Release Date:  February 2, 2000

PA NUMBER:  PA-00-053

National Institute on Aging 

Application Receipt Dates:  March 17, 2000; July 17, 2000; November 17, 2000 



The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is seeking small grant (R03) 
applications in specific areas to: (1) stimulate and facilitate the entry of 
promising new investigators into aging research, and (2) encourage 
established investigators to enter new targeted, high priority areas in this 
research field.  This Small Grant (R03) Program provides support for pilot 
research that is likely to lead to a subsequent individual research project 
grant (R01) that is focused on aging and/or a significant advancement of 
aging research. 


Each NIH PA addresses one or more of 22 Health Promotion and Disease 
Prevention priority areas identified. These areas can be found via the WWW at 


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.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and 
persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators.  
Foreign organizations and institutions are not eligible.  Participation in 
the program by investigators at minority institutions is strongly encouraged. 

New or established investigators are eligible to apply for this award. (1) 
Investigators are considered new when they are neither current nor former 
principal investigators on NIH research project (R01), FIRST Awards (R29), 
sub-projects of program project (P01) or center grants (P50), and the 
equivalent. If the applicant is in the final stages of training it is 
permissible to apply for an R03 but no award will be made to individuals who 
are still in training or fellowship status at the time of award (see 
reference to Biosketch under Application Procedures). (2) For an established 
investigator to be eligible the individual must propose research that is 
unrelated to any federally-funded research project in which the investigator 


Applicants may request either $25,000 or $50,000 in direct costs for one year 
through the small grant (R03) mechanism. These awards are not renewable.  
Before completion of the R03, investigators are encouraged to seek continuing 
support for research through a research project grant (R01). Specific 
application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR GRANT" and 
"JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts being examined by NIH. Complete and 
detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant applications can be 
found at: 

Replacement of the Principal Investigator on this award is not permitted.  
Revisions of applications previously reviewed under this initiative but 
unfunded are not permitted. A new application must be substantially different 
from one previously reviewed and have a different title in order to be 
accepted for review. It must be responsive to the announcement that is active 
at the time the new application is submitted. All applications will be 
reviewed as new applications. 


Investigators may apply for a small grant in one of the following areas. 
Applications for support in other areas will be returned to the proposed 
Principal Investigator without review. Investigators should follow the 
instructions described under APPLICATION PROCEDURES to identify the topic on 
which the application is focused. 

1. HIV/AIDS and Aging:  Behavioral, social, clinical, neuroscientific, and/or 
biological research on older people infected by, and affected by, HIV/AIDS.  
Prevention sciences research is encouraged, and both basic and applied 
research are welcomed. 

2. Medication and Aging:  Research on the epidemiological, social, economic, 
behavioral, and biological aspects of medication use in the elderly.  
Research is encouraged on the multiple factors that affect medication use and 
its outcomes in the elderly, with special emphasis on factors affecting 
misuse and strategies for improving drug taking and drug prescribing 
behaviors. Research leading to reduction of medication errors as noted in the 
recent IOM Report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System is strongly 

3.  Racial/Ethnic Differences: (1) Research leading to identification of 
underlying mechanisms, including cellular and molecular mechanisms, linked to 
racial/ethnic differences in late life function or disease e.g. cognition, 
Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, and 
diabetes. (2) Research on clinical, and social factors contributing to 
racial/ethnic differences and changing patterns of difference in late life 
diseases and disability. 

4. Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular aging: Behavioral, social, cellular, 
and molecular studies of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular aging.  N.B. 
Applications for clinical studies, exclusively on the aging cardiovascular 
system, will not be accepted in response to this announcement. 

5. Stems Cells, Tissue Repair, and Cell Replacement in Aging:  Studies on the 
biology of stem cells as a function of aging and disease; genetic and 
environmental effects on tissue stem cells; development of cell markers and 
imaging techniques to identify and monitor stem cells in vivo; and 
transplantation of stem cells to effect tissue repair. Investigators are 
advised to consult the NIA staff listed under INQUIRIES to determine the 
status of NIH guidelines for stem cell research. These guidelines are under 
development at the time of publication of this announcement. 

6. Neural Modeling:  Studies to develop computational neural-network models 
of neural changes with age that impact behavioral outcomes of memory, 
learning, sensory function, and motor function as well as plasticity. 

7. Sensory and Motor Processing:  Mechanisms underlying age-related changes 
in sensory and motor processing in the nervous system and in sensory 

8. Alzheimer's Disease Drug Discovery:  Studies for preclinical research in 
the discovery, design, development and testing of novel compounds aimed at 
slowing, halting, or, if possible, reversing the progressive decline in 
cognitive function and modifying the behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer's 
disease victims as well as delaying the onset of or preventing Alzheimer's 

9. Sleep and Circadian Processes:  Mechanisms underlying changes in sleep and 
circadian processes in older organisms.  Studies at the molecular and 
cellular level are encouraged. 

10. Extracellular Matrix and Cytoskeleton: Studies on age-related changes in 
the structure, content, or function of the extracellular matrix and 
cytoskeleton, including regulation of cell signaling cascades, intracellular 
transport mechanisms, cell motility and morphology, and cell death. 

11. Functional Senescence: Genetic, cellular and biochemical basis of 
functional senescence: (including phenotypic characterization of age-related 

12. Psychoneuroimmunology: The interactions of neural and neuroendocrine 
mechanisms with immune pathways modulating the aging immune system response 
to psychologic and pathologic challenges, and understanding the mechanisms 
underlying "placebo" effects with age. 

13. Vaccine Development: Preliminary basic and clinical studies, and 
therapeutic trials of vaccines for use in elderly populations.  Vaccines may 
be prophylactic or therapeutic in nature.  These may include studies of 
methods to enhance the immune response in older persons including alternative 
administration schedules with existing vaccines, the use of adjuvants, and/or 
new vaccines. 

14. Health-related Consequences of Female Reproductive Aging: Basic molecular 
and cellular research to elucidate underlying neuroendocrine, endocrine and 
physiologic mechanisms of the female reproductive aging process, especially 
changes across the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis leading to menopause 
in women, and the association of hormonal and other changes in that process 
with increased risk for health problems associated with the peri- and 
postmenopause, e.g., cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis,  brain pathology, 
cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, urinary incontinence, 
excessive uterine bleeding, vulvovaginal dysfunction, etc. 

15. Biology of Age-related Prostate Growth: Basic molecular and cellular 
research to explore underlying mechanisms responsible for prostate growth in 
men leading to benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.  

16. Nutrient Modulation: Mechanisms that underlie nutrient modulation of 
cellular, tissue and organ integrity during the aging process. This might 
include but is not limited to nutrient requirements, nutrient 
modulation/control of cell  homeostasis, repair and regeneration, cell-cell 
signaling, and transport mechanisms at the molecular level. 

17. Basic Underlying Mechanisms of Musculoskeletal Aging (muscle, bone, 
cartilage, neuromuscular junction, peripheral nerve, and motorneuron).  
Applications for clinical studies on the aging musculoskeletal system will be 
considered non-responsive to this research bullet. Investigators interested 
in submitting exploratory/pilot clinical studies of the aging musculoskeletal 
system are encouraged to contact the Geriatrics Program (E-mail: to explore other options. 

18. Animal Models of Aging: Development of new and informative mammalian 
models for aging research, including genetically defined and/or genetically 
altered animals. 

19. Tools for Research on the Genetics of Aging: Development of tools such as 
cDNA full length libraries, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, 
and conditional gene expression systems for studying the genetic basis of 
aging. High priority will be given to proposals to demonstrate proof of 
principle using high throughput technology, e.g. microarrays, to obtain data 
on age-related changes in gene expression or DNA sequence in addressing 
questions of gerontological significance. To encourage such applications NIA 
has set aside funds specifically for meritorious applications submitted in 
response to this bullet. 

20. Genetic Epidemiology: Preliminary studies (including analyses of existing 
datasets and/or research on subjects in ongoing studies) to evaluate 
prospects for subsequent studies to determine genetic influences on outcomes 
such as longevity, active life expectancy, and/or rates of change of age-
related pathologies. Examples include analyses of existing population-based 
and/or family studies data for feasibility and power calculations; pilot 
testing of proband- identification and recruitment strategies; identifying 
families with high frequencies of these traits; determining the frequency of 
known polymorphisms, and/or estimating their contribution to the phenotype of 
interest. Pilot studies for linkage of two or more data sets to facilitate 
larger sampling frames by combining familial and medical information are also 
of interest. 

21. Data Collection in Population Aging: New pilot data collection leading to 
large scale new or enhanced surveys and studies on topics such as retirement, 
health disparities, trends in disability, biodemography, and early 
determinants of late life health (including birth to death studies).  
Feasibility studies are frequently needed to determine whether or not the 
studies can actually be done and to establish appropriate methodologies.  
International comparative studies are permitted. 

22. Personality and Experimental Social Psychology: Applications are 
solicited for personality and genetics, personality in social context, 
personality trait- structure-process interactions, personality stability and 
change, personality theory, personality and health, interpersonal 
relationships, life-course transitions, social cognition, attribution, and 
decision making. 

23. Care for Older People: (1) Studies on self-management for older people 
with chronic illnesses and disabilities, family care, and doctor-patient 
encounters. (2) Studies on how the organization and delivery of care for 
older people  influence health-related behaviors and outcomes. (3)  Research 
on the determinants and outcomes of new ways of organizing care in nursing 
home settings and assisted living facilities. 

24. Work and Older Workers:  Research on the demographic, economic, social, 
psychological, and human factors aspects of older workers in the workplace. 

The National Institute on Aging will modify the selected topic areas annually 
by reissuing the program announcement. Information on other initiatives 
supported by NIA may be found at the following internet address: 


It is the 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 rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is 
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of 
the research.  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 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994. These may be 
accessed at:

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy. 


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 
4/98) and prepared according to the directions in the application packet, 
with the exceptions noted below.  Application kits are available at most 
institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the 
Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National 
Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-
7910, telephone (301) 710-0267, FAX (301) 480-0525, Email:  On the face page of the application: Item 2 Type "NIA: 
PILOT RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM" and the number of the program announcement. 
Check the "YES" box. 

Abstract: The first line of the abstract must list the number and title of 
the particular research topic (see RESEARCH OBJECTIVES) being responded to.  

Biosketch (also see below under modular procedures): Applicants who remain in 
training or in fellowship status at the time of application should list in 
their biosketch the position they will occupy at the time of award with the 
expected start date in that position. If the position is contingent on 
receipt of the award then it should be described as "contingent on award". 

Research plan: Do not exceed a total of ten pages for the following parts (a-
d): Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Progress Report/Preliminary 
Studies, and Experimental Design and Methods.  Tables and figures are 
included in the ten page limitation.  Applications that exceed the page 
limitation or PHS requirements for type size and margins  (Refer to PHS 398 
application for details) will be returned to the investigator.  The ten page 
limitation does not include parts e through i. (Human Subjects, Vertebrate 
Animals, Literature Cited, Consortium Arrangements, Consultants). 

Appendix: The only items that may be included in an appendix are original 
glossy photographs or color images of gels, micrographs, etc., provided that 
a photocopy (that may be reduced in size) is also included within the 10 page 
limit of items a-d in the research plan. No photographs or color images may 
be included in the appendix that are not also represented in the Research 
Plan. Do not include publications or preprints. 

Materials submitted after the receipt date. No additional materials 
pertaining to a particular application will be accepted after the receipt 
date for which the application is submitted except for certifications of 
Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use 
Committee (IACUC) approval. As specified in the PHS 398 form, certifications 
of IRB or IACUC approval must be received within 60 days after the receipt 
date for which the application is submitted. 

The NIA pilot grant program will follow modular procedures (See for application and 
award. The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct 
costs may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets. Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach. The just-in-
time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when there 
is a possibility for an award. It is anticipated that these changes will 
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers and Institute 
staff. The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used 
in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted below. 


Applications in response to this announcement should request either $25,000 
in total direct costs or $50,000 in total direct costs. The total direct 
costs must be requested in accordance with the program guidelines and the 
modifications made to the standard PHS 398 application instructions described 

PHS 398 

o  FACE PAGE:  Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs 
(either $25,000 or $50,000) and Total Costs [Modular Total Direct plus 
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial budget period.  As 
these are one year applications items 8a and 8b should show the same amounts 
as items 7a and 7b. 

4 of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the 

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required 
and will not be accepted with the application. 

o  NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative 
page. (See for 
sample pages.)  At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs 
requested for each year. This is not a Form page. 

o  Under Personnel, list key project personnel, including their names, 
percent of effort, and roles on the project. No individual salary information 
should be provided. However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation 
language salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in 
developing the budget request. 

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct 
plus facilities and administrative) rounded to the nearest $1,000.  List the 
individuals/ organizations with whom consortium or contractual arrangements 
have been made, the percent effort of key personnel, and the role on the 
project. Indicate whether the collaborating institution is foreign or 
domestic. The total cost for a  consortium/contractual arrangement is 
included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount. Include the 
Letter of Intent to establish a consortium. 

o  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by 
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a 
specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall 
qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for 
all key personnel, following the instructions below.  No more than three 
pages may be used for each person.  A sample biographical sketch may be 
viewed at: 

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page; - List 
position(s) and any honors; - Provide information, including overall goals 
and responsibilities, on research projects ongoing or completed during the 
last three years; - List selected peer-reviewed publications, with full 

o  CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the 
application.  If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the 
type of agreement and the date. All appropriate exclusions must be applied in 
the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future 
budget years. 

o  The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual 
to contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional 
information is necessary following the initial review.   Submit a signed, 
original of the application, and three exact photocopies, including the 
checklist, in one package to: 

6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service) 

In addition, to prepare for review of the application, submit two additional 
exact photocopies of the application directly to: 

Dr. Mary Nekola
Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205 

It is important that applicants submit two additional copies to the 
Scientific Review Office as requested.  Amended applications will not be 

The submission, review, and award schedule for the Pilot Research Grant 
Program for 2000 is: 

Application Receipt Dates:  03/17/2000   07/17/2000    11/17/2000
Institute Committee Review: Jun-Jul      Oct-Nov       Feb-Mar
Earliest Funding:           Sep 2000     Jan 2001      May 2001 

Only one Small Grant application may be submitted by a Principal Investigator 
per receipt date in response to this program announcement. 


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR.  
Applications for this PA must focus on one of the 24 topics identified. 
Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without further 
consideration.  Applications that are complete will be evaluated for 
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened 
by the NIA in accordance with the review criteria stated below. As part of 
the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique 
and may undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of applications under 
review, will be discussed, and assigned a priority score. 

Review Criteria 

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written review, comments on the following aspects of the application will 
be made 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 by the reviewers in assigning the overall 
score weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that the 
application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely 
to have a 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. 

1.  Significance.  Does this study address an important problem? If the aims 
of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that 
drive this field? 

2.  Approach.  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of a pilot 
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics? 

3.  Innovation.  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or 
method? Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies? 

4.  Investigator.  Is the investigator 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 (if any)? 

5.  Environment.  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be 
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments 
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional 

The initial review group will also examine: the likelihood that the pilot 
project will lead to the development of an R01 application, or significant 
advancement of aging research; the appropriateness of proposed project budget 
and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities 
and their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research 
and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; the provisions for 
the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety of the research 


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved 
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions: 

o  quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review 
o  availability of funds 
o  program priority 


Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions 
from potential applicants is welcome. 

For applications with primary emphasis on the biology of aging contact: 

Dr. David B. Finkelstein
Biology of Aging Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C231, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-6402
FAX:  (301) 402-0010

For applications with primary emphasis on behavioral or social research on 
aging contact: 

Ms. Angie Chon-Lee
Behavioral and Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 5C533, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 594-5943
FAX:  (301) 402-0051

For applications with primary emphasis on the neuroscience or neuropsychology 
of aging contact: 

Dr. Judy Finkelstein
Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3C307, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-9350
FAX:  (301) 496-1494

For applications with primary emphasis on geriatrics research contact: 

Ms. Wanda Solomon
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3E327 MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 435-3046
FAX:  (301) 402-1784

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to: 

Mr. Joe Ellis
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2N212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672


This program is described in the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance 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 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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