Full Text HD-95-002

POPULATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 24, June 24, 1994

RFA:  HD-95-002

P.T. 34

Keywords: 
  Population Studies 
  ENVIRONMENT 


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Application Receipt Date:  November 17, 1994

PURPOSE

The Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB) of the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and The
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invite
applications investigating the interrelationship between population
change and the environment.  Population change manifests itself in many
ways such as changes in the size, distribution and characteristics of
the overall population and in key components of change such as
fertility, migration, mortality, and household structure.  For purposes
of this Request for Applications (RFA), the environment should be
limited to considerations most easily related to population change such
as land use, flora and fauna, soil and water quality/quantity.  It is
clear that population change and the environment are interrelated in
many complicated ways throughout the world and the relationship is
modulated by socio-economic and public policy influences.  The goal of
this RFA is to establish a broad foundation for
demographic/environmental research in a variety of geographical
settings worldwide.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This RFA,
Population and the Environment, is related to the priority areas of
family and child health and environmental health sciences.  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. 017-001-004734-1) through the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone
202-783-3238).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications for R01s may be submitted by domestic and foreign,
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 minorities, women and disabled persons are
encouraged.  Foreign institutions are not eligible for First
Independent Research Support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) awards.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Applications in response to this RFA will be funded through the
individual research project grant (R01) the FIRST (R29) award.
Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the
proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The total
project period for applications submitted in response to the present
RFA may not exceed five years.  Total project periods of less than five
years are encouraged for R01 applications while R29 applications must
request a five year project period.  This RFA is for a single
competition with the application receipt date of November 17, 1994.
Because the nature and scope of the research proposed in response to
this RFA may vary, it is anticipated that the size of an award will
vary also.  For R29 applications, the budgetary conventions governing
FIRST awards will apply.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NICHD has set aside $1,000,000 for the support of direct costs in
the first year of the program.  It is anticipated that five to ten
awards will be made depending on the nature and scope of the projects.

The NIEHS has set aside $250,000 of total cost support in the first
year of the program and these funds may be used to fund additional
projects or co-fund projects with NICHD.  The NIEHS has special
interest in supporting research in the "border zone" between the United
States and Mexico.

It is anticipated that only new applications will be received.  This
level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number of
applications of high scientific merit.  Although this program is
provided for in the financial plans of NICHD and NIEHS, awards pursuant
to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds for this
purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

"Several forces are converging to create powerful pressures for
conducting research between population growth and environmental
quality... Relations between population growth and environmental change
are mediated by institutions that control access to resources, by
production technologies, and by economic structures.  The necessary
research designs, incorporating both macro and micro-level features,
are far removed from those now conventional in demography...  We can
expect new interdisciplinary research structures to be created in which
demographers will play a prominent role."(S. Preston, "The Contours of
Demography: Estimates and Projections", DEMOGRAPHY, Vol. 30, No. 4,
1993).

Recently, the National Academy of Sciences concluded an examination of
the evidence linking population and the environment (see: Population
and Land Use in Developing Countries, National Academy
Press:Washington, D.C., 1993).  It is clear that population and the
environment are usually interrelated, but the strength and mechanism of
action of the relationship varies widely from setting to setting.  This
leads to important questions.  Why is the relationship between
population size and the environment relatively benign in some settings
and worse in others?  What can we learn about mediating the
environmental effects of population change and vice versa?  Given that
the world's population will at least double under even the most
optimistic assumptions about fertility control, what are the hurdles to
successful environmental adaptation?

To date, cross-national studies have been intriguing, but have failed
to resolve the magnitude and mechanism of action governing the
relationship between population and the environment.  The next logical
step for research is to examine a number of case studies of differing
dimensions to see how population change and the environment are
interrelated, accounting for the institutional setting, public policy,
and socio-economic behavior impinging on the place under study.  It is
also important to account for the changes over time and to be able to
relate population change to the environment meaningfully.  The most
promising types of investigations would explore environmental aspects
that are the most compatible with demographic measurement.  These would
be land use, flora and fauna, soil and water quality.  There are
historical baselines measuring these aspects of the environment and
they use areal metrics that can be related to demographic change.

There have been recent advances in several federal, foreign, and
international agencies to make scientific data about the environment
available for research purposes.  These data reside in locations and
modalities unfamiliar to most population researchers, and it will
require effort on the part of population researchers to discover how to
use them.  Agencies such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
Department of Defense, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(ATSDR), and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have
useful resources at the federal level and many state and local agencies
may have useful archives and registries.  It is very important to begin
the process of incorporating these resources into population research.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is very desirable, and it is important
to ensure that population research proceeds in a manner that can be
relevant to environmental research.  Applicants are encouraged to
explore these resources and propose research that lays a solid
scientific foundation in this emerging area.

Specific Aims

This RFA encourages three types of studies:  (1) studies of the effect
of population change on the environment, (2) studies of the effect of
environmental change on factors such as fertility, mortality,
migration, and distribution that determine population change, and (3)
studies of the reciprocal influences of population and environmental
change.  Investigators are free to formulate studies that are relevant
to any of the above numbered types, and because this is an emerging
area of science, investigators are encouraged to propose feasible
studies that exploit existing research opportunities with rigor and lay
the foundations for future progress.  They may also propose
methodological studies that are intended to advance the
state-of-the-art in bridging demographic and environmental research.
Environmental impact should be limited to considerations most easily
related to population change such as land use, flora and fauna, soil
and water quality.  Population change manifests itself in many ways,
such as changes in the size, distribution, and characteristics of the
overall population and changes in key components of change such as
fertility, migration, mortality, and household structure.  It is clear
that population change and the environment are interrelated in many
complicated ways throughout the world and the relationship is modulated
by socio-economic and public policy influences, and investigators are
encouraged to account for them.  Since much of the scientific debate is
about whether population change or consumption and other aspects of
human behavior is primarily responsible for environmental change,
effort should be made to resolve this debate.  The goal of this RFA is
to establish a broad foundation of research in a variety of physical
settings worldwide.  Each project should contain a strong element of
population research which extends to include environmental
considerations.  Because this is an emerging area of research, pilot
projects and methodological projects are encouraged.  Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) are particularly promising tools that can
relate demographic and environmental data.  Also, studies of the
environment with respect to population dynamics in minority and
disadvantaged populations are encouraged.

Below are some examples of relevant research topics.  These examples
are illustrative of the types of research sought and are by no means
exhaustive of the topics possible:

o  Case studies of the effects of population change on fragile
ecological areas such as South American rain forests or the North
American grasslands and the effect of institutions, land use policy and
human consumption behavior on the relationship between population and
environmental change.  Research could study how adaptations such as
public sewage systems or land use controls affected the relationship.

o  Historical studies of environmental and population change in defined
localities proposing to investigate how patterns of population change
and environmental change co-vary over time.  A long tradition of
scholarship links the pace and extent of settlement of individual
regions of the U.S. to conditions of soil, temperature, rainfall, and
elevation, among others.  Studies can build on this research to study
the transformation of, for example, the American West.   Such research
could now explore the relationship between population and environment
as a recursive or interactive process over time.  The environment may
affect how population settles in an area, how population changes the
environment and how the new environment affects the population in new
ways, and so on.

o  Case studies of the implications of environmental change for
mortality and reproductive ecology.  Do environmental contaminants
raise death rates and diminish fertility?  How have societal
adaptations changed the relationship between the environment and the
components of population change?

o  Studies of population change in the border zone, i.e., contiguous
counties and provinces, between Mexico and the United States.  There is
a great deal of interest in the course of economic development,
population change, environmental change and public health consequences.
Population research on this topic should strive to gain maximum
purchase on demographic change within the border zone and to relate it
or align it to the environmental and public health research currently
underway or planned in the area.  Projects involving the border zone
may be invited to participate in federal, interagency efforts to
understand the population and environment relationship in the zone.

o  Case studies of the impact of population change on the loss of
biodiversity.  The impact would be modulated through different
intensities and types of land use and might account for how
biodiversity is altered by population processes as well as lost.
Research could use remote sensing coupled with ground measurement to
interpret the satellite data.  It could have different programs to
evaluate different segments of biodiversity.  Such research should have
a tractable areal scope and measure change over time.  Studies might
study the Chesapeake Bay, specific sectors of the Amazon rain forest or
the incursion of population settlements on deserts in the American
West.

o  Pilot projects or methodological studies may be proposed through
which population research may be extended to include environmental
dimensions.  Incorporating environmental information into population
research through the use of GIS technology is encouraged.  The addition
of environmental measures to demographic data collection may be tested
and/or implemented.  Because this is an emerging area of research that
requires rather different research traditions to blend into a coherent
scheme, these types of projects should demonstrate that the proposed
research will provide a solid framework for basic research and should
indicate how future research may build from this foundation.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Annual meetings will be held to foster the sharing of information,
data, and other experiences.  Principal and co-investigators will be
encouraged to attend these meetings, and funds should be requested in
the application budget for one two-day meeting per year in Bethesda,
Maryland and Research Triangle Park, NC on alternating years to discuss
the research with other investigators.  Investigators may propose the
creation and maintenance of a LISTSERV discussion group that would
facilitate communication within the group of successful grantees and
other interested parties.  Costs for this should be detailed in the
budget and the operating parameters should be discussed in the budget
notes.  If more than one investigator proposes this service then DBSB
will choose to fund only one.

STUDY POPULATIONS

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical
and behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a
clear and compelling rational and justification is provided that
inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects
or the purpose of the research.  This new policy results from the NIH
Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43) and
supersedes and strengthens the previous policies (Concerning the
Inclusion of Women in Study Population, and Concerning the Inclusion of
Minorities in Study Populations) which have been in effect since 1990.
The new policy contains some new provisions that are substantially
different from the 1990 policies.  All investigators proposing research
involving human subjects should read the "NIH Guidelines For Inclusion
of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research", which have
been published in the Federal Register of March 9, 1994 (FR 59
11146-11151), and reprinted in the NIH GUIDE FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS
OF March 18, 1994, Volume 23, Number 11.

Investigators may obtain copies from these sources or from the program
staff or contact person listed below.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) that is
available in most institutional offices of sponsored research and from
the Office of Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National
Institutes of Health, Westwood Building, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892,
telephone (301) 435-0714.  FIRST (R29) award applications must include
at least three sealed letters of reference attached to the face page of
the original application.  FIRST (R29) award applications submitted
without the required number of reference letters will be considered
incomplete and will be returned without review.  Applications must be
identified by checking the "YES" box in Item 2a on the face page of the
application and by typing the words, "In Response to RFA HD-95-002."
The RFA label in form PHS 398 must be affixed to the bottom of the face
page of the original application.  Failure to use this label could
result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not
reach the review committee in time for review.  The signed original and
three copies of the applications must be sent or delivered to:

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

It is extremely important for the timely review of the application that
two additional copies of the application be sent under separate cover
to:

Susan Streufert, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5E03
Bethesda, MD  20892 for overnight mail use Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone:  (301) 496-1485

Applications must be received by November 17, 1994.  Late applications
will not be accepted.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

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

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer
review group convened by the NICHD in accordance with the review
criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, a process
(triage) may be used by the initial review group in which applications
will be determined to be competitive or non-competitive based on their
scientific merit relative to other applications received in response to
the RFA.  Applications judged to be competitive will be discussed and
be assigned a priority score, and will also receive a second level of
review by the NICHD and/or NIEHS National Advisory Council.
Applications determined to be non-competitive will be withdrawn from
further consideration and the principal investigator/program director
and the official signing for the applicant organization will be
promptly notified. The review criteria for the research projects are:

o  scientific and technical significance of proposed research;

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

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal Investigator
and staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in the area of the
proposed research;

o  availability of data or a well designed plan for gathering data
necessary to perform the research;

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

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is July 1, 1995.  Scientific merit and
technical proficiency, as described in the application, will be the
predominant criteria for determining funding.  Also, the degree to
which interdisciplinary research is incorporated into a sound
demographic research design will be taken into account in funding
decisions.

INQUIRIES

Written and telephone inquiries 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.
Center for Population Research
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B13
Bethesda, MD  20892 (for overnight mail use Rockville, MD 20852)
Telephone:  (301) 496-1174
FAX:  (301) 496-0962
Internet:  EVANSJ@HD01.NICHD.NIH.GOV

Gwen Collman, Ph.D.
Chemical Exposures and Molecular Biology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Building 3, Room 308
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4980
FAX:  (919) 541-2843
Internet:  COLLMAN@NIEHS.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Melinda B. Nelson
Office of Grants and Contracts
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A17
Bethesda, MD  20892 (for overnight mail use Rockville, MD 20852)
Telephone:  (301) 496-5481

David L. Mineo
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Building 2, Room 203B
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-7628

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No. 93.864 and No. 93.866.  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 52 and 45 CFR
Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

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

.

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