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Frequently Asked Questions for NOT-AG-20-022

The frequently asked questions below are related to NOT-AG-20-022: NIA Availability of Administrative Supplements and Revision Supplements on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Q: How much funding will NIA allocate to this COVID-19 program?

A: There are no specific COVID-19 set-aside funds in NOT-AG-20-022 and no special consideration for COVID-19 related grants within the normal pay line. Currently all COVID-19 awards will be made from NIA’s regular budget allocations.

Q: Can I submit a COVID-19 supplement that is related to Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD)?

A: NIA will accept COVID-19 supplements for both AD/ADRD and general aging research.

Q: When should I submit an administrative supplement vs. a competitive revision?

A: Below are examples of how to differentiate between an administrative supplement (within scope of the parent grant) and a competitive revision (out of scope of the parent grant):

  • For a revision, ask yourself: Would this new activity require re-review (given what had already been reviewed in the parent)? For example, if you are proposing primary data collection, is the parent already collecting data on these subjects? Will the data collection mode change substantially? Will you be including a new patient population that requires special human subjects’ considerations? The more differences that exist between the parent and proposal protocol, the more likely it is that you will request a revision.
  • When in doubt, a conservative approach would be to recommend submission as a competitive revision, which allows more leeway in terms of scope. Please discuss this with your Program Officer.
  • A common use of administrative supplement is to “change subjects”, such as to expand a sample to include (larger numbers of) underrepresented minorities. This is typically considered within scope.
  • For both types of applications, make sure you put NOT-AG-20-022 in Box 4b of the application package.

Q: What is the allowable budget?

A: While there is no budget limit stated in the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI), you must abide by the budget restrictions of PA-18-591 for administrative supplements: Application budgets are limited to no more than the amount of the current parent award for any one year. For the Urgent Award Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA: PA-18-935), there is no budget limit, but we recommend limiting the budget to that of the parent award. Remember, the budget should be justified by the scope of research proposed, however, all applications are subject to the funds available by NIA.

Q: How does one construct the budget for a competing revision for an RF1 award?

A: In this case, it is best to take the average cost of a single year and construct your budget as if the parent award was a R01 grant. Also remember that the RF1 cannot have any NCE period, so you must have sufficient time left on the grant for the supplement.

Q: Can I submit an Administrative Supplement when I have an RF1 parent award?

A: Yes, while the parent administrative supplement FOA (PA-18-591) does not support the RF1 mechanism, the NIA will accept Administrative Supplements to a RF1 grant under this NOSI. Also, the RF1 is allowable under this NOSI to apply to the Urgent Award Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA: PA-18-935). Please note before applying: consider the length of time left on the RF1 grant, as there are NO extensions allowable for this mechanism, therefore the research proposed must be accomplished in the time left on the grant. The NIA will also take into consideration any large unexpended balances on a RF1 grant when prioritizing the supplement application for award. Applicants are encouraged to contact their program officers if planning a submission.

Q: Can I submit an administrative supplement if I am in a no cost extension (NCE)? Can an administrative supplement extend into an NCE period?

A: No, you may not submit an application if you are in an NCE. However, if you are in a mid-year NCE, then you may still apply. As long as the application is submitted while the parent grant is still active, the supplement timeline can exceed the end date of the parent award.

Q: What does “urgent” mean in the context of this NOSI?

A: In the NIA NOSI, the word ‘urgent’ is in reference to the FOA PA-18-935 Urgent Competitive Revision to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements. It is designed to meet immediate needs that were otherwise unanticipated by the parent grant to help address a specific public health crisis in a timely manner.

Q: Is NIA prioritizing time-sensitive research or is there an interest in supporting research looking at downstream effects of COVID-19?

A: NIA may consider the time sensitivity of research in its funding decisions. Scientific impact and innovation will also be considered.

Q: What is the timeline for awards and the process for review?

A: Because of the urgent need for COVID-19 research, NIA plans to review all applications for both administrative supplements and competitive revisions in response to the NOSI internally, using only federal employees. No start date is currently set, but NIA plans to expedite the approval process as much as possible.

Q: Can NIA fund a supplement to another NIH Institute or Center's grant?

A: No, the parent award must be an NIA grant.

Q: How many years can be proposed for an Administrative Supplement or a Competitive Revision?

A: The project period will generally be limited to one year. Project periods up to two years will be considered only with strong justification and will be subject to programmatic priority and availability of funds.

Q: If I am in the last year of my grant, can I propose a competitive revision or administrative supplement?

A: Yes, in the context of this NOSI, the only requirement is that you must have an active grant at the time of submission. The time of the supplemental award can therefore exceed the time left on the grant.

Q: Are SBIR grants eligible for to apply for an administrative supplement or a competitive revision?

A: Yes, SBIR grantees are eligible to apply if they have an active grant at the time of submission.

Q: I am not sure if my idea sufficiently addresses the goals of the NOSI. When should I consider talking to my NIA Program Official (PO)?

A: It is best to contact your PO as soon as possible.

Q: At what National Advisory Council on Aging meeting will the administrative supplement and competitive revisions be reviewed?

A: Because of the emergency/expedited need to make awards, applications in response to this NOSI will not undergo a second level of review by Council.

Q: Could a principal investigator (PI) apply to the program announcement directly without having to reference the NOSI?

A: Technically, a PI could apply to the Parent Administrative Supplement announcement (PA-18-591) without referencing the Notice number NOT-AG-20-022 in Box 4b in the application package; this is NOT the case when applying directly to the Urgent Award FOA (PA-18-935). However, for tracking purposes, all COVID-19 supplements should reference the Notice number NOT-AG-20-022 in Box 4b in the application package. (For those submitting applications based on other COVID-19 related NOSIs in which NIA participates, please reference the relevant Notice number in Box 4b in the application package.)

Q: The NOSI does say that two-year supplements can be submitted if justified. Must two years be remaining on the parent grant in order to submit an application for a two-year supplement?

A: No, as long as the grant is active at the time of submission, you may still apply.

Q: What does ‘a strong’ justification mean when preparing a supplement or revision that would require two years of support?

A: Each application to this NOSI will be looked at on a case by case basis. Considerations include responsiveness to COVID-19 research and the mission of NIA (or other NIH Institute and Center participants if applying for their review), programmatic priority and availability of funds. It is the expectation that all supplement applications will be for 1 year due to the urgency of the situation and the limitations of funds available; anything beyond this timeline needs to have a detailed explanation for time/funding beyond this threshold.

Q: What is the page limit for the supplement application?

A: The page limit to this NOSI is the same as the page limit for the parent award.

Q: Can a supplement be added to a K award? Can an administrative supplement or competitive revision be added to R03, R21, or R56 award?

A: Yes, as long as the parent award is active. There is one exception: the R56 mechanism is NOT eligible to apply to the administrative supplement FOA (PA-18-591).

Q: May I apply under this NOSI to this to cover unanticipated expenses for my research project that result from COVID-19?

A: No. This NOSI is exclusively for research on COVID-19. Applications for other purposes will be administratively withdrawn.

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