Prevention Research Centers Special Interest Projects NOFO

Informational Call Script:
Informational Conference Call for CDC-RFA-DP-24-062: CDC Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) Special Interest Research Projects (SIPs) 

Thursday, February 1, 2024 from 1:30-3:30pm EST.


Introductions: Jason Lang
Welcoming Remarks: Jaya Raman
General Overview of the NOFO: Brigette Ulin
Submission Requirements: Ahmad Chabkoun
Scientific Merit Review Process: Katie Barrett
Questions and Answers: Jaya Raman
Closing Remarks and Reminders: Jaya Raman and Jason Lang

Introductions [Jason Lang]

Good morning or good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the prevention research center’s special interest projects notice of funding opportunity preapplication information webinar. A few housekeeping details before I turn it over to our moderator this afternoon. We are recording this meeting. Attendees will be muted for the duration of the webinar this afternoon. For technical assistance, please use the chat function. You may send your technical assistance questions to the hosts and panelists only.

We will have a Q&A portion at the end of today’s presentation, and we will exclusively be using the question-and-answer box in the Zoom settings. For questions about the NOFO, please type them in the Q&A box. Additionally, we ask that if you have a question related to a specific project, you include the SIP number with your question. For example, a question related to the nutrition obesity policy research and evaluation network, SIP project would be identified with SIP-24-006. You will also be able to upvote others’ questions by clicking on the thumbs-up up icon. If you have a question that is similar or the same to the one that’s already been asked by another attendee, please up vote that and it will rise to the top of the cue for the panelists to address.

We do have automated captioning available through zoom. You can use the more feature to click captioning to enable that. We also will put into the chat box a live third-party captioning system which you can similarly access. We have disabled the raise hand function for the webinar. Again, please type all the questions directly into the Q&A box. We would also like folks to remain anonymous when submitting questions so please do not include your name or institution when submitting a question. And finally, please do not submit any questions about a specific project proposal and whether it is responsive to the NOFO or not. We will not be able to answer any of those questions directly. So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Jaya Raman to welcome us and get us started.

Welcoming Remarks [Jaya Raman]:

Thank you, Jason. I’m Jaya Raman. Thank you for joining us today. As Jason said, we will be doing Q&A exclusively to the Q&A box. Please wait before you start adding your questions because it is likely that some of your questions about submissions will be answered during the course of the presentation so just hold your questions until we get to that part of the presentation. We will be going over all the funding opportunity announcement today and then giving you briefly application submission information, touching on application information and then a screen shot of what our agency contacts are in case you have questions about submission or any other process and then we will into the Q&A. As Jason said, Q&As hold off until we are at least three parts of the application. I apologize as we go through the questions. There will be some awkward pauses during the Q&A session but please bear with us. I’ll hand it over to Brigette Ulin of the translation branch.

General Overview of NOFO [Brigette Ulin]

Excellent. Welcome to today’s webinar and on behalf of the CDC and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, congratulations on being selected for funding for the 2024-2029 PRC network. I’m Brigette Ulin, Prevention Branch Chief in the Division of Population Health. As branch chief I have the privilege of seeing the program with a wonderful team working behind-the-scenes today at the CDC to pull off this webinar. We’re looking forward to working with all of you in the next PRC funding cycle. Today — and thank you again for joining to learn more about the first sip opportunity for the next cycle. All right.

Next slide. Today I’ll provide an overview of the following information in the NOFO. I’ll review — first I’ll review the award information. Second, I’ll review the responsiveness criteria, including eligibility, special eligibility and who is eligible to apply as the principal investigator or project director of the SIPs. Third I’ll review some additional review criteria examples and I’ll review the different SIPs included in the NOFO. Tonight remind everyone I’m only highlighted a fraction of what’s included in the NOFO today so we can get to all the questions. In addition to the main section every the NOFO, you can look at section eight which provides all the information about each of the SIPs and all of their requirements.

Next slide. Special interest projects are sponsored by CDC centers, institutes, and offices to conduct research and health promotion and disease prevention and other activities in priority areas. SIPs are cooperative agreements. This NOFO includes 13 different sips. SIPs are sponsored by CDC institutes and offices. This NOFO anticipates a total of 28 awards across 13 SIPs over a five-year period. Performance period varies and can range from one to five years. The total funding for all SIPS in this NOFO for the first year is $8,775,000. And the total funding for SIPs across all five years for this NOFO is $36,075,000. Notice all the budgets listed in the NOFO and through each SIP include direct and indirect costs.

Next slide. Next, I want to review some important responsiveness criteria for your applications. Applications must be submitted by institutions selected as PRCs under RFA-DP-24-004 which I’ll share on the next slide. The institution and the EIN must match the institution that was selected for RFA-DP-24-004. Applications must meet the described special eligibility requirements, if included. Three sips in this NOFO include special eligibility requirements as noted on these slides. You can see the SIP numbers. If an application is incomplete or does not meet the responsiveness criteria, and I’ll cover more about this in the next few slides, the application will be deemed nonresponsive and will not enter into peer review process. Next slide. So to recap, PRC selected for funding under RFA-DP-24-004 are eligible to apply for SIP in the NOFO. You can see the 20 institutions on this slide. And many of you obviously are here today. PRCs may collaborate with other institutions on their sips but the applicant must come from the 20 institutions listed on this slide.

Next slide, please. Now I want to highlight who, within the 20 institutions, is eligible to apply. This information is different than this current funding cycle that we’re in now so please pay attention closely. The SIP principal investigator or project director that applies may be anyone that meets the qualifications from within the selected recipient PRC institution. Again, those I just showed on the slide prior. However, the PI and the PD named as the core PI in the application of DP-24-004 must be included as a CO-PI or multiple PI on the sip if they are not proposed as leading the SIP. Additional SIP PIs are also permitted from other listed within the same institution and may be listed as SIP CO-PIs or multiple PIs. I want to repeat it’s very important to understand that the SIP core PI does not have to be the lead SIP PI so that means the SIP PI on DP-24-004 does not have to be the lead PI for the SIP. We’ll come back to that again if we get additional questions. But this is an update, so I wanted to make sure I covered that again more slowly.

Now I want to review the special eligibility criteria in addition to the regular eligibility to provide some examples from within this NOFO. Three SIPs in this NOFO include additional special eligibility requirements. These are requirements that are considered responsiveness elements that applicants must address in their applications. Special eligibility requirements specify critical information and/or documents that applicants must provide with their application to clearly and objectively demonstrate their ability to achieve the outcomes of the sips.

Examples of special eligibility requirements may include specific skills or special experience, specific experience required of the pi, documentation of access to a specific data set of source or access to a specified study population or involvement of required stake holders. Some examples are on the screen for two of the SIPs. If applicants do not meet these special eligibility requirements, they will be deemed nonresponsive and therefore, will not move forward for peer review and would not be considered for funding by the sponsoring programs. So, it’s important to review these requirements for these three SIPs. Therefore, applicants should look at the requirements in section eight of the NOFO. Excerpted or provide — are provided on the screen. That is the end of the responsiveness overview. Next, I want to draw your attention to additional review criteria that are used to evaluate the scientific merit of the applications once they move into peer review.

Additional review criteria are customized review criteria and focus on the specific SIP elements that are essential to align with the intent and focus of the SIP. These may include aspects to determine an application’s suitability, strength and fit to the specific SIP purpose, desired research methods, public health focus, investigator expertise, access to data sources or engagement with critical project partners. The external peer reviewers use the standard and customize review criteria to assess each application’s scientific merits and alignment with the intent of the SIP. On this slide are two excerpts of additional review criteria for two SIPs within this NOFO. Again, section eight includes full descriptions of additional review criteria, and the majority of sips include these types of criteria so please review them as you’re preparing your applications.

Next slide. For the last part of my presentation, I’ll review the three different types of sips included in this NOFO. The first type of sip is an individual SIP research project. This NOFO includes six of these individual SIPs that are listed on this slide. These projects provide one or more PRC awards as I noted earlier and also varied in funding and total project periods from one to five years. Next slide. Next, I want to review two type of SIP networks included in this NOFO. The first type is one that funds one PRC recipient. Three of these are included in this NOFO and are listed on this slide. These include NOPREN, PAPERN and Mental Health and Chronic Disease Prevention Network. For these sips, applicants must apply for both components A and B. Component A is conducting a research project as described in section eight and component B is serving as the coordinating center of this network. Again, for these SIPs, we’re one PR is funded, applicants must apply for both components. These vary by funding but are all five-year projects.

Next slide. The second type of sip them — thematic network are for multiple awards. With these SIPs, all the applicants are required to apply for component a which is to conduct a research project and participate as a collaborating center. Component B is optional. Those that wish to compete to serve as the coordinating center may apply for component B. All applications received will be considered for component A funding. And only one application is required for these types of SIPs or any SIP, actually.

Next slide. So, to summarize some of what I’ve just shared, PRC institutions may apply for multiple SIPs. 13 total SIPs in this NOFO so if you wish, you may apply for all 13. PRC institutions may provide one application per SIP. A separate application is required for each SIP that you decide to apply for. Budgets should not exceed the ceiling amount listed for all specific SIP. I want to highlight that letters of intent, which are optional but encouraged, given they help us with our planning are due on Monday, February 5. If you submit a letter of intent, please include the NOFO number, RFA-24-062 and the SIP number that you’re applying for. SIP applications are due on March 4, 2024. Now I’ll turn it back over to Dr. Raman to introduce the next speaker.

Submission Requirements [Ahmad Chabkoun]

Jaya Raman: Our next speaker is Ahmad from the Office of Financial Resource, Office of Grants Services and he will walk you through submission requirements.

Ahmad Chabkoun: I’m going to walk you all through the application and submission information. Next slide, please. So, for new personnel only, eRA commons, please register both and eRA commons because it can take up to eight weeks for your registration to be completed and you must be completed with your — you must complete registration before the submission deadline. Verify that your application is registered as I’m sure most of you are. The principal investigator must register for a profile in eRA commons and include the senior key person profile, expanded PI credential project role, PD/PI, degree type and degree year on the research and related document in their application. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this.

Next slide, please. Please pay attention to any page limitations. Use the NOFO evaluation criteria section as a guide to developing your work plan and project narrative. Application packages must be successfully submitted into by March 4, 2024 and you have until one minute before midnight eastern time. Start the application process early to ensure it arrives in in time to meet your due date and time. All applicants must submit required certifications and provide a copy of the organization’s indirect cost rate agreement or cost allocations plan as outlined in the NOFO. Applicants must complete all the required registrations in the NOFO to include, era commons and

Next slide, please. Applicants must utilize the SF424 application package associated with the NOFO, RFA-DP-24-062 from Refer to section III, eligibility information, 10. I’m sorry. I cannot speak today. Number of applications for completing the following fields on the SF424. Federal identifier, you must include the correct sip number as listed in the NOFO and then 4b, enter as much of the sip title as allowable. There’s a maximum of 75 characters but type until you meet the exceeding allowable characters. In field number eight, in the type of application, this one is important. Please select new and new only for each submission. And field number 11, applicants must enter the title of their sip application.

Next slide, please. OK. Important reminders. Please try to submit your applications three to four days prior to the due date. Submit from Workspace, SYSTEM-TO-SYSTEM or ASSIST. CDC recommends using assist to submit your application. Each form can be checked for errors individually prior to submitting. Upon submission you will receive an email confirmation. If you have any trouble submitting your application, locate section VII agency contacts in the application package and contact the appropriate party regarding your concerns. If you do have problems, the sooner you contact us, the better always which is why we remind to you submit your application several days prior to the due date. Yeah. And I think we’re going to let Dr. Catherine Barrett take over from here. Thank you all.

Scientific Merit Review Process [Katie Barrett]

Hi. Thank you. I’m Katie Barrett, scientific review officer. Next slide. This is a two-stage scientific merit review process and it’s modelled after the peer review and guided by CDC review policy. Special emphasis panel is comprised of scientific and external, in disciplines. This panel evaluates the scientific and technical merit of the applications. The secondary review committees, the SRC, are composed of senior agency staff at CDC for assessment of the alignment of the proposal with funding preferences and relevance of the proposed work. Next slide. The initial scientific merit reviews are done by experts. The goals are to be fair, objective, and transparent. Set numbers are tasked to evaluate the scientific merit against the intent and provisions of the NOFO, provide scientific and programmatic suggestions to the pi’s and review human subject’s protections, inclusion of minorities, and budget.

Next slide. Once applications are deemed responsive, we assign at least three reviewers to each application. They provide a critique of an impact store as well as criterion scores for the criteria listed here, significance, innovation, investigators, approach, and environment. Reviewers are asked to evaluate the criteria with a specific focus on the considerations under each criterion defined in section five of the NOFO and section eight for the specific sips. Reviewers also assign each of the criterion a score. Scoring is based on a nine-point system shown here. The scientific merit review evaluation, criteria follow standard CDC and NIH peer review and in addition to this score criteria, protections for human subjects and inclusions of women, minority, children are included and the overall impact scores. Scored and review criteria include budget and data sharing and management plans.

Next slide. Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood of the applicant to exert a sustained powerful influence on the fields involved in consideration of the review criteria and additional review criteria in the NOFO. Soon after the review we’ll provide you with a final priority score but overall impact score for the applications which is calculated by averaging the scores of the entire panel and multiplying by ten. Then we prepare the summary statement that includes a summary of the discussion, application abstract, three or more critiques with criterion scores as well as the roster. The resume and summary of discussion suction will summarize the discussion during the panel meeting itself which led to the final score and is the best reflective of the score driving considerations.

Criterion scores included in the summary statement are submitted before the review meeting and may not have been updated by reviewers to reflect changes in their opinion as a result of the discussion. The summary statement includes any concerns as well as recommendations by the panel. Each applicant receives the summary statements. After the step, CDC conducts the secondary review using a committee of senior staff and experts outside of the sponsoring program. They examine the scores and summary statements in light of the NOFO objectives and whether they have the goals and preferences, award decisions are also made based on the availability of funds, scientific and technical merit of the proposed project and funding preferences noted within each sip. I’ll now pass it back to Natalie.

Questions and Answers [Jaya Raman]:

On the screen you have the agency contacts for all application submission questions. Please contact or the eRA commons help desk which is where you’ll find the most useful help on submission issues.

For more general questions about the SIPs, we have the inbox where you can send your questions. In addition, we will also take questions through the Q&A chat box on the screen.

Please note that a lot of questions that have been asked so far are being answered live as you put them in so, please look at the answered questions section of the Q&A box as well.

Closing Remarks and Reminders [Jaya Raman and Jason Lang]:

Jaya Raman: If you have any additional questions, please direct them to the research NOFO inbox, the mailbox given in the NOFO as well as on the current slide for agency contacts.

Q&A from today will be transcribed and posted as a Q&A document in the NOFO posting so please be on the lookout for that. Thank you so much for your participation today and have a good evening.

Jason Lang: That concludes this webinar for this afternoon. Have a wonderful evening and good luck with your applications. We’ll talk to you all soon. Thank you.

Information Call:
February 1, 2024, 1:30pm – 3:30pm EST

View the slides [PDF – 954 KB]

Letter of Intent Due Date:
February 2, 2024

Application Due Date:
March 4, 2024