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It 236 Assignment Project Proposal Site Structure

Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Funding Opportunity Title

Advancing Research in Voice Disorders (R01)

Activity Code

R01 Research Project Grant 

Related Notices

  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-006 - Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals Section of NIH Grant Applications and Contract Proposals (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-011 - Implementing Rigor and Transparency in NIH & AHRQ Research Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • June 4, 2014 - Notice NOT-14-074 supersedes instructions in Section III.3 regarding applications that are essentially the same.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

Companion Funding Opportunity

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) seeks Research Project Grant (R01) applications that are focused on advancing our scientific knowledge of the Human Larynx and Human Voice Production in Health and Disease and optimal ways to prevent, evaluate, diagnose and clinically manage voice disorders.       

Key Dates

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Application Due Date(s)

Standard dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Standard AIDS dates apply, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

Expiration Date

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

This FOA invites R01 grant applications focused on advancing our scientific knowledge of the human larynx and human voice production in health and disease and optimal ways to prevent, evaluate, diagnose and clinically manage voice disorders.  This FOA is for R01s only and encourages a range of research inclusive of basic, clinical, and translational. 

Background

NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.  NIDCD's focus within this broad NIH mission is to bring attention to the disorders and dysfunctions of human communication and to advance biomedical and behavioral research to improve the lives of the millions of people with a communication disorder. To accomplish its mission the NIDCD supports a broad portfolio of research across 7 scientific program areas:  hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language.

Living successfully in society depends on our ability to communicate with one another. While science and technology have greatly improved this capacity, life can be profoundly difficult for those with communication disorders. Such disorders can affect the emotional, social, cognitive, educational, and professional development of an individual, and the cost of these disorders in terms of unfulfilled potential, quality of life, and economic factors is incalculable. 

Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voices.  Voice disorders have various etiologies and occur throughout the lifespan.  Lifetime prevalence of voice disorders has been reported up to 47%.  Vocal atrophy is the most commonly occurring laryngeal diagnosis in the elderly.  Occupational voice disorders are estimated to affect 28 million workers in the US.

Vocalization is a powerful and necessary ability across species.  It signals one’s existence and informs the receivers of one’s location in space.  The human voice signals our personal identities, sex, age and conveys our emotions.  It is this supraglottic valving of the flow of the voiced and unvoiced breath stream which enables motor speech production and linguistic expression.   Without voice, verbal expression is skeletal.   

The NIDCD has a long history of supporting voice research and holds a research grant portfolio that has shown a steady increase through investigator-initiated applications.  Naturally the principal investigators supported in the Voice program come from the fields of otolaryngology and speech-language pathology, the two professional disciplines knowledgeable with the human larynx and phonation.  Scientist and scientist –clinicians from these two fields however recognize the importance of collaboration with researches from other scientific fields to better answer voice-related research questions and improve existing treatments. 

The NIDCD held a one day meeting of NIDCD funded voice investigators in May 2013.  The goal of the meeting was to review currently active areas of voice research and identify opportunities in voice research primed for further investigation.  The consensus of the attendees was that it was important to attract scientists from various academic backgrounds to create collaborative teams to best tackle lingering research questions.  It is also important to strengthen the pipeline of future voice scientists.   Interested researchers from a variety of scientific background, e.g. cellular biology, chemistry, genetics, physics, engineering, neuroscience, immunology, pharmacology, computational modeling and many other related fields are encouraged to collaborate with voice scientists and apply to this FOA or explore the NIDCD Research Training and Career Development page at http://www.nidcd.nih.gov.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

The NIDCD released its 2012-2016 strategic plan with 4 overarching priorities:  1) understanding normal function, 2) understanding diseases and disorders, 3) improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention and 4) improving outcomes for human communication.  Please see the NIDCD Strategic plan for the priority areas identified for the Voice, Speech and Language Programs at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/about/plans/2012-2016/Pages/Priority-Areas-in-Voice-Speech-and-Language-Research.aspx#1.

Research areas of interest applicable to this FOA include but are not limited to:

  • Lifespan and Vulnerable periods:  Studies on the biology of the vocal fold mechanism across the lifespan
  • The study of neuro-immune factors in mediating behavioral responses which examine interactions of stress or anxiety
  • Studies on laryngeal inflammation and immune responses
  • The effects of environmental factors e.g. sound level, ergonomics, diet and air quality on voice production
  • Prevention and treatment of occupational voice disorders
  • Improved physical, computational and theoretical modeling of vocal fold vibration
  • Novel ways to evaluate and treat essential tremor, vocal fold paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia and other conditions
  • Development of ambulatory biofeedback approaches for management of patients with voice disorders 
  • Development of objective measures for the evaluation of pediatric voices
  • Cellular and molecular studies of vocal fold epithelium in acute and chronic injury
  • Development of biomaterials for engineering the mechanically demanding vocal fold tissue
  • Application of machine learning (ML) methods to large data sets and predictive modeling of voice production
  • The effect of vibration on vocal fold health; what is the effect of dose?  What's a meaningful short-term recovery period for excessive amounts of vocalization?
  • Molecular mechanisms behind short and long term recovery of laryngeal tissue
  • Cell-based therapies for promoting vocal fold scar repair
  • The assessment of vocal fold tissue properties especially during dynamic human voice production, e.g. by integrating various imaging technologies
  • Neural control of vocalization and the role of the sensory cortex 
  • Opportunities for using new health care delivery models including, telehealth and mobile health (mhealth)
  • Patient-centered factors that influence access to and outcomes of health care
  • Self-reported measurement instruments to evaluate voice production and treatment outcomes

This announcement also seeks to encourage outcomes or health services research (HSR).  Outcomes research seeks to determine to what degree an intervention works in general, real-world settings, such as in diverse populations among varying provider and clinical practice settings.  It may also include evaluation of economic impacts linked to health outcomes.  In contrast to clinical trials, this research typically employs broader inclusion criteria, has fewer restrictions for participation and research outcomes often include variables such as functional status, well-being, quality of life, cost, health care resource use, etc.  Health services research seeks to examine the impact of organization, financing and management of health care services on the delivery, quality, cost, access to and outcomes of such services.  Studies may include research focused on the varying factors that influence access, utilization, and quality and outcomes of health care services.

This FOA encourages community-based research as well as inclusion and attention to the needs of special populations (low socio-economic status (SES), disparities, rural, second language populations).

On September 27, 2010, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) released the strategic plan, “Moving into the Future with New Dimensions and Strategies:  A Vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research” (http://orwh.od.nih.gov ).  More recently, the need for sex-specific reporting of research findings was emphasized in the 2012 IOM report, Sex-Specific Reporting of Scientific Research - Workshop Summary (http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2012/Sex-Specific-Reporting-of-Scientific-Research.aspx ). Given the ORWH and IOM recommendation, research on sex/gender differences or that analyzes findings by sex/gender is encouraged.

For research funding in head and neck cancer or in elderly populations, please visit the research funding pages for the National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/ or the National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/.

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission
Revision

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period.  The maximum project period is 5 years.  

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions)

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are  eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are  eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are  allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

R&R or Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix:  Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Foreign Institutions

Foreign (non-U.S.) institutions must follow policies described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and procedures for foreign institutions described throughout the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date.Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential fieldof the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A) must contact NIH program staff at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

It is unlikely that the NIDCD would accept applications with more than $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year in response to this FOA.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow our Post Submission Application Materials policy.

Section V. Application Review Information

Important Update: See NOT-OD-16-006 and NOT-OD-16-011 for updated review language for applications for due dates on or after January 25, 2016.

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?  

Investigator(s)     

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?   

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?   

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Reviewers will assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the Center for Scientific Review, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Councilor 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.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. 

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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CS 236r Topics at the Interface between Computer Science and Economics

Spring 2016: Prediction, Learning and Games

Meeting: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00-2:30pm, Maxwell Dworkin 323 
Instructor: Yiling Chen, yiling@seas.harvard.edu
Teaching fellow: Bo Waggoner, bwaggoner@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: 
Yiling: Wednesdays 2:30-3:30 or by appointment, Maxwell Dworkin 233. 
Bo: Mondays 2:30-4:00 or by appointment, Maxwell Dworkin 115. 

General Information

This is a rotating topics course that studies the interplay between computation and economics. Topics covered include but are not limited to electronic commerce, computational social choice, computational mechanism design, peer production, prediction markets and reputation systems. The class is seminar style and readings are drawn from artificial intelligence, theoretical computer science, multi-agent systems, economic theory, and operations research.

Note: Enrollment of this course will be limited to facilitate seminar-style discussion of papers. If necessary, we'll use a survey to help with the selection of students, with preference given to graduate students and students with the strongest background.

Prologue

Crucial to decision making is the fundamental problem of prediction. In the presence of uncertainty, a prerequisite for good decision making is being able to make accurate forecasts for relevant uncertain factors or unknown relationships. Researchers in different disciplines have developed a wide range of methods and techniques for this problem. For example, one natural idea for obtaining accurate predictions is to ask experts or people who have relevant information to share their beliefs. Proper scoring rules are developed, mostly in economics and statistics, to incentivize the experts to honestly reveal their information. Built upon proper scoring rules, prediction markets further integrate the aggregation of private information with the elicitation of it---they provide incentives for participants to incorporate what has been revealed with their private information when making a prediction. Another widely adopted approach to prediction is to use historical data. Machine learning and statistical methods fall into this category. Classification algorithms and regression methods attempt to approximately learn the underlying relationship between inputs and outputs from available data with the goal to make accurate predictions on future, unseen inputs.  

The above two examples approach the problem of prediction from different perspectives. The "asking the expert" approach emphasizes economicincentives for elicitation, while the "using historical data" approach concerns statistical learning. Each approach has independently blossomed into elegant theory and successful applications, by focusing on its own consideration and largely ignoring the other approach. In recent years, with our increasing abilities to reach and engage a large number of people via the Internet, it has become clear that the interplay between economic incentives and statistical learning can affect the prediction outcomes significantly. After all, statistical learning can be performed on elicited data and if data are provided by people, they may have incentives to withhold or misreport their data to affect learning outcomes.  

In Spring 2016, we consider the very recent research directions at the interface between economics and machine learning. We'll discuss a few topics that have developed initial connections between incentives design and statistical learning. 

Course Goals

The main goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the interdisciplinary literature for students looking to identify research directions in this area. Along the way, we will also develop some technical background in game theory, decision theory, mechanism design and machine learning, and hopefully also more general skills related to reading papers and thinking about research problems. This is a seminar course and students will be expected to participate in class discussion, present one or more papers, and write a final course paper. Students are expected to achieve a comfort level with both economic and computational thinking, become familiar with the status quo in the area, and, to the extent possible, work on an open research problem.

Prerequisites

Formal requirements include a basic course in calculus (AM 21a or equivalent), a linear algebra course (AM 21b or equivalent), a probability and statistics course (STAT 110 or equivalent), an algorithms course (CS 124 or equivalent), and a background in either AI or microeconomic theory (CS 181, CS 182, EC 1011a, or equivalent.) The informal requirement is a reasonable level of mathematical maturity. Familiarity with economic theory is helpful but not required. Familiarity with AI and computer science theory is helpful but not required. Students with a background in theoretical microeconomics and an interest in computational issues should be able to appreciate the class materials.

Mathematical analysis and formalism will be fundamental to the course, and students should expect to learn additional mathematics on their own as necessary. I recommend that students unsure about their background read a couple of papers from the reading list, and attend office hours during the first week.

Course Structure and Grading Policy

This course is primarily a seminar course. We will spend most of the term reading and discussing research papers. However, the first few classes for each topic will include lectures on some important background material that will help with understanding the material in the papers that we will read. There will be 2 problem sets.

The final grade in the class will breakdown roughly as: participation and comments 25%, problem sets 25%, presentation of research papers 15%, project 35%.

Students are expected to read the papers in advance, submit short summaries and questions before class, participate in class discussion, and present and lead discussion on one or more sets of papers (typically in a pair).

In lieu of a final exam there will be a final research paper, on a topic of the student's choice. Good papers can form a foundation for a research leading to a conference publication, or a senior thesis for undergraduates. Students may work in pairs on problem sets and are encouraged to work in pairs for final projects other than exposition papers.

Collaboration Policy: Discussion and the exchange of ideas are essential to academic work. If you work in a team for problem sets and final project, collaboration within the team is essential and strongly encouraged. However, it is expected that each member of a team makes roughly equal contributions. For final projects, you are encouraged to consult with your classmates outside of your team on the choice of topics and to share sources. You may find it useful to discuss your chosen topic with your peers, particularly if you are working on the same topic as another team. However, you should ensure that any written work your team submit for evaluation is the result of your team's research and writing and that it reflects your team's approach to the topic. You must also adhere to standard citation practices in this discipline and properly cite any books, articles, websites, lectures, etc. that have helped you with your work. If you received any help with your writing (feedback on drafts, etc), you must also acknowledge this assistance.

Submitting Comments and Presenting Papers

You are required to read papers and other listed reading materials before each class. (Materials listed under Extra Readings on the Schedule page are optional.) You MUST submit comments on the readings by midnight before class. Your comments should include good-faith answers to posted reading questions (if any) and general comments. For research papers, things to think about for general comments include (you don't need to hit all of these...):

  • what is the main contribution of the paper?
  • is this important, why?
  • is this a comp sci contribution, an econ contribution, or both?
  • what was the main insight in getting the result?
  • what is not clear to you?
  • what did the authors not do?
  • what are the most important assumptions, are they limiting?
  • what applications does this suggest?
  • how does this relate to other things we have seen?
  • what extensions does this suggest?
  • can you suggest a two-sentence project idea based around the ideas in this paper?

I also recommend you read the blog post by Prof. Michael Mitzenmacher on How to Read a Research Paper.

You won't be graded on the correctness or the rigorousness of your answers to reading questions. These questions are designed to assist in understanding the material and to encourage discussion.

Presenting papers: Students will present papers (likely with a partner) and, in addition to the presentation, be ready to lead a discussion in class. Students presenting papers must come by to office hours 1.5 week before their presentation and talk with me about the paper(s) before their presentation. Students are also asked to propose reading questions for the papers they present. Please read the Presentation Notes for expectations on student presentations.

Course Reading

There is no required text. All readings will be distributed electronically and sometimes in class. Additional references include:

  • Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations, by Y. Shoham and K. Leyton-Brown. Cambridge University Press (2009). (Available for free through this website.)
  • Algorithmic Game Theory, edited by N. Nisan, T. Roughgarden, E. Tardos and V. Vazirani. Cambridge University Press (2007). (Find information to download a non-printable copy of the book at here.)
  • A Course in Game Theory, by M. J. Osborne and A. Rubinstein. MIT Press (1994). (Available for free through this website.)
  • Prediction, Learning, and Games, by N. Cesa-Bianchi and G. Lugosi, Cambridge University Press (2006).

Final Paper

The goal of the final paper is to develop a deep understanding of a specific research area related to the topic of the class, and to the extent possible to work on an open research problem. Although paper topics must be approved, students are free to pick a topic of interest in the general field related to information, prediction and collective intelligence. Students are required to submit a proposal, give a short presentation, and submit a final paper (maximum 10 pages except for Appendix material). Papers may be computational, theoretical, experimental or empirical. Students may write an exposition paper (maximum 10 page) on at least two related technical papers of their choice that are related to the course material. Such a paper MUST include an exposition of formal results in these papers, provide a critical discussion of assumptions made by the authors and suggestions about future work, and provide a new perspective.

The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.

To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.

Course Summary: