Full Text NS-93-002


NIH Guide, Volume 22, Number 12, March 26, 1993

RFA:  NS-93-002

P.T. 34

  Cognitive Development/Process 
  Behavioral/Experimental Psychology 
  Nervous System 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Center for Nursing Research

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  May 15, 1993
Application Receipt Date:  July 14, 1993


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS),
the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Center
for Nursing Research (NCNR) invite applications that take advantage
of new opportunities for research into understanding phenomena in the
central nervous system (CNS) essential for cognitive and behavioral
activity.  What CNS changes occur during different types of learning
situations are substantial issues in the neurobiology of cognition
and behavior. Integrative biological research is needed, not only for
the development of sounder theory in the treatment and rehabilitation
of brain dysfunctions, but also to advance an understanding of the
fundamental neurobiological basis of perception, cognition, and
behavior throughout the lifespan.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Request
for Applications (RFA), Neurobiology of Cognition and Behavior, is
related to the fundamental research areas of the Decade of the Brain.
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 public and private, domestic and
foreign, for profit and non profit organizations, 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.
Foreign institutions are not eligible for First Independent Research
Support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) awards.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) individual
research project (RO1) and First Independent Research Support and
Transition (FIRST) awards (R29).  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.
Because the nature and scope of the research proposed in response to
this RFA may vary, it is anticipated that the size of the awards will
vary also.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Applications will
be examined first by an in-house committee for responsiveness to the
RFA, then reviewed by a committee of non-Federal for scientific
merit.  Future unsolicited competing continuation applications will
compete with all investigator-initiated applications and be reviewed
according to customary peer review procedures.


The estimated funds available for the first year of support for the
entire program are $2.9M (including indirect costs), which could fund
about 14 projects, if a sufficient number of applications of high
scientific merit are received.  The contributions of the individual
Institutes are NINDS $2.0M, NIA $400K, NICHD $300K, and NCNR $200K.
Although this program is provided for in the financial plans of
NINDS, NIA, NICHD, and NCNR, awards pursuant to the RFA are
contingent upon the availability of funds for this purpose.


Additional insights into the neurobiology of mammalian integrative
abilities are needed in order to advance significantly our
understanding of complex cognitive and behavioral phenomena across
the developmental trajectory. At the cellular level, the activity of
small groups of neurons can sometimes be related to how an
experimental animal achieves mastery of certain limited tasks.  At
the clinical level, specific dysfunctions in patients with clearly
demarked brain losses are now being described with masterful
precision.  These startling results have led to several theories of
how the various parts of the mammalian brain work together.  While
there is enthusiasm among scientists about the opportunities afforded
by modern instrumentation, there is skepticism that a sound theory
has yet been advanced of how the brain's neurophysiology and
neurochemistry produces its complex cognitive and behavioral

The integration of modern advances in the cell biology and
neurophysiology of cellular activity with clinical insights about
human brain mechanisms remains a challenge.  At the microscopic level
attempts are being made to analyze the nature of the synaptic and
cellular changes during learning, and at the clinical level ingenious
devices are being tested to monitor high level cognitive activity.
In addition, the origins of impaired cognitive processes in the brain
as a result of environmental toxins, aging, or impoverishment remain

No precise integration of the different levels of investigation may
be possible at this stage, but intermediate efforts at integration
are appearing and must be encouraged.  This RFA is meant to stimulate
such efforts.  The objective of this RFA is to have scientists design
research from the level of neurochemistry and neurophysiology to the
level of whole-brain function. Integrative investigations such as
multiple recording of neural activity, during which neurochemical or
other interventions are used in different brain areas, may be
fruitful.  It should be feasible to distinguish clearly different
pathways for discrete classes of memory function; to develop a
convincing analysis of the mechanisms involved in visual closure or
spatial perception; and to understand different mechanisms of
orienting and attention.  The development of sound comprehensive
theory underlying cognition and behavior would be a fitting capstone
for the "Decade of the Brain."  For now, it is hoped that this RFA
will help accelerate progress in that direction.

Potential areas of research include:

o  Selective molecular genetic analysis of various types of learning
and problem solving behaviors

o  Local intracerebral neurochemical intervention by blockers and
agonists during behaviorally relevant electrographic recording

o  Relation of neurobiological measures to comprehensive behavioral
measures, and reliable assessments of efficiency in simulated
practical situations

o  Recording of neural activity in areas involved in cognitive
activity while the areas are reversibly inactivated and then restored
to normal function

o  Influence of brain stem systems on integration of cortical
activity basic to cognition

o  Augmented synaptic facilitation by selective neurobiological

o  Identification of factors determining asymmetry of hemispheric
function in mammals with regard to processes in communication and
perceptual skills

o  Analysis of sex differences, developmental stages, or age
differences detectable in interrelationships between neuroanatomical
and behavioral measurements

o  Application of new techniques to the study of cortical activity
during complex repetitive tasks, e.g., microdialysis

o  High speed photoactivation methods for monitoring complex
cognitive activity



NIH policy is that applicants for NIH clinical research grants are
required to include minorities and women in study populations so that
research findings can be of benefit to all types of persons under
study.  This policy is intended to apply to males and females of all
ages.  If women or minorities are excluded or inadequately
represented in clinical research, a clear compelling rationale must
be provided.  The composition of any proposed study population must
be described in terms of gender and racial/ethnic group.  In
addition, gender and racial/ethnic issues must be addressed in
developing a research design and sample size appropriate for the
scientific objectives of the study.  This information must be
included in the form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) in Sections 1-4 of the
Research Plan AND summarized in Section 5, Human Subjects.
Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including
the broadest possible representation of minority groups.  However,
NIH recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all
research projects to include representation of the full array of
United States racial/ethnic minority populations (i.e., Native
Americans [including American Indians or Alaskan Natives],
Asian/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics).  The rationale for
studies on single minority population groups should be provided.

The usual NIH policies concerning research on human subjects also
apply.  Basic research or clinical studies in which human tissues
cannot be identified or linked to individuals are excluded.  However,
every effort should be made to include human tissues from women and
racial/ethnic minorities when it is important to apply the results of
the study broadly, and this should be addressed by applicants.

For foreign awards, the policy on inclusion of women applies fully;
since the definition of minority differs in other countries, the
applicant must discuss the relevance of research involving foreign
population groups to the United States' populations, including

If the required information is not contained within the application,
the application will be returned.

Peer reviewers will address specifically whether the research plan in
the application conforms to these policies.  If the representation of
women or minorities in a study design is inadequate to answer the
scientific question(s) addressed AND the justification for the
selected study population is inadequate, it will be considered a
scientific weakness or deficiency in the study design and will be
reflected in assigning the priority score to the application.

All applications for clinical research submitted to NIH are required
to address these policies.  NIH funding components will not award
grants that do not comply with these policies.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by May 15, 1993, a letter
of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed research,
the name, address, and telephone number of the Principal
Investigator, the identities of other key personnel and participating
institutions, and the number and title of the RFA in response to
which the application may be submitted.  Although a letter of intent
is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review
of subsequent applications, the information that it contains is
helpful in planning for the review of applications.  It allows NINDS
staff to estimate the potential review workload and to avoid conflict
of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Herbert C. Lansdell at the
address listed under INQUIRIES.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research; from the Office of
Grants Inquiries, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of
Health, 5333 Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone
(301) 496-7441; and from the NIH program administrators named below.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) application form
must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.
Failure to use this label could result in delayed processing of the
application such that it may not reach the review committee in time
for review. In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on
line 2a of the face page of the application form and the YES box must
be marked.

FIRST applications (R29s) must include at least three sealed letters
of reference attached to the face page of the original application.
FIRST applications submitted without the required number of reference
letters will be considered incomplete and will be returned without

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 Dr. Herbert C. Lansdell at the address listed

Applications must be received by July 14, 1993.  If an application is
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant
without review.  The Division of Research Grants (DRG) will not
accept any application in response to this RFA that is essentially
the same as one currently pending initial review, unless the
applicant withdraws the pending application.  The DRG will not accept
any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.
This does not preclude the submission of substantial revisions of
applications already reviewed, but such applications must include an
introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by DRG
and responsiveness by the NINDS. Incomplete applications will be
returned to the applicant without further consideration.  If the
application is not responsive to the RFA, NINDS staff will contact
the applicant to determine whether to return the application to the
applicant or submit it for review in competition with unsolicited
applications at the next review cycle.

Applications may be triaged by an NINDS peer review group on the
basis of relative competitiveness.  The NIH will withdraw from
further competition those applications judged to be non competitive
for award and notify the applicant Principal Investigator and
institutional official.  Those applications judged to be competitive
will undergo further scientific merit review.  Those applications
that are complete and responsive will be evaluated in accordance with
the criteria stated below for scientific/technical merit by an
appropriate peer review group convened by NINDS.  The second level of
review will be provided by the National Advisory Councils
respectively of NINDS, NIA, NICHD, and NCNR.

Review criteria for RFAs are generally the same as those for
unsolicited research grant applications:

o  scientific, technical, or clinical significance and originality of
proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental 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 the resources necessary to perform the research;

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

o  the extent to which an integrative biological or biobehavioral
type of theory is realized.


The anticipated date of the award is February 7, 1994.

Award criteria will be based on:

o  availability of funds
o  priority score
o  the resulting percentile, computed on the basis of neurobiological
DRG study sections' activity


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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Herbert C. Lansdell, Ph.D.
Division of Fundamental Neurosciences
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Federal Building, Room 916
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-5745
FAX:  (301) 402-1501

Norman A. Krasnegor, Ph.D.
Center for Research for Mothers and Children
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Building, Room 4B05
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-6591

Deborah Claman, Ph.D.
Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 3C307
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-9350
FAX:  (301) 496-1494

Hilary D. Sigmon, Ph.D., R.N.
Acute and Chronic Illnesses
National Center for Nursing Research
Westwood Building, Room 752
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 402-3290; 594-9606
FAX:  (301) 402-2402

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Angeline Wilson
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke
Federal Building, Room 1004
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-9231
FAX:   (301) 402-0219

Margaret Kuhn
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2N212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672

Donald Clark
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A01C
Rockville, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-5001

Sally A. Nichols
Office of Administrative Management
National Center for Nursing Research
Westwood Building, Room 748
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 496-0237

This RFA overlaps with funding interests of the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH).  The NIMH funds grants to study cognition and
behavior through the regular NIH review cycle as indicated by its
Extramural Research Support Programs publication.  Further
information can be obtained from:

Richard K. Nakamura, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
Parklawn Building, Room 11/102
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443 1576


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.361, 93.853, 93.854, 93.865, and 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.


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