Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Neuropathological Assessment of TBI-related Neurodegeneration and Neurocognitive Decline - Center Without Walls (NATBI CWOW) (U54 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

U54 Specialized Center- Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-NS-19-030

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.853, 93.866

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This FOA invites applications for a multisite study to comprehensively characterize the neuropathological features associated with neurodegeneration and neurocognitive decline in persons with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Investigations should elucidate the contribution of key individual (sex, age at time of injury, time since injury, etc.) and injury characteristics (injury severity and frequency) to describe associations between neuropathological burden and antemortem clinicopathologic symptoms, and outline the prevalence of TBI-related parkinsonism, TBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE in the participating brain banks. To further advance research in the area, broad sharing of clinical and neuropathological data will be a critical feature of this FOA including the development of a digital resource for distribution and sharing of assessed neuropathological tissue. 

Key Dates
Posted Date

February 25, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

March 15, 2019

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

April 15, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

June/July 2019

Advisory Council Review

August 2019

Earliest Start Date

September/October 2019

Expiration Date

April 16, 2019

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Multi-Project (M) 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.


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

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

  3. 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

    Background

    Both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and exposure to repeated head impacts can result in a chronic TBI-related (cTBI) syndrome that manifest as a heterogeneous combination of symptoms across multiple domains, including but not limited to, the cognitive, behavioral, oculomotor, vestibular, disrupted sleep, psychosocial, and affective domains. Data from the CDC and National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) have shown that cTBI may negatively affect a person's quality of life and increase risk of seizures, accidental drug poisoning, infections, pneumonia, and decrease life expectancy.  Further, there has been a resurgence of both research and public interest in the neuropathological consequence of cTBI, particularly as it relates to risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease related dementia (ADRD), and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). In 2012, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) convened the Neuropathology of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Workshop that outlined research strategies and resources needed to fill knowledge gaps for advancing understanding of CTE including neuropathology.  Following this workshop, the NIH launched a major effort to define the pathologic characteristics of CTE, supporting a set of CTE Neuropathological Diagnosis Consensus Conferences to develop consensus guidelines for the pathological diagnosis of CTE.  The investigators enumerated multiple unaddressed issues including the role of comorbid neurogenerative disease including AD and ADRD, characterization of other proteinopathies involved in CTE (e.g. TDP-43, beta amyloid, vascular dysfunction, and alpha-synuclein positive lewy bodies), a need for neuropathological differential diagnoses, understanding of the effect of brain injury exposure to neurodegeneration, and clinical correlates to disease burden.

    In 2011, the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) allocated resources "to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025."  Since then, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have held multiple research summits to assess the needs and opportunities relevant to this goal for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (ADRD).  In particular, the NINDS has convened expert panels in 2013 and again in 2016 that were tasked with recommending research priorities for advancing the state-of-the-science for all ADRDs, including those due to multiple neuropathological mechanisms (i.e., Multiple Etiology Dementias--MED).  Recommendations for MED emphasized the need for improved and early antemortem diagnosis, as well as the need for more basic research to understand risk factors that may lead to the initiation of multiple neuropathological processes and pathologies. 

    Specific Research Objectives and Requirements:

    Research proposed in response to this FOA should seek to comprehensively characterize the neuropathological features of cTBI associated with neurodegeneration and neurocognitive decline, describe associations between neuropathological burden (presence and severity of any single or multiple pathologies) and antemortem clinicopathologic symptoms, and outline the prevalence of cTBI-related parkinsonism, cTBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE in the participating brain banks.  A comprehensive characterization should include identification of 1) microscopic changes, including proteinopathies (tau, beta-amyloid, alpha-synuclein, TDP-43), inflammation, gliosis, and neuronal loss, as well as 2) macroscopic changes, including vascular pathology, hemorrhage, and cortical and white matter atrophy. When present, abnormal protein deposition should lead to identification of the specific pathological protein isoforms. 

    To assess the relationship between postmortem cTBI neuropathological burden and antemortem clinicopathology, applicants will need to propose methods to assess the antemortem symptomatology and clinical presentation including degree of cognitive impairment, memory dysfunction, psychiatric symptoms and neuromotor deficits.  Each CWOW application should propose hypotheses aimed at the relationships among TBI exposure (including repetitive head impacts, single and multiple traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) across TBI severity), length of survival after injury, co-morbidities (e.g. post-traumatic epilepsy), neuropathological burden, and risk for neuropathological dementia diagnoses.  Finally, to outline the prevalence of cTBI-related parkinsonism, cTBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE applicants should have access to two or more existing brain banks with extensive collections of AD or ADRD diagnosed tissue.  Each brain bank should specialize in collecting tissue related to a different AD/ADRD so that neuropathological comparisons can be made across a range of disorders.  The aggregate tissue inventory across these brain banks must include an extensive collection of AD or ADRD diagnosed tissue, CTE diagnosed tissue, and tissue from person's with a history of TBI.

    To achieve this goal, it is expected that a multi-site, multidisciplinary team with expertise in 1) the long-term clinical and pathophysiological consequence of TBI and head impact exposure, 2) clinical assessment of dementia, including CTE and 3) neuropathological diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease, including CTE, will be needed.

     All centers will be expected to develop a publicly available digital library of pathology slides and associated diagnoses.  This digital library should be hosted by the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) informatics platform and should include high resolution digital images of all slides evaluated by the CWOW research projects. The CWOW will also be expected to make tissue collected and used by this CWOW available for broad data sharing either through a CWOW brain bank resource or via the NIH Neurobiobank.

    Non-responsive studies include:

    • Studies that primarily use of prospective designs for tissue acquisition.
    • Studies limited to only one TBI severity.
    • Preclinical research studies using animal models.
    Special Consideration

    Required components:

    Each application must have an Administrative Core, Data Coordinating Core, Brain Banking Core, and at least three Research Projects. The Research Projects must interact and synergize with other projects and cores within the NATBI CWOW.  Synergy must be evident among research projects and core, such that successful completion of the aims could not be accomplished without the Center structure.

    Administrative Core: The Program Director(s)/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) should serve as the lead(s) of this Core. The Administrative Core should coordinate the integration and management of activities within the CWOW including management of reporting, establishing milestones, organizing communications among sites, and resolving disputes.

    Data Coordinating Core: The Data Coordinating Core (DCC) must provide a data management plan capable of coordinating and curating data collected across all NATBI CWOW research projects. The DCC will be responsible for data submission and the creation of the digital pathology library into the FITBIR informatics platform.  The end goal of the data management plan should be to develop a resource of clinical and neuropathological data for the broader scientific community.

    Brain Banking Core: The Brain Banking Core (BCC) must provide resources to house and process the post-mortem brain tissue sufficient to support the needs of the projects.  To provide consistency among centers the BCC will be responsible for histological processing of all post-mortem tissue needed for the projects. If previously collected pre-mortem brain tissue will be used, clear details on how the specimens were processed and stored must be provided.  For any newly collected samples, applicants are encouraged to follow protocols established the NINDS Neuropathological CTE Consensus Conference for biospecimen collection, blocking, staining and storage.

    Research Projects: Any combination of at least three research projects can be used to address the list of research areas of interest.  

    As the research strategy is prepared, it is important to note that NINDS seeks applications wherein rigorous design, execution, and interpretation of the proposed studies and supporting data are adequately described. NINDS encourages investigators, whenever possible, to address these elements directly in their applications. Investigators are urged to discuss these issues with Scientific/Research staff prior to submission of applications (see: NOT-NS-11-023 and NOT-OD-15-103). The NINDS also expects that applications will conform to the principles outlined in Landis et al., 2012 and show consideration for biological variables described in NOT-OD-15-102. PCS-EMA CWOW applications deemed not responsive to the FOA will be withdrawn without review.

    Milestones: All projects should be supported by a timeline and yearly milestones for completion. Milestones are goals that create go/no-go decision points in the project and must include clear and quantitative criteria for success.  Achievement of milestones will be evaluated by NINDS, and funding of non-competing award years will depend on milestone accomplishment.  Note that these awards will be managed as cooperative agreements; therefore, projects that do not comply with terms, conditions, and established milestones of the award and of this program may be terminated early.

      Data management milestones are also required and must address data sharing progress as described in NOT-NS-17-029.

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

    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, NIH 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.

    Clinical Trial?

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

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    NINDS intends to commit $1,250,000 in direct costs per year to fund one award.

    Award Budget

    Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

    Award Project Period

    The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 years.

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

    Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible Organizations

    Higher Education Institutions

    • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
    • Private Institutions of Higher Education

    The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

    • Hispanic-serving Institutions
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
    • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
    • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

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

    Other

    • Independent School Districts
    • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
    • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
    • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
    • Regional Organizations
    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are  allowed.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

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

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM) – 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 to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
    • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

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

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

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

    The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST or an institutional system-to-system solution. A button to apply using ASSIST is 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 Multi-Project (M) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

    Letter of Intent

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

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

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

    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    Patrick SF Bellgowan, PHD
    Telephone: 301-496-1447
    Fax: 301-480-1080
    Email: psfb@mail.nih.gov

    Page Limitations

    Available Component Types

    Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

    Overall

    12

    Admin Core

    6

    Data Coordinating Core

    6

    Brain Banking Core

    6

    Research Projects

    6

    Additional page limits described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

    Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

    The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and should be used for preparing a multi-component application.

    The application should consist of the following components:

    • Overall: required
    • Administrative Core: required, maximum of 1
    • Data Coordinating Core: required, maximum of 1
    • Brain Banking Core: required, maximum of 1
    • Projects: required, minimum of 3
    Overall Component

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Overall’.

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

    Complete entire form.

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

    Note: Human Embryonic Stem Cell lines from other components should be repeated in cell line table in Overall component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

    Follow standard instructions.

    Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

    Enter primary site only.

    A summary of Project/Performance Sites in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

    Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application.

    A summary of Senior/Key Persons followed by their Biographical Sketches in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons will be generated upon submission.

    Budget (Overall)

    The only budget information included in the Overall component is the Estimated Project Funding section of the SF424 (R&R) Cover.  

    A budget summary in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from detailed budget data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Overall)

    Specific Aims:  Specific Aims should outline the overall vision and goals for the NATBI CWOW. These Aims should be overarching and at a high level and distinct from the aims of the individual components and must address mixed pathology of cTBI, describe associations between neuropathological burden and antemortem clinicopathologic presentation of cTBI, and outline the prevalence of cTBI-associated neurodegenerative disease in the participating brain bank(s). Finally, the role of degree of TBI exposure in mixed pathology and neuropathological burden must be addressed.      

    Research Strategy:  The research strategy should describe the methods, techniques, and analyses that the center will employ to achieve the vision laid out in the overall aims.  Applicants should provide a general discussion of:  1) the significance of each individual project and how each contributes to the center's overall goal; 2) how each project and core synergizes, interacts, and supports each other; 3) the overall strategy of the Administrative core for managing the center and ensuring that all goals are completed in a timely fashion; 4) innovations in technique and methods that will contribute to accomplishing the research goals and advancing the field; and 5) how each site and each investigator is uniquely positioned to contribute world-class expertise and cutting-edge resources towards addressing the aims. Describe access to existing brain banks that specialize in collecting tissue related to different AD/ADRDs, CTE, and/or TBI that will enable neuropathological comparisons can be made across a range of disorders.    Synergy must be evident among research projects and cores, such that successful completion of the aims could not be accomplished without the Center structure. 

    Letters of Support: Applicants must provide letters from the appropriate high-ranking institutional official(s) indicating the commitment of the institution to the NATBI CWOW goals and specifying any institutional support or resources that will be made available to the NATBI CWOW. A letter of support and collaboration is required from any collaborating brain bank / tissue repository.

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

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.  The Data Sharing Plan should conform with data sharing requirements for TBI research as outlined in NOT-NS-12-016 and updated in NOT-NS-17-029.

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Overall)

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

    If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, there must be at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or a Delayed Onset Study record within the application. The study record(s) must be included in the component(s) where the work is being done, unless the same study spans multiple components. To avoid the creation of duplicate study records, a single study record with sufficient information for all involved components must be included in the Overall component when the same study spans multiple components.

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form (Overall)

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

    Administrative Core

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Admin Core.’

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates
    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Administrative Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Administrative Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)
    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   
    Budget (Administrative Core)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

    Specific Aims: Describe the aims for ensuring that the overall vision of the proposed NATBI CWOW is achieved.  Hypothesis-driven research aims are not appropriate.         

    Research Strategy: The Administrative Core Lead (also the NATBI CWOW PI) should describe their research productivity, active research funding (NIH R01-equivalent or greater) at time of submission, and capacity for visionary leadership of NATBI CWOW team. Each application should detail a plan for supervising and coordinating the entire range of proposed activities.  Applicants must explain the roles and responsibilities of Administrative Core personnel including scientific leadership, and administrative management and coordination of the proposed activities.  Plans for holding regular meetings and facilitating communication between projects and cores; prioritizing core and resource usage/strategies; monitoring progress and ensuring that milestones are completed in a timely fashion; and ensuring that data/tissue/specimens collected by the center are shared in a timely fashion must be clearly detailed.   An annual in-person center meeting is strongly encouraged. Clear and quantifiable milestones (e.g., for cross-site meetings and communications, resource management, etc.…) creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all this core's specific aims should be proposed. 

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

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.  The Data Sharing Plan should conform with data sharing requirements for TBI research as outlined in NOT-NS-12-016 and updated in NOT-NS-17-029.

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions. 

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Administrative Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    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

    Data Coordinating Core

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Data Coordinating Co.’

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Data Coordinating Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Data Coordinating Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Data Coordinating Core)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Data Coordinating Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Data Coordinating Core)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   

    Budget (Data Coordinating Core)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Data Coordinating Core)

    Specific Aims: Describe the aims for providing the necessary resources and technical expertise to support the goals of the research projects and the overall NATBI CWOW.  Hypothesis-driven research aims are not appropriate in this section.        

    Research Strategy: Each application should detail the core service to be provided, including all equipment, methods, or services involved.  Describe all aspects of the core resource that are innovative, and any technical or methodological innovations that will be developed during the duration of the project including a strategy for creation of a digital neuropathological library of pathology slides in FITBIR.  Applicants should explain how this core will interact with other projects and/or cores within the Center.  Cores must support all projects, and percent usage of core resources per project should be indicated.  The DCC should clearly describe standardization of data collection and data curation protocols across research project collection sites. Clear and quantifiable annual milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the core's specific aims should be proposed.     

    Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. The Data Sharing Plan should conform with data sharing requirements for TBI research as outlined in NOT-NS-12-016 and updated in NOT-NS-17-029.

    In order to advance the goal of widespread data sharing, investigators funded under this FOA are required to share all data collected in this FOA via FITBIR using the appropriate TBI Common Data Elements, consistent with achieving the goals of the NINDS CDE program. FITBIR staff will work with investigators to help them submit data types consistent with the FITBIR Data Dictionary and the NINDS CDE program; however, data quality assurance is the sole responsibility of the Administrative PI/PD. The Data Coordinating Core is responsible for providing a thorough list of all CDEs and Unique Data Elements (UDEs) that will be collected in all projects.  For answers to frequently asked questions and how to contact FITBIR, please see: https://fitbir.nih.gov/content/contact-us.

    Consistent with achieving the goals of the program, plans for developing a publicly-available digital pathology library for distribution and sharing of assessed neuropathological tissue through FITBIR must be addressed. 

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Data Coordinating Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    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

    Brain Banking Core

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Brain Banking Core.’

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Brain Banking Core)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Brain Banking Core)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Brain Banking Core)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Brain Banking Core)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Brain Banking Core)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   

    Budget (Brain Banking Core)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Brain Banking Core)

    Specific Aims: Describe the aims for providing the necessary resources and technical expertise to support the goals of the research projects and the overall NATBI CWOW.  Hypothesis-driven research aims are not appropriate in this section.        

    Research Strategy: Each application should detail the core service to be provided, including all equipment, methods, or services involved. The Brain Banking Core must describe how it will provide resources to house and process the post-mortem brain tissue sufficient to support the needs of the projects. For any newly collected samples, the BCC must describe the protocols for biospecimen collection, blocking, staining and storage. Describe methods for detailing how previously collected tissue and biospecimens were processed and stored. Describe methods for harmonizing histological processing of newly and previously collected biospecimen.  Describe all aspects of the core resource that are innovative, and any technical or methodological innovations that will be developed during the duration of the project including all histopathological processing protocols.  Applicants should explain how this core will interact with other projects and/or cores within the Center.  Cores must support all projects, and percent usage of core resources per project should be indicated.  If the project is collecting or providing specimens, collection and storage protocols should be clearly described and standardized across collection sites. Clear and quantifiable annual milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the core's specific aims should be proposed.

    Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. The Data Sharing Plan should conform with data sharing requirements for TBI research as outlined in NOT-NS-12-016 and updated in NOT-NS-17-029.

    Consistent with achieving the goals of the program, plans for distribution and sharing of unused tissues or specimens must be addressed. 

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Brain Banking Core)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    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

    Research Project

    When preparing your application, use Component Type ‘Project.’

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

    SF424 (R&R) Cover (Research Project)

    Complete only the following fields:

    • Applicant Information
    • Type of Applicant (optional)
    • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
    • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Research Project)

    Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

    Research & Related Other Project Information (Research Project)

    Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

    Vertebrate Animals: Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

    Project Narrative:  Do not complete. Note: ASSIST screens will show an asterisk for this attachment indicating it is required. However, eRA systems only enforce this requirement in the Overall component and applications will not receive an error if omitted in other components.

    Project /Performance Site Location(s) (Research Project)

    List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

    Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

    Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Research Project)

    • In the Project Director/Principal Investigator section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Project Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
    • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that are working in the component.
    • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is listed in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included in any one component.
    • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.   

    Budget (Research Project)

    Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

    Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

    PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Project)

    Specific Aims: List each specific hypothesis and objective of the proposed research project, briefly outline the methods proposed, and summarize the expected outcomes.

    Research Strategy: Describe the research strategy for the project and how the research will advance knowledge regarding: 1) the neuropathological features of cTBI, and/or; 2) elucidate associations between neuropathological burden and antemortem clinicopathologic presentation of cTBI; and/or 3) inform the prevalence of cTBI-related parkinsonism, cTBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE in the participating brain banks

    Describe and justify the plan for case selection and matching, and criteria for neuropathological diagnoses. If the project is using post-mortem brain tissue that is not provided by a NATBI CWOW core or project (e.g., from an external collaborator), criteria used to assign a neuropathological diagnosis should be described.  If the project is collecting or providing specimens, collection and storage protocols should be clearly described.  Research Projects must provide clear diagnostic criteria and/or operational definitions for 1) CTE, 2) cTBI-related parkinsonism and cTBI-related Alzheimer's  3) TBI history and diagnoses including but not limited to concussion, mild TBI, moderate TBI, severe TBI, and exposure to repetitive head impacts, 4) neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric assessments.  Provide a concise review of the relevant literature and its rigor, detail available pilot data, and justify the proposed aims and methods (applicants must discuss scientific premise, scientific rigor, and biological variables).  Provide alternative approaches to addressing the research aims if the proposed approaches fail.  Applicants should explain how this research project will interact and synergize with other projects and/or cores within the NATBI CWOW.  

    Clear and quantifiable annual milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the project's specific aims should be proposed. 

    Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. The Data Sharing Plan should conform with data sharing requirements for TBI research as outlined in NOT-NS-12-016 and updated in NOT-NS-17-029.

    Appendix:

    Only limited items are allowed in the Appendix.Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.   

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information (Research Project)

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    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.

    3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov.

    4. Submission Dates and Times

    Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

    Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

    Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

    Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

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

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

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

    Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

    For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission go to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Electronic_Multi-project_Application_Image_Assembly.pdf.

    Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

    For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

    Important reminders:

    All PD(s)/PI(s) and component Project Leads 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.

    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 (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

    Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

    Post Submission Materials

    Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy. Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

    Section V. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria

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

    Overall Impact - Overall

    Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the CWOW to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the CWOW proposed).

    Scored Review Criteria - Overall

    Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a CWOW that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

    Significance

    Does the CWOW 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 CWOW 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? Are the NATBI CWOW aims, methods, and projects likely to advance knowledge regarding the neuropathological features of cTBI, particularly as it relates to various levels of TBI injury frequency and severity? Do the NATBI CWOW aims, methods, and projects shed light on the prevalence of cTBI-related parkinsonism, cTBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE in the involved brain banks?  Is there evidence that this CWOW will improve understanding of the relationship between cTBI-related neuropathological burden and antemortem symptoms and/or clinicopathologic presentation?  Does the CWOW structure provide opportunities for scientific advancement that would not be achieved by each project working alone (synergy)?

    Investigator(s)

    Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the CWOW? 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? Is the NATBI CWOW PD/PI an established leader in scientific research with a history of research productivity, successful funding, and proven expertise in the stewardship of large-scale research programs?   Has he/she demonstrated a capacity for visionary leadership of an interdisciplinary team?  Is each investigator in the NATBI CWOW team an established leader with a history of innovative work in their area of research?  Is there appropriate neuropathological, clinical dementia diagnostic, CTE and TBI expertise to accomplish the aims?    

    Innovation

    Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?  Does the application propose innovative use of human tissues/biospecimens in its approach to addressing its hypotheses?

    Approach

    Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the CWOW? Have 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 NATBI CWOW 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? Is the CWOW organized around an overall hypothesis for understanding how specific individual and TBI characteristics contribute to neuropathological consequence?  Will the CWOW enhance the current understanding of neuropathological variability associated with cTBI? Do the involved brain banks specialize in tissue from different neurodegenerative diseases so that a broad range of cTBI-associated diagnoses are represented? Is there appropriate antemortem clinical data to correlate with neuropathological burden of cTBI? Have sufficient operational definitions and samples sizes been assessed to estimate prevalence of cTBI-related parkinsonism, cTBI-related Alzheimer's, and CTE  within the involved brain banks?   Are the component parts of the CWOW (projects and cores) critical to achieving the goals of the CWOW in a timely fashion?        

    Environment

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

    Scored Review Criteria - Research Project l

    Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a CWOW project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field or the overall goals of the CWOW.  Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit:

    Significance

    Do the project's aims/hypotheses address an important aspect of the CWOWs overall strategy for advancing knowledge about either 1) neuropathological features of cTBI associated with neurodegeneration and neurocognitive decline, and/or; 2) associations between neuropathological burden and antemortem clinicopathologic presentation of cTBI; and/or 3) inform the prevalence of cTBI-associated neurodegenerative disorders in the involved brain banks?   Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous?  How will the project contribute to the success of other projects and to the overall success of the CWOW?  Is the project likely to result in major (rather than incremental) scientific advances?

    Investigator(s)

    Is the expertise of the research project leader, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  Is the research project leader an established scientist with a history of innovative work in their area of research?  Do all members of the project team dedicate sufficient effort to research activities?

    Innovation

    Does the research project utilize novel theoretical concepts, methods, or technologies?  Does the project propose innovative use of human tissues or biospecimens in its approach to addressing its hypotheses? 

    Approach

    Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have 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 is using post-mortem brain tissue that is not provided by a CWOW core (e.g., from an external collaborator), are criteria for assigning a neuropathological diagnosis detailed and appropriate?  If the project is collecting or providing tissues or biospecimens, are collection and storage protocols clearly described and appropriate for preserving the specimens? Are clear and quantifiable annual milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the project's specific aims proposed?

    Environment

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

    Additional Review Criteria

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

    Administrative Core

    Does the Administrative Core Lead/Center Director have appropriate expertise and dedicate sufficient time to administrative activities? If an Associate Director is named, does that person have required expertise to effectively assist the Center Director with scientific and administrative management?

    Is there an appropriate plan for establishing and maintaining effective communications and cooperation among Center investigators on a regular basis?

    Does the core provide a clear strategy for supervising and coordinating the entire range of proposed activities, including plans for monitoring progress and ensuring that component plans are implemented, accomplished, and all milestones are met?  Are plans included for prioritizing how core resources will be utilized?  Are there appropriate plans for management of data, specimens, and other resources?  Is the leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Is there an appropriate plan for developing a digital library of pathology slides? Are there appropriate plans for developing a list of all common and unique data elements used across the projects and cores of the NATBI CWOW? Is there a plan for coordinating data submission to FITBIR?

    Does the core provide clear and quantifiable milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of its goals?   

    Data Coordinating Core(s)

    Does the DCC have the data coordinating and curation expertise to provide data services in the context of the CWOW's overall goal?  Are all equipment, methods, and/or services state-of-the-art, clearly described, appropriate for addressing the CWOW's hypotheses, and scientifically rigorous?  Are any technological or methodological innovations proposed?  Does the core Leader/Director have the appropriate expertise and dedicate sufficient time to core activities? Does the core provide essential support, resources, and expertise to each of the research projects and BCC within the CWOW? Does the DCC provide plans for developing a publicly-available digital pathology library for distribution and sharing of assessed neuropathological tissue through FITBIR? Has the Core clearly described the methods and resources available for standardization of data collection and data curation across research project collection sites? Does the Core provide a list of Common Data Elements (CDEs) to be used in the CWOW? Does the DCC provide a timeline for annual data submission to FITBIR as required in NOT-NS-17-029

    Are clear and quantifiable milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the core's aims provided?

    Brain Banking Core(s)

    Does the Core provide the necessary histological and tissue acquisition support to scientifically support research projects in the context of the CWOW's overall goal?  Are all equipment, methods, and/or services state-of-the-art, clearly described, appropriate for addressing the CWOW's hypotheses, and scientifically rigorous?  Are any technological or methodological innovations proposed?

    Does the core Leader/Director have the appropriate expertise and dedicate sufficient time to core activities? Does the core provide essential support, resources, and expertise to all of the research projects within the CWOW? Has the core provided tissue and/or biospecimen collection and storage protocols that are clearly described and appropriate for preserving the specimens?  Does the BBC detail methods for harmonizing processing of newly and previously acquired biospecimen? Does the Core provide sufficient details of histological processing required by each of the research projects? If the core is collecting or providing tissue or biospecimens, are collection and storage protocols clearly described and appropriate for preserving the specimens? 

    Are clear and quantifiable milestones creating go/no-go decision points for measuring the success of all the core's aims provided? 

    Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan  

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

    Vertebrate Animals

    The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

    Biohazards

    Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

    Resubmissions

    Not Applicable.

    Renewals

    Not Applicable.

    Revisions

    Not Applicable.

    Additional Review Considerations - Overall

    As applicable for the CWOW proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

    Applications from Foreign Organizations

    Not Applicable.

    Select Agent Research

    Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

    Resource Sharing Plans

    Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan .

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

    For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

    Budget and Period of Support

    Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by CSR in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

    As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

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

    Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

    After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

    Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    Section VI. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices

    If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

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

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

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

    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.html; and https://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.

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

    Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

    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, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

    The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

    The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

    Determining experimental approaches, designing protocols, setting project milestones and conducting experiments;

    Reporting to NINDS Program staff regarding timeline and milestone achievement during the course of the project, as delineated in the terms and conditions of award;

    Submitting an annual progress reports during the funding period, in a format as agreed upon by NINDS program staff;

    Accepting and implementing any other common guidelines and procedures developed for the NATBI CWOW program;

    Timely submission of all abstracts, manuscripts and reviews (co)authored by project investigators and supported in whole or in part under this Cooperative Agreement.

    Ensuring that a publicly-available digital library of pathology slides.

    Ensuring that all data are submitted to FITBIR.

    Awardees are expected to make new information and materials known to the research community not only investigator meetings but also in a timely manner through publications, web announcements, reports to NINDS program staff, and other mechanisms.

    Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

    NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

    NINDS program staff will have substantial scientific/programmatic involvement during the conduct of this activity through technical assistance, advice and coordination.  However, the role of NINDS Project Scientists will be to facilitate and not to direct the activities. The NINDS Project Scientist will:

    Contribute to the adjustment of research protocols, project milestones or approaches as warranted;

    Serve as a liaison between the awardees, the NINDS Advisory Council and the larger scientific community;

    Participate in regular meetings with the NATBI CWOW staff as described in the milestones.

    Coordinate the efforts of the awardee with other awardees under this FOA and those involved in related NINDS programs;

    Assist in promoting the availability of data and resources developed in the course of this project to the scientific community at large;

    In consultation with the NIH Program Official, recommend the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that either substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of award, fails to maintain state-of-the-art capabilities, or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award (including biospecimen and data sharing as appropriate).

    An NIH Program Official will be responsible for the normal programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. The program official(s) will:

    Assist in enforcing general statutory, regulatory or administrative assistance policy requirements;

    Evaluate progress by reviews of technical or fiscal reports or by site visits to determine that performance is consistent with objectives, terms and conditions of the award;

    Ensure that activities proposed for development or implementation do not overlap or duplicate activities supported by other peer reviewed funding mechanisms;

    Assist with financial oversight of the NATBI CWOW.

    Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

    None; all responsibilities are divided between awardees and NIH staff as described above.

    Dispute Resolution:

    Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

    3. Reporting

    When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

    In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

    We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

    Application Submission Contacts

    eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

    Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

    General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
    Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-945-7573

    Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
    Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
    Email: support@grants.gov

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

    Patrick S Frost Bellgowan, PhD
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
    Telephone: 301-496-1447
    Email: psfb@mail.nih.gov

    Lisa Opanashuk, Ph.D.
    National Institute on Aging (NIA)
    Telephone: 301-827-5422
    Email: lisa.opanashuk@nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Samuel Edwards, Ph.D.
    Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience, Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
    Telephone: 301-435-1246
    Email: edwardss@mail.nih.gov

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Tijuanna DeCoster Ph.D.
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
    Telephone: 301-496-9231
    Email: decostert@mail.nih.gov

    Kaitaia Fu
    National Institute on Aging (NIA)
    Telephone: 301-480-7632
    Email: kaitaia.fu@nih.gov

    Section VIII. Other Information

    Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    Authority and Regulations

    Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.    

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