NIH Guide, Volume 26, Number 38, November 21, 1997

RFA:  RR-98-001


National Center for Research Resources

Application Receipt Date:  January 23, 1998


The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) is authorized under Public Law
(PL) 103-43, Sections 481A and 481B of the Public Health Service Act (PHS), as
amended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act, to "make
grants to public and nonprofit private entities to expand, remodel, renovate or
alter existing research facilities or construct new research facilities" for
biomedical and behavioral research and research training.

The Fiscal Year 1998 appropriation for the NIH is expected to include $20 million
in the budget of the NCRR for extramural facilities construction grants to be
awarded competitively, with special provisions made for institutions of emerging
excellence, designated under section 739 of the PHS Act as revised in PL 102-408,
and the Regional Primate Research Centers (RPRCs).  The NCRR is issuing this
Request for Applications (RFA) RR-98-001 for support of construction and
renovation of facilities for biomedical and behavioral research and research


Under Section 481A of the PHS Act, domestic, non-Federal, public and private non-
profit institutions, organizations, and associations that conduct or support
biomedical or behavioral research are eligible to apply, including, for example,
allied health professional schools. Applications are particularly encouraged from
institutions of emerging excellence as defined in the PHS Act, Section 739 as
amended by PL 102-408.

An institution may submit only one application in response to this RFA; two
components of the same institution, e.g., a medical school and a dental school,
even if separated geographically, may not submit separate applications.  However,
applications from RPRCs or institutions of emerging excellence that have received
Fiscal Year 1997 PHS Centers of Excellence Awards do not count against the one
application limit.


This RFA is a one-time solicitation that will use the NIH research facilities
construction grant mechanism (C06).  Responsibility for the planning, direction,
and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The
total project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may not
exceed two years and no indirect costs or continuation costs will be awarded. 
The anticipated award date is September 30, 1998.

Matching funds will be required for the specific project awarded.  Under Section
481A, 50 percent of the necessary and allowable costs of a project may be
awarded, or 40 percent of costs proportionate to use in a multi-purpose facility. 
Under Section 481B, RPRCs may receive up to 80 percent of necessary and allowable
costs.  The maximum award amount will be $1.5 million for applications from
RPRCs, and institutions of emerging excellence under section 739 of the PHS Act
as amended by PL 102-408, and $1.0 million for other applicant institutions.  A
description of the sources of non-Federal funding for the project (both matching
funds and funds needed to complete the total project) must be provided with the
application.  Applications proposing a Federal share of less than $500 thousand
or more than the maximum Federal award amount specified above will not be

Because the nature and scope of the activities proposed in response to this RFA
may vary, it is anticipated that the size of an award will vary also.


Based on the expected Fiscal Year 1998 appropriation, up to $20 million may be
available for this initiative.  Twenty-five percent of these funds will be
targeted for institutions of emerging excellence that have received Fiscal Year
1997 PHS Centers of Excellence Awards, and $2.5 million of the total amount
available will be set aside for the purpose of improving the research facilities
of the RPRCs as outlined in Section 481B of Title IV of the PHS Act as amended.
It is anticipated that approximately 15 new awards at different levels will be


The principal objective of this program is to facilitate and enhance the conduct
of PHS-supported biomedical and behavioral research by supporting the costs of
designing and constructing non-Federal basic and clinical research facilities to
meet the biomedical or behavioral research, research training, or research
support needs of an institution or a research area at an institution.

Facility construction that may be supported under this program includes
construction of new facilities, additions to existing buildings, completion of
uninhabitable "shell" space in new or existing buildings, and major alterations
NOT ALLOWED.  Support for instrumentation or equipment that usually would be
requested as part of a research project grant will not be provided, and neither
land acquisition nor off-site improvements will be supported.


Applicants must use Standard Form 424, "Application for Federal Assistance."
Application forms and special instructions for completing them must be requested
from the program official listed under INQUIRIES. Individuals considering
applying are advised to consult with appropriate officials at their institution
before completing the application forms.

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

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (express/courier)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application (with
appendices, if any) must be sent under separate cover to:

Dr. D.G. Patel
Office of Review
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Room 6018 - MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Email:  dgpatel@ep.ncrr.nih.gov

Applications must be received by January 23, 1998.  If an application is received
after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. The Center
for Scientific Review (CSR) 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.

o  Intergovernmental Review -- Executive Order 12372

Applicants are required to comply with Executive Order (E.O.) 12372 as
supplemented by  45 CFR Part 100, Intergovernmental Review of Department of
Health and Human Services Programs and Activities.  E.O. 12372 sets up a system
for state and local government review of proposed Federal assistance
applications. Applicants (other than federally-recognized Indian tribal
governments) should contact their State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) as early
as possible to alert them to the prospective applications and receive any
necessary instructions on the state process. For proposed projects serving more
than one state, the applicant is advised to contact the SPOC of each affected
state.  A current list of SPOCs is included in the application kit. The SPOC must
be given 60 days to review a construction grant application.  Applicants are to
provide the SPOC with a copy of the application NOT LATER THAN the time the
application is submitted to the CSR, NIH. Applications submitted to NIH in
response to this solicitation must contain either SPOC comments or documentation
indicating the date on which the application was submitted to the SPOC for
review.  The SPOC comment period ends 60 days after the application receipt date. 
The granting agency does not guarantee to "accommodate or explain" for state
process recommendations it receives after that date.

All SPOC comments must be forwarded to both the applicant and to the NCRR contact
given below.  If comments are provided by the SPOC, the applicant may wish to
submit to the NIH a statement of its reaction to the comments and any appropriate
changes to its application. If no response is received from the SPOC by the end
of the 60 days allotted for review of the application, the applicant must notify
the NIH that no response was received.

o  Public Disclosure

Applicants must also make a public disclosure of the project by publication and
describe its environmental impact at the time the SPOC is notified.  It is
suggested that the notice be published in a large-circulation newspaper in the
area.  This public disclosure is required by Section 102 of the National
Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and by Federal Executive Order 11514.  An
example is provided in the additional instructions.

o  Design Standards

Design requirements are imposed to protect the health and safety of persons using
the proposed facility, assure that the new facility is accessible to and useable
by the physically handicapped, control the project's impact on the natural
environment, conserve energy resources, achieve economy in construction costs,
and protect against natural disasters such as earthquake and flood.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and
responsiveness by NCRR. Those applications judged to be unresponsive, incomplete,
or ineligible will be returned to the applicant.  Applications that are complete
and responsive will be reviewed for scientific and technical merit by the
Scientific and Technical Review Board on Biomedical and Behavioral Research
Facilities established for this purpose by the NCRR.  The second level of review
will be conducted by the National Advisory Research Resources Council.

As part of the initial merit review, a process 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 assigned a priority score. Applications determined to be non-
competitive will be withdrawn from further consideration and the Principal
Investigator and the official signing for the applicant organization will be
notified of this action.

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of criteria intended to assess the
following overall questions: (1) How will the proposed change in the research
environment facilitate the applicant institution's ability to conduct, expand,
improve, or maintain biomedical/behavioral research? (2) How will the proposed
project meet national unmet health needs for biomedical/behavioral research,
research training and/or research support facilities?

Thus, reviewers will consider the following factors: o  The impact of the
proposed construction on existing and future PHS-supported biomedical and
behavioral research, research training and/or research support activities.

o  For institutions with limited PHS support, the impact of the proposed
construction on the planned advancement or expansion of the research and research
training activities.

o  Appropriateness and suitability of the proposed facilities, including safety
and biohazard aspects, for the research to be conducted and/or research support
and training to be provided.

o  Specific deficiencies in the existing research facilities that would be
remedied and the impact of the proposed project on current and future research

o  The appropriateness of the proposed physical location and layout of the new
facility and the reasonableness of the proposed time-course, cost and sequence
for the construction.

o  Adequacy of the proposed administrative arrangements with respect to
institutional commitment to use the space for biomedical/behavioral research,
research training and/or research support and the capabilities of the Principal
Investigator and staff for scientific and fiscal administration of the facility.


Factors considered in making awards include the merit of the proposal; the needs
of the institution, with special consideration for institutions designated as
institutions of emerging excellence and for RPRCs; the commitment of funds needed
to complete the project by the institution; the availability of appropriated
funds; and overall programmatic priorities including geographic distribution of
the awards.

Award Conditions

Prior to award, an applicant must provide an assurance that required matching
funds are available and that additional funds have been secured to meet project
costs in excess of the Federal award and non-Federal matching amounts.

Advertisement for construction bids and construction may be initiated only after
receipt of the construction grant award and subsequent approval of the working
drawings and specifications by NIH staff.  Early in the design process,
applicants are encouraged to review the "Public Health Service Grants Policy
Statement," DHHS Publication No. (OASH) 94-50,000 (Rev.) April 1, 1994 as
updated; the sections related to public policy requirements and construction are

The Principal Investigator should be a highly placed institutional official, at
the level of Dean or equivalent, who has the responsibility for allocation of
space for the biomedical or behavioral research and research training addressed
in the submitted application.

The facility must be utilized for biomedical or behavioral research purposes for
which it was constructed for at least 20 years beginning 90 days following
completion of the construction project.  Any lease agreement must cover a time
period sufficient for the usage requirement.  The NIH staff will evaluate use of
the facility periodically to assure its continued use for the approved purposes. 
Failure to comply with the 20 year utilization requirement will result in
recovery of the Federal share of the value of the facility in accordance with
Federal Regulation 45 CFR 74.32.


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged. A technical workshop to assist
applicants unfamiliar with the requirements for extramural construction
applications and to clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants
will be held on December 18, 1997 in Bethesda, MD.  For additional information
regarding the workshop, please call (301) 435- 0766.  A summary of the
presentations and issues discussed will be provided upon request for those unable
to attend.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues, requests for application Standard
Form 424 and special application instructions, and SPOC comments, if any, to:

Dr. Charles L. Coulter
Research Infrastructure
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Room 6142 - MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0766
FAX:  (301) 480-3770
Email:  charlesc@ep.ncrr.nih.gov


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.389. 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 and Public
Law 103-43, 42 USC 241, 285, and 481) and administered under PHS grants policies
and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  Applicants are required
to comply with Executive Order 12372 as supplemented by 45 CFR Part 100,
Intergovernmental Review of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to
protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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