Full Text PAR-96-016
NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 1, January 26, 1996
PA NUMBER:  PAR-96-016
P.T. 34

  Health Services Delivery 
  Health Care Economics 

Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
Application Receipt Dates:  May 1 and November 15 annually
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) was
established to improve the quality, appropriateness, and
effectiveness of health care services and access to these services.
These purposes are achieved by supporting research and by promoting
improvements in clinical practice and in the organization, financing,
and delivery of health care services.
The AHCPR announces the small grant program for Health Services
Dissertation Research, which supports research undertaken as part of
an academic program to qualify for a doctorate.  Through this support
AHCPR seeks to expand the number of researchers who study health care
systems and the cost, quality, and impact of health care services.
Applications are accepted from students seeking a doctorate in
disciplines relevant to health services research.  Total direct
costs, under this announcement, must not exceed $30,000 for the
entire project period.
This announcement supersedes "Grants for Health Services Dissertation
Research," HS-95-002, published in the NIH Guide, August 19, 1994.
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  AHCPR
encourages applicants to conduct research that addresses these
objectives.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy
People 2000" (Full Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary
Report: Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of
Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402- 9325,
telephone 202-783-3238.
A student enrolled in a doctoral program in a research discipline
which requires a dissertation based on original research may apply
for support to complete the research and dissertation.  In order to
be eligible, the dissertation must be a crucial and major part of the
training program.
To qualify for an award under this program the dissertation must
examine some aspect of the health care system.  AHCPR will determine
whether an application is eligible for support.
The proposed Principal Investigator must be a registered doctoral
candidate in resident or nonresident status.  All requirements for
the doctoral degree other than the dissertation must be completed by
the time of the award. Usually awards are announced three months
after receipt of the application.  Prior to submission of the
application, the dissertation proposal must be approved by the
dissertation faculty committee and certified by the faculty advisor.
This information must be verified in a letter of certification from
the thesis chairperson and submitted with the grant application (see
The applicant may be either the public or private nonprofit
institution that will administer the grant on behalf of the proposed
Principal Investigator or the proposed Principal Investigator
applying as an individual.
AHCPR encourages women, members of minority groups, and persons with
disability to submit applications.
A proposed Principal Investigator for dissertation research grant
support need not be a citizen of the United States. However, an
investigator who is not a U.S. citizen and does not have a permanent
resident visa must apply through a public or private nonprofit
institution.  Also, an application from a student enrolled in a
foreign institution will be accepted if the application is in English
and the investigator applies through the institution.
The proposed investigator who receives support for dissertation
research under a grant from the AHCPR may not at the same time
receive support under a predoctoral training grant or fellowship
grant awarded by AHCPR or any other agency of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
This Program Announcement (PA) will employ the small research grant
(R03) mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the proposed
Principal Investigator (the doctoral candidate).
The total direct costs must not exceed $30,000 for the entire project
period.  An application that exceeds this amount will be returned to
the applicant.  No supplemental funds will be awarded.
The proposed Principal Investigator may request support only for the
amount of time necessary to complete the dissertation.  A
dissertation research grant usually is awarded for a period of 12
months or less, but may be awarded for up to 17 months.
The AHCPR sets aside funds each year for the Dissertation Research
Program.  In general, AHCPR makes about 15 dissertation research
grants per fiscal year (October 1 to September 30).  The number of
awards will be contingent on the availability of funds and the
quality of the applications.  Approximately one-half of the planned
number of awards will be given in each receipt/review cycle.
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) was
established by Congress in 1989 to improve the quality,
appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services and access
to such services.  Title IX of the Public Health Service Act gives
AHCPR flexibility in making small grants. AHCPR uses this small grant
authority to support three kinds of activities: conferences, doctoral
dissertations, and small research projects.
Purpose and Scope of Activity
This Announcement describes the small grant program for Health
Services Dissertation Research.  Applicants for dissertation research
must propose topics in subject areas AHCPR is authorized to study.
In general, AHCPR supports studies that deal with the way health care
is organized, produced, used, and financed.  Pertinent topics include
the use of medical technology, facilities, and equipment; the cost,
effectiveness, outcomes, and quality of health care; the care of
underserved populations; and the structure, content, and consequences
of clinical practice.
Students seeking a doctorate in any relevant research discipline are
Allowable Costs
Expenses allowed under the AHCPR Health Services Dissertation
Research program follow the guidelines described in the Application
for a Public Health Service (PHS) Grant.  Allowable costs include:
the investigator's salary; direct project expenses such as travel,
data processing, and supplies.  Fees for maintaining matriculation or
other fees imposed on those preparing dissertations are allowable
costs, provided the fees are required of all students of similar
standing, regardless of the source of funding.  Applicants are
expected to work full time on the project.  Any level of effort that
is less than full time must be fully justified.
Applicants applying through institutions receive indirect costs in
addition to the direct costs of the project.  For the purpose of
calculating indirect costs, dissertation research grants are
considered to be training grants. Therefore, in accordance with PHS
policy, indirect costs, payable only when the applicant is an
institution, are limited to eight percent of total allowable direct
costs exclusive of tuition and related fees and expenditures for
equipment, or at the institution's actual indirect cost rate,
whichever results in a lesser dollar amount.
Other Conditions
The following conditions apply to dissertation grants:
o  A Principal Investigator who discontinues or suspends a project
during the grant period must inform the AHCPR immediately in writing.
The AHCPR may suspend or terminate the grant as requested by the
Principal Investigator or on its own initiative.
o  The dissertation constitutes the final report of the grant.  The
dissertation must be officially accepted by the faculty committee or
university official responsible for the candidate's dissertation and
must be signed by the responsible officials.  Three copies of the
dissertation must be submitted to the AHCPR.
o  The dissertation and all financial status reports must be
submitted in English.
It is the policy of AHCPR that women and members of minority groups
be included in all AHCPR supported 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.
The NIH policy resulting from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43) supersedes and strengthens NIH's
previous policies (Concerning the Inclusion of women in Study
Populations, and Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study
Populations), which were in effect since 1990 and which AHCPR had
adopted.  The new NIH policy contains provisions that are
substantially different from the 1990 policies.  All investigators
proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH
Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in
Clinical Research," which was published in the Federal Register of
March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513), and printed in the NIH GUIDE FOR
GRANTS AND CONTRACTS of March 11, 1994, Volume 23, Number 10.  AHCPR
follows the revised NIH Guidelines, as applicable.
Applicants may obtain copies of the Guidelines from those sources
listed above or from the AHCPR contractor, Global Exchange, listed
under APPLICATION PROCEDURES.  AHCPR program staff may also provide
information concerning this policy (See INQUIRIES).
The application receipt dates for 1996 are May 1, and November 15
annually.  Applications received after these dates will be returned
to applicants.
Applications will be eligible for support only during the round for
which they are submitted.  No application can be submitted more than
once even in revised form.
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used
in applying for these grants.  State and local government applicants
may use form PHS-5161-1, Application for Federal Assistance (rev.
9/92), and follow those requirements for copy submission.  These
forms are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research and may be obtained from the Office of Grants Information,
Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, 6701
Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD  20892-7910, telephone
301/710-0267, email: girg@drgpo.drg.nih.gov.
AHCPR applicants are encouraged to obtain application materials from
the AHCPR contractor, Global Exchange, Inc., 7910 Woodmont Avenue,
Suite 400, Bethesda, MD  20814-3015; telephone 301/656-3100 or FAX
Mark the "Yes" box and enter "AHCPR Dissertation Program" in Section
2a on the face page of the application.
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and five signed photocopies, in one package to:
Small Grants Program:  Dissertation Research
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street
Suite 400
Rockville, MD  20852
An application that does not conform to the instructions in this PA
will be returned.
Special Instructions
Whenever feasible, the proposed Principal Investigator for a
dissertation grant is encouraged to have the application administered
through an institution.  This may be either the degree-granting
institution or another non-profit institution with which the proposed
Principal Investigator is professionally affiliated.  In determining
which institution is more appropriate, the student must consider the
extent to which the resources of the designated institution are
capable of supporting the proposed research effort.
Applicants must follow the instructions in the research grant
application form 398 in preparing the application with the following
o  The graduate student should be identified as the Principal
o  The section entitled Research Plan may not exceed 20 pages.  A
questionnaire may be included as an appendix if it is essential to
evaluate the proposal.  No other material should be provided in an
appendix.  A list of literature cited is required, and is not
included in the 20 page limit.
o  A letter from the faculty committee or the university official
directly responsible for supervising the dissertation research must
be submitted with the grant application.  The letter must certify
that (1) the committee has approved the formal proposal for the
dissertation, (2) the grant application represents the dissertation
proposal, and (3) the applicant will complete all requirements for
the doctoral degree except the dissertation by the anticipated date
of the grant award.
o  The application must identify all members of the faculty committee
by listing the names on Form BB.  A brief biographical sketch for
each should be provided as explained in form 398, page FF.
o  Applicants should give special care to the sections of the
application dealing with human subjects protection and gender and
minority representation.
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness and
relevance to the AHCPR mission by staff.  Incomplete applications and
applications proposing research in areas outside the mission of the
Agency will be returned to the applicant without further
AHCPR Dissertation applications typically will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit by three experts, in accordance with
AHCPR small grant peer review procedures. Those reviewers are
selected on the basis of knowledge and expertise in areas germane to
the application.  Federal reviewers may be used when the expertise of
a Federal employee is consistent with the science and topic of an
General Review Criteria
Review criteria for AHCPR dissertation research applications are:
o  Significance and originality of the research.
o  Knowledge of research relevant to the topic.
o  Appropriateness of methods and data, including a description and
justification of the analytic techniques that will be employed and a
discussion of the methodological problems that might be encountered.
o  Availability and adequacy of data.
o  Organization of the project.
o  Adequacy of facilities and resources.
o  Human subjects involvement and protection (when appropriate).
o  Representation of women and minorities (when appropriate).
o  Appropriateness of the budget.
In evaluating applications and making recommendations reviewers try
to assess the applicant's potential for making significant
contributions to the field of health services research.
Reviewers can recommend that an application be considered for support
or recommend an application be given no further consideration.
Summary Statements on applications are prepared by AHCPR staff using
the comments and scores of the reviewers. Reviews and Summary
Statements are usually completed within 10 weeks of receipt of
AHCPR sets aside funds each fiscal year for the Dissertation Research
Program.  Applications compete for awards with other applications
submitted for this program.
Three factors influence the final funding decisions on applications
for support of dissertations:  reviewers' evaluation of the
application; the potential of the applicant to contribute to the
field; and the general needs of the field.  The earliest anticipated
date of award for applications will be generally four months after
the date the application was due.
Written and telephone inquiries concerning this PA are encouraged.
Copies of the PA are available from:
Global Exchange Inc.
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 400
Bethesda, MD  20814-3015
Telephone:  301/656-3100
FAX:  301/652-5264
Copies of the PA document can also be requested through AHCPR
InstantFAX at (301) 594-2800.  To use InstantFAX, you must call from
a facsimile (FAX) machine with a telephone handset.  Use the key pad
on the receiver when responding to prompts from InstantFAX.  The PA
will be sent at the end of the ordering process.  AHCPR InstantFAX
operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For questions about this
service, call AHCPR's Division of Communications at 301/594-1364 ext.
Those considering applying in response to this announcement are
strongly encouraged to discuss their projects with AHCPR program
administrators before formal submission.  The AHCPR welcomes the
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential
Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues, including suitability
of research topics and information on the policy of inclusion of
women and minorities in study populations, to:
Dissertation Program Coordinator
Office of Scientific Affairs
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 400
Rockville, MD  20852-4908
Telephone:  301/594-1449
E-Mail/Internet:  small@po7.ahcpr.gov
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal and administrative matters to:
Carol Roache
Acting Chief, Grants Management Staff
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 601
Rockville, MD  20852-4908
Telephone:  301/594-1447
FAX 301/594-3210
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance Numbers 93.180 and 93.226.  Awards are made under
authorization of Title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C.
299-299c-6) and Section 1142 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.
1320b-12).  Awards are administered under the PHS Grants Policy
Statement and Federal regulations 42 CFR 67, Subpart A, and 45 CFR
Parts 74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372.
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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