Full Text AG-97-005
 
EDWARD R. ROYBAL CENTERS FOR RESEARCH ON APPLIED GERONTOLOGY
 
NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 14, May 2, 1997
 
RFA:  AG-97-005
 
P.T.  04

Keywords: 
  Aging/Gerontology 
  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 

 
National Institute on Aging
 
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  July 24, 1997
Application Receipt Date:  October 24, 1997
 
PURPOSE
 
This Request for Applications (RFA) seeks applications in support of
the Edward R. Roybal Centers for Research on Applied Gerontology.
The Roybal Centers program's purpose is to facilitate the process of
translating basic behavioral and social research theories and
findings into practical outcomes that will benefit the lives of older
people.  The Roybal Centers focus on strategies to improve quality of
life, enhance productivity, and minimize the need for care.  The
Roybal Centers have an emphasis distinct from the clinical and
biomedical approaches that are sponsored through the Claude D. Pepper
Older Americans Independence Centers (RFA AG-96-003, NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 12, April 19, 1996).
 
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 priorities.  This RFA,
Centers of Research on Applied Gerontology, addresses several
priority areas including chronic disabling conditions, physical
activity and fitness, violent and abusive behavior, and unintentional
injuries as they relate to older people.  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 REQUIREMENTS
 
Domestic, public and private, for-profit and non-profit institutions
and organizations, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of state and local governments, and eligible
agencies of the Federal government are eligible to respond to this
RFA.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.
Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply.  The principal
investigator (PI) is required to have held, or to now hold, at least
two R01 (or similar grants including a competing continuation as
separate) grants as principal investigator.  These grants must have
been awarded as new or competing continuation awards within 10 years
of the receipt date of this RFA.  The investigative team, including
the PI, is required to have held, or to hold, at least three such
awards in the same interval.  Questions about eligibility may be
referred to the program contact listed under INQUIRIES.
 
MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
The support mechanism for these awards will be the specialized center
(P50) mechanism.  Such awards support activities that comprise a
multidimensional approach to a particular problem area. A maximum of
five years of support may be requested.  At that time, funds may be
available for competitive renewal of the Centers.  All current
policies and requirements that govern the research grant programs of
the NIH will apply to grants awarded in connection with this RFA.
 
FUNDS AVAILABLE
 
An estimated $2,500,000 to $3,000,000 will be made available in
Fiscal Year 1998 to support awards made under this RFA.  It is
expected that up to six awards will be made at a maximum of $400,000
direct costs per award in the first year, exclusive of facilities and
administrative costs on consortia.  Budget increments for subsequent
years will be limited to no more than two percent.  Applications with
budget requests exceeding this amount will not be accepted by the NIA
and will be returned to the applicant.  This level of support is
dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number of applications of
high scientific merit.  Awards pursuant to the RFA are contingent
upon the availability of funds for this purpose.
 
The NIA appreciates the value of complementary funding from other
public and private sources, including foundations and industrial
concerns, for activities that will complement and expand those
supported by the NIA.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
 
Researchers are encouraged to seek funding to apply the theories,
paradigms, and methodology of the behavioral and social sciences to
address practical problems of late middle aged and older people, such
as at work, in the home, in transportation, in health care, or in
other areas of concern to the population.  The focus of this
initiative is on translating research results from basic behavioral
and social science into practical benefits for older adults.  The
organizing principle behind each center should reflect this aim of
establishing a pattern of research translation from basic research to
practical outcome.  Each Center should focus on a single organizing
theme, rather than cover the spectrum of problems that may be
addressed by the initiative as a whole.
 
The individual projects that are part of the Center should have as
their goal a practical end point--improvement in some indicator or
indicators of functioning in these different environments.  The
research may apply to a real world situation, findings and
methodologies previously identified through smaller or more selective
studies.  Alternatively, the research may apply broader scientific
knowledge from a related domain to a particular problem. Improvements
in  behavioral indicators relevant to the practical domain (e.g.,
laboratory measures of cognitive functioning, health status, or
subjective well-being) may be considered interim goals. However, the
end-point is improvement in functioning in the practical domain
itself.
 
One highly desirable feature of the Centers will be a focus on
special populations of older people.  The size of minority older
populations has been increasing.  The oldest old remain the
population at greatest risk for dependency.  Older adults who have
been identified as developmentally disabled face particular problems
in later life.  Poor older adults in rural areas have severely
limited access to health and general services.  These and other
special populations who have pressing needs warrant attention from
researchers in aging.
 
The focus on investigating a practical problem will require
applicants to show familiarity with the practical domain or
environment being investigated as well as with relevant aspects of
aging research.  That familiarity may be achieved by collaboration
with specialists in the domain or community, or by prior experience
in applying aging research successfully to this domain.  Because
practical problems will likely cross disciplinary backgrounds and
benefit from input from practice professionals as well as
researchers, applications that reflect such broad-based expertise are
particularly encouraged.
 
The following examples illustrate potential research strategies in a
number of different practical domains. These examples are
illustrative only.  Applications are welcome from all domains that
are important to older adults in daily life.
 
o  Use principles from human factors or training research to design
work environments that accommodate the needs of older workers, or
improve competence in critical skills that support independence.
 
o  Use perceptual and cognitive theory and methods to derive valid
functional tests of competence for work, for driving, and for other
safety-related activities.
 
o  Apply models of information processing (e.g., discourse analysis,
text comprehension, and schema-based remembering) in adulthood to
design complex instructional materials such as insurance, medical,
and financial forms, medical and pharmacological information
leaflets, or on the cognitive processes that subserve decision making
about social security, financial, insurance, and medical treatments
(research on older persons' decisions about medical treatments have
typically focused on the antecedents and consequences, but have not
focused on the cognitive processes involved in making the decision).
 
o  Use knowledge about age-related declines in working memory,
prospective memory, and long-term memory to investigate the
relationship between cognitive functioning and health behaviors and
to develop interventions to reduce associated risks.  Memory declines
may place older persons at increased risk of not being able to follow
complex medical regimens, keep medical appointments, or remember to
take prescribed medications.
 
o  Adapt principles of health behavior change to modify health
promotion programs for specific older populations or to address
conditions affecting older people's health status (e.g., dietary
change, exercise, self-help).
 
o  Use models of family systems and functioning to guide family
oriented interventions for enhancing family capacity to care for
older relatives.
 
o  Use theories of organizational analysis (e.g., from medical
sociology or from industrial or organizational psychology) to enhance
the quality of care for older persons and the receptivity of
organizations to meeting the needs of older people (e.g., work
settings).
 
o  Use community organization theory to develop and evaluate
community-based programs for older adults that focus on social
activities, public service, or educational development.
 
Structure of the Centers
 
Each Center must consist of a) a management core, b) 2-4 component
projects, c) 2-4 pilot projects (annually), and d) a dissemination
core. A recruitment core is recommended, but not required.
 
Management Core
 
The management core is central to each Center.  Activities of the
core should include:
 
o  providing administrative advice and guidance on possible
applications that arise from the research projects, and materially
assisting the application of these results;
 
o  facilitating collaborative work across the funded projects by
coordinating data collection and providing technical support and
guidance to the individual projects as needed;
 
o  monitoring individual component projects and pilot projects that
are part of the Center, assessing the progress, and reassigning
resources as needed during the course of the award (Major changes
must be approved by the NIA before going into effect.);
 
o  initiating and maintaining interactions with relevant community
groups (e.g., community boards, businesses, health care facilities)
in order to facilitate the conduct of the Center's research projects.
 
The day-to-day running of the management core will be coordinated by
the PI of the Center.  However, this core should have an Advisory
Committee that oversees the functioning of the core and the
individual projects.  The Advisory Committee should consist of at
least five members.  The PI of the Center should be the chair of the
Advisory Committee.  At least one member of the committee should have
primary background in the proposed field of application through a
service or commercial role in that field.  At least one member of the
committee should be an experienced researcher from another
institution, whose only connection with the Center is through serving
on the committee.  Individual project leaders may serve on this
committee.  However, individual project leaders together with the
Center PI cannot be a voting majority of the committee.
 
During the first year of the Center, the Advisory Committee should
meet at least twice (one of these meetings may be a conference call,
but at least one meeting must be in person) to review the research
plans and status of current projects.  Major changes in individual
projects, the deletion of projects, or the addition of new projects
should be approved by the NIA prior to taking effect.  Reports of
these meetings should be prepared and provided to NIA.  During the
out years of the Center, the PI should send the Advisory Committee
program reports and seek advice as needed, with the entire committee
or with individual members.  At least one meeting with the entire
Advisory Committee should be held each year during the outyears,
either in person or by conference call.
 
Component Projects
 
All component projects to be conducted during the grant period must
be included in the application and will be reviewed by the scientific
review group.  A component project may start or terminate at any time
during the project period, but at least two projects (and not more
than four) must be active at all times.  If additional outside
support is available, the number of component projects may exceed
four.  The decision regarding the number of component projects should
be based on the ability to provide adequate funding to program
activities.  The PI of the Center must be a PI on one of these
component projects, and each component project must have a different
PI.  The projects should each relate to the central organizing theme
of the Center.
 
The Roybal Centers are intended to generate practical outcomes.
Therefore, all Centers should propose at least one component project
that has a plan for field research.  The possible practical outcomes
of such work should be clearly stated.  It is also anticipated that
the majority of projects funded will have an intervention phase.
Therefore, applications that do not include an intervention phase
must explain why no intervention is appropriate.  Interventions that
are selected must be based on sound theory, have supporting pilot
data and show a methodologically sound plan for evaluation of the
intervention.  The evaluation should contain a plan to monitor
intended effects of the intervention and some means to monitor
unintended and negative consequences.
 
Pilot Projects
 
The Center application must provide for funds to initiate small-scale
pilot research by both junior and established investigators at their
institutions.  Funding may not exceed $10,000 direct costs per pilot
project.  A minimum of two and a maximum of four pilot projects will
be funded annually.  Pilot projects will receive funds for one year
only.  The Center application must describe a plan to develop,
identify, review, and monitor pilot projects.  However, descriptions
of the pilot projects should not be included in the application and
they will not be evaluated individually.
 
Dissemination Core
 
The practical outcomes generated by the Roybal Centers should be
widely disseminated to the research community and general public so
that the results can be implemented by others.  Therefore, each
Center must participate in a program of dissemination of research
results. The applicant should address how they will include research
dissemination activities, such as newsletter publication,
presentations at scientific conferences, publication in scientific
outlets (book chapters and articles in refereed journals),
publications in popular press (magazines, newspapers, etc.),
interface with community agencies and programs, and interviews with
electronic media.  Also important are planned strategies for
translating research findings into practical programs or services.
 
Recruitment Core
 
Because this RFA encourages working with special populations and
requires research involving practical situations, conventional
methods of recruiting and testing subjects may not always be
appropriate. Therefore, applicants may choose to set-aside up to
$50,000 direct costs annually to establish and staff a recruitment
core.  The roles of this core would be to:
 
o liaise with community groups who can assist in recruitment and
retention;
 
o consult community groups about planned studies;
 
o  recruit and maintain contact with subjects;
 
o  assist in making assessment arrangements either in the laboratory
or at test sites;
 
o  collect standardized demographic information from subjects;
 
o  administer any general performance testing battery (Applicants may
choose to allocate more than $50,000 to the recruitment core if such
performance testing is directly relevant to hypotheses being
addressed either by the Center as a whole or by individual
projects.);
 
o  assist project members in collecting information about subjects
from public records; and
 
o  support modest payments for participation and transportation to
facilitate recruitment and retention of hard-to-reach groups.
 
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
 
Annual Meeting
 
Investigators are encouraged to request funds to travel once each
year to meet with the other investigators who are funded through this
RFA. The meetings will be held at the NIH, Bethesda, MD, or at
another site agreed to by the PIs and the NIA.  The purpose of the
meetings is to have investigators working in the same general area
share information about research methods and findings.  Applicants
should include a statement in the application indicating a
willingness to participate in such meetings and to cooperate with
other researchers in the exchange of data, materials, and ideas.
 
INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN
SUBJECTS
 
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  This policy results from
the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (section 492B of Public Law
103-43).
 
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research," published in the Federal Register of
March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants
and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 11, March 18, 1994.  This information is
available on the internet at the following URL: http://www.nih.gov
 
LETTER OF INTENT
 
Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by July 24, 1997,  a
letter of intent that includes identification of all participating
investigators and institutions, and a descriptive title.  The NIA
requests such letters only for the purpose of providing an indication
of the number and scope of applications to be received and,
therefore, usually does not acknowledge their receipt.  A letter of
intent is not binding, and it will not enter into the review of any
application subsequently submitted, nor is it a necessary requirement
for application.
 
The letter of intent is to be sent to:
 
Dr. Jared B. Jobe
Behavioral and Social Research
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 533, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-3137
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
Email:  Jared_Jobe@nih.gov
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES
 
Prospective applicants are advised to communicate with program and
grants management staff as early as possible in the planning phase of
application preparation.  NIA staff are available to assist
applicants to ensure that the objectives, structure, and the budget
format for the proposed Center are acceptable.
 
Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS
398 (rev. 5/95) and prepared according to the directions in the
application packet, with the exceptions noted below.  Application
kits are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research and may be obtained from the Division of Extramural Outreach
and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701
Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone
301/435-0714, e-mail: asknih@odrockm1.od.nih.gov.
 
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.  On the face page of the application: Item 2 Type,
"Edward R Roybal Centers for Research on Applied Gerontology." Check
the "YES" box.
 
A 10 page limit applies separately for the management core, the
recruitment core (if proposed), and the dissemination core.  A five
page limit applies to the description of the pilot program.  A 25
page limit applies separately for each component research project.
Complete information, including a budget, must be provided for  the
management core, each component project, the pilot program, the
dissemination core, and the recruitment core (if proposed).  For the
management core, Section C must describe at least:  (1) The major
theme and rationale for the Center; (2) the organization of the core;
(3) the relation between the core and the individual projects,
including oversight responsibilities; (4) the relation between the
core and the community or service groups most likely to be affected
by the research; and (5) the means by which the core will facilitate
application of research results.  For each component project, the
application should be prepared following the guidelines for a
research project contained in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95).  For the pilot
program, Section C must describe the Center's plan to (1) develop,
(2) identify, (3) select, and (4) monitor pilot projects.  For the
dissemination core, Section C must describe the plans for (1)
newsletters, (2) publications and  presentations, (3) interface with
community agencies and programs, (4) interface with the media, and
(5) strategies for translating research findings into practical
programs or services.  For the recruitment core, Section C must
describe:  (1) the nature and characteristics of the proposed
recruitment sample(s); (2) any screening instruments used to select
people as eligible for the study; (3) any proposed standard batteries
of tests that will be administered to the whole sample; and (4) what
recruitment and retention procedures will be used to obtain and
maintain an adequate sample.
 
Send or deliver the completed application and three signed, exact
photocopies in a single package to the following office, making sure
that the original application with the RFA label attached is on top.
 
DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 -MSC-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for courier/overnight service)
 
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must be sent to:
 
Chief, Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2C212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
 
It is important to send these copies at the same time as the original
and three copies are sent to the Division of Research Grants.
 
The application must be received by October 24, 1997.
 
REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS
 
Upon receipt, DRG staff will review applications for completeness and
NIA staff will review applications for responsiveness. Applications
that are incomplete, nonresponsive to this RFA, or exceed the annual
direct cost limit of $400,000 direct costs per award in the first
year, exclusive of facilities and administrative costs on consortia,
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.
Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer
review group (IRG) within the NIA, convened in accordance with NIH
peer review procedures.  As part of the initial merit review, all
applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process in
which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific
merit, generally the top half of applications under review, will be
discussed, and assigned a priority score. Although the  review may
involve an applicant interview, a request for additional information,
or a site visit,  the written application submitted should be
complete.  The second level of review will be provided by the
National Advisory Council on Aging.
 
The most important criterion for scientific merit review will be the
proposed Center's demonstrated potential to act as a conduit between
basic behavioral and social research and applied outcomes.  Both the
evidence of past involvement in related research and the specific
plans for seeking applied outcomes described in the application will
be considered part of that potential.  The following specific review
criteria reflect how these overall goals will be evaluated in the
review process.
 
For competing continuation applications, progress on the criteria
listed below and future plans  will be considered.  For new
applications, pilot data and future plans will be considered.
 
1.  Overall, the proposed Center will be evaluated for:
 
a) the theoretically and empirically supported rationale for the
particular approach to extending basic behavioral and social research
into applied areas;
 
b) quality of coordination of center activities around a theme, as
described in the cores;
 
c)  commitment from the host institution to the research activity and
availability of appropriate facilities for the research activities
proposed; and
 
d) appropriateness of the budget for the Center.
 
2.  The management core will be evaluated for:
 
a) quality of the evaluation plan for monitoring the effectiveness of
proposed interventions;
 
b) leadership ability, relevant experience in appropriate areas, and
scientific stature of the PI.  The time commitment of the Center PI
must be sufficient to show substantial personal supervision of the
various activities of the Center.  A past history of applying basic
behavioral and social research in a relevant area will be an
important advantage; and
 
c) qualifications and experience of members of  the advisory
committee to the Center.
 
3.  The component projects will be evaluated for:
 
a)  scientific and technical significance and originality of the
component projects.  Pilot data will be advantageous;
 
b) appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental approach and
methodology proposed by the component projects to carry out the
research; and
 
c) qualifications and experience of the component project
investigators and appropriateness of their investment of time in the
project.
 
4.  The pilot project program will be evaluated on the quality of the
plan to develop, solicit, identify, review, monitor, and evaluate the
pilot projects.
 
5.  The recruitment core will be evaluated on:
 
a) the 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 be
evaluated; and
 
b) plans to liaise, consult, recruit, and collect data from
participants.
 
6.  The dissemination core will be evaluated on the quality of the
plans for dissemination activities, such as newsletters, publications
and presentations, interface with community agencies and programs,
interviews with electronic media, and planned strategies for
translating research findings into practical programs or services.
 
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
 
Awards will be made on the basis of the availability of funds.
Primary weight will be given to the NIH peer review results. Program
balance will also be considered.
 
INQUIRIES
 
Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged in order to clarify
issues or questions.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or answer
any questions from potential applicants is welcome.  Direct inquiries
regarding programmatic issues to:
 
Dr. Jared B. Jobe
Behavioral and Social Research
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 533, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-3137
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
Email:  Jared_Jobe@nih.gov
 
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
 
Mr. David Reiter
Grants and Contracts Management
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2N212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
Email:  dr36t@nih.gov
 
AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS
 
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance, Number 93.866.  Awards are made under authorization of
the Public Health Service Act,  Title IV, Part A Section 301 (42 USC
241) and administered under PHS grant policies and Federal
Regulations, most specifically at 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74
and 92.  Special Terms of Awards applying to projects funded in
response to this RFA are in addition to, and not in lieu of,
otherwise applicable OMB administrative guidelines, HHS grant
administrative regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92, and other HHS,
PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.  Awardees will maintain
custody of, and primary rights to, their data developed under their
awards, subject to Government rights of access, consistent with
current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.  This program is not subject to
the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or
Health Systems Agency review.
 
The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to
provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco
products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of
1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any
portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education,
library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS
mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.
 
.

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