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Q & As about ARRA Funding Opportunities

A. GENERAL

1. Who is eligible to apply for ARRA funding?

Each type of NIH grant application has its own set of eligibility requirements. While the applicant (the project director/principal investigator) conceives the idea and writes the application, the applicant institution is the grantee for most grant types. Institutional and Individual eligibility are described in each ARRA Notice or Funding Opportunity Announcement.

2.Which study section should I request for my application?

It is not necessary to request a study section for any ARRA funding application. The locus of review (an IC or the Center for Scientific Review) will be identified in the particular funding opportunity announcement or will be determined by the Center for Scientific Review. When possible, Competing Revision applications will be reviewed by the same scientific review group (SRG), or will be assigned to the same locus of review that reviewed the parent grant application.  That is, if an Institute reviewed an application in response to one of its RFAs, the Competing Revision application will also be assigned to the Institute for review.

3. How soon do the funds need to be spent?

Consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act to support job preservation, promote job creation and to facilitate economic development, it is expected that ARRA funds will be spent at a steady pace over the award period.  In addition to an annual progress report, institutions will be required to submit a quarterly report to track spending, jobs created and retained and the completion status of the project.  September 30, 2010 is the deadline for the NIH to obligate all ARRA funds. Institutions can use standard expenditures rules in line with the grant budget period for actual expenditures.

4. I am planning on submitting a clinical trial planning grant under the NIDCR R34/U01 program.  Now that ARRA funds are available, can I submit for the conduct of the trial instead of submitting a planning grant?

No. The policies governing the R34/U01 program have not changed.

 

B. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPLEMENTS and COMPETING REVISIONS
(Previously called Competitive Supplements)

1. Should I apply for an ARRA Competing Revision or an ARRA Administrative Supplement?  What is the difference?
 

A Competing Revision (previously called Competitive Supplement) is a request for an increase in support for a change in research scope. Because the new scientific scope was not previously peer-reviewed, it must be subject to peer review by both an initial peer review group and the NADCRC. An Administrative Supplement is a request for an increase in support within scope of the science that was previously peer reviewed in order to meet unanticipated needs including equipment under $100,000. These supplements receive an NIDCR staff review. For example, inclusion of new human or animal studies that were not part of the parent grant are not appropriate under an administrative supplement and should be submitted as a competing revision application. Other examples more appropriate for a Competing Revision than an Administrative Supplement include: change in the specific aims approved at the time of award; substitution of one animal model for another; any change from the approved use of animals or human subjects; and shift of the research emphasis from one disease area to another.  Determining whether an activity may be considered “within scope” should be discussed with the relevant Program Director. All requests for ARRA supplementary funds must demonstrate how these funds will accelerate the tempo of scientific research and/or allow for job creation and retention.

2. How do I submit a formal Administrative Supplement request?

Requests for Administrative Supplements originate with the grantee organization.  They must be submitted in writing or by e-mail and must be signed by the principal investigator and the signing official or the authorized organizational representative.  Administrative increases should only be considered when there is compelling justification.  The justification must include a brief up-to-date progress report, a statement of the circumstances leading to the request for additional funds, a statement of activities to be pursued (if appropriate), an estimate of funds remaining in the project and plans for using these funds, the timeframe requested, and a detailed budget and budget justification for the requested funds.  Requests must be submitted using the PHS 398 application kit (11/2007). The template for the administrative supplement can be found at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.  It is strongly encouraged to submit applications electronically as an e-mail attachment in PDF format from the signing official or an authorized organizational representative.  The signature of the signing official or authorized organizational representative must be clearly visible.  Please use this e-mail address: md74u@nih.gov.

Requests can also be submitted in paper format to:   
NIDCR Grants Management Branch
6701 Democracy Blvd.
Rm. 658, MSC 4878
Bethesda, MD 20892-4878

3. How do I submit a formal Competing Revision request?

Requests for Competing Revisions originate with the grantee organization and must be submitted by the Authorized Organizational Representative using the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that was used for the parent grant. If this FOA is no longer active (e.g., an RFA), then use the Parent FOA that matches the Parent Announcement for the funding mechanism of the award; e.g. PA-07-070 for an R01; PA-06-181 for an R21. Note, the FOA to which you are applying will identify whether you must submit electronically or use paper submission (e.g., U54 applications). Electronic submission requires the  SF424 (R&R) application and is submitted through Grants.gov, while paper submissions require use of the  PHS 398 application form and must be submitted to the NIH at:
 
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040 - MSC 7710
Bethesda, Md. 20892-7710 (regular USPS or USPS Express mail)
Bethesda, Md. 20817 (other courier/express mail delivery)

4. Can an Administrative Supplement and Competing Revision be submitted at the same time for the same grant?

Yes.  Competing Revision applications are for costs to support new research objectives and aims that are outside the scope of the approved parent grant.  A request for funds to support work within the general scope of the peer-reviewed activities and aims approved within the parent grant should be submitted as an Administrative Supplement.

5. Can I submit a supplement request if my parent grant is in a no-cost extension?

You may submit an Administrative Supplement request if the parent grant is active at the time the request is submitted.  A grant in a no-cost-extension is considered to be active.  You may also submit a Competing Revision request if the parent grant is active.  The period of support requested for a Competing Revision cannot exceed the current project period end date of the parent grant.  If the parent grant is in a no cost extension, then that in effect extends the project period end date of the parent grant. However, PD/PI's who are requesting a Competing Revision in the grant no cost extension period must provide a compelling justification for why a competitive renewal is not being pursued instead.

6. Regarding Summer Research Experiences for Students and Science Educators, is there flexibility in the pay scales?

NOT-OD-09-060 provides guidance on dollar salary limits but does allow for flexibility provided that the changes are well justified.

7. Regarding Administrative Supplements for Collaborative Research, what is the definition of “Collaborative”?

As communally defined in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative, the NIDCR’s definition of Collaborative is “two or more people or organizations working together toward an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature —by sharing knowledge.” The intent of this supplement program is to bring new intellectual and technical approaches to a research project in a collaborative manner in order to promote the discovery of novel insights required to achieve significant research advances. These collaborative activities must be within the scope of the approved aims of the parent award and are expected to provide novel scientific approaches to the already funded research plan.

8. How does one apply for a first time no-cost extension if the grant is not in the last 30 days of its life? Will eRA change the application process? Can a second (or third) no cost extension be requested in order to get the maximum length of time left on a grant?

Grantees have the authority to automatically extend a project in its final year for up to 12-months.  ARRA does not change this authority.  Grantees are encouraged to use the No-Cost Extension feature in the eRA Commons to notify the NIDCR of their action.  However please be reminded that this feature does not become available until 90 days before the current end date of the project period.  Anything beyond a first no-cost extension is a prior approval requirement and NIDCR will continue to use the same principles previously applied when reviewing additional extension requests.  We do not endorse ARRA supplement requests that would include additional extensions.

9. Can a supplement request change the status from a single PI to a multiple PI on an existing grant?

As cited in NOT-OD-09-058, a Competing Revision application may propose a change in the Multiple PD/PI team or conversion from a single PD/PI to multiple PD/PI.  However, in either case, a multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan must be included in the revision application.  Changing status from a single PD/PI to a multiple PD/PI cannot be accomplished through an Administrative Supplement.

10. Please clarify the dollar limits that may be requested under an Administrative Supplement.

Although there is no dollar limit on what may be requested in the supplement budget, the requested budget must be consistent with the work being proposed. Consistent with NIH, NIDCR does not anticipate making awards that are greater than 50 percent of the parent grant (annual budget total cost).  In addition, it is NIDCR’s goal to have the Recovery funding impact as many people as possible and will therefore take a conservative approach to the amount of money awarded under any supplement.

11. Please clarify equipment purchase requests under Administrative Supplements, Competitive Revisions, and Challenge Grants.

Equipment requests under $100,000 may be made through an Administrative Supplement.  Equipment requests over $100,000 will not be considered in an Administrative Supplement.  The same amounts are true for equipment requested under a Competing Revision. Equipment requests exceeding $100,000 but below $500,000 could have been submitted under NCRR’s Announcement PAR-09-028 with a receipt date of 3/23/2009.  Because there is only one FY09 receipt date for this Announcement and applicants may have missed it, requests for equipment within these dollar limits may be made within the context of the Challenge Grants ( RFA-OD-09-003).  Applicants are cautioned that these requests will be heavily scrutinized by both the peer reviewers and the Institute Staff.  Requests for equipment in this range will also be shared with NCRR staff to ensure there is no overlap. For instruments in the range of $600,000 to $8M, eligible organizations should apply using PAR-09-118.

12. I have a K Award.  May I request a supplement for equipment or supplies?

A mentored K award (K08, K23, K25, K99, or mentored phase of K22) is only eligible for an Administrative Supplement to add technical personnel.  Such requests should clearly relate the role of the proposed personnel to assist in conducting the specific aims of the K research project.  Independent K awards (K02, K24) are not eligible for supplementation, as these awards are dependent upon and built upon an existing R01.  Principal Investigators with a currently active K22 in the faculty/independent phase and R00 PIs may apply for the full range of Administrative Supplements or Competing Revisions.

13. I received a good score on an application pending May 2009 Council.  Can I apply for an Administrative Supplement to this grant if it were awarded?

We will not speculate on the funding outcome of applications pending Council review.  However, every effort will be made to notify the applicants regarding the outcome of Council review and funding decisions.  If the PD/PI is contemplating a supplement request, then s/he will have to be prepared to provide a compelling justification for why additional funds are requested and what unanticipated needs are to be met that were not already considered at the time of the parent application.

14. Can I request a supplement to fund work previously eliminated by study section or removed due to administrative reductions?

No. The intent of supplemental funds is to support unanticipated needs associated with an active grant.  A request for supplements is therefore not allowable for restoration of administrative reductions or study section recommended reduction in scope, time and/or budget.

15. Can I apply for an Administrative Supplement to increase the salary support for key personnel through increasing the level of effort?

The goals of the Recovery Act funds are to support job preservation, promote job creation and to facilitate economic development along with accelerating the tempo of scientific research.  Increasing salary support for existing key personnel on the grant does not appear to meet these goals.

16.My grant is terminated.  Can I still apply for a supplement?

No.  Projects must be active to be considered for supplements or revisions.

17. If I want to request a Summer Supplement for a High School student and one for an undergraduate, do I submit a different supplement request for each or justify both students and their projects in the three-page “scope” section?

You submit a single supplement request and justify the students and projects within the three-page “scope” section. The budgets should be distinct for each intern-type proposed: 1) High school students; (2) Undergraduates; (3) Science Teachers and Faculty; and (4) Dental students.

18. If my grant is in the second to last year of the project period but would be in the last year at the time the supplement would be funded, do I have to limit the time of the supplement request to one year or can it extend into the no-cost extension year and include costs for the second supplement-funded year?

For Competing Revisions, you may not extend the supplement request beyond the currently funded project period.  That does not include the no-cost-extension year.

For Administrative Supplements, an administrative supplement can be awarded with the extension into the no-cost-period of the parent grant, provided the applicant institution notifies the NIDCR that it intends to extend the grant the following year. The No-Cost-Extension feature in the eRA Commons is not available to grantees until 90 days before the budget end date.  This means the parent and supplement records will be out of sync for a period of time. 

19. My grant currently ends September 30, 2009 so I cannot process the no-cost extension notification in the eRA until after July 1, 2009.  I wish to submit an Administrative Supplement request for the NIDCR June 1, 2009 receipt date.  Must my request be restricted to only the few remaining months, or can I include the anticipated extension time?

The Administrative Supplement Notice states: “Note that while NIH recommends that a no-cost extension be in place before an Administrative Supplement request is submitted, this is not a requirement for all Administrative Supplement requests”.  In this situation, grantees should prepare the Administrative Supplement request with the expected extension in mind.  The intention to extend the award should be included in the supplement application along with the institutional plans to execute the notification through the eRA Commons Extension feature when appropriate.

20.My grant currently ends September 30, 2009 so I cannot process the no-cost extension notification in the eRA until after July 1, 2009.  I wish to submit a Competing Revision  request for the NIDCR April 21, 2009 receipt date.  Must my request be restricted to only the few remaining months, or can I include the anticipated extension time?

For a Competing Revision, you may only request support that does not exceed the current project period end date of the active parent grant. Any no cost extension must be in place before the revision application is submitted. Unlike with Administrative Supplements, you may not anticipate any “yet-to-be-enacted” no-cost extension period. NIDCR will not process the no-cost extension on your behalf.

21.What is the extent of allowable international collaboration that could be funded with ARRA funds?

The purpose of the Recovery Act is to stimulate economic growth in the US.  Therefore if a grant contains a foreign component in excess of 10% of the total costs or $25,000 total costs per year (whichever is lower), the NIDCR will need to justify how awarding this with ARRA funding stimulates the U.S. economy and gain additional approval within NIH.  Grants that involve only foreign sites are generally not eligible for Recovery Act funds. 


C. CHALLENGE GRANTS

1. Please clarify equipment purchase requests under Challenge Grants.

Equipment requests under $100,000 may be made through an Administrative Supplement, a Competing Revision and the Challenge Grants.  Equipment requests exceeding $100,000 but below $500,000 should have been submitted under NCRR’s Announcement PAR-09-028 with a receipt date of 3/23/2009.  Because there is only one FY09 receipt date for this Announcement and applicants may have missed it, requests for equipment within these dollar limits may be made within the context of the Challenge Grants ( RFA-OD-09-003).  Applicants are cautioned that these requests will be heavily scrutinized by both the peer reviewers and the Institute Staff.  Requests for equipment in this range will also be shared with NCRR staff to ensure there is no overlap. For instruments in the range of $600,000 to $8M, eligible organizations should apply using PAR-09-118.

D. “GO” GRANTS

1. Where will the “GO” Grants be reviewed?

 The “GO” Grants will be assigned to the NIDCR for review. 

 

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014