SPARC Other Transactions (OTs)
The Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC, program employs an active and collaborative program management strategy using primarily Other Transactions (OTs)*, which are not contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.
SPARC leverages OTs to manage projects in which time-critical developments and nimble integration of ideas and expertise from various disciplines are essential to achieve a programmatic goal. The cutting-edge research supported by the SPARC program requires multidisciplinary teams of scientists. SPARC’s use of OTs facilitates engagement of nontraditional partners (e.g., large corporations and unaffiliated individuals) as well as sharing of devices between industry partners, academics and clinicians to rapidly develop therapeutic advances.
The SPARC program relies on use of OT awards to adapt as new knowledge and technologies emerge. The SPARC Program Manager (PM), in collaboration with the SPARC Agreement Officer, adds or aggregates the necessary expertise and combines projects as needed. Components of SPARC may be expanded, modified or discontinued based on project feasibility and emerging methods, technologies, or approaches that are more useful. In addition, SPARC awardees collaborate and cooperate with the SPARC PM, NIH program staff and one another to incorporate relevant breakthroughs and discoveries, and engage pioneers. This strategy is designed to mitigate the inherent risk of such a program. The SPARC PM uses a rapid review process and a highly responsive post-award management process to take advantage of advances emerging from diverse scientific fields and parallel programs such as the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
Guidelines for these processes are listed within the NIH Other Transaction Award Policy Guide for the SPARC Program. This document describes the various laws, regulations, guidelines and polices to which the SPARC program adheres. Key features of the SPARC program that differ from traditional methods and procedures associated with grants, cooperative agreements and contracts are discussed in the Q&A.
1. What is the Common Fund?
2. What is the SPARC program?
3. What is the role of the SPARC Program Manager (PM)?
4. What is the role of the SPARC Agreement Officer (AO)?
5. What is an Other Transaction (OT) award?
6. What are “benchmarks”?
7. Where are Other Transaction (OT) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) posted?
8. From which disciplines does SPARC wish to draw submissions?
9. Is there a special application process or format for Other Transaction (OT) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)?
10. Who is eligible to apply for an Other Transaction (OT) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)?
11. Are applicants required to have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number?
12. Is System for Award Management (SAM) registration required?
13. Is eRA Commons registration required?
14. What is “objective review”?
15. What is the review procedure for a SPARC “Limited Competition” Other Transaction (OT) application?
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SPARC OT1 FOA Application and Review Information
16. What is an “OT1” mechanism?
17. What is a “rolling” receipt date?
18. How does a “rolling” receipt date differ from a standard receipt date?
19. What are the review criteria for an “OT1” application?
20. Will reviewer critiques be provided post-review?
21. What is the “Invitation to Submit”?
22. Will impact scores be released post-review?
23. Will reviewer rosters be released post-review?
24. Will Other Transaction (OT) awards be issued to meritorious “OT1” applicants?
25. May the review results be appealed?
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SPARC OT2 and OT3 FOA Application and Review Information
26. What is an “OT2” mechanism?
27. What is an “OT3” mechanism?
28. When is the “OT2” or “OT3” application due?
29. Which Other Transaction (OT) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) are “Limited Competition” and does this impact OT2/OT3 FOA eligibility?
30. What are the review criteria for “OT2” and “OT3” applications?
31. Will reviewer critiques be provided post-review?
32. Will impact scores be released post-review?
33. Will reviewer rosters be released post-review?
34. May the review results and final awardee selections be appealed?
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Award Management Information
35. What happens following selection of meritorious applicants for an Other Transaction (OT) award?
36. Will a Notice of Award (NoA) be issued following selection of meritorious applicants for an Other Transaction (OT) award?
37. What are the Terms & Conditions (T&C) of the Other Transaction (OT) award?
38. How long is the project period under an Other Transaction (OT) award?
39. Will a Project Officer be assigned to oversee my Other Transaction (OT) award?
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Post-Award Management Information
40. What is the SPARC consortium?
41. Who participates in the SPARC consortium?
42. What is the SPARC Steering Committee?
43. Who participates in the SPARC Steering Committee?
44. What are post-award changes?
45. How are post-award changes decided and approved?
46. May post-award changes be appealed and/or disputed?