This Program Announcement expires on February 2004 unless reissued.


Release Date:  December 13, 2000

PA NUMBER:  PA-01-032

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Application Receipt Dates:  March 1, July 1, and November 1


This Program Announcement (PA) supersedes all previous announcements of the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Special Emphasis
Research Career Award (SERCA) Grants (K01).  The research must be related  to
the priority areas identified in the National Occupational Research Agenda
(NORA) that are described in the RESEARCH OBJECTIVES section.

Within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH is the only
Federal Institute responsible for conducting research and making
recommendations for the prevention of work-related illnesses and injuries. 
NIOSH supports research to identify and investigate the relationships between
hazardous working conditions and associated occupational diseases and
injuries; to develop more sensitive means of evaluating hazards at work sites,
as well as methods for measuring early markers of adverse health effects and
injuries; to develop new protective equipment, engineering control technology,
and work practices to reduce the risks of occupational hazards; and to
evaluate the technical feasibility or application of a new or improved
occupational safety and health procedure, method, technique, or system.


NIOSH is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention
objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a national activity to reduce morbidity
and mortality and improve the quality of life.  This program announcement is
related to the focus area of Occupational Safety and Health and Injury and
Violence Prevention.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of  Healthy
People 2010 at


Applications may be submitted by domestic, public and private nonprofit and
for-profit organizations and by governments and their agencies; that is,
universities, colleges, research institutions, hospitals, other public and
private nonprofit and for-profit organizations, State and local governments or
their bona fide agents, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments,
Indian tribes, or Indian tribal organizations.  Racial/ethnic minority
individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as
Principal Investigators.

Note:  Public Law 104-65 states that an organization described in section
501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which engages in lobbying
activities is not eligible to receive Federal funds constituting an award,
grant (cooperative agreement), contract, loan, or any other form. 


This program announcement will use the  Special Emphasis Research Career Award
(SERCA) grant (K01) award mechanism.  The SERCA grant is intended to provide
opportunities for individuals to acquire experience and skills while under the
direction of at least one mentor, and in so doing, create a pool of highly
qualified investigators who can make future contributions to research in the
area of occupational safety and health.  SERCA grants are not intended for
individuals without research experience, nor for productive, independent
investigators with a significant number of publications and of senior academic
rank.  Moreover, the award is not intended to substitute one source of salary
support for another for an individual who is already conducting full-time
research; nor is it intended to be a mechanism for providing institutional

Candidates must:  (1) hold a doctoral degree; (2) have research experience at
or above the doctoral level; (3) not be above the rank of associate professor;
and (4) be employed at a domestic institution.

This non-renewable award provides support for a three-year period for
individuals engaged in full-time research and related activities.  Awards will
not exceed $75,000 per year in direct costs for salary support (plus fringe
benefits), technical assistance, equipment, supplies, consultant costs,
domestic travel, publications, and other costs.  The facilities and
administrative cost rate applied is limited to 8 percent of the direct costs,
excluding tuition and related fees and equipment expenses, or to the
facilities and administrative cost rate, whichever results in the lesser

A minimum of 60 percent time must be committed to the proposed research
project, although full-time is desirable.  Other work in the area of
occupational safety and health will enhance the candidate's qualifications but
is not a substitute for this requirement.  Related activities may include
research career development activities as well as involvement in patient care
to the extent that it will strengthen research skills.  Fundamental/basic
research will not be supported unless the project will make an original
contribution for applied technical knowledge in the identification,
evaluation, or control of occupational safety and health hazards (e.g.,
development of a diagnostic technique for early detection of an occupational
disease).  Research project proposals must be of the applicants' own design
and of such scope that independent investigative capability will be evident
within three years.  At the completion of this three-year award, it is
intended that awardees should be better able to compete for individual
research project grants (R01).

SERCA grant applications should be identified as such on the application form. 
Section 2 of the application (the Research Plan) should include a statement
regarding the applicant's career plans and how the proposed research will
contribute to a career in occupational safety and health research.  This
section should also include a letter of recommendation from the proposed 


In today's society, Americans are working more hours than ever before.  The
workplace environment profoundly affects health; each of us, simply by going 
to work each day, may face hazards that threaten our health and safety.
Risking one's life or health should never be considered merely part of the
job.  In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to
ensure Americans the right to "safe and healthful working conditions," yet
workplace hazards continue to inflict a tremendous toll in both human and
economic costs.  Each day, an average of 9,000 U.S. workers sustain disabling
injuries on the job, 17 workers die from an injury sustained at work, and 137
workers die from work-related diseases. The economic burden of this continuing
toll is high. Data from a NIOSH-funded study reveal $171 billion annually in
direct and indirect costs of occupational injuries and illnesses ($145 billion
for injuries and $26 billion for diseases). These costs compare to $33 billion
for AIDS, $67.3 billion for Alzheimer's Disease, $164.3 billion for
circulatory diseases, and $170.7 billion for cancer.  These occupational
injuries and diseases create needless human suffering, a tremendous burden
upon health care resources, and an enormous drain on U.S. productivity.

In 1996, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) and
its partners in the public and private sectors developed the National
Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to provide a framework to guide
occupational safety and health research into the next decade, not only for
NIOSH, but also for the entire occupational safety and health community.
Approximately 500 organizations and individuals outside NIOSH provided input
into the development of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). 
This attempt to guide and coordinate research nationally is responsive to a
broadly perceived need to address systematically those topics that are most
pressing and most likely to yield gains to the worker and the nation.  Fiscal
constraints on occupational safety and health research are increasing, making
even more compelling the need for a coordinated and focused research agenda. 
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of the "National Occupational Research
Agenda" (HHS, CDC, NIOSH Publication No.96-115) from the National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health, telephone (800) 356-4674.  It is also
available on the internet at "".

The agenda identifies 21 research priorities and reflects an attempt to
consider both current and emerging needs.  The priority areas are not ranked;
each is considered to be of equal importance.  The NORA priority research
areas are grouped into three categories: Disease and Injury, Work Environment
and Workforce, and Research Tools and Approaches.

Applicants should provide a statement about which NORA area is being addressed
and a rationale for how the proposal is intended to contribute to the
scientific knowledge base of the specified priority area (place this
information in the "Background and Significance" section of the "Research
Plan" of the application).  Applicants are encouraged to contact individuals
listed under INQUIRIES if they wish to discuss the relevance of their research

NORA Priority Research Areas are:

Disease and Injury

1.  Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis
2.  Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
3.  Fertility and Pregnancy Abnormalities
4.  Hearing Loss
5.  Infectious Diseases
6.  Low Back Disorders
7.  Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities
8.  Traumatic Injuries

Work Environment and Workforce

9.  Emerging Technologies
10. Indoor Environment
11. Mixed Exposures
12. Organization of Work
13. Special Populations at Risk

Research Tools and Approaches

14. Cancer Research Methods
15. Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
16. Exposure Assessment Methods
17. Health Services Research
18. Intervention Effectiveness Research
19. Risk Assessment Methods
20. Social and Economic Consequences of Workplace Illness and Injury
21. Surveillance Research Methods

Potential applicants with questions concerning the acceptability of their
proposed work are strongly encouraged to seek programmatic technical
assistance from the contact listed in this announcement under the section


If a project involves research on human subjects, assurance (in accordance
with Department of Health and Human Services Regulations, 45 CFR Part 46) of
the protection of human subjects is required.  In addition to other applicable
committees, Indian Health Service (IHS) institutional review committees also
must review the project if any component of IHS will be involved with or will
support the research.  If any American Indian community is involved, its
tribal government must also approve that portion of the project applicable to
it.  Unless the grantee holds a Multiple Project Assurance, a Single Project
Assurance is required, as well as an assurance for each subcontractor or
cooperating institution that has immediate responsibility for human subjects. 
The Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP)  negotiates assurances for all
activities involving human subjects that are supported by the Department of
Health and Human Services (Additional information is available at 

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on
August 2, 2000 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at


If the proposed project involves research on animal subjects, compliance with
the "PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by Awardee
Institutions" is required.  An applicant (as well as each subcontractor or
cooperating institution that has immediate responsibility for animal subjects)
proposing to use vertebrate animals in CDC-supported activities must file (or
have on file) the Animal Welfare Assurance with the Office of Laboratory
Animal Welfare (OLAW) at the National Institutes of Health.  The applicant
must provide in the application the assurance of compliance number and
evidence of review and approval (including the date of the most recent
approval) by the Institutional Care and Use Committee (IACUC).


It is the policy of the CDC to ensure that individuals of both sexes and the
various racial and ethnic groups will be included in supported research
projects involving human subjects, whenever feasible and appropriate. Racial
and ethnic groups are those defined in OMB Directive No. 15 and include
American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic
or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.  Applicants shall ensure
that women, racial and ethnic minority populations are appropriately
represented in applications for research involving human subjects.  Where
clear and compelling rationale exist that inclusion is inappropriate or not
feasible, this situation must be explained as part of the application.  This
policy does not apply to research studies when the investigator cannot control
the race, ethnicity, and/or sex of subjects.  Further guidance to this policy
is contained in the Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 179, pages 47947-47951, and
dated Friday, September 15, 1995.


All applications and proposals must be self-contained within specified page
limitations.  Unless otherwise specified, internet addresses (URLs) should not
be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are
under no obligation to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that
their anonymity may be comprised when they directly access an Internet site.


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted at the following receipt dates: March 1, July 1,
and November 1.  These forms are available at most institutional offices of
sponsored research and 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, email:  Application kits are also available at:

Specific K01 Instructions

On the application Face Page item 2, check the "YES" box, indicating the
application is in response to a Program Announcement, and type "PA-01-020" for
the "Number" and "NIOSH SERCA Grant Program" for the "Title."

Up to three publications, submitted manuscripts, or abstracts may be included
in the Appendix material.  Letters of support may also be included in the

For revised/amended applications, an introduction (not to exceed one and one-
half pages) in addition to the research plan is required.  This introduction
should respond to comments and concerns of the Initial Review Group delineated
in the summary statement.

The Checklist 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.  It is important to identify all exclusions that were used in
the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future
budget years.

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.

If the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those
affiliated with the applicant organization, letters of support and/or
cooperation must be included.  Furthermore, if the proposed research involves
human subjects, it should be stated if such organizations or persons are to be
engaged in the research with the applicant organization and how they will be
obtaining IRB approvals prior to their participation in the research (but not
prior to review of the proposed research).

Submit a signed, typewritten original, including the checklist, and five
signed, clear, and single sided photocopies in one package to:

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


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and
responsiveness by NIOSH.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will
be returned to the applicant without further consideration.  Those
applications that are complete and responsive, will undergo a scientific merit
review by an appropriate scientific review group convened in accordance with
the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the scientific merit
review, all applications will receive a written critique and 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.  Following the scientific merit review,
applications will then be reviewed by NIOSH according to the programmatic
review criteria below.

Scientific Review Criteria

In the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following
aspects of the application 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 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 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.

The review  process for SERCA applications will consider the applicant's
scientific achievements, the applicant's research career plan in occupational
safety and health, and the degree to which the applicant's institution offers
a superior research environment (supportive nature, including letter(s) of
reference from advisor(s) which should accompany the application).

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?  What is the potential of this study to result in a full research

2.  Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the
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)?  Since
applicants do not have extensive experience with the grants process,  there is
leniency in assigning priority scores.

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

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with HHS policy, all
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be

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

o The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project
proposed in the application.

Programmatic Review Criteria

o Magnitude of the problem in terms of numbers of workers affected.

o Severity of the disease or injury in the worker population.

o Likelihood of developing applied technical knowledge for the prevention of
occupational safety and health hazards on a national or regional basis. 


Applications will compete for available funds with all other applications. 
Funding decisions will be based on quality of the proposed project as
determined by the scientific review, importance based on the programmatic
review, and balance of awards among program research objectives.


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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Roy M. Fleming, Sc.D.
Research Grants Program
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
1600 Clifton Road, N.E.
Building 1, Room 3053, MS D-30
Atlanta, GA  30333
Telephone:  (404) 639-3343
FAX:  (404) 639-4616

Direct inquiries regarding grants management matters to:

Joanne Wojcik
Procurement and Grants Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2920 Brandywine Road, MS-E13, Suite 3000
Atlanta, GA  30341-4146
Telephone:  (770) 488-2717


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number is: 93.262 for the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  This program is
authorized under the Public Health Service Act, as amended, Section 301(a) [42
U.S.C. 241(a)], and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Section
20(a) [29 U.S.C. 669(a)].  The applicable program regulation is 42 CFR Part
52.  Executive Order 12372 is not applicable for this program announcement.


Applicants should be aware of restrictions on the use of HHS funds for
lobbying of Federal or State legislative bodies. Under the provisions of 31
U.S.C. Section 1352, recipients (and their subtier contractors) are prohibited
from using appropriated Federal funds (other than profits from a Federal
contract) for lobbying congress or any Federal agency in connection with the
award of a particular contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or loan.  This
includes grants/cooperative agreements that, in whole or in part, involve
conferences for which Federal funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to
encourage participants to lobby or instruct participants on how to lobby. 

In addition no part of CDC appropriated funds, shall be used, other than for
normal and recognized executive-legislative relationships, for publicity or
propaganda purposes, for the preparation, distribution, or use of any kit,
pamphlet, booklet, publication, radio, television, or video presentation
designed to support or defeat legislation pending before the Congress or any
State or local legislature, except in presentation to the Congress or any
State or local legislature itself. No part of the appropriated funds shall be
used to pay the salary or expenses of any grant or contract recipient, or
agent acting for such recipient, related to any activity designed to influence
legislation or appropriations pending before the Congress or any State or
local legislature.


The CDC 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.


Small, Minority, and Women-owned Business

It is a national policy to place a fair share of purchases with small,
minority and women-owned business firms. The Department of Health and Human
Services is strongly committed to the objective of this policy and encourages
all recipients of its grants and cooperative agreements to take affirmative
steps to ensure such fairness. In particular, recipients should:
1. Place small, minority, women-owned business firms on bidders mailing lists.

2. Solicit these firms whenever they are potential sources of supplies,
equipment, construction, or services.

3. Where feasible, divide total requirements into smaller needs, and set
delivery schedules that will encourage participation by these firms.

4. Use the assistance of the Minority Business Development Agency of the
Department of Commerce, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business
Utilization, DHHS, and similar state and local offices.

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