Full Text PAR-97-104
NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 29, August 29, 1997
PA NUMBER:  PAR-97-104


National Institute of Mental Health
Application Receipt Dates:  March 23, 1998; March 23, 1999
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) invites applications
for Centers for Behavioral Science Research in Mental Health (CBSR).
The purpose of these Centers is to provide integrated
multidisciplinary research environments in which to pursue focused
questions in basic behavioral science related to mental health and
mental disorder.  This mechanism is intended to encourage
investigators from a variety of disciplines and approaches to
contribute the full range of expertise and advanced technologies
available in basic behavioral science toward the understanding of
mechanisms underlying mental health and mental illness, and to begin
the translation of basic behavioral findings and techniques to
relevant clinical issues.
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.  This Program
Announcement (PA), "Centers for Behavioral Science Research in Mental
Health," is related to the priority area of mental health and mental
disorders.  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, D.C. 20402-9325 (telephone
Applications may be submitted by domestic public and private
organizations, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State or local governments, and eligible
agencies of the Federal government.  Racial/ethnic minorities, women,
and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Center
Directors and/or Principal Investigators.
A CBSR will be supported by the Center grant mechanism (P50), which
provides funding for multidisciplinary and multi-investigator
approaches to the investigation of specific and complex research
problems requiring the application of diverse expertise and
It is estimated that up to $3.25 million total costs will be
available across fiscal years 1998 and 1999 to support up to five new
or competing centers, with an anticipated average annual total cost
(including indirect costs) of approximately $650,000 per award.  A
maximum of three new or competing centers will be funded in either
year.  The exact amount of funding available will depend on
appropriated funds, the quality of applications, and program
priorities at the time of award.  No plans exist currently for
funding any new or competing centers after 1999.
Support under this Program Announcement may be requested for a
project period of up to 5 years.  Previously supported NIMH Centers
for Behavioral Science Research may submit competing renewal
applications in response to this Program Announcement.  Individual
centers will be limited to a maximum of ten years of total support.
The basic behavioral sciences are comprised of a number of fields,
including psychology, sociology, anthropology, and linguistics; each
of these fields encompasses a number of sub-fields that, in turn, are
associated with a broad range of conceptual and methodological
strategies.  There also are a number of different levels of analysis
for addressing research questions in behavioral science, including
social experience and behavior (e.g., culture, interpersonal and
group interaction), individual psychological processes and
characteristics (e.g., cognition, emotion, personality), and
biological processes that influence and are influenced by behavioral
phenomena (e.g., brain function, autonomic and hormonal systems,
genetics).  Available methods and technologies also cover a wide
range, including performance measures, subjective report, behavioral
observation, and detailed psychophysiological assessments.
There are two goals of the CBSR.  The first goal is to foster
integration among the various basic behavioral science approaches in
order to provide a fuller understanding of mental health.  In so
doing, this program aims to promote the scientific advances and
opportunities that are made possible by cross-disciplinary
collaboration and the cross-fertilization of approaches.  The second
goal is to begin the process of translating basic behavioral findings
and techniques from the laboratory or the field to more applied
mental health arenas by including in each Center some examination of
relevant clinical, preventive, or services issues related to mental
health and disorder. The components of a Center that address these
issues of clinical translation are expected to be limited in scope
and to enhance (but not to eclipse) the overall basic-science thrust
of the Center.  NIMH also will be interested in the separate
submission of more clinically-relevant R01-type applications that may
emerge from a CBSR's beginning efforts at translation.  Center
A CBSR is expected to address critical questions in basic behavioral
science research through multidisciplinary, integrative, and highly
focused research programs.  A CBSR is characterized as follows:
The Center should be conceptualized and organized according to a
broad multidisciplinary framework.  In the design and execution of
the research program, expertise and technological support must be
available to address social, psychological, and biobehavioral levels
of analysis.  It is not necessary for each constituent research
project to involve all three levels, but they all must be represented
in the Center as a whole, and the overarching Center goal must be to
foster their integration.
Research questions addressed must concern basic behavioral processes
and mechanisms that are important to understanding mental health.
A limited set of research questions must be directed towards
beginning translational research.  Such questions may involve the
linkage of basic behavioral science knowledge and methods to issues
relevant to prevention, treatment, or mental health services.
Research on basic behavioral processes that utilizes populations
characterized by specific risk factors or clinical diagnoses also may
be relevant.
The research must propose novel approaches and must not duplicate
work that is currently grant supported.
The CBSR Director must have a demonstrated capability to organize,
administer, and direct the Center.  This individual should be the
scientific leader of the Center and thus must also be the Principal
Investigator on at least one of the projects and have a minimum time
commitment of 30 percent to the Center grant.
A CBSR must provide research apprenticeship opportunities for junior
investigators who have the potential for independent research careers
to become skilled in the strategies, approaches, and techniques of
modern behavioral science research.  At least two Research
Apprenticeships must be made available each year.  In addition, there
should be close coordination between the Center and relevant
predoctoral and/or postdoctoral research training programs of the
A CBSR should be conceptualized and defined by its integrative,
multidisciplinary nature and need not be limited by geographical or
departmental boundaries.  A research team may consist of
investigators or institutions that are geographically distant, to the
extent that the research design requires and accommodates such
Research Areas
The following are examples of broad basic behavioral science research
areas related to the NIMH research mission that could be supported by
this program.  The list is not comprehensive.
Attitudes, persuasion, stereotyping
Emotion and mood
Group identity and behavior, including multi-ethnic and minority
Interpersonal interactions and processes
Language and communication
Learning and memory
Marital and family relationships
Motor control and skill
Personality/individual differences; gender differences
Reasoning; problem-solving; decision-making; planning
Sensation and perception
Sexual and reproductive behavior
Societal and cultural influences on behavior
Stress, coping, and adaptation
Sleep and circadian rhythms
In keeping with the integrative, multidisciplinary emphasis of the
CBSR, it is very important that attention be given to connections
across these various domains and processes, e.g., links between
emotion and learning or memory, between interpersonal interactions
and physiological reactivity, or between group identity and decision-
making.  Developmental approaches to understanding these domains and
processes also are of interest.  In addition to human studies, animal
models are appropriate.  Also appropriate are theoretical and
mathematical modeling approaches.
Activities Supported
To provide a suitable structure for achieving objectives of this
program, a Center may request funds for the following:
Individual Research Projects:  Funds must be requested to support
three or more individual research projects.  Each project should have
the characteristics of a traditional research grant (R01) as well as
demonstrating a significant integrative contribution to the CBSR.
Cores:  Funds may be requested for "core" support.  Each Core must
provide essential services to two or more approved Individual
Research Projects.  Possible Cores include those focused on
administrative, subject recruitment, measurement, or data
management/analysis issues.  Core support may involve salaries,
research resources to be shared across projects, equipment needed to
conduct the proposed research, and incidental alteration and
renovation of facilities consistent with Public Health Service
policy.  Depending upon the geographical and administrative
boundaries of the Center components, there may be one or more Cores.
Research Apprenticeships:  Funds must be requested to support the
supervised research activities of junior faculty, postdoctoral staff,
and/or advanced graduate students.  These individuals should have
high potential for a research career but require further supervised
research experience.  Salary support, tuition, travel, and research
support may be provided.  At least two research apprenticeships must
be made available each year.
Essential Scientific Expertise:  To provide the most effective
combination of scientific knowledge and skills, applicants may
request funds to support scientists to augment or strengthen the
skills, expertise, and capabilities of existing staff.  Although
recruitment of such scientists may take place after the award has
been made, the expertise required, the role in Center activities, and
the time to be devoted to the Center should be provided in the
application.  It should be emphasized, however, that after the award
is made, such individuals may not serve as a substitute for a Project
Principal Investigator.
A major requirement for a CBSR is the conduct of multidisciplinary,
integrative basic behavioral science research on focused questions
related to mental health and mental illness; the nature of these
relationships must be stated clearly in the application.  The
application must describe the hypotheses to be tested and the goals
and approaches for the CBSR.  In addition, the proposal should
clearly articulate the reasons a Center approach is needed for the
proposed work as well as the unique benefits that will accrue from a
The application should include the following components, in the
designated order.
A summary "detailed budget page for the initial budget period" and
"budgets for the entire project period" should be included for the
proposed CBSR as a whole.  In addition, an individual "detailed
budget page for the initial budget period" and "budgets for the
entire project period" should be included for EACH component (Core(s)
plus Individual Research Projects).
General Description of the Center (Not to exceed 10 pages): An
overview should be provided of the entire proposed Center describing
the central theme and goals, and how the Center will achieve its
major objectives.  The proposed contribution of each of the
Individual Research Projects and Core(s) in achieving the objectives
of the Center should be explained.  Plans for the Research
Apprenticeships should be described as well as the methods for
selecting qualified individuals.  Furthermore, the administrative
arrangements and support necessary to effect the research should be
carefully described.  In particular, when more than one institutional
site is involved, a detailed statement and supporting documentation
for the cooperative administrative arrangements are required and
should be submitted with the application.  In addition, detailed
information should be provided on collaborations, recruitment,
facilities, and resources as well as any expenses anticipated from
grant funds for sites with such an arrangement.
Cores (Not to exceed 5 pages for any one Core): The applicant should
describe how the Core will contribute to the overall goals of the
Center as well as how each specific project will draw upon a
particular Core.  The description of each Core should clearly
indicate the facilities, resources, services, and professional skills
that the facility will provide.
Individual Research Projects (Not to exceed 10 pages for any one
project): The major research objectives and goals of each project,
its integration with the other projects, and its relationships to the
overall Center should be described.  In addition, detailed
descriptions should be provided on the following:
a. Research Plan:  The questions to be addressed and the hypotheses
to be tested by the proposed research should be highly focused and
fully explained.  Full discussion is required on the status of
current research efforts (both within the Center and elsewhere)
addressing this issue, the limitations of existing approaches, and
why the research necessitates a multidisciplinary, integrative
b. Method:  The description of the design, methodology, and data
management and analysis plan should outline the strategies proposed
to accomplish the specific aims of the project, and should include a
discussion of the innovative aspects of the approach.  The
experimental procedures need not be spelled out in great detail if
those procedures have already been extensively published and widely
accepted by the scientific community.  In contrast, any new
methodology and its advantage over existing methodologies should be
fully described.  Furthermore, the feasibility of the proposed
studies, the potential pitfalls, relevant alternative approaches
should changes become necessary, and their relevance to the goals of
the Center should be fully discussed.  The methods to be used should
be cited and referenced.  It should be emphasized that this
necessitates the inclusion of investigators that are considered to be
leaders in their fields and whose studies are widely published and
accepted by the scientific community.
c. Operational Plan:  A description of the resources and working
arrangements required to implement the research plan should be fully
elaborated.  A detailed description should be given of all research
components.  A distinction must be made between those resources that
already are in place (including staff) and those resources that must
be added to complete the proposed research.
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
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
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the "NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research," which have been published in the
Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.
Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit, by January 5, a
letter of intent. that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
Center, the name, address, and telephone number of the Center
Director, the identities of other key personnel and participating
institutions and the number and title of the PA in response to which
the application may be submitted.
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does
not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the
information that it contains allows NIMH staff to estimate the
potential review workload and avoid conflict of interest in the
review.  The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Mary Ellen Oliveri
at the address listed under INQUIRIES.
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 Division of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health,
6701 Rockledge Drive,  MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910; telephone
(301) 710-0267; fax (301) 480-0525; Email:
The PA title and number, "PAR-97-104; CENTERS FOR BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE
RESEARCH IN MENTAL HEALTH," must be typed in section 2 of the face
page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.
Applicants responding to this Program Announcement are advised that
they must contact the program director (Dr. Oliveri at the address
listed under INQUIRIES) prior to submitting an application, if they
will be requesting direct costs in excess of $500,000 in any year.
If agreement from NIMH is obtained to accept the application for
consideration for award, the applicant must indicate this in a cover
letter sent with the application, citing the Program Announcement
number, the Institute (NIMH), and the NIMH staff contact (Dr.
Oliveri, address below).  An application subject to this policy that
does not contain the required information in the cover letter sent
with the application will be returned to the applicant without
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and three signed photocopies, in one package to:
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for courier/overnight mail service)
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must be sent to:
Mary Ellen Oliveri, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS National
Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18C-26
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3942
FAX:  (301) 443-4822
Applications must be received by the March 23, 1998 and March 23,
1999. If an application is received after the date, it will be
returned to the applicant without review. The Division of Research
Grants (DRG) will not accept any application in response to this PA
that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review,
unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The DRG will
not accept any application that is essentially the same as one
already reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of
substantial revisions of applications already reviewed, but such
applications must include an introduction addressing the previous
Fiscal Year 1998
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 5, 1998
Application Receipt Date:       March 23, 1998
Administrative review:          March-April 1998
IRG review:                     May-June 1998
Advisory Council Review:        September 1998
Anticipated Start Date:         September 30, 1998
Fiscal Year 1999
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 5, 1999
Application Receipt Date:       March 23, 1999
Administrative Review:          March-April 1999
IRG review:                     May-June 1999
Advisory Council Review:        September 1999
Anticipated Start Date:         September 30, 1999
Review Procedures
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by the Division of
Research Grants (DRG) for completeness, and by the NIMH to determine
if they satisfy the objectives and requirements of a CBSR as outlined
in this program announcement Incomplete and/or nonresponsive
applications will be returned to the applicant without further
Applications that are complete and responsive to this PA will be
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer
review group convened by the NIMH in accordance with the review
criteria stated below.  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 will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a
second level review by the appropriate national advisory council or
board, when applicable.
Review Criteria
Criteria for review of CBSR applications will include the following:
Intrinsic merit:  The overall quality, scientific merit, relevance to
mental health/illness, and innovation of the research to be done; the
likelihood that the work will lead to fundamental advances within the
field, to new discoveries, and/or to new technological developments.
In addition, the research conducted must center around a highly
focused and well-defined research problem.
Appropriateness of the Center approach:  The need for and suitability
of the Center approach; whether a Center approach will add
significantly to what could be accomplished through other modes of
research support.  In this respect, the integration of component
projects is of utmost significance and should be described
Research competence:  The qualifications and scientific credentials
of the Center Director and constituent project directors will be
considered.  It is expected that these individuals will be regarded
by their peers as leaders in their respective fields.
Center Director credentials:  Ability of the Center Director to
organize, direct, and administer the Center and, in addition, be the
principal investigator on at least one of the proposed projects.  It
is expected that this individual will devote a minimum of 30 percent
time to the Center grant.  Thus, the Director must by necessity be
the scientific leader of the Center.
Institutional commitment:  The nature and level of resource
commitments and resources available from the home institution and
from other participant institutions; and plans for interactions with
the rest of the sponsoring institution.
Appropriateness of management plans and arrangements:  The
feasibility and adequacy of the organizational and administrative
plans; the appropriateness of the budget; and the mechanisms to
evaluate the Center's progress.
Quality of plans for Research Apprenticeships:  The effectiveness of
approaches used to attract and involve junior investigators and
students who show potential for significant contributions and
independent research careers.
Quality of linkages between the proposed Center and ongoing training
programs in the institutional environment.
Human and animal subjects:  Adequacy of the Center's plans for the
protection of human and animal subjects.
Gender and minority concerns:  Adequacy of the Center's plans to
address gender and minority issues in the proposed research.
Potential to advance the field
Scientific merit of the research program as determined by peer review
Responsiveness to the purposes and objectives outlined in this PA
Availability of research funds and the competing demands of other
research funding requirements
The P50 grant supporting a Center for Behavioral Science Research in
Mental Health is not transferable to another institution.
Inquiries from potential applicants are strongly encouraged. The
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential
applicants is welcome.
Direct and inquiries regarding programmatic issues and address the
letter of intent to:
Mary Ellen Oliveri, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS National
Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18C-26
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3942
FAX:  (301) 443-4822
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Diana Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 7C-08
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-2805
Email:  Diana_Trunnell@NIH.GOV
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.242.  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. Awards will be administered under PHS grants policy as stated
in the Public Health Service Grants Policy Statement (April 1, 1994).
PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide
a smoke-free workplace and promote the nonuse 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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