Last updated: August 16, 2017
Centers of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research (CEER)
Frequestly Asked Questions about RFA-HG-17-006
7. The current RFA does not require a formal training plan focused on postdoctoral students, but instead requires a description of education and career activities within the Research Management, Education and Career Advancement plan. What is the purpose and target audience for this plan?
1. Is the RFA open only to those institutions that have already been awarded an RM1 CEER Research grant or a P20 Exploratory/Developmental CEER grant?
No. It is open to all qualified applicants.
2. Can I submit an application for an Exploratory/Developmental Research grant under this RFA?
No. This RFA is soliciting only applications for full Centers.
3. Can an institution that had previously received funding for a P50 Specialized Center through the CEER Program submit an application under this RFA? *
No. Institutions that have previously received funding for a P50 CEER application and it's renewal for a total funding period of 9 to 10 years are not eligible to apply. However, individual investigators at such institutions may be listed as consultants/collaborators on applications from a different institution if that institution has not previously received a P50 award through the CEER program. Institutions that have received funding for a single five year CEER P50 application, are eligible to apply under the current RFA.
* The Language in this FAQ was changed 8/16/2017 to further clarify eligibility under the current RFA.
4. Are multi-site applications allowed under this RFA?
Yes. However, it is important that multi-site applications have a clearly articulated and effective management plan that will ensure that the activities across the different sites are well integrated into a single, sustainable, cohesive center.
5. Are multi-PI/PD applications allowed under this RFA?
Yes. However, if multiple PDs/PIs are listed, their combined effort should total at least 4 person months, with at least one PD/PI committing not less than 2 person months.
6. Previous CEER RFAs have used the P50 grant mechanism. Funding under this RFA will be through the RM1 mechanism. What is an RM1 and how does it differ from the mechanism that was used in the past?
The RM1 or "Research Project with Complex Structure" mechanism is used to support complex, large-scale research projects. Unlike the P50 mechanism, the RM1 mechanism does not require multiple discrete components of the application with separate budgets for each component. This allows for greater flexibility in the construction of the grant and facilitates a more integrated application.
7. The current RFA requires a description of an "ELSI Research Career Experiences plan." What is the purpose and target audience for this plan?
The RM1 mechanism does not permit the inclusion of a formal training component. However, this allows for the design of a broader and more inclusive plan, encompassing the full range of ELSI research and policy activities, to support the development of the next generation of ELSI researchers. Activities included in this plan can be designed for individuals across the full career pipeline, from undergraduates to junior faculty, as appropriate for the overall focus of the Center. A wide spectrum of activities can be included, depending on the focus of the CEER and available institutional resources. However, educational activities targeted at individuals at the K-12 level or at the general public are not permitted. Applicants are also stongly encouraged to take advantage of existing institutional training and education programs and describe how the proposed Center would complement and integrate with such programs.
8. Can an application for a CEER under this RFA still include activities for individuals at the postdoctoral level?
Yes. An application submitted under this RFA may include postdoctoral students in its research experiences plan.
9. The current RFA does not require a formal plan for recruiting and retaining minority trainees. Is this still a requirement?
No. Since the RM1 mechanism does not allow a formal training component, a formal minority training plan is not required. However, it is expected that applicants will describe the steps they will take to ensure diversity among those involved in their ELSI research career experiences including, but not limited to, working with existing institutional education programs focused on underrepresented minority students. In addition, funded Centers will be eligible to apply for a "Diversity Action Plan" grant to facilitate a more formalized approach to these activities. [See PAR-16-345: Initiative to Maximize Research Education in Gemomics: Diversity Action Plan (R25)]
10. What is intended by the requirement that an application have an "organizing theme"?
An organizing theme is a highly significant and well defined topic area that will serve to enhance the focus and cohesion of the Center and decrease the risk that the activities of the Center will become diffuse. It is critical that the topic area not be overly broad and that the planned research be articulated in sufficient detail to allow assessment of its scientific merit in the peer review process.
11. Is each Center required to have a single defined research project?
No. An application may describe either a single research project or a number of tightly interwoven research projects focused on the Center's organizing theme. The research should be described in sufficient detail to allow assessment of its scientific merit in the peer review process.
12. Where should the Specific Aims for the overall Center be included in the application?
A one page description of the overall Specific Aims for the Center should be included under the Specific Aims section at the beginning of the PHS 398 Research Plan and before the Research Strategy section. This section is separate from the Research Activities section discussed below and will not count against the 30 page limit for the Research Activities section.
13. What should be included in the six-page Research Management plan section?
- A description of the management structure, leadership roles, and detailed plans for communication among team members.
- A description of how all the activities of the Center will be integrated to effectively address the topic area identified as the Center's organizing theme.
- A description of the disciplinary expertise of any planned project advisors, along with a clear description of the role that will be played by these advisors in guiding the Center's activities. (Note: to facilitate the review of applications and to avoid unnecessarily creating conflicts of interest, the actual individuals who will serve as advisors should NOT be listed in the application and should NOT be contacted until the review of the application is completed. However, this does not apply to renewal applications with existing advisory bodies).
- A description of the strategies and approaches to reach across institutional departmental boundaries to recruit and retain multi-disciplinary investigators to participate in the Center's activities. Particular attention should be paid to the recruitment and retention of investigators from fields that have traditionally been under-represented in ELSI research and investigators that are primarily involved in genetic and genomic research.
- A description of institutional support for Center activities and how this will contribute to long-term sustainability of the Center.
- A timeline that shows how the Center's aims will be accomplished within the timeframe of the award.
14. What should be included in the 30 page Research Activities section?
- A description of the interrelated multi-disciplinary research project(s) that will address the Center's organizing theme or topic. Specific aims for these projects should be included within the 30 page limit. Applicants should succinctly describe and justify their methodological approaches for each research activity, and provide enough detail so that reviewers can assess the value, feasibility, and rigor of the proposed research.
- A description of the expertise of the Center's researchers to carry out the proposed research as a synergistic team (this should not duplicate information provided on individual biosketches.)
- A description of the involvement, as appropriate, of relevant stakeholders or community groups in the design and implementation of the research and the dissemination of research findings.
- A description of the activities that will facilitate the use of the Center's research findings to inform the development of health, research and public policies and practices.
- A description of the processes that will be used to identify, review, prioritize and support additional research on new issues emerging out of the Center's activities and/or related to the organizing theme of the Center.
- A discussion of how the Research Career Experiences and related activities will be integrated into the research activities described in this section, and how the management structure will support these research activities.
A. Should specific aims for the individual research project(s) be included in the 30 page Research Activities section?
Yes. However, the overall aims for the Center should NOT be included within the Research Activities section. A separate section for the overall Center aims is provided before the Research Strategy section at the beginning of the PHS 398 Research Plan. (see question #12 above)
15. What should be included in the six page ELSI Research Career Experiences section?
- A description of an effective program to provide experiences in ELSI scholarship that will use the transdisciplinary nature of the Center and its investigators to develop the next generation of ELSI researchers, including existing resources as well as those to be developed by the Center. Experiences may encompass the full range of multidisciplinary CEER activities, such as normative, legal, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, preparing publications, presenting findings to a variety of audiences, using research data to help inform the development of policies and practices, and developing successful multidisciplinary ELSI research grant applications.
- A description of the qualifications of the senior researchers who will be overseeing these experiences, including prior mentoring experience.
- A description of the focus and target audience of the research career experiences. Experiences may focus on participants across the career pipeline from undergraduate students to junior faculty, or on individuals at specific career levels, as appropriate.
- A description of the process that will be used to identify and select candidates for these experiences.
In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to describe how they will leverage existing programs at their institution and at the NIH (e.g. the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity and the NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity programs) to ensure that they can effectively engage diverse scholars. A brief description of any plans to apply for and incorporate a possible R25 Diversity Action Plan into their Center activities should be included.
16. Can some aspects of the Research Management plan and Research Experiences plan be discussed in the 30-page Research Activities section?
Yes. It is entirely appropriate to discuss how the research management and research career activities will be integrated into the research activities as part of the 30-page research activities plan.