SHORT COURSES IN NEUROINFORMATICS

Release Date:  August 5, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-137

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Science Foundation
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Fogarty International Center
Department of Energy
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research

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 short-
term Education Grants in Neuroinformatics Research.  Support is provided for
the development of short courses, seminars, and workshops on interdisciplinary
Neuroinformatics education ("Short Courses").  This short-term training will
be provided to scientists seeking to combine knowledge about the various
subdisciplines of neuroscience and behavioral science research with expertise
in informatics research.  It is anticipated that these Short Courses will
allow the participants: (a) to acquire new conceptual approaches to basic
neuroscience research and analyses, and (b) to learn to develop unique
strategies for acquiring, storing, retrieving, organizing, managing,
analyzing, visualizing, manipulating, integrating, synthesizing,
disseminating, and sharing data about the brain and behavior.

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, Short Courses in
Neuroinformatics, is related to several of the priority areas.  Potential
applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at
http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000/

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Any not-for-profit or for-profit organization engaged in health-related
education or research and located in the United States, its possessions, or
territories may apply for a Mental Health Education Grant.

For a short-term training symposium, seminar, or workshop intended as a
component of a scientific meeting, a U.S. institution or organization,
including an established scientific or professional society, is eligible to
apply.  Support may be provided for this training vehicle to be held at either
domestic or international meetings, however, if planned as part of an
international meeting, such support only can be made through a United States
representative organization of an established international scientific or
professional society.  The R25 mechanism requires the applicant to be located
in the United States.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The mechanism of support for this program announcement is the education
project grant (R25),
(see http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-97-095.html).  This program
is organized and supported by several Agencies and NIH Institutes and is
coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health (see INQUIRIES).  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.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

Funds requested under this mechanism are limited to $150,000 per year in
direct costs.  Requests for lower direct costs, as well as matching funds from
the applicant institution or other organizations, are strongly encouraged. 
Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs are allowed on 8 percent total
direct costs exclusive of tuition and fees and expenditures for equipment.

The award may be made for one to five years, the length of the grant period
should be consistent with the objectives of the program (e.g. one course for
two or three years, a series of courses over five years).  In some cases,
these awards will be made to develop new educational approaches for which the
institution will subsequently assume support. In other cases, the awards will
strengthen ongoing activities that the relevant FICC-HBP sponsoring
organizations will support over periods of one to five years.  However, in all
cases, available funding support will be limited to only one grant application
for any given applicant institution or organization.
Applications for one or two years of support are strongly encouraged and will
receive high priority, but proposals for three to five years may also be
submitted for consideration.  The Institutional commitment to this educational
program will also be considered.  This Human Brain Project Program-sponsored
Short Course Grant is renewable (see "additional considerations for
competitive renewals").
EDUCATION PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

Background

A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development"s Megascience Forum (OECD-MSF) raises the clear vital
national/international need to better understand the structure, function, and
development of the human brain and behavioral regulation in health and
disease.  The report presents this need as one of the great challenges for
science in the upcoming 21st century.  To date, the neuroscience field has
archived an extensive catalogue of research data from a multitude of research
perspectives.  As part of this great challenge, the report further posits the
current burgeoning need to further develop theoretical models and research
tools to enhance management and organization of these neuroscientific data for
their improved analyses, interpretation, and shared communications.

Towards this latter objective, since its initial 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).  The Neuroinformatics field has rapidly emerged by its combined use
of research tools employed in the neuroscience and informatics fields.  Due to
the advantages created by this synergistic interdisciplinary approach,
neuroinformatics is currently uniquely well positioned to develop and apply
advanced technologies and methodological strategies towards addressing the
great challenges of understanding the brain and elucidating research problems
in neuroscience.  Achievement of this goal will move toward the creation of an
Information Management System for Neuroscience, which will enable scientists
to more easily integrate data on the nervous system into new knowledge.

The development and utilization of new Neuroinformatics technologies and
unique research strategies requires appropriate training about the
fundamentals of basic and/or clinical neuroscience research and the
application of the science of informatics research to help fathom the
experimental questions under investigation.  To facilitate one of the major
recommendations proffered by the OECD-MSF report, the NIMH/FICC-HBP sponsoring
organizations presently seek to establish and promote national
interdisciplinary educational, training and career development initiatives for
the preparation of future generations of neuroinformatics scientists. 
Therefore, this Program Announcement is to promote the short-term research-
training component of this vital mission.

Program Description

A variety of short-term training techniques and approaches will be considered. 
The nature of the activity, the needs of the target community, and the course
goals should determine the instructional approach.  These might include new
approaches such as Web-based online instruction, or more traditional
approaches such as summer workshops or on-site instruction.

The proposed education program should offer opportunities for short-term
interdisciplinary cross-training in various disciplines of Neuroinformatics
that combine theoretical and technological research approaches derived from
the fields of:  (a) neuroscience related to medicine, biology and behavior
(including cellular and molecular neurobiology, genetics, developmental
biology, neurodevelopment, neuropharmacology, neurochemistry, physiology,
biophysics, biochemistry, and the cognitive, behavioral, developmental and
psychobiological sciences), and (b) informatics research (computer sciences,
mathematics, physics, engineering, and other closely related sciences).

Research projects and technological advancement related activities of special
interest to the Human Brain Project would include improved developments within
the following areas: Computational biology, two- and three-dimensional, cross-
reference macroscopic and microscopic brain atlases and hierarchical systems
of various species at different stages of development (i.e., for co-
registering molecular, cellular, subcellular, and genetics data, and their
complex spatiotemporal structural organization and functional
interrelationships), computational and technical innovations important for
pediatric imaging (such as for improving speed of scan acquisition, speed of
image reconstruction, tools for minimizing motion artifacts, and tools for
rapid on-line analysis), novel acquisition tools, hardware, software, and
computational algorithms and informatics databases (i.e., to enhance the
collection, analysis, integration, interpretation, simulation modeling, and
dissemination of data derived from newly evolving imaging and other data
visualization technologies within these different disciplines), and the
further creation of interoperable neuroscience information management systems,
federations of databases and supercomputer data warehouses, specialized and
cross-platform software database search engines, and data query mining systems
to stimulate continued advances within and across these various neuroscience
and behavioral science disciplines. 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)

The Human Brain Project also is openly interested in promoting short-term
research training plans that utilize and promote the broadest developments in
neuroinformatics technologies and/or experimental strategies to help address
the plethora of complex multidisciplinary data relationships derived from the
many neuroscience and behavioral science research levels of analysis.

All applications must include well-detailed plans for the evaluation of the
effectiveness, reliability, and validation of the proposed program.  Both
formative and summative evaluation plans must be presented in the application.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact appropriate FICC-HBP
staff (listed under INQUIRIES) to ascertain whether their application meets
the program priorities of the particular Institute funding component.  If
applications do not address an identified educational need of this Federally
sponsored Neuroinformatics Program, as stated above, applications may be
returned without review.

This program announcement may support a variety of educational activities,
including short courses, workshops, or seminars on interdisciplinary
Neuroinformatics training.  In all cases, support only will be provided for
those educational activities that directly seek to allow scientists to combine
their knowledge about the subdisciplines of neuroscience research with
expertise in informatics.  Thus, participants with backgrounds in neuroscience
research should be presented with the newest information about various
available theoretical principles and state-of-the-art technologies and
methodological strategies in informatics applicable to the investigation of
different research problems in neuroscience that they generally work on. 
Conversely, participants with backgrounds in informatics research need to be
taught about how to apply the various approaches that they generally employ
towards specific pressing experimental problems in neuroscience.  Participants
with backgrounds in both fields should be provided with advanced strategies in
technological development in informatics applicable to difficult research
questions in neuroscience.

Examples of educational programs that would be desirable include, but are not
limited to, the following:

Structured short-term research experiences for promising high school,
undergraduate, or predoctoral students and/or postdoctoral fellows interested
in research involving any of the areas covered within the mission of the Human
Brain Project, such as basic and clinical neuroscience and behavioral science
studies.

Summer courses or workshops designed to facilitate careers in Neuroinformatics
research for scientists at all levels.

Structured summer research experiences, workshops, or seminars for
undergraduate or high school students interested in pursuing research careers
in Neuroinformatics.

Web-based online instruction in any of these same areas.

NIH is interested in ensuring that the research and/or educational resources
developed through this Program Announcement become readily available to the
research community for further research, development, and application, in the
expectation that this will lead to products and knowledge of benefit to the
public.  At the same time, NIH recognizes the rights of grantees to elect and
retain title to subject inventions developed under Federal funding under the
provision of the Bayh-Dole Act.  Indeed, for inventions developed in its
intramural program, NIH does file patent applications, in accord with a set of
policies described at http://ott.od.nih.gov/phspat_policy.html.

Grantees are encouraged to perfect copyright protection of software produced
as a result of Neuroinformatics Project funding.  These should include
prominent notification in the software and its documentation that the software
is copyrighted.  Notification could consist of the following:

Copyright c [year] by [your name, the names of you and your colleagues, or the
name of your institution] with funding from the Human Brain
Project/Neuroinformatics.

This notification will identify the source of the software and help ensure
that the software can be shared freely while protecting any commercial rights
in it.  In addition, grantees will be required to agree that they will provide
the primary funding organization, upon its request and at a reasonable cost, a
copy of any software produced under this Neuroinformatics, Human Brain
Project, funding, with the understanding that the Federal organizations
directly involved with this Project will have the right to use such software
for internal research and archival purposes only, and will not permit its
distribution beyond those organizations.

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
of intent should include a descriptive title of the proposed program, 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 is to be submitted to Dr. Stephen H. Koslow at the address listed under
INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the standard grant application form PHS
398 (rev. 4/98) and will be accepted only at 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://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/funding.htm.

For further specific requirements and application instructions under this
program announcement (including supplemental instructions and required
supportive documentation), refer to the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts:
See Vol. 26, No. 27, August 15, 1997
(http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-030.html).

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 (PA),
check "Yes" on item 2, and the title and number of the PA must be typed on
line 2 of the face page of the application form.

Resources (form HH, page 8): Describe the educational environment, include a
description of the facilities, laboratories, participating departments,
facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and
any other resources to be used in the conduct of the proposed program.  Use
continuation pages, as necessary.

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 (i.e.,
short courses, seminars, and/or workshops).  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:

Program Direction:

Describe arrangements for the organization and administration of the program.

Provide evidence that the Program Director is actively engaged in research
and/or teaching in an area related to Neuroinformatics, and can organize and
administer the education program.

Provide evidence of institutional and community commitment and support for the
proposed program.
Program Faculty/Staff:

Describe the characteristics and responsibilities of the faculty affiliated
with the applicant institution.

Provide evidence that participating faculty and preceptors are actively
engaged in research or other scholarly activities related to Neuroinformatics.
Proposed Education Program:

Provide programmatic detail on the project"s goals, special activities
proposed (e.g., courses, curricula), and topics to be covered

Include a description of the plans to provide education to participants
regarding the responsible conduct of research.

Program Participants:

Provide detail about the proposed participants

Include a description of the plans for recruiting as participants into all
aspects of the program, individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic
groups, and persons with disabilities.
Education Evaluation Plan:

Include evaluation plans for determining the success of the program in
achieving its goals and objectives.
Research Plan:

If applicable, under part "h" of this section, "Consortium/Contractual
Arrangements," include a description of plans for collaborating with other
institutions for purposes of exchange and sharing of resources, including
faculty, equipment, and facilities.

Allowable Costs:

Allowable costs must be consistent with PHS policy and be reasonable,
allocable, and well documented and justified for the education program: See
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-97-095.html.

Personnel costs - faculty members participating in the design and
implementation of the education program may request salary and fringe benefits
appropriate for the percent of time devoted to the program.  Salaries
requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution"s policy
for similar positions.  (Mentoring interactions and activities with students
are considered a regular part of a faculty member"s academic duties and are
non-reimbursable).

Administrative and clerical salary costs associated with the program may be
direct charges to the grant only when specifically identified and justified as
reflecting significantly greater effort than the level of such services
routinely provided by academic departments.  Requests for consultant costs,
equipment, supplies, necessary travel (including foreign travel for uniquely
qualified foreign faculty), and other project related expenses must be
justified as specifically required by the program proposed and not duplicate
items generally available at the institution for educational programs.

Attendance - participants in the education program may receive subsistence
allowance, which includes costs of meals and lodging (unless furnished as part
of the fee for registration).  They may also receive travel expenses and other
education-related costs, compelling justification is necessary for partial
tuition and foreign travel essential for the education program.  No health
benefits, rental housing or dependency allowances are allowable.

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 program faculty/staff.

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 the Chair of the FICC-HBP:

Stephen H. Koslow, Ph.D.
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 that the
original and three copies are directly 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

An appropriate peer review group convened by one of the FICC-HBP organizations
sponsoring the Human Brain Project program will evaluate applications that are
complete for scientific and technical merit.  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 these
criteria 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.

In applying these five criteria, the initial review group should assess the
educational, scientific, and technical merit of applications in response to
the stated purpose of this program announcement:

Significance: The degree to which the proposed education program addresses
issues that are of great importance to the FICC-HBP Program, the program must
demonstrate how its achievements will advance the overall mission of the Human
Brain Project.

Approach: The proposed specialized curriculum must be appropriate and adequate
to augment the research education goals outlined.  Course requirements and
sequence, and timetable for completing the planned activities must be
presented.  A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the program in
achieving its objectives must be specified.

Innovation: The curriculum must include original and unique approaches or
methods for addressing the needs put forth in the goals and objectives.  Plans
to challenge existing paradigms or develop new approaches or techniques must
be described.

Investigator: The program leadership must demonstrate a record of achievements
and qualifications appropriate to meeting the proposed goals and implementing
the stated plan.

Environment:  The scientific/education environment must be described,
indicating the unique features and probability of success of the program. 
Institutional commitment to the proposed program must be documented.

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 the 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.

Additional considerations for competitive renewals: Applicants seeking a
continuation of support will be evaluated by peer reviewers in terms of the
progress reported from prior support, the viability of the proposed program
extension, and continuing curriculum needs in the particular area of
specialization in which the grant application is focused.

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, program priority and response to specific neuroinformatics research
education as indicated in the program announcement.

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 program faculty/staff 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 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.
93.242 (NIMH), 93.279 (NIDA), 47.074 (NSF), 93.866 (NIA), 93.865 (NICHD),
93.173 (NIDCD), 93.879 (NLM), 93.934 (FIC), 81.049 (DOE), 93.273 (NIAAA),
93.833 (NHLBI), and 93.121 (NIDCR). 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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