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Frequently Asked Questions for GEOHealth Hubs
Find below answers to frequently asked questions for applicants to Hubs of Interdisciplinary Research and Training in Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Research (U01) (RFA-TW-14-001) and Research Training (U2R) (RFA-TW-14-002).
Please check this page for updates.
Updated November 10, 2014
General | Eligibility | Budget | Research activities | Training program
What is meant by linked applications?
To be eligible for GEOHealth awards, both U01 and U2R applications must be received by the NIH. Applications received without an eligible linked application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. Only U.S. institutions are eligible for a U2R award. Only LMIC institutions are eligible for a U01 award. These two applications should be developed in close coordination and should cross reference each other carefully. Applicants should devote equal attention to both applications, and should follow the application instructions closely including specific guidance about coordination such as a common project title, the collaboration section, etc.
How will the linked applications be reviewed and awarded?
For review purposes, each application pair will be considered as a project composed of two components: the training U2R and the research U01. Each component will be evaluated according to the review criteria described in its relevant funding announcement. The reviewers will be asked to provide a final priority score appropriate to the merit of the overall project. To be considered for funding, both applications must be favorably reviewed so applicants should devote equal attention to the research training application and the research application.
How many applications can my institute submit?
Only one application per institution is allowed. Each institutional partner (normally identified by a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) may only submit one application. That institution may also receive a sub-award through the linked application. That institution may also participate as partner, via a sub-award or associate program, in one additional GEOHealth Hub through an application submitted by another institution.
Are Multiple PDs/PIs required?
Yes. Multiple PDs/PIs are required on both linked (U01 and U2R) applications. Each PD/PI on the U2R research training application (RFA-TW-14-002) must be designated as a multiple PD/PI on the linked U01 research application, and each PD/PI on the U01 research application must be designated as multiple PD/PI on the linked U2R research training application. Exceptions require NIH prior approval from Program Officer. Visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Do I need to provide current and pending support documentation for all key personnel?
The Research Support section in the bio sketch is adequate to meet the FOA instruction. There is no need to provide separate current and pending support documentation for all key personnel with the application.
The FOAs state that applicants must have and maintain a System for Award Management (SAM) registration. Is this required for applications in response to both RFAs?
Yes, the submitting institution and all PDs/PIs are required to register in order to submit an application using the online systems. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations:
- System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active entity registration (formerly CCR registration), which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. Use the Sam.gov "Manage Entity" function to manage your entity registrations. See the Grants Registration User Guide at SAM.gov for additional information.
- eRA Commons - Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
Find detailed instructions about this multiple step process.
Note that NIH requires electronic applications in response to this FOA and it is critical that applicants complete all required registrations well in advance of the application deadline as the registration process can take several weeks or longer. Applications in response to these linked FOAs (RFA-TW-14-001 and RFA-TW-14-002) must BOTH be successfully submitted by the deadline. Applications received without a linked application will be considered incomplete.
Where can I find additional guidelines for submitting an application?
Carefully follow the specific guidelines/requirements found in both the Application Guide and the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Be aware that the instructions in the FOA supersede those found in the SF424 application guide.
See the Annotated Forms for tips on how to fill in the SF424 forms.
Do all PDs/PIs need to have an eRA Commons ID?
All PDs/PIs must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. For additional information, see the eRA Commons Registration FAQs.
Do applicants have to wait for a response from the NIH to their letter of intent before submitting an application?
No. Letters of intent are solely for the purpose of planning the review. They inform the NIH of who may be planning to submit and what institutions are involved. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with NIH staff prior to submitting an application to ensure they will be responsive to these RFAs. Applications will be screened for responsiveness prior to initial peer review, and non-responsive applications will be withdrawn before peer review. NIH staff can provide feedback on responsiveness and scientific content prior to submission. Letters of intent are expected to provide the following information to NIH staff:
- Descriptive title of proposed activity
- Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PDs/PIs
- Names of other key personnel
- Names of participating LMICs
- Participating institution(s) (U.S. and LMIC)
- Number and title of this funding opportunity
- Descriptive title of linked application
- Institution submitting linked application
- Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PDs/PIs on linked application
What is the timeframe for submission of applications?
The application can be submitted any time between September 22, 2014 and October 22, 2014. Applicants and their institutions should familiarize themselves with the requirements of electronic submission through grants.gov, including registration of the applicant and the institution through NIH Commons (see above regarding registrations). It is strongly suggested that you submit your application electronically a few days BEFORE the actual deadline. Remember, you must check for error messages to your email address after submission to Grants.gov AND subsequently when the application is transferred automatically to eRA Commons (error messages go to your eRA Commons Account). You must correct any Grants.gov and eRA-identified errors BEFORE the submission deadline or your application will NOT be accepted by NIH. Verify that your application is viewable in your eRA Commons account. If you cannot view the application in eRA Commons, NIH has not yet accepted it! Do not wait until the last day. Late applications will not be accepted for review.
Check your application for common errors before you submit, or see "Avoiding Common Errors."
When will review results be sent to applicants?
Scores can be accessed from the PI's NIH eRA Commons account 1-2 days after the review. The NIH summary statement with the critiques of the initial peer reviewers will be available in the NIH eRA Commons (in the account of the PI, linked to the application number) approximately four to six weeks after the review meeting. The review will be held in March/April of 2015. The results of the review will be presented to the FIC Advisory Board in May and the earliest date for funding decisions would be in June.
How is a hub defined for the purposes of these RFAs?
A GEOHealth Hub is defined as a multidisciplinary group of researchers and their institutions based in a LMIC, who, with their collaborators, focus on a core set of common research and training topics that address environmental and/or occupational health priorities in that country and/or the region. For the purposes of the GEOHealth Program linked FOAs (RFA-TW-14-001 and RFA-TW-14-002), a pair of institutions (one LMIC institution and one U.S. institution) should form a consortium to support the GEOHealth Hub with other collaborating institutions in the U.S. and LMIC linked as "spokes." The GEOHealth Hub should serve as a focal point for all proposed research, research capacity-building, training, and collaborative activities, in which "spoke" institutions may participate. The U.S. applicant responding to RFA-TW-14-002 should propose research training activities and the LMIC applicant responding to RFA-TW-14-001 should propose research activities based on a set of common environmental or occupational health topics. Both applications must demonstrate a commitment to extensive coordination between these two awards to meet goals of the GEOHealth program. It is expected that the funded GEOHealth Hubs will attract funding for additional activities in the future, including the possibility of additional NIH support in subsequent years of the award.
How is a scientific area defined for the purposes of these RFAs?
Scientific areas of proposed research and research training may include, but are not limited to: agricultural health, workplace safety, occupational health, informal work, outdoor and indoor air quality, electronic waste, extractive industries, food safety, water quality, toxic waste, and climate change health science, including disaster response, among others. Projects that focus on tobacco use and cessation are beyond the scope of this program; projects that address secondhand smoke exposure will be considered. The scientific approach of the proposed research and research training may include the following relevant disciplines and methodologies: epidemiology, surveillance, biostatistics, genetics, clinical research, environmental science, industrial hygiene, workplace risk assessment, systems science, toxicology, behavioral science, social science, environmental exposure assessment, biomarkers, hazardous waste assessment, implementation science, and other research areas that will inform environmental and occupational health disease prevention and control programs, including cost-benefit analyses. Health problems that may be addressed by the proposed research and research training include cancers, developmental disorders, neurological disorders, mental disorders, heart disease, respiratory disease, trauma and injury, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and infectious diseases, among others. Studies addressing the interactions between exposure factors are strongly encouraged.
How do I find out more about NIH Cooperative Agreements as related to these linked FOAs?
The Cooperative Agreement (U Series) mechanism is a support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. The Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award in the FOAs describe the respective roles and responsibilities of PDs/PIs and U.S. Government staff, as well as areas of joint responsibility. U.S. Government Project Collaborators will be appointed at the time of award and will have substantial programmatic involvement by providing advisory input as described in the FOAs. The role of the U.S. Government Project Collaborators will be to facilitate and not to direct activities.
How will the network of funded GEOHealth Hubs be organized and managed?
The following components will advise and manage the network of funded GEOHealth Hubs. These are described in further detail in the FOAs:
What is the page limit for the U2R part of the GEOHealth program?
- Network Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG) - The NSAG will be appointed by the NIH and its U.S. Government funding partners (FIC, NCI, NIEHS, NIOSH). The role of the NSAG will be to review the progress and provide scientific advice for the intersecting and joint activities of all grants that receive funding under the linked FOAs.
- Steering Committee - A Steering Committee, composed of the PDs/PIs of all GEOHealth awards and the U.S. Government Project Collaborators, will be the main governing board of the network of GEOHealth Hubs.
- Administrative Oversight Committee - An Administrative Oversight Committee (AOC), composed of the PDs/PIs of one pair of linked GEOHealth U01 and U2R awards is responsible for the overall management, communication, coordination, oversight, evaluation and supervision of this pair of linked research training (U2R) and research (U01) awards that comprise a single GEOHealth Hub.
The page limit for the U2R part of the application should follow the limits specified in the Table of Page Limits in the FOA for a D43. That is, for the U2R part of the application, the Background, Program Plan, and Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity (Attachments 2-4 of Research Training Program Plan form) should not exceed 25 pages combined.
Is a prior planning grant required to be eligible to apply?
A prior GEOHealth planning grant is not required to be eligible to apply to these linked FOAs. However, please note that applications involving institutions in countries that are no longer eligible for FIC grants per Notice of Change in Country Eligibility for Fogarty International Training Grants (NOT-TW-12-011) are grandfathered as eligible if they are in follow-up to a successful planning grant application. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, contact the FIC Program Officer.
How do I find out what countries are classified as LMIC?
For a current listing of LMIC countries, please review World Bank Country Classifications information. The LMIC definition used in the GEOHealth RFA includes "low income economies," "lower-middle income economies," and "upper-middle income economies." Please be aware of Notice of Change in Country Eligibility for Fogarty International Training Grants (NOT-TW-12-011) to determine which LMICs are eligible. Please note that applications involving institutions in countries that are no longer eligible for FIC grants per NOT-TW-12-011 are grandfathered as eligible if they are in follow-up to a successful planning grant application.
Can I include high-income country (HIC) institutions as partners on an application?
Non-U.S. HIC institutions cannot be applicants. The focus of the linked GEOHealth applications must be on research in an LMIC and training of individuals from an LMIC. Any proposed budgets that include institutions or individuals in high-income countries should be minimal and thoroughly justified. Such costs will be closely reviewed and potentially disallowed.
Are LMIC institutions eligible to apply to Hubs of Interdisciplinary Research and Training in Global Environmental and Occupational Health GEOHealth – Research Training U2R?
No. Only U.S. institutions are eligible to apply for the U2R. LMIC institutions may be proposed as sub-awards on a U2R application, but may not be the applicant institution.
Are U.S. institutions eligible to apply to Hubs of Interdisciplinary Research and Training in Global Environmental and Occupational Health GEOHealth – Research U01?
No. Only LMIC institutions are eligible to apply to the U01. For further details on LMIC eligibility, see above. U.S. institutions may be proposed as sub-awards on a U01 application, but may not be the applicant institution.
Are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in LMICs eligible to apply to the U01 FOA?
The GEOHealth program is designed to fund LMIC academic and research institutions. These institutions must have LMIC scientific leadership as well as stable administrative and research infrastructure so that research capacity investments would be sustained for the foreseeable future. An NGO that can demonstrate that it meets these criteria would be eligible to be considered an LMIC institution for these FOAs. U.S.-based NGOs operating in LMICs and most multinational NGOs are not considered LMIC institutions and would not be eligible to apply for the U01. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, contact the program officer.
Are LMIC government entities eligible to apply to the U01 FOA?
The GEOHealth program is designed to fund LMIC academic and research institutions. These institutions would be expected to have LMIC scientific leadership as well as research infrastructure so that research capacity investments would be sustained for the foreseeable future. A government entity that can demonstrate that it meets these criteria would be eligible to be considered an LMIC institution for these FOAs. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, contact the FIC Program Officer.
How much total support is available to a Hub through the linked grants?
The combined budget for the two linked applications is limited to a maximum of $600,000 per year in total costs. This amount is to be divided between the budgets of the two applicant institutions as determined by the applicants, with at least half going to the LMIC institution. It is expected that the funded GEOHealth Hubs will attract funding for additional activities in the future, including the possibility of additional NIH support in subsequent years of the award.
The Budget sections in both FOAs state that the budget justification should summarize the total direct and indirect costs for both linked applications. What does this mean?
Each of the linked applications must have its own unique detailed budget pages and associated budget justification. In addition, the budget justification in each of the linked applications should include a short summary section (identical in both applications) that provides the total direct and indirect costs for both linked applications.
What indirect cost rates should be used in preparing the budget?
For U.S. institutions, indirect costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.
For foreign institutions, the NIH provides limited F&A costs (8% of total direct costs less equipment) to help support the costs of compliance with NIH requirements. Since the F&A costs are intended for compliance costs only, other items normally considered an F&A cost can be requested as a direct cost, e.g. rent.
How does the requirement to use Multiple PDs/PIs on the linked applications affect requested salary support?
As stated in the FOAs, U.S. salaries on the U01 grant are expected to be minimal, and should be covered on the associated U2R applications.
What scientific areas may be supported by the grant?
The scientific areas that may be supported by the GEOHealth program are listed in the FOAs. Scientific areas should be justified by a documented needs assessment process, should be clearly coordinated with the proposed research training activities in the linked U2R application, and should reflect the priority environmental and occupational health issues in the LMIC(s).
The RFA refers to research that supports policy development. How do I demonstrate that?
At a minimum, the application should include one or more letters from government and other policy makers in the country that outline the value of the project's activities to government needs for scientific support. The application should also articulate how the research results and their presentation to policy makers will address those needs with sufficient clarity and understanding to create confidence in reviewers that the activities will make a difference in local policies and practices.
Once a project receives funding, may a research topic be added mid-project period?
Although the focus of the U01 FOA is on a single research project, it is expected that the funded GEOHealth Hubs will attract funding for additional activities in the future, including the possibility of additional NIH support in subsequent years of the award. Applicants may propose up to two additional pilot research projects in their U01 application. These pilot research projects should be clearly related to the main research project through shared methodologies, analytical approaches, etc.
How broad or narrow should the training program's focus be?
The focus should be broad enough to cover multiple trainee research projects and multiple investigators but narrow enough to be scientifically coherent and compelling and clearly linked to the U01 application and to the priority environmental and occupational health burden of relevance to the host country.
Once a project receives funding, may a research training topic be added mid-project period?
Although the focus of the U2R FOA is on research training associated with the research project proposed in the U01 application, it is expected that the funded GEOHealth Hubs will attract funding for additional activities in the future, including the possibility of additional NIH support in subsequent years of the award. Training in topics that support the research project and pilot research projects proposed in the linked U01 application is appropriate.
What types of training are allowed?
The types of training to be supported by the GEOHealth program can include short-, medium-, and long-term training. The mode and duration of training(s) should be clearly justified based on the priority research and public health needs of the participating LMIC(s) and the academic goals of the host institution(s).
Who can be trained through the training program?
Only individuals from LMICs (defined by the World Bank classification system and excluding individuals from upper-middle-income countries that are also members of the G20 major economies, with the exception of individuals from Sub-Saharan Africa) and individuals involved in applications submitted in follow up to a successful planning grant application that had been received prior to January 1, 2013. See Notice of Change in Country Eligibility for Fogarty International Training Grants (NOT-TW-12-011). Research training may be offered to a wide range of scientists, including laboratory scientists, clinicians, social scientists, and other health professionals, as well as technical and administrative staff.
Can I propose training activities that are not referenced in the linked U01 application from my LMIC partner?
You need not cross reference each specific training activity with the linked U01 but you should make it clear how these support research goals of the U01 and the institutional capacity objectives of the host institution, as well as the long term goals of your program.
Do we have to submit all training tables?
No. Only tables 2, 5 and 6 are required.