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)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers.  The NIH Office above may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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

Maximizing the Scientific Value of Existing Biospecimen Collections (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • August 23, 2019 - Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-137.
  • July 26, 2019 - Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research. See Notice NOT-OD-19-128.
  • July 10, 2019 - Notice of Pre-Application Webinar and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for RFA-OD-19-021 . See Notice NOT-OD-19-115.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-OD-19-021

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-OD-19-022, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Grant

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

 93.077

Funding Opportunity Purpose

 The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite R21 applications to stimulate exploratory research relevant to the mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) using existing (publicly available) biospecimens currently stored in repositories in the United States. This will include, but not be limited to, collections associated with the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC), and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.   Proposed research should seek to maximize the scientific value of these stored collections and to provide researchers with an opportunity to generate preliminary data for subsequent research proposals. While other publicly available repositories  would be considered, depending on analyses to be conducted, nationally representative analyses will receive priority.  These applications need to provide justification why the data set is unique, and the research questions cannot be answered from a publicly available, nationally representative, data set.

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. Research Projects must address the research priorities related to the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).

Key Dates
Posted Date

July 8, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 9, 2019

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

60 days prior to the application due date.  Please note, although LOIs are typically due 30 days before the due date, for this FOA LOIs are due 60 days prior to the application date.

Application Due Date(s)

 October 8, 2019, August 7, 2020, March 8, 2021), by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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

February/March 2020, October/November 2020, June/July 2021

Advisory Council Review

May 2020, January 2021, August 2021

Earliest Start Date

July 2020, April 2021, September 2021

Expiration Date

March 9, 2021

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


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

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

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.
  4. 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

    Purpose

    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite R21 applications to stimulate exploratory research relevant to the mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) using existing (publicly available) biospecimens currently stored in repositories in the United States. Including, but not limited to, collections associated with the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC), and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. Aiming to maximize the scientific value of these stored collections and to provide researchers with an opportunity to generate preliminary data for subsequent research proposals. Other publicly available datasets would be considered, depending on analyses to be conducted, but nationally representative analyses will receive priority.  These applications need to provide justification why the data set is unique and the research questions cannot be answered from a publicly available, nationally representative, data set.

    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.

    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:   https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/rules-regulations-and-guidance/family-smoking-prevention-and-tobacco-control-act-overview.

    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.

    Program Scope and Research Objectives

    The above-mentioned biorepositories were initially established to support the need for researcher access to biospecimens collected in research projects for addressing multiple emerging medical, environmental, and public health issues and concerns.  These biorepositories are valuable scientific resources that house a collection of blood (serum and plasma), urine, and buccal cells, to name a few types of biospecimens, that may be used to assess biological markers of tobacco-related exposures and changes over time in measures of tobacco use-related harm and exposure. 

    Science will provide information to the FDA, which will be used for the regulation of the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products in order to reduce the public health toll from tobacco product use in the United States.

    Biospecimen Availability

    Below are examples of biorepositories that are linked to their study data and contain biospecimens that may be relevant to this FOA.

    These websites provide detailed information about the parent study, research use restrictions specified by the informed consent document of the parent study, and the number and material type of the biospecimens in the collection. Directions to requests to search for biospecimens with specific characteristics are provided in the respective websites.  The request to search for biospecimens from a specific collection(s) may be initiated at any time but must be initiated at least 30 days prior to the FOA Application Due Date that the applicant proposes to use.  Confirmation of this must be provided in the application. Given that the time to complete a search and provide a Letter of Availability varies due to the respective study protocols, complexity of a search and/or the necessity to perform additional searches, applicants should ensure they allow adequate time for a search to be performed and confirmed. 

    Supplemental Biospecimens

    Biospecimen samples from other existing research studies may be pooled with another biospecimen collection if the research question(s) cannot be fully addressed using only biospecimens available through above mentioned biorepositories.   For example inclusion of biospecimens from ongoing NHLBI supported population studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, Jackson Heart Study, or the Strong Heart Study (consult the NHLBI website for an overview). The application should justify the inclusion of use of the existing biospecimen collection(s) and mixing of biospecimen collections.

    Existing biospecimen repositories provide unique opportunities to better understand biological indicators of tobacco-related exposures and changes over time in measures of tobacco use-related harm and exposure. Specifically, this FOA is interested in, but not limited to the below scientific interest  areas.  These are only examples and are not meant to be an exhaustive list. Applicants can propose other research consistent with the mission of FDA-CTP.

    SCIENTIFIC INTEREST AREAS

    Applicants must conduct at least one new lab measurement from existing biospecimens, but might also combine the new measurements with pre-existing biospecimen data.

    • Compare biomarkers of tobacco exposure and potential harm related to use of non-cigarette tobacco products across surveys;
    • Identify and develop biomarkers of harm and exposure unique to new and emerging non-cigarette tobacco products (both tobacco specific and flavor specific), including but not limited to e-cigarettes;
    • Examine the effect of chronic exposure to waterpipe tobacco smoke/hookah on biomarkers of inflammation and other harm;
    • Utilize urinary specimens to analyze biomarkers of tobacco exposure not currently measured by other national studies in urine, but on the Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents (e.g., aromatic amines, proxies for benzo[a]pyrene) list;
    • Utilize blood specimens to analyze biomarkers of tobacco exposure not currently measured by other national studies, including those on the FDA Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents (e.g., carboxyhemoglobin, lead, and other toxic metals) list;
    • Examine alterations in genetic and epigenetic markers associated with exposure to tobacco products, including comparison of new products (e.g., e-cigarettes - including closed systems and tank systems - and heat not burn tobacco) to traditional cigarettes, cigarillo, cigar use, and smokeless tobacco products, and in combusted and non-combusted tobacco products;
    • Examine the health effects of transitioning from combusted to non-combusted tobacco use, using biomarker outcomes;
    • Prospectively compare biomarker expression profiles to self-reported tobacco products use and analyze measures associated with biomarkers of exposure that may inform risk associated with tobacco exposure for mortality/morbidity by age, sex, and race/ethnicity;
    • Assess between-persons differences and within-person changes over time in attitudes, behaviors, exposure to tobacco products, and related biomarkers among and within population sub-groups identified by such characteristics as race-ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and/or time in the United States or by risk factors, such as pregnancy or co-occurring substance use or mental health disorders or by disease status; and
    • Identify and examine biomarkers of harm and exposure between dual and poly-tobacco users, including but not limited to ENDs and combusted tobacco products.

    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 non-responsive:

    • Applications that do not use existing data/biospecimens
    • Applications focusing on non-tobacco products
    • Short-term studies of the acute effects of reduced nicotine content cigarettes
    • Studies of short-term health effects and/or acute topography/clinical pharmacology testing of early generation ENDS products.

    Projects must propose research aims that are within the regulatory authority of FDA CTP and the scientific interest areas identified in this FOA in order to be considered responsive to this FOA.

    Research proposed in applications from foreign institutions must be specific to the United States population and provide information that will be useful to United States regulations. As such, 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/

    Special Considerations

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

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

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

    Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

    Application Types Allowed

    New
    Resubmission

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

    Clinical Trial?

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

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    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 7 R21s, corresponding to a total of up to $1.5  million, for fiscal year 2020.  Future year amounts will depend on availability of funds.

    Award Budget

    The combined budget for direct costs for the entire project period may not exceed $275,000.  No more than $200,000 in direct cost may be requested in any single year.  

    Award Project Period

     The maximum project period is 2 years. 

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

    Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible Organizations

    Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

    Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

    For-Profit Organizations

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

    Governments

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

    Other

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

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are  eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are  eligible to apply.
    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are  allowed.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

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

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM)– Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
    • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons.  Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
    • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

    2. Cost Sharing

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

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

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

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

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

    The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    It is critical that applicants follow the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

    Letter of Intent

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

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

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

    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    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

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

    Instructions for Application Submission

    The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

    SF424(R&R) Cover

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

    SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

    SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

    SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

    R&R or Modular Budget

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

    R&R Subaward Budget

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

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan

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

    Research Strategy: The research strategy must explicitly state how the expected results will inform tobacco product regulatory activities and actions.

    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. The research findings generated from this FOA may be used to provide scientific evidence informing the regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health.  If the research data are cited publicly in support of regulation, institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as outlined in 2 CFR 200 (http://gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2015-title2-vol1/pdf/CFR-2015-title2-vol1-part200.pdf ) and the NIH

    Grants Policy Statement  (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2011/nihgps_ch2.htm#info_confidentiality).

    • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

    Appendix:

    Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

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

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

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

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

    PHS Assignment Request Form

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

    Foreign Institutions

    Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions.

    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). 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.

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

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

    Important reminders:

    All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

    The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

    Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, and responsiveness by FDA and components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant, and/or nonresponsive to the scientific interest areas identified in this FOA, and/or proposing work outside FDA-CTP's regulatory authority will not be reviewed.

    In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program by email at TRSP@mail.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. Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

    Section V. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria

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

    Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

    For this particular announcement, note the following:

    The R21 exploratory/developmental grant supports investigation of novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential for significant impact on biomedical or biobehavioral research. An R21 grant application need not have extensive background material or preliminary information. Accordingly, reviewers will emphasize the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required for R21 applications; however, they may be included if available.

    Overall Impact

    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

    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

    Does the project address an important issue or a critical barrier in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge and/or technical capability be improved? How will successful completion of the aims affect the concepts, methods, and technologies related to the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products?

    Investigator(s)

    Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?   

    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 included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects? 

    If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address

    1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and

    2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

     Additional Criteria Specific to this FOA:

    • Are the variables selected to define participant groups appropriate for fulfilling the specific aims of the study?
    • Are the types, numbers and volumes of biospecimens justified?
    • Have the proposed assays been validated for use with the specific types of biospecimens requested? Have sufficient preliminary data been presented to demonstrate accuracy and robustness of the proposed assays?  Have the investigators provided assay validation data?  If multiple assays are available for a proposed analyte, have the investigators justified their choice for using a particular assay? Have the investigators described the laboratory quality control plan and if so, is it adequate?
    • Have the investigators provided effect sizes and used power calculations to determine the sample sizes needed to detect significant effects for each aim? Did they state the power levels they wished to achieve with the proposed sample sizes?
    • Does the statistical analysis plan adequately describe the data that will be analyzed and the statistical methods that will be used? Does the plan address statistical issues germane to the research such as measurement error, multiple comparison testing, bias, interactions, and data adjustments?   Are individuals with sufficient expertise and experience proposed to conduct the data analyses?
    Environment

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

    Additional Review Criteria

    As applicable for the project 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.

    Protections for Human Subjects

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

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

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan 

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

    Vertebrate Animals

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

    Biohazards

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

    Resubmissions

    For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

    Renewals

    Not Applicable.

    Revisions

    Not Applicable.

    Additional Review Considerations

    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

    Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

    Select Agent Research

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

    Resource Sharing Plans

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

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

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

    Budget and Period of Support

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

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) 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.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

    For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.html; and https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html.  Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

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

    Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

    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.

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

    The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. A Mid-Period Progress Report will be due every six (6) months following the project start date, as well as the annual progress report.  Electronic copies should be sent to the Grants Management Specialist listed on the Notice of Grant Award. The scientific summary should be a maximum of two (2) pages.

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

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

    Application Submission Contacts

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

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

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

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

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

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

    Lisa Postow, PhD
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
    Telephone: 301-827-7843
    Email: postowl@nih.gov

    Abraham Bautista, PhD
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    Telephone: 301-443-9737
    Email: bautista@nih.gov

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

    Fred Tyson, PhD
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
    Telephone: 919-541-0176
    Email: tyson2@nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Jonathan Ivins, PhD
    Center of Scientific Review 
    Telephone: 301- 594-1245
    Email: ivinsj@csr.nih.gov

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Mutema Nyankale
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    Telephone: 240-276-5987
    Email: nyankalem@nih.gov

    Judy Sint
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
    Telephone: 301-480-1307
    Email: sintj@nih.gov

    Judy Fox
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    Telephone: 301-443-4704
    Email: jfox@nih.gov

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

    Michelle Victalino
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
    Telephone: 919-316-4666
    Email: victalinom@nih.gov

    Section VIII. Other Information

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

    Authority and Regulations

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

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