CORE GRANT FOR ENHANCING NEUROSCIENCE TRANSLATION

Release Date:  April 17, 1998

PA NUMBER:  PAR-98-055

P.T.

National Institute of Mental Health

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) invites applications for Core
Grants for Enhancing Neuroscience Translation (CoGENTs).  These Core Grants will
support shared research resources, or cores, to be used by groups of NIMH-funded
investigators and research related to those shared resources.  CoGENTs will
enhance capabilities for conducting basic, clinical, and translational
neuroscience research relevant to the mission of this Institute. Major goals of
this initiative are to increase efficiency, synergy, and innovation of such
research and to foster research interactions that cross disciplines, approaches
and levels of analysis. Building and strengthening such links holds great
potential for better understanding mental illness, and ultimately, for better
treating and preventing such brain disorders.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

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 PA, Core Grants for Enhancing
Neuroscience Translation, 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 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants for CoGENTs may request support for a period of up to 5 years. Direct
costs requested on each CoGENT application may not exceed 15% of the annual
direct costs awarded to the base grants (the NIMH grants that serve as the basis
of the CoGENTs) up to a maximum of $350,000 (direct costs) per year for all years
in the project period.  This percentage is figured on the basis of the annual
direct costs awarded to all base grants at the time of the start date requested
by the applicant for the CoGENT.  Since grants eligible to serve as base grants
may well change over time, CoGENTs are not eligible for competitive renewal, but
new applications for CoGENTs are allowed.

Applications may be submitted by domestic, for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of the
Federal government.  Foreign institutions are not eligible for resource-related
research project (R24) grants.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and
persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as CoGENT Directors and heads
of cores.

Each application for a CoGENT must propose to serve a minimum of 6 NIMH research
project (R01), FIRST (R29), and/or MERIT (R37) grants (known as the base grants),
with no less than 15 years collectively remaining in the council approved project
periods of those grants, and with no less than two years remaining in the council
approved project period of any one grant at the time of the start date requested
by the applicant for the CoGENT.  No other mechanism or source of support will
be considered in determining eligibility.

Only one CoGENT will be awarded to any single applicant organization, but base
grants may be housed in multiple institutions (with adequate justification, and
provided a clear and credible operation plan describing interaction and
administration is made).  In general, each NIMH research project grant should
only serve as a base grant for one CoGENT.  If well justified, supported core
activities and core-related research may be located at sites and institutions
other than that/those of the base grants and the CoGENT.  For example, a core
activity and research related to that core might exist at a transgenic facility,
supercomputer center, imaging facility, etc., which is neither at nor part of the
institution applying for the CoGENT, nor at or part of any of the institutions
housing the base grants.  Each CoGENT will comprise one or more cores, each of
which is used by at least 3 of the base grants, and, in general, should be
planned to serve as many base grants as possible.

Eligibility will be confirmed by NIMH staff prior to the meeting of the initial
review group; ineligible applications will be returned to the applicant without
review.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Core Grants for Enhancing Neuroscience Translation will be supported by the
resource-related research projects (R24) mechanism.  This mechanism is used to
support projects that enhance capabilities of resources to contribute to
extramural research of the Public Health Service.

Each of the cores comprising a CoGENT will provide services, equipment and/or
other research resources to the base grants; research related to the cores, in
turn, will enhance the capabilities of those cores.  The coordinated use of
shared resources increases the efficiency of neuroscience research, facilitates
the use of new technologies and the pursuit of new lines of research, and
promotes interdisciplinary and collaborative research.

Core Grants for Enhancing Neuroscience Translation are not eligible for
competitive renewal, but applicant organizations may submit applications for new
CoGENTs.  These Core Grants can request support for up to 5 years, but not longer
than one year beyond the council approved end date of the base grant with the
latest end date.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The NIMH recognizes the importance, synergy and innovation that often derives
from research crossing disciplines, approaches, and levels of analysis. The
CoGENT award is envisioned as enhancing such activities by supporting coordinated
shared research resources for NIMH-funded investigators.  The use of such shared
resources can increase efficiency in an area of research by eliminating
unnecessary duplication of effort and/or the support of research resources (e.g.,
costly equipment) that might be needed in, but not fully utilized by, the
activities of any one research grant. Cores can also promote the development of
new research directions of investigators by providing access to equipment,
services, and other resources that might not otherwise be possible (although
cores are not to be used to fund pilot projects, per se).  Finally, shared
research resources which are properly coordinated can serve as excellent means
to obtain synergy by promoting research interactions and collaborations that
cross disciplines, technical and theoretical approaches, and levels of analysis,
including interactions across basic and clinical neuroscience.  Such interactions
often have results that exceed the sum of the contributing activities.  For this
reason, participation of scientifically diverse base grants are strongly
encouraged and, all else being equal, applications for CoGENTs with such
scientific diversity will be given higher priority for funding consideration.

The NIMH recognizes the importance of optimizing the use of research funds and
the fact that the cutting edge of science is often defined at the boundaries of
disciplines and approaches.  Core Grants for Enhancing Neuroscience Translation
represent a mechanism by which these strategic goals can be pursued with a modest
investment.

Objectives and Scope

The primary purpose of each CoGENT is to support coordinated shared research
resources and related research to enhance the capabilities of NIMH-supported
investigators to pursue neuroscience research relevant to the mission of this
Institute.  A CoGENT is characterized as follows:

o  Cores and core-related research represent shared research resources and
activities that and can include services (e.g., software development,
histological processing, patient recruitment, biostatistical support), equipment
(e.g., image analysis system, multi-neuron recording equipment), and other
resources (e.g., use of primate facilities, access to supercomputing centers,
time on scanners, other clinical research resources).

o  CoGENTs must benefit the base grants that they serve and are expected to
increase efficiency, promote new research directions and foster interactions and
synergy among base grants.

o  Cores may also be used judiciously by those not in base grants, particularly
to the extent that they provide opportunities for young investigators, women and
minorities.

o  The Director of the CoGENT must have a demonstrated capability to organize,
administer and direct the Core Grant, must be the Principal Investigator on one
of the base grants, and may also serve as the head of a core.

Research Topics

The following are examples of the manner in which cores and related research
could be used to enhance NIMH-supported research. This list of examples is not
meant to be comprehensive or exclusive of other possibilities.

o  Contrast agent core: synthesizes agents that can be used by investigators to
differentially label brain structures or make evident specific brain processes
in neuroimaging studies.

o  Molecular biology core: performs various hybridization procedures, including
blots and in situ, to analyze the activation of genes and proteins.

o  Histology core: processes post-mortem tissue for histological, immunochemical
and connectional staining; studies modifications of methods for enhanced tissue
staining.

o  Supercomputer core: funds access to high performance platforms and technical
assistance in parallelizing algorithms used in analyzing very large data sets
resulting from large clinical studies, neuroimaging, multineuronal recording,
etc.

o  Neuroinformatics core:  funds to support the purchase as well as research and
development of tools and approaches for data storage, retrieval, analysis,
visualization and manipulation.

o  Neuroimaging core:  purchase equipment, supplies and service contract needed
for neuroimaging.

o  Research subject core: recruitment and screening of human subjects used in
basic and/or clinical neuroscience studies.

o  Biostatistics core: support for statistical consultation in experimental
design and data analysis.

Activities Supported

An overall budget for the CoGENT should be provided, as well as budgets for each
of the cores, including core-related research. Direct costs may be requested that
are essential for the support of the cores and must be fully documented and
justified; salary support for administrative costs should be kept at a minimum.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their
subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling
rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate with
respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.  This
policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public
Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994
(FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23,
Number 11, March 18, 1994.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program staff listed
under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant information
concerning the policy.

NIH POLICY AND GUIDELINES ON THE INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN
RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and  ethical reasons not to include them.  This
policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications  submitted for receipt dates
after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for Grants
and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL address:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a
descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, address, and telephone
number of the Principal Investigator, the identities of other key personnel and
participating institutions, and the number and title of the announcement in
response to which the application may be submitted.  This letter of intent should
be submitted no less than 60 days before the intended date of submission. 
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter
into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains
allows NIMH staff to estimate the potential review workload and avoid conflict
of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Michael Huerta, at the address listed
under INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
5/95) and will be accepted on the standard receipt dates as indicated in the
application kit.  Application kits are available at most institutional offices
of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Division of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 435-0714; fax: (301)
480-0525 Email: ASKNIH@OD.NIH.GOV.  The title and number of the program
announcement must be typed in Section 2 on the face page of the application.

The CoGENTs are intended to enhance the capabilities of NIMH-supported scientists
to pursue neuroscience research relevant to the mission of this Institute.  The
manner in which the proposed CoGENT will do this must be made clear in the
application.  The following sections should replace the Specific Aims, Background
and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and the Research Design
and Methods sections of the traditional Research Plan in form PHS 398 (Rev.
5/95):

o  General Description of the Core Grant (Not to exceed 1 page for each base
grant participating in the CoGENT):

Provide an overview of the research goals and approaches used in each of the base
grants and the manner in which the CoGENT award will benefit the research
activities of the base grants.  In addition, describe the specific ways in which
the CoGENT will increase efficiency, promote new research directions and foster
research interactions and synergy of NIMH-supported research.  Finally, for each
of the base grants, the following must be provided:  the grant number, title,
name of the PI, grantee organization, the project period end date, and the direct
cost budget for the year on which the budget of the Core Grant application is
based.

o  Operational Plan (Not to exceed 2 pages for each core proposed):

Describe arrangements required to implement the CoGENT, including the manner in
which priority for core access and use is decided, the operational and
administrative role of the director of each core, etc.  This section is
especially important for those applications proposing an offsite core.

o  Core Descriptions (Not to exceed 6 pages for any one core):

Describe the purpose of each core, describe core-related research including the
manner in which it is expected to enhance the capabilities of the core, and
clearly indicate the space, facilities, resources, services, technical and
professional expertise and support that the facility will provide.

Describe the specific manner in which each core will relate to base grants.  Also
describe the benefit that each base grant will accrue from cores. For each core,
describe the level of use by the base grants; each core must be used by at least
three of the base grants.

The completed original application and four legible copies must be sent or
delivered to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for courier/express service)

At the time of submission, one additional copy of the application must be sent
to:

Henry J. Haigler, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9C-18
Rockville, MD  20857

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications submitted in response to this program announcement will be reviewed
by the NIMH program staff to determine if they satisfy the objectives and
requirements of a CoGENT as outlined in this program announcement (excluding
scientific or technical merit).  Applications that do not meet these objectives
and requirements will not be accepted and will be returned to the applicant.

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical
merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the NIMH in accordance with
the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the initial merit review,
all applications will receive a written critique and may undergo a process in
which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit,
generally the top half of applications under review, will be discussed, assigned
a priority score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate national
advisory council or board, when applicable.

Review Criteria

Criteria for scientific/technical review of Core Grant applications will include
the following:

o  Appropriateness of the Core Grant approach:  The need for and suitability of
the CoGENT approach; whether a Core Grant will significantly enhance the
capabilities of base grants to pursue neuroscience research relevant to the
mission of the NIMH. In addition, the likelihood that the proposed CoGENT will
increase efficiency, promote new research directions, facilitate interactions
across disciplines and levels of analysis, and/or across theoretical and
technological approaches.

o  Intrinsic merit of the intellectual focus and research: The overall quality,
scientific merit, and innovativeness of the activities to be supported; the
likelihood that the work will lead to fundamental advances within the field, to
new discoveries, and/or to new technological developments.

o  Research competence:  The capability and scientific credentials of the
Director of the CoGENT, constituent core directors and other participating
scientists.

o  Institutional commitment:  The nature and level of resource commitments from
the home institution and from other participant institutions.

o  Appropriateness of operational plans and arrangements:  The feasibility and
adequacy of the organizational and administrative plans; the appropriateness of
the budget; and the mechanisms to evaluate the CoGENT's effectiveness in
achieving its goals.

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the protection of
human and animal subjects, the safety of the research environment, and
conformance with the NIH Guidelines for the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research.

As part of the scientific and technical merit evaluation of the research plan,
reviewers will be instructed to address:

o  Adequacy of plans for including children as appropriate for the scientific
goals of the research, or justification for exclusion.

The initial review group will make an overall recommendation for approval (and
assign a priority score) or disapproval of the entire Core Grant application. 
Under some circumstances, it may be appropriate for the initial review group to
recommend disapproval of one or more project(s).

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications assigned to NIMH.  The following will be considered in making
funding decisions:  Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review,
availability of funds, and program priority.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions
from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues and letters of intent to:

Michael F. Huerta, Ph.D.
Division of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Research
National Institute of Mental Health
Parklawn Building, Room 11-103
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3563
FAX:  (301) 443-1731
Email:  mhuerta@helix.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
Parklawn Building, Room 7C-08
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-2805
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  Diana_Trunnell@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.242.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act,
Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241
and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42
CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. 
Awards will be administered under PHS grants policy as stated in the Public
Health Service Grants Policy Statement (April 1, 1994).

PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and promote the nonuse 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.


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