Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations (OEREP), http://www.ahrq.gov/about/organix.htm

Title: Small Grant Program for Conference Support

Note: The policies, guidelines, terms, and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH.

Announcement Type:
This is a re-issue of PAR-00-141.

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PAR-05-123

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.226 (for all grants & Coop Agree.)

Key Dates
Release Date: June 15, 2005
Application Receipt Dates(s): August 20, October 20, December 20, February 20, April 20, June 20 annually (beginning August 20, 2005 and ending June 20, 2008)
Peer Review Date(s): October, December , February, April, June, August
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: January 1, March 1, May 1, July 1, September 1, November 1
Date of conference: Within 12 months of start date of award
Conference Summary: Within 90 days after the conference dates
Expiration Date: November 18, 2005

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announces its continued interest in supporting conferences through its Small Grant Program for Conference Support. AHRQ seeks to support conferences that help to further its mission to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The types of conferences eligible for support include: 1) Research development - conferences where issues or problems in the delivery of health services are defined and a research agenda or strategy for studying them is developed; 2) Design and methodology - conferences where methodological and technical issues of major importance in the field of health services research are addressed or new designs and methodologies are developed; 3) Dissemination conferences - where research findings are summarized and communicated broadly to organizations and individuals that have the capability to use the information to improve the outcomes, quality, access to, and cost and utilization of health care services; and/or, 4) Research Training, Infrastructure and Career Development-conferences where research faculty and students are brought together with users of research to develop, share and disseminate research products, experiences, curricula, syllabi, approaches or core competencies required to train individuals from multi- and interdisciplinary backgrounds or prepare developing or emerging research institutions to conduct and translate research related to fostering improvements in health care delivery in the US.

AHRQ is especially interested in supporting conferences that demonstrate strategies which include plans for disseminating conference materials and products beyond the participants attending the event. Such strategies might include, but are not limited to, submitting articles for publication, posting information on a Web site, and seeking formal opportunities to discuss conference information with others.

This PA will use the conference grant (R13) award mechanism. AHRQ small conference grants are those with direct costs of $50,000 or less over the project period. Applicants may request full or partial support for conferences. Partial support is encouraged and the peer review will consider the overall structure and design of the conference as well as the sub-component for which support is being requested. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

Applications may be submitted by domestic (U.S.) public and private nonprofit organizations, including universities, clinics, units of State and local governments, tribes, foundations, and scientific or professional societies. An individual is not eligible to receive a grant in support of a conference. In the case of an international conference, the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society is the eligible grantee. Grant funds may not be used to provide general support for international conferences held outside the United States or Canada. However, grant funds may be awarded to support specific aspects of an international conference held outside the United States or Canada.

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 9/2004). The PHS 398 is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

Table of Contents

Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

  Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
    1. Research Objectives

  Section II. Award Information
    1. Mechanism(s) of Support
    2. Funds Available

  Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
      A. Eligible Institutions
      B. Eligible Individuals
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching
    3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

  Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    1. Address to Request Application Information
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    3. Submission Dates
      A. Receipt and Review and Anticipated Start Dates
        1. Letter of Intent
      B. Sending an Application to the NIH
      C. Application Processing
    4. Intergovernmental Review
    5. Funding Restrictions
    6. Other Submission Requirements

  Section V. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process
      A. Additional Review Criteria
      B. Additional Review Considerations
      C. Sharing Research Data
      D. Sharing Research Resources

  Section VI. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices
    2. Administrative Requirements
    3. Reporting

  Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
    1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
    2. Peer Review Contact(s)
    3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

  Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

1. Research Objectives

Purpose

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announces its continued interest in supporting conferences through its Small Conference Grant Program. AHRQ small conference grants are those with direct costs of $50,000 or less over the project period. This Program is intended to complement and promote AHRQ's core research by providing a mechanism for Agency stakeholders and others to (1) develop health services research agendas and identify strategies and mechanisms for studying them, (2) discuss and develop consensus around health services research methodological and technical issues, (3) disseminate health services research information for formulating or evaluating health policy, managing health care programs, and using or purchasing health services, and (4) develop partnerships with stakeholder organizations and build their capacity to participate in research activities and use the results of health services research.

This program announcement describes the procedures and criteria for the Program. It updates and supersedes the "Small Grant Program for Conference Support," PAR-00-141, published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on October 2, 2000.

See Section VIII. Other Information – Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Conference Objectives

AHRQ seeks to support conferences that help to further its mission to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The types of conferences eligible for support include:

1) Research development - conferences where issues or problems in the delivery of health services are defined and a research agenda or strategy for studying them is developed;

2) Design and methodology - conferences where methodological and technical issues of major importance in the field of health services research are addressed or new designs and methodologies are developed;

3) Dissemination conferences - where research findings are summarized and communicated broadly to organizations and individuals that have the capability to use the information to improve the outcomes, quality, access to, and cost and utilization of health care services; and,

4) Research Training, Infrastructure and Career Development-conferences where research faculty and students are brought together with users of research to develop, share and disseminate research products, experiences, curricula, syllabi, approaches or core competencies required to train individuals from multi- and interdisciplinary backgrounds or prepare developing or emerging research institutions to conduct and translate research related to fostering improvements in health care delivery in the US.

AHRQ is especially interested in supporting conferences that demonstrate strategies which include plans for disseminating conference materials and products beyond the participants attending the event. Such strategies might include, but are not limited to, submitting articles for publication, posting information on a Web site, and seeking formal opportunities to discuss conference information with others.

Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This PA will use the conference grant ( R13 ) award mechanism. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process. Applications submitted in modular format will be returned without review.

2. Funds Available

The total direct costs awarded under this PA for conferences must not exceed $50,000 for the entire project period. AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process. Conference grant applications requesting more than $50,000 direct costs must be sent in accordance with the “AHRQ Grant Program for Large Conference Support” PA (PA-03-117) for large conference grants, published in the NIH Guide May 8, 2003, “Budget Limitation on AHRQ Large Research and Conference Grant Applications (NOT-HS-04-007), published in the NIH Guide August 5, 2004, and the application submission dates in the form PHS 398 (rev. 9/04). Large conference grant applications are reviewed using a different procedure than the one described herein. These program announcements are available from AHRQ's web site: http://www.ahrq.gov/ (Funding Opportunities).

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit an application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

For the purpose of this PA, AHRQ will make grants only to non-profit organizations. For-profit organizations may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors. Organizations described in sections 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.

Applications may be submitted by domestic (U.S.) public and private nonprofit organizations, including universities, clinics, units of State and local governments, tribes, foundations, scientific or professional societies. An individual is not eligible to receive a grant in support of a conference. In the case of an international conference, the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society is the eligible grantee. Grant funds may not be used to provide general support for international conferences held outside the United States or Canada. However, grant funds may be awarded to support specific aspects of an international conference held outside the United States or Canada.

Applicants may request full or partial support for conferences. Partial support is encouraged and the peer review will consider the overall structure and design of the conference as well as the sub-component for which support is being requested.

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed conference is invited to work with his or her institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ programs.

AHRQ encourages investigators and new investigators (as defined in the PHS 398 application instructions) who are women, members of racial and ethnic of minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply as Principal Investigators.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching
AHRQ does not require cost sharing for applications submitted in response to this PA.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria
Not applicable

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 9/2004). Applications must have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/. The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

The proposed date for the conference should be included on page 2 of the application as a part of the conference description.

The proposed location and facilities for the conference should be described on page 2 of the application under the section entitled "Performance Site(s)."

The narrative portion of the application will substitute for the Research Plan described in form PHS 398 (Rev. 9/04). The narrative portion should be responsive to the "Merit Review Criteria" outlined in this PA, and describe the following:

The narrative portion may not exceed 10 pages in length and must include all material related to the project justification. A conference agenda or draft agenda,should be added as an appendix.

See also Subsections IV.3 and VI.2. for additional information.

3. Submission Dates
Applications must be received by the receipt dates described below (Section IV.3.A).

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Application Receipt Dates(s): August 20, October 20, December 20, February 20, April 20, June 20 annually (beginning August 20, 2005 and ending June 20, 2008)
Peer Review Date(s): October, December, February, April, June, August
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: January 1, March 1, May 1, July 1, September 1, November 1
Date of conference: Within 12 months of start date of award
Conference Summary: Within 90 days after the conference dates
Expiration Date: June 21, 2008

Potential applicants are reminded that no public announcement of AHRQ's financial commitment can be made for a conference before the applicant receives a Notice of Grant Award. Prospective applicants should allow adequate time for application submission and review and award processing in their plans for conference development.

3.A.1. Letter of Intent
Not applicable

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms as described above. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all appendix materials, must also be sent to:

Ruth Ann Hadley
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1391
FAX: (301) 427-1562
Email: rhadley@AHRQ.gov

3.C. Application Processing

Applications, in response to this PA, must be received by the application receipt dates described above (Section IV.3.A.). If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. AHRQ will evaluate applications for completeness and responsiveness to the PA.

AHRQ will not accept any application in response to this PA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. AHRQ will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of a substantial revision of an application already reviewed, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of human subjects is not required prior to peer review of an AHRQ application. The “AHRQ Revised Policy for IRB Review of Human Subjects Protocols in Grant Applications” was published in the NIH Guide on September 27, 2000. (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-hs-00-003.html).

The PA is also available on AHRQ's Web site, http://www.AHRQ.gov, (see under Funding Opportunities).

4. Intergovernmental Review
This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the PHS Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/gps/index.html (See also Section VI.3. Reporting.)

6. Other Submission Requirements

Priority Populations

The Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (See http://www.ahrq.gov/hrqa99a.htm) reauthorized the Agency and directed AHRQ, in carrying out its mission, to conduct and support research and evaluations, and to support demonstration projects, with respect to the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas); and health care for priority populations, which include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care.  To implement this directive, AHRQ published a notice in the NIH Guide on February 28, 2003, establishing a new Agency policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in health services research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html). Applicants under this PA should address the requirements of including priority populations as specified in the Notice. 

Publication Transmittal: General AHRQ Requirements

In keeping with the Agency's efforts to translate the results of AHRQ-funded research into practice and policy, grantees and/or contractors are to inform the AHRQ Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when articles from their AHRQ supported activities are accepted for publication in the professional literature. Grantees and contractors should also discuss any ideas about other dissemination and marketing efforts with OCKT staff. The goal is to ensure that efforts to disseminate research findings are coordinated with other Agency activities to maximize awareness and application of the research by potential users, including clinicians, patients, health care systems and purchasers and policymakers. This is critical when outreach to the general and trade press is involved. Contact with the media will take place in close coordination with OCKT and the press offices of the grantee's or contractor's institutions. In cases when products are created (such as annual or final reports, Web-based tools, CD-ROMs), grantees and contractors will be asked to submit to OCKT a brief plan describing how the product will be publicized. An OCKT staff person will be assigned to each product and will coordinate the implementation of the plan, especially issues related to printing and electronic dissemination, and outreach to the media.

Assessment of AHRQ Grant Programs

In carrying out its stewardship of research programs, the AHRQ may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of Agency research programs. Accordingly, grant recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted after the completion of awards for periodic updates on publications resulting from AHRQ grant awards, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of AHRQ-sponsored research.

AHRQ expects grant recipients to keep the Agency informed of publications as well as the known uses and impact of their Agency-sponsored research. Applicants are to agree to notify AHRQ immediately when a manuscript based on research supported by the grant is accepted for publication, and to provide the expected date of publication as soon as it is known, regardless of whether or not the grant award is still active.

The past cooperation of applicants with regard to the submissions described in this section may be considered in the application review to assess applicants' potential for responsible stewardship of awarded funds.

Specific Instructions for Modular Grant applications.

AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process. Applicants for funding from AHRQ should ignore application instructions concerning the Modular Grant Application and Award Process, and prepare applications using Form Page 4 (Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period) and Form Page 5 (Budget for Entire Proposed Period of Support). Applications submitted in the Modular format will be returned without review.

Plan for Sharing Research Data
Not applicable

Sharing Research Resources
Not applicable

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Administrative Criteria: Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by AHRQ for completeness and responsiveness. Merit Review Criteria are described in Section V.3 below.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications that are complete and responsive to the PA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications not following instructions given in this PA will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

As part of the merit review, all applications will:

The applications will be assessed based on the likelihood that the proposed conference will have a substantial impact. The application's overall score will reflect how well the following criteria are addressed in the application, with weighting for different criteria as appropriate for each application.

Applications submitted in response to a PA will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

Conditions of Award

In addition to standard grant requirements, the following terms and conditions of award will be set prior to the issuance of a Notice of Grant Award:

1. Agreement for up to 5 AHRQ staff to attend the conference without paying a registration fee.

2. Agreement to hold the conference within 12 months of the start date of the award.

3. The understanding that under no circumstance will support be provided for conferences held prior to the start date of grant award.

4. Agreement to submit an original and two copies of an executive summary and one-page abstract of the conference and summary of participant's evaluation ratings/comments, which includes discussion of what you learned and what you might do differently in the future, to AHRQ no later than 90 days after the dates of the conference. At the time of the award, the project officer will determine how many copies of the conference products will be required for distribution to AHRQ staff and other DHHS colleagues.

5. To the extent relevant to the particular conference design, topic and goal, agreement to dissemination germane AHRQ product(s).

6. Agreement to list AHRQ as a meeting supporter on conference materials, subsequent proceedings and references.

The application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Review Criteria

1. Significance. Does this conference address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will be the effect of this conference on the concepts or methods that drive this field?

A. The topic selected must complement existing Agency research activities and interests.

B. The conference must relate clearly and directly to the field of health services research and its goal of developing and translating research to improve our health care system.

C. The conference topic and objective(s) must be succinctly and clearly stated, and reflected in all aspects of the conference proposal.

D. Conference sessions should include health services research related, but not limited, to issues such as:

H. Expected conference outcomes should have a national impact or make a significant contribution to a particular field. If the conference is state or regionally based, plans for a broad dissemination of conference materials and some indication of national relevance must be included.

2. Approach. Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and evaluation plan adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the conference? This should be described in the narrative.

A. The conference must be for the purpose of one of the following: disseminate research results, formulate a research agenda, develop a research methodology or research training, infrastructure and career development.

B. If the meeting format includes a call for abstracts, the application should include a summary of the process for soliciting, reviewing and selecting research to be presented at the conference.

C. The conference format must support the conference purpose and facilitate expected outcomes.

D. The planning committee should include representation from the research and research-user communities, and include a process for outreach to a subset of the conference target audience. To the extent consistent with the conference design, topic and goal(s), the planning process also should include outreach to people of differing views, and outreach to representatives of one or more of the Agency priority populations.

E. Speakers selected or proposed, or criteria for speaker selection, must be appropriate for the session topic. A plan should be in place to identify other presenters if those originally sought are unavailable.

F. Evaluation of the conference results must be included in the design. A draft agenda, with speakers, should be included.

3. Innovation. Does the conference employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

4. Investigators. Is the principal investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this conference? Is the conference proposed appropriate to the experience level as the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

Conference planning staff and/or advisors must include persons with the requisite education, training and experience.

5. Environment. Is there evidence of institutional support?

The applicant organization must have the institutional resources, infrastructure, and demonstrated capacity to support the proposed conference.

6. Budget. Is the proposed project budget and the requested period of support reasonable in relation to the proposed conference? The budget must be adequate to support the conference design and must be justified.

Other resources necessary to produce the intended outcome should have been identified or obtained.

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:
In addition to the above criteria, the following items will be considered in the determination of technical merit

Dissemination Activities

1. Plans must have been made to disseminate conference products to an audience broader than the conference participants.

2. To the extent relevant to the particular conference topic, goal and format, the application should address opportunities for dissemination of germane AHRQ product(s), i.e., research findings and publications, databases, tools.

3. For applicants who have been funded by AHRQ within the past three years, evidence of dissemination and outcomes from previous conference(s) must be discussed.

Special Budget Requirements

Applications may request full or partial support for conferences. AHRQ can support up to $50,000 in direct cost with the small conference grant program. However, applicants are encouraged to obtain multiple sources of funding as a means of maximizing limited AHRQ funds. Where partial support of a conference is requested from AHRQ, peer reviewers will consider the overall structure and design of the conference as well as the sub-component for which support is being requested. Sources and amounts of other funding should be clearly identified. Applications must include a composite budget listing costs by category to be provided by other sources as well as costs for which coverage is being requested from AHRQ.

Allowable and Unallowable Costs

Expenses allowed under the Small Grant Program for Conference Support follow the guidelines described in the form PHS 398 (rev.9/04) and PHS Grants Policy Statement (April 1, 1994) Appendix 7. Areas of particular relevance to conference grants and exceptions to the general policies are described below.

Direct Cost Expenditures

a. Equipment. Grant funds may be used for rental of necessary equipment. Funds may not be used for the purchase of equipment. Rental expenses should be listed under the other expenses category.

b. Travel. Proposed per diem or subsistence allowances must be reasonable and will be limited to the days of attendance at the conference plus actual travel time required to reach the conference location by the most direct route available. Travel costs are limited to the extent provided for by formal institutional travel policy. If the grantee institution has no formal travel policy, the Department of Health and Human Services travel regulations shall be applied in determining the amount of travel chargeable to grant funds. Where meals and/or lodging are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost (e.g., as part of the registration fee), the proposed per diem or subsistence allowance must take this into consideration. Transportation costs for those attending and participating in the conference and paid with grant funds may not exceed economy class fares. U.S. carriers must be used where possible. For local participants in the conference, grant funds may not be used to pay per diem or expenses other than local mileage.

c. Supplies. Grant funds may be used for the purchase of conference supplies, provided the supplies are received and used during the project period.

d. Conference Services. Grant funds may be used for necessary recording of proceedings, simultaneous translation, and subsequent transcriptions.

e. Publication Costs. Grant funds may be used to pay for the publication and dissemination of conference proceedings.

f. Registration Fees. Registration fees, when paid by the grantee to other organizations on behalf of attendees, may be paid from grant funds, provided such fees cover only those allowable costs properly chargeable to the grant.

g. Entertainment and Personal Expenses. Costs of amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonial, and related incidental costs such as bar charges and personal telephone calls of participants or guests cannot be charged to the grant.

h. Federal Employees. Grant funds may not be used to cover the cost of travel or any payment to a full-time Federal employee, except when that employee is on leave without pay status from his or her employing office.

i. Honoraria. Honoraria or other payments given for the purpose of conferring distinction on or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration may not be paid from grant funds. Speaker fees for services rendered, however, are allowable.

j. Alteration and Renovations. Grant funds may not be used to support facility alteration or renovations of any kind.

k. Meals. When meals are an integral and necessary part of a conference (i.e., working meals where conference related business is transacted), grant funds may be used for such meals. Food costs that are not integral and necessary to the conference (e.g., pre-conference registration refreshments, continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, and receptions) are not allowable.

Facilities and Administration Costs (F&A) F&A costs (indirect costs) will not be allowed on grants in support of conferences.

2. B. Additional Review Considerations
Not applicable

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Data Confidentiality

Pursuant to section 924(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 299c- 3(c)), information obtained in the course of any AHRQ supported-study that identifies an individual or entity must be treated as confidential in accordance with any explicit or implicit promises made regarding the possible uses and disclosures of such data. There are now civil monetary penalties for violation of this confidentiality statute [42 U.S.C.299c-3(d)). In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected. The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to the information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded. Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this PA will also be managed in accordance with 42 CFR Parts 160 and 164, federal regulations pertaining to the privacy of protected health information. These privacy regulations, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) became mandatory for covered entities on April 14, 2003. These regulations serve to limit the disclosure of personally identifiable patient information by covered entities and define when and how such information can be disclosed e.g., to researchers. Thus, for example, health care plans, will require either patient authorization of disclosures of identifiable information to be made to researchers or waivers of such authorizations obtained from an IRB or Privacy Board (defined in the regulations) satisfied that any identifiable health information will be appropriately safeguarded by the investigators. The HHS Office of Civil Rights is the enforcement body for this regulation. Additional information about the regulations, their implementation, and alternative methods of permissible disclosures to researchers (limited data sets with data use agreements, de-identified data sets, data about deceased persons, and data use to develop protocols) can be obtained from: http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/ or http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.

The awardee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds those established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published several implementation guides for this circular. They are: An Introduction to Computer Security: The NIST Handbook; Generally Accepted Principals and Practices for Securing Information Technology Systems; and Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems. The circular and guides are available on the web at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-12/. The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

Rights in Data

AHRQ grantees may copyright, unless otherwise provided in grant awards, or seek patents, as appropriate, for final and interim products and materials including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses, which are developed in whole or in part with AHRQ funds. Such copyrights and patents are subject to a worldwide irrevocable Federal government license to use and permit others to use these products and materials for government purposes. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers; and subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents, if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits. Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products. AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) wishes to be consulted in advance of publication in order to coordinate these issuances with other AHRQ dissemination activities. Important legal rights and requirements applicable to AHRQ grantees are set out or referenced in the AHRQ's grants regulation at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A (Available in libraries and from the GPO's website http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html).

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Generally, applicants should anticipate a 6 month timeframe from the date of application submission to the funding decision.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

After the peer review of the application is completed, the Principal Investigator will receive a written critique called a summary statement.

If an award is to be made, a formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award will be provided to the applicant organization. The notice of award signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NGA (Notice of Grant Award) are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Notification will be made electronically to the designated administrative/institutional official.

2. Administrative Requirements and National Policy Requirements

All AHRQ grant and cooperative agreement awards are subject to the terms and conditions of the Public Health Service (PHS) Grants Policy Statement as part of the notice of grant award, found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/gps/index.html. For terms of the award, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/gps/5award.htm#terms, and see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/gps/5award.htm#fund for the award and funding process.

3. Reporting

Closeout Reporting Requirements

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Direct your questions about scientific/research issues, including information on the inclusion of women, minorities, and children, and other priority populations to:

Ruth Ann Hadley
Small Conference Grants Administrator
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: 301-427-1391
FAX: 301-427-1562
Email: rhadley@AHRQ.gov

Direct your questions regarding specific program matters to the offices listed below by specific program areas:

Public Health Preparedness
Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
301-427-1571
sphillip@ahrq.gov

Data Development
Doris Lefkowitz, Ph.D.
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends
301-427-1477
dlefkowi@ahrq.gov

Chronic Care Management
David Atkins, M.D.
Center for Outcomes and Evidence
301-427-1608
datkins@ahrq.gov

Socio-Economics of Health Care
Claudia Steiner, MD, MPH.
Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets
301-427-1407
csteiner@ahrq.gov

Joel Cohen, Ph.D.
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends
301-427-1659
jcohen@ahrq.gov

Health Information Technology
Scott Young, M.D.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
301-427-1580
syoung@ahrq.gov

Quality and Safety of Patient Care
Marge Keyes
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
301-427-1333
mkeyes@ahrq.gov

Long Term Care
DEB Potter, M.S.
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends
301-427-1564
dpotter@ahrq.gov

William Spector, Ph.D.
Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets
301-427-1446
wspector@ahrq.gov

Pharmaceutical Outcomes
Scott R. Smith, R.Ph., Ph.D.
Center for Outcomes and Evidence
301-427-1511
ssmith@ahrq.gov

Clinical Prevention
Beth Edgerton, M.D., MPH.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
301-427-1638
eedgerto@ahrq.gov

Training and Career Development
Karen Rudzinski, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
301-427-1529
krudzins@ahrq.gov

Questions regarding AHRQ priority populations should be directed as follows:

Minority Health
Francis Chesley, M.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
301-427-1449
fchesley@ahrq.gov

Children's Health
Denise Dougherty, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
301-427-1868
ddougher@ahrq.gov

Populations with Disabilities
Harvey Schwartz, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
301-427-1552
hschwartz@ahrq.gov

Women's Health
Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, M.D., Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
301-427-1550
rcorrea@ahrq.gov

Rural Populations Health
Carole Dillard, M.A.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
301-427-1572
cdillard@ahrq.gov

Inner City and Low Income Populations Health
Francis Chesley, M.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
301-427-1449
fchesley@ahrq.gov

Older Adult Health
Susan Norris, M.D.
Center for Outcomes and Evidence
301-427-1607
snorris@ahrq.gov

William Spector, Ph.D.
Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets
301-427-1446
wspector@ahrq.gov

Populations Needing End of Life Care
Ronda Hughes, Ph.D.
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
301-427-1578
rhughes@ahrq.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Ruth Ann Hadley
Small Conference Grants Administrator
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: 301-427-1391
FAX: 301-427-1562
Email: rhadley@AHRQ.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Marc Pitts
Office of Performance Accountability Resources and Technology/DGM
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1704
FAX: (301) 427-1462
Email: Mpitts@ahrq.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Required Federal Citations

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children in Research Study Populations:
It is the policy of AHRQ that women and members of minority groups be included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the UPDATED "NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on August 2, 2000 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-00-048.html). A complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm. To the extent possible, AHRQ requires adherence to these NIH Guidelines.

Investigators may obtain copies from the above sources or from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, listed under INQUIRIES, or from the NIH Guide Web site http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html. AHRQ Program staff may also provide additional information concerning these policies (see INQUIRIES).

AHRQ also encourages investigators to consider including children in study populations, as appropriate.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. If no Federal act is taken, having the force and effect of law, in reliance upon an AHRQ-supported research project, the underlying data is not subject to this disclosure requirement. Furthermore, even if a Federal regulation action is taken in reliance on AHRQ-supported data under FOIA, 5 USC 552(b), disclosure of statutorily protected confidential identifiable data from such study is exempted from disclosure under "the (b)(3) exemption." It is important for applicants to understand the scope of this requirement and its limited potential impact on data collected with AHRQ support. Proprietary data might also be exempted from FOIA disclosure requirements under "the (b)(4) exemption", for example, if it constituted trade secrets or commercial information collected. NIH has provided general related guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm which does not include discussion of the exception applicable to confidential identifiable data collected under AHRQ's authorities.

Should applicants wish to place data collected under this PA in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data (e.g., as required by the confidentiality statute applicable to AHRQ supported projects, 42 U.S.C. 299c-3(c)) and manage the distribution of non-identifiable data for an indefinite period of time, they may. The application should include a description of any archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should consider how to structure informed consent statements or other human subject protection procedures to permit or restrict disclosures of identifiable data, as warranted.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued the last modification the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", on August 14, 2002. This regulation was mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 which governs the protection of individually identifiable health information. It is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Mandatory compliance with the Privacy Rule (for those classified under the Rule as "covered entities") must begin by April 14, 2003 (with the exception of small health plans which have an extra year to comply).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with covered entities. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools that may be used to determine whether a researcher is a staff of a covered entity. Project Officers will assist grantees in resolving questions about the applicability of HIPAA requirements.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting health improvement priorities for the United States. AHRQ encourages applicants to submit grant applications with relevance to the specific objectives of this initiative. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/, Number 93.226. Awards are made under Title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 299-299c-7) as amended by P.L. 106-129 (1999). Awards are administered under the PHS Grants Policy Statement and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 67, Subpart A, and 45 CFR Parts 74 or 92.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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