Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

The FOA will be administered by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) on behalf of the NIH.

Funding Opportunity Title
Emergency Awards RADx-RAD: Screening for COVID-19 by Electronic-Nose Technology (SCENT) (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code

U18 Research Demonstration – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

NOT-OD-20-144 - Notice of Intent to Publish Funding Opportunity Announcements for the RADx-rad Initiative

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-OD-20-017
Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-OD-20-019 - Emergency Awards: RADx-rad Data Coordination Center (DCC) (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

RFA-OD-20-020 - Emergency Awards RADx-RAD: Novel Biosensing for Screening, Diagnosis and Monitoring of COVID-19 From Skin and The Oral Cavity (R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

RFA-OD-20-021 - Emergency Awards RADx-RAD: Novel Biosensing for Screening, Diagnosis and Monitoring of COVID-19 From Skin and The Oral Cavity (Fast-Track STTR Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number), as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.310, 93.350, 93.838, 93.233, 93.837, 93.839, 93.840, 93.866, 93.273, 93.846, 93.286, 93.865, 93.121, 93.307, 93.879

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is issuing this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in response to the declared public health emergency issued by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency FOA provides an expedited funding mechanism as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Radical (RADx-rad) initiative.

Specifically, this FOA is seeking applications for a portable sensing device to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs, i.e., scents or odors) emanating from skin or exhaled breath, saliva and different oral tissues from the oral cavity. These sensing devices must be able to associate VOC patterns to patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19. These devices are expected to actively detect VOCs from skin and oral cavities of COVID-19 patients, without being invasive, or affecting the integrity of the skin and oral cavity. For VOC monitoring, these sensing devices can be Electronic-nose (E-nose) technology or Gas Chromatography (GC). Therefore, this program is called SCENT, which stands for Screening for COVID-19 by Electronic-Nose Technology. This FOA seeks to advance novel biosensing technologies that are innovative, safe, and effective using integrated artificial intelligent, pattern recognition and machine learning systems that would make it possible for the detection, diagnosis, prediction, and monitoring of COVID-19 in clinical, community and everyday settings.

This FOA requires multidisciplinary collaborations to ensure project success. Disciplines may include: biomedical engineers, material scientists, biosensing experts, software engineers, chemists, dentists, clinicians, virologists, clinical trialists, biostatisticians, data analysts and/or other relevant experts in academia and industry.

The funding for this initiative is provided from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, 2020.

Key Dates

Posted Date
August 06, 2020
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
August 16, 2020
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

August 18, 2020

Application Due Date(s)

September 18, 2020

 

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

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

 

 

Scientific Merit Review

October 2020

Advisory Council Review

Not Applicable to this Emergency Initiative

Earliest Start Date

November 30, 2020

Expiration Date
September 19, 2020
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in 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 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 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

NIH is issuing this FOA in response to the declared public health emergency issued by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency cooperative agreement funding opportunity announcement (FOA) provides an expedited funding mechanism as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Radical (RADx-rad) Initiative. The goal of RADx-rad is to solicit proposals for the development of novel, nontraditional approaches to identify the current SARS-C oV-2 virus or other markers of the COVID-19 disease that can be used in future outbreaks of COVID-19 and that could be applicable to other, as yet unknown, viruses. Specifically, this FOA seeks to fund a single cooperative agreement for a RADx-rad Data Coordination Center (DCC) to serve as a communication center and data hub for RADx-rad awardees. The funding for this award is provided from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, 2020.

Specifically, this initiative seeks to advance the development of novel, safe and effective biosensing and detection technologies for volatile organic compound (VOC) signatures of COVID-19 from human skin or the oral cavity. To this end, leveraging dedicated engineering and artificial intelligence systems is required. This initiative anticipates the implementation of such technologies in everyday settings and routines for detection, diagnosis, prediction, and monitoring of COVID-19 in clinical, community or applied settings. It is envisioned that these technologies will complement traditional virus and antibody detection to monitor the onset, progression, and resolution of COVID-19.

Because of the short program timeline, Quality by Design (QbD) principles must be leveraged in early research and development of SCENT technologies. A holistic strategy that accounts for end-state manufacturing, production, and usability is expected. Early identification of critical product attributes (e.g., comparable accuracy with the current standard, safety, portability, etc.) and process parameters (e.g., ruggedness of materials used in the device, but also built-in process analytical technologies to ensure acceptable device function) are required. Design of experiment (DoE) techniques is essential. These preclinical development strategies will increase the likelihood of success in meeting eventual clinical performance requirements.

The funding for this initiative is provided from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, 2020.

Background

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that has recently been identified as the causative agent of COVID-19, a respiratory disease that exhibits a wide range of clinical outcomes from asymptomatic and mild disease to severe viral pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), acute kidney injury, thrombotic disorders, and serious cardiac, cerebrovascular and vascular complications. On March 11, the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the WHO. Research is an important component of the public health emergency response before, during and after the emergency. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 diagnostic testing is critical for slowing the spread of the virus and preventing future outbreaks. Thus, there is an urgent public health need for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the development of a variety of approaches to testing.

Expanding the capacity, throughput, and regional placement of existing technologies and accelerating the development of new technologies will contribute significantly to the current national efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. To help meet this need, NIH launched the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. The RADx initiative is a national call for scientists and organizations to bring forward their innovative ideas for new COVID-19 testing approaches and strategies.

As a part of this program, the NIH developed the RADx Radical (RADx-rad) initiative. RADx-rad will support new, or non-traditional applications of existing approaches, to enhance their usability, accessibility, and/or accuracy. RADx-rad will be centrally aligned and coordinated to harmonize the data collection, storage, and management, providing an opportunity to further explore and identify additional approaches to understand this novel virus. Beyond the current crisis, it is anticipated that the technologies advanced through RADx-rad may also be applicable to other, yet unknown, infectious agents.

To centrally align and coordinate RADx-rad projects to harmonize the data collection, storage, and management, the Data Coordination Center (DCC) will be established to serve as the “hub” in a hub-and spoke organizational framework within the funded RADx-rad research and development projects serving as spokes. In turn, the DCC will serve as a spoke in the larger NIH RADx initiative by providing de-identified data to an NIH-based data hub. NIH expects that all projects funded under this FOA will actively coordinate, collaborate, and share data with the RADx-rad Data Coordinating Center, as allowed, and with considerations under tribal IRB processes, as appropriate. The RADx-rad DCC will provide support and guidance to RADx-rad awardees in the following three areas: (1) Administrative Operations and Logistics, (2) Data Collection, Integration and Sharing, and (3) Data Management and Use. The DCC will develop (and revise as necessary) a framework for standards, metadata and common data elements that apply to all types of data gathered by RADx-rad awardees in order to maximize potential for longitudinal research, integration with other RADx data, and for evaluation of RADx-rad program impact. The DCC will assist awardees in identifying and obtaining data from public sources (e.g., Census data, Area Deprivation Index, etc.), electronic health records (EHR), administrative data, and others as needed. The DCC will coordinate quality control, data curation, and analyses, and provide tools to monitor progress, performance, and use of the curated data. The DCC will create a mechanism to support harmonizing with other large-scale COVID-19 research efforts and will participate in trans-NIH efforts to support scientific collaboration and data-sharing, evaluation of progress towards sustainable infrastructure, partnership and rapid dissemination of RADx findings.

NIH requires that all projects funded under this RFA will actively coordinate, collaborate, and share data with the RADx-rad Data Coordinating Center, as allowed, and with considerations under tribal IRB processes, as appropriate. Researchers applying to this funding opportunity are strongly encouraged to review the Data Coordinating Center (DCC) funding opportunity (RFA-OD-20-019).

  • To the extent possible, data acquisition, collection, and curation strategies should be coordinated with the DCC guidance for annotation and benchmarking of data, including obtaining appropriate consent for data sharing and implementation of the schemas proposed under the ABOUT ML effort (“Annotation and benchmarking on understanding and transparency for machine learning lifecycles”; available at https://www.partnershiponai.org/about-ml/).
  • In order to maximize progress and successful outcomes, recipients are expected to participate in DCC-organized activities, including regular (e.g., monthly) progress meetings with individual or subsets of awardees, and twice annual meetings with all RADx-rad awardees.

To maximize research and rapidly implement approaches to address the COVID-19 pandemic, comparisons across datasets or studies and data integration are essential to collaboration. Projects funded through this RFA are strongly encouraged to use the following resources as applicable:

  • Data Harmonization for Social Determinants of Health via the PhenX Toolkit: Investigators involved in human-subject studies are strongly encouraged to employ a common set of tools and resources that will promote the collection of comparable data on social determinants of health (SDOH) across studies. In particular, studies with human participants should incorporate SDOH measures from the Core and Specialty collections that are available in the Social Determinants of Health Collection of the PhenX Toolkit (www.phenxtoolkit.org).
  • A trans-NIH working group is making existing COVID-19 survey items and investigator contact information publicly available through two NIH-supported platforms: the NIH Public Health Emergency and Disaster Research Response (DR2) [https://dr2.nlm.nih.gov/] and the PhenX Toolkit [https://www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php]. Researchers addressing COVID-19 questions, whether population-based or for clinical research, are strongly encouraged to consider these COVID-19 specific survey item repositories and select existing survey items or protocol modules currently being fielded.

Leveraging Existing Research Resources: Applicants are strongly encouraged to leverage existing research resources for their studies whenever possible. NIH has developed innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency, quality, and impact of the process for turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public through programs such as: NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH), Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) for assistance in proof of concept and commercialization of a marketable product. Applicants are encouraged to leverage all available internal (e.g., home institutional) and external (e.g., external institutional, NIH, and/or NIDCR and NCATS) resources to identify clinically relevant COVID-19 patient populations.

SCENT: With the tentative opening of many States came an increase in COVID-19 cases, thus, there is a critical need for non-traditional testing technologies that are non-invasive, not reagent intensive, and that do not take a long time to gather results. It is highly desirable for an accurate and sensitive system that can provide results in real time and is mobile/portable and deployable in any clinical, community and everyday setting. Current testing technologies are not practical for field use, requiring expensive reagents and enzymes and laboratories certified for potentially virulent samples. These tests are cumbersome to perform because they use aqueous solutions, require multiple steps and hours, if not days, to get results.

The SCENT device is envisioned to be used in a hospital, clinic setting, community or even home and workplace. For example, instead of taking temperatures at entrances to establishments, SCENT can be used for more informative and accurate data. The danger of contamination is minimal as SCENT will probe the skin with minimal to no potential exposure to the virus. In addition, the key substrate for SCENT will be VOCs, i.e., scents or odors emanating through skin, which are easier to standardize with, at least, two ways to account for person-to-person differences in skin permeability, namely Total Evaporative Water Loss (TEWL) or skin impedance.

The oral cavity provides another alternative for SCENT VOC detection because it is readily accessible. For example, exhaled breath could be captured and analyzed for direct detection of the respiratory tract infection from unique volatile organic metabolite byproducts of SARS-CoV2 infection.

VOCs from skin and oral cavity offer opportunities for continuous (i.e., wearable) or periodic monitoring of viral infection and disease presentation. The recent advances in biosensing, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology combined with artificial neural networks, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning and smart phone technologies could make such a portable, multifunction device a reality. The innovation/challenge is to combine these technologies into devices that measure VOCs on skin and/or oral cavity, subsequently correlating those VOC patterns with COVID-19 signatures through AI/machine learning. In the current COVID-19 epidemic, this quick screening device would enable doctors to detect and diagnose COVID-19 symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals leading to appropriate treatment and/or quarantine procedures. Additionally, a SCENT platform may be able to differentiate between COVID-negative and COVID-positive-asymptomatic subjects. At the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases, dogs are being trained to detect the scent of potential COVID-19 patients. This is possible because the dog’s olfactory system contains 300 million receptors whereas the human nose has only 5 million receptors.

The central premise of this FOA is to mimic the biological sense of smell with a more robust, standardized and mechanized electronic nose. For example, unique VOC skin signatures are already identified in symptomatic and asymptomatic malarial infections vs. uninfected cases. In the long run, the SCENT platforms are not limited to COVID-19 diagnosis, and can be readily adapted to other pandemics, as well as for the detection of other diseases and conditions. The potential is limited only by the development and availability of the training and validation data sets for VOC signatures that will be used for the machine learning competency.

U18 Milestones: All projects will be milestone-driven with clear go/no-go criteria that are quantifiable. Prior to funding an application, the Program Official will contact the applicant to discuss the proposed U18 milestones and any changes suggested by NIH staff or the NIH review panel. The Program Official and the applicant will negotiate and agree on a final set of approved U18 milestones which will be specified in the Notice of Award. These milestones will be the basis for judging progress and the successful completion of the work proposed.

Specific Research Objectives

Scanning for COVID-19 with Electronic Nose Technology (SCENT)

A systems approach must be applied to product development and preclinical performance testing of the proposed device to establish a robust proof-of-concept feasibility.

  1. Assembly and integration of the prototype SCENT platform: The SCENT platform must comprise (1) a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) sampler; (2A) an electronic nose or (2B) a gas chromatographic (GC) column; (3) an appropriate detector, (4) AI/Machine Learning capabilities to distinguish VOC skin signatures across many levels of COVID-19 infection for accurate diagnosis, and (5) an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Assembly of the hardware and software for either the E-nose or GC prototypes from off-the-shelf components is encouraged to expedite development.

The VOC skin sampler can be a simple cup where the VOCs emanating from skin are delivered to the e-Nose or GC column via nitrogen gas or other nonreactive gas, or it can be slightly more sophisticated as in solid-phase microextraction (SPME) where the gases are adsorbed on a material and desorbed into the e-Nose or GC column. The skin VOC sampling system will be developed through testing and optimization of potential designs preferably by Design of Experiments (DoE). The sampling system(s) will have to be validated against known mixtures of VOCs with and without in vitro skin models. Other novel skin sampling designs are encouraged.

For the oral cavity sampler, the oral environment presents specific design and performance requirements for VOC sampling that need to be addressed. Therefore, a system’s engineering approach must address major challenges imposed by the oral environment including, varying pH levels and temperatures, oral flora, adhesion to wet intraoral tissues, and material biocompatibility/biofouling.

The sampler for VOCs in the oral cavity can be a blow tube for breath and/or particulates/droplets. However, prevention of infection/contamination of the healthcare worker must be built-in into the design. The sampler can also be an oral probe (analogous to an oral thermometer) placed in contact with oral tissues (e.g., under the tongue) to collect VOCs emanating to the tissue surface. Alternatively, VOCs can be collected from the head space of saliva collected in a closed container. This is a standard procedure that has been applied to VOC analysis of urine. As in the skin sampler, other novel sampling designs for the oral cavity are encouraged.

The E-Nose is generally an array of a number of materials including conducting polymers, quartz crystal microbalances, fluorescence sensors, semi-conducting metal oxides, etc. The collective signals are processed in an artificial neural network and pattern recognition software. For GC the detector can be a mass spectrometer (MS) or flame ionization detector (FID). Identification of the VOC components by comparison to an MS data base is desirable; however, the pattern recognition is more important. Deposition of data/learning sets into the DCC is required.

The portable E-nose or GC instrumentation and detector/s will be integrated with the VOC sampler. For off-the-shelf components, compatibility of software must be considered even before assembly of the SCENT platform. The prototype has to be validated against the current standard, laboratory-grade, commercially-available GC or E-nose instrumentation (e.g., MEMS, etc.) and tested for sensitivity and accuracy against known mixtures of VOCs.

Quality by Design (QbD) and incorporation of process analytical technologies (PATs) are required and must be prominently described in the application. QbD will allow for ease and precision of future manufacturability and ensure that device to device differences are at a minimum, while adverse events that are of device origin are limited. Process analytical technologies are required for accuracy and precision of measurements between devices and between patients. PATs for devices may include standard VOC mixtures, pressure sensors, etc. PATs for patient to patient standardization must include skin temperature sensors, skin permeability sensors (e.g., Transepidermal Water Loss [TEWL], skin impedance, etc.) or skin stiffness among others, that can affect the quantity (and perhaps quality) of VOCs sensed by the detectors.

Adoption of human-factors-engineering and usability-engineering principles must be considered during the development process. This includes usability criteria such as comfort to ensure user acceptance and compliance.

Additionally, VOC sensing approaches for COVID-19 must incorporate design specifications and performance criteria for risk mitigation of potential measurement interferents including, but not limited to: metabolites produced in pathological conditions other than COVID-19; compounds introduced during patient treatment such as drugs, plasma expanders, and anticoagulants; substances ingested by the patient such as alcohol or nutritional supplements. Lastly, the proposed approaches must address other potential causes of examination (analytical) interference, such as: chemical, physical and detection artifacts; non-selectivity and non-specificity of detection; and other sources of error that might affect COVID-19 diagnostics. Risk mitigation and alternative methods are expected.

Most of the technological components required to build these sensing platforms are already developed and used for other purposes. The innovation in this initiative will be the bringing together of expertise in these technologies and coupling with clinical and infectious disease expertise to develop an integrative noninvasive device that will be used specifically for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Future applications of SCENT have potential for monitoring of overall health and detection of other diseases and will be a consideration but not required. The metrics/requirements for successful SCENT are accuracy, sensitivity and selectivity comparable to or exceed current standard, FDA-approved COVID-19 diagnostics. Portability, accessibility, and affordability are also key considerations for SCENT.

Since SCENT can potentially have global applicability and use, it must follow the principles of ASSURED (affordable, sensitive, specific, user-friendly, rapid and robust, equipment-free and deliverable to end users) criteria, outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), which provides a good framework for evaluating point of care devices specially for resource-limited environments.

  1. Software Development. Code for the testing protocol from VOC sampling to analysis will be written and tested for smooth, error-free operation of the device. Off-the-shelf components from different manufacturers must have compatible software, which must be checked before assembly.

Use of commercially available pattern-recognition and machine learning software is allowed and even encouraged in the interest of time. The sensitivity and accuracy of the software must be tested on surrogate samples as in (1) above. In addition, reference/training and validation sets from actual clinical samples in (3) below. will be used to show proof of principle of the machine learning algorithm.

  1. Testing SCENT Prototype on Patients. Data training sets must be collected on known (1) COVID-19 positive, symptomatic, (2) COVID-19 positive, asymptomatic and (3) COVID-19 negative subjects as determined by the current standard FDA approved method.

NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) hubs can be used in the clinical validation for recruitment and trial implementation.

A statistically significant number of patients with known condition(s) are expected to be tested for confident delineation of (1), (2) and (3) based on training sets and comparable accuracy to FDA-approved COVID-19 diagnostics.

  1. Regulatory Approval Plan. A plan for the regulatory approval of technologies, tests and approaches must be developed based on the data generated from the research objectives. The plan should describe the expected regulatory pathway for the technology and describe foreseeable regulatory risks that could impact the technology development. The plan must also describe how the technology would fit with current standard of care. 

Applications will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed if:

  • Projects do not have an infrastructure to rapidly report study findings and impact to the DCC.

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

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed
New

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.

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

NIH intends to commit $10 million in total costs over a two-year period. NIH anticipates funding 5 awards.

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

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

Local 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)

Federal Governments

  • 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 not 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. In the case of Emergency awards, if the applicant is unable to comply with the requirement to complete and maintain SAM registration at the time of application submission, contact the agency immediately.
  • 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

 Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed. 

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 instructions in 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:

Carol Lambert, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-435-0814
Email: lambert@mail.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 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 should include the following:

Milestone Plan

Applications must include a Milestone Plan, describing project milestones and the Go/No-Go criteria for each milestone. The Milestone plan must:

  • Provide detailed quantitative criteria by which milestone achievement will be assessed.
  • Provide detailed timelines for the anticipated attainment of each milestone and the overall project goals.
  • Identify any impediments that could require an addendum to the research plan, milestones, or timeline with a discussion of alternative approaches.
  • Include clearly identified Go/No-Go criteria for each milestone.
  • A timeline (Gantt chart) including milestones is required for all studies. Quantitative milestones are required in order to provide clear indicators of a project's continued success or emergent difficulties and will be used to evaluate the application not only in internal review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of non-competing award years.
  • Additionally, feasible and appropriate plans to submit data, data collection instruments, and outcomes/products to the DCC should be included in the milestones. The applicant must acknowledge that they will include testing implementation outcomes in their reporting to the DCC, to inform future community, local, state, and federal policies.

See https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Funding/Apply-Funding/Application-Support-Library/Devices-Milestones for an example of NIH Cooperative Agreement milestones. NOTE: These are suggested formats only and should be adapted as appropriate.

Evaluation Plan

Projects must include an evaluation plan demonstrating how the proposed COVID-19 diagnostic strategies/activities will be assessed for effectiveness and impact.

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 following modifications also apply:

  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, musts address a Data Sharing Plan
  • All data must be deposited into the RADx-rad Data Coordination Center (RFA-OD-20-019)
Appendix:

Only limited Appendix materials are allowed.

Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

  • No publications or other material, with the exception of blank questionnaires or blank surveys, may be included in the Appendix.
PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined 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

Not Applicable.

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. Pre-award costs may be incurred from January 20, 2020 through the public health emergency period and prior to the date of the federal award.

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 components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or non-responsive will not be reviewed

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

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

Review Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate internal review panel convened by NCATS and NIDCR staff, in accordance with the review criteria specified in the FOA as well as these additional review criteria:

• Emergency response and significance of research: How will successful completion of the aims contribute to or complement public health efforts for the control of SARS-CoV-2?

• Feasibility of research: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Is the emergency time frame feasible for the proposed research? Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited and appropriate to carry out the project?

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 COVID-19/SARS-COV-2 research, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for this FOA).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, SCENT by its nature is not novel since all the components are available either commercially or in academic labs, but essential to advancing the field of diagnostics.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Specific to this FOA:

 Does the project indicate how will successful completion of the aims contribute to public health efforts for the control of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection and related pathogenic processes? Does the project address how will the proposed technologies result in noninvasive, reliable, and reproducible COVID-19 tests? Is there a clear characterization of the benefit (e.g., exponential or incremental, faster, smaller, cheaper, easier, safer, more effective, more accurate)?

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?

Specific to this FOA:

Have the research team members demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishment in the development of VOC analytical technologies? Does the team also include appropriate expertise in AI/machine learning, virology, skin and oral cavity physiology?

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

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?

Specific to this FOA:

Will the expected results lead to advances in technologies used in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases? Has the applicant described an expected regulatory pathway? Does the applicant adequately describe how the technology would fit with current physician practice/standard of care? Does the application include an appropriate evaluation plan demonstrating how the proposed COVID-19 diagnostic technology will be assessed for effectiveness?

Coordination plans: How feasible and appropriate are the plans to submit data, data collection instruments, and outcomes/products to the DCC?

Data sharing plans: Are plans for data sharing adequately described?

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

Not Applicable.

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

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)Sharing Model Organisms and (2)  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 internal NIH review Group(s), using the stated review criteria.

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.

Appeals of 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. 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
  • Applications that include plans to rapidly make data available to the research community, when not limited by Tribal data sharing policy.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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.

NIH is requiring data sharing for all COVID-19 projects, where it is not prohibited (i.e., Tribal data sovereignty). The NIH expects and supports the timely release and sharing of final research data from NIH-supported studies for use by other researchers to expedite the translation of research results into knowledge, products, and procedures to improve human health. Grantees are expected to work with the RADx-rad DCC to submit common evaluation metrics on COVID-19 testing-related outcomes and implementation to the DCC. Grantees should identify a dedicated unit responsible for these data reporting activities. NIH expects that all projects funded under this FOA will actively coordinate, collaborate, and share data with the RADx-rad DCC, as allowed, and with considerations under tribal IRB processes, as appropriate. Researchers applying to this funding opportunity are strongly encouraged to review the DCC funding opportunity. To the extent possible, data acquisition, collection, and curation strategies should be coordinated with the DCC guidance for annotation and benchmarking of data, including obtaining appropriate consent for data sharing and implementation of the schemas proposed under the ABOUT ML effort (“Annotation and benchmarking on understanding and transparency for machine learning lifecycles”; available at https://www.partnershiponai.org/about-ml/). Grantees are expected to participate in DCC-organized activities, including regular (e.g., monthly) progress meetings with individual or subsets of awardees, and twice annual meetings with all RADx-rad awardees.

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

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 laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex. This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.

HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research. For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.

Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697.

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

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

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

  • Determining experimental approaches, designing protocols, setting project milestones and conducting experiments;
  • Providing information to the NIH Program Officer(s) and Project Scientist(s) concerning progress;
  • Adhering to the NIH policies regarding intellectual property, data release and other policies that might be established during the course of this activity;
  • Participating in group activities, including program-wide Work Group(s) and Steering Committee meetings at the consortium level or the NIH level, as needed;
  • Submitting biannual progress reports during the two-year U18. This will include the annual Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) and a midyear progress report submitted to the Program Officer;
  • Accepting and participating in the cooperative nature of the consortium;
  • Working with the RADx-rad Data Coordinating Center (DCC) to submit common evaluation metrics on COVID-19 testing-related outcomes and implementation to the DCC. Identify a dedicated unit responsible for these data reporting activities. Actively coordinate, collaborate, and share data with the RADx-rad Data Coordinating Center, as allowed, and with considerations under tribal IRB processes, as appropriate. To the extent possible, coordinate the data acquisition, collection, and curation strategies with the DCC guidance for annotation and benchmarking of data.
  • Participating in DCC-organized activities, including regular (e.g., monthly) progress meetings with individual or subsets of awardees, and twice annual meetings with all RADx-rad awardees;
  • Accepting and implementing other common guidelines and procedures developed by the DCC or NIH RADx-rad Working Group and Executive Committee, and approved by the SCENT Steering Committee.
  • Obtaining and retaining personal identifiers on all research participants where it is not prohibited (i.e., Tribal data sovereignty) for future longitudinal follow-up and to be leveraged for intervention research.

Publications

The Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) will be responsible for the timely submission of all abstracts, manuscripts and reviews (co)authored by project investigators and supported in whole or in part under this Cooperative Agreement. The PD/PI and Project Leaders are requested to submit manuscripts to the NIH Project Scientist within two weeks of acceptance for publication so that an up-to-date summary of program accomplishments can be maintained. Publications and oral presentations of work conducted under this Cooperative Agreement are the responsibility of the Principal Investigator and appropriate Project Leaders and will require appropriate acknowledgement of NIH support. Timely publication of major findings is encouraged.

Intellectual Property

  • The awardee is solely responsible for the timely acquisition of all appropriate proprietary rights, including intellectual property rights, and all materials needed for the applicant to perform the project.
  • Before, during, and subsequent to the award, the U.S. Government is not required to obtain for the awardee any proprietary rights, including intellectual property rights, or any materials needed by the awardee to perform the project.
  • The awardee is required to report to the U.S. Government all inventions made in the performance of the project, as specified by 35 U.S.C. Sect. 202 (Bayh-Dole Act).
  • Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and resources developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards.

NIH Project Scientist(s) will have substantial scientific involvement during the conduct of this activity, through technical assistance, advice, and coordination. NIH Project Scientists(s) will:

  • Participate in the group process of setting research priorities, decidingoptimal research approaches and protocol designs, and contributing to the adjustment of research protocols, project milestones or approaches as warranted. The Project Scientists will assist and facilitate the group process, but not direct it;
  • Serve as a liaison between the awardees, the RADx-rad working group and Executive Committee for administering Institutes and the larger scientific community;
  • Coordinate the efforts of the awardee with others engaged in RADx-rad, including other awardees under this FOA and those awardees involved in related NIH programs;
  • Attend Steering Committee meetings and assist in developing operating guidelines, quality control procedures, and consistent policies for dealing with recurrent situations that require coordinated action;
  • Periodically report progress to the Directors, NIH Institutes involved in the RADx-rad initiative;
  • Serve on subcommittees/working groups of the Steering Committee as appropriate;
  • Provide advice in the management and technical performance of the project;
  • Assist in promoting the availability of data and resources developed in the course of this project to the scientific community at large;
  • Assist awardees in the development, if needed, of policies for dealing with situations that require coordinated action.

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

  • Assist in enforcing general statutory, regulatory or administrative assistance policy requirements;
  • Evaluate progress by reviews of technical or fiscal reports or by site visits to determine that performance is consistent with objectives, terms and conditions of the award;
  • Ensure that activities proposed for development or implementation do not overlap or duplicate activities supported by other peer reviewed funding mechanisms;
  • Review and approve all major transitional changes prior to implementation to ensure consistency with the goals of this FOA;
  • Retain the option to recommend the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that either substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of award, fails to maintain state-of-the-art capabilities, or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Awardees agree to governance, through voting and decision making, of the SCENT Initiative through a Steering Committee (SC). The Steering Committee membership will include the PD/PI of each awarded cooperative agreement, a NIH Program Official, and the DCC PI. The PD/PI of each award (or designee) will have one vote on the SC. The NIH Program Official and DCC PI will each have one vote.The Steering Committee Chairs will not be NIH staff members. Awardee members of the SC will be required to accept and implement policies approved by the SC. Other government staff may attend the Steering Committee meetings if their expertise is required for specific discussions. The Steering Committee will:

  • Discuss progress in meeting the goals of various SCENT projects;
  • Develop recommendations for uniform procedures and policies necessary to meet the goals of the SCENT initiative, for example for data quality measures and assessment or measuring costs and throughput.

Communication Plan

  • Participate in regular (monthly) conference calls with NIH Project Scientists and Program Officials.
  • Coordinate efforts with other awardees, especially in circumstances where synergy of efforts and resources is beneficial to the overall goals of the RADx-rad program.
  • Participate and present findings at meetings convened by the DCC. One meeting per year must be an in-person meeting, travel conditions permitting, in Bethesda, MD.
  • Coordinate or jointly publish findings in a timely manner as to have the broadest impact.
  • Make new information and materials known to the research community in a timely manner through publications, web announcements, reports to the RADx-rad DCC, and other mechanisms.

Performance Requirements

  • Meeting yearly milestones as defined by investigators and NIH program officials at the time of award.
  • Working with, cooperatively interacting with, and actively seeking input from NIH.
  • Sharing widely data and biological specimens within the broader scientific community.
  • Actively coordinating, collaborating, and sharing data with the RADx-rad Data Coordinating Center (DCC), and with considerations under tribal IRB processes, as appropriate.
  • Working with the DCC to submit common evaluation metrics on COVID-19 testing-related outcomes and implementation to the DCC.
  • The NIH will enlist additional scientific experts as necessary from within the NIH and other government agencies, such as the FDA, to assist the awardees in carrying out the goals and aims of the approved studies.

Dispute Resolution:

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

3. Reporting

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

Funds awarded using appropriations provided by the “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, Public Law 116-139” will be issued in unique subaccounts in the HHS Payment Management System and will require separate financial reporting from any other funds awarded.

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

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

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Danilo Tagle, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-8064
Email: Danilo.Tagle@nih.gov

Orlando Lopez, Ph.D.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-402-4243
Email: orlando.lopez@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Carol Lambert, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-435-0814
Email:lambert@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Shannon Oden
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-3028
Email: shannon.oden@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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