CORE GRANTS FOR ENHANCING NEUROSCIENCE TRANSLATION

Release Date:  February 3, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-061

P.T.

National Institute of Mental Health

This Program Announcement (PA) supersedes PAR-98-055, "Core Grants for
Enhancing Neuroscience Translation" (CoGENTs), and will govern all new
applications for CoGENT awards beginning with the June 1, 1999 application
receipt date.

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" at http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants for CoGENTs may request support for a period of up to four years.
Direct costs requested on each CoGENT application may not exceed 20 percent 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), Cooperative Clinical Research (R10), FIRST (R29),
and/or MERIT (R37) grants (known as the base grants), with no less than 12
grant-years collectively remaining in the council-approved project periods of
those grants, and with no less than one year 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.  The requested start date must be in
accordance with the Receipt, Review, and Award Cycles schedule printed on page
21 of the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) instructions.

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 three 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 four years.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The NIMH recognizes the importance, synergy and innovation that often derive
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.

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 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, Vol. 23,
No. 11, March 18, 1994 available on the web at the following URL address: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-100.html

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) 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: GrantsInfo@nih.gov. The application is also
available at http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html

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. 4/98):

o  General Description of the Core Grant (Not to exceed one 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 two 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 six 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
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154 MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892-9609

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 appropriateness of proposed
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders,
minorities and their subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific
goals of the research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects;
the provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety
of the research environment.

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) and/or core(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 Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7196 MSC 9645
Bethesda, MD  20892-9645
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
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115 MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
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 NIH Grants Policy Statement (October 1, 1998).

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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