Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is developed as a Common Fund initiative (https://commonfund.nih.gov/) through the Office of the NIH Director, Office of Strategic Coordination (https://dpcpsi.nih.gov). All NIH Institutes and Centers participate in Common Fund initiatives. The FOA will be administered by the National Eye Institute (NEI/NIH), (http://www.nei.hih.gov) on behalf of the NIH.
Reissue of RFA-RM-17-004
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The overarching goal of this Common Fund R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.
To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:
To accomplish the stated overarching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Curriculum or Methods Development in cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM) and cryoelectron tomography (cryoET) for structural and cell biology research.
Technical advances in cryoEM have resulted in its expanded use in generating reliable atomic models of complete and fully functional macromolecular complexes. An emerging related cryoEM method, cryoET, can image macromolecular assemblies in intact unstained frozen cells in three dimensions (3-D). Together, these methods enable high-resolution analysis of previously inaccessible levels of biological organization, ranging from below 100 kD to whole cells. Currently, demand for existing training opportunities exceeds capacity. Moreover, this demand is expected to rise as adoption of cryoEM and cryoET technology continues to increase.
To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on addressing instructional needs for new users of cryoEM and cryoET methods by supporting the development of online and computer-based instructional materials in these technologies.
March 5, 2020
June 25, 2020
July 24, 2020. All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.
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.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).
Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.
Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
The over-arching goal of this R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.
To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:
This initiative is funded through the NIH Common Fund, which 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.
Cryoelectron microscopy and cryoelectron tomography have been selected for Common Fund support because they open previously inaccessible levels of biological organization to high resolution structure analysis, and will vastly extend the range of functions and interactions that can be targeted for basic research and structure-based development of therapeutics. To capitalize on these opportunities, the Common Fund cryoEM and cryoET initiative has two goals for increasing research capacity in cryoEM and cryoET: first, provide nationwide access to advanced cryoEM and cryoET technical capabilities, and second, develop an expert workforce of cryoEM and cryoET practitioners. The current FOA will augment the cryoEM National Service Centers' efforts to develop the hands-on cryoEM and cryoET skills of investigators needed for independent research by developing self-paced instruction materials in cryoEM and cryoET that can be used prior to or in conjunction with other skill-enhancement opportunities.
This FOA will address the need to provide instructional materials for both structural biologists having little or no prior experience with cryoEM or cryoET as well as biological scientists entirely new to structural biology. The expectation is that the curricula developed through this program will augment other hands-on skill enhancement activities, together with developing core competencies in cryoEM and cryoET research. A meeting of the PDs/PIs to discuss and coordinate instructional methods and curricular materials developed through the program will be held annually.
Curriculum Development for CryoEM and CryoET Online Instruction Materials
This Program will facilitate investigator-driven development and implementation of individualized, self-paced instructional materials for cryoEM and/or cryoET research. The FOA will support curriculum development activities at institutions with expertise in cryoEM and/or cryoET for dissemination to the larger biomedical community.
Program activities should include all the following:
The self-paced instructional curricula should enable researchers new to the fields of cryoEM and cryoET to gain competencies in established best practices. Some participants may be cell biologists, molecular biologists or biochemists, and require instruction in both cryoEM/cryoET techniques and basic structural biology. Other participants may be established structural biologists who are new to cryoEM/cryoET methods but are already well grounded in theory. Curricula may target one or both categories of participants.
Instructional materials can target one or more stages in the cryoEM and/or cryoET pipelines, e.g., sample quality requirements, specimen preparation, specimen screening, high resolution data collection, image processing, single particle reconstruction, sub-tomogram averaging, refinement, etc. Materials can include, but are not limited to, video modules, self-paced tutorials, case studies, and annotated data processing scripts. In all cases, best practices as well as common pitfalls and error indicators should be highlighted to best aid participants having no prior experience in cryoEM/cryoET techniques. It is highly desirable for the developed instructional materials to include instruction in reproducibility in scientific research, specifically how it impacts cryoEM/cryoET research and findings.There are some open access cryoEM/cryoET materials already available to the research community. Wherever possible, proposed instructional materials should complement, or significantly improve upon, existing activities. The curricular materials should be developed as open access educational resources that comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The NIH Common Fund intends to commit approximately $600,000 for FY2021 to fund up to five awards.
Applications budgets must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project, and are limited to $115,000 direct costs per year.
The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 3 years.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other Federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving federal support. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.
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.
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.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
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:
The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guideexcept 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 will not be reviewed.
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:
The letter of intent should be sent to:
Houmam Araj, Ph.D.
Facilities & Other Resources. Describe the educational environment, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program. List all thematically related sources of support for research training and education following the format for Current and Pending Support.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:
Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below:
Proposed Research Education Program. While the proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly distinguish between the activities in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program.
The proposed program should have clearly stated goals and objectives, including the educational level of the audience to be reached, the content to be conveyed, and the intended outcomes. Evidence should be provided showing that the program is based on a sound rationale, as well as sound educational concepts and principles. The overall strategy and methodology should be well-reasoned, feasible and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposed research education plan.
For this particular FOA, curriculum materials should be for individual, self-paced instruction for select processes in cryoEM and/or cryoET research. They should enable researchers who are new to the field of cryoEM and/or cryoET to develop competencies in established best practices, as well as awareness of common pitfalls and error indicators. They should not duplicate existing openly available instructional materials. One or more specific stages in the cryoEM and/or cryoET pipelines should be the focus of the educational activities, with modular or interoperable elements developed whenever possible, with learning objectives for each component provided at the onset of each activity. The target audience for the instructional materials may be either investigators new to the field, or established structural biologists requiring instruction.
The program plan should consider:
Program Director/Principal Investigator. Describe arrangements for administration of the program. Provide evidence that the Program Director/Principal Investigator is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program. For programs proposing multiple PDs/PIs, describe the complementary and integrated expertise of the PDs/PIs,their leadership approach, and governance appropriate for the planned project.
Describe the PDs/PIs prior experience in curriculum and/or program development as well as the PDs/PIs knowledge of the skills needed for cryoEM and/or cryoET research.
Institutional Environment and Commitment. Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support (see below). Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.
Evaluation Plan. Describe plans to obtain voluntary feedback from users of the instructional materials to help identify weaknesses in and to provide suggestions for improvements of the instructional materials.
Dissemination Plan. A specific plan must be provided to broadly disseminate materials developed under the auspices of the research education program to the biomedical research community, e.g., sharing course curricula and related materials via web postings, and presentations at scientific meetings, and workshops. The plan must include the information that will be provided to advertise the instructional program to the prospective participant, e.g., the learning objectives, required core competencies, needed laboratory and computational resources, etc. The plan should also address efforts to enhance diversity by making the materials accessible to institutions that serve nationally underrepresented populations. Moreover, since NIH is dedicated to enhancing diversity and outreach to institutions that are not research intensive, special attention to reaching out to IDeA (Institutional Development Award) states is highly desirable.
A goal for this FOA is to release educational materials into the public domain. Use of a public domain license such as Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/ is strongly encouraged. The dissemination plan should describe how widely and freely the course materials are shared, including whether they are in a form that adheres to the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reproducible) principles (see https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples).
All open educational resources developed under this FOA should be produced to maximize interoperability, exchange, and reuse.
1. Attribution and License: Although proper attribution through citation is expected as a community norm, licensing for use is also important. Prior to release, all OERs (Open Education Resources) must be licensed for free, attributed for public use and distribution. In general, such licenses should comply with the Open Knowledge Definition of an open license. Examples of open licenses are listed below:
Creative Commons Zero Public Domain Dedication (CC0), e.g., https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ and Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY), e.g., https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
2. Metadata: Applicants must identify, in the application, the industry standard they intend to use for metadata to describe the resource. Metadata are "tags" attached to digital resources that make it easier to publish, discover and reuse educational content. These tags allow learning systems to accurately generate data on how resources are used by educators in diverse learning environments across the Web. Grantees should tag their resources using a widely-used metadata standard for educational resources such as the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) standard. For details about the current state of metadata for educational resources, visit http://www.bigdatau.org.
3. Repositories: As early as possible, but no later than the end of the grant period, all OERs must be placed in a public repository for educational materials. Examples of such repositories are https://www.skillscommons.org, http://cnx.org, https://www.oercommons.org, and https://www.merlot.org.
4. Reusability and machine-readability: To enable others to easily access and work with all Common Fund cryoEM/cryoET-funded OER content, content should be made available in file formats that allow anyone to natively and directly edit the content, to the extent possible. Content should also be made available in a machine-readable format.
A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support (see section above: "Institutional Environment and Commitment"). Do not include letters of support from potential participants or other persons who do not have a significant role in the project that is described in the application.
Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
When relevant, applications are expected to include a software dissemination plan if support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application.There is no prescribed single license for software produced. However, the software dissemination plan should address, as appropriate, the following goals:
Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow the instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
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.
Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
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
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.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
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.
Applications Involving the NIH Intramural Research Program
Should an extramural application include a collaboration with NIH intramural scientists, 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 PD/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.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
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.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
For this particular announcement, note the following:
The goal of this R25 program is to support educational activities that facilitate individualized self-paced instruction in cryoEM and/or cryoET for (1) structural biologists wanting to move into this field or (2) biologists new to cryoEM/cryoET and structural biology. Instructional materials must be open access and be made available through the Internet.
Does the proposed program address a key audience and an important aspect or important need in research education? Is there convincing evidence in the application that the proposed program will significantly advance the stated goal of the program?
Is the PD/PI capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's intended goal is accomplished? If applicable, is there evidence that the participating faculty have experience in mentoring students and teaching science? If applicable, are the faculty good role models for the participants by nature of their scientific accomplishments? 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?
Taking into consideration the nature of the proposed research education program, does the applicant make a strong case for this program effectively reaching an audience in need of the program’s offerings? Where appropriate, is the proposed program developing or utilizing innovative approaches and latest best practices to improve the knowledge and/or skills of the intended audience?
Does the proposed program clearly state its goals and objectives, including the educational level of the audience to be reached, the content to be conveyed, and the intended outcome? Is there evidence that the program is based on a sound rationale, as well as sound educational concepts and principles? Is the plan for evaluation sound and likely to provide information on the effectiveness of the program? If the proposed program will recruit participants, are the planned recruitment, retention, and follow-up (if applicable) activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified participant pool?
For this announcement:Specific to this FOA:
Proposed Research Education Plan: Are the overall strategy and methodology well-reasoned, feasible and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposed research education program? Will the proposed program provide instruction related to cryoEM and/or cryoET that is not currently available? Is the timeline for development, implementation, evaluation and update of instructional materials realistic and likely to be achieved?
Dissemination Plan: Is the proposed plan for dissemination of the educational program strong and of high quality? Will the developed resources be openly accessible in the public domain? Does the dissemination plan address communication of the availability of the developed resources, to the broader biomedical research community as well as to institutions serving underrepresented groups or located in IDeA states?
Evaluation Plan: Does the evaluation plan include a means to capture the necessary feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses in and to provide suggestions for improvements of the instructional materials?
Will the scientific and educational environment of the proposed program contribute to its intended goals? Is there a plan to take advantage of this environment to enhance the educational value of the program? Is there tangible evidence of institutional commitment? Is there evidence that the faculty have sufficient institutional support to create a sound educational environment for the participants? Where appropriate, is there evidence of collaboration and buy-in among participating programs, departments, and institutions?
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.
When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.
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.
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.
For Renewals of projects funded under previously issued RFA-RM-17-004 (Research Education Program Grants for CryoEM Curriculum Development), the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding periods.
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
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.
If support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application, the reviewers will comment on the proposed software dissemination plan.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
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.
Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Eye Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
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.6. 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.
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.
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.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.html; and https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/index.htmlPlease contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.htmlor 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.
When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.
Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.
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.
Upon the completion of a program evaluation, NIH and its ICs will determine whether to (a) continue a program as currently configured, (b) continue a program with modifications, or (c) discontinue a program.
In evaluating this research education program NIH Common Fund expects to use the following evaluation measures:
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Houmam Araj, Ph.D.
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Mark Caprara, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Karen Robinson Smith
National Eye Institute (NEI)
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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