Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

Purpose

To stimulate grant-supported research in high-priority and high-opportunity areas of science using a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI).

Procedure

To highlight special topics of interest, (e.g., in a specific research area or program) a NOSI is posted in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts to alert the community of the potential opportunity for funding. NOSIs have replaced institute and center (IC)-issued program announcements (PAs) to highlight interest in a research area that does not have set-aside funds or special review criteria and/or review considerations. These notices direct applicants to one or more active notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), often PAs, for submission of applications for the initiative described. 

The use of NOSIs was introduced with the goal of increasing efficiency in expressing interest in a scientific area and decreasing administrative burden. Consequently, the timeline for developing and publishing a NOSI is accelerated in relation to the typical timeline for developing and publishing a NOFO. Generally, NOSIs require approximately 2 months for internal NIAID development beginning with the first draft provided to the Office of Initiative Development (OID) and ending with OID providing the final draft to the Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations (OERPO). The NIH Guide has 7 business days to review and publish the NOSI after a minimum 5-day Shared Interest period in the NIH Notice of Funding Opportunity Module (NOFOM). NOSIs are generally released at least 60 days before the first application due date.

NOSIs may be sponsored by one or more NIH Institute, Center, or Office (ICO) and usually direct applicants to Parent PAs with standard NIH due dates. NOSIs may also direct applicants to IC-specific NOFOs.

NOSIs generally include a brief statement of purpose, descriptions of specific scientific topics of interest, a list of NOFOs used for application submission, and application instructions for referral processing and application tracking. NIAID NOSIs are typically issued for up to 3 years and must include an expiration date. 

Applications in response to a NOSI that directs applicants to a Parent PA are reviewed by the applicable Center for Scientific Review (CSR) study section. Applications in response to a NOSI that directs applicants to an NIH IC-sponsored NOFO (request for applications and some program announcements with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations) can be reviewed by the sponsoring IC or CSR. Direct questions about locus of review to OERPO.

Changes to published NOSIs cannot be made by issuing a Notice of Change or Correction. The only way to change a NOSI is to expire it and reissue a new NOSI. However, an IC can issue a Notice of Participation to a NOSI if they miss signing on during the Shared Interest period.

Investigators

  • To find active NIAID NOSIs, Search for Notices of Special Interest on NIAID's Funding Opportunities list.
  • You can also find NOSIs in the NIH Guide by selecting "Notice of Special Interest" under Type of Funding Opportunities on the left rail. All NOSI titles begin with “Notice of Special Interest.”
  • To find NOSIs affiliated with a NOFO, go to the Related Notices section of a NOFO. If it has affiliated NOSIs, it will have a link to “See Notices of Special Interest associated with this funding opportunity.” The link will take you to a webpage with an easy-to-read table that provides an at-a-glance look at the following:
    • NOSI title
    • Notice Number
    • Organization
    • Release Date
    • Expiration Date
    • Activity Code(s)
  • To respond to a NOSI, follow instructions within the NOSI directing you to a particular Parent PA or IC-sponsored NOFO.
  • As instructed, be sure to enter the NOSI number in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R Form. If this information is missing, the application may not be considered for the NOSI opportunity.

Program Staff

  • Developing NIAID NOSIs
  • Participating in another IC’s NOSI
    • When you or your division coordinator receive notification of a NOSI in Shared Interest or through other communications, determine if there is programmatic overlap and if you want to co-sponsor the NOSI.
    • Work with your division coordinator to obtain approval to participate in the NOSI. Note: ExCom approval is not required for NIAID to participate in another IC’s NOSI, but the NIAID principal deputy director and NIAID deputy director, science management must be notified at the Friday Resources meeting.
    • When signing onto a complex NOSI, (i.e., one that has multiple participating ICs with multiple NOFOs) work with the sponsoring IC to designate the NOFOs from which NIAID will accept applications.
    • Note: NOSIs only require a 5-business day Shared Interest period. You must act quickly if you want to participate in another IC’s NOSI prior to publication. If you miss the opportunity to sign on before publication, you can sign on by issuing a Notice. Refer to Creating NIH Guide Notices SOP.
    • After electronic applications arrive, you can search for them in QVR using the Agency Routing/NOSI ID field.
    • Refer to OER Guidance How to Manage Applications Submitted to NOSIs for NOSI referral guidelines.

Program Division Coordinators

  • Developing NIAID NOSIs
    • Enter the initiative descriptor in RIMS.
      • When entering the initiative descriptor in RIMS, the initiative title should begin “Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) …”
      • It should include the list of NOFOs the NOSI will point to. Note: Contact OID to request a NOSI template and examples.
    • Obtain approval for the NOSI concept through ExCom or RIC and Advisory Council following the NIAID Initiative Publication Approval Chart and the Requesting ExCom Concept Approval SOP.
    • Work with OERPO staff to create a project plan that schedules all steps needed to proceed from concept to award. See the Phasing of Initiatives SOP.
    • Using RIMS submit the approved NOSI draft to OID for team review, finalization of the draft, and submission to OERPO for entry into NOFOM and publication in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.
  • Participating in another IC’s NOSI
    • When you receive notification of a NOSI in Shared Interest or through other communications, work with program staff to determine if there is programmatic overlap and if you want to co-sponsor the NOSI.
    • Enter the NOSI initiative descriptor into RIMS.
    • Obtain appropriate approvals to participate in the NOSI. Note: ExCom approval is not required for NIAID to participate in another IC’s NOSI, but the NIAID principal deputy director and NIAID deputy director, science management must be notified at the Friday Resources meeting. After the Resources meeting, document in RIMS that the NOSI was discussed and approved. For details on how to obtain approvals, see the Requesting ExCom Concept Approval SOP.
    • Notify OERPO staff by email of your interest to participate and provide NIAID scientific and grants management contacts for the NOSI if not already designated in the target NOFO(s) listed in the NOSI.
    • Note: NOSIs only require a 5-business day Shared Interest period. You must act quickly if you want to participate in another IC’s NOSI prior to publication. If you miss the opportunity to sign on before publication, you can sign on by issuing a Notice. Refer to Creating NIH Guide Notices SOP.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations

  • Publishing NIAID NOSIs
    • Create a project phasing plan and obtain internal approval of it from the Grants Management Program (GMP), Scientific Review Program (SRP) (if applicable), and OID.
    • Based on the project phasing plan, determine and enter the first available due date for applications based on the target NOFOs listed in the NOSI. Note: the NOSI must be published in the NIH Guide at least 60 days before the first applicable due date.
    • Determine and enter the expiration date based on the last possible due date across the target NOFOs listed in the NOSI, unless an earlier expiration is requested by program staff.
    • Participate as a team member for developing the NOSI.
    • At the completion of the Shared Interest period, submit the final NOSI draft to NOFOM for NIH Guide staff to review, approve, and publish.
    • Notify requestor, OID, and OERPO when the NOSI is published.
  • Participating in another IC’s NOSI
    • Sign on in NOFOM to co-sponsor a NOSI.
    • In NOFOM, include NIAID scientific research and grants management contacts provided by program division coordinators if not already included in the target NOFO(s) listed in the NOSI.
    • Confirm with program staff that the NOSI initiative descriptor is entered in RIMS.
    • Issue a Notice of Participation to sign on to any NOSI post-publication.

Office of Initiative Development

  • Manage the initiative development process for the NOSI.
  • If requested, coordinate and lead a planning meeting with program staff to discuss scope, requirements, and other issues.
    • If the NOSI includes deviations in budget information from the target NOFO(s), consult the appropriate GMP branch chief.
    • If the NOSI will be reviewed by NIAID SRP, consult SRP as needed.
  • Advise program staff during all stages of NOSI development, including template and format, structure [e.g., inclusion of target NOFO(s)], and content.
  • Send NOSI to OERPO for submission and publication to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFOM).

For more information on NOSIs, see NIH's OER Writing a Funding Opportunity page and refer to section II. Funding Opportunities on the NIH Applying Electronically Frequently Asked Questions page. Contact OID or OERPO with any questions.

Contacts

Applicants with questions should read Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations—NIAID OPCO

Office of Initiative Development—Contact for NIAID Staff

Program Division Coordinators

Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIDS (1) and Contact for NIAID Staff —DAIDS (2)

Contact for NIAID Staff—DAIT

Contact for NIAID Staff—DMID (1) and Contact for NIAID Staff­—DMID (2)

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov.

Links

Creating NIH Guide Notices SOP

Grants.gov

Requesting ExCom Concept Approval SOP 

NIAID Initiative Publication Approval Chart

NIH Expanding Usage of Notices of Special Interest (June 14, 2019 Guide notice)

NIH OER Writing a Funding Opportunity

Research Initiative Committee SOP

Research Initiative Management System (RIMS)

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