The objective of the NIDCR Award for Sustaining Outstanding Achievement in Research (SOAR) (RFA-DE-18-011) is to provide longer-term support to NIDCR-funded investigators, who are in their mid-career stage, and have outstanding records of research productivity, mentorship and professional service to the research community. It is expected that the SOAR Award will propel the investigator along this career trajectory and allow him/her to embark on ambitious longer-term projects of extraordinary potential within the mission of NIDCR. This award supports research projects for up to eight years.
Question: Am I eligible?
Answer: Eligibility information for organizations and individuals are described in Section III of the FOA; RFA-DE-18-011. Please read through this information carefully. Further questions should be sent to NIDCRQASOAR@nidcr.nih.gov.
Question: How will the NIDCR calculate the eligibility of investigators regarding the following FOA requirement: Eligibility is limited to investigators with at least one active NIDCR-supported PD/PI R01 or R01 equivalent (R56, DP2), AND at least five years of continuous NIDCR support as PD/PI, on September 30, 2017, excluding fellowships and career development awards?
Answer: Duration of support will be counted by months; “at least five years of continuous NIDCR support” means at least 60 months of active project period (i.e. not counted by calendar years, effort, and/or fiscal years).
Example 1: A PI with 3 calendar month effort (25% effort) for year 1 of a research project grant (RPG) will translate to 1 year of support.
Example 2: Same PI from Example 1, reduces his/her effort to 2.4 calendar month effort (20% effort) in year 2. This would translate to 1 year of support.
Question: I am the PI of two active grants (an R01 and a U01 that have the same budget & project start and end dates), and I have 2.4 calendar months of effort (20% effort) for both the R01 and the U01. How would I calculate their respective time towards my eligibility for the R35 SOAR?
Answer: Concurrent active grants during the same window of time may only be counted once, thus, the R01 and the U01 would be counted as 1 year of support not 2 years.
Question: I currently am the PI on an R01 that is in its second no-cost extension, how should I calculate my time for the R35 SOAR eligibility?
Answer: Per the FOA, only the first no cost extension year of the NIDCR-supported R01 or R01-equivalent award counts as one year of active NIDCR support. All other additional no-cost extension years do not count toward continuous support years.
Question: What grant mechanisms are counted toward “total NIH support”?
Answer: Grant mechanisms considered for total NIH support include R01, R00, R56, DP2, R15, or U01.
Question: Do the “5 years of continuous NIDCR support” have to be for the same grant?
Answer: No. They can be from distinct grants awarded back-to-back in time, or distinct grants with partial overlap in duration.
Question: Do the “5 years of continuous NIDCR support” need to include the current year?
Answer: No. They can be any continuous segment of project period.
Question: I took over as PI of an R01 grant when the previous PI retired. Does this grant count toward my support?
Answer: The grant awarded as a change of PI (Type 7) does not count toward support for the newly appointed PI. However, if the grant is awarded subsequently as a competing renewal (Type 2), it counts toward support for the PI who has taken over this project. Only grants that have been competed for count toward support.
Question: How many pages are allowed for the Research Strategy section?
Answer: The Research Strategy section is limited to 6 pages.
Question: Could the SOAR Award accommodate exploratory work into new research directions?
Answer: Yes, as long as these new research directions are within the mission of NIDCR. This award provides longer base of grant support, allowing investigators to have more freedom to perform high risk, high reward research that has the potential to break new ground or expand previous discoveries in new directions. It is anticipated that sustained and flexible support will also foster creativity, allowing emerging scientific and technological advances to be pursued.
- Question: How do I prepare a detailed budget if the SOAR Award intends to support a research program that is broad in scope and would allow pursuit of new directions?
Answer: The budget should reflect support for work envisioned for the SOAR research program, including the level of staffing, materials and supplies for planned experiments, and other allowable costs as appropriate. Re-budgeting with justification after the grant is active is allowed with prior approval from NIDCR per NIH Grants Policy.
Question: Is resubmission allowed at a later date?
Answer: All applications to RFA-DE-18-011 will be considered new applications. Reissuance of this FOA will be considered yearly.
Question: Can I include co-investigators on my project?
Answer: Yes, you may include co-investigators, collaborators, and consultants as key personnel on the project. You may not include another principal investigator (PD/PI) and utilize multiple-PD/PI format.
Question: How am I supposed to put together a detailed budget if the scope of the work is broad, and there might be future opportunities to pursue new directions?
Answer: The requested budget should include information for costs related to accomplishing the Research Strategy proposed in the application. Rebudgeting to pursue new directions in the future is allowable with justification and prior approval from NIH.
Question: Last year, I applied to the SOAR RFA and did not get funded. Can I respond to this year’s RFA with a resubmission?
Answer: RFA-DE-18-011 only accepts new applications. No resubmission is allowed. If you applied to last year’s solicitation and did not get funded, you could submit another new application to this year’s solicitation.
Question: Will a change of PI be allowed?
Answer: A permanent change of PI will not be allowed. A temporary change may be allowed with prior approval under circumstances such as sabbatical leave, medical conditions, disability or personal or family situations such as child or eldercare needs.
Question: Will a change of grantee institution be allowed?
Answer: Yes, a change of grantee institution will be allowable if the receiving institution agrees to all of the required SOAR Award terms. Transfer of a SOAR Award to a foreign institution will not be allowed.
Question: I have an R01 with 2 more years left on the grant. If I get the SOAR Award with the R01 consolidated into it, then how many years of the potential 8-year award would I get, that is, would I only have 6 years of the SOAR Award because of the time left on the R01?
Answer: The maximum project period for the SOAR Award is 8 years. If there are no concerns from peer review on the requested project period, the SOAR Award will be issued at the requested duration regardless of the amount of time remaining on awards that will be consolidated. Annual renewal is dependent on progress review and availability of funds.
Question: When consolidating grants, inevitably some grants will be in various stages of completion. How would remaining time and budget factor into the level of support from the SOAR Award?
Answer: The maximum project period for the SOAR Award is 8 years, and direct costs per year are limited to $650,000. If there are no concerns from peer review on the requested project period and budget, the SOAR Award will be issued at the requested duration regardless of the amount of time remaining on awards that will be consolidated. Annual renewal is dependent on progress review and availability of funds. The timeline for transitioning from current NIDCR grant support to the SOAR Award is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the end dates of existing NIDCR grant awards, their unobligated balances, project status, and the best way to provide a smooth transition.
Question: Can unobligated balance from existing grants be carried over to the new R35 SOAR Award when the existing grants are being consolidated?
Answer: NIH/NIDCR standard practice for carryover and use of any unobligated balance will apply. Please also see answer to above related question.
Question: I have a project supported by the NIH Common Fund, and assigned to NIDCR for program management. Will this project be consolidated into the R35?
Answer: NIH Common Fund-supported projects are considered outside of NIDCR support, and will not be consolidated into the R35 SOAR Award.
Question: Should the application budget include unobligated funds on existing grants, or should the budget include funds only for work newly proposed?
Answer: The budget request for the R35 SOAR Award should be entirely planned for the SOAR project only. Do not factor into any unobligated balance from currently active grants. At the time of the award for the SOAR Award, the level of support of the SOAR Award will take into consideration the amount of unobligated balance in grants that are consolidated.