National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The NIMH Instrumentation Program encourages applications from NIH funded investigators to purchase or upgrade a single commercially available instrument or a group of components to create an instrument that is not commercially available. Examples of instruments that might be submitted under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) include light microscopes, electron microscopes, spectrophotometers, and biomedical imagers.
November 26, 2019
January 10, 2020; September 9, 2020; September 8, 2021
February 10, 2020; October 9, 2020; October 8, 2021
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.
June 2020, February-March 2021, February-March 2022
August 2020, May 2021, May 2022
September 2020, July 2021, July 2022
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.
Modern mental health-related research can require expensive instruments that are often hard to obtain through traditional funding mechanisms. The goal of the NIMH Instrumentation Program is to make such instruments available to either individual laboratories or core facilities that conduct mental health-related research. These instruments can be commercial instruments or collections of components that others have already described how to assemble into a working instrument. Upgrades of existing instruments can also be requested.
Investigators can propose instruments that will be used by their laboratory or by a collection of investigators. Investigators who are proposing to provide the instrument only to members of their laboratory must state why the instrument cannot be shared. In either case, investigators are strongly encouraged to house the requested instrument in a core facility or other shared facility to ensure that the new instrument remains functional and available to the research community over its useful lifetime.
Types of instruments that might be appropriate for the NIMH Instrumentation Program include light microscopes, electron microscopes, spectrophotometers, and biomedical imagers. This list is representative and not exhaustive. Foreign-made instruments are allowed. A single application requesting multiple unrelated instruments is not appropriate for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). In such cases, multiple applications can be submitted.
The goal of this FOA is to provide instruments to collect data rather than components for further instrument/technology development. Instrument development applications should be submitted to other FOAs on which NIMH participates or to appropriate BRAIN Initiative FOAs.
The NIMH Instrumentation Program will not support requests for:
Applications requesting such equipment will be non-responsive and will not be peer reviewed. Applicants are encouraged to contact program staff if they have questions about whether their instrument request is responsive.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 a total of $5,000,000 to fund 11 awards in fiscal year 2020. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.
Applications will be accepted with an award budget between $300,000 and $600,000. There is no maximum limit on the cost of the instrument, but the maximum award is $600,000. S10 awards are only for the cost of the instrument, so indirect costs cannot be requested.
The maximum project period is 1 year.
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.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.
The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not accept:
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:
For this FOA, there is an overall page limit of 12 pages for the Instrumentation Plan. The following sections are required in the Instrumentation Plan:
Proposed Project: For the February 10, 2020 receipt date enter a start date of 9/15/2020 and an end date of 9/14/2021. For the October 9, 2020 receipt date enter a start date of 9/15/2021 and an end date of 9/14/2022. For the October 8, 2021 receipt date enter a start date of 9/15/2022 and an end date of 9/14/2023.
Estimated Project Funding:
Total Federal Funds Requested: Enter the total Federal funds for the requested instrument. This entry cannot exceed $600,000 which is the maximum award under the NIMH Instrumentation Program. If the cost of the instrument is more than $600,000 enter $600,000 (or any lower amount of the requested Federal funds).
Total Non-Federal Funds: If the Total Federal Funds Requested (described immediately above) and the Total Federal & Non-Federal Funds (described immediately below) are not the same, enter the difference in this line. Explain how the difference will be paid in the Institutional Commitment section.
Total Federal & Non-Federal Funds: Enter the total cost of the instrument from the quote(s).
Note: A warning will be generated during submission for any S10 with a budget in excess of $500,000. This warning can be ignored.
Other Attachments: The following attachments must be submitted:
Equipment: Provide a detailed budget breakdown of the instrument and requested accessories, including tax and import duties, if applicable. An itemized quote, with any appropriate discount, from a vendor is required. Applications without a quote will not be considered non responsive and will not be reviewed.
Letters of Support: All letters of support should be combined in a single file named "Letters of Support" and uploaded as a separate attachment via Other Attachments. This combined file should include, as applicable:
Instrumentation Plan (in lieu of Research Plan section): The following sub-sections must be used:
Justification of Need
The purpose of this section is to describe the requested instrument and how this instrument will benefit a NIMH funded research program(s). The section should begin with a description of the research that will use the instrument. This section can be structured in a number of ways but should include a table containing the list of NIMH grant award(s) that will benefit from the new instrument. That table should include the NIH grant number, the PD/PI, and a one sentence description of the research that has been funded. Since most of the projects are likely to have been previously peer reviewed, explain only how the requested instrument will advance the projects’ research objectives. Projects that have not been peer reviewed will require a more substantial description.
Finally, provide an inventory of similar instruments existing at your institution. Describe why each similar instrument is unavailable or inappropriate for the proposed research. If similar instruments are listed as "unavailable," add a letter to the Letters of Support section from the instrument manager explaining why the instrument is not available.
Description of the Instrument
Describe the requested instrument by stating its manufacturer, model number, specific features, and accessories. All special features and accessories must be justified by relating them to the research described above.
Explain why the chosen model and manufacturer are the most suitable to advance the research program. Preliminary data are not required but can be included to justify your choice. Compare the requested instrument with other similar instruments.
Describe the technical expertise of individuals who will set up and run the instrument. Specify who will ensure that the instrument is safely operated and appropriately maintained. State who will train new users, and briefly describe how training will be done. If the instrument requires complex sample preparation or consultation for experimental designs, describe the expert individuals who will serve in that capacity. Address technical support for data collection, management, and analysis.
The NIMH Instrumentation Program only provides funds for the acquisition of an instrument. This section of the application describes the institutional commitment to the ongoing operation of that instrument once it has been purchased. This part of the application should be divided into the following sections: space and operation, operational costs, maintenance agreement, timeline.
In the space and operation section, describe where the instrument will be located. This section should also describe how time on the instrument will be allocated. A description of expected demand versus time available should be included.
In the operational costs section, describe where the funds will come from to pay for normal operating expenses. If NIH grants are going to supply some of those funds, include an estimate of the costs for each contributing grant over the first two years of instrument operation. Costs for technicians and other support personnel should be discussed.
In the maintenance agreement section describe who will pay for a maintenance agreement once the original warranty expires. If the institution is going to pay for the maintenance agreement, a letter of support stating that commitment from an appropriate institutional official should be included in the Letters of Support as outlined in the Other Project Information section.
In the timeline section, discuss the expected lifetime of this instrument and describe the institutional commitment (including space, support personnel, and maintenance costs) over the lifetime of the instrument.
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 NIMH, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.
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.
Justification of Need
Is the need for the instrument clearly and adequately justified? Is the equipment essential and appropriate? Are all specific features, special accessories, and the software configuration of the requested instrument well justified?
Does the institution have the technical expertise to make effective use of the requested equipment? How well-qualified are the participating investigators or other assigned personnel to operate and maintain the instrument, conduct the projects, and evaluate the research results, including analysis and interpretation of data? Will new users be appropriately trained?
Will the requested instrument significantly benefit the research projects that have been presented? Is the requested instrument adequately justified for the needs of the specific projects?
Is the plan for the management and maintenance of the requested instrument appropriate? Will research time be allocated appropriately among the projects? Is the financial plan for the instrument for the expected lifetime of the instrument reasonable? Is the expected usable lifetime of the instrument reasonable? If needed, are the policies to manage projects which have human subjects, animals or biohazards adequate?
Does the Institution provide appropriate space for the proposed instrument? Have the annual operating costs been appropriately estimated and has an appropriate source for those costs been identified? Is the institutional plan to maintain the instrument appropriate for the expected lifetime of the instrument? Does the institutional commitment letter provide support in the event of a shortfall of income (if applicable)?
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
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.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
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 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.As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Mental Health 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.
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.
In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.htmlhttps://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.html. 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. 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.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period. The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS). This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available. Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.
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