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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration  (FDA)

Components of Participating Organizations

Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Disease Prevention (ODP)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products (CTP)

Funding Opportunity Title

Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science for Research Relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (U54)

Activity Code

U54 Specialized Center- Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-DA-13-003

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-OD-17-003

Companion Funding Opportunity

 RFA-OD-17-002, U54 Specialized Center- Cooperative Agreements

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

93.077

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite applications for Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) to support biomedical and behavioral research that will provide scientific data to inform regulation of tobacco products to protect public health. Research Projects must address the research priorities related to the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The awards under this FOA will be administered by NIH using funds that have been made available through FDA CTP and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31). Research results from this FOA are expected to generate findings and data that are directly relevant in informing the FDA's regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health. 

Key Dates
Posted Date

March 13, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

June 19, 2017  

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

While Letters of Intent are normally due one month before the due date, the Letter of Intent for this FOA is due 60 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

July, 19, 2017, 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

January 2018

Advisory Council Review

May 2018  

Earliest Start Date

July 2018

Expiration Date

New Date March 24, 2017 per issuance of RFA-OD-17-006. (Original Expiration Date: July 20,2017)

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

** ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION REQUIRED**

NIH’s new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is available for the electronic preparation and submission of multi-project applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications to this FOA must be submitted electronically using ASSIST or an institutional system-to-system solution; paper applications will not be accepted. ASSIST replaces the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities and provides many features to enable electronic multi-project application submission and improve data quality, including: pre-population of organization and PD/PI data, pre-submission validation of many agency business rules and the generation of data summaries in the application image used for review.

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) and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. 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.


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

NIH anticipates holding a pre-application web-based teleconference to which all interested prospective applicants are invited. NIH and FDA Program and Review staff persons will explain the goals and objectives of the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) for Research Relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act funding opportunity announcement (FOA), discuss the application peer review process, and answer questions.  Information about this pre-application conference call will be available at (https://prevention.nih.gov/tobacco-regulatory-science-program).

Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites cooperative agreement (U54) applications for Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) for research relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The overall TCORS program objective is to conduct programs of multidisciplinary research that will inform the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products related to the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The research findings generated from this FOA are expected to provide additional scientific data to inform the regulation of the tobacco products to protect public health.

The awards under this FOA will be administered by NIH using designated funds from FDA CTP for tobacco regulatory science mandated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), Public Law 111-31. NIH and FDA have formed an interagency partnership to foster research relevant to tobacco regulatory science within the framework of the Tobacco Control Act. As cooperative agreements, NIH and FDA will be substantially involved with the awardees. A separate FOA will solicit cooperative agreement applications for a U54 Coordinating Center for this program. The Coordinating Center will provide the necessary scientific leadership and administrative framework to facilitate interactive and integrative collaboration and communication among the awardees of the individual TCORS, NIH and FDA staff, and other FDA-funded investigators, as appropriate.

Consistent with the FDA CTP mission, this FOA encourages research applications that address such Scientific Domains as: 1) approaches that test the toxicity of tobacco smoke, aerosol, or specific constituents, 2) the effect of tobacco product characteristics on addiction and abuse liability, 3) the short and long term health effects of tobacco products, 4) understanding the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to tobacco product use, 5) understanding how to effectively communicate the health effects of tobacco products, 6) the influences of tobacco marketing, and 7) understanding the impact of potential FDA regulatory actions.

Background

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), signed by the President in June 2009, created the FDA Center for Tobacco Products and granted it authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products in order to protect public health. Under the law, FDA regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products. The law also gave FDA the ability to regulate additional tobacco products, commonly referred to as “deeming” them through rulemaking. A full description of the FSPTCA can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm298595.htm.

FDA finalized the “deeming” rule, effective August 8, 2016 "to regulate all tobacco products that were not under its jurisdiction that meets the statutory definition of “tobacco product”, including Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS (e.g., e-cigarettes, vape pens), cigars, pipe tobacco, gels, hookah (waterpipe) tobacco, and future tobacco products, but not including accessories of newly deemed products." Products deemed under this rule are subject to the same FD&C Act provisions that cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco are subject to, including but not limited to: (1) required submission of ingredient listing and reporting of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) for all tobacco products; (2) prohibition against use of modified risk descriptors (e.g., “light,” “low,” and “mild” descriptors) and claims unless FDA issues an order permitting their use; and (3) premarket review requirements. These actions will improve the public health by affording FDA information regarding the health risks of such products, evaluating whether marketing of new products would be appropriate for the protection of public health or are substantially equivalent to an identified predicate product, and preventing misleading claims about the relative risk of tobacco products. In addition, FDA has the authority to develop product standards, when appropriate for the protection of public health.

Research Objectives and Administrative Structure Requirements

The overall Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) cooperative agreement research program objective is to conduct programs of multidisciplinary research that will inform FDA’s tobacco product regulatory activities. The TCORS program will lead the establishment of a broad national scientific base of tobacco regulatory research. Although a vast and sound science base exists with regard to numerous areas related to the FSPTCA, new research will provide additional science for FDA to consider as it conducts regulatory activities. Essential elements of TCORS applications include at least 3 hypothesis driven Research Projects with a scientific Integrative Theme, an Administrative Core that includes funds for Rapid Response Projects, a Career Enhancement Core, and optional cores as needed and justified. Research integrated across projects, where findings from one major project inform or complement those in another, is required.

Disciplinary integration within a TCORS, and within projects (where feasible) is also encouraged. Disciplinary diversity in a TCORS must support the objectives of the science and not merely reflect the training of the scientists. Meaningful collaboration is permitted across geographically separate sites within a funded TCORS. Each TCORS funded under this announcement is expected to work with NIH and FDA staff to collaborate with other Centers and a designated Coordinating Center on a regular basis to share information, assess scientific progress in the field, respond to rapid response research questions, identify new research opportunities, participate in one or more cross-site scientific working groups, address research gaps, and resolve areas of scientific disagreement.

Part A. Research Objectives Requirements

TCORS Integrative Theme

Applicants will be required to identify an overall Integrative Theme for their proposed TCORS. The level of specialization in different dimensions of regulatory tobacco research will vary from TCORS to TCORS, e.g., topics, populations, levels of analysis, and types of research (e.g., cell culture, animal models, or human models; cross-sectional or longitudinal study designs). However, TCORS should focus thematically on areas in which there are significant gaps in knowledge--where focused, collective, interdisciplinary efforts could make the greatest difference in reducing tobacco use and its adverse health consequences through the regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.

Individual TCORS may vary in their breadth or concentration across research foci (e.g., molecular to population-based research)*. Integrative Themes may coalesce around a research gap that is tobacco product- or constituent-specific (e.g., cigars or flavors)* that addresses Scientific Domains (e.g., addiction, toxicity, health consequences)*, or that represents a cross-cutting topics like vulnerable populations*. It is expected that the TCORS will facilitate more rapid advances in knowledge than would be possible by depending on individual investigators working in relative isolation.

*NOTE: Examples are for illustrative purposes and do not indicate particular priorities.

Scientific Domains

A goal of the TCORS program will be to support a portfolio that is balanced across the Scientific Domains below. Any single project can focus on one or more of these domains. However, applications must propose a program that includes no less than two of the following Scientific Domains across all projects: 

Note: Addressing many/all Scientific Domains in an individual TCORS is not advantageous. What is important regarding Scientific Domains is to demonstrate how the research proposed integrates with the center's overall theme to inform tobacco regulatory activities.

Toxicity - Understanding how tobacco products and changes to tobacco product characteristics affect their potential to cause morbidity and mortality, including animal and cell culture models as well as novel alternative toxicology approaches that test the toxicity of tobacco smoke, aerosols, or specific constituents in tobacco. Priorities include toxicological assays (in vivo and in vitro) to compare toxicity across different types of tobacco products within the same class including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), cigars, waterpipes and smokeless tobacco; how product design characteristics (and changes in those characteristics) impact constituent exposure and toxicity from tobacco products; biomarkers to assess exposure, as well as biomarkers to assess harm or toxicity of non-cigarette tobacco products, including ENDS

Addiction - Understanding the effect of tobacco product characteristics on addiction and abuse liability. Priorities include impact of changes in tobacco product characteristics (such as flavors, product design) on dependence; differences in dependence and tobacco use patterns with use of low nicotine content cigarettes in context with other tobacco products; the amounts of nicotine delivered to ENDS users during experimentation, regular ENDS use, dual use of ENDS and cigarettes, and cigarette smoking quit attempts; correlation of ENDS use behaviors with pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics effects of nicotine and other HPHCs delivered by ENDS;

Health Effects - Understanding the short and long term health effects of tobacco products. Highest priority areas include cardiovascular or respiratory health effects, including inflammation. Other health effects including cancer, oral health or reproductive health may be included within projects but should not be the primary focus of the TCORS. Priorities include impact of changes in tobacco product characteristics (such as flavors, product design) on human health; biomarkers to assess short and long-term effects of non-cigarette tobacco products; clinical evaluations to distinguish changes in cell function/physiology specific to tobacco exposure (e.g., ENDS aerosol exposure) known to indicate longer term disease development and progression.

Behavior - Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to tobacco product use and changes in tobacco product characteristics. Priorities include changes in tobacco product characteristics (such as flavors, product design, packaging) impact on tobacco use behaviors including experimentation, initiation, dual/poly use, transition to non-flavored products, and cessation; innovative methods and measures to assess tobacco use behaviors; measures, methods, or study designs to assess the likely impact of novel and/or potential modified risk tobacco products on tobacco behavior, including perceptions, susceptibility, experimentation, adoption, switching, and use (including dual use); measures (e.g., attitudes, perceptions, intentions) to best predict future behaviors of non-cigarette tobacco product use, including current and established users of cigars, waterpipe, and ENDS.

Communications – Understanding how to effectively communicate to the public and vulnerable populations regarding nicotine and the health effects of tobacco products, including media campaigns, and digital media. Priorities include messages to effectively communicate about nicotine and the harms of non-cigarette tobacco product use; methods and messages for communicating complex scientific concepts to the general public, including risk and harms of tobacco use taking into account untended consequences; effectiveness of text and graphic warnings for tobacco products other than cigarettes.

Marketing Influences – Understanding why people become susceptible to using tobacco products (both classes of products and products within classes) and transitions between experimentation, initiation to regular use and dual use. Topics may include tobacco industry marketing such as advertising, point-of-sale, digital media, and promotions. Priorities include methods, measures, and study designs to best assess the impact of tobacco product advertising, and promotion restrictions on users and non-users of tobacco including marketing of novel and/or potential modified risk tobacco products ; impact of potential marketing restrictions on youth experimentation, initiation, use and cessation.

Impact Analysis – Understanding impact of potential FDA regulatory actions.

Priorities include evaluation of policies at the state and community level that fall within FDA CTP regulatory authorities; methods and measures (e.g., behavioral economics, population modeling) to estimate the range of potential impacts on behavior and health of potential FDA regulatory actions such as products standards addressing toxicity, appeal, and addiction.

The term "characteristic" encompasses materials, ingredients (including additives and flavors), design, composition, heating source and other features of a tobacco product including harmful and potentially harmful constituents. Product characteristics can be incorporated into all of the above topics. 

Non-Responsive Research Topics

Although the following research topics may be within FDA CTP’s regulatory authorities to fund, they are not to be included in the FOA and will be deemed nonresponsive:

  • Studies of short term health effects and/or acute topography/clinical pharmacology testing of early generation ENDS products
  • Mechanistic studies/basic science of disease development unless biomarkers of harm with predictive value for disease development associated with tobacco product use is an outcome
  • Short-term studies of the acute effects of reduced nicotine content cigarettes
  • Graphic health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements
  • Communicating harmful and potentially harmful constituents to the public
  • Impacts of marketing restrictions on adults
  • Descriptive studies of demographics and/or risk perceptions that describe only exposure to advertising without linking exposure to tobacco use behaviors

Investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss whether their application is responsive to this FOA with a Scientific/Research Contact, listed in Section VII, prior to submission of their application. Additional information, including research priorities and a Frequently Asked Questions document can be found at: http://prevention.nih.gov/tobacco/.

Part B. Administrative Structure Requirements

Each Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) must have, at minimum, three Research Projects, an Administrative Core, and a Career Enhancement Core. At least three Research Projects and the Administrative and Career Enhancement cores must be active at all times. Competitive applications will reflect more than an interesting collection of components; there must be evidence of the potential for a meaningful TCORS with an Integrative Theme and identity. The Center and its components should result in the generation of new knowledge in tobacco regulatory science. Coordination, communication, and when appropriate, collaboration are expected across the components of each TCORS, as well as across the TCORS program. Cross-TCORS collaboration includes the development and use of standardized measures, methods, and data management whenever feasible, the development of collaborative research projects, and the support for communication and collaboration among investigators across TCORS.

Use of common study variables, criteria, and protocols, where appropriate, is encouraged to facilitate potential future analyses of the data aggregated across studies. After awards are made, investigators will be encouraged to collaborate with other awardees, a designated Coordinating Center, and NIH and FDA CTP scientific staff on the development and use of shared and standardized measures, methods, and data management wherever feasible to facilitate data aggregation and collaborative activities among Centers. As such, investigators are encouraged to incorporate PhenX measures and other common data elements as appropriate.

TCORS will be required to cooperate with a designated Coordinating Center and federal partners to foster collaborations and cross-site scientific working groups to identify and address overarching conceptual and methodological issues.

A Steering Committee will be the governing body for all awardees funded under this FOA. The TCORS Steering Committee will include a principal investigator from each TCORS, a Coordinating Center principal investigator and NIH and FDA representatives. 

Research Projects

A proposed TCORS must include a minimum of three fully developed hypothesis-driven Research Projects that contribute individually to the goals of the TCORS program and collectively to the Integrative Theme. Each Research Project must address one or more of the following seven Scientific Domains, as defined above (Section I., Part A, Research Objectives Requirements): Toxicity, Addiction, Health Effects, Behavior, Communications, Marketing Influences, and/or Impact Analysis. The TCORS Research Projects must collectively address no fewer than two of the Scientific Domains. Applications that choose fewer than two Scientific Domains will be deemed non-responsive.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate how research projects address their Center's overall integrative theme. Each Research Project director should be a qualified investigator and is responsible for the scientific direction and conduct of the individual Research Project. Each applicant team should demonstrate in-depth expertise in all relevant scientific aspects of the proposed research activities. A description of how the aims of the Research Project will aid in the development and/or evaluation of tobacco product regulations is strongly advised.

Applications may focus on one or more classes of tobacco products. If a vulnerable population will be included, applicants will be expected to identify the population and how the population is important to the research question, taking into account the impact on population health. Vulnerable populations include:

  • Youth and young adults
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Low SES
  • Rural populations
  • People with mental health or medical co-morbidities
  • Military/veterans
  • The LBGTQ community
  • Pregnant women/women of reproductive age

Projects conducted by TCORS must propose research aims that are within the regulatory authority of

FDA CTP in order to be considered responsive to this FOA. Research plans are expected to explain how the anticipated results would inform tobacco regulatory activities and actions.

Administrative Core

TCORS are required to have an Administrative Core.  The Administrative Core should promote an environment of communication and collaboration among investigators within the proposed TCORS, across the TCORS funded through this FOA, with the Coordinating Center, and the FDA and NIH staff.  The Administrative Core must provide for central operations to coordinate, monitor and facilitate attainment of the proposed TCORS' objectives, including quality control and oversight mechanisms for ongoing projects.

Each TCORS awardee will be required to participate in yearly Rapid Response Projects (RRPs) in years 2-5 of the award. Time sensitive topics for RRPs will be identified by NIH and FDA in collaboration with a Coordinating Center and TCORS Steering Committee. NIH and FDA will have final approval of all proposed and identified RRPs. The TCORS Administrative Core will be required to solicit, review, and select the RRP proposals put forth by their Center, and are also responsible for monitoring the progress of their TCORS RRPs.   

Rapid response projects will allow the exploration of novel, time-sensitive directions, especially those that might arise from changes in the tobacco product landscape, the progression of TCORS projects or opportunities that arise due to new and/or collaborative research opportunities. Collaborative projects, where feasible and when scientifically justified, may be across major Research Projects within a TCORS, across two or more TCORS, or with scientists outside the TCORS environment. TCORS are expected to capitalize on research capacity, investigator expertise, and the network of collaborations in assessing and responding to the research needs of the FDA CTP.

Beginning with the second year of the U54 TCORS award, applicants are required to set aside $200,000 in direct costs per year to use for RRPs, which will be reviewed by the Steering Committee for final approval by NIH and FDA.

Career Enhancement Core

There is continued need for investigators who have the quality and breadth of experience necessary to conduct cutting-edge research related to the regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products. As such TCORS are required to have a Career Enhancement Core that will provide exposure to and experience in Tobacco Regulatory Science (TRS). This core should focus on research experiences and related activities that will enhance development of TRS expertise, including aiding students, fellows, scholars, New and Early Stage Investigators, and investigators new to TRS on their path towards becoming independent TRS investigators. These activities should budget for dedicated pilot research studies, as well as travel to relevant conferences and to other TCORS for purposes of collaboration, learning and research opportunities. Note: All the activities proposed should be structured so that they not only benefit the development of both students and investigators TRS expertise, but also support and contribute to the overarching research goals of the TCORS.

Career/research enhancement activities are expected to include supervised research pilot studies. The studies may either fall within the overall theme of the TCORS (i.e., connecting to TCORS Research Projects) or be conducted as inter-TCORS collaborative studies. All proposed pilot projects will require prior approval from NIH and FDA CTP to assess responsiveness to FDA CTP Tobacco Regulatory Authorities before any expenditure of funds and/or work on the pilot project is initiated.

A unique opportunity is afforded the TCORS program to create collegial and collaborative networks among the TCORS investigators. TCORS are expected to develop mechanisms for establishing these networks and for sharing resources for development of TRS expertise, including existing curricula/courses, research opportunities, and the expertise of established investigators.

Self-standing institutional training/education/career development programs are NOT appropriate for this core and must not be proposed. For example, TCORS cannot support institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) programs, such as T32 training grants.

Other Cores

TCORS may propose additional Cores as needed and justified (e.g., data, biospecimens, statistical, etc.).

Special Considerations

Applicants should keep the following special considerations in mind as they prepare their applications:

  • Data Harmonization for Tobacco Regulatory Research via the PhenX Toolkit: NIH and FDA encourage investigators involved in human-subjects studies to employ a common set of tools and resources that will promote the collection of comparable data across studies and to do so by incorporating the measures from the Core and Specialty collections, which are available in the Tobacco Regulatory Research Collection of the PhenX Toolkit (www.phenxtoolkit.org).
  • Tobacco Industry Funding of Applicants: The FDA CTP has adopted the following guidance regarding tobacco industry funding of applicants responding to this FOA.
  • The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) has set forth points with regard to existing or prospective sponsored research agreements with tobacco companies or their related entities and the impact of acceptance of tobacco industry funding on NIDA's credibility and reputation within the scientific community. Please see (https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/advisory-boards-groups/national-advisory-council-drug-abuse-nacda/council-statements/points-to-consider-regarding-tobacco-industry-funding-nida) for details. While this guidance was originally issued for NIDA applicants, it is relevant for all applications submitted under this FOA.
  • Recommended Guidelines for the Administration of Drugs to Human Subjects: NACDA also recognizes the importance of research involving the administration of drugs with abuse potential, and dependence or addiction liability, to human subjects. Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain and review these recommendations of Council before submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects. The guidelines are available on NIDA's Web site at https://www.drugabuse.gov/funding/clinical-research/nacda-guidelines-administration-drugs-to-human-subjects
  • All participants at TCORS grantee meetings may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement of non-public information presented and discussed and all participants may be required to provide financial disclosure that will be included in participant information.

Note: Interested applicant institutions should be aware that multiple applications in response to this FOA and the CASEL FOA (RFA-OD-17-002) can be submitted.

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

Renewal

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon funding availability, the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications, and programmatic priority.

NIH, via support from the FDA Center for Tobacco products (CTP), intends to fund up to 10 TCORS, corresponding to a total of up to $40 million, for fiscal year 2018. Future year amounts will depend on availability of funds.

Award Budget

A U54 center may not exceed $4 million in total costs per year. 

Award Project Period

 Applicants may request a project period of up to five years.  

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

The Center PD(s)/PI(s) should be (an) expert(s) in tobacco research, with, at minimum, R01-equivalent research experience, and ideally with experience successfully leading large multi-disciplinary Research Projects. The PD(s)/PI(s) should make substantial time and effort commitments and demonstrate willingness to coordinate/collaborate within the proposed Center (that is, across the Center components) and across the TCORS program (that is, among the Centers funded under this FOA, as well as a coordination center and NIH and FDA staff).

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

A button to access the online ASSIST system 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.

Most applicants will use NIH’s ASSIST system to prepare and submit applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications prepared and submitted using applicant systems capable of submitting electronic multi-project applications to Grants.gov will also be accepted.

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, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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.

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

Letter of Intent

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

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged 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:

Tobacco Regulatory Science Program
Office of Disease Prevention
6100 Executive Blvd.
Room 3B01, MSC 7530
Bethesda, MD 20892-7530 (use Rockville, MD 20852 for Express Mail)
Telephone: 301-451-7464
Fax: 301-480-2230
Email: TRSP@nih.gov

Page Limitations

Component Types Available in ASSIST

Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

Overall

12

Project (use for Research Projects)

12

Admin Core (use for Administrative Core including RRP)

6

Career Enhancement (use for Enhancement  Core)

6

Center Named Core (use for Other Core(s)

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
  • Research Projects: a minimum of 3 required
  • Administrative core: required; maximum of 1
  • Career Enhancement Core: required
  • Center-Named Core(s): optional
Overall Component

When preparing your application in ASSIST, 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. The title of the application should reflect the Integrative Theme of the TCORS.

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. The following additional guidance applies.

Project Summary/Abstract: The Project Summary/Abstract should include the overall goals for the TCORS and clearly state the Integrative Theme that unifies the center. Also include a description of the Research Projects and how they collectively address at least 2 of the Scientific Domains outlined in the Funding Opportunity Description.

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.

Key personnel of the CASEL award (RFA-OD-17-002) may not be the same as key personnel of a TCORS upon award.

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:  Describe the overall goals of the TCORS, including the integration of its components.  Include a description of the Integrative Theme that focuses the TCORS, and make explicit the Scientific Domains that are addressed across the Research Projects. The Specific Aims attachment should also articulate how the TCORS and the Research Projects will inform the FDA's regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health.  

Research Strategy:  Describe the overall vision for the TCORS and explain the significance of the chosen Integrative Theme in relation to FDA's regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health. Describe the required components, that is, a minimum of three Research Projects, an Administrative Core, and a Career Enhancement Core, as well as any Center-named Cores that the TCORS elects to include. Describe how the components and each Research Project's goals and outcomes relate to the common unifying theme that integrates the TCORS. Describe the Scientific Domains that the Research Projects collectively address (a minimum of two Scientific Domains required per TCORS), explicating which Scientific Domains are addressed by each Research Project. Describe how the chosen Scientific Domains play to the strengths of the research team.

It is incumbent upon investigators to justify their choice of thematic focus, articulate the gap areas, and explicitly state how the proposed TCORS will inform the research priorities identified in this FOA.

Letters of Support: Are optional. If included, there should be convincing evidence of the applicant institution's commitment to the TCORS. For TCORS with involvement of multiple geographic sites all institutions involved may wish to provide documentation of their commitment to the TCORS.

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.

Appendix:

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

PHS Assignment Request Form (Overall)

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

Research Projects

When preparing your application in ASSIST, 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 Projects)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project. Start each title, as appropriate, with "Research Project 1:" or "Research Project 2: or "Research Project 3:"
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates. At  least 3 Research Projects must be active at all times
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Research Projects)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Research Projects)

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 Summary/Abstract: Provide a Project Summary/Abstract narrative for the proposed Research Project that includes the project goals, how it addresses the selected Integrative Theme of the TCORS, and which of the Scientific Domains are addressed by the project outcomes. Note: each Research Project must address at least 1 of the Scientific Domains outlined in the Funding Opportunity Description, whereas collectively the TCORS must address no fewer than 2 Scientific Domains.

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 Projects)

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 Projects)
  • 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.
  • Key personnel of the CASEL award (RFA-OD-17-002) may not be the same as key personnel of a TCORS upon award.
Budget (Research Projects)

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 Projects)

Specific Aims: Outline the Specific Aims of the proposed Research Project, including hypotheses.  Explain how the Research Project fits into the overall Integrative Theme of the TCORS, and which Scientific Domain(s) it addresses. A description of how the Specific Aims will aid in the development and/or evaluation of tobacco product regulations is strongly advised.

Research Strategy:

Use Sub-Sections A-D defined below to describe the Research Project. Explain clearly in relevant sub-sections how the project conforms to the general requirements outlined in Section I (Funding Opportunity Description), including its relevance to the overarching Integrative Theme, how it addresses at least one of the required Scientific Domains, and any of listed FDA research priorities that might be addressed. The Research Project should provide a clear description of its major goals, objectives, and how it integrates with the other Research Projects and/or Center components.

In addition to the standard items covered by applicable instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, address the following aspects in sub-sections A-D:

Sub-Section A: Significance. Describe the central problem/hypothesis being addressed and the premise for the Research Project. Describe how the proposed outcomes will contribute to meeting the goals and objectives of the TCORS and its Integrative Theme. Indicate the Research Project's relevance to the Scientific Domain(s) being addressed, and any research priorities of the FDA CTP. Include a description of how the outcomes will improve scientific knowledge and/or technical capacity related to the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.

Sub-Section B: Rationale. Include any data and rationale supporting the proposed hypotheses and/or outcomes of the Research Project. Include any relevant original research preliminary data, including data that addresses feasibility, validity of models or methods, and/or rationale for the hypotheses being tested. Regardless of the availability of applicant-generated preliminary data, the concepts for the proposed projects must be well developed and rigorous. The Research Project is expected to be supported by a strong rationale that is based on integrating to the extent possible the available relevant information from various sources.

Sub-Section C: Innovation. Describe how the Research Project may challenge or seek to shift current research in the field of tobacco regulatory science. Include any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, or instrumentation proposed. Describe how the outcomes of the Research Project will provide new information to further develop the knowledge base that informs the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products in order to protect public health.

Sub-Section D: Approach. Describe the specific strategies and methods that are being proposed, and explain the rationale for selecting the methods to accomplish the Specific Aims of the project. List the anticipated measures, referencing any proposed PhenX Toolkit measures or other standardized, validated, or consensus measures where appropriate. Describe the research design, conceptual procedures, and analyses to be used. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims. As part of this section, provide a tentative sequence or timetable for the project.

Letters of Support: Are optional. If included, there should be convincing evidence of the applicant institution's commitment to the TCORS.  For TCORS with involvement of multiple geographic sites all institutions involved may wish to provide documentation of their commitment to the TCORS.

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.

Appendix:

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

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report (Research Projects)

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

Administrative Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, 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 ‘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.
  • Key personnel of the CASEL award (RFA-OD-17-002) may not be the same as key personnel of a TCORS upon award.

Budget (Administrative Core)

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

Rapid Response Projects: Funds should be allocated for the RRPs in grant funding years 2, 3, 4 and 5 for use by the TCORS and investigators for scientific projects and associated activities for the development of RRPs. Allocated budget funds for identified projects should not exceed $200,000 in direct costs within any grant year (2-5). These projects will be decided by the TCORS Steering Committee in consultation with NIH and FDA program officials. NIH and FDA will retain ultimate authority over decisions allocating these funds.

U54 Center applicants must budget appropriate funds to support travel of investigators to the investigator meetings. Investigator meetings will be convened twice per year throughout the project to consider, as appropriate, common data elements, cross-site projects, and RRPs.  The meetings will also provide opportunities to share scientific information, assess scientific progress and identify new research opportunities. For purposes of budget planning, two 2-day meetings each year are anticipated - at least one meeting per year will be held in the Washington, DC metro area. The first meeting will occur in the Washington, DC metro area within 6 months from issuing awards.  The second meeting should be budgeted as if grantees were travelling to an opposite coast where the Center is located, within the continental United States.

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 Specific Aims of the Administrative Core, including the goals and strategies for managing and integrating the TCORS, its components, and the Rapid Response Projects.

Research Strategy:  The Administrative Core is expected to oversee the overall administration, coordination and management of the TCORS. Use sub-sections A-B defined below to describe the following elements:

Sub-Section A: Administrative Structure:

Articulate the process for management of the TCORS, including communication, coordination, and where appropriate, collaboration across the TCORS' Research Projects and Cores. In instances where multiple geographic sites are involved, a clear plan for communications and research activities across the sites should be provided. Additionally, describe how the Administrative Core will facilitate communication and collaboration with other funded TCORS and NIH and FDA staff.

This must include the following elements:

(a) an overall programmatic structure that effectively promotes scientific interactions, provides for internal quality control of research and publications, and takes maximum advantage of the TCORS’ research capability (the description of these attributes is particularly important when there are multiple participating institutions in the TCORS);

(b) an administrative organization that has clear lines of authority, is managed efficiently and cost effectively, and enables effective use and leverage of resources;

(c) the use of an external advisory structure that is charged to provide appropriate and objective advice and evaluation, as needed, to the TCORS;

(d) an internal advisory, decision-making, and priority setting process to support the activities of the TCORS.

Sub-Section B: Rapid Response Projects:

It is expected each TCORS will participate in rapid response projects (RRPs) in years 2 through 5 of the award. RRP topics, solely identified by the NIH, FDA and the TCORS Steering Committee members, will require grantees to respond and provide time-sensitive input, thus allowing for further exploration of new and important areas that arise in the scientific research arena in tobacco regulatory science. Identified topics will be those deemed to require additional and specific research to supplement existing knowledge in the tobacco regulatory sciences.

Investigators should not propose specific RRPs in the application, but should include the following elements:

(a) describe their vision on how such projects may be solicited, assessed and prioritized;  

(b) explain their capacity to respond to yearly calls for RRPs and the expertise that the TCORS can contribute;

(c) address the process the TCORS will follow to gather input and feedback addressing the identified topic(s) utilizing team member's expertise; 

(d) describe the process for monitoring and reporting RRP progress.

Letters of Support: Are optional. If included, there should be convincing evidence of the applicant institution's commitment to the TCORS.  For TCORS with involvement of multiple geographic sites all institutions involved may wish to provide documentation of their commitment to the TCORS.

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.

Appendix:

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

     PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report (Administrative Core)

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

Career Enhancement Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Enhancement Core.’

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Career Enhancement 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 (Career Enhancement Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Career Enhancement 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) (Career Enhancement 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 (Career Enhancement 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. 
  • Key personnel of the CASEL award (RFA-OD-17-002) may not be the same as key personnel of a TCORS upon award.

Budget (Career Enhancement 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 (Career Enhancement Core)

Specific Aims:  Provide the specific aims for the Career Enhancement Core that will facilitate and enhance the development of investigators' research expertise in Tobacco Regulatory Science  

Research Strategy:  Describe how this Core will support research-related activities that will facilitate and enhance research expertise in Tobacco Regulatory Science, including aiding new and early career investigators on their path towards becoming independent investigators.

Address (at a minimum) the following aspects, explaining clearly how proposed research experiences and related activities will enhance development of TRS expertise of students, New and Early Stage Investigators, and investigators new to TRSP:

  • Plans for supervised research activities for students, New and Early Stage investigators at the TCORS that will enhance their research capabilities in Tobacco Regulatory Science.
  • Plans for career enhancement pilot projects should include the following:
  • Justification for how these pilot projects will provide investigators with exposure to and experience in Tobacco Regulatory Science;
  • Explanation of how the pilot studies will be solicited/developed and screened for responsiveness to FDA CTP regulatory authorities

Other relevant strategies and activities to enhance research capabilities of students, New and Early Stage investigators in tobacco regulatory science may also be described, especially those that may help these investigators obtain independent research funding to sustain their future research. Examples of such activities include acquiring specific scientific skills or generally needed skills (like grants writing skills, manuscript writing) for a research career incorporating Tobacco Regulatory Science. Applicants may propose potential rotations to other TCORS or other cross-TCORS collaborations to provide enhanced research experience and conduct collaborative pilot projects.

Note that all proposed pilot projects must be approved for responsiveness to FDA CTP regulatory authorities by NIH and FDA prior to implementation and any expenditure of funds.

Letters of Support: Are optional. If included, there should be convincing evidence of the applicant institution’s commitment to the TCORS. For TCORS with involvement of multiple geographic sites all institutions involved may wish to provide documentation of their commitment to the TCORS.

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.

Appendix:

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

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report (Career Enhancement Core)

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

Center Named Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Center Named Core.’

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

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Center Named Core)

Describe the specific aims of the additional Center-Named Cores that may be a part of the TCORS. Each Center-Named Core must have a separate specific aims page. 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 (Center Named Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Center Named 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) (Center Named 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 (Center Named Core)

ASSIST will default to “Project Lead”. If you would like to use a different category, then replace “Project Lead” below with a different Category (e.g., Core Lead).

  • 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.
  • Key personnel of the CASEL award (RFA-OD-17-002) may not be the same as key personnel of a TCORS upon award.

Budget (Center Named 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 (Center Named Core)

Specific Aims: Describe the specific aims of the additional Center-Named Cores that may be a part of the TCORS.

Research Strategy: Where justified, an application may propose shared technical, statistical and/or laboratory resources, creating a core for centralized management (e.g., data, biospecimens, etc.). The justification for the need of a core service or resource should be clearly stated, along with the scientific and technical merit of the proposed core. The function of the core and how it will serve the TCORS must be described clearly. The core director(s) must be appropriately trained, qualified and well suited for the core activities proposed and must commit sufficient time and effort.   

Letters of Support: Are optional. If included, there should be convincing evidence of the applicant institution’s commitment to the TCORS. For TCORS with involvement of multiple geographic sites all institutions involved may wish to provide documentation of their commitment to the TCORS.

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.

Appendix:

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

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report (Center Named Core)

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

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.

Awards funded under this FOA are not subject to SNAP authorities and do not have authority for the carryover of unobligated balances from budget period to any subsequent budget period without prior written approval from NIH. Special reporting requirements also apply, as described in Section VI.3. Reporting.

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

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) 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 FDA and components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program by email at TRSP@nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact - Overall

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

Scored Review Criteria - 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 project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance
Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or 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?  

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research in the field of tobacco science as it relates to the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, or instrumentation proposed? Will the outcomes of the project provide new information to further develop the knowledge base that informs the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products in order to protect public health?

Approach

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

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

Environment

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

Additional Review Criteria - Overall

As applicable for the TCORSt 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.

The overall TCORS will be evaluated as an integrated research effort. The review will assess the level of merit of the TCORS as an integrated effort, including the following criteria:

Center Coordination and Synergy:

  • Is the Integrative Theme of the proposed Center clearly evident across Research Projects?
  • Are TCORS Scientific Domains clearly specified?
  • Is there evidence of the proposed Center's coordination/collaboration across the TCORS components (Cores, Research Projects)?
  • Are there advantages of conducting the proposed research as a center program rather than through separate research efforts? Will the research efforts taken together have more impact on the field than each separate project conducted in isolation? Will the research proposed in individual projects be enhanced by the Center?
  • Are timelines and milestones in-place that will allow an evaluation of progress to be made?

Research Potential to Inform Regulatory Decision Making:

Does the applicant clearly describe how Center Research Project outcomes and findings would inform potential regulatory decision-making?

Career Enhancement Plan:

Can the proposed career enhancement core adequately provide the expertise, resources, and institutional commitment to students and investigators and move them towards independent careers in tobacco regulatory science? Have they provided adequate plans for networking and collaboration?

Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

Not Applicable.

Additional Review Considerations - Overall

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable.

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

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

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 the Center for Scientific Review 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 on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. 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.

Awards funded under this FOA are not subject to SNAP authorities and do not have authority for the carryover of unobligated balances from budget period to any subsequent budget period without prior written approval from NIH.  Special reporting requirements also apply, as described in Section VI.3. Reporting.

Prior Approval of Pilot Projects

Awardee-selected projects that involve clinical trials or studies involving greater than minimal risk to human subjects require prior approval by NIH prior to initiation. 

All career enhancement pilot projects will require FDA CTP and NIH approval prior to initiation and expenditure of funds on the project. To request approval, the TCORS must submit a document with the following information to TRSP@mail.nih.gov:

  • •   TCORS Institution
  • •   Title of Proposed Study
  • •   Project PI and Co-PI
  • •   Pilot Project PI Status (should be one of the following):
  • Assistant Professor  
  • Associate Professor  
  • Professor 
  • Graduate student and name of supervisor(s)
  • Post-doctoral trainee and name of supervisor(s)
  • Other (please specify)
  • •   Proposed Period of Study - include start and end dates
  • •   Total Funds Requested
  • •   A narrative similar to the specific aims page in an NIH grant application that includes:
  • A brief background of the project
  • Specific aims, objectives, or hypotheses
  • Significance and relevance of the proposed research to FDA CTP’s regulatory
  •     authority

All pilot project research must remain within scope of the approved pilot proposal and FDA CTP regulatory authorities.

Rapid Response Projects

Starting in the second award year, NIH and FDA will solicit Rapid Response Research Projects (RRP) to address high priority research questions. Prior to submission of a full proposal, TCORS will be required to submit an initial summary of the proposed project for NIH and FDA to review for responsiveness to FDA CTP's regulatory authority and the research questions posed in the RRP solicitation. Upon NIH and FDA approval of the proposed RRP, the TCORS will then submit a full proposal for the RRP to be reviewed by the TCORS Steering Committee. Work within an RRP must always remain within scope of FDA CTP's regulatory authorities and the RRP solicitation. Information to be requested in the proposed project summaries and full proposals will be included in the RRP solicitations.

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 http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

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 NIH and FDA as defined below.

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

  • Defining objectives and approaches for individual research activities;
  • Overseeing the planning and conducting of studies for their research projects, data analyses and interpretation;
  • Ensuring the conducted research remains within the scope of the regulatory authority of the FDA CTP;
  • Ensuring and overseeing timely results reporting, including preparation and publication of scientifically rigorous manuscripts and dissemination of relevant findings by other appropriate means to the broad public;
  • Serving as voting members of the TCORS Steering Committee and participating in relevant subcommittees;
  • Attending the semi-annual Investigator Meetings;
  • Accepting and implementing priorities, procedures, and policies agreed upon by the TCORS Steering Committee to the extent consistent with applicable grant regulations;
  • Overseeing the implementation for their respective research projects of the common processes and procedures approved by the TCORS Steering Committee;
  • Informing the NIH Program Official of plans to change or modify any project’s specific aims or research strategy, and obtaining receipt of NIH and FDA approvals prior to the implementation of changes and expenditure of funds;
  • Participating in the development of rapid response projects and their evaluation (through membership in TCORS Steering Committee);
  • Participating, as appropriate, in the conduct of rapid response projects approved by the TCORS Steering Committee and NIH and FDA using funds set-aside in the U54 budget;
  • Cooperating with the other PDs/PIs, and with Federal staff members in various joint activities; examples include: research collaborations and working groups;
  • Coordinating, as needed, activities associated with individual research projects with those of an NIH-FDA designated Coordinating Center; and
  • Cooperating with the Federal staff members and/or external evaluators in the course of an evaluation process.
  • 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 and FDA staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

Designated NIH Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) scientific staff, acting as a Project Coordinator, will have the following responsibilities reflecting substantial scientific-programmatic involvement:

  • Serving as voting member of the TCORS Steering Committee;
  • Providing technical assistance, advice, and coordination of efforts to awardees;
  • Identifying and providing relevant content expertise on behalf of NIH and FDA to the individual research projects, and serving in a liaison role;
  • Cooperating with the PDs/PIs to support the research and dissemination of findings of the individual projects;
  • Serving as a liaison between the TCORS Steering Committee and NIH and FDA;
  • Assisting the TCORS Steering Committee in developing and drafting operating policies and policies for dealing with recurring situations that require coordinated action;
  • Reviewing (together with NIH and FDA program officials) the progress of each participating institution and compliance with the components to collaborative efforts; and
  • Participating in trans-TCORS working groups and committees, as appropriate.

Designated NIH scientific staff, acting as the Project Collaborators, will have the following responsibilities reflecting substantial scientific-programmatic involvement:

  • Reviewing the scientific progress of individual awardees;
  • Reviewing the compliance of individual awardees with the operating policies developed by the TCORS Steering Committee;
  • Notifying, as warranted, the TCORS Steering Committee and the appropriate NIH offices concerning failure of the research projects or the Coordinating Center to adhere to policies established by the TCORS Steering Committee;
  • Providing advice and technical assistance regarding the conduct of research; and
  • Participating in trans-TCORS working groups as appropriate

NIH reserves the right to recommend withholding support, suspension, or termination of a U54 award for lack of scientific progress, failure to adhere to policies established by the TCORS Steering Committee, or substantial breech to the Terms of the Award.

In addition, an NIH IC Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

Designated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) scientific staff, acting as Project Coordinator, will have the following responsibilities reflecting substantial scientific-programmatic involvement:

  • Serving as voting member of the TCORS Steering Committee;
  • Providing technical assistance, scientific input and coordination of efforts to awardees;
  • Identifying and providing relevant content expertise to the individual research projects, as needed;
  • Cooperating with the PDs/PIs to support the research and dissemination of findings of the individual projects;
  • Assisting the TCORS Steering Committee in developing and drafting operating policies and policies for dealing with recurring situations that require coordinated action; and
  • Reviewing (together with NIH program officials) the progress of each participating institution and compliance with the components to collaborative efforts. 

The Government, via the NIH and FDA Project Coordinators, Project Collaborators and Program Officials, will have access to data generated under this Cooperative Agreement through grantee meetings and progress reports. Federal staff may use information obtained from the data for the preparation of internal reports on the activities of the study. 

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

TCORS Steering Committee

Roles. The TCORS Steering Committee will be the main governing body for this initiative and will provide input on scientific matters. The TCORS Steering Committee members will provide scientific and technical input into discussions of pooled and collaborative research projects where relevant.

The TCORS Steering Committee, in partnership with NIH and FDA members, will monitor the progress of these projects, facilitate common data sharing and group publications and evaluate the merit of all proposed pilot projects and identify common resources to support such efforts.

Composition. The TCORS Steering Committee for this initiative will consist of the following voting members:

  • A representative of each U54 award who will have one vote for the U54 they represent;
  • One representative of a Coordinating Center; and
  • The NIH Coordinator and one IC representative from each participating IC will each have one vote
  • The FDA Coordinator who will have one vote for the FDA.

Co-chairs of the TCORS Steering Committee must be a U54 PI.

All Awardees will be required to accept and implement policies approved by the TCORS Steering Committee to the extent of corresponding grant regulations.

NIH staff will maintain authority on all matters regarding funding or expenditure of funds.

Subcommittees. The TCORS Steering Committee may establish subcommittees or workgroups to provide input on specific matters as needed. The NIH and FDA Project Scientists/Coordinators will serve on subcommittees or task forces, as they deem appropriate. Subcommittees or task forces may also include other representatives from NIH or FDA as non-voting members of the TCORS Steering Committee. The TCORS Steering Committee may invite additional, non-voting scientific advisors to the meetings. NIH reserves the right to augment the scientific expertise of the TCORS Steering Committee as it deems necessary.

Meetings. The TCORS Steering Committee will meet in person twice each year at locations selected by the TCORS Steering Committee in consultation with NIH and FDA as part of the semi-annual Investigators Meetings. In addition, the TCORS Steering Committee will meet regularly by conference call. The PD/PI of the Coordinating Center, and the PD/PI, and a senior investigator from each center must attend every in-person meeting of the TCORS Steering Committee, and the PD/PI or a senior investigator from each center award must participate in all conference calls as appropriate. The TCORS Steering Committee may invite additional individuals to participate at the semi-annual Investigators Meetings.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and 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 TCORS 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.Not Applicable

3. Reporting

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

An Interim Report will be due at the end of six (6) months follow the project start date.  Electronic copies should be sent to the Grants Management Specialist listed on the Notice of Grant Award. The Interim Report will use the Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report; PHS 2590 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm).  The Interim Progress Report should include: Form Page 1, Form Page 1-Continuation, Project/Performance Site Format Page - use only if additional space is needed; Form Page 5: Progress Report Summary, and Continuation Page as needed.  The scientific summary should be a maximum of two (2) pages.

When submitting Interim Progress Reports for your TCORS, provide a separate Progress Report Summary (Form Page 5 and continuation page if necessary) for each project and core in the grant. The Progress Report Summary for each project and core should not exceed two pages. Tables and figures that summarize key accomplishments are not counted in the two-page limit. Inclusion enrollment reports, detailed budgets, and other PHS 2590 forms not listed above are not required.

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

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

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Kay Wanke, PhD, MPH
Office of Disease Prevention (ODP)
Telephone: 301-451-1856
Email: Kay.Wanke@nih.gov

Rachel Grana Mayne, PhD, MPH
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5899
Email: Rachel.Grana@nih.gov

Lisa Postow, PhD
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-0202
Email: Lisa.Postow@nih.gov

Mary Kautz, PhD
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-443-3206
Email: Mary.Kautz@nih.gov

Fred Tyson, PhD
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-0176
Email: Fred.Tyson@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Samuel Edwards, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Telephone: 301-435-1246
Email: edwardss@csr.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Carol Perry
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 250-276-6282
Email: Carol.Perry@nih.gov

Jayanthi Regunathan
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-8048
Email: jayanthi.regunathan@nih.gov

Amy Bucheimer
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-827-6694
Email: Amy.Bucheimer@nih.gov

Michelle Victalino
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-316-4666
Email: Michelle.Victalino@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. The awards under this FOA will be administered by NIH using funds that have been made available through FDA CTP and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31).

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