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Shared Instrumentation Awards: Frequently Asked Questions

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Shared Instrumentation Awards: Frequently Asked Questions

PAR14-073: Institutional Letter of Support Describing Performance for Previously Awarded S10s.

Q: Is this list to be for the entire institution or can the list encompass just the department or division requesting a new instrument?

A: S10 grants awarded to the submitting institution (with the same DUNS number) must be included in the table listing the previous awards.

Q: How far back should the S10 awards table go?

A: As indicated in the FOA, any S10 instruments awarded or installed within the last five years must be included in the table.

Q: There is a reference to providing supplementary text related to this table. When is this text required?

A: Supplementary text is only required if the awarded instrument is currently non-functional. Occasionally, other explanatory text may be added if the applicant deems it appropriate (i.e., if there is no maintenance contract since expert self-maintenance is available or if the number of citations is unusually low for the instrument, etc.). Please keep any explanatory text to a minimal length of a sentence or two.

Q: Can you provide a sample of the structure of the required table?

A: Sample of Support Table of Instrument Performance of S10 Awarded Instruments for the Previous Five Years:

 

Grant Number

Year  of Award

PI/PD

 

Instrument

 

Status

Annual Hours Use

Maintenance Agreement

Number of S10 publication citations

S10 OD023456-01

2011

Jones

Mass Spec-

trometer

In use

2400

Active

32

S10 OD023788-01

2010

Lee

 

NMR

In use

4100

Active

65

S10 OD023654-01

2012

Smith

Confocal Microscope

In use

3450

Active

96

S10 OD023653-01

2010

Clark

Robotic Assay System

Traded-in*

NA

NA

74

* This instrument was traded-in for an updated robotic assay system purchased with institutional funds. Pre-approval for the trade-in was obtained from the NIH as per email letter of January 29, 2013.

PAR14-073: Institutional Letter of Support to Back-up the Financial Plan

Q: Does this mean there are new financial requirements such as commitment of matching funds?

A: Matching instrument purchase funds are not required by the FOA. However, the institution may decide to provide additional funds towards purchase of the instrument as part of its institutional support.  The institutional commitment letter of support, to back-up the financial plan for the operation of the awarded instrument for its expected lifetime, is described in the FOA and may include, but is not limited to, preparation of the instrument site, instrument operation, maintenance, and supplies.

Q: How is “the effective lifetime” of an instrument determined?

A: It is expected that “the effective lifetime” of an instrument will depend on the type of instrument. The FOA asks an institution for a commitment to back up the financial plan for support of the instrument for five years or “the effective lifetime”. A Study Section will evaluate whether the commitment period is appropriate.

Preparing the application

Q: Is there a list of eligible equipment for S10 applications?

A: Because of the evolving nature of the S10 program, there is no fixed list of eligible equipment.  Contact the program staff with questions on instrumentation eligibility. If you are planning to request an integrated instrument composed of multiple commercially available instruments, you are strongly advised to contact the program staff before submitting your application.

Q: Does the PI of an S10 application/grant need to have a funded NIH grant?

A: The PI of an S10 application/grant does not need to have funded NIH grants. He/she should demonstrate in the application that he/she has the relevant instrument expertise and is capable of performing the necessary scientific and administrative oversight responsibilities for the requested instrument.

Q: Can a PI of a center grant be listed as a Major User?

A: The PI of a center grant can be listed as a Major User; however, only a PI of a P01 center grant qualifies as a Major User for the purposes of meeting the eligibility criteria.

Q: My application is going to be late for the receipt date. What can I do?

A: The Funding Opportunity Announcements for the S10 program require a specific application receipt date. The application cannot be submitted late - see NOT-OD-11-035.

Instruments and their Administration

Q: Can our institution lease the equipment before our S10 application is funded? How does this work?

A: Your institution can lease, without obligation to buy, an instrument before the award is received.  However, if the leasing agreement was executed more than one year prior to submission of the SIG application, the applicant should provide additional information demonstrating that the instrument remains state-of-the-art and the need for requested Federal funds remains. If the application is funded, the award will be adjusted based on the remaining balance required to purchase the instrument based on the buyout table in the lease. This balance cannot exceed the fair market value of the instrument. Please note that: “Execution of a purchase order or agreement, making a down payment or other formal commitment to purchase the equipment prior to award will eliminate an application from eligibility for an award”.

Q. Can a for–profit organization apply for an SIG award?

A: No, for-profit institutions are not eligible to apply. Note that Federal and foreign institutions are not eligible to apply, either.

Q. Can the instrument be used by a biomedical researcher employed by a for-profit organization?

A: Yes. Note that for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for research awards such as R01 or R21; hence, for example, a PI who is employed by a for-profit organization and is a recipient of an R01 can be a Major User of an S10 instrument.  Also, a biomedical researcher employed by a for-profit organization who does not have NIH funding, can have access to an instrument funded by an S10 award.  However, the priority is given to NIH-funded researchers. According to the FOA, the eligibility requirements to apply for a SIG award are: “To demonstrate the clear need for the requested instrumentation, the projects supported by NIH research grants should together require at least 75 percent of the instrument time. The Major User group should require at least 35 percent of the total usage time.”

In addition, the FOA states: “Access to the instrument may be made available to other users upon the advice of the Advisory Committee. These other users need not be NIH awardees, but priority should be given to NIH-supported scientists engaged in biomedical/behavioral research.“

Q: Can the instrument be placed in a core facility?

A: Yes, according to the FOA: “To promote cost effectiveness, to encourage optimal sharing among individual investigators, research groups and departments, and to foster a collaborative multidisciplinary environment, the instrument should be integrated in a centralized core facility, whenever possible.”  Please note that the usage of an S10-funded instrument should be administered according to the rules described in this FOA.  In particular, ”the Advisory Committee is responsible for the development of guidelines for: […] A financial plan for the long term operation and maintenance of the instrument during the post award period”.

Q: In order to reduce user costs for the shared equipment, can an awardee allow any billable clinical use of the instrument?

A: No. The instrument is awarded exclusively for use in biomedical research and cannot be used for billable clinical services.

Before review

Q: Who will review my application?

A: The Center of Scientific Review (CSR) will convene a Special Emphasis Panel. You can access information about this panel on your eRA Commons account; including the name and contact information of the Scientific Review Officer (SRO), the date of the meeting, and (30 days before the meeting) the roster .

Q: Can I submit supplemental materials before the application is reviewed?  To whom should we send the documents?

A: Late submission of grant application material is severely restricted. You should submit your application electronically several days prior to the required application receipt date so that you can make corrections if any sections were not received. It is not possible to make corrections after the receipt deadline date. No missing pages or sections will be accepted as late submission materials. Please see NOT-OD-10-115 for additional information.  The PI should contact the assigned Scientific Review Officer (SRO) to determine if and how any supplemental materials may be submitted. 

Post-review

Q: Is there a percentile for S10 applications?

A: There is no percentile rank for S10 applications.

Q: I saw my score on eRA Commons yesterday.  When can I call or make an appointment to discuss with the Program Officer?

A: The Summary Statement, which provides detailed critiques of your application, will be available on the  eRA Commons portal 2-4 weeks after the Review meeting.  You are strongly advised to read your Summary Statement before contacting the Program Officer. The Program Officer will not be able to provide information to you prior to release of your Summary Statement.

Q: I want to appeal the review for my application.  What should I do and how late can I submit the appeal document to be included in the Council meeting?

A: PIs who are considering submission of an appeal of review of their applications are strongly advised to discuss the issue with the Program Officer.  Please examine the NIH policy statement on the Appeal Process - see NOT-OD-11-064.  Appeal-related documents should be countersigned by the Institutional official and submitted to the Program Officer at least 3 weeks before the Council meeting.

Q: I received a Just-in-Time request and see a JIT link on my eRA Commons.  Does this mean my application is under funding consideration?

A:  Just in Time notifications are automatically generated by eRA Commons and do not apply to the S10 program.  You do not need to submit any information in response to the automated JIT email message.  Applicants under consideration for funding will be contacted by Program Officers for updated information by email.  This updated information includes a new quote, any modifications of the instrument requested, changes to the user group, and responses to the weaknesses cited in the summary statement.

Q: My -A1 application was not funded.  What can I do next?

A: You are encouraged to discuss next steps with your Program Officer.  You may consider submitting a new application, after addressing the reviewers’ comments, and with substantial changes in more than more than one critical aspect of the application.  These changes may include a change in the composition of major or minor users due to a change in instrumentation needs or in NIH grant support, inclusion of new preliminary data from several users, specific documented changes in institutional commitment, or changes in the administrative/management structure.  As stated in PAR-14--073 "a new application is expected to be substantially different in content and scope with more significant differences than are normally encountered in a resubmitted application”.

Post-award

Q: What documents must I prepare and who should I contact to initiate a Change of PI request?

A: A letter signed by the current PI and authorized institutional business official, including reasons for the change and the proposed effective date of change, plus the biosketch of the new PI, are needed to initiate the process.  These documents should be sent to the Grants Management Specialist (GMS) listed on your Notice of Award (NoA) and cc’d to the Program Officer.

Q: The PI of the S10 grant is moving to another institution.  Can the S10 grant/equipment move with the PI?

A: The PI must contact their Program Officer and the Office of Grants Management to discuss the possibility of relocation of the instrument. The Internal Advisory Committee, as well as both institutions involved, must approve such relocation. Considerations must include the needs of the user group noted in the application and those of the proposed new user group at the accepting institution.

Q. What types of changes require pre-approval from the NIH?

A: Pre-approval from both the Program Officer and the Office of Grants Management is required for the following changes: relocation of the instrument both inside (i.e. assigned to a different core facility or different school within the institution); relocation of the instrument to another institution; change of PI/PD; trade-in, sale or other disposition of the awarded instrument; shut-down of instrument that was installed less than five years ago. Any of these changes also require approval of the internal Advisory Committee for the instrument.

Contact Information

Abraham Levy, Ph.D.
Division of Construction and Instruments (DCI)
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
The Office of the Director, NIH (OD)
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Room 970
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4874

Phone: 301-435-0777
Email: LevyAbra@mail.nih.gov

Steven Birken, Ph.D.
Division of Construction and Instruments (DCI)
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Division of Program Coordination , Planning and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)
The Office of the Director, NIH (OD)
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Room 964
Bethesda, MD 20892-4874

Phone: 301-435-0815
Email: birkens@mail.nih.gov

 

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