Full Text PA-96-001


NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 35, October 6, 1995

PA NUMBER:  PA-96-001

P.T. 34

  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 
  Grants Administration/Policy+ 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Cancer Institute
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Dental Research
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Library of Medicine
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Nursing Research
National Center for Research Resources

Application Receipt Dates:  February 15, June 15, October 15


The Interactive Research Project Grant (IRPG) program provides
support for formal, investigator-initiated, collaborative
relationships.  The IRPG program was announced in the NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts (Vol. 21, No. 16, April 23, 1993) and later
revised (Vol. 23, No. 28, July 29, 1994).  This revision contains the
Instructions for Preparing Applications for an IRPG Group that are
compatible with the revised PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) application form and
supersedes the previous Program Announcements (PA).

An IRPG group consists of the coordinated submission of two or more
applications for related research project grants (R01) and, to a
limited extent, First Independent Research and Support Transition
(FIRST) awards (R29) that do not require extensive shared physical
resources.  Although these applications must describe the objectives
and scientific importance of the collaboration, each project could be
accomplished independently.  The principal investigators may be from
one or more institutions.  Each application will be reviewed
independently for scientific merit and those judged to have
substantial merit will be considered for funding both as an
independent award and as a component of the proposed IRPG group.

This PA includes a description of NIH policies and procedures for the
preparation and review of applications for IRPG groups, including
instructions to applicants that supplement the instructions in form
PHS 398 (rev. 5/95).  In addition to meeting the requirements of form
PHS 398, each R29 and R01 application in the IRPG group must contain
identical information about the IRPG group in the Research Plan and
Consultants/Collaborators Section.


Applications may be submitted by foreign and domestic, for-profit and
non-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, State and local governments, and
eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Foreign institutions,
however, are only eligible for the R01 award mechanism and an award
to a foreign institution may be for no more than three years.
Applications for a group may be from one or more institutions.

Applications for IRPG groups may not represent significant
duplication of concurrent applications for a research project grant
(R01) FIRST Award (R29), program project (P01), center (P50), or
cooperative agreement (U-series).


An IRPG group must include a minimum of two independent applications,
R01 and R29 or only R01, but not only R29, applications.
Applications for both new (Type 1) and competing renewal (Type 2)
awards may be submitted as part of an IRPG group.

An NIH institute or center may issue a PA or RFA that encourages the
submission of applications for IRPG groups.  Applications for IRPG
groups that are submitted in response to an RFA must be prepared and
submitted according to the requirements of that RFA.  The
applications will be reviewed for scientific and technical merit and
award decisions will be made according to the criteria and procedures
described in the RFA.

Public Health Service (PHS) and NIH grants policies apply to IRPG
applications and awards.


Any research area supported by the NIH institutes and centers issuing
this PA may be addressed by the applications of an investigator-
initiated IRPG group.  Each application submitted as part of an IRPG
group must be tightly focused, and the interactions and benefits of
the proposed links between projects must be explicitly described.  An
IRPG group could be used constructively to support collaborative
efforts to accelerate the development of fundamental knowledge and/or
enhance the clinical application of that knowledge.  The IRPG program
may provide an effective means to fund applications for focused
clinical research and related, correlative laboratory studies.
However, the IRPG program is not appropriate for large epidemiologic
studies or for multi-institutional clinical trials using common

Historically, the NIH has relied on multi-component awards, such as
program projects (P01), center grants (P-series), and cooperative
agreements (U-series), to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration
in areas requiring integration and central direction of basic and
clinical research components.  Program projects and center grants
have a well-defined central theme, include extensive shared resources
or core facilities, and are led by a principal investigator who has
the authority and responsibility to manage the overall research
effort and budget.

However, for many research areas, an intermediate level of
collaboration may be appropriate.  For some scientifically based
collaborative efforts, the exchange of data, materials, and ideas is
more important than extensive, shared, physical resources or central
oversight.  The IRPG program is meant to foster this category of
research activity.

An IRPG group consists of a set of investigator-initiated
applications for independent research on related topics, with a
formalized agreement to collaborate in specific ways to enhance the
achievement of the goals of all of the projects.  The collaboration
may involve limited shared resources.  The IRPG, therefore, offers a
means of promoting collaborative efforts between or among projects
that are scientifically related, while providing a record of
independently obtained awards and retaining the research autonomy of
each principal investigator.  Each principal investigator may apply
for competing supplements to support promising new research
directions as they evolve.  Other benefits of the IRPG program
include the establishment of collaborations on an equal footing at
separate sites (including foreign locations) and the possibility of
transferring an award with the principal investigator to another
institution without disrupting the IRPG group.  Furthermore, each
participating investigator may benefit because the IRPG establishes a
larger framework of reference for the proposed work and fosters
formal collaborations tailored to achieving investigator-initiated
research objectives.

The program coordinator for each IRPG group is designated by the
group and must be the principal investigator of a component research
project grant (R01).  The program coordinator is responsible for,
besides the responsibilities of a principal investigator, ensuring
that the proposed collaborative interactions take place and shared
resources are used optimally.  This may be accomplished by meeting
with all IRPG group investigators or by other means appropriate for
the group.

Because each research project is an independent application, it must
be prepared with the same detail and thoroughness required of any R01
or R29 application.  Each project must stand on its own
scientifically and could be accomplished independently.  For example,
one project must not be dependent on another project in the IRPG
group for a critical chemical or reagent, testing or processing of
key samples, or interpretation of data.

If there is a question about the appropriateness of a set of
applications for an IRPG group, applicants are encouraged to discuss
the issues with one of the NIH staff contacts listed under INQUIRIES.


It is NIH policy that women and members of minority groups and their
subpopulations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale 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 is a result of the NIH
Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43) and
supersedes and strengthens previous policies - Concerning the
Inclusion of Women 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 were published in the Federal
Register, March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513), and printed in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 18, 1994, Volume 23, Number 11.
Investigators may obtain copies from these sources, from NIH program
staff, or the individuals identified for each NIH institute or center
listed in these instructions.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS
398 (rev. 5/95).  These forms are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and from the Office of Grants
Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of
Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3032, MSC 7762 Bethesda, MD 20892-
7762, (301) 710-0267, FAX (301) 435-3963, E-mail

FIRST applications (new and revised) must be accompanied by three
letters of reference; FIRST applications without these letters will
be considered incomplete and will be returned without review.

Each application must have its own descriptive title and a principal
investigator.  Each requested shared resource must be included in one
of the component R01 or R29 applications; no shared resource may be
submitted as a separate application.  The contributions of all shared
resources must be summarized in item (i) CONSULTANTS of the Research
Plan, describing the collaborative interactions of the IRPG group.
However, the detailed description and budget for each shared resource
may be requested by only one application in each IRPG group, in the
project most suited to oversee that resource activity.  Item (i) must
be complete, with enough detail for NIH staff and reviewers to
understand the full scope of interactive collaborations within the
IRPG group.  Other component projects must NOT be included as
appendix material.

Revisions --- Revised applications must include an Introduction and
highlight the changes made in the Research Plan in response to the
previous critique and describe in item (i) how the delay in
initiating the collaboration will be managed.  This is particularly
important if some projects in the IRPG group were awarded and
research on those projects has already begun.

Shared Resources --- A description of the shared resources that will
be supported with a research project must be inserted separately in
the application, after item (i) of the Research Plan.  This must
include an explicit description of the methods and procedures to be
used, the services, tests, animals, or facilities to be provided, and
a description of the involvement and protection of human subjects or
vertebrate animals, if appropriate.  Extensive shared resources or
those with large budgets may be more appropriate as "cores" in
program projects.  Applicants are urged to contact an NIH staff
member to discuss the nature and extent of proposed shared resources
in an IRPG group.

The detailed description and budget request for a shared resource
must be included in the R01 or R29 application of the principal
investigator who will serve as the leader of that resource.  If the
proposed shared resource will be managed by an individual who is not
the principal investigator of any of the components of the IRPG
group, the shared resource component should be included in one of the
IRPG applications according to the following instructions.  Support
for a shared resource must not be requested by a separate

o  If the shared resource will be managed by a member of the research
team of a component IRPG, the budget for the shared resource must be
presented in that application.

o  If the shared resource will be managed by someone (but not the
principal investigator) employed by an applicant institution, the
budget for the shared resource component must be presented in the
component IRPG application from that institution.  If there is more
than one component IRPG application from that institution, the
request for support of the shared resource must be included in the
application of the principal investigator who will use that resource
the most.

o  If the shared resource is not located within an applicant
institution, it may be supported by a contract from a component IRPG
awardee.  As above, support of the shared resource must be requested
in the application of the principal investigator who will use the
facility or resource the most.

o  If all projects will share a remote resource equally, or if the
request is to provide only fee-for-service testing or procedures, the
costs may be included within each research project.  Staff in the
appropriate NIH institute or center should be contacted for further
guidance in preparing these requests.

The appropriateness of each requested shared resource and the impact
of its use by each project in the IRPG group will be evaluated
separately from the proposed research project, and appropriate
modifications may be recommended.

Instructions for Preparing Applications on the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95)

The following instructions address ONLY the parts of the PHS 398
research grant application form for which information about the
proposed interactive research is requested.  All other parts of the
grant application should be prepared according to the instructions in
the PHS 398 booklet (rev. 5/95).

Cover Letter:  A cover letter that identifies the total number of
applications in the IRPG group and the principal investigator for
each must be enclosed in the package of applications.


Item 2. Mark "Yes" and enter the program announcement number and

Items 7-8. Enter the direct costs and total costs - includes the
costs of the specific research project AND the costs of all "shared
resources" to be supported through THIS application (see below for
details concerning budget presentation).

Form BB:

Description.  Provide a brief description (abstract) of the research
proposed according to the instructions provided on page 10 of booklet
for the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95).  The description of the proposed IRPG
interactions and/or any shared resources requested through this
application may be included.

Performance Site(s).  The performance site(s) of THIS project AND of
any shared resource(s) in the IRPG group that will be used in this
project (any involved institution should be named only once).

Key Personnel.  List first the principal investigator and key
personnel engaged on THIS project, followed by all key personnel
engaged on any shared resource(s) to be supported by this project.
Then list, as collaborators, all principal investigators and
professional personnel engaged in all component projects and shared
resources in the IRPG group.

Form CC:

TABLE OF CONTENTS.  Add the page locations for Part 2 IRPG
Interactions of item (i) of the Research Plan and for each of the
shared resources proposed to be supported through this application.

Forms DD and EE:

Project Budget.  Complete these pages as directed with the budget
requests for this research project only.  Do not include any shared
resources here, since they will have separate budget pages.  Provide
clear justification for all items requested in the first year and for
any significant increases or decreases in any category in future

Shared Resource Budgets(s).  Complete a separate form DD and form EE
for each shared resource facility or activity that will be supported
through THIS project, do not include budgets for shared resources
that will be supported through other projects in the IRPG group.
CLEARLY LABEL these form pages as "shared resource budgets" by typing
the name of the shared resource in the upper left portion of the

Composite Budget.  If any shared resources are requested as part of
this application, form DD should be used to prepare a composite
budget showing the requested total direct costs for the project and
the shared resource(s).  The dollar totals listed must match the
amounts entered on Item 7 on the application face page (form AA).
This composite budget will help reviewers and staff reconcile the
figures on the face page with those in the body of the application.

Form FF:

The biographical sketch for each key investigator involved in the
project AND any shared resource(s) to be supported by this project
must be included.

Form GG:

Other support information for all professional staff involved in the
project AND any shared resource(s) to be supported by this project
must be included.

Form HH:

Besides completing form HH for the project, a separate form HH for
each shared resource to be supported by the project, itemizing the
facilities and major equipment that will be available to the IRPG
group, must be completed.


The instructions in section C-9 (pages 15-19) of the PHS 398 must be
followed to complete a. through d. (Page 16) of the Research Plan in
detail.  Attention may be given to the integration of the individual
project into the overall IRPG group effort.  The overall research
plan (a.-d.) for the project may not exceed 25 pages.  The following
points may be addressed in the appropriate sections.

a.  SPECIFIC AIMS.  Besides listing the specific objectives of the
individual research project for the total period of requested
support, briefly summarize how the overall objective or long-term
goal of the research relates to the goals of the IRPG group.

b.  BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE.  Besides discussing the overall
scientific significance of the proposed research, this section may
briefly summarize the relevance of the project to the scientific
goals of the IRPG group.

(i) CONSULTANTS.  Particular attention must be given in completing
this section of the Research Plan.  It must have subsections as
follows:  Part 1 of (i) must address the collaborations that are
unique to the research proposed in this R01 or R29 application as an
independent project.  Part 2 must describe in detail the proposed
interactions and collaborations within the IRPG group, and MUST BE

III.A.DEFINITIONS on page 24 of the PHS 398 Instructions should be
consulted for help in determining what information to provide about
consultants and collaborators who are proposed for the individual
research project.

PART 2.  IRPG INTERACTIONS.  The collaborative efforts among
components of the IRPG group must be described in this section.  The
description should be concise, although the number of pages is not
restricted.  However, this section must not be used to avoid the page
limitations of the Research Plan in Sections a.-d.  Each component
R01 and R29 application of the IRPG group must contain IDENTICAL
GROUP STATEMENTS describing the collaborative efforts and the use of
any requested shared resources.  Preparing this section should be a
joint effort among the participating principal investigators under
the leadership of the Program Coordinator, who is responsible for
coordinating the collaborative efforts among all of the IRPG
principal investigators.

The following three items must be included in Part 2 IRPG

application that is part of the IRPG group, giving each an IRPG
project number, and showing the type of application (R01 or R29),
Project Title, and principal investigator must be provided.  The
Program Coordinator should also be identified here.  The Program
Coordinator must be the first investigator named on the list, with
the title "Program Coordinator" following his/her name.  For example:

IRPG one, R01, (project title), Jessica W. Smith, (Program
IRPG two, R29, (project title), (PI)
IRPG three, R01, (project title), (PI)

item provides an opportunity for the IRPG group to give conceptual
wholeness to the overall program.  It must include discussion of the
intended interactions among the IRPG component projects and describe
how each shared resource will contribute to those interactions.

The general IRPG group objectives and the strategy for achieving
those objectives must be described.  As the strategy develops, each
project and shared resource should be cited for its role in the
overall scheme.  Include a brief overview of the goals, objectives,
rationale, and key methods and approaches for the research proposed
in each project and shared resource.  Describe how each relates to
the scientific goals of the IRPG group and/or the anticipated
approach to achieve the IRPG group goals.  A diagram of the
interrelationships of the projects and the enhancement of the
collaborative efforts of the research projects by each shared
resource may be helpful.

3.  SUMMARY OF SHARED RESOURCES.  If any shared resources are
requested by the IRPG group, identical information about their use
must be included in all applications of the IRPG group to aid in
review of the application.  The application should specify the
anticipated percent of use of each shared resource in the entire IRPG
group by each project in the IRPG group.  This information will
provide reviewers, advisory council members, and NIH staff with a
complete picture of the overall shared resource contribution to the
IRPG group.

A new section must be added to the Research Plan, after (i)
Consultants, for each shared resource to be supported by this
application.  The first page of this section should clearly show the
descriptive title of the shared resource; the name, title and
affiliation of the individual who will manage the shared resource;
and the specific location (department, institution, city) of the
shared resource.

A concise, but explicit and complete, description and justification
for the shared resource requested.  This section must present a clear
picture of the approaches, methods, techniques, animals, and/or
special populations that will be used to support each project in the
IRPG group.  Specifically address how the available resources and
environment will be sufficient to address the needs of all of the
projects in the IRPG group.  If appropriate, address the involvement
and protection of human subjects and/or vertebrate animals if that
has not been addressed under (e) and (f) of the Research Plan of the

Application Receipt Dates

The receipt, review, and earliest possible award dates for
unsolicited IRPG applications (except AIDS and AIDS-related), whether
new, competing renewal, or revised, are as follows:

Application Receipt Date:   Feb 15      Jun 15      Oct 15 Initial
Review:             Jun         Oct         Feb Council Review:
     Sep/Oct     Jan/Feb     May/Jun Earliest Possible Award:    Dec
1       Apr 1       Jul 1

IRPG applications for research on AIDS and AIDS-related topics must
be identified on the face page, item two, of the application.  The
receipt, review, and earliest possible award dates for AIDS and AIDS-
related IRPG applications are as follows:

Application Receipt Date:   Jan 2       May 1       Sep 1 Initial
Review:             Mar/Apr     Jul         Nov Council Review:
     May/Jun     Sep/Oct     Jan/Feb Earliest Date of Award:     Jul
1       Dec 1       Apr 1

Application Submission

For each component of an IRPG group, a signed, typewritten original
application, five exact single-sided copies, and five sets of
appendix material must be submitted.  Each application must be
complete, with all approvals, budgets, and signatures from the
appropriate officials of the applicant institution.

All of the R01 and R29 applications constituting the proposed IRPG
group must be submitted in a single package, whether or not the
applications are from the same institution.  A cover letter must list
the total number of applications submitted for the IRPG group,
clearly identifying each application and the principal investigator
of each.  For each component application in the IRPG group, the
original, five copies, and the appendix material must be bundled
together and clearly identified.  Failure to follow the instructions
regarding application receipt dates and packaging may lead to a delay
in review.

The complete IRPG group package must be sent or delivered to:


**The NIH address for the receipt of grant applications.  Applicants
using overnight delivery or courier services should use the following
zip code:

Bethesda, MD 20817-7710

Any questions regarding the format for submission of an IRPG may be
directed to the Referral Office, DRG.


Upon receipt, applications and supporting material will be examined
for completeness by the DRG.  Incomplete applications will be
returned without further consideration.

Each application in an IRPG group will be referred (assigned)
independently according to standard PHS referral and review
procedures for initial review of scientific and technical merit.
Because applications in the IRPG group might receive different
assignments, the IRPG Interactions subsection of item (i) must be
complete so that reviewers can understand the collaborations and
interactions without seeing the other applications in the group.
Following scientific and technical merit review, applications will
receive a second level of review by the national advisory council or
board of the appropriate NIH institute or center.

Institute or center assignment of each component application of an
IRPG group will also be governed by established PHS referral
guidelines.  Therefore, based on the subject matter, each component
application of an IRPG group could be assigned to a different NIH
institute or center for funding consideration.  This underscores the
need for each application to be complete and for all component
applications to have identical subsections in the item (i) Part 2
IRPG Interactions of the Research Plan.

Reviewers will evaluate each component IRPG application using the
standard review criteria for R01 and R29 applications:

o  scientific significance and originality of the proposed work;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the approaches and methods
proposed to carry out the research, as described in the Research

o  qualifications and relevant research experience of the principal
investigator and staff to do the proposed research;

o  availability of resources necessary to conduct the research;

o  inclusion of women and minorities in clinical studies

In addition, reviewers will assess the intended IRPG interactions.
In an administrative note, the reviewers will indicate the
effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed IRPG group
interactions, whether or not they enhance the prospects for reaching
the stated objectives of the group, and the extent of the synergy
among the various projects.  The appropriate national advisory
council or board and institute or center program staff will consider
these comments when making award decisions.

The criteria for the initial review of the shared resources requested
for the IRPG group, which are reviewed independently from the
research project, are the following:

o  qualifications of key personnel;

o  adequacy of approaches, methods, and facilities;

o  appropriateness for the IRPG group; and

o  use by component IRPGs.

The reviewers may also make recommendations about the shared
resource(s) and the reasonableness of the budget request.  These
recommendations will be considered when funding decisions are made by
the awarding institute or center.  The amount awarded for shared
resources may depend on the number of component projects awarded.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other
applications assigned to an Institute or Center.  The following will
be considered in making funding decisions:

o  quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review;

o  the interactive nature of the program and component IRPGs;

o  availability of funds;

o  program balance and priorities among research areas;

Each NIH institute or center will have the opportunity to fund some
or all of the component R01s and R29s of an IRPG group assigned to
that institute or center.  If the component projects are assigned to
more than one institute or center, co-funding may be considered.  If
any of the component projects in the IRPG group are considered not
supportable, the collaborative plans may need to be modified or
negotiated among the collaborators and/or awarding institute or


For information about application preparation, submission, and
assignment of the IRPG applications, contact:

Referral Office
Division of Research Grants
(301) 435-0715

For further information about programmatic or scientific areas, any
of the following individuals may be contacted:

Dr. Kenneth Warren
Director, Office of Scientific Affairs
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
(301) 443-4375

Dr. Miriam Kelty
Associate Director, Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Aging
(301) 4986-9322

Mr. Allan Czarra
Director, Office of Program Coordination and Operations
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(301) 496-7291

Dr. Michael Lockshin
Director, Extramural Programs
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
(301) 496-0802

Dr. Marvin Kalt
Director, Division of Extramural Activities
National Cancer Institute
(301) 496-4218

Ms. Hildegard Topper
Special Assistant to the Deputy Director
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(301) 496-0104

Dr. Norman Braveman
Assistant Director for Program Development
National Institute of Dental Research
(301) 594-7648

Dr. Walter Stolz
Director, Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(301) 594-7277

Dr. Thor Fjellstedt
Deputy Director, Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(919) 541-0131

Dr. Milton Corn
Acting Associate Director, Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
(301) 496-4621

Dr. Hugh Stamper
Director, Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
(301) 443-3367

Director, Division of Extramural Programs
National Institute of Nursing Research
(301) 594-7590

Dr. Louise Ramm
Deputy Director
National Center for Research Resources
(301) 594-0630


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance Nos. 93.113, 93.114, 93.115, 93.121, 93.198, 93.306,
93.333, 93.371, 93.393, 93.394, 93.395, 93.396, 93.397, 93.847,
93.848, 93.849, 93.855, 93.856, 93.864, 93.865, 93.929, 93.866,
93.879, 93.361, 93.846, 93.242, 93.273, and 93.279.  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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