Full Text AG-95-003

MINORITY DISSERTATION RESEARCH GRANTS IN AGING

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 1, January 13, 1995

RFA:  AG-95-003

P.T. 40, FF

Keywords: 
  Aging/Gerontology 


National Institute on Aging

Application Receipt Date: March 20, 1995

PURPOSE

Small grants to support doctoral dissertation research will be
available for minority doctoral candidates.  Grant support is
designed to aid the research of new minority investigators and to
encourage individuals from a variety of academic disciplines and
programs to study problems in aging.

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), Minority Dissertation Research Grants in
Aging, is related to several priority areas applicable to aging.
Potential  candidates for the awards 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

For the purpose of this RFA, individuals who are eligible to apply
are minority students who are defined as belonging to a particular
racial or ethnic group.  In awarding dissertation grants the National
Institute on Aging (NIA) will give priority to African Americans,
Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders or other
ethnic or racial group members who have been found to be
underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research.  Within this
group, women and persons with disabilities are particularly
encouraged to apply.  The applicant for dissertation research grant
support must be a citizen, or noncitizen national, of the United
States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

The doctoral candidate must have a dissertation topic approved by the
named committee.  This information must be verified in a letter of
certification from the thesis chairperson and submitted with the
grant application (see APPLICATION PROCEDURES).  Research topics
should be on aging-related issues and should fit within one or more
of the areas described below for each individual program (see
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES).

The applicant organization must be a domestic institution supporting
doctoral level training, such as a university or college.  The
performance site may be foreign or domestic.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The mechanism of support is the NIH small grant (R03).  Grants may be
made for up to two years.  Grants to support dissertation research
will provide no more than $30,000 in total direct costs, and no more
than $25,000 in direct costs in any one year.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIA anticipates funding approximately 20 grants with a total cost
of up to $600,000.  These grants are not eligible for competitive
renewal.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

This research initiative is to provide minority students assistance
to complete their dissertation research on an aging-related topic and
thereby increase the pool of minority researchers in aging.  The
description of the four extramural programs below is provided to help
potential applicants to determine whether their topic may be
appropriate for this initiative.  Questions on the relevance of a
particular topic can be addressed to the program contact listed under
INQUIRIES.

Biology of Aging Program

This program supports studies that focus on diseases associated with
increasing age and the basic mechanisms involved in aging processes.
The overall objectives of the program are related to understanding
normal functions and alterations in them that can be induced by
interaction with the environment and disease processes as aging
proceeds.  The program interests are in molecular and cellular
biology, genetics, immunology, basic nutrition, and endocrinology.

Behavioral and Social Research Program

This program supports research on social and psychological aging
processes and the place of older people in society and its social
institutions.  The emphasis is on promoting health, effective
functioning, productivity and independence throughout the middle and
later years.  Areas of special interest include health and behavior;
cognitive functioning; long term care; work, retirement and
productivity; family and intergenerational relationships; aging
demographics; and minorities, women, oldest old, rural and retarded
older adults.

Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program

This program supports research on the structure and function of the
aging nervous system and the behavioral manifestations of the aging
brain.  Areas of special interest include age-related changes in the
nervous system, especially as these affect sensory processes,
learning, cognition, memory and sleep.  The study of Alzheimer's
disease and other disorders associated with the aging nervous system,
including the causes, diagnosis, epidemiology, treatment and
management of such disorders are of special interest.

Geriatrics Program

This program supports research on clinical problems that occur
predominantly among older persons or that are associated with
increased morbidity and mortality in older people.  Areas of interest
include cardiovascular-pulmonary diseases, infectious diseases,
osteoporosis, digestive diseases, rehabilitation and physical
function and performance in older persons.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Additional Material. In addition to the completed PHS 398 form
described under APPLICATION PROCEDURES, applicants must also submit:

o  A letter from the faculty committee or university official
directly responsible for supervising the development and progress of
the dissertation research.  The letter must be countersigned by a
representative of the graduate school of the sponsoring institution.
The letter must:  (a) fully identify the members of the committee and
certify their approval of the dissertation topic, (b) certify that
the candidate is eligible to apply under the guidelines described in
this RFA, (c) certify that the author of the letter has read the
application and that it reflects the work to be completed in the
dissertation, and (d) note that the university official or faculty
committee expects the doctoral candidate to proceed with the approved
project proposal with or, without NIA support.

o  A transcript of the investigator's graduate school record

o  Biography of mentor limited to 2 pages (use the Biographical
Sketch page in PHS form 398)

o  Statement of the investigator's career goals to be placed under
"Background" (see the Research Plan instructions in PHS form 398)

Although not required, identification of the investigator's minority
group would be helpful so that NIA may continue to monitor and
improve the effectiveness of this program.

Grant Conditions.  The following conditions apply to dissertation
grants:

o  The doctoral candidate must be the designated Principal
Investigator on the grant and the doctoral candidate must be the only
individual on the grant for whom salary support is requested.

o  The principal investigator's salary may not exceed $12,000 per
twelve months.

o  Work on the funded project must be initiated within three months
after the date of the award.

o  An awardee may be invited to participate in a meeting or
presentation of other NIA dissertation awardees.

o  The dissertation constitutes the final report of the grant. Two
copies of the dissertation must be submitted.  The dissertation must
be officially accepted by the faculty committee or university
official responsible for the candidate's dissertation and must be
signed by the responsible officials.

o  Investigators may request support for up to 24 months.  An
application that requests support beyond this time will be returned.

o  Grantees who are approved for two years of support must submit a
satisfactory progress report no later than 10 months after the start
of the first year of the grant.  This report should contain a brief
summary of the work completed to date together with copies of any
publications supported wholly or in part by the dissertation grant.
Investigators who need more than 24 months to complete the research
project will be required to submit a request for an extension without
funds for support beyond the first 24 months.  An unfunded
continuation of the grant may be awarded if satisfactory progress is
being made, but the total direct costs of the entire project may not
exceed $30,000 overall, and $25,000 in any one year.

An applicant who receives support for dissertation research under a
grant from the NIA may not at the same time receive support under a
predoctoral or fellowship grant awarded by any other Federal agency,
nor be supported under any other research project grant.

Allowable Costs.  Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants
will be covered by the NIA dissertation research grants, but may not
exceed $30,000 for the project.  Allowable costs include the
investigator's salary (not to exceed $12,000 per 12 months); direct
research project expenses such as travel to one scientific meeting
per year (limited to $800 per year), data processing, supplies, and
dissertation costs.  Any level of effort that is less than full time
by the candidate must be fully justified.  No tuition is allowed.  It
is expected that most equipment needed for the research will be
available at the site or laboratory in which the dissertation is to
be performed.  Therefore, any requests for equipment must be
specially justified.  Indirect costs are limited to eight percent of
requested direct costs, less equipment.

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
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 also may obtain copies of the policy from the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research; from the Office of
Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes
of Health, 5333 Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892,
telephone (301) 435-0714 and from the program administrator listed
under INQUIRIES.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) 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 (Minority
Dissertation Research Grants in Aging, AG-95-003) must be typed on
line 2a of the face page of the application form and the YES box must
be marked.

Instructions for completing the applications are found in the PHS 398
form.  These instructions should be followed except that under C.
Specific Instructions - Research plan, no more than 10 pages should
be used for items 1 to 4 (instead of 25 pages as stated in the
standard instructions).  Applications that exceed the 10 page limit
for this section will be returned.

Submit a signed typewritten original of the application (with the
supporting letter and graduate school transcript), including the
Checklist, and three signed photocopies, in one package to:

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

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
(with the supporting letter and the graduate school transcript) must
be sent to:

Dr. Michael Oxman
Chief, Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 2C212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
ATTN:  Minority Dissertation

Applications must be received by March 20, 1995.  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 responsiveness by NIA.  Applications that are either incomplete
or nonresponsive 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 review group  convened by the NIA in accordance with the
review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, a process (triage) may be used
by the initial review group in which applications will be deemed to
be competitive or non-competitive based on their scientific merit
relative to other applications received in response to the RFA.
Applications judged to be competitive will be discussed and assigned
a priority score.  Applications determined to be noncompetitive will
be withdrawn from further consideration and the Principal
Investigator and the official signing for the applicant organization
will be notified.

Review Criteria.

o  scientific, technical, or medical significance and originality of
the proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the literature review,
experimental approach and methodology proposed to carry out the
research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator (the student);

o  qualifications, research and training experience of the mentor;

o  quality and availability of research resources needed to complete
the dissertation;

o appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
the proposed research;

o  Adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and their
subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.
Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be
evaluated.

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the
protection of human and animal subjects and the safety of the
research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is September 1995.  Final funding
decisions are based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the
relevance of the project to NIA priorities, and the availability of
funds.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.
Interested investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the
person named below who can provide clarifying information about
material described in this RFA.  The investigator will then be
referred to the relevant program to discuss the suitability of the
research topic.

Dr. Robin A. Barr
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Suite 2C218
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-9322
FAX:  301-402-9245
Email:  barr%nihniagw.bitnet@cu.nih.gov

Direct inquiries relating to fiscal matters to:

Mr. Joseph Ellis
Grants and Contracts Management Office
Gateway Building, Suite 2N212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  301-402-3672
Email:  EllisJ@gw.nia.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.366.  Awards are made under authorization of the
Public Health Service Act Title IV, Part A (Public Law 79-410, as
amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 DSC 241 and 285) and administered
under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45
CFR Part 74.  The requirements of Executive Order 12372,
"Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," are not applicable to
NIA research grant programs.

The Public Health Service strongly encourages all grant recipients to
provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco
products.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and
advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

.

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