U.S. Federal Agency Responses and Research Opportunities: April 1 – 7, 2020

To provide relevant information to ASPB members, we will be sharing weekly updates on US Federal Agency responses to COVID-19 and research opportunities. The information below was prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates and curated by Shandrea Stallworth, Early Career Representative on ASPB’s Science Policy Committee. Additional information about ASPB’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH has created a central site for its current guidance  and history of the Coronavirus Disease 2019.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

NIFA has released its FAQ document following the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance for administrative relief for grantees. Among other responses, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is prepared to offer both No-Cost Extensions (NCE) and supplemental funding to researchers whose experiments are disrupted by COVID-19. The FAQ document says that additional guidance will follow on how NIFA intends to approach both NCEs and supplemental funding.

The document also includes guidance for researchers who would like to submit proposals relevant to COVID-19. NIFA has also released its guidance responding directly to the OMB memo on research relief, including specifics on extensions and salaries and other costs, which can be found here.

Department of Energy (DOE)

DOE continues to extend certain deadlines for funding opportunities open to research universities. Most recently, on March 31, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) issued deadline extensions to funding opportunities and Requests For Information (RFI), including:

  • Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP): the preliminary application deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments is now March 30.
  • RFI for Next Generation Ammonia System Integration Project: the response deadline is now April 6.
  • Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned Fusion for an Overabundance of Watts (GAMOW): the concept paper deadline is now April 10.
  • Flexible Carbon Capture and Storage (FLECCS): the full application deadline is now April 14.
  • Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon Emission and High Efficiency (REEACH): the full application deadline is now May 22.
  • Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives (ASCEND): the full application deadline is now May 22.

DOE continues to extend certain deadlines for funding opportunities open to research universities. Most recently, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) extended the deadline for the Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) solicitation. Concept papers are now due April 29, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. Full applications will be due July 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET.

For more information, DOE recommends referencing the ARPA-E Funding Opportunities Announcements. In general, DOE extensions are still on a case by case basis, and we recommend that researchers contact the lead program manager assigned to the funding opportunity for up to date information on due dates. ARPA-E offered additional guidance for awardees to continue ongoing projects as well as provide administrative/financial relief for award recipients. The guidance recognizes the need for flexibility for researchers given limited access to facilities, and disrupted supply chains as a result of the COVID crisis. ARPA-E specifically details:

  • Flexibility with SAM registration;
  • Flexibility with application deadlines;
  • No-cost extensions;
  • Continuation requests;
  • Allowability of salaries and other project activities;
  • Allowability of costs not normally chargeable to awards;
  • Exemption from certain procurement requirements;
  • Extension of financial, performance, and other reporting;
  • Extension of closeout reports; and
  • Extension of single audit submissions.



The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) issued a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to solicit research proposals focused on “a better understanding of host response, associated diseases, and short- and long-term clinical outcomes of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2.” Research interests include but are not limited to the development of novel methods using genomic techniques to identify signatures of infection, prognosis, and severity of disease, development of novel genomic-based tools, kits or reagents to track and monitor SARSCoV-2 infected individuals, and use of tools to understand the genetic epidemiology of SARSCoV-2. Additional details and application and submission details can be found in the Notice. Investigators can apply for both Administrative Supplements and Urgent Competitive Revisions through this NOSI.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) issued a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) highlighting the need for mission critical areas of research for NIA as they relate to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. NIA is encouraging applications for both Administrative Supplements and Competitive Revisions that address research interests relevant to work within the Division of Aging Biology, Division of Neuroscience, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, and the Division of Behavioral and Social Research. Details about the specific research priorities within each Division are listed in the full NOSI. As part of this announcement, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will also accept applications for supplements and revisions to existing NIMH grants; these applications should focus on “how a disrupted workforce may adequately respond/adapt to and maintain services or provide additional care for new or worsening mental health needs and/or suicide risk in midlife and older age adults.” View additional details.


DOE is participating in the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. Currently, the six leading DOE National Labs with high performance computing capabilities are involved in the Consortium—Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Sandia National Laboratories. The purpose is to leverage the country’s leading supercomputing capabilities to perform complex simulations employing machine learning and artificial intelligence to help address COVID-19. Researchers should submit COVID-19 related research proposals to the Consortium via an online portal, which will then be reviewed for matching with computing resources from one of the participating national laboratories.


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