Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Opportunity in Environmental Health Sciences (R21)

Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Opportunity in Environmental Health Sciences (R21)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health14618298623_5b0befa780_o

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is intended to support research in environmental health science in which an event has or will imminently occur that provides a limited window of opportunity to collect samples and data to support the assessment of exposures and human health impact.  The goal of the program is to characterize initial exposures (measured either by sampling air, water, soil, etc.), collect human biological samples, or collect human health and exposure data in order to provide critical information to understand exposure-health outcome relationships, with the goal of providing data that will facilitate timely public health action to protect health.

The distinguishing features of an appropriate study are 1) the unforeseen nature of the event and 2) the need for rapid review and funding (substantially shorter than the typical NIH grant review/award cycle) in order for the scientific question to be approached and for the research design to be implemented. It should be clear that the event offers a limited opportunity to address unique and important research questions that could only be answered if the project is initiated with minimum delay.  Ideally, the results from the research funded by the time-sensitive R21 would lead to analyses of longer term health outcomes, although funding of these analyses would not be appropriate for this mechanism, but rather for future regular application processes.

An application submitted to this time-sensitive FOA will be considered only one time. Resubmission applications are not permitted.

This FOA encourages partnerships between researchers and the affected community (e.g., community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, local health and environmental agencies, worker organizations, etc.) as appropriate.

Applications seeking funds for the following are considered non-responsive to this announcement: 1) expansion of an existing study; 2) hazard remediation or cleanup; 3) studies of environmental hazards or chemical agents that alone do not impact human health; 4) estimating exposure to pathogens, and lastly studies proposing to use animals (e.g., pets, laboratory animals, or wildlife) as surrogates for human exposure.

Examples of appropriate studies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assessing short-term health impacts resulting from environmental exposures following a natural or man-made disaster, using biomarkers, survey instruments, medical assessments, or other appropriate methods. Examples might include acute toxic responses or exacerbation of existing diseases. Subjects in these studies could include local residents or early responders.
  • Collecting biospecimens and/or data on exposures to environmental agents immediately following a natural or man-made disaster to use in assessment of the effects of these exposures on short- or longer-term health outcomes.
  • Collecting data on the release of environmental toxicants that could result in exposures and consequently to adverse health outcomes.  Applications should discuss how these data might be used in health outcome or exposure research.
  • Examining the environmental health impact of rapid changes in policy or legislation that affect air or water treatment, content, and quality. For example, in an effort to improve air quality, a Department of Public Health issues a clean air mandate to convert heating oil to cleaner sources within 6 months. An application would be considered responsive in proposing to collect baseline and/or post levels of environmental and/or human biospecimens to examine the effects of changes to fine particulate matter.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-ES-16-005
Funding Opportunity Title: Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Opportunity in Environmental Health Sciences (R21)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Environment
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
CFDA Number(s): 93.113 — Environmental Health
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: May 03, 2016
Last Updated Date: May 03, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Jun 01, 2019  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Jun 01, 2019  
Archive Date: Jul 02, 2019
Estimated Total Program Funding: $800,000
Award Ceiling: $200,000


Eligible Applicants:
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
City or township governments
Small businesses
State governments
Special district governments
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Independent school districts
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
County governments
Additional Information on Eligibility: Other Eligible Applicants include the following: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISISs); Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government; Faith-based or Community-based Organizations; Hispanic-serving Institutions; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations); Regional Organizations; Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ; U.S. Territory or Possession.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is intended to support environmental health research in which an unpredictable event provides a limited window of opportunity to collect human biological samples or environmental exposure data. The primary motivation of the FOA is to understand the consequences of natural and man-made disasters or emerging environmental public health threats in the U.S. and abroad. A distinguishing feature of an appropriate study is the need for rapid review and funding (substantially shorter than the typical NIH grant review/award cycle) in order for the research question to be addressed and swiftly implemented. The shortened timeframe will be achieved by more frequent application due dates and expediting peer review, council concurrence and award issuance. The entire cycle, from submission to award, is expected to be within 3-4 months.
Link to Additional Information:
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIH OER Webmaster FBOWebmaster@OD.NIH.GOV
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact the NIH OER Webmaster


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