ALCOHOL RESEARCH CENTER GRANTS

Release Date:  April 4, 2000

RFA:  AA-00-003

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  October 15, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       November 14, 2001

PURPOSE 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides 
grant support for Alcohol Research Centers to conduct and foster 
interdisciplinary research on alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The Center 
grants program is interrelated with and complementary to all other 
research support mechanisms and scientific activities that comprise the 
NIAAA programs of research on the nature, causes, and consequences of 
alcohol abuse and alcoholism, including diagnosis, treatment, 
prevention, and health services research related to prevention and 
treatment of alcoholism.  The program is designed to encourage 
application of multiple perspectives and approaches to alcohol related 
problems.  The NIAAA currently supports 15 Centers and anticipates that 
the level of support for this program will not expand during this 
competition.  Support for seven of the current 5-year Center grant 
awards will expire in late 2002.  Research within each of these Centers 
is organized around a central theme: genetic determinants of alcohol 
ingestion, pathogenesis of alcohol dependence, neurobiology of alcohol 
in central nervous system effects, genetic approaches to alcohol 
neuropharmacology, alcohol effects on the cell, etiology and treatment 
of alcohol dependence, and environmental factors in alcohol problem 
prevention.  Applications for new Centers in these and other research 
areas will be accepted with applications from currently funded Centers 
seeking renewal support. 

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 RFA, 
Alcohol Research Center Grants, is related to the priority area of 
alcohol abuse and alcoholism reduction. Potential applicants may obtain 
a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at: http://www.health.gov/healthypeople

ELIGIBILITY 

Any domestic public (non-Federal) or private non-profit or for-profit 
institution may apply for a Center grant.  However, the proposed Center 
must be affiliated with an institution, such as a university, medical 
center, or research center that has the resources to sustain a long-
term, coordinated research program.  An applicant institution must 
demonstrate the ability to attract high-quality scientists from 
biomedical, behavioral, clinical and/or social science disciplines who 
are willing to make a long-term commitment to research.  An application 
must also have a detailed 5-year plan for a proposed research program.  
In addition, the applicant must assure that research-training 
opportunities will be available.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, 
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as 
Principal Investigators. 

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT 

The Alcohol Research Centers Grant program is designed to complement 
the regular research project grants program of the NIAAA by providing 
long-term (typically for 5 years) support for interdisciplinary 
research programs with a distinct focus on a particular theme relating 
to alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and other alcohol-related problems.  The 
program is intended to encourage outstanding scientists from 
biomedical, behavioral, social science, and other relevant disciplines 
to bring a full range of expertise, approaches, technologies and 
creativity to the study of problems related to alcohol abuse and 
alcoholism.  Center grants help to provide a stable environment for 
investigators to engage in alcohol research in a coordinated, 
integrated and synergistic effort.  Centers are expected to be sources 
of scientific excellence, provide leadership to the field, and, through 
sustained excellence, to become significant regional or national 
research resources.  In addition, they are expected to attract 
promising and established investigators and to provide training, career 
development and mentoring opportunities to persons from various 
disciplines and professions. 

A specialized center (P50) is an integrated, broad-based 
multidisciplinary, multi-investigator, long-term program of combined 
research and research support activity planned around a specific major 
research objective or research theme.  In addition to providing support 
for shared resources, this type of Center supports a full range of 
basic, developmental, clinical, and/or applied research components; 
allows for growth and development through pilot projects; and is 
intended to provide state-of-the-art leadership in the alcohol field. 

A comprehensive center (P60) expands the specialized center program of 
research and research training by inclusion of additional components or 
elements developed in conjunction with available community based 
agencies, institutions, facilities and resources.  Projects could 
include community education and alcohol information dissemination to 
the public and education for medical and allied health care 
professionals concerning the problems of detection, diagnosis, 
treatment and prevention of alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse.  
While not all of these areas must be represented in one center, the 
community education or information dissemination project proposed 
should be a comprehensive approach and have a clear relationship to the 
research theme of the center.

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

It is estimated that approximately $12.0 million dollars will be 
available in FY 2003 to fund seven or eight Centers.  The total cost 
(direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs) for a Center 
may not exceed $1.7 million per year for a P50 and  $1.8 million per 
year for a P60.  Continuation support in the future years is 
anticipated. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 

All proposed research to be conducted within a Center must be clearly 
directed toward one or more of the following goals: prevalence, 
etiology, diagnosis, prediction, clinical course, management or 
treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, or alcohol-related health 
problems; health services research; consequences of alcoholism or 
alcohol abuse; and factors that relate to prevention of alcohol abuse, 
alcoholism, or other problems associated with alcohol consumption. Some 
examples are research to improve knowledge of the impact of alcohol use 
on related health issues, such as human development and aging, 
cardiovascular integrity; disease pathogenesis and progression; liver 
and gastrointestinal functioning; nicotine and other drug use; 
performance ability; neurological impairment; and mental disorders that 
co-occur with alcohol abuse disorders. 

The Alcohol Research Center grant provides a mechanism for fostering 
interdisciplinary cooperation in a group of established investigators 
conducting high-quality alcohol research. Therefore, existence of a 
strong research capability is fundamental to the establishment of a new 
Center or the continuation of an existing Center.  A Center should be 
an identifiable organizational unit within an institutional or 
organizational structure such as a university, medical center, or a 
consortium of affiliated cooperating institutions.  Unique scientific 
opportunities warrant collaboration with investigators in other centers 
and/or with scientists in institutions outside the United States.  In 
such cases the director of the components in which collaborative 
activity with a foreign organization is proposed must be affiliated 
with a domestic institution. 

Center Components 

The following paragraphs describe the specific components of a Center 
application: 

Administrative Core Component 

A Center should promote synergistic interaction of broad and diverse 
elements that require clearly specified lines of authority and 
accountability by appropriate institutional officials.  The purpose of 
the administrative core component is to provide the organizational 
framework for the management, direction, and coordination of the 
Center.  The administrative core component must be managed by the 
Center Director or Scientific Director and may include funds for 
scientific enrichment activities such as special lectures, symposia, 
seminars, and workshops for research faculty and staff. 

Scientific Core Components 

Core components for this RFA are defined as shared research resources 
that enhance productivity or in other ways benefit a group of 
investigators working in alcohol-related research to accomplish the 
common goals of the Center.  A core component is a laboratory, 
facility, service, or other resource that interacts synergistically 
with research projects of the Center.  Cores should primarily be used 
to support projects which are part of the Center Grant award, but they 
may also be used for other support mechanisms such as Research Project 
Grants, Program Projects, or a combination thereof, that have relevance 
to the NIAAA mission. Core components should provide investigators with 
some technique, instrumentation, service, or resource in a way that 
will enhance research progress and contribute to efficiency and 
effectiveness.  Each core component is directed by an investigator with 
established expertise relative to the support or service to be 
provided, usually a faculty-level individual. Some examples of research 
support that core components typically provide are: (1) technology that 
implements automation or large batch preparation; (2) tissue and/or 
cell culture facilities; (3) complex instrumentation, e.g., electron 
microscopy, mass spectrometry, electrophysiology; (4) animal care and 
preparation; (5) service and training; (6) patient coordination; and 
(7) information processing, data management, and statistical services. 

Research Components 

Research components are individual scientific research projects, 
interrelated within the overall Center program so that the components 
contribute collectively to the goals of the Center program to a greater 
extent than if each project were pursued separately.  Each research 
component must be a highly focused project under the direction of a 
component director.  The component director should be an established 
researcher of independent and scientifically recognized standing who is 
responsible for the scientific direction and conduct of the individual 
research component.  A Center Director or Scientific Director may also 
serve as a component director. 

Education Component (for P60 applications)

Comprehensive centers (P60) must include at least one component which 
supports activities designed to translate research findings into health 
care practice or public information dissemination.  Such activities may 
require a substantial portion of the first year for planning and 
development with actual implementation beginning near the second and 
continuing in subsequent years. Examples of projects that may be 
supported include but are not limited to dissemination of research 
results to the public, professionals, and paraprofessionals; providing 
information to educational institutions, the media and other 
appropriate organizations and/or groups; and development of educational 
programs for specific audiences e.g. children, women, etc.

Pilot Project Component 

The purpose of pilot projects is to provide the Center with a flexible 
means to develop and explore new research activities or directions, and 
unique scientific opportunities that could evolve into independently 
funded research projects.  These funds are not intended to supplement 
ongoing research projects.  Pilot projects must be in a separate pilot 
project component that incorporates all of the pilot studies of the 
proposed Center grant. 

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS 

The following paragraphs describe the Special Requirements for a Center 
application. Details for preparing the application are provided in the 
"Supplemental Instructions," which are available from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  It is essential that applicants carefully 
adhere to the Supplemental Instructions. 

Center grant applications should be organized into discrete components 
that comprise a proposed program of research.  Each component is either 
a research component or a core component for which a separate detailed 
budget is included in the application.  The application must include an 
administrative core and at least three research components; it may also 
include shared scientific resource cores, an education component for 
P60s, and/or a pilot project component. 

The minimum acceptable combined number of research components and core 
components is four (an administrative core and three research 
components).  The maximum combined number of research components and 
core components, including  a  pilot project component, is 10.  An 
education component does not count toward this total. More than a total 
of 10 components is not acceptable even if some components are in 
operation for less than the 5-year period.  All proposed research 
components need not be ongoing at any one time, but may be phased in at 
different time points during the life of the proposed Center grant.  At 
least three research components must be ongoing at all times, and no 
more than 10 research and/or core components may be proposed over the 
entire project period.  Education components do not count toward the 
required three research components.  This aspect should receive careful 
attention in the application and individual component preparation. 

The research plan for each core component, each research component, and 
each education component is limited to 25 pages. Pages not used for one 
component may not be used to extend the page limit of other 
components/cores.  These page limits do not apply to pilot projects.  
For pilot project requirements, see section entitled "Pilot Project 
Component," (below). 

Administrative Core Component 

The administrative core component plays a key role in the coordination 
and operation of the Center.  This core should be described in 
sufficient detail to assure that all proposed components and related 
activities will function optimally and in an interactive synergistic 
manner.  An important function of this core is the administration of 
the budget.  Through this component, the Center Director provides 
substantive leadership and manages the administrative core component. 
This component may also include the costs of scientific enrichment and 
education activities for faculty and staff. 

Scientific Core Components 

Each shared scientific resource component should be clearly described 
in terms of the services/resources to be provided to investigators.  
The description should include a discussion of the core's contributions 
to the research objectives of the Center.  Relevant aspects of cost 
effectiveness, timesaving, and increased efficiency attributable to the 
existence of the cores should also be addressed.  A core component 
should support Center grant research components and may also support 
separately funded research project grants that are related to the 
Center's theme.  Each separately funded research project associated 
with the Center and utilizing core facilities should have a brief 
description that includes its research objectives and how the Center's 
core facility will impact upon it.  The minimum number of research 
components/projects supported by a core component is two. 

A core component director who has documented experience and scientific 
expertise relative to the purpose of the core must be designated for 
each core.  This person should be an established scientist in his or 
her field.  The description of the organization and mode of operation 
of the shared resource core should include discussion of quality 
control for the service or resource, and the procedures for evaluating 
and selecting projects eligible for use of the core facility.  Training 
in complex techniques and methods should be described if they are 
functions in proposed cores. Core components are intended to enhance 
opportunities for investigators at the Center to include new 
technologies that broaden their research initiatives.  While, research 
per se is not conducted as part of the scientific core, quality 
assurance activities that evaluate the operation, resources, quality 
and utilization of the core and that are directed at problem 
identification and improvement of core functioning are appropriate. 

In renewal applications, ongoing or completed core activity that has 
enhanced or facilitated alcohol research should be described.  Past 
performance and accomplishments of cores should be described, as should 
the effect of services provided by cores on investigators' 
productivity. 

Research Components 

For each proposed research component, a clear description of the major 
goals, objectives, and its integration with the other components in 
relation to the overall Center program should be provided. 

o The question(s) to be addressed and the hypotheses to be tested by 
the proposed research should be highly focused and fully explained.  

o A discussion of the design and procedures should describe the 
strategies proposed to accomplish the specific aims of the project 
and highlight innovative aspects of the approach. 

o A description of the resources and working arrangements required to 
implement and conduct the proposed research should be fully 
elaborated with particular attention devoted to a description of 
necessary resources, subjects, clinical populations, tissue 
resources, etc., which will be involved in proposed studies.  If 
core facilities are utilized, information on their use should be 
provided.
  
Education Component (for P60 applications)

For each education/information component, a clear description of the 
major goals, objectives, and its integration with the research 
components in relation to the overall center program should be 
provided. Specific projects for translational education/information 
dissemination activities should be described.  While the specific 
number of education projects is at the discretion of the applicant, 
requested funding for education component activities may not exceed 
$100,000 or 10 percent (whichever is larger) of the direct cost budget 
proposed for any one year.  A staffing plan and rationale for 
organization of this component should be presented.  Methods, 
techniques and technologies to be used for proposed activities should 
be defined as well as the targeted audience or participants.  Issues of 
cultural sensitivity with regard to intended audience should be 
addressed.  When appropriate, activities should be designed to 
effectively reach minority populations and/or subgroups based on age or 
gender.

o The scientific knowledge base and research topics or areas upon 
which proposed translational activities will developed should be 
identified and explained.

o A discussion of the design, plans and procedures for development 
including time lines should describe strategies proposed to 
accomplish specific aims of the project(s).  Innovative aspects of 
the approach to be used should be highlighted.

o A description of the resources, facilities, agencies, and/or 
institutions with working arrangements to plan, implement and 
conduct the proposed activities should be fully elaborated.  
Particular attention must be devoted to a description of necessary 
resources, including specialized expertise, and the target audience, 
or participants who will derive benefit from the activity.  If core 
facilities or services are utilized, information on their use should 
be provided.

o A description of plans to evaluate the success and/or effectiveness 
of educational activities with emphasis on their impact on 
knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

Pilot Project Component 

The process for selecting pilot projects should be fully, though 
concisely described.  For the first 2 years that funds are requested 
for pilot projects, the application must provide descriptions of the 
projects to be supported. For years 03-05, the application must provide 
the specific number of pilots planned in each year and a brief 
description of the anticipated direction of these pilots.  While the 
specific number of pilot projects to be proposed is at the discretion 
of the applicant, requested funding for pilot studies may not exceed 
$100,000 or 10 percent (whichever is larger) of the direct cost budget 
proposed for any 1 year. All proposed pilot projects need not be 
ongoing at any one time, but may be phased in at different points 
during the life of the proposed Center grant. It is recognized that the 
relative priority or need for specific pilot projects may change over 
the course of time. 

While the Center's framework for management of pilot funds and the 
mechanism for operating the program are left to the discretion of the 
Center, the application must provide specific information to enable 
adequate scientific evaluation by a peer review committee.  The 
application should include: 

o A full description of the management of the pilot project component, 
including a description of the process to be followed by the Center 
Director in selecting new pilot projects and replacing projects 
proposed in the application, should it become necessary. 

o A full description of each pilot study proposed in the first 2 
years, including its rationale, objectives, approach, investigators, 
and significance for the Center.  A description of the number and 
anticipated direction of pilot projects in the 03-05 years, 
including their significance to the Center.  The research 
description of any individual pilot project may not exceed five 
pages; the entire narrative for this Pilot Project Component may not 
exceed 25 pages irrespective of the number of pilot projects 
proposed. 

o For competing renewal applications, information should be provided 
in the pilot project component description on the past experience of 
the Center in utilizing pilot funds to further the goals.  The 
narrative should include an assessment of the overall benefits 
derived from the availability of pilot resources. 

A budget should be submitted for the pilot project component as a whole 
for each year in which pilots are proposed.  For years 01 and 02, this 
budget will reflect costs of pilots proposed in the application.  For 
years 03-05, the budget will estimate cost based on the number and kind 
of work to be pursued.  In addition, budget information should be 
provided for each individual pilot project including those for the 03-
05 years. 

See "Supplemental Instructions" for further information on pilot 
project description requirements. 

Renewal Applications 

A comprehensive progress report is required for competing continuation 
(renewal) applications. A statement must be included in the application 
regarding the progress made by the Center as a whole in its development 
as a national or regional research resource.  In addition, for each 
research component of the existing Center grant, a succinct account of 
its published and unpublished results must be provided, indicating 
progress toward achieving aims regardless of whether the component has 
been submitted for renewal.  More specific details are provided in the 
Supplemental Instructions. 

Facilities and Environment 

Applicants must demonstrate the availability of adequate laboratory, 
clinical, and other office facilities needed to carry out the 
objectives of the proposed Center program.  Although not required, it 
is desirable for all Centers to have a commitment for sufficient 
contiguous space so that the Center has a high degree of cohesion and 
visibility.   Reference facilities affording access to relevant 
literature must be readily available. It is expected that such 
reference facilities will be the primary repository of additional 
reference materials that may be obtained through Center funding.  
Relevant support services, including adequate data processing 
facilities, must also be readily accessible within or through the 
institution.  Assurances of such support must be included with the 
proposal. 

Organization and Administration

A Center must be an identifiable organizational unit with an 
administrative structure and clear lines of authority which will 
facilitate coordination among Center personnel to assure maximum 
accountability and efficiency in Center operations.  An applicant must 
designate an institutional official to serve as principal investigator 
for the Center grant and as Director of the Center.  The institutional 
appointment of this person must provide sufficient authority to 
allocate space, personnel, and other resources essential to the Center.  
This individual must demonstrate the ability to organize, administer, 
and direct the Center.  The Director of the Center will have 
responsibility for planning and coordination of the Center program, 
preparation of the budget and oversight of expenditures, staff 
appointments, space allocation, and other aspects of management and 
operation of the Center. 

Overall program management, coordination, communication, progress 
assessment, and quality control are typically responsibilities of the 
Director and are facilitated through the administrative core.  The 
administrative core should be described in sufficient detail to assure 
that all proposed components and related activities will function 
optimally.  In addition, day-to-day operations involving procurement, 
finances, personnel, planning, and budgeting should be detailed in the 
description of this core. 

The applicant may also designate a Scientific Director who will be 
responsible to the Center Director and provide direct supervision of 
the scientific and operational aspects of the research program. Such a 
person should be an individual who has established scientific 
credentials and who is capable of providing the leadership essential to 
the success of the center program.  The Scientific Director will be 
responsible for assuring interaction and collaboration among scientists 
conducting research within the Center to facilitate a concerted 
approach to the research goals of the Center.  The Scientific Director 
also will be responsible for the direct monitoring of ongoing research 
and for identifying (with the assistance of colleagues) research 
activities and educational to be expanded or decreased and needs for 
additional resources or reallocation of resources.  If the Center 
Director also serves as the Scientific Director, his or her functions 
as Scientific Director should also be described. 

Key professional staff, such as directors of individual research 
components and core components of the Center, should have the necessary 
training/experience to assure that the objectives and goals of the 
proposed studies will be achieved.  Such persons must be independent 
investigators with scientifically recognized standing. 

A Program Advisory Committee shall be established and chaired by the 
Center Director. Its membership, selected by the Center Director from 
individuals outside the Center, should be composed of at least five 
members who should be identified in the application.  Members should be 
persons of recognized scientific standing who are generally familiar 
with the Center's activities and represent a cross-section of 
disciplines that are relevant to the work of the proposed Center.  It 
shall be the responsibility of this Committee to review and make 
recommendations to the Center Director on the conduct of all activities 
of the Center, including the management of pilot projects.  If 
committees other than the Program Advisory Committee are included, 
specific plans regarding committee selection and function should be 
provided in the application. 

Training 

While the primary function of each Center is the conduct of high-
quality interdisciplinary research, an important component related to 
the Center and its research efforts is the training of research and 
clinical personnel.  The applicant institution must therefore 
demonstrate or give reasonable assurances that it has: 

(a) the capacity to train predoctoral and/or postdoctoral students 
for careers in alcohol research; and 

(b) the capacity to conduct programs of continuing education in the 
Center's designated research theme in the medical, behavioral, 
epidemiological, or health service fields. 

While the Center need not necessarily have formal training programs of 
its own, there must be specific provision for coordination between the 
Center and the training programs of the applicant institution and/or 
affiliated institutions.  Center grant funds may not be used to pay 
stipends or other trainee costs; however, Center staff may participate 
in the development of training programs, and Center resources may be 
made available for use of trainees. 

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

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

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should 
read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as 
Subjects in Clinical Research," which was published in the Federal 
Register of March 28, 1994 (FR59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No.11, March 18, 1994, available on the 
web at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-100.html

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN 
SUBJECTS 

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

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should 
read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as 
Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in 
the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available 
at the following URL address:
http://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 APPLICATIONS 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 to 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.

Terms and Conditions of Support 

Center grant funds may be requested for support of core components, 
individual research components and education components associated with 
the Center program. Administrative core resources may include, for 
example, salaries of personnel responsible for management of the 
Center, program enrichment activities for investigators and staff  such 
as special lectures, visiting scientists, symposia, seminars, 
workshops, etc., and costs related to dissemination of research 
information to the scientific community and lay public. Funds may be 
requested for costs associated with individual components that are part 
of the Center program.  Examples of such costs include: research staff 
salaries, supplies, travel, special consultation, research patient 
costs, publication costs, and the like.  Funds also may be requested 
for the allowable indirect costs of the applicant organization. In 
addition, costs of advisory committees and consultants may be included 
in the administrative core.  Consultants for specific components should 
be included in the budgets for those components. 

Alcohol Research Center grant funds may be used only for costs that are 
necessary to carry out the research, research support and education 
activities of the Center program, and must be in conformance with HHS 
cost principles (encompassed in 45 CFR Part 74) and the  NIH Grants 
Policy Statement (effective 10/98).  This publication should be 
available from your office of sponsored research. 

Funds provided under this program may not be used for the purchase of 
land; nor for the purchase, construction, preservation, or repair of 
any building. However, costs of alteration and renovation of existing 
facilities necessary to accomplish the objectives of the grant may be 
allowed subject to PHS grants policy limitations. Funds provided 
through Center grants may not be used for support of trainee stipends, 
fees, or other expenses directly relating to training activities. 

Research, research information dissemination and training activities 
associated with the Center may receive additional funding from Federal 
sources as well as from State and local sources.  The NIAAA expects and 
encourages the institution and scientists attracted to such Centers to 
seek and compete actively for such funding.  Research staff in funded 
Centers may submit applications for independent research project grants 
for support of research projects that do not overlap with their Center 
project(s). 

Centers will be required to submit detailed annual progress reports 
including substantive information about research results to date, 
status of ongoing research, research plans for the next year, and any 
modifications in long-term research plans.  Also required are reporting 
of inventions, reports of expenditures, final reports, and other 
reports in accordance with NIH policy. 

In view of the special significance of this program, close coordination 
and communication between the NIAAA staff and staff of the Alcohol 
Research Centers is intended.  The NIAAA program official will have 
responsibility for maintaining liaison with appropriate Center 
leadership, serving as resource consultant to the Center program, and 
keeping NIAAA staff informed on progress and accomplishments of the 
Centers.  In addition, the program official with other NIAAA staff and 
consultants will, from time to time, make on-site visits for purposes 
of program coordination and exchange of information. 

LETTER OF INTENT 

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by  October 15, 2001 a 
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed 
research and education, the name, address, and telephone number of the 
Principal Investigator, the identities of other key personnel and 
participating institutions, and the number and title of the RFA 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 
allows NIAAA staff to estimate the potential review workload and to 
avoid conflict of interest in the review. 

The letter of intent is to be sent to:
Ernestine Vanderveen, Ph.D.
Centers Program
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Willco Building, Suite 402
6000 Executive Boulevard MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone: (301) 443-2531
FAX: (301) 594-0673 
Email: tvanderv@willco.niaaa.nih.gov 

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; and from 
NIAAA staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Applications are also available on 
the World Wide Web at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.  
Supplemental Instructions for preparing an Alcohol Research Center 
application are also available from NIAAA staff. 

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form 
must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  
Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this label could 
result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not 
reach the review committee in time for review. In addition, the RFA 
title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the YES box must be marked.  The sample RFA label 
available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf 
has been modified to allow for this change.  Please note this in pdf 
format.  Page limits and limits on size of type are strictly enforced. 
Non-conforming applications will be returned without being reviewed. 

Applicants from institutions that have a General Clinical Research 
Center (GCRC) funded by the NIH National Center for Research Resources 
may wish to identify the GCRC as a resource for conducting the proposed 
research. If so, a letter of agreement from either the GCRC program 
director or principal investigator should be included in the 
application materials.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist and three signed photocopies as well as sets of appendix 
materials 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 
plus appendices must also be sent to: 

RFA: AA-00-003
Office of Scientific Affairs
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Willco Building, Room 409
6000 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
FAX: (301) 443-6077

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in 
the heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that 
date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS 

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the 
Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and for responsiveness by the NIAAA.  
Incomplete and/or nonresponsive applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be 
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer 
review group convened by NIAAA in accordance with the review criteria 
stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, all applications 
will receive a written critique and may undergo a process in which only 
those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit will be 
discussed and assigned a priority score.  Site visits and/or applicant 
interviews may be used to further evaluate the applications with the 
highest scientific merit.  Issues to be considered in applicant 
interviews/site visits will be determined by NIAAA, will be consistent 
for all applications interviewed and/or site visited, and are likely to 
be limited to consideration of issues related primarily to the 
management and cohesiveness of the Center as an integrated whole.  All 
applications will receive a second level review by the National 
Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 

REVIEW CRITERIA FOR CENTER APPLICATIONS 

The initial review for scientific and technical merit of applications 
will emphasize two major aspects: (1) review of the Center as an 
integrated research effort focused on a central theme, including the 
administrative core; and (2) the review of each research component, 
education component, all other core components, and the pilot component 
as applicable.  This review will also include an assessment of the 
academic and physical environment and special considerations, e.g., 
compliance with human subject and animal welfare requirements, and 
compliance with policies concerning inclusion of women, minorities and 
children in clinical research study populations. 

A) ADMINISTRATIVE CORE 

1) Key Staff
o Qualifications, experience, commitment and administrative 
competence of the Center Director
o Ability of the Center Director to devote substantial time and 
effort to the Center 
o Scientific ability of the Scientific Director and his or her 
professional experience and leadership 
o Ability of the Scientific Director to devote substantial time and 
effort to the Center 
o Scientific qualifications and ability of the directors of the 
research components, education components, and core components 
and their commitment to the center 

2) Arrangements and Organizational Structure
o Processes to facilitate and monitor attainment of Center 
objectives
o Plans for communication and cooperation among investigators 
involved in the Center 
o Quality control and oversight mechanisms for ongoing projects 
o Day-to-day management 
o Long-term management and periodic evaluation of goal attainment 
o Contractual and consortium arrangements (as applicable) 
o Procedures for replacement of key personnel, if necessary 

B) SCIENTIFIC CORE COMPONENTS 

o Need/justification for the core service/resource 
o Scientific and technical merit of the service/resource provided 
o Plans for resource allocation 
o Quality control procedures 
o Qualifications, experience, and commitment of the component 
director 
o Adequacy of component director's time and effort 
o Adequacy of the resources and environment 

C)  RESEARCH COMPONENTS  

o Significance:  Does this study address an important problem? If the 
proposed aims 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? 
o Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and 
analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to 
the aims of the project? Does the investigator acknowledge potential 
problem areas and consider alternative tactics? 
o 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? 
o Investigators:  Is each investigator appropriately trained and well-
suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to 
the experience level of the component director and other researchers 
(if any)? 
o Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will 
be done contribute to the probability of success of the project? 
Does the proposed research take advantage of unique features of the 
scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements?  
Is there evidence of institutional support? 

D) EDUCATION COMPONENTS (for P60 applications)

o Significance: Does this project address an important topic?  If the 
proposed aims are achieved, how will the level of science based 
knowledge be enhanced?  What will be the effect of these projects on 
knowledge, attitudes and behaviors?
o Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and 
evaluations adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate 
to the aims of the project?  Does the project director acknowledge 
potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
o 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?
o Investigators:  Is each investigator appropriately trained and well-
suited to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to 
the experience level of the component director and other 
professional staff (if any)?
o Environment:  Does the environment in which the work will be done 
contribute to the probability of success of the project?  Does the 
proposed project take advantage of unique features of the academic 
and community resources and employ useful collaborative 
arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional support?

E) PILOT PROJECT COMPONENT 

1) Pilot Project Component
o Adequacy of the selection process for new and replacement pilot 
projects
o Monitoring and oversight procedures and continuation decisions 
o Adequacy of the resources and environment for all projects 

2) Individual Pilot Projects
o Importance of topic 
o Grounding in the literature or empirical findings 
o Reasonableness of the approach 
o Potential to develop into an full-scale independent project 
o Qualifications of the project director 

F) CENTER AS AN INTEGRATED WHOLE

1) Significance
o Significance of the overall research goals  
o Development of a well-defined central theme 
o Multidisciplinary scope

2) Coordination and Cohesiveness
o Interrelatedness of administrative core, scientific cores, 
research components and education components with each other 
o Usefulness of scientific core components to research components 
and to independently supported investigators who use them 
o Synergistic potential among Center components and core units 
o Justification for each research component in terms of the central 
theme and the overall research goals of the Center 
o Justification for each scientific core component in terms of 
accomplishing center objectives 

3) Resources and Environment
o Institutional strength, stability, commitment to research, and 
support of the Center, including fiscal responsibility and 
management capability to assist the Center Director and staff in 
complying with DHHS, PHS, and NIH policies 
o Opportunities for research training and education for persons 
from various disciplines and professions 
o Potential for interaction with scientists from other departments 
and institutions 
o Academic and physical environment in which the research will be 
conducted, including availability of space, equipment, research 
subjects, and materials 

4) Potential as a Resource
o Potential of the Center to become or maintain itself as a 
regional and national resource 
o Capacity to provide quality research training, opportunities for 
independent research career development 
o Plans for research information dissemination and educational 
activities 

5) Renewal Applications
o Degree to which the Center achieved stated goals with special 
attention to:
- scientific merit of completed research
- recruitment of new scientists into alcohol research
- development of a multidisciplinary team 
- coalescence of Center staff into an effective team

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: 

For the Center as a whole and all components/cores.  In addition to the 
above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all applications will 
also be reviewed with respect to the following:  
 
o The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and 
their subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific 
goals of the research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention 
of subjects will also be evaluated.

o The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in 
relation to the  proposed research.

o The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or 
the environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by 
the project proposed in the application.

o The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data, if appropriate.

Schedule 						
					
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    October 15, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         November 14, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 Spring 2002
Council Review:                   September 16, 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  December 1, 2002


AWARD CRITERIA 

Applications recommended for approval by the National Advisory Council 
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will be considered for funding on the 
basis of the overall scientific merit of the application as determined 
by peer review, as well as such considerations as program balance, 
relevance to the mission and goals of NIAAA, research program 
priorities, equitable geographic distribution, continuity of support, 
and availability of funds.  Awards will be made for up to 5-year 
project periods with separate fiscal awards made annually. 

INQUIRIES 

Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are strongly 
encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from 
potential applicants is welcome. 

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to: 

Ernestine Vanderveen, Ph.D.
Centers Program
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Willco Building, Suite 402
6000 Executive Boulevard MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone: (301) 443-2531 
FAX: (301) 594-0673
Email: tvander@willco.niaaa.nih.gov 

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to: 

Edward Ellis
Office of Planning and Resource Management
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Willco Building, Suite 504
6000 Executive Boulevard MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone: (301) 443-4703
FAX: (301) 443-3891
Email: eellis@willco.niaaa.nih.gov 

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS 

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance, No. 93.891.  Awards are made under the authorization of the 
Public Health Service Act, Sections 301 and 464J, and administered 
under the  Federal Regulations at Title 42 CFR Part 549, "Grants for 
National Alcohol Research Centers” and NIH grants policies and Federal 
Regulations  42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 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 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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