NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 36, October 8, 1993


P.T. 34


  Behavioral/Experimental Psychology 

  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 



National Institute of Mental Health


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), through the issuance

of this program announcement (PA), hopes to facilitate the entry of

new investigators into the field of behavioral science research.  At

the moment, this field seems to be at serious risk of having an

insufficient number of researchers.  The U.S. Congress has directed

the NIMH to reverse this decline of the number of new NIMH

investigators in the behavioral sciences.  Therefore, this mechanism

has been developed to increase the number of researchers in the

field.  If successful, it could be used to enhance other fields.

The Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition (B/START) is

intended for the initiation of research careers by providing rapid

review and funding decisions of applications.  NIMH invites newly

independent investigators to submit applications for small-scale,

exploratory (i.e., pilot) research projects related to the mission of

the NIMH.  The NIMH supports research to develop new knowledge on the

basic biological, neuroscience, behavioral, social, and environmental

factors that affect mental illness and mental health; research on the

diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of mental illness; and

research on the organization, financing, delivery, and effectiveness

of mental health services.  This award is designed as a rapid

mechanism that provides seed funds for previously unfunded

investigators and is characterized by providing support for:

o  Preliminary data acquisition or pilot work

o  Relatively new or novel research approaches

o  Enhancement of the capability of new investigators in behavioral

science research


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health

promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"

a PHS-Led national activity for setting priority areas.  This program

announcement, Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition, is

related to the priority area of mental health and mental disorders.

Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full

Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No.

017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government

Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone


Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit and

for-profit organizations such as universities, colleges, hospitals,

laboratories, research institutions, units of State or local

governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Women

and minority investigators are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible for a B/START award, the proposed Principal

Investigator must be independent of a mentor at the time of award but

be at the beginning stages of his/her research career.  If the

applicant is in the final stages of training, he/she may apply, but

no B/START award will be made to individuals in training status.  The

proposed Principal Investigator may not have been designated

previously as Principal Investigator on any PHS-supported research

project.  Previous receipt of National Research Service Award funds

(i.e., Institutional Training Grant or Individual Fellowship) is



B/START awards will use the NIMH Small Grant (R03) mechanism.

Support may be requested for up to one year.  The total direct costs

for the one year request may not exceed $25,000.  B/START awards are

not renewable.  Replacement of the Principal Investigator on a

B/START award is not permitted.  Transfer of the B/START award with

the Principal Investigator to another institution for the remainder

of the grant period may be requested.  Grant funds may be used for

expenses clearly related and necessary to conduct research projects,

including both direct costs that can be specifically identified with

the project and allowable indirect costs of the institution.  Grants

must be administered in accordance with the PHS Grants Policy

Statement (rev. 10/90).  Federal regulations at 45 CFR Parts 52, 74

and 92 are applicable to these awards.


In fiscal year 1994, between $800,000 and $1,600,000 will be

available for the purpose of funding between 20 to 40 B/START grants.

This level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient

number of applications of high scientific merit.  Although this

program is provided for in the financial plans of the NIMH, awards

pursuant to this announcement are also contingent upon the

availability of funds for this purpose.






Applications for grants and cooperative agreements that involve human

subjects are required to include minorities and both genders in study

populations so that research findings can be of benefit to all

persons at risk of the disease, disorder, or condition under study;

special emphasis should be placed on the need for inclusion of

minorities and women in studies of diseases, disorders, and

conditions which disproportionately affect them.  This policy applies

to all research involving human subjects and human materials, and

applies to males and females of all ages.  If one gender and/or

minorities are excluded or are inadequately represented in this

research, particularly in proposed population-based studies, clear,

compelling rationale for exclusion or inadequate representation

should be provided.  The composition of the proposed study population

must be described in terms of gender and racial/ethnic group,

together with a rationale for its choice.  In addition, gender and

racial/ethnic issues should be addressed in developing a research

design and sample size appropriate for the scientific objectives of

the study.

Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including

the broadest possible representation of minority groups.  However,

NIH recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all

research projects to include representation of the full array of

United States racial/ethnic minority populations (i.e., American

Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians or Pacific Islanders, African

Americans, Hispanics).  Investigators must provide the rationale for

studies on single minority population groups.

Applications for support of research involving human subjects must

employ a study design with minority and/or gender representation (by

age distribution, risk factors, incidence/prevalence, etc.)

appropriate to the scientific objectives of the research.  It is not

an automatic requirement for the study design to provide statistical

power to answer the questions posed for men and women and

racial/ethnic groups separately; however, whenever there are

scientific reasons to anticipate differences between men and women,

and racial/ethnic groups, with regard to the hypotheses under

investigation, applicants should include an evaluation of these

gender and minority group differences in the proposed study.  If

adequate inclusion of one gender and/or minorities is impossible or

inappropriate with respect to the purpose of the research, because of

the health of the subjects, or other reasons, or if in the only study

population available, there is a disproportionate representation of

one gender or minority/majority group, the rationale for the study

population must be well explained and justified.

NIH funding components will not make awards of grants, cooperative

agreements, or contracts that do not comply with this policy.  For

research awards that are covered by this policy, awardees will report

annually on enrollment of women and men, and on the race and

ethnicity of subjects.


Applicants are to use the grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91).

The number and title of this PA (i.e., PAR-94-002, NIMH B/START) must

be entered in item number 2a on the face page of the application

form.  The biographical sketch should be kept to a minimum (not to

exceed 1 page).  Sections 1-4 of the Research Plan must be brief

(i.e., 2-3 pages); in no case may the Research Plan exceed five

pages.  Include sufficient, but concise information to facilitate an

effective evaluation.  The following information must be included:  A

description of the objectives of the research and what the research

is intended to accomplish; why the work is important; and a brief

description of the research design and the procedures to be used to

accomplish the objectives of the project.  In all other respects,

applications must meet the conditions set out in form PHS 398 (rev.

9/91), including a standard cover page, a statement of current and

pending research support and a budget.  In addition "NIMH Expedited

Review" must be typed in the top margin of the face page.

Applications may be submitted for the regular research grant

submission dates of February 1, June 1, and October 1.  B/START

applications will be handled on an expedited external peer review and

award basis to meet the goals for this program.

Application kits containing the necessary forms and instructions may

be obtained from the office of sponsored research at most

universities, colleges, medical schools, and other major research

facilities; and from the Grants Operations Section, National

Institute of Mental Health, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 7C-05, Rockville,

MD 20857, telephone (301) 443-4414.

The signed original and four copies of the completed application must

be sent to:

Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**

To permit an expedited review of the application, applicants must

simultaneously send a complete copy to:

Dr. Salvatore Cianci

Division of Extramural Activities

National Institute of Mental Health

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9-97

Rockville, MD  20857


Criteria for scientific merit review of applications will include:

o  Scientific, technical, or medical significance, and creativity or

originality of the proposed research

o  Adequacy of the methodology to carry out the proposed research o

Availability of the resources and facilities necessary to perform the

proposed research

o  Appropriateness to the intent of this program

o  Public health importance of the proposed research topic o

Qualifications of the investigator

o  Appropriateness of the proposed budget

o  Adequacy of the proposed means for protecting against or

minimizing adverse effects to human/or animal subjects

Scientific reviews will be conducted upon receipt of the application

by initial review groups convened by the NIMH.  Within three to four

months, applicants will be notified by NIMH staff whether or not

their application will be funded.  No funding will occur during the

months of October and November.  Resubmission of the identical

application in a revised form is not allowed.


The following will be considered when making funding decisions:

o  Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review o

Availability of funds

o  Program balance


Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH program staff

prior to preparing a B/START application.  The opportunity to clarify

any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues may be directed to:

Hilleary D. Everist, Ph.D.

Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Science

National Institute of Mental Health

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11-103

Rockville, MD  20857

Telephone:  (301) 443-6676

FAX:  (301) 443-4822

Bitnet:  EH5@NIHCU

Inquiries regarding fiscal matters may be directed to:

Diana S. Trunnell

Grants Management Branch

National Institute of Mental Health

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 7C-15

Rockville, MD  20857

Telephone:  (301) 443-3065

FAX:  (301) 443-6885


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic

Assistance 93.242.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public

Health Service Act as amended, PL 78-410, 42 U.S.C. 241 and

regulations at 42 CFR Part 52.  This program is not subject to the

intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or

Health Systems Agency review.


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