IMPLEMENTING THE CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE IN AUTISM RESEARCH PROGRAM

Release Date:  May 9, 2001

NOTICE:  NOT-OD-01-039

National Institutes of Health

Based on the requirements of P.L. 106-310, The Children's Health Act of  
2000, Title I - Autism, notification is hereby given that the Director,  NIH, 
encourages the submission of applications for the Centers of  Excellence in 
Autism Research program, under the provisions of amendments to Sec. 409C(b), 
as follows:

“(1) IN GENERAL.—  The Director [of NIH] shall under subsection (a)(1) make 
awards of grants and contracts to public or nonprofit private entities to pay 
all or part of the cost of planning, establishing, improving, and providing 
basic operating support for centers of  excellence regarding research on 
autism.

“(2) RESEARCH.— Each center under paragraph (1) shall conduct basic and 
clinical research into autism. Such research should include investigations 
into the cause, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, control, and 
treatment of autism. The centers, as a group, shall conduct  research 
including the fields of developmental neurobiology, genetics, and 
psychopharmacology.

“(3) SERVICES FOR PATIENTS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.— A center under paragraph (1) may expend amounts provided 
under such paragraph to carry out a program to make individuals aware of 
opportunities to participate as subjects in research conducted by the 
centers.

“(B) REFERRALS AND COSTS.— A program under subparagraph (A) may, in 
accordance  with such criteria as the Director may establish, provide to the 
subjects described in such subparagraph, referrals for health and other 
services, and such patient care costs as are required for research.

“(C) AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS.— The extent to which a center can demonstrate 
availability and access to clinical services shall be considered by the 
Director in decisions about awarding grants to applicants which meet the 
scientific criteria for funding under this section.

“(4) COORDINATION OF CENTERS; REPORTS.— The Director shall, as appropriate, 
provide for the coordination of information among centers under paragraph (1) 
and ensure regular communication between such centers, and may require the 
periodic preparation of reports on the activities of the centers and the 
submission of the reports to the Director. 

“(5) ORGANIZATION OF CENTERS.— Each center under paragraph (1) shall use the 
facilities of a single institution, or be formed from a consortium of 
cooperating institutions, meeting such requirements as may be prescribed by 
the Director. 

“(6) NUMBER OF CENTERS; DURATION OF SUPPORT.— 

“(A) IN GENERAL.— The Director shall provide for the establishment of not 
less than 5 centers under paragraph (1).

“(B) DURATION.— Support for a center established under paragraph (1) may be 
provided under this section for a period of not to exceed 5 years. Such 
period may be extended for 1 or more additional periods not exceeding 5 years 
if the operations of such center have been reviewed by an appropriate 
technical and scientific peer review group established by the Director and if 
such group has recommended to the Director that such period should be 
extended.
  
FUNDS AVAILABLE           

It is expected that awarding of meritorious center grant applications will 
begin in FY2002.  A total of $12 million is being allocated for these awards.

RELATED OPPORTUNITIES

As a first step in implementing the Centers of Excellence in Autism Research 
program, NIH recently issued RFA-MH-01-013, DEVELOPMENTAL GRANTS FOR AUTISM 
CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MH-01-013.html).  
That RFA is designed to provide developmental grants to teams 
of investigators to enhance their ability to compete for comprehensive center 
support under the Centers of Excellence in Autism Research Program described 
in the Children’s Health Act of 2000.  The deadline for developmental grant 
applications submitted in response to RFA-MH-01-013 is July 12, 2001.  
Successful applications for developmental grants under the RFA will be funded 
for one year, with the earliest anticipated award date being September 30, 
2001.

This Notice is to announce that NIH will release an RFA in mid-June 2001 that 
will formally solicit proposals for Comprehensive Centers of Excellence in 
Autism Research, with a deadline for applications of December 1, 2001. It is 
anticipated that funding of successful Center grant applications will take 
place by June 2002.  Investigators who believe that they have sufficient 
expertise and resources to coordinate and implement a Center program now 
should contact the individual listed in INQUIRES below.

It should be noted that applicants may apply either for developmental support 
under RFA-MH-01-013 by the July 12, 2001 deadline, or for comprehensive 
center support by December 1, 200l, but they may not compete for both awards.  
It is anticipated that a second Comprehensive Centers of Excellence 
solicitation will be announced in early 2002.  Applicants who submit a 
comprehensive center application by the December 1, 2001 deadline and are not 
successful may submit a revised application in response to the planned 2002 
solicitation, along with those investigators who received developmental 
grants and new teams that might wish to apply.

INQUIRIES

For additional information regarding this Notice contact:

Steve Foote, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
Neuroscience Center, Room 7204, MSC-9645
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda MD  20892-9645
Telephone:  (301) 443-3563
Fax:  (301) 443-1731
Email:  sfoote@mail.nih.gov


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