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Requests for Applications (RFA)

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

Standard Operating Procedure Table of Contents

Purpose

To solicit grant applications focused on defined, high-priority, and high-opportunity areas of science relevant to NIAID's mission.

Procedure

A request for applications (RFA) is one of three types of initiatives—together with program announcements (PA) and solicitations—NIAID develops with recommendations from its main advisory Council.

See the Concept Development SOP for more information on concepts and initiatives.

RFAs may be sponsored by one or more NIH institutes or centers.

Occasionally, they are sponsored in conjunction with HHS, other sister agencies such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and CDC, or foundations outside of government.

RFAs have set-aside funds and a targeted number of awards. Applications received in response to RFAs are usually peer reviewed by special emphasis panels managed by NIAID's Scientific Review Program.

All RFAs are published in the NIH Guide and Grants.gov. They have a single receipt date, which is stated in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

Investigators

Program Officers

  • After developing a concept for an RFA, work with your program division coordinator to enter the initiative into the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Research Initiative Management System (RIMS).
  • Check the NIH Guide and Early Notification System—Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.ENS & HHS Forecast in the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Guide Publishing System to see if there is overlap with RFAs from other institutes and get ideas to develop your RFA. See the Early Notification SOP.
  • Get a recommendation from your division, the Research Initiative Committee (RIC), and the NIAID director to approve a concept.
  • Work with your program division coordinator, the Office of Initiative Development (OID), and the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) to create a project plan that schedules all steps needed to proceed from concept to award. See the Phasing of Initiatives SOP.
  • Prepare the first draft of the RFA using the template file your program division coordinator provides. Pay close attention to detail and formatting.
  • Forward the draft RFA to your program division coordinator for internal division review.
    • For RFAs using a cooperative agreement activity code, include the cooperative agreement justification memo. Get a current template memo from your program division coordinator or OID.
  • Complete an Early Notification Information form. Send the completed form and an electronic draft of the RFA to your program division coordinator. See the Early Notification SOP for details.
  • Review and respond to comments and questions submitted by OID and the Initiative Development Team. Return the document to OID for final review. Contact your program division coordinator for details about your division's internal process.
  • For RFAs that involve collaborations with other agencies or foundations outside the government, include a scanned PDF of the memorandum of understanding or interagency agreement signed by the IC director or designee.
  • After grant applications arrive, view them in Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.IMPAC.
    • Work with the scientific review officer (SRO) to perform a programmatic and administrative review to make sure applications respond to the RFA's objectives and requirements.
    • Determine which applications are nonresponsive, taking SRO input into account.
  • Advise institutions to withdraw nonresponsive applications. For details on this process, see the Withdrawal of a Nonresponsive Application SOP.

Program Division Coordinators

Research Initiative Committee

NIAID's principal deputy director chairs RIC.

Members include the deputy directors for Science and Management Operations and the Division of Clinical Research (DCR) and directors of the Office of Strategic Planning, Initiative Development, and Analysis (OSPIDA), DAIDS, DAIT, DMID, DCR, DEA, Division of Intramural Research, and the Vaccine Research Center.

Ex officio members include representatives from the Budget and Financial Management Branch, Mission Planning and Integration Branch, Strategic Planning and Evaluation Branch, OID, Referral and Program Analysis Branch, and others as assigned by division directors.

RIC performs the following functions:

  • Reviews division-proposed concepts and discusses options for cross-divisional and cross-institute collaborations.
  • Approves concepts to be presented to NIAID's main advisory Council and developed into RFAs.

Office of Initiative Development Staff

  • After RIC approves an initiative, draft a project plan for initiative development that includes:
    • Phasing of the initiative for the pre-team meeting
    • Submitting the initial draft to OID
    • Reviewing the subsequent draft by the Initiative Development Team
    • Publishing the RFA in the NIH Guide and Grants.gov
  • Assemble an Initiative Development Team.
  • Work with the team and the Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations (OERPO) to determine phasing for preparing and publishing the initiative and for receipt, review, and award of applications.
  • If needed, schedule an initiative planning meeting with the team before the initiative is written. See Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Team Planning Meetings for NIAID Solicited Grant and Contract Research Initiatives for details.
  • Provide current RFA templates to program division coordinators.
  • Provide guidance to program staff and team members during all stages of RFA development.
  • Inform OERPO when the draft RFA is ready for posting to the ENS.
  • Coordinate review of the draft RFA by the team.
  • Review and consolidate team comments and return to program for response.
  • Work with program and the team to finalize the RFA.
  • Send the RFA to OERPO for DEA OD approval and posting to the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Guide Publishing System.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations Staff

  • Work with OID and the Initiative Development Team to set the core project dates which include dates for the final draft submission to OERPO for DEA director approval, submission to the NIH Guide, and award.
  • Work with OID to develop the phasing from publication to award, including receipt and review dates.
  • Provide guidance to program staff during all stages of RFA development. See the Phasing of Initiatives SOP for more details on your role.
  • Enter the RFA into theLock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.ENS & HHS Forecast to allow other ICs the opportunity to comment before the RFA is published.
  • Ensure that the final draft RFA submitted by OID to be considered for publication in the NIH Guide is formatted according to the most recent RFA guidelines and templates.
  • For cooperative agreements, include a scanned PDF of the cooperative agreement justification memo signed by the DEA director. See sample Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.memorandum for use of a cooperative agreement in an RFA.
  • Enter the RFA in the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Guide Publishing System for OER approval and publication in the NIH Guide and Grants.gov.
  • Monitor project plan core date milestones in RIMS and revise as necessary.

Contacts

Applicants with questions should read Communicating With NIAID—How to Get Help.

RFAs—Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff, Office of Initiative Development

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff, Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations

Program Division Coordinators

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIDS

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIT

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—DMID

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Links

Concept Development SOP

Early Notification SOP

Grants.gov

NIAID Research Funding

NIAID Funding Policy and Process SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Guide Publishing System

Phasing of Initiatives SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Research Initiative Committee SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Research Initiative Management System (RIMS)

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Searching the NIH Guide for Expired Initiatives

Last Updated October 31, 2012

Last Reviewed October 31, 2012