Frequently Asked Questions for RFA-AG-24-019 and RFA-AG-24-020
The frequently asked questions below are related to the companion FOAs:
- RFA-AG-24-019: Comparative Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging-Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
- RFA-AG-24-020: Networking/Infrastructure Project for Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
These FAQs will be periodically updated as additional questions arise from applicant inquiries.
On this page you will find:
Q: What are the main goals and objectives of RFA-AG-24-019 Comparative Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging-Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation?
A: The main goal of the R01 FOA is support projects of comparative studies of human and nonhuman primate species with the purpose of identifying factors that may contribute to differences in species life span and health span. This FOA invites applications that propose studies to elucidate the relationship of such factors to primate species life span differences, and mechanisms that may mediate such relationships. These projects may also include research to identify potential human therapeutic targets and interventions that modulate mechanisms implicated by the comparative studies.
Additional information related to research on determinants of primate species life span differences (including animal, specimen, imaging, and data resources) is available in a report from a recent NIA workshop on this topic.
Q. What are the main goals and objectives of RFA-AG-24-020 Networking/Infrastructure Project for Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation
A: The main purpose of this companion FOA is to establish and support key needs for activities and infrastructure to promote the development of a new research field of comparative studies on determinants of differences among human and nonhuman primate life spans, life histories, and other aging-related outcomes, and prospects for translating findings from this research into development of human interventions.
The networking/infrastructure project is intended to foster interactions and collaborations among researchers on topics including human longevity, aging biology, comparative biology, evolutionary genetics and biology, biological anthropology, neuroscience, and primatology.
The proposed networking/infrastructure project has three main objectives:
- To enhance the quality and synergy of projects supported through R01 research projects funded in response to RFA-AG-24-019, and to enhance public accessibility of their results.
- To identify promising directions for future research on determinants of species differences in human and nonhuman primate life spans and age-related outcomes, through planning activities that engage researchers from pertinent fields (including but not limited to researchers supported by the R01 projects).
- To enhance quality, public availability, and interoperability of data sources needed to design and implement research in this field
Q: Are there any special instructions and/or review criteria for applications to these FOAs?
A. Yes. Section IV: Application and Submission Information of both of the above FOAs contains specific instructions regarding application content. Please review Section V: Application Review Information of each FOA for review criteria “Specific to this FOA” which outlines additional evaluation questions to address.
Q: Can foreigners apply, including researchers from other countries?
A: Applicant eligibility is described in “Section III. Eligibility Information” in both FOAs.
The R01 RFA (RFA-AG-24-019) allows foreign applications. Individual researchers from outside of the U.S., and foreign organizations, are eligible to apply to receive funding from the NIH.
The networking/infrastructure R61/R33 RFA (RFA-AG-24-020) does not allow foreign applications. However, foreign components are allowed. Foreign investigators can collaborate with an investigator at a U.S. institution.
More information for foreign grants is provided on the NIH website.
Q: Are intramural NIH investigators eligible to apply to these RFAs?
A: NIH intramural scientists cannot be principal investigators on these grant applications. However, they are eligible to serve as unfunded co-investigators, unpaid collaborators, or unpaid consultants on an application submitted by an extramural applicant under the leadership of an extramural PI, and where they do not serve as key personnel on the extramural award. NIH intramural investigators must request approval from their Scientific Directors, write letters of collaboration including what they are going to provide to the grant, and specifically state that they will not be taking any money or other forms of reimbursement.
Q: Are multi-PI and/or multi-institutional applications allowed?
A: Yes. Applicants responding to either RFA are encouraged to consider a multi-principal investigator project, when needed for inclusion of investigators with expertise spanning multiple research disciplines and/or studies on differing species. Interdisciplinary studies and collaborations among researchers working on differing primate species are encouraged.
Q: Is prior approval required to exceed the $500K direct cost cap?
A: For the R01 RFA (RFA-AG-24-019) there is no budget cap, and you do not need advance permission to exceed $500K in direct costs for this RFA response.
For the R61/R33 RFA (RFA-AG-24-020), the statutory cap stated in the RFA cannot be exceeded.
Q: Do you expect these applications to be reviewed in their own study section?
A: Yes. Applications for both FOAs will be reviewed by a Special Emphasis Panel (SEP) and run by the Review Branch at NIA.
Q: What will the paylines be for these RFAs?
A: NIA has not pre-specified a payline.
Meritorious applications will be paid up to the limit of the set-aside that was prespecified for each of the RFAs, subject to the availability of funds.
For RFA-AG-24-019 (R01), NIA intends to commit up to $4.5 million in fiscal year 2024 to fund approximately 6 awards, contingent on funding availability and a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
For the companion funding opportunity, RFA-AG-24-020 (R61/R33), NIA intends to issue one award.
Q: Will there be similar RFAs in the future?
A: At this point, we are not certain about issuance of future RFAs in this field. NIA is likely to remain interested in these questions beyond the scope of projects funded through this RFA.
Q: When are applications due?
A: There is a single receipt date: September 27, 2023. No late applications will be accepted.
Q. Are Letters of Intent required? When are they due?
A. Letters of Intent are not required, but they are recommended. Letters of Intent are due on August 13, 2023.
It is also strongly encouraged that all applicants consult with the NIA program staff early in their planning process and not later than the Letter of Intent due date. This consultation is considered separate from the Letter of Intent. Inquiries should be sent to the NIA Scientific/Research Contact listed below. Inquiries will be directed to the appropriate NIA Division staff who can then advise whether proposed activities would be considered responsive to the objectives and goals of this FOA.
Q: Can a PI apply to both RFA-AG-24-019 and RFA-AG-24-020?
A: Yes, applicants for the R01 awards may also be included as personnel in applications for the R61/R33 networking/infrastructure project award (RFA-AG-24-020). There is no specific requirement about how the study team will be comprised. However, there is a special review criterion under “Investigators” that peer reviewers are asked to consider specific to each FOA:
- R01 RFA: Is the range and depth of expertise of the investigators adequate to conduct the proposed comparative project successfully?
- R61/R33 RFA: Does the project team have adequate expertise in human longevity research, nonhuman primate research, project coordination, data management, statistics, and informatics, to address its objectives? Do the project’s structure and operational procedures adequately integrate its diverse types of expertise to address its objectives?
Activities supported by the proposed study must be distinct from those supported by the partner study.
Any use of grant funds must conform to grants policy, reflect a bona fide need, and judicious use.
Q: Are no-cost extensions allowed?
A: Yes. The recipient may extend the final budget period of the previously approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months beyond the original completion date shown in the Notice of Award if: no term of award specifically prohibits the extension, no additional funds are required to be obligated by the NIH awarding IC, and if the project’s originally approved scope will not change. Such an action affirms that additional work remains to be completed on the project and that resources are available to continue to support the project, or that additional time is needed to provide for an orderly closeout. The fact that funds remain at the completion date of the grant is not, in itself, sufficient justification for an extension without additional funds.
Q: If an application is not successful, what's the process for converting into an investigator-initiated application?
A: Applications not funded through this RFA can be submitted as new investigator-initiated applications through Parent NOFOs (e.g. PA-20-185: NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Prior to submission, it is recommended that investigators discuss plans for doing so with the program officer assigned to your application. It is encouraged that you prepare a response to the criticisms raised in the summary statement prior to this discussion.
Q. Can I access a recording of the pre-application webinar or the associated slide deck?
A: Yes, please send a request for the recording and/or slide deck to email@example.com.
Q: Who should I contact if I have further questions?
A: Application Submission Contacts:
- eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)
- Finding Help Online:;http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552
- General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
- Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Peer Review Contact
Ramesh Vemuri, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Financial/Grants Management Contact
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
FAQs Specific to RFA-AG-24-019
The following FAQs are specific to R01 RFA-AG-24-019 Comparative Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging-Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation.
Q: Do applicants need to include human comparative studies/aims within their application? Will studies confined to one primate species be considered responsive?
A: Comparisons may be either of a) humans with at least one nonhuman primate species, or b) two or more nonhuman primate species. Multispecies (>2) comparisons are encouraged.
Q: Are you focusing this RFA on captive or free-ranging primate comparison settings?
A: Comparisons may include wild, captive, or free-ranging individuals.
Q: Are comparisons of wild vs captive populations of primate species of interest?
A: Simply comparing wild vs. captive populations within a single species would not be considered responsive. However, proposed comparisons of different species may include captive, wild, or free-ranging individuals, as needed and appropriate, to address the study’s aims. In all cases, investigators should provide the rationale for the species chosen and should focus on comparisons between species that may identify factors influencing life history stages, mortality, and/or life span. All experimental design decisions are subject to review for scientific merit.
Q: Can projects include non-primate species?
A: While the principal focus of this FOA is on comparisons among humans and nonhuman primate species, additional secondary integrative analyses of primate data with data sets including other taxa are encouraged where appropriate.
Projects comparing primate species may also include experimental studies in non-primate species to test hypotheses based on primate species differences, e.g., transgenic mouse studies of effects of human vs. nonhuman primate genetic variants.
Q: Is the comparison between Neanderthalensis and modern human included in this specific topic?
A: Yes. Comparisons among hominin species (humans and our distant human ancestors) are allowed.
Q: Is an R01 application responsive if some specific aims address within-species differences and other aims address cross-species differences?
A: No. All specific aims must be focused on cross-species comparisons. However, consideration of within-species differences may be included if useful for enhancing understanding of factors contributing to cross-species differences.
Q: Should applications address factors contributing to variability in human life spans and health spans?
A: Although NIA has ongoing interest in research on factors influencing variability in human longevity and health span, that is not the focus of this specific RFA. Therefore, studies that include only humans are not responsive. However, as noted in the response to the previous question, research on variability among humans may be included if useful for enhancing understanding of cross-species differences.
Q: Are R01 projects including in vivo animal studies required to include aged animals?
A: No. Cross-species comparisons of trait levels in older animals may be proposed but are not required. Cross-species comparisons of trait levels in juvenile and young adult animals, and assessment of their relationships to species life spans, are of particular interest.
Q: Is there any advisement regarding “health span” versus life span in the context of comparison (e.g., in many captive populations animals might be euthanized for health reasons before natural death, which might speak more to health span than to life span, but is “health span” really “longevity”)?
A: Applications may address factors contributing to species differences in either life span and/or health span.
Q: Are studies on age-related diseases responsive to the R01 RFA?
A: Studies on mechanisms contributing to species differences in progression of age-related disease risk factors and pathologies are of interest. Studies on diseases, risk factors or pathologies confined to an individual species are not responsive.
Q: Are there any physiological systems of particular interest to NIA in the context of comparative longevity (e.g., brain, cardiovascular)?
A: No. Applications on any physiological system that may contribute to differences in life spans across primate species are of potential interest.
Q: Would development of physiological assays be of interest?
A: Yes, if they will be used in the proposed species comparisons.
Q: Will applications using artificial intelligence for comparisons between healthy human and monkeys be considered?
Q: Would the creation of a resource to generate transgenic macaques and marmosets be appropriate?
A: If the resource created will be used to study relationships of differences between the life spans of macaques and marmosets (or other primate species), then it would be appropriate. However, the generation of the resource on its own, in the absence of proposed aims focused on species differences in life span, would not be responsive.
Q: Would comparative studies of stem cell-derived and organoid models be considered?
A: Yes. Cross-species comparisons of stem cells and organoids would be appropriate.
Q: Are factors affecting earlier developmental stages of interest?
A: Yes. Given the strong correlation of the timing of developmental and other life history transitions with human and nonhuman primate species longevity, research to elucidate species differences in maturational life history traits, and the timing of developmental transitions, is of interest, particularly if it also addresses potential relationships of such factors to subsequent post-maturational survival.
Q: Are studies on primate populations outside the U.S. allowable?
A: Yes, while non-domestic (non-U.S.) entities are not eligible to apply, applications from U.S. entities that include foreign components (as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement) are allowed.
Q: Are R01 project awardees expected to share information with other R01 awardees regardless of whether they are members of the R61/R33 project?
A: Yes, sharing information and analyses is a requirement, along with participation in an annual awardees meeting.
Q. How many applicants will be awarded under RFA-AG-24-019?
A: NIA intends to commit up to $4.5M in FY 2024 to fund approximately 6 awards, contingent on funding availability.
Q: Will Early-Stage (ESI) Investigator status be considered in the review of the R01 applications?
A: No. Neither the ESI status, nor the New PI status will be considered in the review of the R01 applications.
Q. Are there application budget limits?
A: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum project period is 5 years.
FAQs Specific to RFA-AG-24-020
The following FAQs are specific to RFA-AG-24-020: Networking/Infrastructure Project for Research on Determinants of Differences Among Human and Nonhuman Primate Species in Life Spans, Life Histories, and Other Aging Related Outcomes, and Prospects for Translation.
Q: What areas of expertise are required of applicants for this FOA?
A: This FOA solicits applications that include expertise from multiple research disciplines (such as the topics noted above), in conjunction with expertise in coordinating diverse research projects, database management, statistics, and informatics. Applicants are encouraged to consider a multi-principal investigator project to ensure that investigators with expertise spanning the above topics have significant project involvement.
Q: Is the networking/infrastructure project funded by R61/R33 RFA-AG-24-020 intended to support solely the awardee projects of the companion R01 (RFA-AG-24-019)?
A: No, this RFA is not intended to solely support the R01 awardees projects and must also engage other researchers from pertinent fields.
The networking/infrastructure project is intended to provide support for researchers from relevant fields (including, but not limited to awardee projects of the companion R01 RFA) to develop concepts for additional research on determinants of species differences in human and nonhuman primate life spans and age-related outcomes through research planning, including data analyses and pilot studies needed for designing new projects. In addition, the networking/infrastructure project will enhance the quality and availability of data sources needed to design and implement research in this field through activities such as harmonizing data, creating new databases, increasing interoperability of existing data sources, and establishing public websites and other information architecture.
Q: How does the R61/R33 mechanism work?
A: The R61/R33 FOA is a 5-year phased award. The project selected for funding will receive up to two years of support for the R61 phase, followed by up to three years of support for the R33 phase, contingent on reaching project milestones for the R61 phase.
Q: What types of milestones will be considered responsive to the RFA criteria? How and when will these milestones be reviewed?
A: Selection of milestones and appropriate general foci for the R61 and R33 phases are discussed in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description of RFA-AG-24-20. To be considered responsive to the FOA, applications must meet all criteria listed under “Responsiveness Criteria”. Proposed milestones for both the R61 and R33 phases will be evaluated in peer review and by NIA program staff prior to award. In response to peer and program review, milestones may be modified or added and will be included in the terms of the award. Milestones may also be modified at the time of transition to the R33 award. Milestones should be defined as “deliverables” (e.g., plans, resources, research activities). Applications that do not meet the “Responsiveness Criteria” will be administratively withdrawn and not reviewed.
Q: What does the transition from the R61 to the R33 phase consist of?
A: Prior to the end of the R61 phase, grantees will be expected to submit a package requesting transition to the R33 phase. This transition package will be reviewed by NIA program staff and must include: a progress report describing the achievements of the R61 phase, including success in reaching R61 milestones, and plans for the R33 phase, including updated milestones if appropriate. If the transition package is approved, the R33 will be awarded for the remainder of the project period without the need to submit a new grant application.
Q: How are applicants to define R33 activities in the original application?
A: While selection of specific activities and milestones for each of the R61 and R33 phases will depend on the project team’s resources, priorities, and specific aims, appropriate general foci for both phases are listed within Section I. Funding Opportunity Description of RFA-AG-24-20.
Appropriate selection of specific activities in the R33 phase (e.g., of pilot studies, database, or database construction) will depend in part on results in the R61 phase and on findings from the R01 projects and other studies during the time period of the R61 phase. In such cases, applicants for the R61/R33 award are not required to identify specific topic areas for projects in their competing applications. However, the R61/R33 application must describe proposed processes in the R33 for identifying potential activities, assessing their quality and priority by internal and/or external review, selecting them, and assessing and reporting their progress. Greater detail on proposed R33 activities will be required in the package submitted for NIA approval to transition from the R61 phase.
Q: Can milestones and timelines be modified or extended?
A: In response to peer and program review, milestones may be modified or added and will be included in the terms of the award. Milestones may also be modified at the time of transition to the R33 award. NIA will appoint an independent Monitoring Board to assist in assessing study progress in reaching milestones during the R61 and R33 phases and assessing proposed new activities in the R33 phase.
Q: Who will the independent Monitoring Board be comprised of?
A: The monitoring board selected by NIA program staff will consist of external experts pertinent to the fields of research represented by the awardees of the R01 (RFA-AG-24-019) and R61/R33 (RFA-AG-24-020) FOAs.
Q: How many applications will be awarded under RFA-AG-24-020?
A: NIA intends to issue one R61/R33 award.
Q: Are there application budget limits?
A: Applications may not request more than $600,000 direct costs per year for the first two years of the project, and may not request more than $900,000 direct costs for any following year. Indirect costs paid to third-party contractors will not be included in calculations of total direct costs with respect to this limit.
Q: What are the budgets for the R61 and R33 phases?
A: NIA intends to commit up to $900,000 per year in FYs 2024 and 2025 to fund the first two years of the award, and up to $1.5M per year in FYs 2026-2028 for years 3-5 of the award, contingent on funding availability and satisfactory study progress. The maximum period of the combined R61/R33 is five years, with up to two years for the R61 Phase and three years for the R33 Phase. Funding of the R33 award will be determined by successful completion of the R61 scientific goals, as determined by NIH.