Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click on the drop-down menus to open and close the Frequently Asked Questions specific to each topic as listed below.
1. What is the Common Fund?
The Common Fund supports cross-cutting trans-NIH initiatives to catalyze multiple fields of biomedical research. Common Fund programs address emerging scientific opportunities and pressing challenges in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute or Center (IC) can address on its own but are of high priority for the NIH as a whole. The Common Fund is a unique resource at NIH, functioning as a “venture capital” space where high-risk, innovative endeavors with the potential for extraordinary impact can be supported. Common Fund programs are short-term, goal-driven strategic investments, with deliverables intended to catalyze research across multiple biomedical research disciplines. More information is available at http://www.commonfund.nih.gov.
2. What is the goal of this funding initiative?
Several valuable and widely available data sets have been generated by multiple Common Fund programs. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to announce the availability of funding to demonstrate and enhance the utility of selected Common Fund data sets, including generating hypotheses and catalyzing discoveries. Award recipients are also asked to provide feedback on the utility of the Common Fund data resources.
3. Where can I find more information about previously funded studies through the Notice of Special Interest: Availability of Administrative Supplements for Enhancing Utility and Usage of Common Fund Data sets?
More information on the administrative supplements funded through this NOSI can be found at https://commonfund.nih.gov/datause/fundedresearch.
4. What kind of research falls under this RFA (RFA-RM-21-007)?
The submission of small research (R03) applications is encouraged from institutions and organizations proposing projects that lead to enhanced use of selected Common Fund data sets by the wider scientific community. Small research (R03) grants provide flexibility for initiating discrete, well-defined projects that can be completed in one year and require only limited levels of funding. This program supports different types of projects including, but not limited to, the following:
- Conducting pilot or feasibility studies based on analyses across two or more Common Fund data sets
- Building synthetic cohorts, combining and comparing data sets
- Developing research methods or analytic tools to support data visualization, harmonization, and integration
- Curating and/or annotating genomic information in the data sets
- Applying new artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning approaches for metadata harmonization to aid in data integration
- Developing new approaches and tools for simultaneous analysis of data residing on multiple platforms (e.g., data sets residing in two separate cloud platforms)
- Developing workflows and tools to automate data integration and interoperability
This Funding Opportunity Announcement will not accept applications proposing clinical trials.
5. Which Common Fund data sets are eligible for funding?
The established Common Fund data sets listed below are well-poised for increased community use. Applicants must propose to use at least two or more data sets from the following list, although they can propose to use other data sets (both NIH Common Fund data sets and other NIH data sets) as well. Integration across multiple data sets is required.
- 4DNucleome (4DN): Reference nucleomics and imaging data sets, including an expanding tool set for open data processing and visualization. Link to 4DN Web Portal.
- Extracellular RNA Communication (ExRNA): Catalog of exRNA molecules found in human biofluids like plasma, saliva, and urine; and potential exRNA biomarkers for diseases. Link to exRNA Research Portal.
- Gabriella Miller Kids First (Kids First): Data from whole-genome sequencing of cohorts with structural birth defects and/or susceptibility to childhood cancer, with associated phenotypic and clinical data. Link to Kids First Data Resource Center.
- Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx): Whole genome- and RNA sequence data from multiple human tissues to study tissue-specific gene expression and regulation, including tissue samples. Link to GTEx Portal.
- Glycoscience: A data integration and dissemination project for carbohydrate and glycoconjugate related data. Link to GlyGen.
- The Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP): An open and global platform to map healthy cells in the human body to determine how the relationships between cells can affect the health of an individual. Link to HuBMAP Consortium.
- Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG): Data on understudied druggable proteins, including mRNA and protein expression data, phenotype associations, bioactivity data, drug target interactions, disease links, and functional information. Link to IDG Consortium.
- Integrated Human Microbiome Project (iHMP): Microbiome, epigenomic, metabolomic, and phenotypic data for 3 cohorts. Link to iHMP.
- Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Program (KOMP2): Data from broad, standardized phenotyping of a genome-wide collection of mouse knockouts. Link to International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC).
- Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS): Molecular signatures that describe how different types of cells respond to a variety of agents that disrupt normal cellular function. Link to LINCS Consortium.
- Metabolomics: Metabolomics data and metadata from studies on cells, tissues, and organisms. Link to Metabolomics Workbench.
- Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans (MoTrPAC): Data contain assay-specific results, associated metadata, quality control reports, and animal phenotype data related to molecular transducers that underlie the effects of physical activity. Link to MoTrPAC Data Hub.
- Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC): Maps and tools to identify and influence therapeutic targets that exist within the neural circuitry of a wide range of organs and tissues. Link to SPARC Portal.
This Funding Opportunity Announcement will not accept applications proposing clinical trials.
6. Can non-Common Fund data sets be included in the research strategy?
Data analyses proposed should utilize at least two Common Fund data set from the list above (see question 5), and may include other NIH data sets, as long as the external data are currently accessible through a public controlled access database or can be shared through such a database. Integration across multiple Common Fund data sets is required. For proposals that aim to co-analyze Common Fund data with other genomic data sets that are currently accessible through an NIH-approved repository (e.g., dbGaP) or some other public controlled access database (e.g., European Genome-phenome Archive), applicants must describe the database through which the proposed data are accessible to the research community and the details of the data set, including any data use limitations based on the associated consent form. For proposals that aim to co-analyze Common Fund data with genomic datasets that are not currently accessible through an NIH-approved repository (e.g., dbGaP) or some other public controlled access database (e.g., European Genome-phenome Archive), applicants must describe their ability and willingness to submit the individual-level sequence data to an NIH-approved repository (e.g., dbGaP) and provide an associated Institutional Certification using the current NIH template (https://osp.od.nih.gov/scientific-sharing/institutional-certifications/). If the Institutional Certification is not available, provide a Provisional Certification and describe the anticipated data use limitations and associated modifiers separately. If submitting a Provisional Certification with the application, please note that a completed Institutional Certification may be required prior to award.
7. Is there a minimum number of data sets that are required to be used?
Yes, applicants must propose to use at least two Common Fund data sets from the list provided in the FOA (RFA-RM-21-007).
8. Can an institution/research team submit more than one application to the RFA?
- Yes, there is no prohibition on the number of applications an institution may submit, provided the applications are scientifically distinct.
- Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs) and key personnel of the Data Coordinating Centers (DCCs) of the Common Fund programs, and researchers who are involved in the DCC activities as senior/key investigators are not eligible to respond to this announcement. Applicants who are not sure about their eligibility are strongly encouraged to contact the Program Officers listed in the program announcement to discuss their situation.
9. What are the details for funding levels?
- The Common Fund intends to commit approximately $2,000,000 in FY 2021. The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Anticipated award amounts are for $200,000 in direct costs, which is larger than typical R03 grants. More information on the R03 funding mechanism can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm.
- The project period for an application submitted under this FOA is one year.
- If experimental approaches are proposed, expense of the associated research activities should be limited to 20% of the project budget.
10. Do I need a letter of intent?Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows NIH to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.
11. What are the page limitations?The research strategy of the application is limited to 6 pages. All other page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
12. Are Non-Domestic entities and foreign components allowed to apply?
- Non-domestic entities and non-domestic components of U.S. organizations are not eligible to apply.
- Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are eligible to apply.
13. What are the requirements for data and resource sharing for this RFA?All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should include a Data and Resource Sharing Plan. The Data and Resource Sharing Plan will be considered during peer review and by program staff as award decisions are being made as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program.
14. How will applications be reviewed?
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), NIH. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
- Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review
- Availability of funds
- Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities
The R03 small grant supports discrete, well-defined projects that realistically can be completed in one year and that require limited levels of funding. Because the research project usually is limited, an R03 grant application may not contain extensive detail or discussion. Accordingly, reviewers should evaluate the conceptual framework and general approach to the problem. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required, particularly in applications proposing pilot or feasibility studies.
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This page last reviewed on November 23, 2020