RFAs – How to Apply

APPLICATION DUE DATES: Monday, March 5, 2018, by 8PM Eastern Time

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REQUIRED ELEMENTS (for all applications):

  1. PHS 398 Forms Packets as outlined below
  2. Specific Aims – no more than ONE (1) page
  3. Research Strategy – no more than FIVE (5) pages for projects with budgets that are $150,000 per year or less, and no more than SEVEN (7) pages for projects with budgets exceeding $150,000 per year.
  4. Protection of Human Subjects document as described below
  5. Appendices – only includes References, Letters of Support, and any documents SPECIFICALLY required in the RFA description. DO NOT include any other appendices.


The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a simple one-page document which will assist the DRDC in ensuring that enough Triage Panelists are identified. The LOI is encouraged but NOT required.  By 8PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, please email your LOI to the DRDC project manager at: info@disabilityresearchcenter.com. Your LOI should include: a) Number and name of RFA to which you are responding, b) PI name and contact info, c) Institution name, and d) Brief (up to one paragraph) project description.



IMPORTANT: WORD versions of the forms should be used, and then the entire application should be converted to .pdf before submission, in order to avoid incorrect information begin overwritten when multiple applicants use fillable .pdf forms.

  1. PHS 398 Form page 1 – Face Page, signed by an official from applicant organization (use the continuation page for Multiple PIs/PDs, as needed)
  2. PHS 398 Form page 2 – Project Summary, Relevance, Performance Sites, Key Personnel
  3. PHS 398 Form page 4 – Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period
  4. PHS 398 Form page 5 – Budget for Entire Budget Period & JUSTIFICATION (included on the bottom of Form Page 5 – use Continuation Format Pages as needed)
  5. PHS 398 Checklist Format Page – include F&A Cost Calculation
  6. PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
  7. PHS 398 Biographical Sketch for the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators (instructions are HERE)

The purpose of this section is to concisely and realistically describe the goals of the proposed research and summarize expected outcomes, including the potential effect of the proposed research. Your specific aims should not exceed one page in length.
The specific aims should include the following components:
• broad, long-term goals
• specific objectives and hypotheses to be tested
• expected outcomes
• expected effect on the research field
The specific aims section should include a brief narrative describing your long-term goals or objectives and the hypothesis to be tested. Follow this narrative with a numbered list of aims. Ensure your specific objectives or hypotheses are clearly stated, testable, and adequately supported by citations and preliminary data, and explain how the results will be used to test the hypothesis. Each aim should consist of only one sentence. Use a brief paragraph under each aim if more detail is needed. In general, successful applications have between two and four specific aims. Strive for clarity and cohesiveness. This is the most important page of your entire application. It may be the only section that unassigned reviewers read to understand your proposal’s approach and innovation.

3. RESEARCH STRATEGY – LIMITED to FIVE (5)  PAGES for projects with budgets that are $150,000 per year or less, LIMITED to SEVEN (7) pages for projects with budgets exceeding $150,000 per year.
  • Single spaced, 11pt Arial font
  • Allowable formatting: bold, italics, underlined, bulleted or numbered lists
  • Arabic numbers may be used for references
  • Do not put a list of references in body of proposal – this item should be included as an appendix
  • Ensure URLs are complete, accurate and operational.

REQUIRED ELEMENTS for Research Strategy (items a-g must be included within the allowable page limits)

a. Project Title:  No more than 120 characters.

b. Name of Principal Investigator(s)

c. Anticipated duration of project and level of funding

d. Project Description and Objectives: State the purpose and intent of the project.  Include any pertinent background information that establishes the need for the research.

e. Research Plan and Project Activities:  Provide a Research Plan that includes a (1) description of the study design and methods, (2) description of the study population, (3) recruitment plan, (4) a proposed timeline, (5) dissemination plan, and (6) evaluation measures.  Within the Research Plan, describe the types of activities /methods that will be used to achieve the research objectives.  Further, describe the potential public health impact of this research project.

f. IRB: Briefly describe the involvement of human subjects in the research and the approaches that will be used to ensure protection of all subjects, include:  (1) Risk to subjects; (2) Adequacy of protection against risks; (3) Potential benefits of the proposed research to the subjects and others; (4) Importance of the knowledge to be gained. It is assumed that projects will obtain IRB approval after funding notification, “just-in-time” to avoid delays in project roll out and progress. There is no need to submit an IRB application before a project is notified about funding. NOTE: All applicants are required to submit a separate section about the Protection of Human Subjects (described below).  This IRB section of the application is just a brief description the involvement of human subjects.

g. Data Security: Describe any data collection, management, and analysis or dissemination activities and indicate if they may result in the development of a new information system or use of an existing information system.  If it is anticipated that an information system will be used, please describe where the system will reside and who will have access to it.


Follow these guidelines to create a document, entitled “Protection of Human Subjects.”

5. APPENDICES – Only submit the documents below. You may NOT use the appendices to circumvent page limits!
  • Letters of Support that describe specific activities that will be conducted by collaborating organizations
  • References for Research Strategy
  • Any other REQUIRED document, as specified in the RFA to which you are applying



  1. Obtain official signature on Form Page 1 and merge all documents in this order: PHS 398 Form pages 1 (signed), 2, 4, 5, checklist, PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information, Biographical sketches, Specific Aims, Research Strategy, References, Proection of Human Subjects, Letters of Support, and any other REQUIRED Appendix into one PDF file.
  2. Make sure that all pages are consecutively numbered, and that the page numbers are placed on the bottom center of each page of your PDF application file.
  3. Use WORD versions to fill out the PHS 398 forms, and then convert them to PDF before submitting.
  4. Upload your single pdf file using the link provided below.
  5. No application will be accepted past the due date and time.
  6. A confirmation email will be sent automatically to the email address listed on the submission form.  Please check your junk folder if you do not receive it, and email the DRDC project manager here, if you do not receive a confirmation of receipt.
  7. Questions? Email us by clicking here.

Submissions are closed. Check back next year.