CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AWARD IN NEUROINFORMATICS RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

Release Date:  August 5, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-135

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Science Foundation
National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Fogarty International Center
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Letter of Intent Receipt Dates:  August 15, 1999; April 1, and October 1 in 2000
and beyond

Application Receipt Date:  October 20, 1999; July 11, and January 11 in 2000 and
beyond

PURPOSE

The purpose of this program announcement is to encourage and support applications
from individuals, with the requisite scientific expertise and leadership, for the
development of courses and curricula designed to train interdisciplinary
Neuroinformatics scientists at U.S. educational institutions.  The field of
Neuroinformatics combines neuroscience research with informatics research
developed from the computer sciences, mathematics, physics, engineering or
closely related sciences.  It is anticipated that these courses or curricula
would be useful to students and scientists who wish: (1) to develop new
conceptual approaches to basic and/or clinical neuroscientific research and
analysis; or (2) to acquire, store, retrieve, organize, manage, analyze,
visualize, manipulate, integrate, synthesize, disseminate, and share data about
the brain and behavior.  Development of courses at the graduate and undergraduate
level is encouraged.  As part of this program, awardees will be expected to
develop and implement the courses or curricula in their institution.  It is
expected that such courses and curricula will be models that could be
transferable to other institutions in whole or in part.

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 Program Announcement (PA), Curriculum
Development Award in Neuroinformatics Research and Analysis, is related to the
priority area of human resource development.  Potential applicants may obtain a
copy of "Healthy People 2000" at
http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000/

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

The principal investigator must be engaged in neuroscience research or research
in one of the following areas: computer science; mathematics; physics;
engineering or a related informatics field.  Collaborator(s) must be identified
who will contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of the courses or curricula. 
The principal investigator must be willing to spend at least 20 percent of full-
time professional effort on course(s) and curricula development during the period
of the award.  The principal investigator must also identify appropriate
researcher(s) who will agree to collaborate on the development of course(s) and
curricula.

Applications may be submitted, on behalf of eligible individual principal
investigators affiliated with a domestic, non-Federal educational institution,
or public or private institutions of higher education.  Only a single application
may be submitted per Institution.  Each campus from a multi-campus Institution
may submit its own application.  Applications with minority and women scientists
and scientists with disabilities as principal investigators are encouraged. 
Principal investigators must be U.S. citizens or noncitizen nationals, or must
have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien
Registration Receipt Card or some other verification of legal admission as a
permanent resident.  Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. 
Principal Investigators on other Federal Grants are eligible provided they do not
exceed the time or salary caps.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Awards in response to this program announcement will use the Curriculum
Development Award (K07) mechanism, using the Leadership provision of this award
to support the curriculum development.  (see
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-95-052.html).

This program is organized and supported by several Agencies and NIH Institutes
and is coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  The
coordination takes place under the activities of the Federal Interagency
Coordinating Committee for the Human Brain Project (FICC-HBP) and is chaired by
the NIMH.  Planning, direction, and execution of the program will be the
responsibility of the principal investigator.  However, the institution must
demonstrate a commitment to the purposes of this award for course or curriculum
development in the specified area.  The project period is for three to five
years.  Competing renewals will not be considered.  Support of the development
and implementation of new courses that are an integral part of the overall
curriculum design will be considered.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Since its inception in 1993 (under Program Announcement PA-93-068), the FICC-HBP
sponsored Program has greatly benefitted from the application of the concepts and
principles developed in the traditional quantitative disciplines of informatics
(including computer sciences, mathematics, physics, engineering, and other
closely related sciences) towards addressing research problems in neuroscience. 
The success of this Neuroinformatics Program, then, is due in large part to the
cross-fertilization of research approaches and findings in the neuroscience and
informatics research fields.  A recent report by the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development's Megascience Forum (OECD-MSF) documents the vital
national and global need to further generate new requisite interdisciplinary
courses and curricula to support the career development of undergraduate and
graduate students in this unique interdisciplinary field of neuroinformatics. 
These courses and curricula are to be concentrated upon teaching new skills in
the implementation and application of a family of future-oriented, state-of-the-
art informatics technologies, both electronic (e.g., computer networks) and
digital (e.g., databases) to help advance our understanding of brain structure
and function in health and illness.  In particular, these technological advances
would include the development of databases, querying approaches and information
retrieval, data visualization and manipulation, data integration and synthesis,
sophisticated platforms and tools for electronic collaboration, and algorithms
for elucidating and integrating neurobiologic structure-function relationships
at all levels of organization of the nervous system (i.e., from the molecular,
genetic, cellular, and subcellular levels to those at the neuronal network and
bioregulatory systems levels).  Thus, the primary objective of this Program
Announcement is to encourage the creation of interdisciplinary courses and
curricula on the development and application of neuroinformatics tools for basic
and clinical research within the relevant neuroscience fields.  For a more
detailed description on the research objectives of the FICC-HBP sponsored Human
Brain Project/Neuroinformatics Initiative, refer to PAR-99-138, The Human Brain
Project (Neuroinformatics): Phase I & Phase II.
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-99-138.html)

Program Description

Program: The principal investigator is expected to develop a series of courses
or a curricula at the graduate and undergraduate level that applies principles
and conceptual approaches in neuroinformatics (including computer sciences,
mathematics, physics, engineering, and other closely related sciences) to the
application of neuroscience research.  Principal investigators are expected to
commit at least 20 percent full-time professional effort to this activity.  The
product, whether course(s) or curricula, must be dynamic and must embody
principles of curricula development.  There must be a commitment from the
nominating institution that the courses or curricula will become an integral part
of the academic offerings of the institution.

Environment:  The educational institution: (1) must have strong training
program(s) in the field of neuroscience for which the course(s) or curricula are
being developed; (2) must be able to demonstrate a commitment to research in
areas of interest to the Human Brain Project/Neuroinformatics program; and, (3)
must be committed to the further development and implementation of courses and/or
curricula in the proposed area following the award.  The institution must provide
assurance that the principal investigator is an integral part of its research and
training programs, and allow the applicant a minimum of 20 percent of full time
professional effort to be devoted to the development of courses and curricula
associated with the neuroinformatics award.

Allowable Costs

Salary:  The percent effort requested (at least 20 percent) must be consistent
with the proposed project.  This award will provide salary and fringe benefits
for the awardees.  The total salary requested must be based on a full-time, 12-
month staff appointment.  It must be consistent both with the established salary
structure at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the
institution from its own funds to other staff members of equivalent
qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned.  If full-
time, 12-month salaries are not currently paid to comparable staff members, the
salary proposed must be appropriately related to the existing salary structure. 
The salary will always be pro-rated for the percentage of time/effort of a full
time position, based on the institutional salary scales, keeping the DHHS salary
cap as a maximum for which the amount is determined.

The institution may supplement this award contribution up to a level that is
consistent with the institution's salary scale; however, supplementation may not
be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from
which such funds are derived.  In no case, may DHHS funds be used for salary
supplementation.  Institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra
duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of the
Curriculum Development Award.

Research Support:  A maximum of $25,000 per year may be requested for ancillary
needs, such as collaborators, consultants, equipment, computer time, etc.  All
requests for ancillary support must be justified.  In no case will the allowance
provided exceed $25,000.  Salaries for secretarial, technical or administrative
assistance, etc. is not allowed.  Funds to support travel to the two-day Annual
Spring Human Brain Project Meeting of Agencies and Grantees in the metropolitan
Washington, D.C. area should be included in the budget for the principal
investigator and other relevant collaborator(s) as part of the research costs.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs:  F&A costs will be reimbursed at 8
percent of modified total direct costs, or at the actual indirect cost rate,
whichever is less.

LETTER OF INTENT

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate program
official(s) listed under INQUIRIES and submit a letter of intent.  The letter
should include a descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, address,
and telephone number of the Principal Investigator, names of other key personnel,
and participating institutions, and the number and title of the program
announcement in response to which the application may be submitted.

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter
into the review of subsequent applications, the information that it contains is
helpful in planning for the review of applications.  The letter of intent is to
be submitted to Dr. Stephen H. Koslow at the address listed above.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the standard grant application form PHS 398
(rev. 4/98) and will be accepted at only the application receipt dates listed
below.  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, email:
grantsinfo@nih.gov.  The PHS 398 application kit is also available on the
Internet at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/funding.htm.  Follow the PHS 398
instructions for "Preparing Your Application" with modifications and additions
as described in the sections below.  Note that, as in the standard PHS 398
Instructions, sections "a-d" of the Research Plan in the Table of Contents (form
CC; page 3) are limited to 25 pages.

Specific instructions for all applications submitted under this Program
Announcement:

To identify the application as a response to this Program Announcement, check
"Yes" on item 2, and the title and number of this program announcement must by
typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form.

Research Plan: part "c" of this section should be retitled "Preliminary Data and
Activities" and included if applicable.  This section should contain information
on steps that have led to the proposed Education Project.  Future competitive
renewals should include a section entitled "Progress Report." Research Plan: part
"d" of this section should be retitled "Education Program Plan" and should
contain material organized under the following subheadings, as appropriate to the
specific project:

Principal Investigator:

Describe the principal investigator's commitment to developing and implementing
academic course(s) or curricula, which meet the scientific and educational
requirements of the interdisciplinary field and the institution.

Provide evidence that the principal investigator has the capacity to develop and
implement course(s) or curricula that are based on sound research concepts and
educational principles.

Describe the immediate and long-term objectives of the award and how those
objectives will meet the needs for expansion or enhancement of the academic or
research capacity of the institution in neuroscientific research.

Course or Curricula Development Plan:

Describe the plan and how it fits into the institutional plans and goals.

Environment and Institutional Commitment:

The institution must provide evidence of commitment and support for the proposed
program.  There must be evidence of support for the principal investigator and
his/her course and/or curricula development and implementation plans and for the
further enhancement of the interdisciplinary scientific area.

Collaborator's Statement:

Principal investigators must include information about any collaborator(s)
including her/his research qualifications.  The application must also include
information describing the nature and extent of collaboration that will occur
during the proposed award period.

Budget:

Budget requests must be provided according to the instructions in form PHS 398. 
The request for ancillary support, i.e. tuition and fees, essential books,
travel, consultants, equipment, computer time, etc. must be justified and
specified by category.

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
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application (including
appendices) also must be sent to:

Stephen H. Koslow, Ph.D.
Director, Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167, MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD  20892-9613
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 443-1815
FAX: (301) 443-1867
Email: koz@helix.nih.gov

It is important to send these two additional copies at the same time as the
original and three copies are sent to the CSR; otherwise, it cannot be guaranteed
that the applications will be reviewed in competition with other applications
received in response to this Program Announcement.

Schedule

                                1999            Calendar Year 2000 & Beyond

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  Aug 15, 1999    Apr 1, 2000    Oct 1, 2000
Application Receipt Date:       Oct 20, 1999    Jul 11, 2000   Jan 11, 2000
Administrative Review:          Oct 1999        Jul 2000       Jan 2001
Scientific Review:              Feb/Mar 2000    Sep/Oct 2000   Mar/Apr 2001
Advisory Council Review:        May/Jun 2000    Jan/Feb 2001   May/Jun 2001
Earliest Starting Date:         Jul 2000        Mar 2001       Jul 2001

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical
merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by one of the FICC-HBP
organizations sponsoring the Human Brain Project.  As part of the initial merit
review, all applications will receive a written critique and 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, and
assigned a priority score.  Subsequent processing of the application will follow
the procedures of the respective agency, institute and/or center to which it has
been assigned.  For applications assigned to a Public Health Service (PHS)
institute or center, the application will receive further review by the
appropriate National Advisory Council.  All successful projects will be
identified as "A Unit of the NIH/NSF/DOE Human Brain Project/Neuroinformatics"
Program.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In the
written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects of the
application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have
a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of the criteria listed
below will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting
them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application does not
need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific
impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, an investigator may
propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is
essential to move a field forward.

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

Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately
developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project?  Does the
applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method?  Are
the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing paradigms
or develop new methodologies or technologies?

Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry
out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the
principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done
contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments take
advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful
collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional support?

These five review criteria should be applied, as relevant, to the evaluation of
the following key components of the application:

Principal Investigator:

Evidence of excellence in research and academic activities;

Potential to become a leader in developing educational interdisciplinary
scientific programs at the institution; and

Quality and breadth of prior scientific training experience.

Course/Curricula Development Plan:

Quality and feasibility of course or curricula development and implementation
plans; and

Appropriateness of the plan to the goals of this program.

Environment:

Commitment of the institution to strengthening interdisciplinary research and
education activities in the area of interest to the FICC-HBP sponsored Human
Brain Project;

Merit of the institution's plan to strengthen their interdisciplinary training;
and

Scope and nature of collaboration among participating schools and departments.

Collaborator(s):

The collaborator's capabilities to contribute to the goals of the program.

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following: the
reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to goals of the
program; 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; adequacy of the
provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety of the
research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended
applications.  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.

POST-AWARD MANAGEMENT

The FICC-HBP committee maintains a WWW site containing information about this and
related programs and activities.  Each funded grant application will be listed
and briefly described and hotlinks provided to connect interested parties to the
grantees web site that should provide greater details about research activities
and the state and availability of research tools and products. In addition,
grantees are expected to participate in the Annual Spring Human Brain Project
Meeting of Agencies and Grantees.  These meetings will promote communications
among different groups of investigators, who are involved in research, curricula
development, and career development and/or other cross-training activities in
Neuroinformatics.  Therefore, budget requests should include travel funds for the
principal investigator and other relevant collaborator(s) to attend this meeting
in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions
regarding an application from potential applicants is welcome.  The following
FICC-HBP representatives from each of the participating agencies, institutes and
center can be contacted for further information or clarification.  Potential
applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the agency or institute
representative to discuss their plans prior to preparing an application.

General programmatic inquiries regarding the Human Brain Project/
Neuroinformatics program may be directed to the chair of the coordinating
committee:

Stephen H. Koslow, Ph.D.
Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167, MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD 20892-9613
Telephone: (301) 443-1815
Fax: (301) 443-1867
Email: koz@helix.nih.gov

Inquiries regarding fiscal matters may be directed to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6120, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-3065
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  dtrunnel@mail.nih.gov

Questions regarding scientific issues, management issues, issues on cores related
to participating Institutes and Centers (ICs), and fiscal matters should be
directed to the programmatic and fiscal contacts for each participating IC.  A
current list of the contacts for the participating ICs may be found at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/neuroinformatics/agencycontacts.cfm.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos.
93.281 (NIMH), 93.279 (NIDA), 47.074 (NSF), 93.866 (NIA), 93.173 (NIDCD), 93.879
(NLM), 93,934 (FIC), 93.273 (NIAAA), and 93.833 (NHLBI).  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 as implemented through Department of Health and Human
Services regulations at 45 CFR part 100 or Health Systems Agency Review.  Awards
by PHS agencies 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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