Full Text HD-93-08


NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 35, October 2, 1992

RFA:  HD-93-08

P.T. 34, AA

  Family Health/Planning/Safety 
  Child/Maternal Health 

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Application Receipt Date:  December 18, 1992


The Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch of the Center for
Population Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development (NICHD) invites applications for cooperative agreements
(U01) to develop a research network to investigate the relationship of
family factors to child wellbeing.  The research network will conduct
a systematic analysis of existing data to determine what can be learned
about the relationship of family factors to child wellbeing using
extant data.  The research network will also examine the public policy
implications of its work and systematically pursue research leads that
show promise for informing public policy.

Each investigator in the network will be expected to have demonstrated
expertise and access to at least one data set relevant to the topic.
Also, applicants must demonstrate that they have both the substantive
and statistical expertise to function as part of an interdisciplinary
research network.  Each investigator will be given support to pursue
his or her individual research agenda, but a large part of the
available resources will be held in reserve to address cooperative
research questions agreed upon by the network.  Each investigator will
propose both an individual research plan and a cooperative research
plan in which they identify areas of research that they would be
willing to cooperate in implementing.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This RFA,
Family and Child Wellbeing Research Network, is related to the priority
areas of family planning, educational and community-based programs, and
maternal and infant health. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of
"Healthy People 2000" (Full Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or
"Healthy People 2000" (Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1)
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).


Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and
eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Applications from
minority individuals and women are encouraged.

Institutions may submit applications on behalf of more than one
Principal Investigator (PI), but each PI must submit a separate


The funding mechanism to be used to support the research network will
be the cooperative agreement (U01).  Cooperative agreements are
assistance mechanisms but differ from research project grants in that
there will be substantial programmatic involvement of the NICHD Project
Coordinator above and beyond the levels required for traditional
program management of grants.  Specifically, the Project Coordinator
will cooperate with the PI as a partner in the research network.  All
parties agree to accept the participatory and cooperative nature of the
group process.

This RFA is intended as a one time solicitation.  The total project
period for the research network is five years and applications
submitted in response to the present RFA should not exceed five years.
Should there be a sufficient continuing program need, the NICHD may
reissue this RFA.  The anticipated award date is July 1, 1993.


It is anticipated that up to seven awards will be made.  One million
dollars of direct cost support have been set aside to support the
network and this amount will increase by an inflation factor in
subsequent years of the network.  Approximately one half of the
resources allocated for the network will be devoted to support
cooperative research.  Resources available for cooperative research
will be very small in the first year of the network, but will increase
progressively in the subsequent years of the network.  The percentage
of funding for cooperative research will increase according to the
following schedule:  20 percent in FY 93, 35 percent in FY 94, 50
percent in FY 95, 65 percent in FY 96 and 80 percent in FY 97.  The
level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number of
applications of high scientific merit.  Although this program will be
provided for in the financial plan of the NICHD, the award of grants
pursuant to this RFA is also contingent on the availability of funds
for this purpose.


There is a heightened awareness in both public policy and research
communities that the wellbeing of children is deteriorating and that
family factors are important explanations of this phenomenon.  Within
public policy circles there is a growing frustration that basic
information about family and child wellbeing is filled with gaps and is
analyzed in an uneven manner.  Within the research community there is
a fundamental problem that family and child research is spread among a
large number of disciplines, and these disciplines are so diverse in
their research approaches that communication across fields is
difficult.  It is timely to create a systematic effort to both
understand the relationship of family and child wellbeing from a
multi-disciplinary point of view and address public policy concerns in
a comprehensive and responsive manner. The NICHD wishes to assist the
scientific community to mount a systematic attack using all sources of
existing information.

There are a large number of social problems that impinge on the
wellbeing of children.  Among them, poverty and the emergence of an
underclass population with a growing dependence on public transfer
programs are highly visible areas of concern.  Moreover, family factors
such as marital instability, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and changes
in the demographic and economic structure of the family seem to be
inextricably related to these and other problems affecting child
wellbeing.  It is important to describe fully these interconnections
and to formulate and test models of the causes and consequences of
these relationships.  It is also important to elucidate the mechanisms
of action by which family factors affect child wellbeing so that
possible avenues of social intervention can be ascertained or existing
interventions, such as child support enforcement or child care
subsidies, can be evaluated.

The American family has undergone considerable change in modern times.
These changes are associated with changes in the way children are
raised and with changes in familial support structures that sustain
children and develop them into productive adults.  It is the intent of
this RFA to assist in measuring both family factors and child wellbeing
very broadly to develop as comprehensive a picture as possible about
the relationship between these considerations.  It is also important to
understand how family factors and socio-economic conditions combine to
nurture children and help them develop into productive adults from both
an individual and societal perspective.  It is important to understand
how the intergenerational structure of the family marshals resources to
care for dependent children and how intergenerational family processes
relate to public intervention to sustain and develop children.

The research network is expected to confine its activity to secondary
data analysis.  This will enable the research community to exploit
fully many of the sources of data that have been specially created for
the research community by the NICHD and other agencies.  These data
sources include:  The National Survey of Families and Households, The
National Longitudinal Survey Youth Cohort and related Child
Supplements, The June 1990 Marriage and Fertility Supplement of the
Current Population Survey, The National Survey of Family Growth and
others.  In addition, there are many data resources of sub-national
populations that should be fully analyzed.  It is the intent of this
RFA to utilize data containing a fair representation of women and
minorities.  In exceptional circumstances data confined to specialized
populations may be used to enhance our understanding of selected
dimensions of the research problem.

The network will be assembled to achieve the broadest possible coverage
in terms of research perspective, analytical technique, and sources of
data.  The focus of the network is the United States, but the use of
foreign data may be justified if it provides an insight into the
American condition.  Investigators must demonstrate that they have a
long-term research agenda that is addressing important questions
relevant to the research goals of this RFA.  In addition, they must
describe the sources of data to which they have access and plan to use
in their research plan.  It is important to describe the extent to
which the investigator has experience using these data.  It is also
important to outline the analytic plan of attack and to describe the
statistical techniques that will be employed in each phase of the
research plan.

The PI must propose an individual research plan to accomplish his or
her personal research agenda.  The plan must have the same degree of
specificity as an individual research grant (R01).  A PI may request
support for any type of research activity commonly available through
research assistance mechanisms offered by the NICHD except the cost of
collecting new data. It is anticipated that such support will be higher
in the first year of the initial agreement than in subsequent years and
will diminish progressively throughout the five years in which the
network is in operation.

The PI must also propose a cooperative research plan that will describe
the proposed cooperative research effort that transcends his/her
individual research programs.  The cooperative research plan should
propose questions of substantive and/or public policy significance that
should be examined cooperatively and should indicate how their
disciplinary and methodological perspectives could contribute to a
cooperative research effort.  Also, investigators should indicate which
sources of data, with which they have familiarity and access, should be
used in the cooperative research plan.


Terms and Conditions

Awardee Responsibilities

Each PI will have primary responsibility to define objectives and
approaches and to plan, conduct, analyze, and publish results,
interpretations, and conclusions of his/her studies.  Awardees will
retain custody of, and primary rights to, their data developed under
these award, subject to Government rights of access, consistent with
current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.  A budget supporting the individual
research programs will be negotiated with the NICHD based on the
corresponding budget presented in the application.  Each investigator
will have the right to publish based on the work of their individual
research programs.  Each PI will also propose a cooperative research
plan in which they will identify research questions, protocols, and
data sets that they propose to work on cooperatively.  The Steering
Committee will formulate a research plan for cooperative research that
will distill the several individual cooperative research plans into a
coherent plan and will involve allocating resources among the
participating cooperative agreements to implement it.  The cooperative
research plan will be agreed upon by majority vote of the Steering
Committee, but each PI will have the right of approval for any aspect
of the cooperative research plan involving them.  Due publication
credit will be given to all work done cooperatively.

Steering Committee Responsibilities

Planning and implementation of the cooperative aspects of the study
will be done by a Steering Committee consisting of the PI from each
participating awardee institution and the NICHD Project Coordinator.
If necessary, the Steering Committee may invite outside, non-voting
expert consultants to their meetings for advice as common protocols are

o  Plan the design and implementation of the cooperative research

o  Participate in decision-making regarding allocation of funds for
cooperative research protocols

o  Publish results, conclusions and interpretations of the cooperative

o  Formulate publication policy and appoint a Publication Subcommittee,
as judged necessary by the Steering Committee

o  Agree to accept the coordinating role of the committee and the
cooperative nature of the group process

NICHD Responsibilities

The NICHD Project Coordinator will be the Family Demography Coordinator
of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch, NICHD.  He will:

o  Assist in all functions of the Steering Committee

o  Assist with the development of common protocols

o  Assist the steering committee in reviewing and commenting on each
stage of the program before subsequent stages are started

o  Assist the steering committee in exercising the options of adding,
modifying, or terminating aspects of the program

o  Assist in the analysis, interpretation and reporting of findings in
the scientific literature and other media to the community at large

o  Have the option to withhold support to a participating institution,
if technical performance requirements such as compliance with the
protocol are not met

o  Continuous review of all activities to ensure objectives are being

The above responsibilities are in addition to, not in lieu of, the
levels of involvement normally required for program stewardship of

Arbitration Procedures

When agreement between an awardee and NICHD staff cannot be reached on
programmatic and scientific-technical issues that may arise after the
award, an arbitration panel will be formed.  The panel will consist of
one person selected by the PIs, one person selected by the NICHD staff,
and a third person selected by these two members.  The decision of the
arbitration panel, by majority vote, will be binding.  These special
arbitration procedures in no way affect the awardee's right to appeal
an adverse action in accordance with PHS regulations at 42 CFR Part 50,
Subpart D, and HHS regulations at 45 CFR Part 16.

Cooperative agreements are assistance mechanisms and are subject to the
same administrative requirements as grants.  The above Terms of Award
are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable OMB
administrative guidelines, HHS grant administration regulation at 45
CFR Part 74, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies
and procedures.


Each investigator must budget for four meetings a year in the
Washington, DC area.  Each meeting will be approximately two days in
length.  During these meetings, the Steering Committee will decide upon
the operating policies of the network, discuss ongoing research,
formulate the collaborative research plan, and discuss the implications
of their research with interested parties outside of the network who
may be invited by the Steering Committee as the occasion warrants.  If
more meetings are necessary, as may be the case especially in the first
year of the network, or if project personnel other than the PI are
invited to the meetings, individual awards will be supplemented with
appropriate funds.  These meetings will be coordinated by the Project


There will be a much greater level of communication among network
members than is normal for individual research project grants.
Individual PIs must budget appropriately for greater telephone usage,
more copies of research papers, and greater mailing costs than in a
research grant (R01).  The use of BITNET will also be encouraged.

Expectation of Cooperation

There will be high expectations of the members of the research network
to interact with other members of the network, share research insights,
cooperate in the design and implementation of a cooperative research
plan, be responsive to needs of the cooperative work of the network,
and be sensitive to the public policy significance of it all.
Applicants must indicate their willingness to participate in these
stated aspects of the network.  The statement of willingness to
cooperate should be included under Consortium/Collaborators, section
C-8 of the Research Plan in the PHS 398 application.


The grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used in
applying for this grant. The RFA label available in the form PHS 398
must be affixed to the bottom of the face page.  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 the review.  In
addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on line 2a of the face
page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.  The PHS
398 is available from most business offices or grants/contracts offices
at most institutions and can also be obtained from the Office of Grants
Inquiries, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health,
5333 Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone (301)

The research plan section of the application must conform to the
guidelines of form PHS 398.  The individual research plan should be
presented first and should follow steps 1-4, i.e., Specific Aims,
Background and Significance, Progress Report/Preliminary Studies, and
Research Design and Methods, of the standard research plan section.
The budget for the application must be predicated on the requirements
of the individual research plan and on the cooperative research plan
that the investigator is proposing to work on cooperatively. Since
these applications will in fact be proposing two research plans, the
individual and the collaborative, the standard 25-page limitation will
not apply.  However, applicants are encouraged not to exceed 40 pages.
The budget instructions provided in the application form PHS 398 must
be followed, and budget presentations must include budgets for the
collaborative group efforts suggested in the application.  Indirect
costs will be provided.  Budgets will be reviewed on the basis of
appropriateness for the work proposed.  Allowable costs and policies
governing the research grant program of the NIH will prevail. In
preparing the budget section of the application, each applicant must
submit detailed budgets for his/her own research plans only.
Applicants are encouraged to be mindful of the declining allocation of
funds for individual protocols in future years.  Budgets must be
proposed accordingly.

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

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

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

Laurance S. Johnston, Ph.D.
Acting Deputy Director
Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Executive Plaza North, Room 520
Bethesda, MD  20892

Applications must be received at the Division of Research Grants by
December 18, 1992.  If an application is received after that date, it
will be returned to the applicant.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by DRG staff for
completeness and NICHD staff for responsiveness.  Incomplete
applications will be returned to the applicant without further
consideration.  If the application is not responsive to the RFA, NICHD
staff will return the application to the applicant.

Applications may be triaged by an NICHD peer review group on the basis
of relative competitiveness.  The NICHD will withdraw from further
competition those applications judged to be non-competitive for award
and notify the applicant PI and institutional official.  Those
applications judged to be competitive will undergo further scientific
merit review.

Those applications that are complete, responsive, and competitive will
be evaluated in accordance with the criteria stated below for
scientific/technical merit by a special review committee convened by
the NICHD.  The second level of review will be provided by the National
Child Health and Human Development Advisory Council.

The review criteria for the individual research plans of the network

o  Scientific and technical significance and originality of proposed

o  Appropriateness and adequacy of the research approach and
methodology proposed to carry out the research;

o  Qualifications and research experience of the PI and staff,
particularly, but not exclusively, in the area of the proposed

o  Availability of resources necessary to perform the research;

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

o  Access to and experience with sources of existing data suitable for
the purposes of the research network.


The anticipated date of award is July 1, 1993.  An attempt will be made
to balance the network so that it will have a multi-disciplinary
composition, a diversity of research issues and broad coverage of
extant data sources.  Awards will be made on the basis of the
scientific merit of the research application and the need to create a
balanced network.


Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.
The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential
applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

V. Jeffery Evans, Ph.D., J.D.
Family Demography Coordinator
Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch
Center for Population Research
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B13
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1174
FAX:  (301) 496-0962

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Melinda Nelson
Office of Grants and Contracts
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Executive Plaza North Building, Room 505
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-5481
FAX:  (301) 402-0915


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No. 93.864.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health
Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public
Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants
policies and Federal Regulations, 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.
This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372, or to Health Systems Agency


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