Full Text AG-94-005

CENTERS ON THE DEMOGRAPHY OF AGING

NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 2, January 14, 1994

RFA:  AG-94-005

P.T. 04

Keywords: 
  Aging/Gerontology 
  Demography 
  Health Care Economics 


National Institute on Aging

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  February 1, 1994
Application Receipt Date:  March 31, 1994

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) invites applications for
Exploratory Center Grants in the area of the demography and economics
of health and aging.  The Demography and Population Epidemiology
Cluster within the Behavioral and Social Research Program supports
research and training in the dynamics of population aging using a
variety of demographic and economic approaches.  Congress has urged
the further development of research on the demographic aspects of
population aging.  These center grants will support the
infrastructure necessary for research, new program development in
selected areas, the development of innovative networks of
researchers, and enhanced sharing of specialized databases including
rapid application of research results from these databases.

Scientific initiatives in the demography and economics of health and
aging increasingly require integration and collaboration with each
other and also with allied scientific fields such as genetics,
biology, clinical medicine, and epidemiology.  Collaboration across
institutions is often required.  Advances in computing technology
have made new methodologies such as macro and microsimulation and the
multivariate analysis of complex longitudinal data more practical and
efficient.  Progress in research on population aging can be
accelerated and significantly enhanced by the widespread
collaboration of investigators at multiple institutions and by the
creation of innovative networks of researchers.

Moreover, the NIA has supported the development of major data
collection efforts in areas such as long term care (LTC), retirement
and economic status, and health and functional change in the very
old.  However, use of these and other datasets require considerable
investments of time and funding prior to conducting any sophisticated
research.  Efficiency is increased, and costs of individual research
projects can be reduced, when several researchers at the same
institution can make use of centralized datafiles staffed by
knowledgeable data managers.  Finally, there is a growing demand from
the federal government and the policy community for timely and
appropriately synthesized research findings from these datasets.

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 Request
for Applications (RFA), Centers on the Demography of Aging, is
related to several priority areas including chronic disabling
conditions.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy
People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or "Healthy
People 2000" (Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington,
DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,
hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments, and
eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Applications from
minority individuals and women are encouraged.  Foreign institutions
may not apply, but may be involved through contractual/consortium
arrangements.

A P20 core grant assumes substantial pre-existing research activity
on population aging at the institution.  A minimum of one
peer-reviewed and externally funded, currently active research
project directly within the area of demography or economics of health
and aging is required.  Sub-projects on P01 grants may be counted as
individual projects.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The support mechanism for this program is the exploratory center
grant (P20).  The exploratory center grant (P20) is an institutional
award that supports a variety of research-related activities
organized around one or more common themes or areas of interest.  The
exploratory center grant for this RFA minimally consists of (1) an
administrative and research support core, which will provide
coordination, research planning, logistical, and centralized data and
technical support, and (2) a program development core providing for
small scale pilot studies related to program development or
methodological innovation.  In addition, an application may elect to
include (3) an external innovative network core, and (4) an external
research support and dissemination core.

The P20 is awarded competitively for no more than five years, and is
expected to lead to a competing application for a P30 or P50 Center
Grant award.  The exploratory center grant is a resource designed to
encourage the development and maintenance of a significant and
enduring high quality research program on population aging.  Except
for pilot projects included in program development, no funds are
provided for the direct support of research projects.  The P20 grant
also helps to integrate existing projects in a specialized research
area, often with a central theme, and to encourage the scientific
development of the research area.  By making research resources more
accessible, this support is designed to enhance the productivity of
other NIA-funded population aging research and training grants.

While the exploratory center grant is primarily designed to support a
research center at a specific institution, some centers may also wish
to assume a national or international role in making research
resources available to the larger scientific community, and
galvanizing scientists at several institutions through the
development of networks.  The Center support may therefore be used to
create or assemble new databases and methodologies for the larger
research community.  These centers may also develop and maintain
innovative national and international research networks on population
aging.  Resources may also be used to disseminate research findings
more widely and in a more effective and timely manner to the
scientific, federal, and policy communities.  Consortium arrangements
are permissible, provided that the applicant institution meets the
eligibility requirements.  In addition to these functions, it is
anticipated that one of the centers funded under this RFA will also
serve as a coordinating center in order to encourage collaboration
and networking among the NIA Demographic Centers.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIA anticipates that an estimated $1,500,000 in total costs per
year for five years will be committed to fund applications in
response to this RFA.  Although this program is provided for in the
financial plans of the NIA, awards are contingent on the availability
of funds for this purpose.  The NIA expects to make between four and
eight awards.  Direct costs of the awards are expected to vary
between $75,000 and $250,000 depending upon the scale of activity
that can be reasonably supported by the institution in terms of the
current level of funded research on population aging.  No request may
exceed $350,000 total costs in the first year, with a four percent
per annum inflation increase allowable in subsequent years. However,
in addition to the $350,000 limit, up to $25,000 in direct costs
(plus any indirect costs) may be separately requested for the
functions of a coordinating center.

If any NIA Center award from this RFA is made to an institution with
an NICHD-funded Population Center also receiving supplementary NIA
funds, then it is anticipated that the NIA supplementary support will
be replaced by direct NIA funding.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Each proposed Center should focus on one or more scientific themes or
areas directly relevant to population aging.  Important initiatives
and priorities within population aging include:

o  forecasting life and active life expectancies, health, medical
services and long term care usage, especially for the very old;

o  medical demography of chronic diseases including the dementias and
the integration of medical demography with epidemiology, population
genetics, early life determinants of health in old age, nutrition,
and health services research;

o  the cost and impact of aging-related illnesses and disabilities
(especially in the last years of life), and cost-benefit analyses in
terms of added health expectancy;

o  demographic or economic evaluations of the impact of DHHS or other
public policies (such as changes in retirement-benefit eligibility
ages, or the proposed health care reform) on the health and wellbeing
of the older population, including the development of relevant macro-
and microsimulation models;

o  demographic analyses of the aging of disadvantaged components of
the population, including the Black and Hispanic populations;

o  the macro and micro dynamics of inter-generational exchanges
associated with population aging;

o  demographic and survey methods for studying elderly populations;

o  the determinants of retirement and consequences for health and
wellbeing; comparative research on retirement and income support
policies in other countries; the dynamic interaction of health and
financial status in old age;

Applicants may address several areas or themes.  These areas are not
intended to be prescriptive.  Applicants may redefine these areas,
merging and combining topics according to their own perspectives of
the future course of the population sciences related to aging.
Comparative international research may be included, provided the
research is clearly relevant to population aging within the United
States.  Wherever possible special attention should be given to the
demographic and economic aspects of the health and wellbeing of
special older populations such as the oldest old, Blacks and
Hispanics, and older women.

Applicants are also encouraged to compete for the coordinating Center
function. The coordinating Center will serve to encourage
collaboration and net-working among the NIA Demography Centers,
arrange annual meetings and produce bibliographic or other special
reports.  Funds of up to $25,000 in direct costs (plus indirect
costs) may be separately requested for these functions above the
$350,000 total cost limit.

Cores

In addition to (A) an administrative and research support core and
(B) a program development core, both of which are required, each
proposed Center may also request funding for (C) an external
innovative network core and/or (D) an external research resources
support and dissemination core.  Applications are not required to
include requests for cores C and D.  The following limitations apply
to the maximum amount that may be requested for average annual direct
costs over five years, excluding the indirect costs associated with
consortiums:  core A, up to $160,000; core B, up to $80,000; core C,
up to $35,000, and core D, up to $100,000.  Given these constraints
plus the limitation on total annual costs,  no institution will be
able to submit an application for all four cores for the full
amounts.  Therefore each institution should decide on an optimal mix
of topical foci and cores, and within cores, of specific core
functions and levels of effort.  Further, in order to maximize
flexibility, the dollar limit for each core is set in terms of
average annual costs over the life of the requested center rather
than simple annual costs.  However, the $350,000 total cost limit
(plus an allowable four percent escalation for inflation and
exclusion of funds requested for coordinating center functions)
cannot be exceeded in any year.

A.  Administrative and Research Support Core (MANDATORY)

The Administrative and research support core manages the activities
of the Center and provides shared resources such as datasets.  The
application must name a Center Director who will provide the overall
scientific management and coordination of the Center.  The Center
Director must be an experienced researcher with appropriate
experience in research on population aging.  It is recommended that
an Advisory Committee be established to assist the Director in making
the scientific and administrative decisions relating to the Center,
including the allocation of funds for pilot studies.  While it is
recommended that this Committee include one or more members outside
of the applicant institution, any such members should not be
contacted or named in the application until after initial and
secondary review in order to facilitate review by not limiting the
potential pool of reviewers.  The objective of this core is to
accomplish the following:

1.  Plan, coordinate, review and manage the Center's activities,
including the funding of pilot studies.

2.  The purchase and provision of facilities or services such as
centralized data libraries including the purchase of hardware such as
workstations and high capacity storage devices (hardware or equipment
purchases may not exceed 10 percent of requested funding) and
datafiles, and development of user-friendly datafiles and salary for
data managers; cost effective data processing for the Institution's
research and training on population aging.  Facilities and services
should have the potential for general use at the institution, and
must not be for the sole use of any single project.  Any overlap with
activities funded or proposed through NICHD center grants must be
clearly specified.  Salary support may be requested for the
scientific director, core technical staff, consultants, and advisors.
Travel funds should be requested to attend an annual NIA-sponsored
meeting of scientific center directors, and may be requested for
researchers to attend other scientific meetings, for training of
technical and scientific staff, for new program development, and for
travel related to outreach and network functions.

B.  Program Development Core (MANDATORY)

Each Center grant application must include a program development
core.  The objective of this support is to allow the institution to
develop sufficient preliminary information to permit the submission
of applications for peer-reviewed research or career development
projects.  This core must include at least one small-scale project
that will lead to new program development.  The new pilot or
development projects should address research topics listed above.
Funds may be requested for:

1.  Small-scale projects, which may include pilot or feasibility
projects.  These small-scale projects are ordinarily limited to two
years but may be extended with appropriate justification.  The
application must describe the proposed use of funds for the first two
years of the proposed center.  Adequate detail should be provided in
order to allow for the evaluation of the scientific value and
significance of the proposed activities.  Provision should be made in
the Administrative and research support core for the institutional
review of new projects, and new projects must be submitted to NIA
staff for approval before they are initiated, ordinarily as part of
the annual non-competing renewal application.  The description of all
pilot projects, and any results must be reported in the Center's
annual progress report to the NIA.

2.  Optional salary support for increasing the critical mass of the
scientific research staff and the development of new program areas
and methodologies.  Salary support is limited to tenure track junior
faculty (or equivalent in research organizations), and five years per
individual.  The total annual salary support cannot exceed $50,000 in
direct costs (salary and fringe benefits) from the Center grant, and
the institution is expected to supplement any such salary costs with
funds from other sources.  It is expected that scientists supported
through this mechanism will either compete successfully for grant
support or ultimately receive full support from the institution by
the end of the third year year.

C.  External Innovative Network Core (OPTIONAL)

This optional core differs from the new program development core in
that it explicitly is for the development of networks beyond the
applicant institution's boundaries; hence the designation, external.
Funds may be requested for:

1.  The development of innovative national and international research
networks on topics consistent with the Center's goals that will serve
to enhance research not only at the institution, but more generally
within the field, as well as in relation to other relevant
disciplines.  Such networks might include electronic bulletin boards,
workshops, funding for pilot projects, and the development of common
research resources.

2.  Outreach activities that will encourage and nurture the
development of minority researchers.  Such activities may include,
e.g., sponsoring workshops on minority populations and issues,
developing networks of minority researchers, and providing mentorship
opportunities.

D.  External Research Resources Support and Dissemination Core
(OPTIONAL)

This optional core differs from Core A in that its objective is the
dissemination of research resources, findings and new concepts and
techniques within and beyond the institution.  Funds may be requested
for, but are not limited to:

1.  The dissemination of new methodologies and important databases to
the larger scientific community.  Encouragement is given for the
development, support, and sharing of user-friendly databases and
specific analytic methodologies resulting from grants, contracts, and
cooperative agreements, both within the institution, and nationally
to appropriate researchers.  Such dissemination might include, e.g.,
research and training workshops, development of user-friendly extract
files with imputed variables, newsletters, and electronic bulletin
boards providing technical support.  Development of innovative
approaches to dissemination is also encouraged.

2.  The timely dissemination of well-synthesized research results to
the Federal government, scientific community, and policy making
community.  Strong encouragement is given for the dissemination of
research results from NIA sponsored databases on the topics listed
above under "Research Objectives".  Such dissemination might include
briefings, working paper series, and research briefs, and
newsletters.

3.  The dissemination and development of new research techniques and
concepts to the larger demography and economics of aging and health
research communities.  Such dissemination might include workshops and
training institutes.  The value-added components to any on-going
activities should be clearly specified.

E.  Coordinating Center Function (OPTIONAL)

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the coordinating center
function in order to promote collaboration and networking among the
NIA Demography Centers.  Funds of up to $25,000 in direct costs (plus
indirect costs) may be requested to arrange annual meetings or
produce bibliographic or other special reports that would be of
benefit to all NIA Demography Centers.

STUDY POPULATIONS

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANTS REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF NIH
POLICIES CONCERNING INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN CLINICAL
RESEARCH STUDY POPULATIONS

NIH policy is that applicants for NIH clinical research grants and
cooperative agreements will be required to include minorities and
women in study populations so that research findings can be of
benefit to all persons at risk of the disease, disorder or condition
under study; special emphasis should be placed on the need for
inclusion of minorities and women in studies of diseases, disorders
and conditions which disproportionately affect them.  This policy is
intended to apply to males and females of all ages.  If women or
minorities are excluded or inadequately represented in clinical
research, particularly in proposed population-based studies, a clear
compelling rationale should be provided.

The composition of the proposed study population must be described in
terms of gender and racial/ethnic group.  In addition, gender and
racial/ethnic issues should be addressed in developing a research
design and sample size appropriate for the scientific objectives of
the study.  This information should be included in the form PHS 398
in Sections 1-4 of the Research Plan AND summarized in Section 5,
Human Subjects.

Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including
the broadest possible representation of minority groups.  However,
NIH recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all
research projects to include representation of the full array of
United States racial/ethnic minority populations (i.e., Native
Americans (including American Indians or Alaskan Natives),
Asian/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics).

The rationale for studies on single minority population groups should
be provided.

For the purpose of this policy, clinical research includes human
biomedical and behavioral studies of etiology, epidemiology,
prevention (and preventive strategies), diagnosis, or treatment of
diseases, disorders or conditions, including but not limited to
clinical trials.

The usual NIH policies concerning research on human subjects also
apply.  Basic research or clinical studies in which human tissues
cannot be identified or linked to individuals are excluded.  However,
every effort should be made to include human tissues from women and
racial/ethnic minorities when it is important to apply the results of
the study broadly, and this should be addressed by applicants.

For foreign awards, the policy on inclusion of women applies fully;
since the definition of minority differs in other countries, the
applicant must discuss the relevance of research involving foreign
population groups to the United States' populations, including
minorities.

If the required information is not contained within the application,
the application will be returned.

Peer reviewers will address specifically whether the research plan in
the application conforms to these policies.  If the representation of
women or minorities in a study design is inadequate to answer the
scientific question(s) addressed AND the justification for the
selected study population is inadequate, it will be considered a
scientific weakness or deficiency in the study design and will be
reflected in assigning the priority score to the application.

All applications for clinical research submitted to NIH are required
to address these policies.  NIH funding components will not award
grants or cooperative agreements that do not comply with these
policies.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by February 1, 1994, a
letter of intent that includes the number and title of this RFA, a
descriptive title, and identification of the Principal Investigator
(including address, telephone and fax number), other key personnel
and participating institutions.

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 NIA staff to estimate the potential review
workload and to avoid possible conflicts of interests in the review.
The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Suzman at the address
listed under INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applicants are advised to discuss their eligibility and project with
NIA program staff (listed under INQUIRIES) as early as possible in
advance of formal submission.  For institutions receiving support
from NICHD for Population Centers, the functions and scope of the
proposed NIA Aging Center must be clearly differentiated.

All applications must be complete and submitted using form PHS 398
(rev. 9/91).  Application kits are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Office of
Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes
of Health, Westwood Building, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone
(301) 435-0714.  To identify the application as a response to this
RFA, check "YES" in item 2a on the face page of the application and
enter the title "Centers on Demography of Aging" and the RFA number.
Additional materials will not be accepted after the receipt date.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 form must be affixed to the
bottom of the face page of the original 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.

The Description and Key Personnel Section (PHS 398, page 2) should
concisely state the overall goals of the entire Exploratory Center
and clearly state the contribution of each component to the overall
goals.  Key personnel for the entire Exploratory Center, including
any consultants and consortium collaborators, should be listed
alphabetically.

The text of the application should begin with an overview that
presents a succinct plan for the center as a whole, with a clear
description of ongoing and pending research projects in population
research related to aging, the major theme(s) and rationale(s) for
the exploratory center, the organization of the administrative and
new program development cores and their relationship to ongoing
research and training projects in the demography and economics of
health and aging (including oversight activities), the extent of
institutional, departmental, and interdepartmental cooperation, and a
summary program budget.  Issues related to institutional commitment
and settings, and the mechanisms that will ensure the coherence of
the project should be described.  The introduction is limited to 8
pages, followed by separate sections that fully document each core
component.  Institutions proposing to undertake the coordinating
center function may use up to an additional three pages to describe
the research plan and accompanying budget for this function.

Except for Core B, sections 1-4 of PHS 398 for each core component is
limited to 10 pages.  For Core B, the maximum length is 20 pages.
Each core should be prepared as a separate section that begins on a
new page of the application.  Complete information, including a fully
justified budget, is required for each core component.  Appendix
materials should be kept to a minimum as per the instructions in form
PHS 398.  Applications exceeding the specified page limits will be
returned to the applicant without review.

Applications involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved
by the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to
submission.  Applications without IRB approval are incomplete and
will be returned.

Additional instructions for completing an NIA multicomponent
application can be obtained from Dr. Suzman at the address listed
under INQUIRIES.

Send the completed application and three legible copies in a single
package, making sure that the original application with the RFA label
attached is on top, to:

Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
Westwood Building, Room 240
Bethesda, MD  20892**

Send two additional copies of the application to:

Michael Oxman, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 2C212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD  20892

Applications must be received by the Division of Research Grants on
March 31, 1994.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt applications will be reviewed by NIA staff for
completeness and responsiveness to the RFA.  Incomplete or
nonresponsive applications will be returned to the applicant without
further consideration.  Applications may be triaged by an NIA peer
review group on the basis of relative competitiveness.  The NIH will
withdraw from further competition those applications judged to be
non-competitive for award and notify the applicant Principal
Investigator and institutional official.  Those applications judged
to be competitive will undergo further scientific merit review by a
special study section convened by the NIA in accordance with the
criteria stated below.  The second level review will be provided by
the National Advisory Council on Aging.

In addition to the general review criteria of scientific and
technical merit and the potential for meeting the goals of the RFA,
the following set of criteria will be applied:

o  the potential for significant scientific progress in the specific
areas or themes addressed by the application, and the overall
strategy for developing research in the demography and economics of
health and aging generally and specifically within the areas or
themes;

o  the level and extent of funded research directly relevant to the
demography and economics of health and aging;

o  the scientific qualifications, leadership, and research experience
in aging research of the Principal Investigator and professional
staff;

o  successful training activity in the area of population aging
including the recruitment and training of junior investigators;

o  the scientific merit of the proposed pilot or new program
development projects and the adequacy of the review procedures to
assess the scientific merit of future studies;

o  the value to the institution's research community of the support
and maintenance functions for e.g. databases and methodologies;

o  evidence of commitment of the institution's administration to
develop and support research and training on population aging; and

o  the scientific value and public good that might result from any
proposed external outreach and network building activities.

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is September 30, 1994.  In addition to
the scientific and technical merit of the application, NIA will
consider how well the application meets the goals and objectives of
the program as described in this RFA, including increasing the number
of NIH-funded population centers, as well as the general criteria for
excellence and availability of funds.

Applications recommended for further consideration by the National
Advisory Council on Aging will be considered for funding on the basis
of overall scientific, clinical, and technical merit of the proposal
as determined by peer review, appropriateness of budget estimates,
program needs and balance, policy considerations, adequacy of
provisions for the protection of human subjects, and availability of
funds.

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:

Dr. Richard Suzman
Behavioral and Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 533
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-3136
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
E-mail:  Suzman@NIHNIAGW.BITNET

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Linda Whipp
Grants and Contracts Management
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2N212
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.866.  Awards are made under authorization of the
Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as
amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered
under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45
CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency
review.

.

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