Full Text AA-96-003
 
ALCOHOL RESEARCH CENTER GRANTS
 
NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 12, April 19, 1996
 
RFA:  AA-96-003
 
P.T. 34

Keywords: 
  Alcohol/Alcoholism 
  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 
  Diagnosis, Medical 
  Disease Prevention+ 
  Treatment, Medical+ 
  Health Services Delivery 

 
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
 
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 1, 1996
Application Receipt Date:  December 11, 1996
 
PURPOSE
 
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
provides grant support for Alcohol Research Centers to conduct
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 NIAAA currently supports 14 Centers and anticipates that the
level of support for this program will not expand during this
competition.  Support for seven of the current five-year Center grant
awards will expire in late 1997.  Research within each of these seven
Centers is organized around a central theme:  genetic determinants of
alcohol ingestion, neurobiology of alcohol in central nervous system
effects, genetic approaches to alcohol neuropharmacology, alcohol
effects on the cell, alcohol and pregnancy outcome, environmental
factors in alcohol problem prevention and etiology in treatment of
alcohol dependence.  Applications for new Centers in these and other
research areas will be accepted with applications from currently
funded Centers seeking renewal support.
 
HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000
 
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This 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 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No.
017-001-00474-0, or Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1)
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402-9325 (Telephone 202-512-1800).
 
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, and/or social science disciplines who are
willing to make a long-term commitment to research.  An application
must also have a detailed five-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 five 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,
and advanced technologies 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 and integrated effort.  A Center is expected to be a
source of scientific excellence, provide leadership to the field,
and, through sustained excellence, to become a significant regional
or national research resource.  In addition, the applicant
institution is expected to afford opportunities for research training
to persons from various disciplines and professions.
 
A specialized Center (P50) is a comprehensive, 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.
 
FUNDS AVAILABLE
 
It is estimated that approximately $10 to 11 million will be
available in FY 1998 to fund approximately seven Centers.  The total
cost (direct plus indirect) for a Center may not exceed $1.7 million
per year.  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
cardiovascular integrity; infectious diseases; 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, visiting
scientists, symposia, seminars, workshops etc.; and for education and
research dissemination activities for the public.
 
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.  Research projects that use the
core may be funded primarily from the Center grant award (Specialized
Research Center), from 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 focussed 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.
 
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 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.  More
than a total of 10 components is not acceptable even if some
components are in operation for less than the five-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 3 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.  This
aspect should receive careful attention in the application and
individual component preparation.
 
The research plan for each core component and each research 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, education, and information
dissemination activities.  The administrative core should also
provide for integration of Center functions.
 
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, time-saving, and increased efficiency
attributable to the existence of the cores should also be addressed.
A core component may support Center grant research components and
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.
 
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 one 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 in the application should it become necessary.
 
o  A full description of each pilot study proposed in the first two
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 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 research 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 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 conduct 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, 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 new policy results
from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law
103-43) and supersedes and strengthens the previous policies
(Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and
Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations) which
have been in effect since 1990. The new policy contains some new
provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies.
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
reprinted in the NIH GUIDE FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS, Volume 23,
Number 11, March 18, 1994.
 
Investigators may obtain copies from these sources or from the
program staff or contact person listed below.  Program staff may also
provide additional relevant information concerning the policy.
 
Terms and Conditions of Support
 
Center grant funds may be requested for support of core components
and individual research 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 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 research 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 research 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 and research support
activities of the Center program, and must be in conformance with HHS
cost principles (encompassed in 45 CFR Part 74) and the Public Health
Service Grants Policy Statement (rev. 4/94).  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.  Support will be provided for a period of up to five
years (renewable for subsequent periods) subject to continued
availability of funds and scientific progress.  Applicants may
request up to $1.7 million total cost (including direct and indirect
costs combined) per year.  The actual amount of support awarded will
depend upon consideration of factors listed under AWARD CRITERIA.
 
The Center grant is neither expected nor intended to cover all costs
of running a successful Alcohol Research Center program.  Research
and training activities associated with the Center may receive
additional funding from Federal sources as well as from State and
local sources. 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 PHS policy.
 
LETTER OF INTENT
 
Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by November 1, 1996, a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
research, 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) 443-1273
FAX:  (301) 594-0673
Email: tvanderv@willco.niaaa.nih.gov
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES
 
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) 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 Grants Information Office, Office of Extramural Outreach and
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714,
email:  ASKNIH@odrockm1.od.nih.gov; and from NIAAA staff listed under
INQUIRIES.
 
The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) application form
must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.
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.  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 Division of 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:
 
DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
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-96-003
Office of Scientific Affairs
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Willco Building, Room 409
6000 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Bethesda, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
FAX:  (301) 443-6077
 
Applications must be received by December 11, 1996.  If an
application
is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant
without review.  The Division of Research Grants (DRG) will not
accept
any application in response to this RFA that is essentially the same
as
one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws
the
pending application.  The DRG 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 DRG
and
for responsiveness by the NIAAA.  Incomplete applications will be
returned to the applicant without further consideration as will any
application that is not responsive to the RFA.
 
Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be
evaluated for scientific and technical merit based upon the review
criteria that follow by an appropriate peer review group (initial
review) convened by NIAAA in accordance with the following peer
review
procedures.  All applications will receive a written critique.  The
initial peer review process will be used to determine the most
competitive applications; site visits and/or applicant interviews may
be
used to further evaluate the latter group of applications.  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
solely 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
 
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,
all
other core components, and the pilot component as applicable.  The
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 and minorities in clinical research
study
populations.
 
ADMINISTRATIVE CORE AND CENTER AS AN INTEGRATED WHOLE
 
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CENTER
o  Significance of the overall research goals
o  Development of a well-defined central theme
o  Multidisciplinary scope
 
INTEGRATION OF THE CENTER
o  Center coordination and cohesiveness
o  Interrelatedness of cores and 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
 
QUALIFICATIONS OF 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 and core components and their commitment to the
center
 
ADMINISTRATIVE CORE 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
 
POTENTIAL OF THE CENTER 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
 
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.
 
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
 
RESEARCH COMPONENTS
 
o  Significance of the research
o  Scientific and technical merit
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
 
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
 
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
o  For INDIVIDUAL PILOT PROJECTS
- Importance of topic
- Grounding in the literature or empirical findings
- Reasonableness of the approach
- Potential to develop into an full-scale independent project
- Qualifications of the project director
 
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:  For the Center as a whole and all
components/cores
 
o  When an application proposes research or research-related activity
that involves potential risks to human subjects, animals, and/or the
environment, the adequacy of the proposed means for protecting
against such risks must be demonstrated for each component.
o  Specific statements addressing compliance with NIH policies on
inclusion of women and minorities in studies involving human
subjects.
o  Adequacy of the budget request for the work proposed.
 
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 merit of the application, 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 five-year project periods with separate
fiscal awards made annually.
 
INQUIRIES
 
Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are 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) 443-1273
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
 
RELATIONSHIP TO NIAAA
 
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.
 
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 PHS policies and Federal Regulations at Title
42 CFR Part 549, "Grants for National Alcohol Research Centers;"
Title 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92, "Administration of Grants;" and 45 CFR
Part 46, "Protections of Human Subjects."  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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