Department of Health and Human Services


Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Cancer Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment Technologies for Global Health (UH2/UH3)

Activity Code

UH2/UH3 Phased Innovation Awards Cooperative Agreement

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-CA-13-015

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.394, 93.395 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a new initiative to support the development of cancer-relevant technologies suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).  Specifically, the FOA solicits applications for projects to adapt, apply, and validate existing or emerging technologies into a new generation of user-friendly, low-cost devices or assays that are clinically comparable to currently used technologies for imaging, in vitro detection/diagnosis, or treatment of cancers in humans living in LMICs.

Funds will be made available through the UH2/UH3 phased innovation cooperative agreement award mechanism.  Applicants should have a working assay or prototype (not necessarily already capable of cancer applications).  The initial 2-year (or shorter) UH2 exploratory phase will be a feasibility study to demonstrate technical functionality and clinical potential for use in LMIC settings by meeting specific performance milestones.  UH2 projects that have met their milestones will be administratively considered by NCI and prioritized for transition to the UH3 validation phase.  UH3 awards will support improvements and validations of the technologies in the LMIC settings.  The project period for the UH3 phase is up to 3 years.  Projects proposed in response to this FOA will require multidisciplinary efforts to succeed and therefore all applicant teams must include expertise in engineering/assay/treatment development, oncology, global healthcare delivery, and business development.  Investigators responding to this FOA must address both UH2 and UH3 phases.

Key Dates
Posted Date

October 30, 2013

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 6, 2013

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

December 6, 2013

Application Due Date(s)

January 6, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

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)

January 6, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

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.

Scientific Merit Review

March-April 2014

Advisory Council Review

May 2014

Earliest Start Date

July 1, 2014

Expiration Date

January 7, 2014

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

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.

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

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a new initiative to support the development of cancer-relevant technologies suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).  Specifically, the FOA solicits applications for projects to adapt, apply, and validate existing or emerging technologies into a new generation of user-friendly, low-cost devices or assays that are clinically comparable to currently used technologies for cancer imaging, in vitro detection/diagnosis, or treatment of cancers treatable in persons living in LMICs.

Under the UH2/UH3 phased innovation cooperative agreement award mechanism, applicants responding to this FOA must address both the UH2 exploratory phase and UH3 validation phase.  The UH2 phase is a feasibility study to demonstrate technical functionality and clinical potential of the technology/assay/device/treatment for use in LMIC settings by meeting specific performance milestones.  The most promising projects will be selected for the UH3 phase for clinical validation.

Projects proposed in response to this FOA will require multidisciplinary efforts to succeed, and, therefore, all applicant teams must include expertise in engineering/assay/treatment development, oncology, global healthcare delivery, and business development.

Background

It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of the 7.6 million annual cancer deaths in the world occur in LMICs.  Furthermore, the incidence rate of cancer is on the rise in populations of many LMICs, with substantial inequalities in cancer survival rates across the world.  Access to cancer prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, and treatment are significant challenges in many LMICs, especially in rural areas with limited infrastructure.

Recently developed technologies, such as lab-on-a-chip, mobile health (mHealth), cryotherapy, biosensors, imaging, and spectroscopy, appear to have potential for use in LMICs, and recent developments in consumer electronics, microfabrication, cellular phone communications, and hand-held computers further improve their prospects for adaptation into sensitive, low-cost versions suitable for use in remote locations.

While many types of cancer are currently not treatable in low resource settings, success has been reported for some cancers, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, even in the least developed countries.  Cancers that are amenable to prevention, early detection, and treatment in LMICs include those associated with HPV infection, leukemia, lymphomas, and hepatocellular, cervical, oral-pharyngeal, breast, and colorectal cancers.  While treatment of cancer in LMICs is challenging, those treatments that are minimally invasive have higher likelihood to yield successful outcomes.  Treatment is also more likely to succeed if the cancer is detected early and still localized.  Furthermore, relatively low-cost therapies such as surgery, cryotherapy, or generic drugs may suffice for cancers that are localized and detected early.  However, early treatment depends on effective technologies for early detection and diagnosis.  Most available technologies for cancer are not suitable for use in low resource settings due to expense, dependency on extensive medical infrastructure, or both.  Various portable technologies and minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment methods exist that might be suitable for low resources settings.  However, there is a paucity of data on the application and effectiveness of such approaches.  This situation warrants translational efforts to develop appropriate technologies that could help improve treatment of cancers in resource-poor settings.

Research Objectives

Applications in response to this FOA must propose to adapt, apply, engineer, and validate existing or emerging technologies or assays into a new generation of technologies and assays for detection, imaging, in vitro diagnosis, or treatment of cancers treatable in an LMIC.

Scope

The project must focus on a specific cancer type that is treatable in the proposed LMIC setting and must show promise to deliver medical utility for improved health outcomes.  Suitable technologies/devices/assays/treatments to be proposed for development/adaptation must be based on a working prototype (for new technologies) or an existing device (which will serve as a basis for adaptation) demonstrating a general feasibility of the proposed approaches.  The demonstration of their usability for a chosen cancer is not a prerequisite for application.  After the implementation, the proposed technologies/devices are expected to provide tools that are clinically comparable to existing established technologies/devices/assays/treatments in clinical practice. The technology must comply with the applicable regulations and international standards/guidelines [such as Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), WHO guidelines, FDA Investigational New Drug (IND), FDA Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) or local regulations in LMICs].

Relevant technologies include but are not limited to: 

General Technology Characteristics

To the extent possible, the proposed assays or technologies should be:

All proposed devices, assays, treatments and/or technologies must ultimately have capabilities comparable to currently used technologies in affluent countries.

Specific Required Attributes

a) Portability.

b) Operable in locations with limited or no medical infrastructure (e.g., limited access to electricity, land-line communication, refrigeration, or central water supply).

c) Manufacturable at low cost and with low-cost disposables.

d) Simple to operate by locally trained healthcare staff.

e) Provide rapid results.

f) Durability.

 Specific Desirable Attributes

a) Connectable to the internet or telephone network (e.g., to allow for telemedicine).

b) Modular design to increase reliability, ease of use, and simplify maintenance.

c) Incorporation of internal checks of device/assay performance, self-calibration, and error diagnosis.

d) Open source hardware or software.

e) Standard readily available off-the-shelf components, such as power supplies, software, cell phones, or approved imaging probes.

f) Widely used assay formats.

Device Pre-requisites and Preliminary Data

The applicants must have a working prototype or an existing assay/device (not necessarily already used for cancer applications) and preliminary data to demonstrate its potential for detection, diagnosis, or treatment of a cancer in LMIC settings.

Clinical Validation Studies in LMICs

All the projects must include appropriate clinical studies to validate the use and benefits of the technology/device/assay/treatment and establish the device’s potential clinical utility in the targeted low-resource environments.  The validation studies required for the second phase of the projects must be conducted in LMICs.

Two-phase Projects

Initial cooperative agreement awards of up to 2 years will be granted for an exploratory (UH2) phase to demonstrate technical functionality and clinical potential in cancer-specific applications.  The most promising projects will be selected for transition to the validation (UH3) phase of the award (for up to 3 years).  The primary focus of the UH3 phase is to conduct appropriate validation trials in LMICs.

Objectives for UH2 Exploratory Phase:

During the UH2 phase, the investigators are to adapt, apply, and/or engineer an existing prototype or existing device/assay/treatment for use in a low resource setting.  Applicants will have to demonstrate the analytical and clinical performance of the assay or technology for cancer, as well as its potential suitability for use in a low resource setting.  The investigators must also address business aspects that cover manufacturing, regulatory requirements, and dissemination. 

The UH2 phase will focus on two main aspects:

Other expectations for the UH2 phase include:

Transition from UH2 to UH3:

After administrative review by NCI program staff (with consultation with External Scientific Consultants [ESC] if needed), successful UH2 projects will be prioritized for selection and transition to UH3 funding.

Criteria used to determine which UH2 projects will be continued into the UH3 phase will include the following:

Objectives for UH3 Validation Phase:

The UH3 phase will include plans to optimize the assay/device/treatment if needed and to validate the clinical usefulness in an LMIC setting.

Expected outcomes for UH3 phase include:

 Trans-network Interactions and Program Governance

The awardees supported under this FOA will be required to be members of a Steering Committee (for details, see Section VI.2. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award).

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.

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 total amount of funds available in FY 2014 is $3 million total costs to fund up to 6 awards for the UH2 phase. The number of awards is contingent upon the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.  

Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations and the number of awards that will be transitioning the UH2 to the UH3 phase.

Award Budget

Applicants may request up to $500,000 total costs for the UH2 phase per year and up to $1,000,000 total costs for the UH3 phase per year.

Award Project Period

The proposed project period for the initial development phase (UH2) must not exceed 2 years (but may be shorter).

The proposed project period for the second validation phase (UH3) must not exceed 3 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

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

For-Profit Organizations

Governments

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 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.

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

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account and should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate an existing account with the applicant organization’s eRA Commons account. 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.

NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Requesting an Application Package

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.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

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

Letter of Intent

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

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Avraham Rasooly, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute
9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 6W552
Bethesda, MD 20892-9750 (for express mail, use Rockville, MD 20850)
Telephone: 240-276-6196
Email: ar338b@nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exception:

The Research Strategy for both the UH2 (Phase I) and UH3 (Phase II) combined is limited to 30 pages. This total page limit can be divided to UH2 and UH3 phases as applicants deem appropriate.

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

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

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

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

R&R or Modular Budget

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Specific Aims: Provide the overall goals for the entire application and indicate separately Specific Aims to be accomplished in the UH2 phase and in the UH3 phase.

Research Strategy: Organize the Research Strategy in the subsections identified below.

1) Background and Significance

2) Preliminary data

3) Investigators Team

Describe how the Investigators Team will be organized and managed. Address the expertise brought to the project by each major participant and the coordination of efforts in all the required areas listed below.

4) Approach divided in two parts corresponding to the UH2 and UH3 phases:

UH2 exploratory phase - address each of the items listed below.

Milestones and timeline

A timeline (Gantt chart) including milestones is required.  Milestones are goals that create go/no-go decision points in the project and must include clear and quantitative objective criteria for success.  Yearly quantitative milestones are required to provide clear indicators of a project's continued progress or emergent difficulties and will be used to evaluate the application not only in peer review but also in consideration of the awarded project for funding of non-competing award years.  The application must include well-defined milestones: e.g., appropriate objective performance targets, quantitative for go/no go decision points such as an appropriate level of detection and coefficient of variation, or sensitivity and specificity ( for examples of appropriate  milestones, see http://imat.cancer.gov/resources/milestones.asp); and timelines for assessing progress in both the UH2 and UH3 phases, including specific milestones for progressing from the UH2 phase to the UH3 phase.  Milestones and timelines for each stage must be provided in a separate heading at the end of the Approach section for each UH2 and UH3 subsection.

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

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

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

UH3 validation phase - address each of the items listed below.

Letters of Support: A letter of support from the LMIC clinical site is required and should include information about the organization's technical and clinical expertise and capabilities, which populations are served, other funding sources, plans to deploy the technology in the stated setting, and other relevant information.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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.

Planned Enrollment Report

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

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

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.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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 by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by the NCI, NIH.  Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.  

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

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.

This FOA is focused on new technologies or modifications of existing technologies that can have a significant impact on cancer detection, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment in limited resource settings, such as those often encountered in Low- and Middle- Income Countries.  Therefore, the potential of the proposed projects to result in a tool useful for a specific cancer-related clinical need of the targeted LMIC and suitable for an LMIC setting is essential and will be a main factor in assessing the overall merit of the applications. Priority will be given to technologies that are likely to be sustainable and projects with a high potential for fast, low-cost application in low resource settings.

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? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Specific for this FOA: Does the technology proposed address an appropriate cancer problem that is significant in the proposed settings of a given LMIC?  What is the potential of the proposed technology to be sufficiently broadly adopted by local health care providers in the proposed setting?

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 for this FOA: Is the team expertise appropriate and sufficiently diverse to effectively manage the steps necessary to develop and test the technology in the chosen low resource settings?  For example, does the team include appropriate engineering/assay/device/treatment development, oncology, business, and site-specific global health expertise?  What is the likelihood that all the collaborators and partners will work together effectively and complete the proposed technology translation?

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?

Specific for this FOA: How innovative are the proposed approaches in terms of combining low cost (at the manufacturing and operation levels) with functionality and usability in low resource setting?  

Approach

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?


If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Specific for this FOA: How coherent is the plan to develop, test and validate a technology/ assay/device/treatment that has potential for clinical utility in the chosen LMIC setting?  What is the likelihood that the described technology will be adapted to specifications appropriate to LMIC settings with clinical performance comparable to medical delivery in high resource settings?  How appropriate is the design of the UH3 clinical validation trial (e.g., in terms of sufficient statistical power to assess the clinical effectiveness of the technology)?

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?

Specific for this FOA: Is the range of proposed collaborations sufficient in terms of including appropriate organizations in the U.S. and the LMIC site?  How appropriate is the foreign site in LMIC for the proposed UH3 validation trial?  Are the commitments of all partnering institutions sufficient for the conduct of the proposed studies?

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

How well thought out is the overall plan for the progression from UH2 to the UH3 validation phase? Is the sequence of elements/steps in the phased UH2/UH3 project clearly defined, logical, and complete? Are milestones provided for the UH2 and UH3 phases properly objective and quantitative whenever appropriate? Are these milestones well aligned with the specific aims of each phase? How realistic are these milestones and associated timelines? Do the proposed milestones and timelines clearly identify benchmarks for successful completion of the UH2 phase that could serve as a decision point to advance studies to the UH3 phase?? Are other critical go/no go decision points and timelines well defined and appropriate? .

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 clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children. 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 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.

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) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the National Cancer Institute, 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 Cancer Advisory Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

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.

Prior to funding, the NCI Project Scientist will contact the UH2 applicants to discuss the proposed UH2 and UH3 milestones and any changes suggested by NIH staff or the NIH review panel.  The Program Official and the applicant will negotiate and agree on a final set of approved UH2 performance targets and milestones which will be specified in the Notice of Award.  These milestones will assist the review for determining successful completion of the work proposed in the UH2 stage and will help in the decision on which project to fund for UH3 stage. 

Awardees will submit a progress report to both the Grants Management Specialist and the Program Official upon completion of the UH2 milestones and any revisions to the UH3 aims.  Prior to initiation of the UH3 stage, an updated human subject's protection plan (e.g., protocol amendment, IRB approval of amendments to the protocol or consent form, etc.) and a detailed data and safety monitoring plan (DSMP) if appropriate, must be approved by NIH.  Receipt of this progress report will trigger an administrative program review that will determine whether or not the UH3 should be awarded.

The release of UH3 funds will be based on successful completion of the approved scientific milestones, program priorities, and the availability of funds.

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 the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants 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.

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 (HHS) 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:

Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data, technologies, and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies

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

An NCI Program staff member(s) acting as a Project Scientist(s) will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below. Additional NCI staff members may be designated to have substantial involvement. The NCI Project Scientist(s) and any other substantially involved staff members will not attend peer review meetings of renewal (competing continuation) and/or supplemental applications. If such participation is deemed essential, these individuals will seek NCI waiver according to the NCI procedures for management of conflict of interest.

Additionally, an NCI Program Official will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. Some Program Officials may also have substantial programmatic involvement (as Project Scientists/Coordinators). In that case, the individual involved will not attend peer review meetings of renewal (competing continuation) and/or supplemental applications or will seek NCI waiver as stated above.

The main activities of the NCI substantially involved staff members include but are not limited to the following aspects:

NCI reserves the right to terminate or curtail any individual award, including the UH3 phase, if there is insufficient progress towards meeting milestones.

Areas of Joint Responsibility

Steering Committee:

The awardees funded under this FOA will form a Steering Committee. 

The Steering Committee will consist of the following voting members:

The Committee will be chaired by one of the UH2/UH3 PDs/PIs.

Other NIH staff members may participate in the activities of the Committee as needed as non-voting members.

The Steering Committee will be responsible for communication and coordination among funded projects, including sharing ideas, logistics, and solutions to technical issues.  When feasible and appropriate, the Steering Committee will seek to establish consensus on platform interoperability in areas such as control software, data analysis, communication protocols, and standard power sources.  Other shared advice may include promise of clinical potential, manufacturability, regulatory issues, and deployment into local resource limited settings. The members of the Steering Committee will meet once a year in person and by conference calls as needed.

Panel of External Scientific Consultants: 

Panel of External Scientific Consultants will operate as a subcommittee to the Steering Committee, advising the Steering Committee and providing technical expertise to awardees. The members of the panel will be selected by NCI in consultation with the UH2/UH3 awardees to provide independent assessments and recommendations to awardees on the progress. The panel will consist of scientists with relevant expertise who are not participants in any of the cooperative agreement awards resulting from this FOA. The ESC will meet once a year. Part of this meeting may be in conjunction with the Steering Committee meeting to allow members of both groups to interact directly with each other.

Dispute Resolution:

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

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) 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. 

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 Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding 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)

Web ticketing system: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

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

Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov  

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-435-0714
TTY: 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

For technology-related inquiries:

Avraham Rasooly, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6196
Email: rasoolya@mail.nih.gov

For global health-related inquiries:

Julie Schneider, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5795
Email: js787g@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Silvia Torres
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6322
Email: silvia.torres@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 Parts 74 and 92.


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