New R01, R21 Pair of COVID-19 Emergency FOAs With Rolling Submission

Funding News Edition: May 06, 2020
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Reviewers will consider whether you have immediate access to needed resources (e.g., patient samples, isolates) at sufficient quantities to achieve your Specific Aims.

Credit: NIAID

NIAID recently issued two new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) as part of our continuing effort to support research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

The two FOAs are ideal for applicants proposing new coronavirus-related research projects. They feature rolling submission, meaning you can submit an application as soon as it is ready and NIAID will review it in an expedited fashion.

An Extensive List of Scientific Topics

NIAID is prioritizing a wide range of research objectives related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Examples include:

  • Studies to understand critical aspects of viral infection, replication, and pathogenesis
    • Understanding host compartments of viral replication and duration of shedding
    • Predictors of disease severity and outcome, including viral and host determinants of infection, replication, and recovery
    • Pathophysiology of disease and clinical prognosis associated with viral loads and immune-based biomarkers
    • Identification of molecular markers of pathogenesis
    • Studies on the emergence and evolution of SARS-CoV-2, including the identification of factors that affect viral host-range and virulence and changes to the virus that occur over time in circulation
  • Studies to understand critical aspects of viral transmission
    • Studies to comprehensively evaluate viral, host, physical, and environmental factors that facilitate efficient human-to-human SARS-CoV-2 transmission utilizing novel and/or improved devices, assays, study designs, and/or animal models
    • Modes and duration of person-to-person transmission
    • Role of different age groups in transmission dynamics
    • Potential impact on transmission dynamics from host biology/behavior or environmental factors in superspreading events
    • Importance of asymptomatic transmission
    • Development of novel assays for assessing infectivity and viability of viral particles collected from the air
  • Identification and characterization of the onset and duration of immunity in healthy and at-risk populations
    • Innate, cellular, and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or candidate vaccines
    • Protective or pathogenic B cell or T cell epitopes from individuals exposed to SARS-CoV-2, including identification of immune epitopes that cross-react with other human coronaviruses
    • Host immune receptor repertoire studies related to understanding protective immunity or disease pathogenesis
    • Computational modeling of the immune response to infection and/or vaccination
    • Screening of potential adjuvants or immune modulators that improve vaccine efficacy, provide prophylactic protection, or limit/prevent severe disease
    • Mechanisms of immune-mediated pathology or host factors that might predispose to, or prevent, severe infection
  • Virologic and serologic surveillance studies and natural history studies to understand the origin of the virus, including the animal host reservoir, potential intermediate hosts, factors leading to spillover events, evidence of continued spillover events, and studies at the human-animal interface
    • Identify capacity for SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses to infect potential intermediate hosts
    • Identify diversity of coronaviruses in bats and other wildlife
    • Improve detection and diagnostic technologies for use in animal surveillance
  • Studies to assess and characterize the natural history and long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in various human populations including at-risk populations
  • Development or improvement of clinical diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 to increase the sensitivity, specificity, and ability to provide rapid results
  • Development and testing of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic candidates, in relevant in vitro, ex vivo, or animal models
    • Discovery of drug targets or novel drug candidates specific for SARS-CoV-2
    • Host-directed therapies
    • Broad-spectrum therapeutics against multiple coronavirus strains
    • Examination of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral activity of existing or candidate therapeutics initially developed for other indications
    • Combination therapies
  • Development of SARS-CoV-2-specific or broadly protective coronavirus vaccine candidates
    • Novel antigen design strategies
    • Novel platforms or delivery approaches
    • Addition of adjuvants
  • Studies to inform the development of vaccination strategies for at-risk populations, including use of age-specific adjuvants or novel antigen formulations/dosing
  • Development of assays and animal models to evaluate the potential of enhanced disease after vaccination for SARS-CoV-2
  • Assess animal models for SARS-CoV-2 and how the models compare to human infection, including animal models that represent at risk populations (elderly, immunocompromised, very young, pregnant models)
  • Development of animal models for transmission experiments
  • Development of organoid culture models and/or ex vivo explant models
  • Computational modeling studies to identify and evaluate interventions to protect at-risk populations and for making public health policy decisions for control and mitigation measures
  • Study interactions and impact between SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens including influenza (e.g., co-infections, interference)
  • Comparative studies of SARS-CoV-2 to other coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-1 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
  • Data science approaches to develop algorithms, models, and informatics solutions
    • Clinical prediction of COVID-19 disease outcomes based on multiple data streams including electronic health records, mobile technologies, and other large data sets
    • Enabling remote monitoring and precision interventions based on individual risk
    • Strategies for establishing federated collections of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 clinical and experimental data and associated metadata with the ability to develop synthetic cohorts within and across studies

Note that reviewers will consider whether you have immediate access to needed resources (e.g., patient samples, isolates) at sufficient quantities to achieve your Specific Aims.

Administrative Details

The scope and nature of your proposed research project should guide your decision whether to apply through the R01 or R21 FOA.

The R01 provides up to five years of funding, although a shorter period of time may be more appropriate for certain projects. The R01 does not limit the allowable budget, although your budget request should reflect the actual needs of the project. The NIH policy for Big Grants applies, which could delay applications proposing budgets of $500,000 or more direct costs in any one year.

The R21 explicitly does not require preliminary research; it’s designed to support exploratory and developmental research projects. It provides up to two years of funding and limits budgets to $275,000 direct costs with no more than $200,000 requested for any single year.

For both FOAs, awardees are expected to rapidly share and disseminate research data, results, and analyses in accordance with NIAID’s Data Management and Sharing Guidelines .

Clinical trials are not allowed.

Resubmission (A1) applications are not allowed, though you may submit a subsequent new (A0) application if your first application is not funded.

We will accept applications on a rolling basis through April 30, 2021. You can apply at any time before then.

The date on which you submit your application—before or on/after May 25, 2020—will determine whether you should use the FORMS-E or FORMS-F application package. Read the March 10, 2020 Guide notice for further instruction.

For questions about the FOAs, including whether your prospective research project is likely to be responsive, email Dr. Diane Post and Dr. Kentner Singleton, our scientific/research contacts for this initiative.

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