RFAs – How to Apply

DRDC active grant opportunities are here.

QUESTIONS? Check the Q&A page first.  If your question is not covered, please email us at info@disabilityresearchcenter.com.

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 no more than SEVEN (7) pages
  4. 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.  Please email your LOI by February 19, 2021 to the DRDC project manager at: info@disabilityresearchcenter.com. Your LOI should include: a) 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.

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE by 11PM Eastern Time on Friday, February 26, 2021.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: Complete all elements shown below, and follow the detailed information about How to Submit Applications at the bottom of the page.

1. Complete the listed PHS Forms shown below plus a Non-Fellowship Biosketch for the PI and each Co-Investigators.
Instructions and all forms can be found HERE
IMPORTANT: Please use Microsoft WORD versions of the PHS 398 forms (except for the Human Subjects Information Form) when you work on your application. You will manually convert your Word forms, Research Strategy, etc. to PDF after they are all completed to make your application package.
  • PHS 398 Form page 1 – Face Page, signed by an official from applicant organization (use the continuation page for Multiple PIs/PDs, as needed)
  • PHS 398 Form page 2 – Project Summary, Relevance, Performance Sites, Key Personnel
  • PHS 398 Form page 4 – Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period
  • 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)
  • PHS 398 Checklist Form Page – include F&A Cost Calculation
  • PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form – The link to this form on the PHS 398 forms family webpage does not open properly in most web browsers, so please download and open it.
  • Non-Fellowship Biosketch for the Principal Investigator and all Co-Investigators (The biosketch form and instructions can be found 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.

  • Single spaced, 11pt Arial font
  • Allowable formatting: bold, italics, underlined, bulleted or numbered lists
  • Arabic numbers may be used for references
  • Provide at least one-half inch margins (½”) – top, bottom, left, and right – for all pages. No applicant-supplied information should appear in the margins.
  • 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 and methods that will be used to achieve the research objectives.  Further, describe the potential public health impact of this research project.

f. IRB: As covered in the forms list above, applicants are required to submit the multipart PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form that covers the protection of human subjects.  In the Research Strategy, the purpose of  this IRB section is to briefly describe the expected involvement of human subjects and the approaches that will be used to ensure their protection, including:  (1) the risk to subjects; (2) the adequacy of protection against risks; (3) the potential benefits of the proposed research to the subjects and others; and (4) the 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.

g. Data Collection and Management: Briefly describe plans for data security, including collection and management. Also, describe any plans for sharing data after the study ends, including where the data will reside and who will be able to access to it.

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


  1. Use WORD versions to fill out the PHS 398 forms (except for the Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form).
  2. Obtain official signature on Form Page 1.
  3. Convert the individual Word documents to PDF and then merge all into a single PDF file in this order: PHS 398 Form pages 1 (signed), multiple PI/PD form (if applicable), 2, 4, 5, & checklist; Biographical sketches; Specific Aims; Research Strategy; References; Letters of Support; REQUIRED Appendices (if applicable); and the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form.  If you have trouble with merging the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials form with the others in a single pdf, then you may submit it separately using the same upload link.  It must be submitted by the application deadline!
  4. 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.
  5. Upload your single pdf file using the link provided below.
  6. No application will be accepted past the due date and time.
  7. 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.
  8. Questions? Email us by clicking here.

Submissions are closed. Check back next year.