This Program Announcement expires on October 17, 2003, unless reissued.


Release Date:  December 5, 2001

PA NUMBER:  PAR-02-030

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Application Receipt Dates:  February 22, 2002, June 21, 2002, 
                            and October 18, 2002; February 21, 2003, 
                            June 20, 2003, and October 17, 2003.



The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
(NIAMS)is seeking small grant (R03) applications to stimulate and facilitate 
the entry of promising new investigators into areas of research of interest 
to the NIAMS. This solicitation will provide support for pilot research that 
is likely to lead to a subsequent individual research project grant (R01).


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health 
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS 
led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Program Announcement 
(PA), "NIAMS Small Grant Program for New Investigators," is related to the 
chronic diseases priority area. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of 
"Healthy People 2010" 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. Faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for 
these grants. Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with 
disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators. Applications 
are especially encouraged from new investigators who hold a faculty position 
at an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) or other institutions 
that have student populations consisting predominantly of individuals from 
racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in science. Foreign 
organizations and institutions are not eligible. Participation in the program 
by investigators at minority serving institutions is strongly encouraged. 
Grants awarded through this PA may not be used to support thesis or 
dissertation research.

Former and current recipients of Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) 
(R15), Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Awards (K08), Mentored 
Research Scientist Development Awards (K01), Mentored Patient-Oriented 
Research Career Development Award (K23), Shannon Awards (R55), or Individual 
(F32) or Institutional (T32) National Research Service Award (NRSA)training 
support are eligible to apply for this Small Grant Program, dependent upon 
the status of other support for the project. Any current support by the F32 
or T32 mechanisms must terminate before Small Grant support begins. 
Individuals whose sole previous support has been through pilot and 
feasibility studies (with the exception of R21 support from NIAMS) may apply.
Current and previous recipients of NIH funding through Research Project 
Grants (R01), FIRST (R29) awards or any non-mentored career development award 
mechanism are ineligible for this Small Grants Program. The NIAMS will not 
award a new R03 grant if the project period of the new grant would overlap 
with the project period of a previously awarded NIAMS R03 grant. In addition, 
the NIAMS will not accept an R03 application from a principal investigator 
who has held two previous NIAMS R03s. Principal Investigators of research 
subprojects of Research Program Projects (P01) and Centers (P50 and P60) and 
individuals who have received research support in arthritis, musculoskeletal, 
or skin research from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or Department of 
Veterans Affairs (VA) as Principal Investigators are also ineligible.

Investigators who have questions about eligibility should contact one of the
program officials listed under INQUIRIES.


This PA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Small Grant 
(R03)Award mechanism. 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 PA may 
not exceed three years. Applicants may request up to $50,000 (direct costs) 
per year. 

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR 
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts that have been adopted by the 
NIH. Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant 
applications have been incorporated into the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001). 
Additional information on Modular Grants can be found at


It is anticipated that, for FY 2002 and FY 2003, approximately $1.5 million 
(total costs) will be available for the first year of support for this 
initiative. It is anticipated that up to 15 to 20 new grants will be awarded 
each fiscal year under this program. Awards are contingent on the 
availability of appropriated funds and on the receipt of sufficiently 
meritorious applications meeting the stated eligibility requirements. 


The NIAMS Small Grant program is designed to facilitate the entry of 
promising new investigators into research on arthritis and musculoskeletal 
and skin diseases and injuries. Brief summaries of the focuses of the NIAMS' 
Extramural Program branches are listed below. For more detailed information 
about scientific areas of interest to the NIAMS, applicants are encouraged to 
refer to the NIAMS website at


o  Rheumatic Diseases
The mission of the Rheumatic Diseases Branch is to promote and support 
research leading to prevention, diagnosis and cure of rheumatic and related 
diseases. The Branch supports basic, epidemiologic, and clinical research on 
etiology, pathogenesis, course, interventions, and outcomes in rheumatic and 
related diseases.
o  Muscle Biology
The Muscle Biology Branch encourages and supports research on skeletal 
muscle, its diseases and disorders, and its central role in human physiology 
and exercise. Topics include the molecular structure of muscle and the 
molecular mechanisms that produce force and motion. One focus of this program 
is understanding the alterations in muscle resulting from increased exercise 
regimens and, conversely, the atrophy that follows immobilization during 
injury or illness. 
o  Musculoskeletal Diseases
This Branch supports studies of the skeleton including bones, joints and 
associated connective tissues. Broad areas of interest include skeletal 
development, metabolism, mechanical properties, and responses to injury. 
Clinical and basic research in the areas of osteoporosis and orthopaedic 
sciences are of particular interest under this program. Other musculoskeletal 
disorders of interest include osteoarthritis, osteogenesis imperfecta, and 
Pagets disease.  The Program supports research in the area of acute and 
chronic injuries of the musculoskeletal system including work-related and 
repetitive stress injuries. Research proposals related to the development of 
new technologies with the potential to improve treatment and/or diagnosis of 
skeletal disorders and to facilitate the repair of trauma in the normal 
skeleton are of great interest. In addition, bioengineering, sports medicine 
and musculoskeletal fitness are areas of special research emphasis.
o  Skin Diseases
This Branch supports basic and clinical studies of the skin in normal and 
disease states. The wide range of skin diseases under study with NIAMS 
support includes keratinizing disorders such as psoriasis and ichthyosis, 
atopic dermatitis and other chronic inflammatory skin disorders, the 
vesiculobullous diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa and pemphigus, acne, 
and vitiligo. 
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research 
projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating 
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or 
the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization 
Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing clinical research should read the AMENDMENT "NIH 
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical 
Research - Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts on October 9, 2001 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at  
The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of 
clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with 
the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase 
III clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles 
and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy 
continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by 
the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for 
receipt dates after October 1, 1998.
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 
Investigators also may obtain copies of this policy from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES. Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, 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 compromised when they directly access an Internet site.
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants 
for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects. This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at the following website:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a 
project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) 
cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action 
that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed 
through FOIA.  It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope 
of this amendment.  NIH has provided guidance at:
Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the 
application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure 
informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the 
potential for wider use of data collected under this award.
The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) 
at must be used in 
applying for these grants and will be accepted at the standard application 
deadlines ( as indicated in the 
application kit.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an interactive, 
searchable format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone 
301/710-0267, Email:
Description of the Research Plan is limited to 10 pages. Information on the 
new investigator's research background and qualifications should be provided 
at the beginning of the Research Plan. This information will be used by 
reviewers in the assessment of the candidate's qualifications to undertake 
the research proposed in the application.
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 NIH staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at is to be used in 
applying for these grants, with modular budget instructions provided in 
Section C of the application instructions.
Applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to a total 
direct cost request of $50,000 per year.  A typical modular grant application 
will request the same number of modules in each year.
The title, "NIAMS Small Grant Program for New Investigators," and number of 
the program announcement (PAR-02-030) must be typed on line 2 of the face 
page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be 
sent to:
Dr. Richard Bartlett
Review Branch, NIAMS/NIH
6701 Democracy Blvd, Suite 800   
Bethesda, MD 20892-6500
Fax: 301-402-2406
In order not to delay review, it is important that applicants comply with 
this request.
Applications received after any of the receipt dates listed above will be 
deferred to the next review cycle.  A Principal Investigator may submit only 
one R03 application to the NIAMS in any review cycle.  Applicants may not 
submit another research application for the same review cycle in which an R03 
is submitted, if that application involves significant scientific overlap 
with the R03 application.
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral 
guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical 
merit by an appropriate scientific review group convened by NIAMS in 
accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the 
initial 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, assigned a priority score, and receive a second level review by 
the appropriate national advisory council or board.
Review Criteria
The goals of NIAMS for this Small Grant program are to attract promising new 
investigators to conduct research in the rheumatic, musculoskeletal, and skin 
disease, along with the NIH-wide goals of advancing our understanding of 
biological systems, improving the control of disease, and enhancing health. 
The R03 is a mechanism for supporting discrete, well-defined projects that 
can realistically be expected to be completed within three years and that 
require only a modest level of funding.  Because the research plan is limited 
to 10 pages, a small grant application will not have the same level of detail 
or extensive discussion found in an R01 application. Accordingly, reviewers 
will evaluate the conceptual framework and general approach to the problem, 
placing less emphasis on methodological details and certain indicators 
traditionally used in evaluating the scientific merit of R01 applications 
(e.g., hypothesis-driven design, supportive preliminary data). 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.  
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.
(1) Significance.  Does this study address an important problem? If the study 
is descriptive rather than hypothesis-driven, are the importance of the data 
to be obtained and their potential value in generating future research 
hypotheses clear? Is the rationale for the study well developed and will the 
proposed research generate data to answer a specific problem or lead to a 
larger-scale research project? 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 the 
project?  Does the investigator acknowledge potential problem areas and 
consider alternative tactics? Can the proposed research realistically be 
accomplished within the requested period of support? Is the proposed approach 
appropriate to the state of the science, the stage of the research project, 
and the scope of the work?  Appropriate justification for the proposed work  
can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or 
investigator-generated data. Reviewers recognize that an individual with 
limited research experience is less likely to be able to prepare a research 
plan with the breadth and depth of that submitted by a more experienced 
investigator. All applications must include a fundamentally sound 
researchplan, but reviewers will consider the applicant's prior research 
experience in judging the level of detail provided. Preliminary data are not 
(3) Innovation.  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or 
methods? Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies, or will the 
data to be collected provide descriptive information needed to develop a new 
direction or area of research?                   
(4) Investigator. Based on the quality of the research and academic record, 
does he/she show potential to translate previous knowledge, skills, and 
research experience to areas of interest to NIAMS, and potential to make 
significant contributions to the field? 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 
In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH 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.
Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:
o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities
o  candidate's potential as an independent investigator
Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions 
from potential applicants is welcome.
Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:
Immunology and Inflammation
Dr. Elizabeth Gretz 
45 Center Drive, Natcher Bldg. Rm. 5A19J
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5032
Fax:  (301) 480-4543
Cartilage and Connective Tissue
Dr. Bernadette Tyree
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-37J
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5032
FAX:  (301) 594-4543
Behavioral and Prevention Research
Dr. Deborah Ader
45 Center Drive, Natcher Bldg. Rm. 5A19H
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5032
Fax:  (301) 480-4543
Genetics and Clinical Trials
Dr. Susana A. Serrate-Sztein
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-37G
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5032
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Dr. Richard W. Lymn
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-49E
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5128
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Osteoarthritis Initiative and Diagnostic Imaging
Dr. Gayle E. Lester
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-43C
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5055
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Orthopaedics and Bioengineering
Dr. James S. Panagis
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-37K
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5055
FAX:  (301) 594-4543
Bone Biology 

Dr. William J. Sharrock
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-37A
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5055
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Bone Diseases
Dr. Joan McGowan
Musculoskeletal Diseases Branch 
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-43E
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5055
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Dr. Alan N. Moshell
45 Center Drive, Room 5AS-25L
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-5017
FAX:  (301) 480-4543
Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:  
Dr. Richard Bartlett
Review Branch, NIAMS/NIH
6701 Democracy Blvd, Suite 800   
Bethesda, MD 20892-6500
Fax: 301-402-2406
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Melinda Nelson
Grants Management Officer
45 Center Drive, Natcher Bldg. Rm. 5A49F
Bethesda, MD  20892-6500
Telephone:  (301) 594-3535
Fax:  (301) 480-5450
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.846. Awards are made under authorization of sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 
74 and 92.  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, and 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.

Return to Volume Index

Return to NIH Guide Main Index

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.