$2B Long-Haul COVID-19 (PASC) Funding

ROAs for the much-awaited funding for the study of long-haul COVID-19 dropped last week, and the technical assistance webinar took place today. One ROA covers research (Recovery Cohort Studies), the other covers cores (Cores).

The government projects these ROAs are only the first of what will amount to $2B in awards total for this long-haul COVID-19 initiative, so if these ROAs aren’t a fit, stay tuned for the release of more ROAs in the coming weeks and months.

As an aside, NIH has dubbed this enterprise the “Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC) Initiative and Investigator Consortium”–so put “PASC” in your key word search moving forward.

The ROAs are extensive and clear to my reading, but today’s webinar helped clarify some strategies regarding cohorts (the ratio of acute to post-acute, for example) and interest in exceptional data or circumstances (for example, unusual data sets that other applicants are unlikely to have).

The focus is on quick turnaround to capture data, and awardees will be expected to work together–this isn’t a lone wolf funding opportunity, and it’s not an R01 timeline. It’s a consortium approach. (More about that below.)

Funding is through the Other Transaction Authority (OTA)–not a grant, not a contract, not a cooperative agreement. It is a bilateral agreement used primarily for R&D (and funding is through the NIH). Also, don’t forget OTA works on milestone-based payment schedules, so tie that budget tightly to your proposal and provide a rigorous budget justification. And realize that some flexibility will be required with payment (anticipate heavy use of subs) and timelines because this is a consortium.

Some OTA strategies–format (eg, font size) is not a focus, content is. Respond to those specific questions from the ROA in your proposal! And if you are responding for all 3 cores, for example, and a question applies to all 3–then put the answer in each section (ie, consider them separate, stand-alone). And yes, each section is 10 pages max. Applying for 3 cores? 30 pages. But, only 10 pages max per core (so, 10/10/10, not 12/15/3, for example).

Applications are due 16 March for the Cores ROA, 23 March for the Recovery Cohort Studies ROA.

Find the webinar here.