Frequently Asked Questions
- Is RFA-DA-24-007 a reissue of RFA-DA-23-014?
- Will additional FAQ be added?
Please refer back to this page frequently to check for updates to the FAQs.
- What is the scope of this funding opportunity (NOFO)?
This award program supports early-stage investigators proposing highly innovative studies that open new areas of research in chemistry and pharmacology of addiction. These may be focusing on developing novel chemical, pharmacological, and computational methods or approaches to study basic biological mechanisms, pathways, targets, tools and drugs of relevance to addiction and substance use disorders. The program may also support investigators outside the field of addiction who are interested in applying their novel approaches to the chemistry and pharmacology of addiction. The award will support those in an early stage of their career who may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant, but who propose high impact research and show promise of being tomorrow's leaders in the field of chemistry and pharmacology of substance use and addiction.
- When are the next application due dates?
September 06, 2023, August 09, 2024, August 07, 2025 by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
- Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must meet the definition of an Early Stage Investigator (ESI). An ESI is a new investigator (defined as a PD/PI who has not competed successfully for a significant NIH independent research award) and is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent). A complete list of NIH grants that do not disqualify a PD/PI as an early stage investigator can be found at: https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/list-smaller-grants.htm
Frequently Asked Questions about the NIH Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Policy can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-stage/index.htm .
An extension to the 10-year period may be granted under special circumstances (e.g., family care responsibilities, extended periods of clinical training, disability or illness, etc.). To request an extension, an applicant MUST use eRA Commons). A request for extension must be approved at the time the Avenir Award application is submitted. It may take up to several weeks for the approval process, so applicants should plan accordingly
- Does the concept or the application of technology proposed have to be completely novel or just new to the field of addiction and substance use research?
While applicants are encouraged to propose completely novel approaches, existing approaches novel to the field of addiction and substance use research are also encouraged. Emphasis is placed on 1) the importance of the scientific problem and the potential impact of the research on applying chemical and pharmacological approaches to study substance use and addiction, 2) the novelty and innovativeness of the approach, and 3) evidence of the applicant's potential for creative and innovative research as an early-stage investigator.
- Do applicants need to be trained in the field of addiction and substance use disorders?
No. However, it would be prudent for applicants without such training to enlist the support of substance use disorder research experts as collaborators. Applicants invited for the interview phase of the review should again enlist the support of collaborators working in the field of addiction and substance use disorders to better prepare for the interview and possible subsequent steps.
- By what date must an investigator hold an independent position to be eligible to apply for the Avenir Award?
Applicants must hold an independent research position at a domestic (U.S.) institution as of September 1 of the fiscal year of the competition. Investigators still in training or mentored status (postdoctoral fellows) are not eligible to apply unless they have a written commitment of an independent faculty position as of September 1 of the fiscal year of the competition that is certified by submission of the application from that institution.
- What is meant by September 1 of the fiscal year of the competition?
For applications submitted for the September 6, 2023, August 9, 2024, August 7, 2025 deadlines, the latest appointment for an independent faculty position will be September 1, 2024, September 1, 2025, and September 1, 2026, respectively.
- What is meant by independent research position?
For the purpose of this funding opportunity, “independent research position” means a position that automatically confers eligibility, by the applicant’s institutional policy, for an investigator to apply for R01 grants, with an appropriate commitment of facilities to be used for the conduct of the proposed research. Investigators still in training or mentored status (postdoctoral fellows) may apply if, by the receipt date, they have a written commitment of an independent faculty position as of September 1 of the fiscal year of the competition.
- What percent effort is expected for the Avenir Award?
At least 3 months of a 12-month calendar year must be devoted towards the award.
- Can an applicant submit an R01 at the same time?
Any application overlapping other Public Health Service (PHS) applications that are funded, pending initial peer review (e.g., pending summary statement release), or pending appeal of an earlier review will not be accepted. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process, or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Limited exceptions apply. Please see NOT-OD-18-197 for details.
- What is the page limit for the Research Plan?
- What should be included in the Research Plan?
Specific Aims must not be included. The research strategy essay should include 1) Statement of research effort commitment of at least 3 months of a 12 month calendar year; 2) Project Description; 3) Innovativeness; and 4) Investigator Qualifications. Please see announcement for complete details.
- Where should I place the references?
Reference citations are not required but may be included in the essay and are included in the page limit.
- What letters are needed?
Letters of support from significant collaborators should be included in the application. In addition, three letters of reference are needed. The three confidential letters of reference are to be submitted separately from the application through the eRA Commons.
- Are the letters of support different than the letters of reference?
Yes. The letters of support are from your collaborators to be included in the application.
The three letters of reference by your referees are to be submitted by your referees separately to the eRA Commons https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/public/reference/submitReferenceLetter.era). Referees are being requested to describe the applicant’s qualities that support the applicant’s claim to scientific innovativeness, creativity, as well as evaluate the likelihood that the applicant will conduct groundbreaking research in the proposed research area.
- Where do I include letters of support in the application?
The letters of support from collaborators should be included following the research strategy section. The letters of support from collaborators are very important especially when the expertise of the applicant is outside the field of addiction and substance use research.
- Are the letters of References sent separately?
Yes. Letters of reference are an important component of the application. Applicants must arrange to have three (and no more than three) letters of reference submitted on their behalf. Applications that are missing letters of reference will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. Late letters will not be accepted. Applicants are responsible for monitoring the submission of their letters to ensure that three letters have been submitted prior to the submission deadline. Applicants are encouraged to check the status of their letters in their Commons accounts.
- What are the deadlines for the referees to submit letters of reference?
For application receipt date of September 6, 2023, letters may be submitted beginning July 9, 2023 and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (local time of applicant organization), September 6.
For application receipt date of August 9, 2024, letters may be submitted beginning July 9, 2024 and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (local time of applicant organization), August 9, 2024.
For application receipt date of August 7, 2025, letters may be submitted beginning July 9, 2025 and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (local time of applicant organization), August 7, 2025.
- Are the letters of reference confidential?
Yes. Letters of reference are confidential. Applicants will not have access to the letters. Email confirmations will be sent to both the applicant and the referee. The confirmation sent to the applicant will include the referee’s name and the date and time the letter was submitted. The confirmation sent to the referee will include the referee and applicant’s names, a confirmation number, and the date and time the letter was submitted.
Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the applicant’s responsibility to check the status of his/her letters of reference periodically in the Commons.
- Where do the Referees submit the letters of reference?
Letters may be submitted to the Commons at (https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/public/reference/submitReferenceLetter.era)
- What Information does the applicant need to provide to referees for them to properly submit a letter of reference?
The referee will need the following information:
- Notice of Funding Opportunity Number (NOFO) for this announcement: RFA-DA-24-007
- The applicant’s eRA Commons User Name (Note: Referees do not need to be registered in the Commons and do not need their own Commons User Name – only the Commons User Name of the applicant is required);
- The applicant’s first and last name (note – the name must match exactly the applicant’s name in the Commons)
- What are the instructions to the referees?
- The applicant’s name should be placed at the top of the letter. Although signatures are not required, the letter must include a signature block with the referee’s full name, title, institution, and contact information.
- In two pages or less, describe the applicant’s qualities that support the applicant’s claim to scientific innovativeness and creativity. When possible, give specific examples that illustrate these qualities. Address the likelihood that the applicant will conduct groundbreaking research in the proposed research area.
- Note: The letter submission page can be accessed without signing into the Commons, and referees do not need to be registered in the Commons. Referees must provide the applicant’s Commons User Name (User ID) and the other information below:
- REFEREE INFORMATION (the individual providing the letter of reference):
- Referee’s First and Last Name (Required)
- Referee’s Middle Initial (MI) (Not Required)
- Referee’s Email Address (Required)
- Referee’s Institution/Affiliation (Required)
- Referee’s Department (Required)
- Can you tell me about the review process?
Applications that are complete will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary scientific review group of outside experts convened by The National Institute on Drug Abuse in accordance with NIH peer review procedures (http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/peer/), using the stated review criteria. Applicants whose applications are deemed to be highly meritorious will be invited for interview by a multidisciplinary scientific review group. Final selection of awardees will be made by the Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, based on the outcome of the peer review, concurrence of National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, and programmatic considerations. Final selections will be announced publicly.
- If I am not interviewed, will I receive a score?
Applications that are not selected for the interview phase of review will be designated as “Not Discussed” and will not receive a numerical Overall Impact score. Applications selected for the second phase of review (interview) will receive summary statements with a numerical Overall Impact score.
- When will the awards be announced?
For each of the review cycle, awards will be announced before the end of that fiscal year (September 30).
- How will final selection be made?
Final selection of awardees will be made by the Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, based on the outcome of the initial peer review, concurrence of National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, and programmatic considerations. Final selections will be announced publicly.