Department of Health and Human Services


Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study Information Technology Resource (U24)

Activity Code

U24 Resource-Related Research Projects – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-GM-09-002

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-GM-14-008

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-GM-14-007, U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements
RFA-GM-14-009, U54 Specialized Center- Cooperative Agreements

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.859  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits Cooperative Agreement (U24) applications for an Information Technology Resource within the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) network.  The MIDAS network, as modified by this FOA and companion FOAs announced separately will consist of a centralized Information Technology Resource, Centers of Excellence component, and a research projects component.  The Information Technology Resource will further the research carried out by a network of multidisciplinary scientists conducting computational and mathematical research to improve the ability to prepare for, identify, detect, control, and prevent emerging infectious diseases caused by naturally occurring or intentionally released pathogens, including those relevant to biodefense. The resource will support the data, logistics, software and expert consultation needs of the MIDAS Network.    

 
Key Dates
Posted Date

April 12, 2013

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

June 18, 2013

Application Due Date(s)

July 18, 2013

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

July 18, 2013

Scientific Merit Review

October, 2013

Advisory Council Review

January, 2014

Earliest Start Date

June 1, 2014

Expiration Date

July 19, 2013

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the PHS 398 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. While some links are provided, 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.

Looking ahead: NIH is committed to transitioning all grant programs to electronic submission using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) format and is currently investigating solutions that will accommodate NIH’s multi-project programs. NIH will announce plans to transition the remaining programs in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts and on NIH’s Applying Electronically website.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of 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


Background

The threat of emergence or re-emergence of infectious disease epidemics continues to be a concern of policymakers and the public health services.  Better resources, knowledge, and tools are needed to improve our knowledge of the dynamics of emergence, surveillance and detection of events, and the effectiveness and implications of prevention and mitigation efforts.  The variety of possible scenarios complicates the challenge of confronting these threats. An important role of science is to create a rational picture of the alternatives by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting relevant data and by developing models. The models themselves can guide the collection of further data. In addition, good models can reveal important patterns in the data, allow investigators to examine scenarios, and to understand likely consequences of interventions.  These capabilities can help responsible parties plan for and respond to an emerging epidemic or a bioterrorist threat.

The existing MIDAS network began in May 2004 with the funding of three research groups and an informatics group. In February of 2006 four additional research groups were added. As a result of a formal formative evaluation and a white paper developed by the infectious disease modeling community, NIGMS initiated a change in the structure of MIDAS, which this FOA reflects.  The restructured MIDAS Network will be composed of research groups, Centers of Excellence, and an Information Technology Resource.  The Network will continue to be a multidisciplinary, multicomponent effort, comprising an important component of an overall public health strategy for managing emerging infectious diseases.

Information on current and previous MIDAS activities, publications, and reports can be found on the MIDAS website at https://www.epimodels.org/midas/about.do or, http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/MIDAS/.

Objectives

This FOA solicits applications for an Information Technology Resource that will support and extend the work of the MIDAS Centers of Excellence and research groups by (1) providing the infrastructure and resources for hardening and testing software; (2) collecting, managing, and generating data relevant to the systems they are studying;  (3) providing support for dissemination of information and for outreach; and (4) providing logistical support for MIDAS activities.  The Information Technology Resource is expected to act in partnership with the MIDAS Centers of Excellence and research groups.  Partnerships are expected to be highly interactive and collaborative in defining needs, planning and carrying out projects, and disseminating results and products.

The role of the Information Technology Resource will encompass:

Software Development.  Opportunities may arise for the development or improvement of computational tools for specialized audiences (e.g., public health officials, Epidemic Intelligence Service officers, researchers) or for general purposes (e.g., educational use, visualization).  Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, data analysis tools; visualization of real-time data and model results; representation and management of data and results; and integration of geographic, historical, evolutionary, ecological, and demographic information.  Software to improve model verification and validation by, for example, characterizing the statistical properties of model results, may also be required as determined by Network needs.

All software development projects will be subject to review by the MIDAS executive committee and steering committee to ensure that they address a need and meet high scientific standards.

The final software products must meet the high standards expected of contemporary biological software.  These standards include:

First, software must be fully documented and easy to access, modify, and extend.  Users who experience problems should be able to report and resolve issues with minimal effort.  Problems should be tracked and appropriate changes incorporated into the software.  It is particularly important that software be able to evolve as needs change.

Second, where possible, software packages relevant to infectious disease modeling and data management should be interoperable and portable to a variety of common platforms.

Third, software should be consistent with existing ontologies and controlled vocabularies.  Where needed, software development projects should include (1) defining vocabularies and terms, (2) defining relationships among terms and functions, (3) defining data models, (4) defining data requirements and uses, and (5) similar activities. 

Fourth, software must be tested, verified, and maintained.  The final product should include user manuals and other training devices (e.g., workshops, online training, help desk).

Applicants should describe the approach and methods to be employed in the software development process.  Applicants must demonstrate their experience in developing software using these approaches and methods. 

Data.  Infectious diseases are an outcome of a complex, interconnected system, including pathogens, hosts, vectors, social organization, social behavior, climate, genetics, ecology, evolution, immunity, and other factors.  Much of this information is maintained in a distributed manner and needs to be integrated selectively for specific modeling exercises.  Other information may be generated by modeling exercises and must be collected, organized, and disseminated to other modeling groups.

To address data needs the MIDAS Information Technology Resource will design, implement, and manage systems to collect, store, and disseminate data to modelers, both within the MIDAS Network as well as those in the wider research community.  The Information Technology Resource is expected to be proactive in identifying, collecting, and disseminating the types of data needed by infectious disease modelers.  Data sources could include existing databases, real-time data, literature reviews, simulations, satellite images, and/or other sources as deemed relevant to a modeling exercise.  An important consideration is cross-referencing stored information.  Data gathering and dissemination exercises will be undertaken on the basis of modeling needs and in collaboration with the NIGMS Project Scientists, whose roles are defined in Section VI.2. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award.

The MIDAS Information Technology Resource will monitor the overall structure and operation of the database for data quality, accuracy, completeness, specificity, and non-redundancy and will define format and document files, as appropriate, to facilitate the comprehensive sharing of data within the scientific community and across federal agencies and to ensure connectivity with other databases.

In the pilot phase, the MIDAS program developed a historical data and document catalog containing a variety of historical reports from the scientific literature, historical documents, and reports.  Applicants for the MIDAS Information Technology Resource are expected to continue to develop this catalog as a resource for infectious disease modelers.  Applicants must document their experience in constructing and maintaining searchable databases of complex information and propose a plan to gather, organize, and maintain the MIDAS data source.

Also in its pilot phase, MIDAS supported generation of a preliminary set of synthetic human and animal populations based on spatial and temporal data that represent (but are not) real demographics and dynamics.  Expanding synthetic data sets to include global human populations, agricultural and domestic animals, and wildlife (e.g., mammals, birds, insect vectors) will be a high priority of the MIDAS Information Technology Resource.

Applicants are expected to propose a data release policy and a separate plan that addresses intellectual property rights consistent with achieving the goals of the program, both of which will be reviewed and approved by the MIDAS steering committee post award.  (For more detail, see Section IV.6 “Other Submission Requirements.” )

Dissemination and Outreach.  Computational and mathematical models play important roles in planning and preparedness, surveillance, logistical and operations analyses, as well as in study design and research on infectious disease dynamics.  MIDAS plays a leading role in generating methods, approaches, resources, and knowledge needed for model development and is responsible for disseminating information to a wide variety of users.  This effort is critical to advance the field of infectious disease modeling.

The MIDAS Information Technology Resource will make available to the scientific community, policymakers, and public health officials the products and results of the MIDAS Network.  The Information Technology Resource will develop interfaces suitable for members of the research groups, for other research scientists, for public health officials, for policymakers, and others.

An important function of the MIDAS Information Technology Resource is informing potential users of the availability of resources, tools, and opportunities.  Outreach activities could include, for example, preparation of fliers and brochures, presentations and booths at relevant conferences, development and maintenance of the MIDAS Web site and portal, and use of Wikis and other electronic media.

Logistics.  Collaboration among MIDAS investigators and with non-MIDAS experts is fundamental to stimulating research and building a strong infrastructure for infectious disease modeling.  The Information Technology Resource will, at the direction of appropriate NIGMS staff, support mission-related meetings and consultations.  For planning purposes, the logistics component should include planning and logistical support for three meetings each year of the MIDAS research network, one meeting per year of the MIDAS steering committee, and one meeting per year with outside experts.  Meetings will be held at various U.S. locations.

Additional Information: Organizational Structure of MIDAS

The MIDAS program has five components: a steering committee, an executive committee, Centers of Excellence, an Information Technology Resource, and research groups.

The steering committee is the main oversight body for MIDAS and makes recommendations to NIGMS regarding scientific direction, resources, concerns and issues, evaluation, and similar topics.  The committee includes representation from user groups such as public health officials, representatives of the research community, and NIH scientist administrators with relevant expertise. Outside expertise ensures sufficient breadth and balance on the committee. NIH scientist administrators will not comprise more than 40% of the voting members of the steering committee.

The executive committee coordinates and manages the MIDAS network, including coordination of multi-group projects.  It is made up of the PD(s)/PI(s) of grants funded through the MIDAS program and will meet monthly by videoconference or conference call.

The research groups are teams of multidisciplinary, collaborating scientists from one or more institutions who have expertise in fields relevant to MIDAS. Research groups conduct research in computational, mathematical, and engineering approaches to modeling data on emerging infectious diseases.

The Centers of Excellence will provide national and international leadership in four major thematic areas – infectious disease research; computational, statistical, and mathematical research; education and outreach; and public health policy.

The Information Technology Resource supports and extends the work of the MIDAS Centers of Excellence and research groups by (1) collecting, managing, and generating data relevant to the systems the research projects and centers are studying; (2) supporting software development and testing when needed by the MIDAS consortium; (3) providing support for dissemination of information and for outreach, including design and maintenance of a MIDAS web site; and (4) providing logistical support for MIDAS activities.  The Information Technology Resource acts in partnership with the MIDAS Centers of Excellence and research groups.  Partnerships are expected to be highly interactive and collaborative in defining needs, planning and carrying out projects, and disseminating results and products. 

Where appropriate to address urgent national needs, funded projects will be expected to focus MIDAS research on specific tasks of national importance. In addition, projects will participate fully in collaborative network research as developed by the MIDAS executive committee. The MIDAS network requires a commitment to cooperative interactions that must be addressed in the application.  Specific domains of interaction can be found in Section IV.6. 

Projects funded through MIDAS use existing sequence, genetic, epidemiological, clinical, climate, etc. information to conduct research.  They will not generate primary data using MIDAS funding, with the exception of synthesized data. 

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 staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal of awards funded under RFA-GM-09-002

The OER Glossary and the PHS 398 Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIGMS intends to commit $2.8 million (total costs) in FY 2014.

Award Budget

Application budget direct costs may not exceed $1.8 million, excluding F&A costs of subcontracts, in any single year.

Award Project Period

The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed five 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

Other

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 eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations as described in the PHS 398 Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations.

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least6 weeks prior to the application due date.

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 PHS 398 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. Address to Request Application Package

Applicants are required to prepare applications according to the current PHS 398 application forms in accordance with the PHS 398 Application Guide.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the PHS 398 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.

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:

Douglas M. Sheeley, Sc.D.
Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology
NIGMS
45 Center Drive MSC6200
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301-451-6446
Email: sheeleyd@mail.nih.gov

Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application forms and instructions for preparing a research grant application. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

At the time of submission, two additional paper copies of the application and all copies of the Appendix files must be sent to:

Helen Sunshine, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
NIGMS
45 Center Drive MSC6200
Building 45, Room 3AN12F
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 594-2881
FAX: (301) 594-8506
Email: sunshinh@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the PHS 398 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for the Submission of U24 Applications

All instructions in the PHS398 Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

Face Page

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Description, Project/Performance Sites, Senior/Key Personnel, Other Significant Contributors, Human Embryonic Stem Cells

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Table of Contents

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed. The MIDAS program holds up to three meetings per year, at least one of which includes a meeting of the steering committee. Each research group will present its research findings at annual meetings of the Steering Committee and at no more than two other network consultations per year.  Funds for travel of the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) and relevant staff to these meetings should be included in the proposed budget.

Budget for Entire Proposed Period of Support

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Biographical Sketch

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Resources

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed.

Research Plan

All instructions in the PHS 398 Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Strategy: Investigators should address plans for dissemination of useful products of the research, including approaches, technologies, and tools, to the relevant research and user communities. Include a plan for software dissemination.

Applicants should describe the approach and methods to be employed in the software development process.  Applicants must demonstrate their experience in developing software using these approaches and methods.  Applicants should explain how they will approach model validation, if applicable.

The applicant must propose steps to verify that methods employed behave as expected, that is, that software or equations have been reviewed, tested, and documented.

The MIDAS network relies on collegial and cooperative interactions among its constituent members, particularly for MIDAS special initiatives that may emerge as a result of urgent national needs.  Renewal applications should include evidence that the applicant has engaged in collaborative activity within the network.

The MIDAS network requires a commitment to cooperative interactions that must be addressed in the application.  NIGMS has adopted several policies that are applicable to the MIDAS network. These policies can be found in Section IV.6, Applicants must present plans to adhere to the policies, where appropriate.

Relationship of the MIDAS Information Technology Resource to other MIDAS grantees. Each research group must identify a data liaison to interact with the Information Technology Resource. This basic or bioinformatics scientist will advise the Information Technology Resource on the management and display of data generated or used by the research group, and will coordinate any joint software development. The Information Technology Resource is expected to describe plans for working with them.

The Information Technology Resource will, at the direction of appropriate NIGMS staff, support mission-related meetings and consultations.  For planning purposes, the logistics component should include planning and logistical support for three meetings each year of the MIDAS research network, one meeting per year of the MIDAS steering committee, and one meeting per year with outside experts.  Meetings will be held at various U.S. locations. The Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) and relevant staff of the Information Technology Resource should plan to participate.

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 PHS 398 Application Guide, with the following modifications:

Appendix for the Entire Application

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix (please note all format requirements) as described in the PHS 398 Application Guide. 

Foreign Institutions

Foreign (non-U.S.) Institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the PHS 398 Application Guide.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 

Information on the process of receipt and determining if your application is considered “on-time” is described in detail in the PHS 398 Application Guide.

Applicants may track the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

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 received on or before the due dates in Part I. Overview Information. If an application is received after that date, it will not be reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.  

The MIDAS Network

Awardees must agree to the "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award" in Section VI "Award Administration Information".

The MIDAS network relies on collegial and cooperative interactions among its constituent members, particularly for MIDAS special initiatives that may emerge as a result of urgent national needs. 

NIGMS has adopted several policies that are applicable to the MIDAS network. Applicants must adhere to the following policies, where appropriate.

Data Sources. Research groups will use existing or simulated datasets, as well as real-time information, to build computational models relevant to the goals of MIDAS. Research groups will not use MIDAS funding to generate primary data, except in the case of simulations.

Relationship of the MIDAS Information Technology Resource to other MIDAS grantees. Each research group must, through its identified data liaison (see Section IV.2 above) advise the Information Technology Resource on the management and display of data generated or used by the research group, and will coordinate any joint software development.

Databases and Software.  Research groups may develop their own (local) databases to meet their computational needs. They may request funds to support the design, testing, and validation of bioinformatics tools and the storage of data needed to accomplish their research objectives. If relevant, each research group is required to use the standard data exchange format established by the Information Technology Resource for transmitting information among projects. Software developed with MIDAS funding are expected to be shared among MIDAS investigators and the research community according to policies determined by the MIDAS consortium and Federal officials, consistent with achieving the goals of this program.

Data, Software, and Intellectual Property. Each research group are expected to propose a data and software release policy as described in Section IV.2. Each research group must also provide a separate plan that addresses intellectual property rights.  These plans may be further negotiated prior to funding.

Meetings and Reports.  The Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) of each research group serves as a member(s) of the MIDAS executive committee and will participate in monthly videoconferences or conference calls.  In addition, each research group will present its research findings at annual meetings of the Steering Committee and at no more than three network consultations per year.  Funds for travel of the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) and relevant staff to these meetings should be included in the proposed budget.

National Emergencies. In the event of an attack or the emergence of an infectious disease, the NIGMS Program Director, upon request of the Project Scientist, may ask the Program Directors/Principal Investigators of MIDAS research groups, in concert with the MIDAS Centers of Excellence and the Information Technology Resource, to apply their expertise to the public health emergency. Should this occur NIGMS will be flexible in allowing the Program Director/Principal Investigator to reorganize and reorient specific project goals and to renegotiate the scope of the grant to include new objectives. The awardee may also be able to request additional funding to cover costs that were not included in the initial application  

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.   

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?   

Investigator(s)

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

Innovation

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

Approach

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

Environment

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

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Cooperation

Does the research team demonstrate its willingness and capability to work with other members of the MIDAS network to enhance the MIDAS program’s productivity? Are the plans presented for cooperation with other MIDAS program participants satisfactory? Are plans presented for adherence to NIGMS policies for the MIDAS program adequate?   In the case of Renewal applications, have the PD/PI and investigative team provided evidence of productive collaborations with other members of the network during the preceding project period?

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 Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

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 Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

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

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations - Overall

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

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) 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 NIGMS, 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 response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to NIGMS and 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 General Medical Sciences Council. 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.

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 (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:

Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with achieving the goals of this program and current DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

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

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the 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 DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Douglas M. Sheeley, Sc.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-451-6446
Email: sheeleyd@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-2881
Email: sunshinh@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Lori Burge
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-451-3781
Email: BurgeL@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices



NIH Office of Extramural Research Logo
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy
NIH... Turning Discovery Into Health®



Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.