CLAUDE D. PEPPER OLDER AMERICANS INDEPENDENCE CENTERS

Release Date:  March 25, 1998

RFA:  AG-98-006

P.T.

National Institute on Aging

Letter of Intent Date:  September 1, 1998
Application Receipt Date:  November 10, 1998

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) invites applications for support of Claude
D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (OAICs).  These centers are for
the purpose of increasing independence in older Americans. OAICs will provide
support for research to develop and test clinical interventions, and for core
laboratories in the basic sciences. OAICs also will train individuals in research
approaches to develop and test methods of maintaining and increasing
independence, and to enhance expertise in aging research through the provision
of training in the relevant fundamental scientific disciplines.  They will
conduct demonstration projects and information dissemination concerning the
applications of such research.  Centers should promote linkages between
mechanistic and outcome research and thereby foster the development by new
investigators of better clinical treatments and preventive approaches.  It is
recognized that the balance between support devoted to intervention studies and
fundamental science will differ among Centers to take advantage of areas of
strength in geriatric and gerontologic research available at different
institutions.  In those instances where applications request significant core
resources to enhance ongoing projects, the number and quality of externally
funded peer-reviewed studies will be of special importance.  OAICs may support
a broad range of geriatric and aging research. However, applications with a
predominant focus in neuroscience (with the exception of stroke rehabilitation
in older persons) or the behavioral and social sciences are more appropriate for
other NIA centers' programs with a primary focus in these disciplines.

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), Claude
D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers, is related to the priority area
of chronic disabling conditions.  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

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.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Older Americans Independence Centers will be supported through the comprehensive
center grant (P60) mechanism.  The awarding of funds pursuant to this RFA is
contingent on availability of funds.  All pertinent DHHS, and NIH grant
regulations, policies and procedures are applicable.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

First year budgets may not exceed $1.6 million (direct plus indirect costs). 
Budget increments for subsequent years generally will be limited to no more than
one percent.  Awards are made initially for five years and may be renewed
competitively for five-year periods.

Although it is anticipated that up to $3.2 million will be directed to the
support of competing OAICs in Fiscal Year 1999 and $1.6 million in Fiscal Year
2000, and that two awards will be made in Fiscal Year 1999 and one award in
Fiscal Year 2000 from the applications received in response to this RFA, issuance
of an Older Americans Independence Center award is contingent upon the receipt
of scientifically meritorious applications and allocation of appropriated funds
for this purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Millions of older Americans suffer from loss of abilities needed to live fully
independently.  Loss of independence imposes enormous personal and financial
burdens on older persons and their families.  The annual cost to the Nation for
care of dependent older persons totals billions of dollars.

Dependence is not inevitable in old age.  It results from disabling conditions
which are potentially, if not currently, preventable or reversible.  The
development and testing of interventions to reduce disability and increase
independence thus offers immense benefits and potential savings in health care
costs.

To date efforts to develop such interventions and test their efficacy in
maintaining and increasing independence have been modest, and the number of
researchers with the abilities to conduct such research has been small.  There
is a need for more researchers and research teams with the ability to:

1)  Conduct controlled clinical trials of promising interventions against
disabling conditions of older persons.

2)   Fill gaps in knowledge of the pathophysiology of disabling conditions, and
of the mechanisms affecting their responses to treatment, and develop and test
improved treatments based on this knowledge.

3)  Develop and test ways of applying independence-enhancing advances in
treatment within the American health care system.

The combination of these three abilities would allow the conduct of concerted
research programs to increase independence for older Americans.  The Claude D.
Pepper OAIC program is designed to expand this research and the number of
researchers capable of conducting it.

Specifically, as authorized under amendments to Section 445A of the Public Health
Service Act, each OAIC will conduct: "research into the aging processes and into
the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, disorders and complications related to
aging, including menopause, which research includes research on such treatments,
and on medical devices and other medical interventions regarding such diseases,
disorders and complications, that can assist individuals in avoiding
institutionalization and prolonged hospitalization and in otherwise increasing
the independence of the individuals and programs to develop individuals capable
of conducting research in these areas."  As defined by Section 445A of the Public
Health Service Act, "the term independence, with respect to diseases, disorders,
and complications of aging, means the functional ability of individuals to
perform activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living
without assistance or supervision."

The overall goals of the OAIC program are:

1)  To facilitate the development and testing of interventions to increase or
maintain abilities needed for independence of older persons.

2)  To use knowledge gained in these intervention studies in developing and
testing improved interventions.

3)  To strengthen core laboratories in the basic sciences as they relate to aging
research and to train researchers in the techniques of fundamental research
relevant to studies in aging and geriatric medicine.

4)  To train researchers capable of leading and conducting research programs as
described in 1), 2), and (3) above.  OAIC research projects should provide
opportunities for the training of such researchers.

5)  To translate OAIC research findings into improvements in health care practice
through demonstration and dissemination projects.

The components of OAICs derive from these goals.  OAICs will support:

INTERVENTION STUDIES (IS) AND INTERVENTION DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
(IDS)

At least one Intervention Study or Intervention Development Study which utilizes
human subjects must be eligible for funding following peer review to qualify as
an OAIC.

Intervention Studies.  Proposed intervention studies must test the efficacy of
interventions to prevent or ameliorate functional impairments contributing to
loss of independence.  Studies may be of effects on long-term disability and/or
temporary disability following illness or injury.  In studies of prevention
interventions, a focus on subgroups at high risk for disability is encouraged
where appropriate.

All Intervention Studies should measure direct effects on functional status and
have adequate statistical power to determine important intervention effects on
functional abilities.  Central in the evaluation of these studies will be the
adequacy and appropriateness of the plans for measurements of changes in
functional status.  Measures of related medical and physiologic endpoints are
encouraged wherever pertinent.

Because older persons with multiple health problems are at especially high risk
for disability, determinations of the efficacy of interventions in such persons,
and analyses of the  effects of different health problems on treatment efficacy,
are encouraged where feasible.  Tests of interventions specifically designed
against disabilities resulting from the interaction of two or more comorbid
conditions are also encouraged.

Besides measurements of intervention effects on the above outcomes, each proposed
intervention study should also include planned investigations of:

*  Mechanisms underlying the interventions' effects on functional status, to
provide a basis for further improvements in interventions.  Intervention
interactions with intermediary response variables such as underlying disease
mechanisms, symptoms, and behavioral factors should be measured and analyzed as
needed for this purpose.

*  Factors affecting recruitment into the study and participants' compliance, to
provide data for potential wider applications of the interventions are considered
pertinent and should be included.

*  Cost-effectiveness and effects on health care utilization (e.g. 
hospitalizations, nursing home admissions and stays, use of home care services)
of the intervention(s) tested.

Applications for intervention studies that do not contain the above elements will
be returned to applicants.

Examples of types of interventions for study include, but are not limited to:

*  Interventions to prevent or reduce frailty and increase physical performance
abilities. Exercise, nutritional, pharmacologic, rehabilitative, surgical, and
other interventions against disorders such as osteoarthritis, congestive heart
failure, chronic pulmonary disease, pathologic loss of muscle mass and/or
strength, protein-calorie malnutrition, dizziness, nausea, and gait and balance
problems are encouraged.

*  Interventions to reduce risk of disabling events such as hip fractures and
strokes, and to reduce impairments following these events.  Studies of
interventions against osteoporosis and to prevent hip fracture, and studies of
techniques to improve functional status after hip fracture and strokes are
encouraged.

*  Interventions to prevent or reduce disabling side effects from medication use. 
Examples include drug withdrawal studies and testing of non-pharmacologic
therapeutic alternatives, as well as testing improved pharmacologic agents or
regimens.

*  Interventions to prevent, lessen, or shorten temporary disability from
exacerbation or complications of chronic diseases of older persons.  Examples
include transient disability associated with exacerbations of chronic pulmonary
disease, deconditioning during hospitalization, and acute confusional states.

*  Interventions to prevent or reduce disabling sequelae of menopause and
associated estrogen deficiency.  Examples include osteoporotic fractures and urge
incontinence.

*  Combined intervention strategies to prevent or ameliorate disabilities in
older persons with multiple impairments.

The above list is not exhaustive and its order is not intended to reflect NIA
priorities.  All studies of promising interventions to enhance independence in older
persons are encouraged.  No priority is placed on having a diversity of intervention
topics associated with a single OAIC.  Applicants may find it advantageous to
concentrate on one or a few topics in which their strengths are greatest.

Subjects for these studies may include older persons living at home, recipients of home
care, nursing home residents, hospitalized patients, and those in other pertinent
clinical settings, as appropriate to each intervention study.  Organizational liaisons
involving one or more medical centers, nursing homes, home care services, and other
care organizations are encouraged wherever appropriate for the conduct of OAIC
activities.

All activities to be performed by proposed cores as part of Intervention Studies should
be clearly described in the plans for the Intervention Study itself.  Examples include
functional assessment, biostatistical support, etc.

Intervention Development Studies.  The OAIC center grant may support other studies to
identify, develop, or refine potential interventions to preserve or increase
independence.  Each proposed Intervention Development Study should present a complete
plan for conduct of the proposed research, analogous in the level of detail to an
individual research project grant application.  It should be presented in sufficient
detail to allow for full scientific review.

Types of such studies include, but are not limited to:

*  Tests of therapies on physiologic factors known to affect functional status.  Both
beneficial and adverse effects may be studied.

*  Studies to identify or confirm reversible or preventible risk factors for disability
and/or disabling events.  Examples include diseases, and previously unidentified
pathophysiologic changes leading to functional impairment and/or disabling events. 
Large-scale epidemiologic studies are outside the scope of this RFA.

*  Studies of experimental therapeutics directed at the prevention or treatment of
morbid conditions associated with aging.  Research utilizing animal and/or human
subjects is appropriate. (If a study utilizing animal  subjects is proposed, another
study utilizing human subjects must be included in the IS/IDS section.)

All activities to be performed by proposed cores as part of Intervention Development
Studies should be clearly described in the plans for the Intervention Development Study
itself. Examples include functional assessment, biostatistical support, etc.

RESEARCH RESOURCES CORES (RRC)

Applicants may request core resource support to enhance the quality of OAIC research
projects, i.e., Intervention Studies, Intervention Development Studies and Pilot
Research Projects. RRCs for the support of laboratories in the fundamental sciences as
they relate to aging research or geriatric medical subspecialties may be requested as
well.  RRCs may also provide support for research projects relevant to the mission of
OAICs whose support is independent of the OAIC. (e.g. R01, P01, R29, foundation Grant).
Opportunities to participate in the scientific activities of RRCs should serve to
enhance the development of research skills of new investigators and where appropriate
should encourage linkages between fundamental science and clinical intervention
research.

Applicants should not propose a core unless it supports at least two projects
(otherwise the core could simply be included in the one project it supports).  The
justification for proposed cores (including the merit and number of projects they would
support) will be evaluated by peer reviewers.  Routine patient care costs may not be
requested, but research-related patient care costs are eligible for support.

Examples of possible RRCs include, but are not limited to:

o  Recruitment/screening/assessment/registry units for subjects for different OAIC
intervention study research protocols.

o  Functional assessment units to monitor functional status of subjects in OAIC
studies.

o  Diagnostic and pathophysiologic units for studies of mechanisms of treatment
response and interactions with disease.

o  Basic science laboratories providing state of the art technologies and training to
center investigators.

o  Biostatistical/data management units.

o  Cost-effectiveness analysis units.

o  Veterinary Units for the support of laboratory animals used in aging research and
the development of animal models of age-associated diseases.

The above list is not intended to describe the full range of activities to be
supported, nor to direct applicants towards these areas.  Inclusion of research
resources cores of any or all these types in a single proposed OAIC is neither required
nor necessarily advisable.  Innovative organizational approaches are encouraged. 
Institutions which are recipients of  NIH General Clinical Research Center awards who
wish to apply for an (OAIC) award are encouraged to use core resources from these
Centers for support of OAIC projects where appropriate.

For each Research Resources Core proposed, a core leader should be named, and plans for
the scientific and administrative functioning must be presented.  The method for
prioritizing access to core resources requested by multiple projects should be
described.

RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT CORE (RDC)

The Research Development Core is a required component of all OAICS.  The RDC will
provide salary and other support for junior faculty and research associates to acquire
abilities in research to enhance the independence of older persons.  This includes all
phases of research to develop interventions to enhance independence, including clinical
trials, studies of mechanisms of treatment response, and cost-effectiveness/health care
utilization studies.   The development of persons who will have the necessary breadth
and depth of experience needed to lead teams spanning this range of research is of high
priority.

The career development of individuals acquiring skills in fundamental aging research
related to the mission of OAICs may also be supported here.

The research development core should promote linkages between mechanistic and outcome
research.   This will enhance the capacity of young scientists to develop better
clinical treatments and preventive approaches. This goal may be achieved in a variety
of ways including periodic meetings of center staff and other scientists and most
importantly through the provision of suitable training opportunities.  While the
creation of these linkages is an important overall function of the RDC, it is
recognized that this will not in all cases be feasible.  However, the plan for the
educational program of the RDC as a whole should describe the approach to be followed
and the  training plan for at least one (preferably more) of the individuals receiving
support under the RDC should document how training opportunities will be utilized to
achieve the goal of creating these linkages.

The components of the Research Development Core are:

Junior Faculty Development Support.  Support may be requested for salary and fringe
benefits for junior faculty participating in OAIC Intervention Studies and other OAIC
research.  The Research Development Core should present a plan for achieving
development of junior faculty supported under this  component, including a mechanism
for monitoring their scientific progress and development toward independent research. 
Applicants should clearly specify the role of senior mentors in training and
supervising junior faculty and research associates. A biographical sketch (two pages
maximum), a list of active research support, and a brief description of the mentor's
role in proposed OAIC activities should be provided for all proposed mentors.

Though applicants are not required to identify individual junior faculty, research
associates, and their specific roles in advance, they are encouraged to do so if
possible, since this information is useful to peer reviewers.  If support is requested
for "to-be-named" junior faculty or research associates, applicants should present
their plans for recruiting, training, and supervising these persons.

The Research Development Core may also serve to encourage the research career
development of other junior faculty and research associates (in addition to those
receiving salary support from this core) by coordinating the participation in OAIC
research projects of other junior faculty and research associates whose salary support
may come from other sources.  The overall contribution of the OAIC to the development
of researchers throughout the grantee institution who can contribute to the development
of independence-enhancing interventions will be considered in the evaluation of OAIC
proposals.

Didactic Training.  Support may be requested for didactic training in such topics as
clinical trials methodology, biostatistics, pertinent topics in disease mechanisms and
related basic sciences, behavioral sciences, health services research, etc.  Such
support is not restricted to individuals receiving salary support from the core, but
may be provided to other personnel on OAIC research projects or OAIC Intervention
Development Studies.

Pilot and Feasibility Studies.  Pilot and feasibility studies may be proposed.  New
initiatives or pilot and feasibility studies for biomedical, epidemiological, or
behavioral research may be supported by the RDC funding.  These funds may be used for
new investigators, investigators from other fields willing to bring their research
expertise to geriatrics research, and for investigators whose proposed research would
constitute feasibility testing.  This funding mechanism is intended  to provide modest
support which will allow an investigator the opportunity to develop preliminary data
sufficient to provide the basis for an application for independent research support
through conventional granting mechanisms.

New initiatives, or pilot and feasibility studies, are typically limited to a one-time
nonrenewable award for a maximum of one year of support.  In very special
circumstances, which must be described and well justified, two years of support may be
requested.  Any one investigator is eligible only once for pilot support, unless the
additional proposed pilot and feasibility study constitutes a real departure from his
or her ongoing research.  Pilot and feasibility study support is not intended for large
undertakings of established investigators for which it would be appropriate to submit
separate research grant applications.  Pilot and feasibility funds are not intended to
support or supplement ongoing-supported research of an investigator.

The proposals for the pilot or feasibility studies should present a testable hypothesis
and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail the procedures to be followed,
and discuss how the data will be analyzed.  Each pilot project is limited to no more
than $25,000 direct costs.  If the pilot project is requested and justified for two
years, the direct costs are limited to $25,000 per year.  A maximum of $125,000 (direct
costs) may be spent on Pilot and Feasibility Projects.

Research Development Core Leader.  Support may be requested for a core leader who will
be responsible for coordination of the above activities and must report annually on the
progress of all individuals supported thorough this core, and other core activities.

A maximum of $300,000 in total (direct plus indirect) first- year costs may be
requested for the Research Development Core. Budget increments in future years will
generally be limited to one percent.

DEMONSTRATION AND INFORMATION DISSEMINATION PROJECTS (DIDP)

OAICS must include a DIDP which supports activities to translate findings from their
research into health care practice.  These activities would normally be expected to be
conducted beginning in the second year of the project, with the first year devoted to
planning.  A maximum of $50,000 first-year total (direct plus indirect) costs  and
$80,000 annual total (direct plus indirect) costs for project years two through five
may be requested for these activities. (This sum is a ceiling, not a floor; if less is
requested in this core, more may be requested in other parts of the application.)
Specific projects for demonstration/ information dissemination activities should be
described.  The staffing plan and a rationale for the organization of this core should
be presented.  The methods and techniques to be employed for information dissemination
and the audience targeted and size should be defined.  Attention should be directed to
issues of cultural sensitivity with regard to the target audience. Where appropriate,
the information should be structured so that it can effectively reach minority
populations, including non-English-speaking older people.

Examples of projects that may be supported include dissemination of research results
to the public, professionals, and paraprofessionals, through symposia and in-service
training.  Planning and pilot activities for larger scale demonstration projects to
evaluate the practicability of interventions tested in OAICs within various health care
settings are also appropriate.

LEADERSHIP/ADMINISTRATIVE CORE

Applicants may include a Leadership/Administrative Core which requests funds for the
OAIC director, OAIC administrator, and support staff.  The OAIC director should be a
scientist who can provide effective administrative and scientific leadership and
coordination with OAIC Intervention Studies.  An OAIC administrator who will assist the
director in managing the Center, addressing issues of fiscal management and compliance
with institutional, PHS, NIH and NIA policies, should be identified.  A maximum of
$120,000 (direct plus indirect costs) per year for this core, for salary, travel, and
other expenses of the director, administrator and appropriate administrative staff may
be requested.  Future year annual increases will generally be limited to no more than
one percent.

OAIC Advisory Panel.  OAIC applications, regardless of whether a Leadership/
Administrative Core is requested, must describe a plan and budget for the selection of
experts from outside the OAIC who will meet yearly to review the progress of the OAIC
and provide a written report to the OAIC Director.  Potential outside experts should
not be selected or named.  The outside experts' review will be included in the annual
OAIC Progress Report to the NIA.  (A member of the NIA extramural staff assigned to
each Center will routinely attend the Advisory Panel meetings. It will be the OAIC
Director's responsibility to notify NIA Staff well in advance of the date scheduled).

Coordination Among OAIC's.  OAICs are expected to meet together yearly to compare
research results and to explore possibilities for collaborative efforts.  Funds should
be requested to permit travel of the OAIC director, administrator and on all OAIC
Intervention Studies, and Intervention Development Studies for meetings with NIA staff
and staff from other OAICs.  Responsibility for organizing these meetings will rotate
among OAIC sites.

Required Components of an OAIC.  The minimum required components which must be
determined to be eligible for funding by the peer reviewers in order to qualify for an
OAIC Award are 1) at least one Intervention Study or Intervention Development Study 2)
a Research Development Core and 3) a Demonstration and Information Dissemination
Project.  All required components must be recommended for the full 5 years in order for
the application to be eligible for funding.

The total first year budget may not exceed $1,600,000 (direct plus indirect costs) and
the total first year budget for the sum of the Research Resources Cores, Research
Development Core, Demonstration and Information Dissemination Project and the
Leadership/Administrative Core may not exceed $1,275,000.  Thus, a center application
requesting the full $1,600,000 will have an Intervention Study/Intervention Development
Study first year total budget request of at least $325,000.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

SPECIAL NOTE:  Required Components of an OAIC.  The minimum required components which
must be determined to be eligible for funding by the peer reviewers in order to qualify
for an OAIC Award are 1) at least one Intervention Study or Intervention Development
study utilizing human subjects. 2) a Research Development Core and; 3) a Demonstration
and Information Dissemination Project.  All required components must be recommended for
the full five years in order for the applications to be considered for funding.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

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

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research,"
which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513)
and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.

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 must be
addressed in developing a research design and sample size appropriate for the
scientific objectives of the study.  This information must be included in the form PHS
398 (rev. 5/95) in Section d. of the Research Plan AND summarized in Attachment 8,
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
and subgroups (i.e., Native Americans [including American Indians or Alaskan Natives],
Asian/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics).

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

The usual NIH policies concerning research on human subjects also apply.  Basic
research on clinical studies in which human tissues cannot be identified or linked to
individuals are exempt.  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.

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 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.

Additionally, all proposed clinical research must adhere to "Implementation of Policies
for Human Intervention Studies, NIH Guide, Volume 25, Number 33, October 4, 1996.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by September 1, 1998, 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 NIA staff to estimate the potential review workload
and to avoid possible conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent:

Stanley L. Slater, M.D.
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 3E-327
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone: (301) 496-6761

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in applying for
these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research; from the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National
Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910,
telephone 301/435-0714, email:  ASKNIH@od.nih.gov.  The application must be prepared
using the OAIC (P60) Guidelines available from the program administrator 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.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the Checklist, and
three signed, photocopies, in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC, 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be sent to:

Mary Nekola, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2C212
Bethesda, MD  20892

Applications must be received by November 10, 1998. If an application is received after
that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.  The CSR 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.

Page Limitation

Applications may not exceed a total of 25 pages for parts a-d of the Research Plan for
each project and 10 pages for each core section, with the exception of The Research
Development Core, which may include an additional 10 pages for the Research Plan of
each pilot project.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and responsiveness
by the NIA.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the
applicant without further consideration.  The applications that are complete and
responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an
appropriate peer review group convened by the NIA in accordance with the review
criteria stated below.

Because site visits may or may not be conducted, each application must be thorough and
complete enough to stand on its own.  Additional materials or revisions will not be
accepted after the receipt date.  It is strongly recommended that Institutional Review
Board and, if appropriate, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval be
secured before the application is submitted.  Otherwise, it is the applicant's
responsibility to ensure these certifications are sent to the Scientific Review Office,
NIA, within 60 days of the receipt date, unless an earlier date is set by the
Scientific Review Administrator.  Applications failing to comply with this requirement
well be returned without review.  There will be no further notifications on this issue. 
Applications may first receive a preliminary review by the review panel to establish
those applications deemed to be competitive.

Applications considered to be non-competitive for funding will be so designated, and
an abbreviated summary report noting the major weaknesses will be sent to the principal
investigator.  The remaining applications will be given full review.  The full
committee may designate additional applications as Not Recommended for Further
Consideration.  Further review will be by the National Advisory Council on Aging.  The
earliest start date will be July 1, 1999.

Review Criteria

The primary criterion for review by the NIA review committee in evaluating each OAIC
grant application will be the effectiveness of the proposed program in contributing to
increasing independence for older Americans through the conduct of research,
demonstration, and dissemination projects; and development of academic leaders in
geriatrics with effective research, teaching and clinical capabilities.

Specific criteria related to this standard include:

1.  Scientific merit of research and its expected impact on the maintenance of
independent functioning of older persons.  For competing renewal applications, this
will include an assessment of achievements during the prior award period.

2.  Contribution of Research Resources Cores, where included, to enhancement of
research, training and pilot projects.  Where major resources are requested for the
RRCs, the number and quality of externally-funded peer-reviewed studies will of
considerable importance.

3.  Role of the Research Development Core in providing educational and other career
development opportunities for fellows, junior faculty and other professional and
paraprofessional personnel associated with the Center.  The quality of the plans to
promote linkages between mechanistic and applied research are an important aspect in
the evaluation of the RDC. For competing renewal applications, the subsequent career
activities of junior faculty and other professionals supported in the prior funding
cycle(s) will be of importance.

Other review criteria include:

1.  Leadership ability and scientific stature of the program director and his/her
ability to meet the program's demands of time and effort.

2.  Qualifications, experience, and commitment of the investigators responsible for
core units and their ability to devote the required time and effort to the program.

3.  Presence of an administrative and organizational structure conducive to attaining
the objectives of the proposed program.

4.  Arrangements for internal quality control of ongoing research, the allocation of
funds, day-to-day management, contractual agreements, the internal communication and
cooperation among investigators in the program.

5.  Quality of proposed external review process.

6.  Appropriateness of the total budget and budgetary requests for the individual
components.

7.  Academic and physical environment as it bears on patients, space and equipment and
on the potential for interaction among scientists within the center and with scientists
from other departments, institutions and Claude D.  Pepper Centers.

8.  Institutional commitment to the requirements of the program.

9.  The adequacy of the means for protecting against risks to human subjects, animals
and the environment.

10.  Issues relating to inclusion of women and minorities (see special instructions).

11.  Compliance with NIA's Policy Statement, "Implementation of Policies for Human
Intervention Studies," Guide, Volume 25, Number 33, October 4, 1996.

AWARD CRITERIA

The award criteria are:

o  priority score
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities

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:

Stanley L.  Slater, M.D.
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, 3E-327
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-6761
FAX:  (301) 402-1784
Email:  Slaters@exmur.nia.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

David Reiter
Grants Management Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2N-212
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
Email:  ReiterD@exmur.nia.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.  93.866. 
Awards are 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.

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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