Funding Opportunity: Strengthening Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control and Improving Patient Safety in the United States
On December 3, 2021, CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases announced a funding opportunity entitled: Strengthening Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control and Improving Patient Safety in the United States.
Informational webinar: January 12, 2022
Letters of intent due (recommended but not required): January 28, 2022
Applications due: February 11, 2022
To apply for this grant visit grants.gov:
When: Jan 12, 2022
Time: 03:00-4:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: CK22-2203 Informational Webinar
Overview of notice of funding opportunity
- The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted gaps in infection prevention and control (IPC) knowledge and practice in U.S. healthcare settings. IPC in healthcare stops the spread of infections, preventing illness and death and protecting patients and healthcare personnel. There is a need to strengthen healthcare IPC practices, inform IPC recommendations, improve how healthcare personnel IPC competencies are assessed, and develop evidence-based approaches to IPC training and education. Through this NOFO, CDC will continue to protect Americans by improving the safety and quality of healthcare.
- This NOFO supports the priorities of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, including the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases by enhancing healthcare IPC. CDC will establish and expand partnerships with academic, healthcare, and other organizations to address common IPC failure modes; enhance correct implementation of IPC protocols and work processes; and strengthen healthcare worker training and competency assessment. Successful applicants will demonstrate specialized expertise, infrastructure, technological capabilities, and partners to strengthen healthcare IPC.
- Strategies within Component 1, improving the safety and quality of healthcare and protecting healthcare personnel and patients by strengthening IPC, will:
- Improve healthcare facility structure, design, and organization
- Optimize materials and equipment design and safe use across healthcare settings
- Improve IPC work processes, procedures, and practices
- Promote standard practices to ensure healthcare environments are safe for healthcare personnel and patients
- Strengthen healthcare IPC preparedness.
- Strategies within Component two, strengthening healthcare personnel IPC training, education, and competency assessment, will:
- Develop and evaluate innovative and effective IPC training and education approaches
- Implement improved or novel approaches to healthcare personnel competency assessment
- Improve the ability of the U.S. public health workforce to support healthcare IPC and prevent and respond to healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and antibiotic resistance (AR).
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is my organization eligible to apply for this funding opportunity?
Answer: This funding opportunity is for full and open competition. Please see the funding opportunity announcement content for additional details on eligibility.
- Are territorial governments eligible to apply for this funding opportunity?
Answer: As stated in the eligibility section of the funding opportunity announcement (pg. 35), the following are eligible to apply: “Territorial governments or their bona fide agents in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.”
- Are organizations permitted to apply for the NOFO both as a primary applicant and as a partner on another applicant’s team?
Answer: Yes, an organization may apply for the NOFO as both a primary applicant and as a partner/collaborator on another applicant’s application. The work proposed in the primary application cannot the same as or duplicative of the work proposed as a partner/collaborator on another application.
- Are organizations currently funded by CDC through another funding mechanism eligible to apply for this funding opportunity?
Answer: Applicants can be funded by multiple CDC funding mechanisms (e.g., cooperative agreements), but applicants must not be funded by any other CDC cooperative agreement or other funding mechanism to conduct work that duplicates efforts with the work proposed in their application for this NOFO.
- Is this funding opportunity open to those who are not currently funded through Project FirstLine?
Answer: Yes, this funding opportunity is open to those who are not currently funded through Project FirstLine.
- Can people currently funded under Project FirstLine apply for this grant?
Answer: Yes, organizations currently funded under Project Firstline can apply for this cooperative, if the work proposed does not duplicate work the applicant is funded to do through another cooperative agreement or other funding mechanism. Please note that organizations currently funded under Project FirstLine are not required to apply for this cooperative agreement. While applicants can be funded by multiple CDC funding mechanisms (e.g., cooperative agreements), applicants must not be funded by any other CDC cooperative agreement or other funding mechanism to conduct work that duplicates efforts with the work proposed in their application for this NOFO.
- If you are collaborating with partner, do both organizations have to be registered as applicants or does just the primary have to be registered?
Answer: Only the primary applicant must be registered to apply on grants.gov. If funds are awarded to an applicant organization that includes sub-recipients, those sub-recipients must provide their DUNS numbers before accepting any funds.
Budget Planning and Funding Restrictions
- Is there a dollar amount that delegates a purchase as equipment and not supplies?
Answer: The threshold for designation as equipment is $5,000 (for a single unit of the item). There has been an update to the CFR to include computer equipment to be recognized as equipment. It also depends on how the applying organization defines equipment. If selected for funding, the budget categories can be revised during the budget mark-up process (if needed).
- Will applications that provide a budget narrative that exceeds the planning amount of $1 million per component still be considered eligible if the budget is justified and detailed to support exceeding the recommended average award?
Answer: Yes, applications with a budget narrative that exceeds the $1 million per component planning amount will be considered eligible (if the application meets all requirements for eligibility and completeness).
- The funding opportunity announcement provides a year 1 planning budget amount of $1 million. Is it OK if our year 1 budget is less than that?
Answer: The $1 million per component value was provided for applicant planning purposes only; it is not a requirement that applicants request funding at that level.
- Should the budget narrative include only year 1 or cover all 5 years of the period of performance?
Answer: The budget narrative should only cover year 1 of the period of performance, not the full 5 years.
- What is the planning budget amount applicants should use to develop their year 1 budget?
Answer: As stated in the funding opportunity announcement content, “For planning purposes, applicants should estimate an average annual funding level for each award of $1,000,000 per component. Funding levels are subject to change and are dependent on the availability of funds.”
- Should the budget be written by strategy under each component?
Answer: The funding opportunity content does not provide specific guidance on the organization of the budget narrative. However, we strongly encourage all applicants to organize their budgets by component and strategy (if applying to multiple strategies within a component).
- If you are awarded, would you receive a cumulative total of $5 million at the end of the 5 years, or do you need to reapply each year to receive each year’s $1 million?
Answer: The $1 million per component per year was provided for planning purposes only. Funding for each year will be based on available funding and based on the continuation applications submitted by successful applicants.
- Can funds be used to purpose equipment?
Answer: The Funding Restrictions Section (page 47) states “generally, recipients may not use funds to purchase furniture or equipment. Any such proposed spending must be clearly identified in the budget.” Recipients must provide justification of why the equipment is reasonable and necessary for the successful implementation of work plan activities. It is up to CDC program discretion if the purchase is properly justified.
- Would proposed cost sharing/matching in the budget increase the competitiveness of a proposal?
Answer: Cost sharing and matching is not required, so proposing cost sharing/matching would not have an impact on the completeness of an application.
- Does the funding opportunity target any specific healthcare facility types or healthcare personnel professions/populations?
Answer: The NOFO does not specify specific healthcare settings/facility types or healthcare personnel professions/populations that an applicant should prioritize or target. The application should clearly describe the healthcare settings or healthcare personnel populations that will be included in the work proposed by the applicant.
- Is CDC looking for projects that are national in scope or regional or by certain states?
Answer: The funding opportunity announcement does not specify geographic locations for the work proposed.
- Can you confirm that workers in the pre-hospital setting would be considered an appropriate target audience for the funding described in this RFA?
Answer: Yes, healthcare personnel working in the pre-hospital setting would be considered an appropriate target population. The target population for CK22-2203 includes, but is not limited to, all individuals engaged in any aspect of patient care and healthcare delivery.
- What is the application submission date?
Answer: The correct, updated submission date is February 11, 2022.
- Would CDC consider delaying the due date given that many applicants are currently swamped dealing with the COVID surge?
Answer: Unfortunately, CDC cannot delay the application due date. There are strict timelines that CDC must adhere to ensure awards are made before the end of fiscal year 2022.
- If we miss the deadline for this year, can we reapply next year?
Answer: No, you cannot. This deadline is for the full period of performance of the cooperative agreement.
General Application Questions
- Where can the recording from the January 12, 2022, webinar be found?
Answer: The recording is available on this website: Funding Opportunity: Strengthening Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control and Improving Patient Safety in the United States | What We Do | NCEZID | CDC.
- On pages 34 and 35 of the NOFO, what do the numbers preceding each group of eligible applicants mean?
Answer: These numbers are Grants.gov systems coding for the different eligibility groups.
- What are the page limits for the project narrative?
Answer: Multi-component NOFOs may have a maximum of 15 pages for the “base” portion of the narrative (subsections of the Project Description that the components share with each other, which may include target population, inclusion, collaboration, etc.); and up to 4 additional pages per component for Project Narrative sections that are specific to each component. Thus, the page limit for a one-component application is 19 pages and the page limit for a 2-componet application is 23 pages. The work plan template tables are included in the Project Narrative page limit. For an application that includes both components, the content can be distributed across the 23 pages at the applicant’s discretion. Applicants should not feel compelled to use the maximum page limit allowable.
- Is there a specific format for bio sketch or CV that is required?
Answer: No, a specific format is not required. Please upload all appendices and attachments as PDFs if possible.
- Where can we find all the details of what documents need to be included?
Answer: This information is available in the notice of funding opportunity announcement content located at Grants.gov. Please review the entire content carefully. For example, please refer to the following sections: “Required Registrations,” “Application Package,” “Pre-award Assessments,” and “H. Other Information.” Please note that a revised version of “H. Other Information” has been posted on Grants.gov.
- Is submission of an SF-424 and SF-424a required as part of the application package?
Answer: As part of the Grants.gov submission process, applicants are required to submit the SF-424 and SF-424A forms. These forms are available on Grants.gov. Please reference the Grants.gov Help Center (https://www.grants.gov/help/html/help/index.htm?callingApp=custom#t=ManageWorkspaces%2FFillOutWebform.htmexternal icon) for more information. Applicants can fill out and complete grant application forms in their web browser. The webforms and PDF forms (i.e., the Download and Upload links) are connected, so users may interchangeably complete the forms in their web browser and PDF format, and the data is shared. The SF-424 form should be completed before any other form. The SF-424 form populates certain fields on additional forms within the workspace package, so it will save you time and avoid technical issues to complete the SF-424 form first.
- Are appendices or attachments allowed?
Answer: Yes, additional attachments may be provided. Please see Section H starting on page 64 of the funding opportunity announcement content for a list of optional attachments that may be included. There are no page limits on the attachments. Please be sure to clearly name any attachments.
- Can you include footnotes?
Answer: Yes, footnotes can be included. If they are included in the project narrative, they must be included in the project narrative page limit.
- If we have supporting video for our proposal is there a way to provide that?
Answer: The list of allowable attachments is provided in Section H. Other Information. Please note that a revised version of “H. Other Information” has been posted on Grants.gov.
- Are websites considered as part of the page count limit?
Answer: Anything included in the Project Narrative section counts as part of the page limit. Applicants can provide links to websites are part of the Project Narrative. If an applicant wanted to provide the full content of a website, that could be included as an attachment in the application package.
- Can you use Cayuse to submit through Grants.gov?
Answer: Grants.gov has its own software, called Workspace, that can be used to submit the application. CDC is not familiar with Cayuse.
- Do you require UD (UEI), or DUNS is still acceptable?
Answer: DUNS is acceptable. As stated in the funding opportunity content, “In preparation for the federal government’s April 4, 2022 transition to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) from the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), applicants must include a UEI in applications (SF-424, field 8c) due on or after January 25, 2022. The UEI is generated as part of SAM.gov registration. Current SAM.gov registrants have already been assigned their UEI and can view it in SAM.gov and grants.gov. Entities registering in SAM.gov prior to April 4, 2022, must still obtain a DUNS number before registering in SAM.gov registration.”
- Is there a required font and font size and margin size?
Answer: For the Project Narrative, “Text should be single spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and number all pages. Page limits include work plan; content beyond specified limits may not be reviewed.” We encourage applicants to use consistent formatting across all components of their application.
- Are multiple principal investigators (PIs) permitted per application, or only one PI per application?
Answer: The notice of award for selected applicants can have only one principal investigator/project director. Alternates may be listed, but there must be a single/primary principal investigator/project director named.
- Will an Organizational Capacity Letter from the Dean of School suffice?
Answer: Yes. The organizational capacity letter must be signed by the CEO, President, or other senior leader of the organization on organizational letterhead attesting to the existing capacity and capability for rapid procurement, hiring, and contracting. The file must be named “Organizational Capacity Letter” and uploaded as a PDF during the Grants.govexternal icon application process.
Application Submission Limits
- Are applications limited to one per institution?
Answer: One application may be submitted per DUNS number. Some institutions may have multiple DUNS numbers (e.g., for different organizational units). Multiple entities may apply from a single institution if each has their own DUNS number..
- When applying for an award, the organization must register as an organization and provide the DUNS for registration purposes (see Grants.gov Applicant Training | GRANTS.GOVexternal icon, the video labeled “How to Register with Grants.gov” mentions this requirement). Therefore, because of the Grants.gov application process, each DUNS can only be associated with a single application; a single DUNS number can’t register with grants.gov more than once in the application process for this funding opportunity.
- Organizations may have more than one DUNS number. If different units within your organization wish to apply for this award, we encourage you to discuss the possibility of obtaining separate DUNS numbers for those organizational units.
- CDC can only accept one application from each unique DUNS number; CDC will default to the most recent submission if there are multiple submissions from one DUNS number.
- Can applicants be funded for partial components/strategies for which they applied?
Answer: Yes. Upon application review, applicants may be funded fully, partially, or designated as approved but unfunded.
- Is there a limit to how many entities may be selected as approved-but-unfunded (ABU)?
Answer: No, there is no limit. If an applicant is deemed eligible and their application is complete and forwarded for review, they will either be awarded or be designated as approved –but unfunded. As funding becomes available and/or there becomes a need for additional work, an applicant on the approved but unfunded list may receive funding.
- Who will be reviewing the applications? Will the reviewers be external or internal to the CDC?
Answer: All reviewers are internal to the CDC. Phase 1 review is completed by CDC’s Office of Grants Services. Phase 2 review is completed by objective reviewers with the expertise and experience necessary to complete the objective review. Phase 3 review is completed by the CDC program awarding the funds, in collaboration with the CDC Office of Grants Services and other CDC offices, as necessary.
- Can you share any information how many proposals you are anticipating you will receive with this announcement?
Answer: There is no information available currently. Please consider submitting a letter of intent to healthcareIPCcoag@cdc.gov by January 28 to help CDC plan for the number of applications to be received and the review process.
- Should we be chosen an awardee, we hope to market and sell our resulting product. As we will be entirely dependent upon Federal Funding through the government grant process, what percent of the profit from the product sales will the grant program or Federal government require us to pay them? Will this be indefinite or for a stated number of years?
Answer: Per 45 CFR 75.467 Selling and marketing costs: Costs of selling and marketing any products or services of the non-Federal entity (unless allowed under § 75.421external icon) are unallowable, except as direct costs, with prior approval by the HHS awarding agency when necessary for the performance of the Federal award.
- How do we protect proprietary information we must include in the application to explain the feasibility of our solution?
Answer: Your application must include sufficient information for CDC to determine eligibility and completeness and to conduct an objective review of all content if the application is deemed eligible and complete. It is up to the applicant to protect any proprietary information, and it is up to the discretion of the applicant to determine what information they deem necessary to include in the application while still meeting all requirements outlined in the funding opportunity. Please note the following text from the funding opportunity announcement: “A project abstract is included on the mandatory documents list and must be submitted at www.grants.govexternal icon. The project abstract must be a self-contained, brief summary of the proposed project including the purpose and outcomes. This summary must not include any proprietary or confidential information. Applicants must enter the summary in the “Project Abstract Summary” text box at www.grants.govexternal icon.”
- How do we submit application on Grants.gov?
Answer: The funding opportunity content provides information on all registrations required to be able to submit the application package on Grants.gov. This information is also available on Grants.gov under the “Applicants” tab, which provides step-by-step guidance for applying via Grants.gov.
- What is the period of performance for this cooperative agreement?
Answer: The period of performance is 5 years. The budget period is 12 months at a time.
Points of Contact
- Who are the points of contact if we have questions about this funding opportunity?
Answer: For inquiries for the program office, please contact healthcareIPCcoag@cdc.gov. For inquiries for CDC’s Office of Grants Services, please contact Ms. Freda Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To whom to we submit the letter of intent?
Answer: The letter of intent should be submitted no later than January 28, 2022, to healthcareIPCcoag@cdc.gov.
Application Work Plan and Approach
- Can an applicant apply to only one component?
Answer: This NOFO has 2 components. Applicants can apply for one or both components. Within each component applied to, an applicant may apply for a maximum of two strategies (as defined in the logic model).
- If the organization has the technology to improve the IPC training and assessment but not creating new knowledge for IPC, is it eligible to apply the funding?
Answer: If the work proposed with the components, strategies, and outcomes in the funding opportunity content, the organization is eligible to apply if they meet all other requirements for eligibility.
- In these innovative strategies, must there be new content for IPC, or can the approach itself be the innovation?
Answer: The approach itself can be the innovation. For example, for Component 2 Strategy 2.a, the applicant may propose to implement innovative approaches to train or educate on existing IPC content. For example, for Component 1, the innovation can be in improving the implementation of a known IPC concept in a healthcare setting.
- When you propose work for a strategy, do you have to be responsive to the whole strategy or can it be in part?
Answer: The applicant does not need to be responsive to the whole strategy; it can be in part. We do not expect an applicant to be able to achieve all aspects of a strategy (e.g., do all activities listed as examples). The work must be supportive of at least one of the outcomes listed for the strategy in the logic model.
- Can you explain a little more about the differences between Component 1 and 2 as far as IPC (infection prevention and control) training? It seems they both can include an IPC training component.
Answer: Component 2, specifically strategy 2.a, is not focused on the delivery of IPC training, but on the development of new and innovative approaches using human centered design for IPC training and education. Component 1 could include IPC training as part of an overall effort to improve healthcare IPC implementation. Component 1 also involves identification of training needs associated with the Component’s strategies.
- The review criteria for Component 2 implies that you need to select either 2a and 2b or just 2c. Is that accurate, or can you elect any mix of Strategies under the Component?
Answer: You can select any combination of strategies in Component 1 and/or Component 2 (with a maximum of two strategies selected per component applied to). The way the review criteria are written are only meant to indicate that there are review criteria that apply only to Strategies 2a and 2b and review criteria that apply only to Strategy 2c.
- Can you please clarify the difference between Component 1 Strategies 1c and 1d?
Answer: Strategy 1c focuses generally on all IPC work processes, procedures, and practices across diverse healthcare settings. Strategy 1d focuses specifically on the healthcare environment, including environmental services.
- Should the project narrative include only year 1 or cover all 5 years of the period of performance?
Answer: The Project Narrative (which includes the work plan) should contain a detailed description of the work to be completed in year one and a projection of activities to be completed in future years (years 2-5) of the 5-year period of performance, pending available funding and successful submission of continuation applications.
- If awarded, will recipients complete an application for continuation each year for the following year?
Answer: Yes, recipients will complete a continuation application package each year. This will include a summary of progress made to date and a work plan and budget for work to be conducted in the next year.
- There is a requirement for an Annual Performance Report (APR). Are interim reports reflecting the progress of the project also likely to be required?
Answer: There may be a requirement for interim progress or other reports to be provided. Please see the funding opportunity content for a table of required reports.
- Do unused funds transfer to the next year?
Answer: CDC cannot say yes or no; this is reviewed on an annual basis. If an applicant is selected for funding, the applicant should do everything possible to spend the money awarded in that 12-month budget period. If all funds are not spent, a carryover request can be submitted as part of the continuation application.