(OPEN) Limited Submission: Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research (SIFAR) Grant Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Summary

The Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research (SIFAR) Grant Program encourages applications from groups of NIH-funded investigators to purchase or upgrade scientific instruments necessary to carry out animal experiments in all areas of biomedical research supported by the NIH. Applicants may request clusters of commercially available instruments configured as specialized integrated systems or as series of instruments to support a thematic well-defined area of research using animals or related materials. Priority will be given to uniquely configured systems to support innovative and potentially transformative investigations.

This FOA supports requests for state-of-the art commercially available technologies needed for NIH-funded research using any vertebrate and invertebrate animal species.

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) does not support requests for single instruments. At least one item of the requested instrumentation must cost at least $50,000, after all applicable discounts. No instrument in a cluster can cost less than $20,000, after all applicable discounts. There is no maximum price requirement; however, the maximum award is $750,000.

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount
  • Applications will be accepted for commercially available instruments only. At least one item of the requested instrumentation must cost at least $50,000, after all applicable discounts. No instrument in a cluster can cost less than $20,000, after all applicable discounts. There is no upper limit on the cost of each instrument, but the maximum award is $750,000 of direct costs. Since the cost of the various instruments will vary, it is anticipated that the amount of the award will also vary. S10 awards do not allow indirect costs.
  • It is expected that applicants will employ the best economical approaches, including securing academic discounts, if applicable, to formulate a cost-effective budget while meeting the users’ scientific needs. See Section IV. 6. Funding Restrictions for additional details.
  • ORIP intends to commit an estimated total of $6M in FY 2021 to fund about 8-12 awards.
Eligibility
  • Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
  • The PD/PI chosen for this application should have documented (in the biographical sketch) technical expertise directly related to the type of the chosen instruments. The PD/PI does not need to have an NIH research grant or any other research support but is expected to be an expert on the requested instrument. The PD/PI may be a core director, tenured, or non-tenured faculty member of the applicant organization. The PD/PI must be affiliated with the applicant organization and must be registered on eRA Commons.
Major User Group

At least three Major Users who have substantial need for the instrument must be identified. Each of these Major Users must be a PD/PI on a distinct active NIH research award (i.e., a grant or a cooperative agreement) in an area of basic, translational, or clinical research. The requirement is one award per investigator, with more awards per investigator allowed. An award given to multi-PDs/PIs is counted only once towards the fulfillment of this requirement. NIH training or fellowship grants (i.e., T and F mechanisms), other non-research and SBIR/STTR grants, Other Transaction (OT) awards, and contracts cannot be counted towards the fulfillment of this requirement. Once the eligibility requirement of at least three Major Users with distinct NIH-funded research projects has been met, additional users with active research awards from NIH or other sources may be added as Major or Minor Users. Investigators with funding from sources such as other Federal agencies (e.g., NSF, DoE, DoD), private foundations, or academic institutions, can be added as Major Users, provided they are engaged in basic, translational or clinical research and can demonstrate a substantial need for the instrument. Major Users can be researchers from the same department or from several departments, divisions or schools at the applicant institution, or from nearby or regional institutions. In certain circumstances, as technology dictates, Major Users may come from distant institutions, but they must demonstrate the need for the instruments and describe plans for regular access to the instrument.

To demonstrate the clear need for the entire instrumentation request, the projects supported by NIH research grants should collectively use the entire configuration at the 35 percent Accessible User Time (AUT) – see Section Other Project Information in Section IV.2 for the definition of AUT and how to calculate the percentages. Projects supported by NIH research grants should together use each of the instruments at the 75 percent level of AUT.

The Major User group must meet the eligibility requirement at the time of submission. In addition, if/when the application is considered for funding, the SIFAR Program Staff will check that the Major User group eligibility requirement is also met at the time of award.

Selection Criteria

Justification of Need: Is the need for the instruments clearly and adequately justified? Is the equipment essential and appropriate? Is the thematic area of animal research well-defined and well-served by the requested instruments? Are all specific features, special accessories, and software configuration of the requested instruments well justified; in particular, by their need of Major Users? Does the requested set-up offer innovative experimental solutions and does it advance animal research? Is the placement of the instrument well-justified to facilitate the complementary and synergetic use of the instruments? Is Accessible User Time (AUT) well defined and explained? Is AUT reasonable? Is the choice of the instrument justified by comparison with other commercially available instruments of similar function?

Technical Expertise: Does the institution have the technical expertise to make effective use of the requested instruments? How well-qualified are the participating investigators or other assigned personnel to operate and maintain the instruments, conduct the projects, and evaluate the research results, including analysis and interpretation of data? Are the plans for new users’ training well developed? Are the proposed biosafety procedures well described and appropriate?

Research Projects: Will research with the requested instruments advance the knowledge and understanding of the proposed projects? Will animal research be strengthened and enhanced? How will the research projects of individual Users be enhanced? Do Users adequately justify the requested instruments for the needs of their specific projects? Do at least three Major Users require the entire configuration for their research projects at the level of at least 35% AUT?

Administration: Is the plan for the management and maintenance of the requested instruments appropriate? Are the plans for the use of the instruments on a shared basis well-documented? Are the plans for time allocation of the instrument to different projects well developed? Are the sharing arrangements equitable? If needed, are the policies to manage projects which have animals or biohazards adequate? Is the membership of the Advisory Committee broadly based to oversee the use of the instruments for the appropriate range of biomedical investigators, to balance interests of different users, and to resolve disputes, if they arise? Is the financial plan for the instruments for five years or the expected lifetime of the instruments reasonable and secured, balancing anticipated expenditures and anticipated income? Is the expected usable lifetime of the instruments reasonable? Are adequate plans in place to document the use and scientific benefits of the instrument by citations and acknowledgments of the S10 grant in the scientific publications?

Institutional Commitment?: Does the institution commitment letter provide support in the event of a shortfall of income? Is the institutional commitment to back-up the financial plan provided for a time period consistent with the expected effective lifetime of the requested instruments? Is the management of the awarded S10 instruments adequate (based on the data in the table of Previously Awarded S10 Instruments in the institutional Letter of Support)? Does the Institution provide adequate infrastructure support for the requested instruments including space to house the instrument and site for sample preparation, if needed?

Limitation Details

An institution may submit one proposal.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:
  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • 5 Major Users: Names, Positions, and NIH Funding
    • Collaborator names, positions, and NIH funding history (Previous, current, and future NIH grants)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A maximum of three pages describing both need and rationale for the instrument to be purchased or upgraded, including estimated total cost (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • Describe any plans to interact with the manufacturer (e.g., to gather data or customize the instrument) during the proposal development process.
  • A two-page Curriculum vitae
Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.

Questions?

Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

Julia Berzhanskaya, PhD
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Telephone: 301-594-6140
Email: julia.berzhanskaya@nih.gov


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