National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Longitudinal Assessment of Post- traumatic Syndromes (U01)
U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages cooperative research project grant (U01) applications for a multi-site, longitudinal research platform to 1) characterize post-traumatic trajectories based on dimensions of observable behavior, neurobiological changes, and other measures that may serve as markers of risk (e.g., neural network functional connectivity, cognitive functioning, emotion regulation, biomarkers of immune response) among adult trauma patients initially seen in emergency rooms and other acute trauma settings and 2) develop algorithms to be used in the acute post-trauma time period to predict different trajectories that may be informative for future interventions.
June 12, 2015
October 3, 2015
October 3, 2015
November 3, 2015, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
June 1, 2016
November 4, 2015
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the 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.
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
The purpose of this FOA is to seek applications that propose to acquire data at multiple time points on an adult population who has recently experienced an index trauma, to identify objective markers of the development and early course of posttraumatic syndrome phenotypes/intermediate phenotypes that are less heterogeneous than Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For a comprehensive understanding of the trajectory of specific phenotypes of distress and dysfunction, dimensional data are needed that represent continuous measurement on the spectrum from normal to abnormal across fundamental constructs of behavior, cognition, and emotion. Serial longitudinal data are necessary to understand the course and trajectory of emerging posttraumatic syndromes. Longitudinal, dimensional data are expected to enhance prediction and classification based on the emerging understanding of the neurobiology, gene tic, cognitive and other factors that influence risk or development of post-traumatic pathology. To accomplish enhanced prediction, explicit theoretical approaches and hypotheses must be developed to guide the selection of measures and analytic strategies to improve our understanding. Theoretical approaches, typically, would involve convergent measurement among multiple response systems, environmental effects, and divergent neurodevelopmental patterns to contribute to the parsing of heterogeneity of posttraumatic psychopathology. Such an approach is compatible with the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project efforts and may help frame the consideration of predictions and falsifiable hypotheses as well as measure selection to be used in analyses.
Historically, the manifestation of mental health problems following traumatic stress exposure has been considered largely under the umbrella of PTSD. However, there is high variability in presentation and frequent comorbidity with other conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and a variety of other symptoms. Comorbidity and variability in presentation of patients post trauma is the rule, rather than the exception. Beyond the prevalence of posttraumatic psychopathology in civilian populations, current estimates suggest that heterogeneous PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or both will affect roughly 20% of the over two million service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2012 White House Executive Order, emphasizing support of service members, veterans, and their families as a “top priority,” called for an increase in Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health (DHHS/NIH), Department of Defense (DoD), and Veterans Affairs (VA) research to address the problems of PTSD, TBI, and suicide (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/31/executive-order-improving-access-mental-health-services-veterans-service). Given the current limited ability to predict posttraumatic outcomes, match interventions to risk, and treat the underlying causes of disorder, research involving persons exposed to traumatic events is needed to improve understanding in these areas. In response to the White House's call to action, this FOA calls for the longitudinal study of adults presenting in emergency care settings to examine trajectories of response following an index trauma. This research has the potential to improve the care for individuals at high risk for post-traumatic stress conditions across civilian, Military, and Veteran populations.
In response to a traumatic event, people commonly report a range of acute symptoms, e.g., hyperarousal, avoidance, re-experiencing, and changes in thoughts and mood. Quickly, many individuals progressively improve and symptoms recede. Those who continue to experience distress may develop diagnosable mental health problems, including PTSD and other conditions- which may become chronic. However, scientists and clinicians lack the ability to predict, at an individual level, who will suffer from mental health problems and who will recover naturally after trauma exposure. Variability within those diagnosed contributes to poor prediction and inconsistent treatment response. Further evidence of heterogeneity in PTSD is that response to the best evidence-based treatment is highly variable. Patients ostensibly suffering from the same disorder often respond differently to empirically supported treatments (both psychological and pharmacological). Why some but not other patients derive benefits is largely unknown. Emerging data from neuroimaging, neurochemistry, physiological, cognitive and behavioral studies reveal significant differences in systems related to arousal, memory, and reward in those experiencing maladaptive responses to trauma and may help reveal the mechanisms that give rise to eventual clinical presentations.
One approach to improve understanding is to identify the origins and development of observed neural, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral differences. For posttraumatic syndromes, this might begin with considering model animals that have probed circuity and molecular basis of behaviors as well as human work that has explored common symptoms and the current knowledge of behaviors and brain circuits implicated preserved across species. By measuring discrete, homogeneous phenotypes soon after exposure and observing changes as they relate to symptoms and functioning over time, it is hoped that researchers will better be able to predict eventual illness based on early and/or underlying causes of symptoms, which may then lead to novel treatment targets. An important consideration in developing models of trajectories is that any given adult who experiences an acute trauma is likely to have experienced prior traumatic events.
Such an approach should start with what is known about the underlying systems and circuits of problems for which patients frequently seek services. Disorders, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), are inherently heterogeneous but the common presentations of patients sets the scope of problem areas of highest priority and allows researchers to consider what has been learned from the neurobiology, genetics, as well as cognitive and other factors that influence risk for development of post-traumatic pathology. Changes that occur in individuals exposed to trauma have been observed in the brain as well as other biological, psychological, and cognitive systems that reflect relevant systems and the patterns of alterations that lead to symptom development.
In essence, traumatic events prompt a variety of reactions in fundamental systems related to motivation, emotion, behavioral regulation, and activation. These reactions differ across individuals as a function of such factors as the nature of the event, a history of prior traumatic events and the age at which they occur, genetic risk architectures, and social supports during and after the traumatic phase. In any particular individual, the particular pattern of changes across the systems is associated with various symptomatic and behavioral impairments, which in turn result in the conferring of particular diagnoses depending on the predominant symptom constellation that is observed. However, the commonality of mechanisms across traditional diagnostic categories results in considerable co-morbidity, while the large number of mechanisms involved with a syndromal diagnosis results in marked heterogeneity that frustrates attempts at developing effective treatments. Thus, a precision medicine approach would indicate that a more promising strategy would be to examine directly the mechanisms that are involved, as organized by compelling theoretical models and testable hypotheses that reflect etiological and neurodevelopmental factors.
Data collected under this FOA should be used to identify discrete intermediate phenotypes of post-traumatic stress reactions (e.g., attention bias to threat, anhedonia, social avoidance) as objectively as possible and generate reliable multi-method risk prediction algorithm(s) based on known or theoretically identified measures (including biomarkers and cognitive tests) to predict these phenotypes. Data to be collected and measures selected are expected to reflect the predictions made about relationships between systems to be measured and the falsifiable hypotheses proposed. This work is expected to generate functional understanding of the course and trajectory of changes that occur in response to traumatic events. The search for discrete intermediate phenotypes and/or dimensions is ideally guided by explicit theoretical models regarding individual differences in response within and across various measurement systems as they interact with variation in the nature, intensity, and frequency of traumatic events.
This FOA calls for adequate sample size in light of prior work on the trajectories of recovery from traumatic stress exposure, the heterogeneity of presenting problems, and the need for subgroup analyses based on sex, history, and other factors known to influence outcomes. This will enable adequately powered psychometric analyses with respect to reliability, sensitivity, and predictive validity of algorithms.
The goals of this FOA include but are not limited to:
1. Establish an integrative theoretical approach to examine mechanisms that could account for the symptoms typically seen after trauma exposure by measuring related behavioral, psychological, and biological variance across individuals with testable hypotheses. Consideration of the differing effects of various environmental and situational factors (e.g., the type of trauma, number of traumatic events prior to an index trauma) may be important.
2. Establish methodologies for the multi-site collection, quality assurance/quality control, and appropriate distribution/sharing of data at multiple levels (e.g., epidemiological, clinical, behavioral, cognitive, genomic, transcriptomic, epigenetic, proteomic, metabolomic, neuroimaging, inflammation, or neuroendocrine). The selection of measures and choice of analytic strategies may take into account what is known about the neurobiology, genetic, cognitive, and other aspects of symptom development. Selection of measures may be based on what is most likely to yield the most robust signal and need not necessarily include all units from the entire RDoC matrix (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-priorities/rdoc/research-domain-criteria-matrix.shtml).
3. Collect serial data at multiple levels on acute trauma patients at risk for post-traumatic psychopathology to a) characterize pathophysiological changes, cognitive functions and clinical functions as markers of adjustment, dysfunction, and disorder over time and b) develop multi-method risk prediction algorithm(s) based on biomarkers and cognitive tests that represent distinct phenotypes.
4. Collect, process, store, and analyze serial data to reveal the longitudinal associations between risk factors, psychological variables, biological variables and post-traumatic clinical problems.
5. Make longitudinal data available through sharing in an open fashion (both raw and constructed variables) with qualified investigators (while safeguarding the privacy of participants and protecting confidential and proprietary information) as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program. The goal of sharing beyond an immediate study team is to facilitate analyses beyond the scope of this original project but also to combine with other existing data to provide better powered and robust analyses (e.g. through the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and RDoCdb).
A leadership structure may help to delineate areas of responsibility and ensure progress of ambitious research. A governing Leadership Committee (comprised at a minimum of the PD/PI, site leaders, as well as an NIMH project scientist) may help develop the scientific content and direction of the program, monitor progress over time, and ensure cross-site coordination and quality control.
The multi-site nature of the project, the settings in which recruitment will take place, and the need for safety monitoring and reporting will require that the research team include experience and knowledge in supporting multi-site, multi-disciplinary clinical research programs. This expertise should be adequate to provide ongoing management support and consultation in the design, execution, and analysis of the proposed studies and ensure that the proposed studies are of the highest scientific integrity. Details regarding expectations for data coordination and management are outlined in Section IV.2, PHS 398 Research Plan. Applicants may also anticipate tailored work groups to facilitate aspects of the project.
In order to meet the scientific objectives of this FOA, applicants may need to involve multidisciplinary teams (e.g., psychopathology, pathophysiology, cognitive science, imaging, clinimetrics, omics, clinical epidemiology, longitudinal research, data base management, patient tracking expertise, etc.).
Additionally, because trauma care settings are complex and challenging environments in which to conduct research, a range of trauma care staff (e.g., nurses, emergency medicine physicians, emergency medical technicians, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists) may be considered for inclusion in the research team to aid in recruitment and design.
It is expected that the research team consider the inclusion of a Safety Monitor, whose responsibility would be the tracking and reporting of any adverse events and serious adverse events, and following-up on any individual subject safety concerns.
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.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
The NIMH intends to commit up to $4 million in FY 2016 to fund 1 award.
The combined budget for direct costs for the entire project period may not exceed $13.3M. The budget must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.
The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 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.
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
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.
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.
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.
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:
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.
It is critical that applicants follow the 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.
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:
All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exceptions or additional requirements:
For this specific FOA, the Research Strategy section is limited to 30 pages.
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.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Facilities and Other Resources
Site selection, including a brief summary of general medical ED/ER and other settings to be included and their rationale (i.e., a description of the patient populations and prior history of successful research conducted in such settings).
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
It is expected that the study will have adequate expertise in data coordination and management including protocol development, protocol execution (including quality control), data processing, as well as appropriate statistical leadership and data management expertise.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
Specific Aims: Describe plans to explore phenotypes of traumatic reactions and develop predictive algorithms.
Research Strategy: Organize the Research Strategy in the specified order and using the additional instructions provided. Start each section with the appropriate section heading.
Background and Overview: This section should include a general introduction to the study topic area, including relevant literature reviews to support the subsequent design strategies. Additionally, this section should be used to describe:
Innovation: This section should describe how bringing together the multidisciplinary team of investigators and proposed data collection and analyses will help to achieve the overall aims of the project and advance understanding of phenotypes of traumatic stress reactions. This section should also describe how the research proposed classifies psychopathology beyond traditional diagnostic categories to discern more biological or cognitively derived phenotypes of observable behavior and neurobiological measures, how the research proposed will yield more accurate, specific, and acute prediction of trajectory following trauma exposure, and how the application builds from and extends current knowledge of the development of psychopathology.
Approach: This section should describe metrics of screening and risk algorithm development.
This section should be used to describe:
Study Leadership, Management, and Operations: While this may be a multi-site project, it is not a collaborative U01. As a result, there will be one award, with the expectation of multiplesubcontracts to study sites. This may either be a single or multiple PD/PI project. With regard to Study Leadership and Management, this section should include:
Letters of Support: Letters of support from key personnel as well as the Emergency Department personnel who will support the use of facilities for initial recruitment of participants should be provided in the application.
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:
In order to advance the goal of advancing research through widespread data sharing among researchers, investigators funded under this FOA are expected to share those data via the RDoC database (RDoCdb; http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov; please see NOT-MH-15-012 ). Established by the NIMH, RDoCdb is a secure informatics platform for scientific collaboration and data-sharing that enables the effective communication of detailed research data, tools, and supporting documentation. RDoCdb links data across research projects through its Global Unique Identifier (GUID) and Data Dictionary technology. Investigators funded under this FOA are expected to use these technologies to submit data to RDoCdb as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of this program.
To accomplish this objective, it will be important to formulate a) an enrollment strategy that will obtain the information necessary to generate a GUID for each participant, and b) a budget strategy that will cover the costs of data submission. The RDoCdb web site provides two tools to help investigators develop appropriate strategies: 1) the RDoCdb Budgeting Spreadsheet http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/preplanning/#tab-2 - a customizable Excel worksheet that includes tasks and hours for the Program Director/Principal Investigator and Data Manager to budget for data sharing; and 2) plain language text to be considered in your informed consent http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/preplanning/#tab-3. Investigators are expected to certify the quality of all data generated by grants funded under this FOA prior to submission to RDoCdb and review their data for accuracy after submission. Submission of descriptive/raw data is expected semi-annually (every January 15 and July 15); submission of all other data is expected at the time of publication, or prior to the end of the grant, whichever occurs first (see Data Sharing Expectation http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/preplanning/#tab-1 for more information); Investigators are expected to share results, positive and negative, specific to the cohorts and outcome measures studied by using the Study functionality (see http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/results/). The RDoCdb Data Sharing Plan is available for review on the RDoCdb web site (http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/RDoC_Data_Sharing_Policy.pdf). RDoCdb staff will work with investigators to help them submit data types not yet defined in the RdoCdb Data Dictionary http://rdocdb.nimh.nih.gov/share/#tab-3.
Data sharing plans should also include, as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program:
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.
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 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.
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. If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.
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 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.
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 NIMH, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.
NIH encourages the use of common data elements (CDEs) in basic, clinical, and applied research, patient registries, and other human subject research to facilitate broader and more effective use of data and advance research across studies. CDEs are data elements that have been identified and defined for use in multiple data sets across different studies. Use of CDEs can facilitate data sharing and standardization to improve data quality and enable data integration from multiple studies and sources, including electronic health records. NIH ICs have identified CDEs for many clinical domains (e.g., neurological disease), types of studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies (GWAS)), types of outcomes (e.g., patient-reported outcomes), and patient registries (e.g., the Global Rare Diseases Patient Registry and Data Repository). NIH has established a “Common Data Element (CDE) Resource Portal" (http://cde.nih.gov/) to assist investigators in identifying NIH-supported CDEs when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection. The Portal provides guidance about and access to NIH-supported CDE initiatives and other tools and resources for the appropriate use of CDEs and data standards in NIH-funded research. Investigators are encouraged to consult the Portal and describe in their applications any use they will make of NIH-supported CDEs in their projects.
Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.
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.
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).
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.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? 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?
How will the design of the project enable prediction of discrete homogenous phenotypes seen in the wake of exposure to traumatic events?
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?
To what extent does the application describe how bringing together the multidisciplinary team and the proposed data collection and analyses to achieve the overall aims of the project and advance understanding of phenotypes of traumatic stress reactions? Is the proposed plan adequate?
How clearly does the application describe the research team and a plan to ensure the maintenance of close collaboration and effective communication among members of the team? Does the application provide relevant letters of support that reflect the described leadership structure? Does the application describe a Leadership Committee comprised of the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) of the cooperative agreement, leadership from each of the sites, and the NIMH Project Scientist for general project coordination? How will focused working groups and strategic direction be set to guide the workflow and monitor progress? Does the description of working groups include frequency of scheduled meetings, proposed rosters of group members (including NIMH Science and Program Officers), and plans for documenting and disseminating group meeting proceedings? How adequately does the applicant describe the steps that will be taken to ensure successful completion of the research proposed should a key member leave the project? Is the role of all key personnel in the overall study design and implementation well described?
Will there be sufficient data coordination and management expertise for coordinating protocol development, protocol execution including quality control, data processing, and analysis?
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?
How will the successful completion of the research proposed classify psychopathology beyond traditional diagnostic categories to discern more biological or cognitively-derived phenotypes of observable behavior and neurobiological measures? How will this multidisciplinary research team of investigators and proposed data collection, if successful yield more accurate, specific, and acute prediction of trajectory following trauma exposure? To what extent does the application build from and extend current knowledge of the development of psychopathology?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? 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?
How well do the proposed hypotheses reflect an integrative theoretical approach that can account for heterogeneity of symptom presentation and related behavioral, psychological, and biological variance across individuals?
How clearly are the selected risk markers and the rationale for relationship to response systems as well as the timeliness of measurement in the proposal justified? To what extent is the overall conceptual framework (in the selection of measures and analytic strategy) guided by existing knowledge of the neurobiology, genetic, cognitive, and other factors demonstrated to influence risk and development of symptoms? This may include explanation of measure selection, working backwards response systems underlying heterogeneous clinical symptoms or dimensions to incorporate what is known about the neurobiology, genetic, cognitive, and other aspects that influence risk or development of symptoms.
Is there a plan to conduct serial assessments, develop risk algorithms? How clear are milestones for recruitment at each site (if applicable) established and do they take into account expected attrition? Are there clear methods for coordination and collection, quality assurance/quality control, and appropriate distribution/sharing of multi-site data at multiple levels as well as the timelines and milestones to conduct serial assessments? How will plans for collection, processing, storage, and data analysis specified meet the needs of the project? Will the plans for establishment or adoption of standardized imaging and other biomarker protocols across sites ensure appropriate quality control procedures?
How will the proposed research be integrated into trauma care settings to facilitate adequate patient flow and success of the overall research effort? Does the application provide a description of the number of sites, patients, design strategy, and power analyses? How will the research staff be integrated with traditional patient providers in the acute stage post-trauma?
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? Will the strategy for characterizing, tracking and addressing adverse events or ‘worsening’ of symptoms over time be sufficient to protect human subjects?
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?
What history do the acute care settings selected have with supporting active research with successful recruitment of participants in a timely manner? How does the applicant take advantage of existing research networks and infrastructure to identify, enroll, and track patients and support multi-site investigations?
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.
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.
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.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. 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.
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.
Does the application reference NIH-supported common data elements (CDEs) when developing protocols, case report forms, and other instruments for data collection?
Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources
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).
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 Wide Association Studies (GWAS) /Genomic Data Sharing Plan. As well as 4) if there are biosamples to be collected, the ability is expected to be able to share raw and analyzed samples for the duration of the project and maintain or transfer ownership if the samples are to be stored beyond the funding period (including potential transfer of a master control file for the purpose of further recontact for additional research protocols
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 NIMH, 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:
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 National Advisory Mental Health Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
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.
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.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.
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.
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:
NIMH staff will have the following responsibilities:
Areas of Joint Responsibility include:
A governing Leadership Committee composed of the PD(s)/PI(s), each of the site leaders and NIMH Project Scientist will be established to assist in developing the scientific content and direction of the program, and to monitor progress over time. The Leadership Committee will review progress of any work groups (e.g., work groups whose functions are to examine the various forms of data collected such as biomarkers, neurocognitive testing, or imaging; or work groups conducting analyses, or drafting publications). The Leadership Committee members will meet periodically to review study progress, plan and design research activities, and establish priorities, policies and procedures. Adoption of study policies and procedures will require a majority vote. Each member will have one vote in any decision to be made by the Leadership Committee with respect to study policies and procedures. The NIMH Project Scientist will be a voting member of the Leadership Committee but may not serve as the Chair of the Leadership Committee. The frequency of meetings, not fewer than two per year (it is expected these will be much more frequent in the startup phase of the project), will be determined by the PD(s)/PI(s) who will be responsible for scheduling the time and place and for preparing concise proceedings or minutes (two or three pages), which will be delivered to the NIMH Project Officer within 7 days of the meeting.
Work groups: If the PD/PI determines workgroups are needed to oversee specific aspects of the project, all workgroups will be co-chaired by the PD/PI and the NIMH-Project Scientist and will include additional members from the scientific team of the grant, consultants and NIH staff as needed to ensure project success. Work groups will meet as needed and will produce progress reports for evaluation by the Leadership Committee.
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. The three members are: a designee of the Leadership Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two designees; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.
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.
Recruitment Reporting and Trial Registration
NIMH requires reporting of recruitment milestones for participants in clinical research as noted at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-MH-05-013.html. We plan to include language regarding this expectation in the notice of grant award.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
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)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application
instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Farris Tuma, Sc.D
National Institute of Health (NIMH)
David Armstrong, Ph.D
National Institutes of Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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.
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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