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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is developed as a Common Fund initiative (https://commonfund.nih.gov/) through the NIH Office of the NIH Director, Office of Strategic Coordination (https://commonfund.nih.gov/). All NIH Institutes and Centers participate in Common Fund initiatives. The FOA will be administered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/.)

Funding Opportunity Title

Transformative Technology Development for the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

UG3/UH3 Phase Innovation Awards Cooperative Agreement  

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • December 22, 2017 - Notice of Pre-Application Webinar for the Common Fund Human Biomolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP) RFAs (RFA-RM-17-025, RFA-RM-17-027). See Notice NOT-RM-18-008.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-RM-17-025

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-RM-17-027, U54 Specialized Center -- Cooperative Agreements

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

 93.310

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit transformative technologies that will significantly expand throughput, multiplexing and discrimination of biomolecules in human tissues for comprehensive mapping of individual cells and their context in human tissues. This FOA supports the accelerated proof-of-principle demonstration and validation of promising tools, techniques and systems that can be integrated, scaled and applied to multiple human tissues. The initial two-year UG3 phase will support accelerated development and demonstration of feasibility of these emerging, high impact technologies. The subsequent two-year UH3 phase will support validation in human tissues, optimization, scale-up, and generation of data. Funded projects will be expected to work closely as part of the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program to catalyze development of a framework for mapping the human body with high resolution.

Key Dates
Posted Date

December 18, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 1, 2018

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

February 1, 2018

Application Due Date(s)

March 2, 2018, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

May - June 2018

Advisory Council Review

August 2018

Earliest Start Date

September 2018

Expiration Date

March 3, 2018

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.



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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
Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP)

The vision for the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP) is to catalyze development of a framework for mapping of the human body at high resolution to transform our understanding of tissue organization and function. This will be achieved by:

  • Accelerating the development of the next generation of tools and techniques for constructing high resolution spatial tissue maps that quantify multiple types of biomolecules;
  • Generating foundational 3D tissue maps using validated high-content, high-throughput imaging and omics assays;
  • Establishing an open data platform that will develop novel approaches to integrating, visualizing and modelling imaging and omics data to build multi-dimensional maps, and making data rapidly findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable by the global research community;
  • Coordinating and collaborating with other funding agencies, programs, and the biomedical research community to build the framework and tools for mapping the human body;
  • Supporting projects that demonstrate the value of the resources developed by the program to study individual variation and tissue changes across the lifespan and the health-disease continuum.

This program is funded through the NIH Common Fund as a short-term, goal-driven strategic investment, with deliverables intended to catalyze research across multiple biomedical research disciplines. The NIH Common Fund supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress.

HuBMAP will scale-up the scope of tissues, technologies, data management and community engagement that are being addressed during the eight-year duration of the program. The program is expected to have four stages: a set-up phase in FY18, a scale-up phase in FY19-21, a production phase in FY22-24 and a transition phase in FY25. The five research initiatives that compose the program are:

  • Transformative Technology Development - This set of initiatives, the first of which will be issued FY18, seeks to establish proof of principle and validation of the next generation of tools, techniques and methods that will be foundational for mapping the human body at high resolution.
  • Rapid Technology Integration - This set of initiatives, which is expected to start in FY19 pending the availability of funds, will focus on nimble integration of promising imaging and omics technologies into HuBMAP that have the potential to enhance data collection and validation during the program, and expanding throughput, multiplexing or discrimination of different classes of biomolecules.
  • Tissue Mapping Centers - These Centers, which will be initially funded in FY18, will build, benchmark, standardize, validate and generate extensive data from high-content, high-throughput imaging and omics technologies to produce 3D human tissue maps at high resolution. Centers will be expected to integrate and optimize all parts of the data generation pipeline, from tissue collection and preservation through to data integration, analysis and interpretation.
  • The HIVE - This multi-component collaboratory, which will be funded in FY18, will have responsibility for: 1) managing the data generated by the Consortium, 2) coordinating internal and external Consortium activities, 3) developing novel tools for visualizing, searching and modelling data and 4) building an atlas of tissue maps.
  • Demonstration Projects - The goal of this initiative, which is expected to start half way through the program pending the availability of funds, is to demonstrate how HuBMAP resources, in combination with new or other datasets or biospecimens as needed, can be used to build better statistical and analytic tools and models of cellular organization and communication in tissues.
Background

Understanding how tissue organization influences a cell’s molecular state, interactions, and history is critical for enhancing our understanding of variation in organ function across the lifespan and health-disease continuum. Despite vastly improved imaging and omics technologies and many important foundational discoveries, our understanding of how tissues are organized is restricted to a very limited number of microscopic structures. Better insights into the principles governing organization-function relationship will potentially lead to better understanding of the significance of inter-individual variability, changes across the lifespan, tissue engineering, and the emergence of disease at the biomolecular level. However, integrating imaging and omics analysis to comprehensively profile biomolecular distribution and morphology of tissues in a high throughput manner and placing this information into 3D tissue maps amenable to modelling has yet to be fully realized.

In a June 2016 meeting organized by the NIH, experts from the research community identified the following scientific priorities necessary to develop these tissue maps : 1) sourcing high quality tissue from multiple human normal organ sites, 2) processing and preserving tissue for multiple imaging and omics assays, 3) quality control, validation and variation in data generation, 4) data coordination across multiple acquisition techniques, 5) annotation, curation and archiving of the data, 6) browsing, visualizing and searching the data, 7) building statistical and analytic techniques and models for nonlinear analysis of highly multidimensional data and 8) community engagement.

Objectives and Scope for the Transformative Technology Development Projects

This Transformative Technology Development (TTD) FOA seeks to establish the next generation of tools, techniques and methods that will be foundational for mapping the human body with high resolution that provide information not available using current technologies and techniques. Successful projects will develop, demonstrate and validate transformative technologies that can generate extensive, quantitative data on biomolecular distribution in tissues to produce comprehensive 3D tissue maps. Applications are expected: (1) to be high impact with thoughtfully managed risk, (2) to use a milestone-driven engineering approach that considers design, testing and evaluation, and (3) to bring together multi-disciplinary teams that will iteratively design technologies that can be rapidly disseminated for wider use by the HuBMAP Consortium. By the end of the UG3 phase, the goal is to have successful proof-of-principle demonstrations of innovative technologies that can more comprehensively map the distribution of biomolecules in mammalian tissues. All technologies are expected to be capable of quantitatively and reproducibly measuring the distribution of a large number of biomolecules in the intra-, inter- and extra-cellular spaces of mammalian tissue, independent of what species it came from. By the end of the UH3 phase the goals is to have optimized, scaled, benchmarked and successfully validated technologies that have been used to generate publication-quality data from multiple non-diseased human tissues. The complementary Rapid Technology Integration (RTI) initiatives will support integration of technologies at this stage of development into the Tissue Mapping Centers. Applicants with published results showing proof-of-principle in mammalian tissues are strongly encouraged to wait until for the RTI initiative, which is planned for release in FY19.

Research Focus

This FOA is intended to support the accelerated development of novel in situ imaging and omics approaches that have the potential to transform 3D human tissue mapping, such as new approaches in single cell proteomics and phosphoproteomics, methylomics and other epigenomic assays, metabolomics, glycomics or multi-parameter analysis. These technologies must offer capabilities of analyzing tissue significantly beyond those in peer-reviewed publications and must be generalizable and comprehensive enough to provide analysis of a large number of biomolecules of interest across all major human tissues. This FOA encourages, but is not limited to, technologies that can address the following challenges:

  • Improving the specificity of biomolecules that can be robustly identified in tissues, by developing assays capable of distinguishing functionally-relevant modifications of RNA or proteins in situ;
  • Improving the range of biomolecules that can be robustly identified in tissues, by developing assays capable of unbiased, sensitive and specific analysis of the epigenome, methylome, metabolome, and/or proteome and glycoproteome at high resolution;
  • Overcoming trade-offs between spatial resolution, volume and analysis time to enable multi-parameter mapping of RNA and protein expression in three dimensions across whole organs;
  • Significantly improving the identification of biologically-relevant, biomolecular tissue features by multiplexed, simultaneous measures of diverse, though related, biomolecules such as metabolites proteins and glycoproteins;
  • Significantly improving throughput by more than one order of magnitude, using techniques such s adaptive, sparse sampling, deep learning or lens-free imaging.

HuBMAP projects will generate high resolution, high content, high-throughput biomolecular data to generate 3D tissue maps of non-diseased human organs and organ systems. For HuBMAP, a high-resolution assay is one that can reliably and reproducibly assign detected biomolecules to individual cells or extracellular compartments of a tissue. A high content approach is one that maximizes identification of tissues features through a combination of biomolecular depth, spatial resolution and multiplexing of complementary, multi-parameter assays. A high throughput pipeline is one that maximizes the bandwidth of data production to result in any or all of the following: 1) accelerated speed of analysis, so that hundreds or thousands of samples can be analyzed at once, 2) greater depth of analysis, so that hundreds or thousands of molecules can be analyzed in a single sample, or 3) enhanced capacity for volume, so that a given set of molecules can be analyzed in all the cells within a larger tissue sample. Approaches that maximize the volume of tissue that will be analyzed while maintaining cellular resolution and high biomolecular content are strongly encouraged. 

Given the focus of HuBMAP, proposed technologies must be capable of defining location at high resolution, provide comprehensive insight into the distribution of multiple biomolecules, have the potential to be included into the data production pipelines of HuBMAP's Tissue Mapping Centers, and support analysis of multiple human tissues. Although the focus of these projects should be on in-situ analysis of tissues, it is expected that unbiased, dissociative techniques can be used to inform development and validation. It is expected that projects that propose initial development using dissociated cells have a rapid and robust plan to establish feasibility in tissue within the UG3 phase. Projects that have not demonstrated successful analysis of cells in situ by the end of the UG3 phase will not progress to the UH3 phase.

If successful, the data from these projects may provide new insights into functional states, such as quiescence and senescence; cell-cell, neighborhood and system-wide signaling; chronobiology; and how changes in tissue organization impact function across the lifespan and the health-disease continuum.

Applications addressing the following topics will be deemed non-responsive and will not be reviewed:

  • Projects primarily focused on the pursuit of a biological mechanism through basic research that does not result in an innovative technology that will significantly improve our capabilities to spatially map human tissues;
  • Projects proposing technologies that cannot be easily scaled for comprehensive analysis of multiple human tissues or that cannot be multiplexed with other assays;
  • Projects that do not propose methods that provide spatial information regarding the organization of cellular and non-cellular tissue components;
  • Projects proposing to primarily study fluids or dissociated cells;
  • Projects with published results demonstrating proof-of-principle for the proposed technology using mammalian tissue;
  • Projects that do not propose a feasible strategy to analyze mammalian tissue during the UG3 phase and non-diseased human tissue during the UH3 phase.

Coordination and Collaboration

Successful applicants to this FOA will become members of the larger HuBMAP Consortium composed of investigators who have been funded in response to at least one of HuBMAP FOAs. The purpose of the Consortium is to enable groups to effectively collaborate with each other to maximize the chances of overall success of the program. In addition to completing the research goals outlined in their applications, successful applicants will be expected to work collaboratively with all members of the Consortium to contribute to developing SOPs, data and metadata standards, metrics for data generation, participate in cross-site studies, engage in cross-training, and guide development of data analysis and visualization tools that can be used by the broader scientific community. A Steering Committee (SC) composed of all the funded principal investigators and NIH staff will develop and implement Consortium policies, and guide overall direction of the Consortium to meet the goals of the program. This Steering Committee will meet regularly and be complemented by an Executive Committee and a set of working groups. NIH staff will also recruit outside experts (non-awardees) as External Program Consultants (EPCs) to provide advice directly to NIH.

The TTD projects will be strongly encouraged to work closely with the other projects of the HuBMAP to demonstrate how their technologies can be integrated and scaled for production of multiple tissue maps across the human body. Thus, the TTDs are expected to work closely together with the Tissue Mapping Centers (TMCs) to develop consortium-wide best practices for emerging approaches to data generation, carryout cross-site comparisons and test and validate technologies as applied to multiple tissues. They will also work closely with the HIVE to develop data and metadata standards for emerging technologies, to build calibration and validation datasets and engage in cross-site collaborations. It is envisaged that successful TTDs may transition to the Rapid Technology Integration initiative later during the program providing a pipeline for the comprehensive validation and integration of these innovative technologies into the TMCs. All HuBMAP investigators will also be required to attend the initial Kickoff meeting in Fall 2018, the annual HuBMAP investigator meetings, regular teleconferences with Consortium members and NIH Staff for the duration of the funding cycle. Although the Consortium-wide activities are yet to be defined, it is strongly recommended that the TTD projects plan and budget for collaboration activities as part of their applications.

NIH intends that the products of the TTDs be broadly available to establish the foundations for a human body map that other programs and the community could build upon; this includes methods, tools, reagents, biospecimens, datasets, and software. Projects will be expected to abide by Consortium policies for rapidly sharing their products within the Consortium and with the external research community.  The robustness and reproducibility of experimental results are critical to the success of HuBMAP. In some cases, conducting additional critical experiments will be important for assessing progress. Therefore, NIH Program staff, in consultation with the PD/PI, may modify or add experiments to be conducted during the duration of an award.

Transformative Technology Development Project Structure

This FOA uses the UG3 / UH3 cooperative agreement mechanism to support the phased development of innovative technologies that have the potential to transform tissue mapping by the HuBMAP Consortium. Initial UG3 cooperative agreement awards for up to 2 years will be granted for demonstrating the proof-of-principle of these technologies for mapping mammalian tissue. Although the focus of the HuBMAP is on non-diseased human tissue, it is recognized that for technology development during the UG3 phase, analyzing tissue from model animal systems as an intermediate step may reduce biospecimen variability and make results more robust. The subsequent UH3 phase will fund awards for up to 2 years for the scaling, optimization and validation of the technologies for mapping human tissues. During the UH3, projects are expected to demonstrate that the performance of the technology can be benchmarked and enhanced, confirm that this performance can be reproduced with non-diseased human tissue compare the results with complementary assays.

Because transformative technology development is an inherently high-risk high-reward process, it is anticipated that there may be significant attrition as projects move through development and validation. Projects that successfully reach the goals of the UG3 phase will be administratively reviewed, with priority projects proceeding to the UH3 phase pending availability of funds. Investigators responding to this FOA must develop a strategy for both UG3 and UH3 phases in this application. Funded UG3 projects will be asked for an updated strategy prior to the UH3 administrative review, although this does not imply funding for the UH3 phase.

As a cooperative agreement and as part of the HuBMAP Consortium, projects should focus on how their proposed project meets the goals of the program, how they significantly improve upon the state-of-the-art, how they can be integrated with other technologies, and how they are capable of being scaled to map multiple human tissues in a high-throughput fashion. Applications should include discussion of performance, dynamic range, sensitivity and specificity of their technologies; calibration and control processes; testing, evaluation and improvement; and interoperability and usability. Projects are strongly encouraged to have ambitious goals and annual milestones. Milestones are goals that are quantifiable for measuring success that can be used for go/no-go decision-making for the project, and should include quantitative criteria associated with them. Prior to funding an application, NIH program staff will contact the applicant to discuss the proposed milestones and any changes suggested by the review panel or NIH program staff.  A final set of milestones will be specified each year in the Notice of Award. Progress towards achievement of the annual milestones and the overall goals will be regularly evaluated by NIH program staff and they may consult as necessary with independent consultants with relevant expertise. If justified, future year milestones may be revised based on data and information obtained during the previous project period. If, based on the progress report, a funded project does not meet the milestones, funding for the project may be discontinued.  In addition to milestones, the decision regarding continued funding will also be based on the overall robustness of the entire data package that adequately allows an interpretation of the results (regardless if they have been captured in the milestones), overall progress, program synergy and priorities, competitive landscape, and availability of funds.

Objectives of the UG3 Phase

During the UG3 phase, the NIH is interested in developing and demonstrating proof of principle of the next generation technologies for 3D quantitative mapping of tissue. These technologies must offer capabilities not currently available for tissue analysis with sufficient throughput and cost effectiveness to analyze large tissue neighborhoods in three dimensions from multiple biospecimens. Expected outcomes include but are not limited to:

  • Demonstrating that the proposed novel technology can quantitatively map the spatial distribution of biomolecules in mammalian tissues; 
  • Demonstrating that the technology is scalable and generally applicable for the generation of high-resolution biomolecular maps of tissue by generating multiple tissue maps at reasonable cost and within a reasonable time;
  • Coordinating with the HIVE on standardized formats for the deposition and storage of data generated;
  • Developing and sharing within the Consortium Standard Operating Procedures, quality control metrics, software, reagents or metadata elements associated with the technology;
  • Determining the analytic rigor of the proposed technology platform, benchmarking performance and characterizing technical variability.

Transition from UG3 to UH3: An administrative review will be conducted by NIH Program staff to decide whether a project will be considered for transition from the UG3 phase to the UH3 phase. UH3 eligible projects must have a compelling and innovative technology that has the potential to transform data collection for the HuBMAP and have strong results to support validation in human tissues. To be eligible for transition, projects must have met the Objectives of the UG3 Phase listed above and be considered a high programmatic priority for HuBMAP by actively working as part of the Consortium to the overall program goals and offering unique tissue analysis capabilities. Prior to transitioning, NIH Program staff will contact the applicant to discuss proposed updates to the goals and milestones of the UH3 period and they may consult as necessary with independent consultants with relevant expertise.

Objectives of the UH3 Phase

During the UH3 phase, the NIH is interested in scaling-up, optimizing and validating the proposed novel technology for multiplexed, high-throughput mapping of multiple human tissues. These technologies must be generalizable and comprehensive enough to be capable of providing analysis of user-defined biomolecules of interest across all major human tissues. Expected outcomes include but are not limited to:

  • Optimizing and characterizing the performance of the technology to rapidly and efficiently generate comprehensive biomolecular maps of multiple non-diseased human tissues not studied in the UG3 phase;
  • Generating validation and publication-quality data from these tissues and submitting the data to the HIVE in a format agreed upon by the Consortium within two years;
  • Demonstrating that generated data contributes to a significantly enhanced understanding of the role of biomolecular organization in tissue function.
Technical Assistance Conference Call

All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH Staff to discuss the alignment of their proposed work with the goals of this FOA and the HuBMAP Program. A Technical Assistance teleconference will be held for potential applicants in January 2018.   NIH staff will be available to answer questions related to this FOA.  Time, date, and dial in information for the call will be announced in an NIH Guide Notice and will be posted on the HuBMAP website: https://commonfund.nih.gov/HuBMAP. A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the program will also be posted on the HuBMAP website. The information session is open to all prospective applicants, but participation is not a prerequisite to apply.

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

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New

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

Clinical Trial?

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

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIH intends to fund approximately 5 awards, corresponding to a total of $2 million, for fiscal year 2018. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations. The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Applications should not exceed $250,000 in direct costs per year during the UG3 phase and $400,000 in direct costs per year during the UH3 phase.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The proposed project period for the UG3 may not exceed 2 years and the UH3 phase may not exceed 2 years. The total duration of the UG3 and UH3 phases together may not exceed 4 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 - including the NIH Intramural Research Program
  • 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) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

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

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms 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.

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

Pothur Srinivas, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-402-3712
Email: HUBMAP@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: 

Specific Aims: Separate specific aims should be submitted for both the UG3 and UH3 phases.

Research Strategy: Approach must be divided into two parts corresponding to the UG3 and UH3 phases. The UG3 phase must include plans for: (1) demonstrating that the proposed novel technology can transform our current capabilities for quantitatively mapping the spatial distribution of biomolecules in tissue, (2) demonstrating that the technology is scalable and generally applicable for the generation of high-resolution biomolecular maps of tissue by generating one such map at reasonable cost with within a reasonable time period, (3) coordinating with the HIVE on standardized formats for the deposition and storage of data generated as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program, (4) developing and sharing Standard Operating Procedures, quality control metrics, software, reagents or metadata elements associated with the technology, within the Consortium, and (5) determining the analytic rigor of the proposed technology platform, benchmarking performance and characterizing technical variability.  The UH3 phase must include plans for: (1) optimizing and characterizing the technology to rapidly and efficiently generate comprehensive biomolecular maps of multiple non-diseased human tissues not studied in the UG3 phase, (2) generating validation and publication-quality data from this tissue and submitting the data to the HIVE in a standardized format as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program, and (3) demonstrating that generated data contributes to a significantly enhanced understanding of the role of biomolecular organization in tissue function.

Milestones and Timeline: A timeline (Gantt chart) including milestones is required. Milestones are goals that create go/no-go decision points in the project and must include clear and quantitative objective criteria for success. Yearly quantitative milestones are required to provide clear indicators of a project's continued progress or emergent difficulties and will be used to evaluate the application not only in peer review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of non-competing award years. The application must include well-defined milestones: e.g., appropriate objective performance targets, quantitative for go/no go decision points such as an appropriate level of detection and coefficient of variation, or sensitivity and specificity; and timelines for assessing progress in both the UG3 and UH3 phases, including specific milestones for progressing from the UG3 phase to the UH3 phase. Milestones and timelines for each stage must be provided in a separate heading at the end of the Approach section for each UG3 and UH3 subsection, and should:

Provide appropriately detailed (quantitative) criteria by which milestone achievement will be assessed.

Provide a detailed timeline for the anticipated attainment of each milestone and the overall goal.

Identify any impediments that could require an addendum to the research plan, milestones, or timeline with a discussion of alternative approaches.

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

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. Applicants should indicate their willingness to abide by all data deposition, quality control metrics, standardization, metadata requirements, data and software release, and public copyright license policies developed by the HuBMAP Consortium and approved by NIH staff. A primary goal of the HuBMAP is to lay the foundation for a widely accessible atlas of tissue maps and this will require data and resources to be shared quickly and openly once validated, consistent with achieving the goals of the program.  Restrictive licensing and sharing practices for HuBMAP-generated data, tools, and resources could substantially diminish their value and public benefit. Accordingly, awardees should manage data, resources, protocols, tools, and software in a way that achieves this goal. Sharing practices that would prevent or block access to or use of HuBMAP program data, tools, and resources for research purposes will be considered to be hindering the goals of the HuBMAP. The development of policies, methods, and standards for such sharing is critically important.  The NIH expects that the awardees, through the HuBMAP Steering Committee (SC), will develop such policies, methods, and standards in concert with the NIH.  These policies, methods, and standards will remain consistent with NIH-wide policies on data and resource sharing. Prior to funding, NIH Program Staff may negotiate modifications to the Sharing Plan with the applicant.

Specific Plan for Public Access: The NIH Common Fund intends to maximize the availability of publications and the sharing of underlying data for HuBMAP Projects. Applicants should describe their proposed process for making resulting publications and to the extent possible, the underlying primary data immediately and broadly available to the public, or provide a justification if such sharing is not possible.  Underlying primary data is expected to be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, and protecting confidential and proprietary data. Applicants are encouraged to use existing, open licensing approaches and preprint repositories, and may include anticipated charges for Publication or data sharing and resources that may be needed to support a proposed Resource Sharing Plan in the budget plan of their application.

Specific Plan for Data Sharing: Implementation of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) Principles is essential for the success of HuBMAP. Consistent with achieving these principles, the NIH expects that information such as collected data, technical protocols, and any other metadata collected under this FOA is to be rapidly deposited as appropriate into the HIVE and in a recognized and reusable format. The HIVE will serve as the central access point for information regarding data, tools, and reagents being developed by the HuBMAP Consortium. If applicable, applicants must abide by the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy (https://gds.nih.gov/) and should indicate their agreement to abide by it in the data sharing plan.

Specific Plan for Protocol, Tool, and Reagent Sharing: As one of the primary goals of this program is to advance research through development, establishment, broad dissemination and use of community resources across the research community, NIH intends that protocols, tools, and reagents generated by the HuBMAP Consortium be broadly available and distributed at minimal cost, and without undue intellectual property constraints, so that they can be as widely used as possible, thus enabling downstream investigations of understudied biomolecules by the larger scientific community. For all applications and where otherwise applicable, the applicant should discuss plans for sharing and distribution of non-data resources that will be generated by the proposed project, including models, protocols, biomaterials, and reagents. The HIVE will work with all HuBMAP Consortium investigators to collect, curate, and disseminate information regarding tools and reagents being developed by the HuBMAP Consortium to be disseminated through the HIVE and other sources as appropriate.

Intellectual Property: Intellectual property rights asserted by proposers must be aligned with the open source regime used to distribute software made under the award. Exceptions to open source technology will be considered only in compelling cases. Awardees will own the software and data developed under this award, subject to the Government’s royalty-free, nonexclusive, irrevocable right to use, disclose, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, in any manner and for any purpose, and to have or permit others to do so. In addition, inventions, technical solutions and methods developed under this solicitation will remain the property of the awardees, who may freely use them for their own commercial purposes, subject to a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to the Government to practice, or have practiced for or on its behalf, the inventions, technical solutions and methods throughout the world. Applicants should also be familiar with the NIH statements regarding intellectual property of resources developed with Federal funds (NIH Research Tools Policy (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/intell-property_64FR72090.pdf) and other related NIH sharing policies at http://sharing.nih.gov).

Specific Plan for Sharing Software:  Applicants are asked to propose a plan to manage and disseminate the improvements or customizations of their tools and resources by others.  This proposal may include a plan to incorporate the enhancements into the “official” core software, may involve the creation of an infrastructure for plug-ins, or may describe some other solution. There is no prescribed single license for software produced in this project; however, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the software sharing and dissemination plan based on its likely impact. Any software dissemination plans represent a commitment by the institution (and its subcontractors as applicable) to support and abide by the plan. A software sharing plan guided by the following principles is thought to promote the largest impact:

  • The software should be freely available to biomedical researchers and educators in the non-profit sector, such as institutions of education, research institutions, and government laboratories.
  • The terms should also permit the dissemination and commercialization of enhanced or customized versions of the software, or incorporation of the software or pieces of it into other software packages.
  • To preserve utility to the community, the software should be transferable such that another individual or team can continue development in the event that the original investigators are unwilling or unable to do so.

The terms of software availability should include the ability of researchers outside HuBMAP and its collaborating projects to modify the source code and to share modifications with other colleagues as well as with HuBMAP.  An applicant should take responsibility for creating the original and subsequent “official” versions of a piece of software.

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

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.

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

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) 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 or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

Applications Involving the NIH Intramural Research Program

The requests by NIH intramural scientists will be limited to the incremental costs required for participation. As such, these requests will not include any salary and related fringe benefits for career, career conditional or other Federal employees (civilian or uniformed service) with permanent appointments under existing position ceilings or any costs related to administrative or facilities support (equivalent to Facilities and Administrative or F&A costs). These costs may include salary for staff to be specifically hired under a temporary appointment for the project, consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel, and other items typically listed under Other Expenses. Applicants should indicate the number of person-months devoted to the project, even if no funds are requested for salary and fringe benefits.

If selected, appropriate funding will be provided by the Common Fund through the NIH Intramural Program. NIH intramural scientists will participate in this program as PDs/PIs in accord with the Terms and Conditions provided in this FOA. Intellectual property will be managed in accord with established policy of the NIH in compliance with Executive Order 10096, as amended, 45 CFR Part 7; patent rights for inventions developed in NIH facilities are NIH property unless NIH waives its rights.

Should an extramural application include the collaboration with an intramural scientist, no funds for the support of the intramural scientist may be requested in the application. The intramural scientist may submit a separate request for intramural funding as described above.

Use of Common Data Elements in NIH-funded Research

Many NIH ICs encourage the use of common data elements (CDEs) in basic, clinical, and applied research, patient registries, and other human subject research to facilitate broader and more effective use of data and advance research across studies. CDEs are data elements that have been identified and defined for use in multiple data sets across different studies. Use of CDEs can facilitate data sharing and standardization to improve data quality and enable data integration from multiple studies and sources, including electronic health records. NIH ICs have identified CDEs for many clinical domains (e.g., neurological disease), types of studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies (GWAS)), types of outcomes (e.g., patient-reported outcomes), and patient registries (e.g., the Global Rare Diseases Patient Registry and Data Repository). NIH has established a “Common Data Element (CDE) Resource Portal" (http://cde.nih.gov/) to assist investigators in identifying NIH-supported CDEs when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection. The Portal provides guidance about and access to NIH-supported CDE initiatives and other tools and resources for the appropriate use of CDEs and data standards in NIH-funded research. Investigators are encouraged to consult the Portal and describe in their applications any use they will make of NIH-supported CDEs in their projects.

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. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

The UG3/UH3 Phase Innovation Awards Cooperative Agreement 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. Accordingly, reviewers will focus their evaluation on the development, integration, validation and dissemination of tools and techniques that significantly expand throughput, multiplexing and discrimination of biomolecules in human tissues with high resolution to further identify cell types and tissue organization conceptual framework and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. An UG3/UH3 grant application need not have preliminary data, extensive background material or preliminary information; however, they may be included if available. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data.  Accordingly, reviewers will emphasize the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding.  Reviewers will assign a single impact score for the entire application, which includes both the UG3 and UH3 phases.

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 problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? 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?

Will this project make a significant contribution to the overall goals and objectives of the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program?

Does this project have the potential to transform 3D human tissue mapping by quantitatively mapping the distribution of biomolecules? Does the proposed technology significantly expand throughput, multiplexing and discrimination of biomolecules in human tissues with high resolution? How easily can the technology be applied to comprehensively assess the intra-, inter- and extra-cellular organization of multiple human tissues?

Will the technology, data and knowledge generated by this project lead to a better understanding of the relationship between tissue organization and function? 

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?

Is the team expertise appropriate and sufficiently diverse to effectively manage a high-risk, milestone-driven project to develop and validate a new technology?

Does the team include expertise in design, development, testing and validation of their proposed technology and a clear leadership plan and commitment of time that will enhance the likelihood of success?

Does the team have expertise in developing and validating new technologies as part of a consortium?

What is the likelihood that all the collaborators and partners will work together effectively to meet the timeline to complete the milestones proposed for the transition from UG3 to UH3? 

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?

Will the proposed technology facilitate a paradigm shift, transforming 3D human tissue mapping in a way not possible by existing technologies?

Is the design of the project creative, innovative, relevant to HuBMAP's goals, and does it accelerate development in a way that would not obviously happen otherwise?

Does the project have an optimal balance in proposing a high-risk technology which has not yet been benchmarked or validated in mammalian tissue, while also having a thoughtful risk-mitigation strategy to develop the technology in such a way that other researchers will want to use it and have confidence in the results? 

Approach

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

Has the project proposed a rigorous approach to development that will result in a robust, calibrated, benchmarked and cross-validated technology?

Does the approach include studies to understand the analytic rigor and biologic validity of the proposed technology?

Are appropriate metrics identified for assessing project progress, benchmark technology performance and that will discriminate technical artifacts from biological signal?

Are the proposed timeline and milestones for the UG3 phase likely to result in successful proof-of-principle demonstration of the technology for quantitatively map the distribution of biomolecules in mammalian tissue?

Are the proposed timeline and milestones for the UH3 phase likely to result in a technology that has been optimized, scaled, benchmarked and validated for high-throughput mapping of non-diseased human tissue?
Does the project propose to collaborate and coordinate with the other HuBMAP initiatives to share resources and details of the technology, consistent with the goals of the program, and will this result in successful upload of data to the HIVE and demand to use the technology by the Tissue Mapping Centers?

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

Environment

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

Are the resources, equipment and infrastructure available and in place (or readily obtainable) to achieve the goals of the UG3 within 2 years?

Are the instrumentation and data science resources in place (or readily obtainable) and adequate to support the project and interactions with the rest of the HuBMAP Consortium? 

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 six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Resubmissions are not allowed for this FOA.

Renewals

Renewals are not allowed for this FOA.

Revisions

Revisions are not allowed for this FOA.

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 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
  • Evidence that the applicant and investigators are committed to policies as established by the Consortium Steering Committee including with regard to confidentiality, publications, sharing of information and resources, and collaboration.
  • Evidence of previous productive, cooperative, collaborative technology development taking into consideration the needs of end users.
  • Evidence that the project will contribute to the diversity of technical and intellectual approaches and to the overall goals of the HuBMAP program.
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 http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

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

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

Definitions

For each individual award, NIH staff has substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

  • NIH Program Officer

A NIH Program Officer (PO) will provide the standard programmatic oversight and stewardship of the projects, including review of pre-award and award documents/requirements, review of progress reports and budgets, and any other programmatic issues that may arise.

The PO has the option to recommend to the HuBMAP Program Manager, following consultation with the project staff, ESCs and the NIH WG, the withholding or reduction of support from any project that substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of the award. NIH reserves the right to withhold funding or curtail an award in the event of: (a) Substantive changes in the project, or failure to make sufficient progress toward the project milestones, including timely pre-publication deposition of data or reagents in accordance with approved Consortium Policies; or (b) ethical or conflict of interest issues.

  • NIH Project Scientists

One or more NIH Program Staff will serve as Project Scientists (PSs), for each HuBMAP award and, as appropriate, to oversee collaborative projects amongst awardees and/or other Consortium members. The PS will serve as the scientific representative of the NIH to the investigators in accordance with policies and procedures of the cooperative agreement mechanism. If there is more than one PS, one of them will be designated as the Lead PS.  The PSs will provide substantial NIH scientific programmatic involvement with the awardee that is anticipated during the performance of the activities supported by this Cooperative Agreement, including review of milestones. PSs will work closely with the PD/PI, the Steering Committee, and the PIs of all projects/cores to maximize progress towards the goals of the project and the program.  

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

  • All aspects of the study, including any modification of study design, conduct of the study, quality control, data analysis and interpretation, setting project milestones, preparation of publications, and collaboration with other investigators, unless otherwise provided for in these terms.
  • Awardee(s) will provide goals and progress toward those goals at regular intervals as requested by NIH staff and ensure that the data produced meets the quality standards agreed to by the Consortium
  • Awardee(s) will ensure that the data are submitted to the HIVE, that details of biospecimens are submitted to the Tissue Core, that resources developed as part of this project are made publicly available according to Consortium policies, and that results are disseminated in a timely manner
  • Ensuring that software and other tools and resources developed as part of this project are made publicly available according to HuBMAP policies, and that research products of the project are published in a timely manner.
  • Awardee(s) will agree to accept close coordination, cooperation, and participation of NIH staff in those aspects of scientific and technical management of the project as described under "NIH Program Staff Responsibilities."
  • Agreeing to the governance of the Consortium through the SC and the NIH WG, including accepting approved recommendations from the EPCs.
  • Actively participating in the SC, including attending both in-person and teleconference meetings, and participating in collaborative activities and subcommittees. At least one in-person SC meeting will be held per year, for which HuBMAP awardees will pay the travel for their attending members.
  • Updating goals and milestones at the time of award and providing summaries of progress toward those goals at least yearly, as requested by NIH.  The milestones will be reviewed annually (and at other times, if necessary), and new milestones will be negotiated, as needed by working with the NIH WG and Project Scientists as appropriate.
  • Agreeing to abide by any policies -- including those regarding intellectual property, data and software release, publication of HuBMAP Consortium papers, quality control metrics, standardization, metadata requirements, and public copyright licensing -- that are recommended by the SC and approved by the NIH WG, as well as applicable NIH policies, laws, and regulations.
  • Being prepared for annual administrative site visits by NIH staff.
  • Agreeing to participate in the collaborative activities of the Consortium, and agreeing not to disclose confidential information obtained from other members of the Consortium.
  • Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Close interaction among the participating investigators will be required, as well as significant involvement from the NIH during each phase of the program. The awardees, the PSs, and other designated NIH Staff will participate in the annual in-person investigator meeting and scheduled conference calls and share information on data resources, methodologies, analytical tools, as well as data and preliminary results. PDs/PIs, key co-investigators and pre- and post-doctoral trainees, especially those who are members of under-represented minority groups or those from different but related disciplines, are eligible to attend these meetings. EPCs will attend the annual in person meetings. Other government staff may attend the annual investigators meetings.

The SC will serve as the main scientific body of the Consortium, with the following roles:

  • The SC will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the projects and is the committee through which the NIH WG formally interacts with the investigators. SC membership will include the PI(s) of each Project, (limited to one vote for a Project with multiple PIs) and NIH staff (non-voting members). The SC Chair(s) will be appointed by the HuBMAP Program Manager and drawn from the individual project PIs. The SC may add additional, non-voting, members, as needed.
  • The SC may choose to open Consortium membership to collaborators not funded through the HuBMAP Program, provided that such members agree to abide by policies enacted by the SC. The SC may generate additional conditions that apply to non-awardee members of the Consortium.
  • The SC may set up subcommittees as needed to address particular issues. These subcommittees will include representatives from the HuBMAP projects, NIH staff and possibly other experts. The SC will have the overall responsibility of assessing and prioritizing the progress of the various subcommittees.

It is anticipated that multiple subcommittees may need to be formed, for example, to address topics such as:

  • ·    Data and Reagent Deposition and Sharing
  • ·    Quality Control and Validation
  • ·    Publications and Outreach
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 will be convened. The panel will have three members: a designee of the SC chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

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

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Pothur Srinivas, Ph.D, MPH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-402-3712
Email: HUBMAP@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

David Balasundaram, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review
Telephone: 301-435-1022
Email: balasundaramd@csr.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tracee Foster
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-827-8030
Email: tracee.foster@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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