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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NCATS Pilot Program for Collaborative Drug Discovery Research using Bioprinted Skin Tissue (U18)

Activity Code

U18 Research Demonstration – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-TR-17-007

Companion Funding Opportunity

 None

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

93.350

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to enable the development of 3D-bioprinted tissue models for drug discovery, including efficacy studies and toxicology research through a collaborative arrangement between the 3-D Bioprinting Program at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and extramural scientists.

NCATS intramural scientists will provide expertise for 3-D bioprinting, assay development and drug screening stages of the projects.  Extramural investigators will provide appropriate cell resources, disease expertise and model validation in collaboration with NCATS to perform drug screening of bioprinted materials. The research application will involve 3-D bioprinting in a screening format of patient-derived cells supplied by the extramural investigators, characterization and validation of bioprinted materials by NCATS investigators and extramural collaborators, and screening of appropriate molecular libraries.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

February 13, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 14, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

February 28, 2017

Application Due Date(s)

April 14, 2017, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

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

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June, 2017

Advisory Council Review

October, 2017

Earliest Start Date

October, 2017

Expiration Date

April 15, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners.

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

  3. Go to Grants.gov to download an application package to complete the application forms offline or create a Workspace to complete the forms online; submit your application to Grants.gov; and track your application in eRA Commons.
Learn more about the various submission options.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to enable the development of 3D-bioprinted tissue models for drug discovery, including efficacy studies and toxicology research through a collaborative arrangement between the 3-D Bioprinting Program at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and extramural scientists. This FOA seeks to broaden and strengthen translational research collaborations between basic and clinical researchers, both within and outside NIH, as well as, to accelerate and enhance translational science through partnerships between NCATS investigators and extramural investigators by providing research support for extramural investigators to access the NCATS 3-D Bioprinting Program.  For the initial part of this program, projects will be limited to developing bioprinted models for skin disorders.

This collaborative translational research between NCATS intramural investigators and extramural scientists will involve a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) which will need to be executed for projects deemed scientifically meritorious by peer review. NCATS intramural scientists will provide expertise for 3-D bioprinting, assay development and drug screening stages of the projects.  Extramural investigators will provide appropriate cell resources, disease expertise and model validation in collaboration with NCATS to perform drug screening of bioprinted materials.

Background

Recent advances in the fields of engineering, biomaterials science, cell biology, physics and medicine have enabled 3D printing of biocompatible materials, cells and supporting components into complex 3D functional living tissues. 3D bioprinting is being applied in many areas from drug discovery to regenerative medicine. More than 90% of the drugs being developed fail due to lack of efficacy or because of toxicity, often because of the use of overly simplistic in vitro cell assays and/or in vivo mouse models with limited predictive value during the various stages of the drug discovery process. Three-dimensional (3-D) bioprinting of tissue models using human primary cells, allogeneic or autologous human iPSC-derived cells that faithfully recapitulate native tissues can provide more clinically relevant physiological and pharmacological data. Having access to in vitro human tissue models that are more predictive of drug efficacy and toxicity in the clinic could thus have a significant immediate and long-lasting impact not only in shortening of the timelines and reducing cost of drug discovery but also in bringing new and better medicines to patients. NCATS has recently set up a 3-D Bioprinting Program at the NIH. The objective of the 3-D bioprinting program at NCATS is to generate live human tissues of defined anatomical architecture that closely resemble native human tissues and organs. The 3-D bioprinting of human tissue equivalents in microtiter plates allows leveraging of expertise in tissue engineering/organogenesis, stem cell and disease biology, and non-invasive detection technologies for tissue characterization and drug testing. It is expected that the data generated from 3D assays will be more predictive of in vivo drug performance than that from traditional 2D workflows.

These awards will support studies by the collaborating extramural investigators to develop 3-D bioprinted constructs using resources made available through the NCATS Bioprinting Program and to make available well-characterized iPSC and/or primary cells derived from patients, and physiological characterization and validation of the 3-D tissue constructs.  In addition, these awards will support assay development and focused drug screens for identification of novel treatment.  It is expected that these 3-D bioprinted tissues will also provide a better understanding of disease biology, assessment of candidate therapies for efficacy and safety assessments, and establishment of a pre-clinical foundation that will inform clinical trial design.

Applications for this program will be submitted by the extramural institution with the participation of the intramural investigator(s) integrated into the application as described in the Collaboration Plan.  Funded projects will include an award to the applicant organization which will exclude funds to support the participation of the NCATS Bioprinting Program.  Support for NCATS intramural contribution will first be determined, then provided, if applicable by a budget allocation within the NIH.  Annual progress reports will be prepared and submitted by the extramural institutions, with the participation and input of the intramural investigator(s) and should include the project findings, publications, data and resource-sharing and impact of the collaborative project

NCATS has provided the CRADA template document to help streamline the interaction between NCATS investigators and extramural scientists. Applicants should review this document and consult with their institutions about their willingness to agree to the conditions well in advance of submitting an application to this FOA. The CRADA will need to be executed after the application has been identified for funding.

Specific Areas of Interest

Specific Areas of interest for the NCATS Bioprinting Program include projects involving the bioprinting and initial validation of disease models where the primary site of pathology involves the skin.

Additional Considerations -

Cells:  The availability and use of human primary cells, or pluripotent stem cells, e.g., iPSC, are strongly encouraged. Multipotent or unipotent stem cells also may be utilized where appropriate. The current NIH guidance on stem cell usage can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/policy/pages/2009guidelines.aspx.

Biomaterials: Native extracellular matrices (ECM) are dynamic, complex microenvironments that can drive functional and biomechanical development. Applicants should consider the biological properties and potential downstream effects when choosing appropriate ECM materials.

Collaborations: Collaborative interactions are a critical aspect of this FOA. In addition to collaborations between NCATS intramural investigators and extramural scientists, projects may require extensive collaboration among tissue engineering/tissue biology experts and the disease experts and clinicians, and engagement of patient advocacy groups.

Important:

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the Scientific/Research Contacts for the area of science for which they are planning to develop an application. Early contact provides an opportunity for NCATS staff to discuss the program scope and goals, and to provide information and guidance. Other aspects of an application that are unique to this program including collaboration with Intramural Investigators may also be discussed.
  • The budget requests for this FOA are more complex and will require more coordination than those of other programs.  Therefore, extramural investigators are encouraged to begin discussions about logistics and budget issues with their intramural collaborators and with Grants Management staff in the early phases of application preparation.

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.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

NCATS intends to fund an estimate of 1-2 awards, corresponding to a total of $3,000,000, for fiscal year 2017. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $400,000 in direct costs per year and should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period.  The maximum project period is 2 years.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

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

Governments

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

Other

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

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (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, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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:

Carol Lambert, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-435-0814
Fax: 301-480-3660
Email: Lambert@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

Other Attachments: The following attachments are required.

Collaboration Plan

Applications must include a proposed Collaboration Plan, describing how the proposed collaboration will be maintained throughout the duration of the award.  The following areas should be addressed:

  • Organizational structure;
  • Management plan detailing how existing resources, including 3-D Bioprinting Program at NCATS will be utilized;
  • Planned interaction and responsibilities of key personnel;
  • Clear and well described advantage to bringing the intramural and extramural investigators together in a collaborative partnership
  • Description of how research teams will communicate (e.g., videocast, web meeting, etc.);
  • Description of any pre-existing Intellectual property; and
  • While the CRADA may not be in place before the award is made a statement from the Sponsored Research Office agreeing in principle to the terms of the template must be included.

The filename "Collaboration Plan-PI-NAME.pdf" should be used and will be reflected in the final image bookmarking for easy access by reviewers.  The Collaboration Plan is limited to 5 pages.

Milestone Plan

A Milestone Plan should include:

  • Milestones that are quantifiable and have clear go/no go decisions
  • A detailed project performance and timeline objectives in a section entitled “Milestone Plan”
  • A summarized Gantt chart that includes detailed protocol-specific performance milestones and timeline

The filename "Milestone Plan-PI-NAME.pdf" should be used and will be reflected in the final image bookmarking for easy access by reviewers.  The Milestone Plan is limited to 3 pages

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.

Funds from the NIH will be made available through the U18 cooperative agreement award mechanism. Research support for activities related to the 3-D bioprinting, and drug screening at NCATS will be covered with internal funds and should not be included in the U18 budget proposal.

The budget request for this FOA must distinguish between extramural costs and the NIH intramural investigator costs.  Extramural costs are associated with the extramural investigator and the applicant organization. NIH intramural investigator costs are those required by the intramural investigator for carrying out the proposed work and which are specifically identified with the project.

Extramural Grantee Costs

Extramural costs may include such items as salary support for the extramural PD/PI and staff at the applicant organization, supplies, laboratory animals, data analysis, and other allowable costs for work performed at the (extramural) applicant organization, as well as travel costs for the extramural investigator(s).  Extramural costs may also include travel costs for in-person meetings with NCATS collaborators.

F&A (Indirect) Costs: Applicant organizations are reminded that Facilities and Administrative (F&A) or “indirect costs” are allowable for only the allowable extramural costs of the project. 

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: 

Letters of Support: Applications submitted in response to this FOA must include a current (i.e. within 2 months of application due date) letter of collaboration from the Scientific Director of the NCATS Division of Preclinical Innovation to confirm that the NCATS Bioprinting Facility will be able to accommodate the proposed research and include documented approval that the NCATS intramural scientist will be able to collaborate on the project. If co-funding or in-kind support is planned from any source (non-NIH sources or NIH sources), letter(s) outlining details of the commitment (e.g. type, amount and source of support), signed by a business official on organization letterhead, must be included.

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

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

Appendix:

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

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

 
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 and/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 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. 

Because the extramural application will 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.

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

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?  

Investigator(s)

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

 Specific to this FOA:

  • Is the Collaboration Plan well defined with identifiable responsibilities for the NIH intramural investigator and the extramural applicant?
  • Is there a clear and well described advantage to bringing the intramural and extramural investigators together in a collaborative partnership?
Innovation

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

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators 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? 

Specific to this FOA: 

  • Is a plan for management of the collaboration clearly presented, with well-defined descriptions of what each participant proposes to provide to the collaborative partnership?

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

Environment

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

Additional Review Criteria

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.

 Milestones

Are the steps and milestones clearly defined? Are the milestones feasible, well developed and quantifiable with regard to specific goals and accomplishments?

Collaboration Plan

Does the Collaboration Plan adequately describe how the proposed collaboration will be maintained throughout the duration of the award?

RFA/PAR only: Additional Review Criteria may be added.  Use “Heading 4 indent” for the names of the criteria.

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

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable.

Additional Review Considerations

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) 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 NCATS, 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 to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
  • Compliance with resource sharing policies.
  • Likelihood of effective collaboration between the PD(s)/PI(s) of the applicant institution and the NIH Intramural Investigator.
  • Utilization of unique research partnership opportunities.
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 Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

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

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

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility to define objectives and approaches, and to plan, conduct, analyze, and publish results, interpretations, and conclusions of their studies.

  • Identifying specific milestones that will be achieved during the project period.
  • Agreeing to participate in the overall coordination of research efforts. This participation includes collaboration and consultation with NIH investigators, and the sharing of information, data, and research materials.
  • Accepting and agreeing to participate in the cooperative nature of the program.
  • Agreeing to participate to periodic WebEx-based calls by the NIH during the award period. In addition, at least one in-person annual meetings with NCATS staff will be required. The PI and up to one other key personnel with complementary expertise are required to attend these meetings.  Funds to attend these workshops should be budgeted in the application.

NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

The NIH Project Coordinator is expected to have primary responsibility for a substantial portion of the proposed research, and provide advice and technical assistance as needed.  The NIH Project Coordinator will also participate in the analysis, interpretation, and reporting of findings in the scientific literature, to the community at large and to the public policy community within the Federal government through various media, as appropriate.  The NIH Project Coordinator is subject to the same publication/authorship policies as the official NIH publication policy.

The NIH Project Coordinator will have substantial programmatic involvement in the study and will be responsible for the normal programmatic stewardship of the award.  The Program Coordinator will have decision-making authority on matters of budgetary and funding actions, grants management actions, and management of intellectual property issues. The responsibility for final decision making may reside with Senior Institute management, separate organizational components and/or oversight committees.

In addition, a separate NIAID Program Official will be responsible for normal program stewardship of the cooperative agreement award.

The NIH reserves the right to phase out or curtail the study (or an individual award) in the event of (a) failure to develop or implement a mutually agreeable protocol, (b) substantial shortfall in subject recruitment, consortium participation and collaboration with other awardees, (c) substantive changes in the agreed-upon methodologies and tools with which NIH cannot concur, (d) human subject ethical issues that may dictate a premature termination, or (e) results that substantially diminish the scientific value of study continuation.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Since the purpose of this FOA is to establish and/or further develop collaborative arrangements between extramural and intramural investigators, many responsibilities are shared between awardees and NIH staff and will require close coordination. 

All responsibilities will be divided between awardees and NIH staff, as described above.

While the annual progress reports will be prepared and submitted by the extramural institutions, the participation and input of the intramural investigator(s) is required.  The report should include the project findings, publications and impact of the project.  This will be evaluated by the program official/IC program director.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the awardee, a NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two. 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.

T&C Inclusions and Modifications

The Terms and Conditions of Award will include references to the currently approved versions of the Collaboration Plan and the Multiple PD(s)/PI(s) Leadership Plan, if applicable, and the Sharing Plans for Resources and Data.  Before the initial award is made, NIH and the awardees may negotiate changes or additions to the versions of these plans in the application.  Future changes or additions to these plans may be developed by the NIH and the PD(s)/PI(s).  Changes will be documented by an exchange of correspondence and the updated plans will become part of the Terms and Conditions of a revised Notice of Award.  

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

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

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

NCATS Bioprinting Program Intramural Investigator Contact(s)

Marc Ferrer, Ph.D.
Leader, Biomolecular Screening and Probe Development, Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation
Telephone: 301-217-5722
Email: marc.ferrer@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Carol Lambert, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-435-0814
Fax: 301-480-3660
Email: Lambert@mail.nih.govr

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Christina Fleming
National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences (NCATS))
Telephone: 301-435-0850
Email: fleminch@mail.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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