NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 32, September 26, 1997 

PA NUMBER: PAR-97-110 


National Institute of Mental Health 

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: November 1 (each year) Application
Receipt Date: January 2, (each year) 


The National Institute of Mental Health Office of AIDS Research will
establish Core Support for Programs in AIDS Research (CSPARs) to provide
core support for multi- disciplinary research programs on the mental
health aspects of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this Program Announcement is
improve and expand research by supporting infrastructure, including:
subject recruitment, tracking, and retention; quality control and
assurance procedures; equipment; laboratories; statistical analysis;
database management; and administrative coordination. This will serve to
enhance and extend the effectiveness of research related to mental
health and HIV/AIDS. 


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 PA, Core
Support for Programs in AIDS Research, is related to the priority area
of mental health aspects of HIV/AIDS research. 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 202-512-1800). 


Applications may be submitted by domestic, for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private organizations such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments,
and eligible agencies of the Federal Government. Foreign organizations
are not eligible to apply. Domestic organizations may not include
international components. Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and
persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. 


The mechanism of support for the CSPAR is the core center grant (P30).
The applicant may propose pooling existing resources and request
additional support for research infrastructure to be shared by
investigators with existing related funded research. This research
infrastructure support may include, e.g., subject recruitment,
equipment, laboratories, statistical analysis, database management,
developmental cores, and administrative coordination. Applicants must
demonstrate the potential for continuing funding for projects proposed
to be supported by the core. Core Support Center Grant applicants may
apply for up to five (5) years of support and the grants are renewable
until further notice. Construction costs are not allowable. 


NIMH will provide up to a maximum of $850,000 total costs for CSPAR
grants. Applicants must demonstrate a funded research base of at least
six peer-reviewed AIDS and AIDS-related research awards active at the
time that the CSPAR is funded and throughout the award period. Sixty
percent of this funded research base must be from NIMH-funded grants and
40% may be from other NIH Institutes or appropriate peer-reviewed
funding from alternate sources. This research base must demonstrate
synergy and collaboration for all aspects of AIDS-related behavior
research, including research investigating the neurological and
neurobehavioral complications of HIV infection. The research base
includes grants and contracts utilizing the following mechanisms: P01,
R01, R03, R21, R29, R35, R37, U01, U10, U19, and K series awards. 

Applicants planning to submit center application requesting $500,000 or
more in direct costs in any year are advised that they must contact
program staff prior to submission of the grant. Applications in this
category received without prior staff contact may be delayed in the
review process or returned to the applicant without review (NIH GUIDE,
Volume 25, Number 14, May 3, 1996). 


The NIMH seeks to foster a synergistic approach to research on mental
health issues of HIV infection. The goal of the CSPAR is to encourage
the application of multiple scientific perspectives and approaches to
stimulate inter- and multi-disciplinary collaboration and coordination.
NIMH CSPARs are broadly based investigative endeavors, encompassing or
supporting research in a variety of areas including biological,
biomedical, behavioral, neuroscience, prevention, clinical sciences and
services research. 

Some important research objectives are: 1) identify behaviors that put
individuals at risk for HIV infection, and develop interventions to
change those behaviors; 2) develop methods and strategies to aid
HIV-infected individuals and their families in coping with HIV
infection; 3) study the nervous system effects of HIV infection of the
CNS; 4) identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying
HIV-induced CNS dysfunction; 5) develop and test potential therapeutics
to prevent or treat this CNS disease; and 6) study issues influencing
adherence and non- adherence, and identify methods to improve and assure
adherence and compliance to drug therapy regimens. The CSPAR will enable
innovative, state-of-the-art research on HIV and mental health that
could not or would not be conducted without the co re support. In
addition, the CSPAR should have an overall integrating theme which is
clearly described, and which justifies the need for the core support to
facilitate the research projects. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with NIMH program staff
with regard to questions concerning program-specific requirements. 

Although the specific structure and organization of individual research
core centers will vary, the following characteristics must be apparent
in each application. Applicants should carefully review these
characteristics because they are important factors in the evaluation and
scoring of the application by peer reviewers. 

NIMH CSPAR applications must describe in detail the essential function
of each core of the center, how each core will contribute to the overall
theme and organization of the center, and how each core will be used by
the participating research projects. Specific aims of the proposed
components should be defined, and a time line for addressing those aims
should be presented. This focus of the proposal should be clearly
addressed in the Introductory section prefacing the application. 

Research Environment 

Each center must provide an environment that promotes and enhances the
conduct of the highest quality, state-of-the-art research, exhibiting
leadership and innovation in its particular area(s) of investigation.
CSPARs are expected to serve as regional or national research resources
for established and promising investigators, and provide opportunities
for research training, career development, and mentoring. Applicants
should be specific in describing the advantages of the overall center
structure, how it will be beneficial, and how it will contribute to
achieving the identified research goals. The application of multiple
scientific perspectives and a synergistic approach as well as thematic
integration should be defining features of the CSPAR. For competitive
renewals, applicants should identify original specific aims and progress
made on each specific aim as well as evidence of relevant publications
produced in the previous funding period. 

CSPAR Director 

The CSPAR director must be scientifically and administratively qualified
to direct the center, and able to provide leadership for the scientific
program. The director will have final responsibility for the scientific,
administrative, and operational aspects of the center. The center
director is responsible for overall coordination and for the development
of the CSPAR as a significant local, regional, or national resource.
Because of the role and importance of the center director to the success
of the center, the commitment of time and effort to be devoted to the
center must be described and adequately justified, and an individual may
not serve as director of more than one research core center grant. 


As a leader in its particular area of investigation, the CSPAR should
attract new investigators and provide for mentoring and career
development. The applicant institution must demonstrate that it has the
capacity to train predoctoral and/or postdoctoral students for careers
in HIV/mental health research, and the capacity to provide career
development and mentoring opportunities for potential researchers. CSPAR
grant funds may not be used to pay stipends or other trainee costs,
however, the center staff are encouraged to participate in the
development of training programs, and center resources may be made
available for use of trainees. In addition, as regional or national
resources, center applicants should also facilitate the sharing of data
and methodologies as well as training in such methodologies with the
scientific community. 


Limited support is available to cover travel of the CSPAR director and
other investigators to scientific meetings, justified as essential to
the conduct of research under the center. Travel of technical staff for
training justified as essential to enhancing the quality of the research
projects is also allowed. 


NIMH core center grants are expected to be multidisciplinary in scope,
applying multiple scientific perspectives and approaches, to foster
inter- and multi-disciplinary collaboration and coordination, and
include a depth of expertise and experience not ordinarily present in an
individual research project grant. The mechanisms to foster interactions
and collaborations among center investigators should be described in
detail, clearly and specifically explaining how this will result in
enhanced quality, productivity and overall progress in mental health
research in the center. An effective center provides an environment that
encourages cross-fertilization of ideas, provides an interactive
research environment, and encourages creativity and innovation. Through
interactions and collaborations, participating investigators should
enhance the development and productivity of their research efforts,
benefiting from shared resources, formal and informal planning
activities and developmental or pilot support provided through the NIMH
core center grant. The CSPAR should be organized to include an
administrative core, a minimum of two research cores, and a
developmental core as described below. Core directors should be
senior-level investigators with a history of research support. 

---Administrative Core 

The center must have an appropriate and adequate administrative
structure with an internal organization capable of planning and
evaluating center activities. This should include a structure that has
clear lines of authority to promote planning and evaluation activities
as well as collaborations and interactions within, among and between
programmatic elements of the center in an efficient and cost-effective
manner. A mechanism for internal advisory, review, decision-making, and
priority setting processes appropriate to conduct the activities of the
center must be defined. Appropriate criteria and review processes must
be established and described to sustain individual participation in the
center based on productivity, research direction, and overall
contribution. The administrative structure must include a standing
outside advisory structure(s) charged to provide appropriate and
objective advice and evaluation as needed to the center director. 

Administrative cores may provide support for a limited number of
administrative and clerical personnel. However, salary and support for
central administrative personnel usually paid from institutional
overhead charges, such as budget officers, grants assistants, and
building personnel are not allowed. Administrative support services,
including supplies, duplicating equipment, telephone, or maintenance
contracts for equipment are allowed when not covered by institutional
overhead charges. Salary and support for administrative activities such
as public relations, fund-raising, or educational services unrelated to
the research are not allowed. 

---Research Cores 

The structure of the CSPAR will include the establishment of a minimum
of two research cores to support shared resources that will enhance the
ongoing research grants. Research cores can be developed around any
research activity that can provide resources to basic and clinical
investigators, such as behavioral intervention development,
neurobehavioral/neurological assessment, information dissemination,
statistical analysis, etc. Shared resources and services are intended to
provide access to technology that enhances the research productivity of
the center, scientific interaction and consultation. Shared resources
also provide access to services that facilitate the research and
strengthen the administrative and organizational cohesion of the center.
The costs associated with sharing data and methodologies with the
scientific community and training colleagues in the use of such
methodologies are also allowed. 

A table should be presented indicating how the current projects will be
served by the proposed cores, and a clear and detailed description of
this should be included in the narrative of each appropriate research

CSPARs may request funds for use of inpatient, residential, or
outpatient facilities which are essential to the conduct of the research
and must be adequately justified. CSPAR funds can also support subject
recruitment and incentive costs, as well as community sanction efforts
where relevant. 

---Developmental Core 

Developmental core money may be used as start-up funds for new,
innovative pilot projects by independent investigators. Developmental
support may be for investigators new to AIDS research and for
feasibility studies. Generally, the total amount of money allocated to
pilot projects should not exceed 10% of the center grant's total annual
direct costs (exceptions should be strongly justified). These projects
should have the potential for developing into larger projects that could
compete for funds on their own. The support of pilot projects or
feasibility studies should be of relatively short duration (e.g., 1-2
years), depending upon the nature of the research. A process by which
high-quality, innovative pilot proposals are identified or solicited
from investigators must be developed and clearly described. The
mechanism to review potential projects, make funding decisions and
awards, and the manner in which projects will be monitored to ensure
effective use of pilot project funds must be described. As with all
research to be conducted under the center, pilot projects must comply
with applicable NIH policies and the necessary human subject and animal
welfare assurances must be submitted. 

CSPAR grantees are to provide the NIMH program officer with written
notification of the initiation of new pilot projects. The notification
should contain a brief description of and rationale for the planned
pilot project, the amount of pilot funds to be allocated to the project,
the proposed length of the project, a statement that the project will
comply with applicable NIH policies and that the necessary human subject
and animal welfare assurances have been submitted and obtained. 

Competing continuation center applications should supply information
about the progress, accomplishments and relevant publications of all
projects supported by the center through the pilot project mechanism.
This information should also include the current funding status of
completed pilot projects, and whether data generated from pilot projects
provided a basis for projects with independent funding. 


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 103-43). 

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, Vol. 23, No. 11, March 18, 1994. 


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by November 1, a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed research, the
name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator, the
identities of other key personnel and participating institutions, and
the number and title of this announcement. 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: 

Dianne Rausch, Ph.D. Office of AIDS Research National Institute of
Mental Health 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18-101 Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone: (301) 443-6100 FAX: (301) 443 9719 Email: 


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398
(rev. 5/95). Application kits are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Office 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: ASKNIH@OD.NIH.GOV.
The title and number of the program announcement must be typed in
Section 2 on the face page of the application. 

The receipt date for all new and competitive renewal center grant
applications will be once per year on January 2. 

The letter of intent should be submitted by November 1. 

The completed original application and five legible copies must be sent
or delivered to: 

DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710 BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710 BETHESDA, MD 20817
(for courier/overnight mail service) 

The application should include an overview summarizing the overall
organization of the proposed CSPAR, including the cores, and is limited
to 5 pages. The RESEARCH PLAN should describe the CSPAR in detail, and
is limited to 25 pages, including tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and
charts. In addition, a detailed description of each core is required,
limited to 10 pages each. Applications must be complete and must not
exceed these page limits or they will not be accepted. 

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH program
staff early in the planning process. NIMH staff will provide
preapplication consultation to all applicants for NIMH CSPAR grants. 

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS Applications that are complete will be evaluated
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group
convened 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. Applications recommended for further consideration by
the review committee will receive a second-level review by the National
Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council. After Council
consideration, applications will be considered for funding decisions by
the relevant program staff and the Institute Director. 

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.
The following aspects of the application will be evaluated in order to
judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial
impact on the pursuit of these goals. Applicants should ensure that
their applications are responsive to the research goals of NIMH and to
the essential organizational and administrative characteristics of an
NIMH core center as described below. 

Overall CSPAR Program Review Criteria 

o Scientific significance of the center's research program with regard
to furthering research on mental health and HIV o Specific goals of the
cores and a clear description of the plans and time frame to achieve
those goals o Synergy of approach and cohesiveness of objectives o
Impact of the existing research base, and unique contributions of the
proposed center to innovation, scientific productivity, and recognition,
including publications, new research grants, honors and awards o
Multi-disciplinary scope, breadth, and overall quality of the center's
program, and provisions for coordinating the research projects and core
units o Quality of the administrative functions and overall
infrastructure in promoting the center themes and research projects o
Extent of collaboration among investigators within the center o Quality
of plans for internal peer review of papers, chapters, and grant
applications o Track record and quality of plans for mentoring and
career development of promising investigators o Quality of plans for
sponsoring workshops, seminars, and other educational activities for
center investigators and research staff o Institutional commitment to
the program 

CSPAR Director 

o Scientific and administrative qualifications of the center director o
Appropriateness of the level of time and commitment to the center grant
o Quality of scientific expertise and track record o Quality of
administrative skills and institutional authority o Ability to
participate in the development of research training programs, career
development and mentoring opportunities 

Core Units 

o Evidence of cost-effectiveness and document of quality control of core
units o Quality of the data analytic functions and procedures for
database management, including quality assessment and control
procedures, extent of use of the data for analysis, publication, and
development of additional hypotheses o Quality of the core laboratories
o Quality and innovation of pilot studies and quality of the procedures
for evaluation and selection of new pilot study proposals o Relationship
to existing grants and appropriateness of planned activities for ongoing

Research Activities 

o Scientific and technical merit of each component research activity and
the relation of the activity to the CSPAR's overall theme o Quality and
productivity of research projects using core units, and description of
how the core units will increase the effectiveness of the research o
Accomplishments and progress of the component research projects and core
units (for competing continuations) o Accomplishments and progress of
pilot studies (for competing continuations) o Qualifications,
experience, and commitment to the CSPAR mission of the investigators
responsible for the core units and research projects and their ability
to devote the required time and effort to the program o As appropriate,
the adequacy of the means proposed for protecting against risks to human
subjects, animals, and/or the environment o As appropriate, the adequate
representation of women and minorities in study populations 


o Scientific qualifications and productivity of center investigators o
Quality and extent of the research expertise o Quality of plans for
personnel recruitment, training, and supervision o Quality and degree of
synergistic potential among the research groups 

Resources and Environment 

o Availability and accessibility of appropriate research laboratories,
equipment, and subjects o Availability and accessibility of appropriate
clinical facilities (if applicable) o Quality of institutional resources
o Quality and degree of institutional support and commitment o Academic
and physical environment as it bears on the potential for interaction
with scientists from other departments and institutions 


o Appropriateness of budget and time frame for the proposed activities o
Appropriateness of procedures for making allocations to core units and,
reviewing and selecting pilot projects for support 

Information Dissemination 

o Quality of plans to participate in scientific, professional, and
public meetings and present research findings and, where concrete
findings exist, plans for publishing the findings o Quality of plans for
making data and methodologies available to the scientific community and
for providing training in such methodologies o The quality of plans for
participating in workshops and conferences, as well as disseminating
information to other investigators and the local community when


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications assigned to NIMH. The following will be considered in
making funding decisions: quality of the application as determined by
peer review, availability of funds, and program priority. 


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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to: 

Dianne Rausch, Ph.D. Office of AIDS Research National Institute of
Mental Health 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18-101 Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone: (301) 443-6100 FAX: (301) 443 9719 Email: 

Direct inquiring regarding fiscal matters to: 

Diana S. Trunnell Grants Management Branch National Institute of Mental
Health Parklawn Building, Room 7C-08 Rockville, MD 20857 Telephone:
(301) 443-2805 FAX: (301) 443-6885 Email: 


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). 

The 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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