Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), (http://www.niehs.nih.gov)

Title: Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Grants

Announcement Type
New

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Request For Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-ES-05-008

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.113

Key Dates
Release Date: October 7, 2005
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): February 15, 2006
Application Receipt Dates(s): March 15, 2006
Peer Review Date(s): July 2006
Council Review Date(s): September 18, 2006
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: April 1, 2007
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Url Activation Date): N/A
Expiration Date: March 16, 2006

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism(s) of Support
2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
A. Eligible Institutions
B. Eligible Individuals
2.Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
A. Receipt and Review and Anticipated Start Dates
1. Letter of Intent
B. Sending an Application to the NIH
C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
A. Additional Review Criteria
B. Additional Review Considerations
C. Sharing Research Data
D. Sharing Research Resources
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

1. Research Objectives

Purpose

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invites applications from qualified institutions for support of the Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers. These Centers are designed to build infrastructure in the field of environmental health sciences and environmental medicine. By facilitating the use of shared research resources that serve the research in the mission areas of the NIEHS, investigators who are associated with EHS Core Centers will be poised to lead the field in new and important directions. The mission of NIEHS is to improve human health by increasing understanding of how environmental exposures impact biological processes and systems that result in disease.

A P30 Core Center Grant is an institutional award, made in the name of a principal investigator, to support centralized resources and facilities shared by investigators with existing research projects. It is awarded competitively, initially for up to four years, and may be renewed for periods of up to five years. By providing a Center structure and Core resources, this support is intended to enhance the productivity of traditional research grants at the institution, focus investigators on environmental science issues relevant to clinical medicine and public health, and thereby improve the health of communities and the nation. A Core Center Grant helps to integrate and promote research in existing projects and provides an administrative framework within one or several central themes; however, no funds are provided for direct support of research projects, except for pilot projects, recruitment of select new investigators, and research program development.

In contrast to past EHS Core Centers, the next generation of Core Centers is expected to bring their efforts to bear to a greater degree on translating environmental health research and related basic science results to public health and clinical arenas. One of the new goals of this program will be to develop opportunities and resources that support the integration of basic science with clinical research on patients and their care and public health research studying highly exposed population in the U.S. and around the globe. The Core Center , thus, is charged with creating effective teams at the institution(s) it serves to enhance existing programs in environmental health research and to build capacity in new and emerging areas which support or enhance these new directions in environmental health. The emphasis should be on fostering scientific excellence by providing resources unlikely to be attained by individual investigators, promoting collaborations among basic biomedical and clinical researchers, reaching out to innovative investigators in complementary fields, and facilitating cutting edge research that addresses public health issues in a timely manner.

In addition to direct research support services, the Center should provide career development for future research leaders. This can include training and mentoring to junior faculty in environmental health sciences, promoting interactions with established investigators in related disciplines, and helping young scientists and clinician-scientists to build foundations for careers in NIEHS-sponsored programs. Investigators and trainees are encouraged to interact with NIEHS program officials with the goal of promoting grantsmanship and eventual funding by NIEHS.

Goals and Expected Outcomes

Overall NIEHS expects that an EHS Core Center will:

General Description and Required Components

The EHS Core Center must be an identifiable organizational unit within a single university, medical center, or a consortium of cooperating institutions with a university affiliation. The EHS Core Center grant mechanism provides core support to foster integration, coordination, and interdisciplinary interaction and cooperation among a group of established investigators conducting high-quality research clearly related to the effects of environmental factors on human health. The NIEHS uses this mechanism to integrate and build upon existing programs and institutional resources such as university-wide facilities and services that encourage and enhance research on environmentally-induced disorders.

An EHS Core Center provides an administrative structure and an environment to strengthen and increase productivity and generate new ideas through organized interdisciplinary collaborative efforts. Its goal is to enhance the capabilities of existing programs in environmental health sciences, to assist with building the capacity for environmental health studies at institutions with less developed programs, and to support the development of future directions needed for the field to mature. As such, the EHS Core Center grant provides an added dimension that includes capability and potential for net accomplishment which will be greater than that possible by the support of individual projects. The EHS Core Center grant provides support for core resources and facilities to be used by Center investigators.

This support includes administrative and facilities personnel, equipment, supplies, and services. In addition, it provides limited funds for pilot projects, training, career development, and, optionally, community outreach. The EHS Core Center grant does not provide direct funding for ongoing research projects which are expected to be supported through other mechanisms, mainly individual research grants and program projects awarded by the NIH. Stipends and tuition for trainees, with certain exceptions for named new investigators and newly recruited investigators as described below, are not provided by the EHS Core Center grant

To qualify for an EHS Core Center the applicant institution must already have an identity in Environmental Health Sciences as defined as a substantial base of ongoing, independently supported, peer-reviewed research projects related to the study of environmental health sciences or environmental medicine, a substantial portion of which should be supported by NIEHS. This currently funded research base provides the major support for a group of investigators who would benefit from shared resources. The research base must exist prior to the submission of an application and will be a critical element considered during the peer review process. Focus, relevance, interrelationships, quality, productivity, and, to some extent, quantity, are all considerations in judging the adequacy of the research base.

1. The Center Director is the designated leader of the EHS Core Center and provides scientific and administrative leadership for the total program. The Center Director is required to commit a minimum of 20% effort to the Center.

2. An Administrative Core oversees organizational, budgeting and reporting aspects and provides the leadership for scientific and programmatic activities of the EHS Core Center.

3. Facility Cores are shared facilities that serve to enhance or make more cost effective the services, techniques, or instrumentation used by the investigators within the EHS Core Center. Cores should extend, support, and contribute to the work of the Center members. A Center should have a minimum of two facility cores including an Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core.

Facility Cores are the major function of the EHS Core Center. Facility Cores must have at least three users and are designed to furnish groups of Center investigators with techniques, services, or instrumentation that will enhance the research in progress, consolidate manpower effort, and contribute to cost effectiveness. A new requirement for the Core Centers program is that an Integrative Medicine Facility Core is required (see below). This core is intended to facilitate clinical investigations, either patient-oriented or population-based research that would enhance translation of basic research findings into practical impacts for patients and communities. Services available through this Core would provide the opportunity for Center members to obtain clinical samples and patient data needed for their research. These services could also be directed at studies of the natural history and prognosis of disease in patient populations.

A Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) is optional and not required. However, inclusion of a COEC allows the Center to make an additional request of up to $100,000 annual direct costs.

4. A Pilot Projects Program is required and is considered to be an integral part of the support provided. This program provides modest support for new initiatives or feasibility projects for either new investigators or for established mid-level investigators who are moving into research areas of direct interest to the EHS Core Centers. Up to 25% of the budget can be allocated to the pilot projects program.

Changes to the EHS Core Center Guidelines

As of September 1, 2005 , the following changes are implemented for new and competing applications to the Environmental Heath Sciences Core Centers:

1. NIEHS intends to merge the NIEHS Core Centers and Marine Freshwater Biology Centers programs beginning September 1, 2005. The new combined program will be called the Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers Program (EHS Core Centers).

2. Site visits will no longer be conducted as part of the review process. Program staff may decide to visit selected applicants to gain further information on which to base funding decisions.

3. The program endeavors to focus investigators to a greater extent on clinical applications, translation, and multidisciplinary research that will speed research findings to clinical practice and environmental medicine.

4. In order to provide increased flexibility in organization and structure of the EHS Core Center , the Director may develop a dynamic structure which meets the on-going intellectual needs of the Center. This structure can change as the intellectual needs change to accommodate new opportunities for collaboration. Research Cores are no longer required as organizational units in the Center. The proposed Center organization must include the required components outlined above, but beyond those requirements no additional structure is imposed by NIEHS.

5. An Integrative Health Sciences Facilities Core is required as one of the Center Facility Cores.

6. Community Outreach and Education programs which focus on partnering with stakeholders in order to disseminate EHS Center research results are optional. Centers that choose to apply for a Community Outreach and Education Core are eligible for additional $100,000 direct costs. Kindergarten-Grade12 curriculum development and implementation is no longer allowed as a COEC activity.

7. Page limits apply to the application (see Section IV, Part 6 “Other Submission Requirements” of this RFA). Applicants can download preformatted tables to facilitate completion of the application from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm.

A. Strategic Vision and Impact on Environmental Health

A vision and set of goals must be developed and described in the application. The Center Director must provide the leadership in a written strategy for how the Center will implement this vision and future directions during the project period. The plan will outline the existing skills, technologies and scientific research base and other resources at an institution. This plan should describe how the Core Center will enhance ongoing projects, assist in the introduction of outstanding new projects, and promote collaborations, advances in technology, and progress in environmental health sciences. The Center Director must detail expected scientific outcomes including a description of the clinical application and/or impact of these outcomes on public health and environmental medicine. An organizational chart should be included to illustrate the structure, interactions, and leaders of the Core Center. The application must define, in this section, the eligibility criteria for Center membership and note which individuals play key leadership roles in the Center.

This plan must address the following critical elements:

B. Environmental Health Identity and Impact of Research Base

The EHS Core Center grant mechanism fosters interdisciplinary cooperation among established investigators conducting high-quality research in environmental health science. Therefore, existence of a strong research capability in environmental health sciences is fundamental to establishment of a new, or continuation of an existing, EHS Core Center. To qualify for EHS Core Center support, an institution must demonstrate this research capability so as to have a clearly identifiable, major scientific focus in environmental health research. Consequently, an existing program of excellence in biomedical research in the field of environmental health science is a basic prerequisite for establishment of an EHS Core Center. Furthermore, a Center must be able to capitalize upon these research capabilities and resources to advance significantly our understanding of its chosen scientific focus.

At the time of submission of a new or competing continuation application, any institution or consortium wishing to qualify for the EHS Core Center grant must have a minimum of five active NIEHS-supported research grants from four distinct principal investigators. Acceptable grant support includes R01, R21, R37, P01, P42, P50, Cooperative Agreements (U-grants) or Research Career Development Awards (K-grants) with a minimum of two years of funding remaining, not including administrative extensions, either with or without additional funds. Eachmulti-component (e.g., P01, P50, or U01) award will count as one qualifying research project. A sub-project of a multi-component award (e.g. P01) that is sub-contracted to the applicant institution can be counted only once towards the research base.

Research grant support from NIH and sources other than PHS should be listed and will be considered in the determination of its suitability of focus on environmental health sciences if the research is (1) related to human health in areas where there is evidence for the involvement of environmental factors in disease etiology or phenotypic expression, (2) of outstanding quality, and (3) funded by an entity using peer or internal review of rigor comparable to that of PHS. NIEHS will have the final decision in determining whether the applicant Center Institution has the critical mass of direct costs, grants, and investigators. Prior to submission of an application, the proposed Center Director must consult with Institute Staff regarding the adequacy of the research base.

Applicants must detail grants and funding sources in this section by completing, for example Table A: Grant Support (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm) and by describing environmental health sciences research at the applicant institution(s) that emphasize the focus, interactions, relationships, and scientific excellence of the projects and investigators and the impact on advancing scientific knowledge relevant to environmental health issues. Include in the Appendix a brief abstract of approximately one half of a page for each project.

Competing continuation applications need to describe how the existing Center facilitated a leading role in environmental health at its home and associated institutions and should document the outcomes and impact of the Core Center on research efforts during the preceding funding period. This should include a summary of research highlights which were accomplished as a result of Center infrastructure and support, how facilities were made available to the maximum number of qualified investigators, the changes in resources that might have been made to accommodate altered user needs and/or increased demand, a composite list of publications, examples of subsequent funding for new directions highlighting collaborations fostered by the Center, and career advances and training outcomes. To assist in preparing the application, Table D1: Publications Resulting from Center Involvement, and, if appropriate, Table D2: Publications Resulting from Pilot Program Funding Applicants, which have been preformatted to facilitate completion, can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm. Measures of accomplishment also include: pilot projects that led to NIH or other peer-reviewed research applications; new or improved tools, discoveries, or patented inventions (and documentation of the wide use of such tools); training and recruiting of new investigators who have advanced in their careers in environmental health; and, where applicable, outreach to affected communities and appropriate educational outcomes.

C. Center Director

Each applicant institution will specify an experienced and respected Center Director with authority to oversee the organization and operation of the Center and to provide scientific and administrative leadership for the total program. The Center Director should devote at least 20% total effort to the Center. A Deputy Center Director must also be designated to serve in the absence of the Director, with other responsibilities described. The background and scientific and administrative expertise of the Center Director and the Deputy Director should be described fully in the application. For competing applications, an assessment of past performance is required.

D. Career Development for Environmental Health Investigators

Emphasis on career development for environmental health scientists is strongly encouraged. The application should address plans that will promote training of new investigators and bring new expertise into the area of environmental health sciences. Specify the plans to cross-train researchers in current techniques that are absent from the EHS Core center or individual research programs. Training and cross-training may include collaborations that will introduce a focus on human subjects and tissues into laboratory-based studies. These aspects of the program should be designed to prepare new investigators for an independent career in environmental health sciences.

The following activities are consistent with this aspect of the EHS Core Center.

New Investigator

Temporary salary support (up to 75%) and laboratory set-up costs can initially be provided in the application for a Named New Investigator in a specified area of research. The investigator can be a worker in the basic sciences, clinical research, or public health disciplines relevant to environmental health.

This investigator is eligible to compete for support for up to two years through the pilot project program. Subsequently recruited individuals are to be named by the Center Director and submitted for approval to the Center's Internal or External Advisory Board, as appropriate.

Newly Recruited Center Investigators

The EHS Core Center grant may provide partial salary support (up to 50%) for investigators newly recruited from outside the Center. This mechanism is intended to develop research programs by providing support for younger investigators who are at the beginning stages of their research careers, to add needed expertise to the Center structure, or to bring new methods and technologies into the environmental health sciences arena that enhance the Center's activities. Likewise, former graduate and postdoctoral students of Center members should not be considered for support unless it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that they have established independent research careers.

Funds awarded under this section may be used for salary, technical support, and equipment. The remaining salary support for the Newly Recruited Center Investigator must be derived from other than Center funds. For each investigator, the duration of support as a Newly Recruited Center Investigator will be limited to no more than two years. Specific individuals to be awarded Newly Recruited Center Investigator support need not be identified in the application, but the amount budgeted for this purpose should be declared, and, to the extent possible, the types of individuals sought and their expected roles in the Center described. Competing continuation applications should include a discussion of how these funds were used in the previous project period in terms of who was recruited and how these individuals benefit the Center programs.

Career Development Activities in Clinical Research

The EHS Core Centers mechanism requires clinical and basic scientists with a broad range of skills to work together on a unified theme. Therefore, it presents a rich environment for young clinical investigators to be exposed to and develop additional research skills. Mid-level clinical investigators and scientists in other fields may also be attracted by opportunities in the Center to focus their attention on issues in environmental health sciences and environmental medicine. Financial support can be provided for training and mentoring of physician scientists to study environmental health issues that are relevant to the public health arena and clinical practice. In addition environmental health scientists can be supported to engage in activities which increase their understanding of clinical medicine. The objective of this activity would be to assist new investigators in progressing to more senior status and eventual NIEHS funding by enhancing their research skills and knowledge of the grants process. These activities can be constituted as an independent Facility Core, or as part of the Administrative Core.

The career development activities should be directed by an investigator with strong mentoring credentials who will devote a defined percent effort (5% suggested). To facilitate mentoring and multidisciplinary developmental activities, active involvement by senior investigators within the Core Center is strongly encouraged in an effort to match mentors with candidates. The plan for career development activities will be evaluated in terms of potential effectiveness in developing the skills and research capabilities of new clinical investigators as reflected in the following required elements of the application:

In order to increase diversity in the student and faculty populations and the participation of individuals currently under-represented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences, applicants are encouraged to designate new and newly recruited investigators from the following groups: women, under-represented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.

Direct costs for career development activities should not exceed $50,000. Assisting new investigators in attaining independent status should be an objective of the Core activities. Sponsored participants should be encouraged to apply for NIEHS sponsored Career Development Awards, patient-oriented research grants, or other types of independent support. Contact with NIEHS program staff is encouraged at an early stage in submission of new applications.

E. Institutional Commitment

The Institutional Commitment at the applicant institution will be a major consideration in ensuring the goals of the Core Center. The parent institution should recognize the EHS Core Center as a formal organizational component and provide documented evidence of space dedicated to the needs of Center, protected time to devote to Center activities, staff recruitment, dedicated equipment, or other financial support for the proposed Center. The parent institution should provide assurance of its commitment to continuing support of the EHS Core Center in the event of a change in directorship and a well-defined plan for this eventuality should be in place.

Organizational and Operational Elements of EHS Core Centers

The organization and structure of the EHS Core Center should reflect the goals of the center, encourage collaboration, develop and implement Center-wide initiatives, and promote the use of shared resources and pilot project funds. The structure can change as needed based on new scientific opportunities and partnerships. The application should include a description of the organization and structure of the Center and illustrate all components in an organizational chart.

A. Administrative Core

It is expected that organization of the Administrative Core will provide a supportive structure sufficient to ensure accomplishment of the following:

The administrative structure must include an Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) and an External Advisory Committee (EAC). Further details for constitution of these committees are available in the complete set of Guidelines for Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Grants (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm; Updated September 1, 2005 ).

Competing continuation applications must document the functions and effectiveness of the External and Internal Advisory Committees.

To assist in preparing the application Table B: Center Members, which has been preformatted to facilitate completion, can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm and inserted into this section.

B. Facility Cores

The major function of the Center grant is to support Facility Cores which are designed to furnish groups of Center investigators with techniques, services, or instrumentation that will enhance the research in progress, consolidate manpower effort, and contribute to cost effectiveness. At least three investigators with independently funded projects and demonstrated need for such a core service form the minimum required research base to establish a core facility. Additionally, the minimum of three funded investigator users does not in itself provide sufficient justification for establishment of a Facility Core. The Center must have at least two facility cores. A new requirement is the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core, which is described, below. To assist in preparing the application, Table C: Facility Core Use, which has been preformatted to facilitate completion, is provided and can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm. Separate Tables, such as Table C, are to be provided for each Facility Core.

Facility cores should draw on Center research needs, including, but not limited to: animal use and transgenics, imaging, tissue culture, pathology support, statistical support, oligonucleotide synthesis, analytical chemistry, proteomics, bioinformatics, exposure assessment, and handling of human tissue specimens. Establishment and continued support for Facility Cores by an EHS Core Center application must be justified on the basis of use by independently funded Center investigators. The utilization of Facility Cores by pilot projects is encouraged. Use of core facilities by projects funded by research and development contracts will be evaluated on an individual basis. In general, use of Core facilities by contracts must be paid in full from the contract funds, not from the EHS Core Center grant funds.

Facility cores for the EHS Core Center should be unique and are not to duplicate services or facilities that already exist at the parent or collaborating institutions. University-wide facility cores providing services in areas relevant to environmental health research have become more widely available at many research centers. EHS Core Centers should utilize existing facility cores where appropriate and describe in the application how members of the EHS Core Center would receive priority access, favorable cost arrangements, and training on unique technologies. If facilities within a university-wide facility are not sufficient to meet the needs of the EHS Core Center , then the applicant is to provide information on the existing facilities and on how the Center and greater university facility plan to partner. Proposed Center facility cores that appear to replicate services already available at the applicant institution will not be allowed without extensive justification.

The application must provide the total operating budget for each Facility Core together with the percentage of support requested from the Center Grant. User logs or similar information used to complete the on-line form should be maintained and made available on request to the NIEHS in order to validate the extent of use and degree of sharing. In the case of new proposed Centers or new Facility Cores within an existing Center, similar information regarding anticipated use of the Cores should be provided. Define the use or expected use of the Facility Core by Center members and/or projects in terms of Low, Medium, or High (on a scale of 1-3).

Each Facility Core must have a designated leader who will be responsible for core activities. The application should explain the organization and proposed mode of operation of each core. It should include a plan for prioritizing investigator use of the core as well as a definition of qualified proposed and potential users. This definition need not be too narrow, since limited use of a core might be an enticement to established investigators in other fields to lend their expertise to the field of environmental health. The use of the Facility Core for training purposes is encouraged, and, if so planned, a description of the extent of and approach to this training should be included.

Although Facility Cores are meant to provide services for Center members, they also play an important role in developing new methodologies, adapting instrumentation for Center needs, and educating Center members of the value and utility of services and methods. Limited funds can be designated to support these aspects of the Facility Cores and discussion of how these activities will be performed should be included in the application.

Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core

The Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core is required and should be designed to facilitate the translation of basic research findings into clinical or public health applications. This Core provides new and critical resources and will be a vital component of the progression of environmental health sciences from the bench to the bedside and affected communities. It is expected that the concepts and goals of environmental medicine will be integrated into the range of activities that the greater Core Center undertakes.

This Core is to be designed to support collaborative efforts among basic scientists, clinical researchers, and/or public health practitioners by:

Among its functions, the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core may provide services which provide access to well-characterized patients and control subjects for research projects. These can include study subject recruitment and retention activities, and follow-up by mail, phone or in-person to gather needed data for research projects. Clinical services may include clinical laboratory or other assessments, pathology services, collection, processing and long-term storage of human tissue samples, blood, urine or other biospecimens, and preparation of questionnaires or other assessment tools. The IHSFC can facilitate and support partnerships between study populations or communities, health care providers or others. Description of services, equipment, and other activities of this core need to be well documented. Procedures for collecting, storing, and distributing biological samples, should be included in the application. Partnerships with other units at the institution which support these types of activities (e.g., General Clinical Research Centers) are encouraged and letters of support should be included in the application. As for all Facility Cores, the application should include a description of the types of research projects and/or clinical trials that use or plan to use the core. Include specific examples and the likely benefits to other research activities.

For the purposes of the EHS Core Centers, clinical research is as defined by NIH. This definition can be found in the Guidelines for Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Grants at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide/ehsapp.htm.

C. Pilot Projects Program

Inclusion of a Pilot Projects Program is required and is an integral part of the EHS Core Centers. A plan to support pilot studies for basic or clinical biomedical, epidemiological, educational, or behavioral research should be included and budgeted in the application. The description of a plan to solicit, review, and administer pilot grants must be included in the Administrative Core and a separate budget, including the total request for pilots, must be submitted. Criteria for review of pilot studies must be developed and included in the application. Up to 25% of the direct cost budget for each year should be allocated to the Center Pilot Projects Program to support short-term projects to explore the feasibility of new areas of study which leads to collection of sufficient data to pursue support through other funding mechanisms. Include a clear description of the process designed to award and evaluate progress in pilot projects. Investigators are encouraged to consult with NIEHS program staff for submission of new NIH applications based on pilot project-supported data.

Competing continuation applications should provide documentation of the existing pilot projects program. Include the process for application review and award and the measures of success, such as publications, subsequent funding, and career advancement of the sponsored individuals. A competing continuation application should include: historical overview of the Pilot Project Program during the last program period; a description of the management of the program; and a listing of all pilot projects which were supported during the last project period. To assist in preparing the application, Tables E1: Pilot Projects Outcomes and E2: Grant Details for Pilot Projects, which have been preformatted to facilitate completion, are provided and can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm and inserted into this section.

Pilot projects are primarily intended to:

1. Provide initial support for new investigators to establish new lines of research.

2. Allow exploration of possible innovative new directions representing a significant departure from ongoing funded research for established investigators in environmental health sciences. Ideas of particular importance in environmental health sciences are paramount.

3. Stimulate investigators from other areas of endeavor to apply their expertise to environmental health research and environmental medicine.

4. Foster opportunities that meet goals set out in the EHS Core Center Plan. Pilot projects should strive to fill in gaps in research areas relevant to the scientific focus of the Core Center.

D. Community Outreach and Education Core (Optional Core).

NIEHS Core Centers have the option to develop and sustain community outreach and education activities. The objective of the Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) is the translation of research information into knowledge for various professional and public stakeholders. Therefore, each Center that chooses to develop a COEC must demonstrate that the objectives, activities, and products are aligned and integrated with the research strengths and focus of their Center.

Programs developed by COECs will lead the field of environmental health outreach and education at the local and national level. To this end, the goals of the COEC are to:

To meet these goals, it is essential for COECs to state clear and measurable objectives; possess appropriate expertise to fulfill its stated objectives; identify specific environmental problems; demonstrate alignment to research strength and focus of the Center; identify existing and future partners; prioritize short, mid, and long-term activities to be implemented; list and describe expected products; state anticipated impacts and their significance for environmental public health; and define evaluation tools to measure the impact of core activities.

For the purposes of the EHS Core Center Program, there are three target audiences of interest: Community, Policy-makers, and Public Health and/or Health Care Professionals. COECs may select more than one target audience, but are required to choose only one.

Target Audience: Community

Types of activities - The COEC may include one or more of the following:

1. Convene public environmental health awareness forums or workshops in the community with defined goals and measurable outcomes.

2. Host and organize disease prevention and intervention programs, especially those that are community-based.

3. Create informational programs that address environmental health concerns or issues in the community, e.g., radio or television shows.

4. Evaluate local outreach models, disseminate findings, and promote dissemination of models for national implementation.

5. Establish environmental health research programs for high school students that nurture their interest in science and public health.

Target Audience: Public Health and/or Health Care Professionals

Types of activities: The COEC may include one or more of the following:

1. Develop and implement educational programs in environmental health science for health care providers. COECs may wish to develop and offer Continuing Education workshops.

2. Create tools and resources for health care providers that can be used and disseminated nationally.

3. Create and nurture national networks of public environmental health outreach specialists to have a national impact. COECs should build upon the outreach and education expertise around the United States.

Target Audience: Public Health Decision-Makers

Types of activities - The COEC may include one or more of the following:

1. Provide advice and information to stakeholders who participate in designing and implementing health policy.

2. Create materials based on research that can be used to educate decision-makers about environmental health issues.

3. Organize meetings addressing defined environmental health issues.

4. Participate in committees at the local and national levels in order to translate the scientific findings of the Center into public health and regulatory programs.

Should a Core Center choose to support a COEC?

(a) The COEC is required to establish a Stakeholder Advisory Board to strengthen the bi-directional interaction between the Core Center and partners. The purpose of this advisory group is to ensure Center understanding of community and other stakeholder needs, as well as to insure more effective dissemination of Center research in appropriate venues. The Center should develop a specific plan and set of integrated activities for COEC, particularly with respect to the Center's defined community and target audience. COEC must be a logical outgrowth of the scientific focus of the Center and exhibit the potential for mutual benefit due to interactions with Center investigators.

(b) COECs must possess the appropriate expertise for the identified target audience and outlined activities. It is important that COECs be directed by staff trained in public health, outreach and education, and other relevant disciplines at a Master's or Doctoral level.

(c) Collaborations among COECs in EHS Core Centers are desirable. Support of collaborations can be from NIEHS/NIH or other agencies and foundations.

(d) COECs are encouraged to collaborate with NIEHS staff within the Division of Extramural Research and the Office of Communication and Public Liaison in developing printed and audiovisual educational materials. These outreach activities must be identified as programs supported by the NIEHS Core Center. All COEC-produced materials must be submitted to the Community Outreach Resource Center.

(e) Support for appropriate staff positions, travel, equipment, and supplies for this activity is allowed.

(f) Please note COEC is not intended to include human subject research, epidemiology, clinical trials, clinical services delivery, or community-based research. However, COEC may be useful as a means of establishing a relationship with a community-based organization that could form the foundation of a research grant application. In such cases, appropriate COEC proposals may be considered for pilot project funding. The program should not go beyond public and community education concerning environmental disease risk and/or hazard exposure recognition, as the COEC is not intended to give medical, legal, political, social, or economic advice.

(g) K-12 curriculum development is no longer allowed as a COEC activity.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This funding opportunity will use the P30 award mechanism.

As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This funding opportunity uses the just-in-time budget concepts. It also uses the non-modular budget format described in the PHS 398 application instructions (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html). A detailed categorical budget for the "Initial Budget Period" and the "Entire Proposed Period of Support" is to be submitted with the application.

2. Funds Available

Although the financial plans of NIEHS provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, see NOT-OD-05-004.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit (an) application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

National laboratories funded by Federal Agencies (Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers , “FFRDCs”) may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the applicant, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization. The institution, organization, or governance receiving the award may provide funds through its grant from the EPA to an FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

The applicant institution may enter into an agreement with a Federal Agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application. In addition, an appropriate form of assurance that documents the commitment, such as a letter of intent from the Federal Agency involved, should be included.

Potential applicants are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Program staff listed under Section VII.1.

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH programs.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

The most current Grants Policy Statement can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#matching_or_cost_sharing.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

The applicant institution must have an Identity in Environmental Health Sciences, defined as a substantial base of ongoing, independently supported, peer-reviewed research projects related to the study of environmental health sciences or environmental medicine, a substantial portion of which should be supported by NIEHS. The research base must exist prior to the submission of an application and will be a critical element considered during the peer review process. Focus, relevance, interrelationships, quality, productivity, and, to some extent, quantity, are all considerations in judging the adequacy of the research base. At the time of submission of a new or competing continuation application, any institution or consortium wishing to qualify for the EHS Core Center grant must have a minimum of five active NIEHS-supported research grants from four distinct principal investigators. Acceptable grant support includes R01, R21, R37, P01, P42, P50, Cooperative Agreements (U-grants), and Research Career Development Awards (K-grants) with a minimum of two years of funding remaining, not including administrative extensions, either with or without additional funds. Sub-projects of multi-component grants will count only once and at the level of support of the contributing sub-project only. Support for consultants will not count towards the totals. To assist in preparing the application, Table A: Grant Support which has been preformatted to facilitate completion, is provided and can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm. Include in the Appendix a brief abstract of approximately one half of a page for each project.

The application must name a Center Director as the designated leader of the EHS Core Center to provide scientific and administrative leadership for the total program. The Center Director must commit a minimum of 20% effort to the Center.

The application must include an Administrative Core to oversee organizational, budgeting and reporting aspects and a framework for leadership of scientific and programmatic activities of the EHS Core Center.

A Center should have a minimum of two facility cores. Facility Cores are shared facilities that enhance or provide cost effectiveness for services, techniques, or instrumentation used by the investigators within the EHS Core Center. Cores should extend, support, and contribute to the work of the Center members. Facility Cores must have at least three users and be designed to furnish Center investigators with techniques, services, or instrumentation to enhance research in progress, consolidate manpower effort, and contribute to cost effectiveness. A new requirement for the Core Centers is the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core that is intended to facilitate clinical investigations that would enhance translation of research findings into practical impacts for patients and/or provide the opportunity for Center members to obtain clinical samples and patient data needed for their research. These services could also be directed at studies of the natural history and prognosis of disease in patient populations.

A Community Outreach and Education Core is optional.

A Pilot Projects Program is required. This program provides modest support for new initiatives or feasibility projects for either new investigators or for established mid-level investigators who are moving into research areas of direct interest to the EHS Core Centers. Up to 25% of the annual budget can be allocated to the pilot projects program.

Eligibility for award is limited to domestic institutions.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the most current PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. Applications must have a D&B Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/. The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

To assist in preparing the application, Table A: Grant Support; Table B: Center Members; Table C: Facility Core Use, which have been preformatted to facilitate completion, are provided and can be downloaded from the NIEHS website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm and inserted into the application.

Competing continuation (renewal) applications will also find Table D1: Publications Resulting from Center Involvement; Table D2: Publications Resulting from Pilot Project Funding, Table E1: Pilot Projects and Outcomes; and Table E2: Grant Details for Funded Pilot Projects that are provided for their convenience at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm.

3. Submission Dates and Times
Applications must be received on or before the receipt date described below (Section IV.3.A). Submission times N/A.

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): February 15, 2006
Application Receipt Dates(s): March 15, 2006
Peer Review Date(s): July 2006
Council Review Date(s): September 18, 2006
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: April 1, 2007

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of this document.

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Linda Bass, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Training and Science
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233, EC-30
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709
Telephone: (919) 541-1307
FAX: (919) 541-2503
Email: bass@niehs.nih.gov

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the research grant applications found in the PHS 398 instructions for preparing a research grant application. 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 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

Personal deliveries of applications are no longer permitted (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-040.html).

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Linda Bass, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Training and Science
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233 , EC-30
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park , NC , 27709
Telephone: (919) 541-1307
FAX: (919) 541-2503
Email: bass@niehs.nih.gov

Using the RFA Label: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application instructions must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application. Type the RFA number on the label. 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. The RFA label is also available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be received on or before the application receipt date(s) described above (Section IV.3.A.). If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Incomplete and non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this funding opportunity that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to a funding opportunity, it is to be prepared as a NEW application. That is, the application for the funding opportunity must not include an Introduction describing the changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.

4. Intergovernmental Review
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The funding mechanism for all awards issued under this solicitation will consist of assistance agreements. In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301 etc., the primary purpose of a grant is to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal stature, rather than acquisition for the direct benefit or use of the Agency.

Pre-Award Costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Applicants should use the following guidance, in addition to the instructions accompanying the PHS 398 form.

Applicants are encouraged to refer to http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm#apps for the complete text of the NIEHS Guidelines for Environmental Health Sciences Center Grants, New and competing Continuation Applications.

PAGE LIMITS

1. Strategic Vision and Impact on Environmental Health – 25 pages
2. Environmental Health Identity and Impact of Research Base – 25 pages
3. Center Director - 5 pages
4. Career Development – 10 pages
5. Institutional Commitment – 5 pages
6. Administrative Core – 25 pages
7. Each Facility Core – 25 pages
8. Pilot Projects – 25 pages
9. Optional COEC – 25 pages

Template Tables and appendix material do not count towards the page totals.

ALLOWABLE BUDGET ITEMS

To aid in review of the application, it is recommended that separate budget pages be prepared for each of the following elements. For expanded details on allowable and non-allowable budget items, please see http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm#apps:

1. Administrative Core
2. Each Facility Core
3. Pilot Projects
4. Optional COEC

A. Personnel Salaries

1. Senior Leadership Personnel
2. Facility Core Leaders including designated leaders, directors, or coordinators of the identified Facility Cores of the application. No salary support for other Center Investigators is allowed except for newly recruited investigators and named new investigators
3. Administrative and Technical Support Personnel
4. Trainees and Career Research Support: Allowable costs for Career Development Activities in Clinical Research include salary support for the Core Leader and other participating senior investigators and staff, travel costs for new investigators, and costs for courses, seminars, workshops, and other activities directly related to the development plan.

B. Equipment/Facilities

This category includes items for broad use in the Center within a Facility Core. Center grant funding is particularly useful for purchases and operations of large items of equipment which are difficult to justify in individual grant applications. When equipment is requested, similar items already available must be reported and a clear justification of the function for the new ones must be provided. The application should provide a list of potential users and projects, giving grant numbers, if possible. The applicant must also provide, on the budget justification page, any duplicate requests which have been made for funding the equipment requested.

C. Supplies

Consumable supplies, such as office materials, glassware, animals, chemicals, etc. may be requested, provided they are items used in common by Center personnel and serve to reduce the cost requirements for individual projects. The requested budget for supplies should be in the appropriate Administrative, Facility, or COEC Core providing this service

D. Travel

Appropriate travel requests include:

1. Annual Centers Meeting: A two day annual meeting of the EHS Core Centers Program will be held at Research Triangle Park, NC or a location determined by the Center Directors in consultation with NIEHS Staff. Applicants must budget travel costs associated with the meeting for the Center Director and Deputy Director in their applications. Funds may also be allocated for trainees such as the Named New Investigator to attend the annual meeting.
2. Travel of the Center Director, one other Center scientist, and an administrator to meetings with other EHS Center Directors or to other center facilities pursuant to administration of the Center.
3. Travel of scientific, technical, or administrative staff for training that would enhance the quality or is required to maintain the operation of a Facility Core or COEC operation.
4. Travel of Named New Investigators and Newly Recruited Center Investigators to relevant scientific meetings.

All travel should be budgeted within the appropriate core unit.

E. Consultants

Travel and expenses for named consultants and members of the External Advisory Committee and their associated costs may be included. Support of consultants must be fully justified in terms of program needs.

F. Pilot Projects

Pilot projects are required and up to 25% of the direct costs of each year's budget are to be allocated to their support.

Competitive and non-competitive renewal applications should clearly delineate and report the specific allocations of grant funds to the pilot projects program for each year of funding, providing details as described earlier.

G. Other Expenses

Maintenance contracts on general use equipment, duplication costs for annual reports, computer rentals, etc., may be included if fully justified by the application. Requests for funds for equipment maintenance must specify what items are to be maintained, the total yearly cost for maintaining each item, the main users of the item, any other source requesting funding for maintenance of these items, and the amount being contributed from other sources. Publication costs and page charges related to research results of pilot projects are allowed. However, publication costs and page charges for dissemination of other research results by staff investigators are not allowable. Costs of developing, printing, and distributing educational materials are permissible to the extent authorized by PHS policy. Inclusion of a statement recognizing that the document was created in whole or in part with NIEHS/NIH funds should be included on publications. The requested budget for these expenses should be in the appropriate Administrative, Facility, or COEC Core providing this service.

H. Alterations and Renovations

Funds for alteration and renovation of existing facilities may be requested so long as required for operation of Center programs. However, NIEHS Staff should be consulted as early as possible in the planning of these facilities for special instructions, limitations, etc. Funds for alterations and renovation will not be allowed unless there will be at least two years remaining on the grant at completion of the proposed alterations and renovations.

I. Contracts and Consortium Arrangements

These require special budgetary and reporting formats. The NIEHS staff should be consulted prior to submission for special instructions.

Items Not Fundable Under a P30 EHS Core Center Grant Include:

A. Direct support of individual research projects.
B. Salary and support for central institutional administrative personnel, usually paid from institutional overhead charges.
C. Salary and support for administrative activities such as public relations.
D. Travel of investigators, other than Named New Investigators and Newly Recruited Center Investigators, to scientific meetings.
E. Page and publication charges for staff investigators.

Applications requesting up to $250,000 per year in direct costs must be submitted in a modular budget format. The modular budget format simplifies the preparation of the budget in these applications by limiting the level of budgetary detail. Applicants request direct costs in $25,000 modules. Section C of the research grant application instructions for the PHS 398 at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html includes step-by-step guidance for preparing modular budgets. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. Additional information on modular budgets is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing, the format of the final dataset, the documentation to be provided, whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided, whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use), and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under their own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on their institutional or personal website, through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.

All applicants must include a plan for sharing research data in their application. The data sharing policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing. All investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data sharing is not possible.

The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm and http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

Review Criteria for the Overall P30 Center

The Overall Center will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Essential Characteristics of the Center

Strategic Vision and Impact on Environmental Health

In order for an Environmental Health Core Center to effectively provide leadership and resources to on-going and new research in environmental health sciences, medicine and public health, a vision and set of goals must be developed.

The Strategic Vision and Impact on Environmental Health Sciences will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Environmental Health Sciences Identity

The Environmental Health Sciences Identity will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Center Director

The Center Director will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Career Development for Environmental Health Investigators

The Career development of Environmental Health Investigators will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Institutional Commitment

There must be a strong institutional commitment to the Center. The following review criteria will be included:

Administrative Core

The administrative structure of a P30 Center should include, in addition to the Director, a Deputy Director, a business manager, an Internal Advisory Committee, and an External Advisory Committee. Individuals in senior leadership positions should provide intellectual, administrative, and scientific leadership for the Center and are critical to its overall effectiveness and evolution. These individuals should be in place and committed to a defined per cent effort.

The Administrative Core will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Facility/Service Cores

The Facility/Service Cores will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core

In addition to the criteria outlined for the Facility/Service Cores, the Integrative Medicine Facility Core will also be assessed based on the following criteria:

Pilot Project Program

The Pilot Project Program will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) (optional)

The overarching goal of the COEC is to develop the field of environmental health outreach by promoting the widespread dissemination and institutionalization of outreach and education projects that are effective in translating environmental health science to target audiences. This is done in part by encouraging open dialog and peer review of these strategies, approaches, and models. COEC activities should be based in sound outreach and evaluation theory and research, as it relates to the field of environmental health, in order to improve clinical and public health.

K-12 curriculum development is NO LONGER ALLOWED as a COEC activity.

The Pilot Project Program will be assessed based on the following criteria:

For competing continuation applications, the following additional criteria will be included.

The past progress of the Center in the development of an effective COEC, and the impact that the Center has had on the local community.

2. Review and Selection Process

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 NIEHS in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research: The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under Section F of the PHS Form 398 research grant application instructions will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research. The priority score should not be affected by the evaluation of the budget.

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Data Sharing Plan: The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data may be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score. The funding organization will be responsible for monitoring the data sharing policy. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps/part_ii_5.htm#availofrr and http://www.ott.nih.gov/policy/rt_guide_final.html). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

Program staff will be responsible for the administrative review of the plan for sharing research resources.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. Program staff may negotiate modifications of the data and resource sharing plans with the awardee before recommending funding of an application. The final version of the data and resource sharing plans negotiated by both will become a condition of the award of the grant. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Not applicable

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official (designated in item 14 on the Application Face Page). If a grantee is not email enabled, a hard copy of the NoA will be mailed to the business official.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Also Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the Notice of Award. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm) and Part II Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

3. Reporting

Annual reporting is required according to instructions that can be found at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/appguide.htm#report. Applicants are encouraged to read the User Manual well in advance of progress reports required for non-competing renewals. This site also provides detailed descriptions of the required forms and formats. Please contact NIEHS staff in order to discuss the requirements

Awardees will be required to submit the PHS Non-Competing Grant Progress Report, Form 2590 annually (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Leslie Reinlib, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233 (EC-21)
79 T.W. Alexander Drive , Room 3453
Research Triangle Park , NC 27709-2233
Telephone: (919) 541-4998
Fax: (919) 316-4606
E-mail: reinlib@niehs.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Linda Bass, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Training and Science
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233 (EC-30)
79 T.W. Alexander Drive , Room 3172
Research Triangle Park , NC 27709-2233
Telephone: (919) 541-1307
FAX: (919) 541-2503
Email: bass@niehs.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Dorothy Duke
Chief, Grants Management Branch
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233 (EC-20)
79 T. W. Alexander Drive , Room 3403
Research Triangle Park , NC 27709-2233
Telephone: (919) 541-2749
Fax: (919) 541-2860
E-mail: duke3@niehs.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local IRB rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). All investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal, beginning with the October 1, 2004 receipt date, are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating 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 clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from 1) currently funded NIH research projects or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the Policy or the submission process please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools including the Authors' Manual (http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/publicaccess_Manual.htm).

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This PA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The NIH Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the 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.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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