Regional Centers of Research Excellence in Non-communicable Diseases in LMICs FAQs

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Planning for Regional Centers of Research Excellence in Non-communicable Diseases in Low and Middle Income Countries (P20)

 

Research Program Requirements
Each application must contain at least two research programs, three shared resources to support the research programs, and appropriate research enhancement activities for the staff of the RCRE center.

 

1. What is the basic requirement for NCD research programs for this grant?

  •     At least one cancer-focused NCD research program, and
  •     At least one non-cancer-focused NCD research program

2. How many NCD research programs does your application need to contain?

  •     Two or more

3.Does one of the NCD research programs have to be cancer focused?

  • Yes

4. Can all NCD research programs be cancer focused?

  • No, at least one research program must focus on another NCD

5. Are there concerns for a RCRE that focuses on more than two programs?

  • We recommend that you propose the number of research programs that your research team can reasonably and feasibly support.

6. What is an appropriate scale for the region/country?

  • The size of the catchment area (region/country) is flexible by intention to allow investigators to define it in a way that is best suited to their specific research questions.

7. What are some examples of other NCDs?

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sickle cell disease and other hematological diseases
  • Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

8. Is bench science a requirement for these applications?

  • No

9. Is direct cancer treatment a requirement for these applications?

  • No

10. Can the plans include lifestyle modification instead of treatment?

  • Yes 

11. What is a research enhancement activity?

  • P20 planning grants do not directly support planning for training activities. Research enhancement activities provide the skills and education needed to conduct the research and support the shared core facilities.

12. Is there an expectation that a training core would be part of the Center’s infrastructure?

  • Instead of including a training core, consider proposing shared core facilities that support the science in technical ways, such as informatics cores or biospecimens.

13. What is the Coordinating Unit?

  • The Coordinating Unit focuses on the administrative functions needed in a Center. Required elements are listed under the Coordinating Unit's Research Strategy Section. They include: Coordinating Unit, Needs Assessment and Community Engagement, and Evaluation.

14. What is the Planning Unit?

  • The Planning Unit focuses on the science that will drive your Center of Research Excellence. Required elements are listed under the Planning Unit's Research Strategy Section. They include: Planning for Research Activities, Planning for Research Enhancement Activities, and Planning for Research Shared Core Facilities.

Eligibility*
Please refer to the World Bank categorization to determine your country’s income group.

*Eligibility example: Peru is defined as a UMIC, so researchers at institutions in Peru could partner with investigators at institutions in an HIC or in other LMICs. Alternatively, a RCRE could be planned among two or more institutions within Peru.

 

1. What is the basic requirement for participating countries for this RFA?

  • At least one institution from a LMIC, and
  • At least one institution from a HIC or a UMIC

2. Does an institution in the United States have to be included in the RFA?

  • No, an institution in the United States does not have to be involved. LMIC institutions must partner with an institution in a UMIC or HIC.

3. Can an institution from a HIC partner with an institution from a UMIC? 

  • Yes, for the purposes of this RFA, LMIC includes upper-middle-income countries; therefore, a partnership between institutions in a UMIC and a HIC is welcome.

4. Can an institution from a UMIC partner with an institution from a UMIC?

  • Yes, for the purposes of this RFA, LMIC includes upper-middle-income countries; therefore, a partnership among institutions in UMICs is welcome.

5. Could a RCRE planning grant include institutions from more than one HIC/UMIC?

  • Yes, collaborations across HIC/UMIC are welcome. RCRE planning grants must include investigators from at least one HIC or UMIC institution and investigators from at least one LMIC institution.

6. Could a RCRE planning grant include institutions from more than one LMIC?

  • Yes, collaborations across LMIC are welcome. RCRE planning grants must include investigators from at least one HIC or UMIC institution and investigators from at least one LMIC institution.

7. Could a RCRE planning grant include multiple institutions from within one LMIC?

  • Yes, collaborations within LMIC are welcome. RCRE planning grants must also include investigators from at least one HIC or UMIC institution.

8. Could a RCRE planning grant include multiple institutions from within one HIC?

  • Yes, collaborations within HIC are welcome. RCRE planning grants must also include investigators from at least one LMIC institution.

9. If our application includes one HIC and two LMICs, are we allowed to have three PIs, one from each country (a PI from HIC, a PI from LMIC #1, and a PI from LMIC #2)?

  • Yes, an application with three PIs is welcome. Please clearly describe the roles and responsibilities of each in the overview portion of the application.

10. What resources exist to help me locate potential research partners in LMICs?

 

Technical
1. If we submit this round, can we resubmit in the summer if not funded?

  • Yes, if you submit in December and your application is not accepted for funding you can resubmit in August.

2. Are we supposed to create a separate, overarching aims page for the whole grant or just do the aims for each of the three sections?

  • Applications contain one project summary/abstract which is located as part of the Overall Component. For each component (Overall, Coordinating Unit, and Planning Unit), please include a set of specific aims.

3. What elements should be included in the coordinating unit?

  • Applicants should clearly include their plans for the organization and general operation of the RCRE. Additionally, applications should include a plan for thoughtfully designing the needs assessment and community engagement activities. Lastly, applicants must include a description of metrics for monitoring and evaluating the quality, value, and scientific impact of the planned RCRE on LMICs in the region.

4. The materials suggest “Contact PIs in LMICs are encouraged.” How would that work?

  • This RFA uses the NIH multiple PI mechanism. It requires 1 PI from a HIC/ UMIC and 1 PI from an LMIC. The PI at an institution in an LMIC could submit the application and the PI at the institution in the HIC/UMIC could serve as the subcontractor.

5. Can we use distance education/communication technology to support activities?

  • Yes, we think distance education/communication technology would work well for research enhancement activities and coordination.

6. To what level should the two NCD/cancer research projects be described?

  • The plans for the two NCD research programs should be both scientifically compelling and flexible enough to incorporate the research needs of the community.

7. What is the difference between (a) the Regional Infrastructure Center, and (b) the Regional Center of Research Excellence?

  • These terms refer to the same thing.

8. Can I include an abstract or brief description of goals in the Letter of Intent?

  • Yes, an abstract describing your research is welcome.

9. Can one organization/ institution participate in more than one application for this RFA?

  • Yes, one organization/ institution can participate in as many applications as they can demonstrate that their pool of faculty, potential trainees, and resources are robust enough to support

10. In which of the 3 components should we describe the small research project to be completed during the 2 years?

  • Please include the small research project in the component it fits the best. For example, if it is designed to show one of your research programs functioning, please include it in the planning unit. Alternatively, if it is designed around your needs assessment, please include it the coordinating unit section.

11. Does a “Regional Center of Research Excellence” refer to a research center in a particular country or in a larger geographical area?

  • The size of the catchment area is flexible by intention. This is to allow investigators to define the catchment area in a way that is best suited to their specific research questions.

12. Are the “Units” (Coordinating Unit, Planning Unit) conceptualized as physically located in one location, or can they be an administrative unit functioning in multiple sites?

  • The Coordinating Unit and Planning Unit can have both physical and virtual elements. They can be co-located in one location or can they be in multiple sites.

13. How do the “Units” (Coordinating Unit, Planning Unit) operate across LMIC and HIC?

  • Strong applications will have the CU and the PU located in the LMIC. These Units will have heavy mentoring and collaboration from investigators at the HIC partner institution.

14. “The application should describe … designation of center program status in the institutional bylaws.” What does this mean?

  • This is a planning grant; just as you plan for space, plan for the conversations that will codify Center at the LMIC institution.

15. Up to 5% of the total LMIC budget may be used to support a potential, final visit at the planned RCRE. What is the purpose of this visit? Could LMIC budgets be used to cover expenses of HIC consultants visiting the LMIC?

  • The goal of the final site visit is to provide clarification and evidence of the RCRE plan. It cannot be used to cover expenses of HIC consultants to visit the LMIC.

16. If we submit a Letter of Intent on November 10, 2015 for the December 10, 2015 deadline, can we reschedule to submit the application on the second due date of August 23, 2016? If so, do we need to put a second Letter of Intent by July 23, 2016?

  • Yes, if you think your application will be stronger in August, the Letter of Intent you submit in November is not binding. If you chose to submit an application in August, please submit a second LOI in July.

Other
1. Is an NCI employee not involved with the grant review allowed to be an advisor for the project?

  • Yes, NCI employees may serve as unpaid consultant/advisors for these RCRE center P20 planning grants.

2. Is NCI more interested in applications that show partnership with one LMIC or with several LMIC in a region?

  • This depends on your individual research questions. If you have a series of partners across the region, perhaps it makes the most sense to propose a regional center. If your research question and population are concentrated in a single country, consider using that as your catchment area.

3. Our group thinks that the summer deadline for the grant will better for us, but we are concerned that if we do that and another proposal submitted now will be funded for the same region. Will this substantially reduce our chances to even compete based on merit?

  • We recommend that you submit your application when you feel it will be the strongest. We believe that will put you in the best position for success. 

4. Will this P20 RFA be followed up with additional Funding Opportunity Announcements? If there are follow up FOAs, do you know approximately when they might be?

  • The Center for Global Health is hopeful that the current P20 planning phase for these Centers of Research Excellence will go well. Following this phase, we plan to use the U54 mechanism to build the Centers and then various RPG mechanisms to support research that uses these Centers. If we are able to secure funding for the U54 phase, we tentatively plan to release the FOA late summer of 2017.

We will be updating our FAQs web page continually, so please check back regularly for new information. If you cannot find what you are looking for here, please do not hesitate to contact Shannon.silkensen@nih.gov or NCIGlobalHealth@mail.nih.gov.