submitted to a prior BRAINS FOA but was not successful in receiving funding, they may be eligible to apply again if they still have NIH ESI status and the application proposes a scientifically distinct project than the prior submission. Resubmissions or submission of the same project as a new application are not allowed under this RFA.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not accept:
The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
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:
The letter of intent should be sent to:
Other Attachments: Include a "Future Goals and Objectives" attachment (one page maximum) that briefly describes the career track and long-term research interests/objectives of the PD/PI with emphasis on how these interests/objectives relate to the mission of NIMH.
Biographical Sketch: The "Personal Statement" section of the biographical sketch should clearly describe the applicant's scientific development from graduate school, the postdoctoral experience(s), through the present faculty position. Provide evidence to support your claim of innovation and creativity and describe the impact that your research has had on the field to date. For example, describe experiences that demonstrate your inclination to challenge paradigms and take intellectual risks, develop unique collaborations, integrate diverse sources of information, or develop novel approaches when new challenges or opportunities arise.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
The PD/PI is encouraged to budget sufficient travel costs to present results of the research at a variety of high-caliber technical meetings, at least one of which is devoted directly to mental health research and is widely attended by other NIMH grantees. A portion of the budget could include travel for external members of the advisory committee to meet yearly. In addition, the PD/PI should budget for travel to the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD each year in years 3-5 to present a seminar or participate in a research symposium.
Applicants are expected to devote at least 6 person months (50%) effort to the grant. However, after three full years of funding for this grant, should the PD/PI be successful in obtaining funding through another R01 or similar award, the effort on the BRAINS award may be negotiated with the NIMH program staff down to no less than 3.6 person months, (30%), if adequate progress has been made on the aims of the BRAINS award. In addition, the awardees' departments are encouraged to provide an additional 3-3.6 person months (25-30%) release time from clinical, teaching, and administrative duties in order to allow the awardee to devote a larger amount of time to research efforts.
Research Strategy: In the Research Strategy applicants must address the following topics as they pertain to the research project proposed:
The appropriateness to the BRAINS program: Why is the proposed research uniquely suited to the stated goals of the BRAINS initiative, rather than a conventional research grant application?
Timeline: Provide a timeline for the proposed research that does not overlap the Study Timeline submitted on the Human Subjects-Clinical Trial Information form, if applicable.
Advisory Committee: The PD/PI is expected to include the establishment of a to-be-named external advisory committee. It is very important that potential advisory board members not be contacted or identified in advance (i.e., in the application) to minimize conflicts during the review process and so that all individuals with appropriate scientific expertise remain eligible for consideration by NIMH review staff for the peer review panel that evaluates BRAINS applications. If an application is selected for funding, NIMH will request the names of advisory committee members as part of the Just-in-Time process. The application should indicate the areas of scientific expertise and anticipated input, and any critical considerations in the selection of potential members. Advisory committee members cannot be collaborators or consultants on the proposed project. The Advisory Committee is expected to meet at least annually to provide ongoing assessment of the progress of the research; to discuss future research goals, aims, and ideas; and to provide research career guidance to the awardee during the five years of the grant.
NIMH suggests an Advisory Committee structure such as the following: At least three scientists, two of whom are external to the Department, (one external to the University or Institution). One member should have research expertise similar to that of the PD/PI, and one should be an individual who is expert in human or clinical studies and who can provide input into the translation of the research. A schedule for the Advisory committee meetings should be included in the timeline. During the project period, the PD/PI will be expected to describe the proceedings of the advisory committee in annual progress reports.
Letters of Support: The Chair of the Department where the PD/PI holds the primary academic appointment must provide a letter describing any tangible research support that has been committed to the PD/PI. This may include start up packages provided to the investigator, salary commitment, protected time for research, space and equipment allocations, core facilities that will be made available without charge-back, specialized training and mini-sabbatical experiences to promote career enhancement, etc. In addition, the letter should discuss the departmental commitment to protected research time for the applicant. The department is encouraged to provide release time so that the applicant will be able to devote at least 6, and preferably up to 9 person months (75%) of his/her professional effort to research (See Section III - Eligible Individuals (PD/PI)). The strength of the institutional support will be considered a factor in the review of the application.
If a previous postdoctoral or research mentor remains in the same Institution as the PD/PI, a letter should be included in the application outlining the respective roles of the PD/PI and the research mentor in the design and conduct of the proposed research. The previous research mentor should also indicate how the proposed research program is expected to be independent from the research directions of his/her laboratory.
The following modifications also apply:
If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or Delayed Onset Study record.
Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
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
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.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
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.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
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 National Institute of Mental Health, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.
Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research
NIH encourages the use of common data elements (CDEs) in basic, clinical, and applied research, patient registries, and other human subject research to facilitate broader and more effective use of data and advance research across studies. CDEs are data elements that have been identified and defined for use in multiple data sets across different studies. Use of CDEs can facilitate data sharing and standardization to improve data quality and enable data integration from multiple studies and sources, including electronic health records. NIH ICs have identified CDEs for many clinical domains (e.g., neurological disease), types of studies (e.g., genome-wide association studies (GWAS)), types of outcomes (e.g., patient-reported outcomes), and patient registries (e.g., the Global Rare Diseases Patient Registry and Data Repository). NIH has established a "Common Data Element (CDE) Resource Portal" (http://cde.nih.gov/) to assist investigators in identifying NIH-supported CDEs when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection. The Portal provides guidance about and access to NIH-supported CDE initiatives and other tools and resources for the appropriate use of CDEs and data standards in NIH-funded research. Investigators are encouraged to consult the Portal and describe in their applications any use they will make of NIH-supported CDEs in their projects.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials:
A proposed Clinical Trial application may include study design, methods, and intervention that are not by themselves innovative but address important questions or unmet needs. Additionally, the results of the clinical trial may indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted or lead to new avenues of scientific investigation.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
Is the potential significance of the proposed research exceptional, in terms of the magnitude of the expected influence on the field? If the applicant is attempting to verify a novel hypothesis, is it critical, for the field, that the hypothesis be verified or disproved? Is the work paradigm shifting or if no paradigm exists will this project create one? If the proposed work is successful does it have the potential to transform our understanding of the pathophysiology of mental illnesses, prevent their onset, improve diagnostic accuracy, and/or create cures?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
Are the scientific rationale and need for a clinical trial to test the proposed hypothesis or intervention well supported by preliminary data, clinical and/or preclinical studies, or information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms? For trials focusing on clinical or public health endpoints, is this clinical trial necessary for testing the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of an intervention that could lead to a change in clinical practice, community behaviors or health care policy? For trials focusing on mechanistic, behavioral, physiological, biochemical, or other biomedical endpoints, is this trial needed to advance scientific understanding?
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?
Do the past achievements of the PD/PI suggest that the investigator is exceptionally innovative and likely to make paradigm-shifting, high-impact discoveries relevant to mental illness
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
With regard to the proposed leadership for the project, do the PD/PI and key personnel have the expertise, experience, and ability to organize, manage and implement the proposed clinical trial and meet milestones and timelines? Do they have appropriate expertise in study coordination, data management and statistics? For a multicenter trial, is the organizational structure appropriate and does the application identify a core of potential center investigators and staffing for a coordinating center?
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?
Is the project original and innovative? Is the hypothesis and/or the proposed methodology unconventional and exceptionally innovative?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
Does the design/research plan include innovative elements, as appropriate, that enhance its sensitivity, potential for information or potential to advance scientific knowledge or clinical practice?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable:
Is the study design justified and appropriate to address primary and secondary outcome variable(s)/endpoints that will be clear, informative and relevant to the hypothesis being tested? Is the scientific rationale/premise of the study based on previously well-designed preclinical and/or clinical research? Given the methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions, is the study design adequately powered to answer the research question(s), test the proposed hypothesis/hypotheses, and provide interpretable results? Is the trial appropriately designed to conduct the research efficiently? Are the study populations (size, gender, age, demographic group), proposed intervention arms/dose, and duration of the trial, appropriate and well justified?
Are potential ethical issues adequately addressed? Is the process for obtaining informed consent or assent appropriate? Is the eligible population available? Are the plans for recruitment outreach, enrollment, retention, handling dropouts, missed visits, and losses to follow-up appropriate to ensure robust data collection? Are the planned recruitment timelines feasible and is the plan to monitor accrual adequate? Has the need for randomization (or not), masking (if appropriate), controls, and inclusion/exclusion criteria been addressed? Are differences addressed, if applicable, in the intervention effect due to sex/gender and race/ethnicity?
Are the plans to standardize, assure quality of, and monitor adherence to, the trial protocol and data collection or distribution guidelines appropriate? Is there a plan to obtain required study agent(s)? Does the application propose to use existing available resources, as applicable?
Data Management and Statistical Analysis
Are planned analyses and statistical approach appropriate for the proposed study design and methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions? Are the procedures for data management and quality control of data adequate at clinical site(s) or at center laboratories, as applicable? Have the methods for standardization of procedures for data management to assess the effect of the intervention and quality control been addressed? Is there a plan to complete data analysis within the proposed period of the award?
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?
Is the strength of the Institutional support to the career advancement of PD/PI evident?
In addition, for applications involving clinical trials
If proposed, are the administrative, data coordinating, enrollment and laboratory/testing centers, appropriate for the trial proposed?
Does the application adequately address the capability and ability to conduct the trial at the proposed site(s) or centers? Are the plans to add or drop enrollment centers, as needed, appropriate?
If international site(s) is/are proposed, does the application adequately address the complexity of executing the clinical trial?
If multi-sites/centers, is there evidence of the ability of the individual site or center to: (1) enroll the proposed numbers; (2) adhere to the protocol; (3) collect and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion; and, (4) operate within the proposed organizational structure?
Specific to applications proposing clinical trials
Is the study timeline described in detail, taking into account start-up activities, the anticipated rate of enrollment, and planned follow-up assessment? Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified? Does the project incorporate efficiencies and utilize existing resources (e.g., CTSAs, practice-based research networks, electronic medical records, administrative database, or patient registries) to increase the efficiency of participant enrollment and data collection, as appropriate? Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of thecategories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.
When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.
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.
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.
External Advisory Committee
Does the planned advisory committee for the project provide the appropriate expertise required to evaluate this project and advise this candidate? Does the plan detail how the applicant will interact with the committee throughout the project? Is the plan reasonable and will it support the goals of the project if awarded?
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).
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).
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.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NIMH, 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.
Applications will be assigned
to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.
Individual awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by, the NIH and are subject to the IC-specific terms and conditions identified in the NoA. ClinicalTrials.gov: If an award provides for one or more clinical trials. By law (Title VIII, Section 801 of Public Law 110-85), the "responsible party" must register and submit results information for certain "applicable clinical trials" on the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration and Results System Information Website (https://register.clinicaltrials.gov). NIH expects registration of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see http://grants.nih.gov/ClinicalTrials_fdaaa/
Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.
Data and Safety Monitoring Requirements: The NIH policy for data and safety monitoring requires oversight and monitoring of all NIH-conducted or -supported human biomedical and behavioral intervention studies (clinical trials) to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. Further information concerning these requirements is found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/data_safety.htm and in the application instructions (SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398).
Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption Requirements: Consistent with federal regulations, clinical research projects involving the use of investigational therapeutics, vaccines, or other medical interventions (including licensed products and devices for a purpose other than that for which they were licensed) in humans under a research protocol must be performed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug (IND) or investigational device exemption (IDE).
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex. This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.
HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research. For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.
Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697.
In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
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 agreementsare 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.
Finding Help Online:http://grants.nih.gov/support/(preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
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Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Eric R. Murphy, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Nick Gaiano, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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