***REVISED***

This Program Announcement expires on November 27, 2002, unless reissued.

PLANNING GRANTS: NATIONAL PROGRAMS OF EXCELLENCE IN BIOMEDICAL 
COMPUTING (PRE-NPEBC)

Release Date:  June 29, 2000 (Supercedes May 30, 2000 version)

PA NUMBER:  PAR-00-102

National Cancer Institute
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Eye Institute
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Library of Medicine

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  October 27, February 27, and June 27 annually
Application Receipt Date:       November 27, March 27, and July 27 annually
 (Solicitation begins with the November 27, 2000, receipt date and ends with
 the November 27, 2002, receipt date.)

PURPOSE

Participating Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health 
(NIH) invite applications for P20 planning grants that lead to the 
establishment of National Programs of Excellence in Biomedical Computing. 
Susequent to this program announcement, a series of solicitations will be 
issued by participating NIH Institutes and Centers to invite applications for 
National Programs of Excellence in Biomedical Computing (NPEBC) awards.

There exists an expanding opportunity to speed the progress of biomedical 
research through the power of computing primarily in areas concerning 
management and analysis of data and modeling biological processes. The NIH is 
interested in establishing NPEBC to promote research and developments in 
biomedical information science and technology that will support rapid 
progress in areas of scientific opportunity in biomedical research. As 
defined here, biomedical computing or biomedical information science and 
technology includes database design, graphical interfaces, querying 
approaches, data retrieval, data visualization and manipulation, data 
integration through the development of integrated analytical tools, 
synthesis, data archiving, data exchange, tools for electronic collaboration, 
and computational research including the development of structural, 
functional, integrative, and analytical models and simulations. The NPEBCs 
are also intended to create an infrastructure of excellence in biomedical 
information science and technology that will support and promote 
multidisciplinary research and provide the environment in which to train a 
new generation of researchers. 

NPEBCs are intended to:
o  Promote bio-informatics and bio-computational research that enables the 
advancement of biomedical research;
o  Develop useful and interoperable informatics and computational tools for 
biomedical research;
o  Establish mutually beneficial collaborations between biomedical 
researchers and informatics and computation researchers; and
o  Train a new generation of bio-informatics and bio-computation scientists.

NPEBC will provide a formal framework through which scientific synergy can 
occur on a stable and continuing basis, and will provide: 1) an 
organizational structure specifically designed to facilitate intellectual 
cross-fertilization between seemingly disparate groups of investigators; 2) 
core facilities to support research activities; 3) developmental funds for 
feasibility testing of new projects; 4) career development opportunities for 
new and established investigators; and 5) a broad range of educational 
activities, from formal undergraduate and graduate programs to courses and 
seminars for students and researchers, visiting scientists program or other 
types of training, cross-training, or educational approaches.  NPEBC are 
expected to promote multidisciplinary research and are not intended to 
support institutional information infrastructure.

This PA describes the three-year, P20 Planning Grant for National Programs of 
Excellence in Biomedical Computing (pre-NPEBC). It is clear that there is a 
range of areas in biomedical computing that might potentially benefit from 
the establishment of NPEBC. Given the emerging nature of the field of 
biomedical computing, it is not clear at this point that all institutions 
that might be interested in establishing NPEBCs in the various areas of 
opportunity are ready to submit coherent programs that would qualify as ready 
for a National Program of Excellence designation.  The planning phase 
provided by this mechanism will allow Institutions that have most of the 
separate scientific components necessary for creating a cross-disciplinary 
research and training program in biomedical computing to plan and create the 
organization required for a NPEBC.  Responsive groups would include those 
that have a limited track record of performing interdisciplinary research and 
training in biomedical information science and technology or require 
extensions of existing collaborations among interdisciplinary scientists. 
Institutions that do not require a planning phase are encouraged to submit 
directly in response to forthcoming solicitations for NPEBC.

In recognition of the critical importance of integrating computing expertise 
with biomedical research, applications responsive to this solicitation will 
be required to have a Principal Investigator (PI) with expertise in either 
computing or biomedical research as well as a Co-Principal Investigator (Co-
PI) from the complementary field. The planning activities should emphasize 
the interface between informatics/computing and biomedical research and 
should be structured to meet the needs and level of maturity of the ongoing 
efforts.  Planning activities may take place in a single or multiple phases. 
For example, an application could propose a first phase to allow for formal 
establishment of an organizational and operational structure of the pre-
NPEBC, and a second phase to provide the time and funds for the initiation of 
multidisciplinary Development projects, development of courses and other 
training opportunities, and for these newly-formed groups to complete 
recruitment efforts necessary for bringing in critical expertise.  

Pre-NPEBC awardees will be expected to compete for a NPEBC award (see below) 
that will be competitively reviewed, in part, on the organizational and 
scientific progress made during the planning stage. Successful applicants in 
the current solicitation may apply for NPEBC at any point during the life of 
the pre-NPEBC award.  Groups that do not require planning activities can 
compete directly for NPEBC in the area of interest without submitting an 
application to this solicitation.

Solicitations for NPEBC awards will be issued in areas of interest to 
individual or groups of NIH Institutes or Centers.  Subject-specific NPEBC 
solicitations will be issued in a time frame considered appropriate for the 
field of biomedical information science and technology they are intended to 
support.  Such solicitations are likely to be issued beginning shortly after 
the release of the current pre-NPEBC solicitation and continuing over the 
next several years. Successful applicants in the NPEBC initiatives will have 
ongoing multidisciplinary research that integrates biomedical research and 
information technology.  

The National Human Genome Research Institute will support NIH biomedical 
computing activities through its Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science 
(CEGS) program.  A program announcement inviting P20 and P50 grant 
applications for CEGS is available in the NIH Guide as PAR-00-096.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health 
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-
led national activity for setting priority areas.  This program announcement 
(PA), Planning Grants: National Programs of Excellence in Biomedical 
Computing (Pre-NPEBC), is related to one or more of the priority areas.  
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at 
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/ .

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications for P20 Pre-NPEBC grants may be submitted by domestic non-profit 
and for-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, 
colleges, hospitals and laboratories, units of state or local governments, 
and eligible agencies of the Federal government. Racial/ethnic minority 
individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as 
Principal Investigators.

Each of the lead investigators including the PI, Co-PI, and Project Leaders 
must be established investigators as evidenced by scientific contribution 
and/or funding. Applicants must therefore clearly define the scientific areas 
to be represented within the Pre-NPEBC, and for each scientific area, one or 
more investigators must be identified as assuming a leadership role.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Support of this program announcement (PA) will be through the National 
Institutes of Health (NIH) P20 Exploratory Grant Mechanism.  These 
exploratory studies may lead to NPEBC.  Responsibility for the planning, 
direction, and execution of proposed projects will be solely that of the 
applicant.  The total project period for a P20 application submitted in 
response to this PA may not exceed 3 years.  

An applicant planning to submit an application for this PA requesting 
$500,000 or more in direct costs for any year is advised that NIH policy 
requires an applicant to obtain agreement for acceptance of both any such new 
application and/or any subsequent amended application.  Refer to the NIH 
Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 20, 1998, which is available on the 
Internet at the following URL address: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-030.html.  

To obtain agreement, an applicant must contact IC program staff (listed under 
INQUIRIES) before submitting the application; i.e., as plans for the study 
are being developed.  Furthermore, the applicant must obtain written 
agreement from IC staff that the IC will accept the application for 
consideration for award.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The estimated total funds (direct and indirect costs) available in FY 2000 
for the first year of support for awards under this PA will be approximately 
$10 Million. Because the nature and scope of the research proposed in 
response to this PA may vary, it is anticipated that the size of the awards 
will vary also.  The number of awards and level of support will depend upon 
receipt of a sufficient number of applications of high scientific merit. 
Although this program is provided for in the financial plans of individual 
participating Institutes and Centers of the NIH, the award of grants pursuant 
to this PA is contingent upon the anticipated availability of funds for this 
purpose.  Funding beyond the first and subsequent years of the grant will be 
contingent upon satisfactory progress during the preceding years and the 
availability of funds.

BACKGROUND

Computing and computational tools have become increasingly important in 
enabling progress in biomedical research.  In recognition of the critical 
role computing will play in biomedical research, the NIH Director 
commissioned a Working Group on Biomedical Computing to:

Investigate the needs of NIH-supported investigators for computing 
resources, including hardware, software, networking, algorithms, and 
training.  It should take into account efforts to create a national 
information infrastructure, and look at working with other agencies 
(particularly NSF and DOE) to ensure that the research needs of the 
NIH-funded research community are met.

It should also investigate the impediments biologists face in utilizing 
high-end computing, such as a paucity of researchers with cross-
disciplinary skills. The panel should consider both today’s unmet needs 
and the growing requirements over the next five years (a reasonable 
horizon for extrapolating the advances in the rapidly changing fields 
of computing and computational biology).

The result of the deliberations of the Working Group on Biomedical Computing 
is a report entitled “The Biomedical Information Science and Technology 
Initiative (BISTI)” which can be viewed at the following site: 
http://www.nih.gov/welcome/director/060399.htm. A primary recommendation of 
the BISTI is that the NIH should establish National Programs of Excellence in 
Biomedical Computing (NPEBC) devoted to basic and applied research as well as 
developing education and training opportunities to promote discovery in 
biomedical computing. The promotion of the interface of biomedical 
information science and technology with biomedical research should result in 
new digital and electronic tools that will have substantial impact on broad 
areas of biomedical research.

The Institutes and Centers of the NIH acknowledge the wisdom of this 
recommendation and are offering support thorough the current solicitation for 
planning grants leading to the development of potential NPEBC.  As outlined 
in the BISTI and endorsed by the participating Institutes and Centers of the 
NIH:
Distinguishing features of the NPEBC would include:
o  A range of work, from fundamental discoveries to useful tools in 
biomedical computing.
o  A plan for disseminating the results of the research-and-
development effort, so that others can take advantage of the data 
that is produced, the tools that are created, and the science that is 
discovered.
o  A full menu of education, ranging from formal undergraduate and 
graduate programs to courses and seminars for students and working 
researchers, visiting-scientist programs, “total-immersion” programs, 
one-week or two-week intensive-training programs, and other 
innovative programs to help spread the knowledge gleaned in the 
course of research.  That training would underline the scientific 
effort within the Program.

RESEARCH GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

This solicitation targets support for the development of infrastructures of 
excellence in biomedical information science and technology that will support 
and promote multidisciplinary research and provide the environment in which 
to train a new generation of researchers.  The targeted infrastructures 
should foster multidisciplinary teams focused on fundamental research in 
biomedical computing science and technology, as well as the development and 
application of new biocomputing tools, for a particular area(s) of scientific 
opportunity in biomedical research.  The teams should reflect mutually 
beneficial collaborations between biomedical researchers and informatics and 
computation researchers.  

Support is specifically for planning activities and pilot research projects 
leading toward the development of organization and infrastructure competitive 
for support as a NPEBC. The NPEBC will focus on advances in biomedical 
computing in the context of enabling progress in a compelling area(s)of 
biomedical research.  Activities proposed in response to the current 
solicitation should target the establishment of a research and communications 
infrastructure that would promote new discoveries in biocomputing and the 
dissemination of new related tools, as well as a range of training 
opportunities that would promote a new generation of scientists that span the 
interface of biomedical research and computing. 

Programs may target one or multiple areas of biomedical computing that will 
enable progress in biomedical research.  Specific research areas in 
informatics or computational science include, but are not limited to:
o  Research on databases, querying approaches, and information retrieval
o  Research on data visualization
o  Computing algorithms and new analysis and statistical methodologies for 
social science research related to areas of biomedical interest, such as 
population aging
o  Research on new approaches to data integration
o  Research on the development of models or simulation environments
o  Development of models or simulation environments

The development of biocomputing and informatics tools is anticipated to be a 
part of the pre-NPEBC research efforts.  To that end, core resources and 
expertise available through the pre-NPEBC may be expended toward that end. 
The dissemination of the results of the associated research-and-development 
efforts, including the data that is produced, the tools that are created, and 
the science that is discovered, is strongly encouraged. Pre-NPEBC are not 
intended to support the development costs required for creating a fully 
robust form of the tool, comparable to a commercial product.  Tools of 
interest include but are not limited to:
o  Tools for data collection
o  Tools for archiving large data sets
o  Analysis tools for interpretation of large data sets
o  Platform-independent translational tools for data exchange
o  Tools or models to promote interoperability
o  Web-based linkage tools for data sharing
o  Tools for electronic communication

Areas of biomedical research likely to be critically dependent on 
biocomputing advances include but are not limited to:
o  Behavioral science
o  Biological rhythms
o  Biomedical imaging 
o  Cell biology
o  Clinical research 
o  Clinical trials
o  Developmental biology
o  Drug design at the molecular and cellular levels
o  Dynamic modeling of retirement
o  Dynamic modeling of health, chronic disease, and disablement
o  Endocrinology
o  Environmental science
o  Epidemiology
o  Genetics
o  Genomics/proteomics
o  Immunology/inflammation
o  Medical genetics
o  Morphology
o  Neurobiology and cognitive science
o  Pharmacology
o  Physiology
o  Population biology
o  Structural biology
o  Substance abuse research
o  Surgery and virtual tools
o  Temporal patterns

Pre-NPEBCs will provide Institutions with the resources to set in place all 
of the components that would make them eventually competitive for a NPEBC 
grant. The success of a Pre-NPEBC will ultimately be determined by the 
quality and dedication of the investigators involved in the project.  An 
appropriate Pre-NPEBC Director with expertise in the area of biomedical 
computing or biomedical research must be selected, as well as a Co-Director 
with expertise in the complementary field.  In addition, the institution must 
assemble a multidisciplinary leadership team of investigators who are 
committed to the success of the Pre-NPEBC.  This group of investigators will 
be responsible for the definition of the research goals and objectives of the 
Pre-NPEBC, as well as ongoing activities.  The lead investigators must each 
represent a major scientific component that will be involved in the Pre-
NPEBC, and each must have demonstrated scientific accomplishment, but they do 
not need to demonstrate prior interactive research amongst themselves.

During the course of the Pre-NPEBC award, the leadership team will be 
responsible for the design and implementation of planning activities that 
will lead to a formal framework through which scientific synergy can occur on 
a stable and continuing basis, and will provide: 1) an organizational 
structure specifically designed to facilitate intellectual cross-
fertilization between seemingly disparate groups of investigators; 2) core 
facilities to support research activities; 3) developmental funds for 
feasibility testing of new projects; 4) career development opportunities for 
new and established investigators; and 5) a broad range of educational 
activities, from formal undergraduate and graduate programs to courses and 
seminars for students and researchers, visiting scientists program or other 
types of training, cross-training, or educational approaches.
 
The planning activities should emphasize the interface between 
informatics/computing and biomedical research and should be structured to 
meet the needs and level of maturity of the ongoing efforts.  Planning 
activities may take place in a single or multiple phases. Planning activities 
should address the following elements:
o  Establishment of an Organizational Structure - The applicant group will 
define and implement a structure for a Pre-NPEBC.  Organizational activities 
must occur, during which the group will be expected to define:
1. The organizational and operational structure of the Pre-NPEBC.  This 
will include planning for a Scientific Steering Committee, composed of 
both internal and external senior investigators, who will be 
responsible for the overall scientific direction of the Program, as 
well as mechanisms for involving a dynamic group of investigators at 
all levels of experience. The Scientific Steering Committee should 
include expertise in areas of biomedical computing and biomedical 
research relevant to the focus of the Pre-NPEBC.  Applicants should not 
invite or select specific members of the Scientific Steering Committee 
prior to application, but provide a list of the types of investigators 
or expertise they would select.
2. A plan for interactive Pre-NPEBC activities that will occur regularly 
over the entire course of the award.  These interactions will be 
determined by the applicants, and emphasis will be placed on 
establishing creative, productive interactions. In addition the 
interactive activities should be geared towards promoting the cross-
fertilization between fields of information science and technology and 
biomedical research.
3. A description of the core facilities necessary to support the 
scientific goals of the Pre-Program.  Access to equipment and resources 
is often a problem, especially for multi-disciplinary programs.  The 
establishment of core resources dedicated to Pre-NPEBC-related 
Development Projects will provide this access.  Initially, Pre-NPEBC 
core resources may simply be extensions of existing laboratories or 
facilities, and the definition of a core resource would vary 
considerably depending on the Development projects to be selected, 
existing facilities, and the scientific focus of the Pre-NPEBC.
4. A model of the process for the selection, monitoring, funding and, if 
necessary, termination of Development Projects to be implemented.
5. A plan for developing a full range of educational activities, from 
formal undergraduate and graduate programs to courses and seminars for 
student and researchers, visiting scientists program or other types of 
training, cross-training, or educational approaches.

o  Initiation or expansion of Developmental Projects – The applicants should 
select two to three highly interactive Developmental Projects for research 
support.  For more established groups selection of these projects may occur 
prior to submission of the proposal.  For groups requiring an initial 
planning process to define the Developmental Project selection process 
examples may be provided in the application, with final selection during the 
course of the Pre-NPEBC.  These projects will be geared toward determining 
project feasibility, proof of principle, and acquisition of preliminary data.  
At least one of the pilot studies must demonstrate newly established 
collaborative efforts between two or more groups of investigators. Additional 
Developmental Projects may either be newly established collaborations or 
significant extensions of ongoing collaborations.  Projects must span the 
interface of biomedical research and biomedical information science and 
technology. Given the expanding needs in biomedical research for advances in 
these areas, consideration should be given that approaches and technologies 
can ultimately be generalizable, scalable, extensible, interoperable, and use 
sophisticated computational resources. The informatics research component as 
reflected in the proposed pilot projects should be future-oriented and seek 
to exceed the current state-of-the-art. 

The P20 application should contain no more than three five-page 
descriptions of the Developmental Projects selected or examples of 
possible Development Projects.  These projects will not be reviewed as 
traditional research projects.  Rather, the proposed Development Projects 
will serve as an indication of the priorities to be focused on by the 
group, a reflection of the decision-making abilities of the scientific 
leadership, the ability to stimulate mutually beneficial collaborations 
between informatics and computation researchers and biomedical researchers,
and the initial ability of the group to interact productively and
scientifically. When the P20 groups submit their NPEBC application, it 
is expected that the Development Projects will have generated sufficient 
data for meaningful interpretation. The results acquired during this phase 
will be a critical focus of the NPEBC review, since these results will be 
an important indication of how successfully the Pre-NPEBC group functioned 
to implement innovative research.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Funded Pre-NPEBC groups will be required to include in their first non-
competing renewal (annual reports) 1) a description of the activities that 
occurred; 2) the organizational and operational structure that was 
implemented including a detailed description of the process for selecting 
Development projects, and decisions regarding the establishment of core 
facilities; 3) a description of each of the Development projects that have 
been initiated, and the progress made on each of those projects; 4) a 
description of progress toward developing a range of educational 
opportunities in biomedical computing.  Subsequent non-competing renewals 
will be required to include a detailed report of organizational and 
operational activities as well as a progress report for each of the ongoing 
Development projects.

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 sub populations 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 429B 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, and are available on the Internet at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-100.html .

Investigators may also 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 or 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://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.
Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICAION OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary for the review because reviewers are under no 
obligation to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their 
anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit by the deadlines given on the 
first page of this announcement a letter of intent that includes a 
descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, address, and telephone 
number of the PI, the name of the Co-PI, the identities of other key 
personnel and participating institutions, and the number and title of the PA 
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 
a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows Institute 
staff to estimate the potential review workload and avoid conflict of 
interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to the program staff contact listed under 
INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants.  Applications 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. Application kits are 
also available at the following URL: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARATION OF THE APPLICATION

All applications must be submitted on the form PHS-398 (rev.4/98).

Budget:

Applicants should submit separate detailed budgets (Form Page 4-DD) for the 
planning activities, the individual Developmental Projects, and core 
facilities required for the initial Developmental Projects, and a single 
summary budget for the entire proposed period of support (Form Page 5-EE). 
The budgets should appear in the following order:

Planning Budget  (use Form Page 4-DD) should include all of the costs 
required for planning activities. Examples of acceptable planning costs would 
be salary support for the PI, co-PI,and key personnel involved in organizing 
the Pre-NPEBC, costs associated with planning meetings, and other relevant 
planning related organizational costs. An annual meeting of all investigators 
funded through this program will be held to share planning progress and 
research insights that may enable further progress in the program. Applicants 
should request travel funds in their budgets for the principal investigator 
and one additional senior investigator to attend this annual meeting.  

Individual Developmental Project Budgets (use Form Page 4-DD) should detail 
the costs associated with individual selected Developmental Projects or 
approximate budgets for example Developmental Projects. Budgets should 
indicate salary support for investigators involved in the Development 
Projects, costs associated with equipment, supplies and use of core 
facilities designed to support the Development Projects.

Individual Core Budgets should detail the costs associated with establishment 
of individual core services required to support the selected individual 
Development Projects.  If the Developmental Projects presented are examples, 
examples of cores required for those projects should be used for budget 
estimates. Budgets should include salary support for core staff, as well as 
costs associated with equipment and supplies. 

Biographical Sketches and Other Support:

All applications should describe the scientific and administrative experience 
of key personnel and should include and follow the PHS-398 form instructions 
for Biographical Sketches and Other Support information.  In this case, key 
personnel includes the Pre-NPEBC PI, co-PI, each of the investigators 
identified as a primary scientific project leader, and each of the 
investigators involved with a submitted Development Project.

Resources:

This section is to include a detailed description of the quality and variety 
of scientific resources available to accomplish the scientific goals of the 
Pre-NPEBC.

RESEARCH PLAN (not to exceed a total of 35 pages):

A) Major Research Objectives (8-10 pages).

This section should concisely describe the Pre-NPEBCs major research 
objectives, and should include descriptions of each of the scientific areas 
to be involved in the Pre-NPEBC, how they will be integrated, and the unique 
scientific opportunities that will be addressed.  Applicants should address 
the opportunity offered by the selected research area for biomedical 
information science and technology to promote advances in a compelling area 
of biomedical research. The description of the PI and co-PI chosen to lead 
the Pre-NPEBC should include their scientific qualifications and a 
demonstration of administrative and scientific leadership abilities.  The 
application should also address the complementary nature of the expertise of 
the PI and co-PI with respect to expertise in biomedical computing and 
biomedical research.  For each major scientific subdivision, an experienced 
investigator that will assume responsibility within the Pre-NPEBC must be 
identified.  Senior investigators must demonstrate a strong track record of 
scientific accomplishment, and a willingness to effectively collaborate, and 
the application should clearly define the role that each of these 
investigators will play in Pre-NPEBC activities.  For each participating 
investigator, a short description of his/her ongoing research and its 
potential relevance to the Pre-NPEBC is required.

B) Organizational Activities (8-10 pages)

This section should include an example (model) of an organizational structure 
for the Pre-NPEBC.  This model will not be a final structure, since that will 
be determined during the course of the planning activities.  Instead, 
applicants should provide a detailed description of the activities that will 
take place.  Activities to be completed during the course of the program 
include:
a) Finalization of an organizational structure of the Pre-NPEBC.  This 
structure will include the description of the appropriate constitution of 
relevant committees (not specific members), composed of both internal and 
external senior investigators, who will be responsible for the overall 
scientific direction of the Program.
b) Establishment of ongoing, interactive, multidisciplinary activities, such 
as seminars, workshops, forums, etc.
c) Determination of the process for the selection, implementation, 
monitoring, and if necessary, termination of Development Projects to be 
initiated.  Include a discussion of appropriate timing for and planned 
approaches to facilitating the transition of these projects to independent 
support and completion.
d) Definition of the core facilities necessary to support the scientific 
goals of the Pre-NPEBC, how these core facilities will be maintained, how the 
decision to add or terminate a core facility will be made, and how resources 
will be allocated to the selected Development projects.
e) Establishment of a plan for developing a broad range of educational 
activities, from formal undergraduate and graduate programs to courses and 
seminars for student and researchers, visiting scientists program or other 
types of training, cross-training, or educational approaches.
f) Since the P20 Planning Grants are designed to support the organization of 
a multidisciplinary group, it is expected that the critical mass of 
investigators already exists at the Institution.  Recruitment of one or two 
investigators in defined scientific area(s) may be required.  If this is the 
case, applicants must identify the particular scientific area(s), and 
describe and justify recruitment plans in detail.

C) Development Projects (may not exceed 15 pages total)

When the P20 application is submitted, it must contain no more than three 
five-page descriptions of Development Projects or examples of Developmental 
Projects to be implemented in the Pre-NPEBC. These projects should be geared 
toward determining project feasibility, proof of principle and acquisition of 
preliminary data.  These development studies must demonstrate collaborative 
efforts between two or more groups of investigators with a focus on 
biomedical computing in the context of areas of scientific opportunity in 
biomedical research. Each of these examples should include:

1) Title
2) Investigator names, and areas of scientific expertise
3) Specific Aim(s)
4) Background and Significance.  Included in this section should be a 
description of the unique scientific opportunity made possible by this 
collaboration.
5) Research Design and Methods

D) Institutional commitment (1-2 pages)

Examples of Institutional support could be contribution to the support of 
salaries and/or equipment and reagent purchases required by investigators 
during the Phase II planning stage.  The Institution could also make a 
commitment to the Program to provide common laboratory and/or administrative 
space, both during the planning phase and in the event that a successful 
NPEBC grant is awarded.  If recruitment of investigator(s) is necessary, the 
Institutions plans for this effort, and clear demonstration of its commitment 
must be included.

The PA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form, and the YES box must be marked.

Submit a signed and complete original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and five signed and legible 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)

Applications must be received by the application deadline dates given on the 
first page of this solicitation.  If an application is received after that 
date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.  The Center for 
Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in response to this 
PA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review 
unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The CSR will not 
accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.
This does not preclude the submission of substantial revisions of 
applications already reviewed, but such applications must include an 
introduction addressing the previous critique.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and 
responsiveness by the program staff within the relevant Institute or Center.  
Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration.  Applications that are complete and 
responsive to the PA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by 
an appropriate peer review group convened by the NIH in accordance with the 
review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, a process 
may be used by the initial review group in which applications 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 the 
applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and 
receive a second level review by the relevant institute advisory board.

Review Criteria

The five criteria to be used in the evaluation of grant applications are 
listed below.

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  The 
reviewers will comment on the following aspects of the application in their 
written critiques 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 by the reviewers in assigning the 
overall score weighting them as appropriate for each application.

1. Significance.
o  Will the program provide significant advances in the selected areas of 
research?
o  Will the research provide foundations or infrastructure for other 
research?
o  Will the research advance human health directly or indirectly?
o  Will the Pre-NPEBC have a significant effect on the concepts or methods 
that drive this field?
o  Does the program bring in new ideas and new personnel and resources, or is 
it an aggregate of existing facilities?

2. Approach.
o  Is the conceptual organizational and operational framework reasonable and 
appropriate to the aims of the project?
o  Does the program integrate biomedicine and biomedical information science 
and technology?
o  Does the program incorporate both fundamental discovery and the 
development of useful tools?
o  Does the program take into consideration issues related to standardization 
of data input; interoperability of database design; and data retrieval, 
exchange, visualization, manipulation and integration?
o  Is there a viable strategy for developing a menu of education 
opportunities, ranging from formal programs to courses and seminars, visiting 
scientist programs, etc?
o  Is there a clear plan for defining sharing of responsibilities among 
investigators and between institutions (if more than one institution is 
involved)?
o  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?
o  Does the proposed approach support the possibility of the Pre-NPEBC being 
ready to compete for a NPEBC Grant within the time frame of the proposed 
planning period?

3. Innovation.
o  Does the Pre-NPEBC employ novel approaches or methods for facilitating 
scientific interaction?
o  Do the proposed Development projects establish new, multidisciplinary 
collaborations, and are the projects original and innovative?
o  Does the Pre-NPEBC group challenge existing paradigms or develop new 
methodologies or technologies?
o  Does the program plan to use high-end computing?

4. Investigators.
o  Are the Pre-NPEBC PI, co-PI, and lead investigators appropriately trained 
and well suited to the organizational and scientific responsibilities 
associated with this project?
o  If there are plans to recruit investigator(s), are those plans reasonable 
and necessary and can those efforts be completed in a timely manner, such 
that the recruited investigator(s) can make meaningful contributions to the 
Pre-NPEBC?

5. Environment.
o  Is there evidence of significant scientific commitment of the institution 
to fulfilling the objectives of the Pre-NPEBC?
o  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute 
to the probability of success?
o  If collaborative arrangements are proposed, is there a convincing 
demonstration that these interactions will be consistent enough to meet the 
needs of the Pre- NPEBC?

The initial review group will also examine: the appropriateness of proposed 
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders 
and minorities and their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of 
the research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; the 
adequacy of plans for including children as appropriate for the scientific 
goals of the research, or justification for exclusion; the provisions for the 
protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety of the research 
environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

Pre-NPEBC awards will be based on the quality of the proposed project as 
determined by peer review, availability of funds, and program priority.
         
INQUIRIES

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

Inquiries or contacts concerning institute-specific technical or financial 
issues should be directed to the NIH BISTI technical or financial contacts 
listed at the following Web site:
http://www.bisti.nih.gov/bistic_contacts.cfm.

Inquiries regarding general programmatic issues or notices of intent should 
be directed to:

Dr. James Cassatt
NIGMS
45 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
TEL:  301-594-0828
FAX: 301-480-2004
Email: jc12b@nih.gov

Inquiries concerning review issues should be directed to:

Dr. Elliot Postow
Center for Scientific Review
6701 Rockledge Drive – Room 4160
Bethesda, MD  20892
TEL: (301) 435-0911
FAX: (301) 480-2241
Email: postowe@csr.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.394.  Awards are made under authorization of sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended by 42 USC 241 and 284 and administered 
under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 
74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review 
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a 
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use 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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