Release Date:  August 6, 1999 (see replacement PA-03-039)

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-140

National Institute of Mental Health



This PA replaces PAR-97-015 "NIMH SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM," which was published
in the NIH Guide, Vol. 25, No. 42, December 6, 1996.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Small Grants Program provides
research support of up to $50,000 per year (direct costs) for up to two years
for new research projects in areas of high relevance to the mission of the
NIMH.  Small grants are short-term awards designed to answer specific and
targeted research questions.  Both new and more experienced investigators are
encouraged to apply for grants under this announcement.  Newer investigators
may use the award to generate new or additional preliminary data for future
research grants (e.g. R01).  More experienced investigators must justify
support under this mechanism as either representing new research directions
for the investigator or develop and test new methodology.  The award is also
intended to support investigators at institution that do not have extensive
research resources (see RESEARCH OBJECTIVES).


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 "NIMH SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM," is
related to the priority area of Mental Health and Mental Disorders.  Potential
applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" 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.  Foreign institutions are not eligible for NIMH Small
Grants Program.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

It is important to note that while the NIMH encourages applications from new
investigators, individuals who are in training status and being supported by
National Research Service Awards (NRSA) traineeships and/or fellowships are
not eligible to be supported until the completion or termination of the
approved research training program, which must occur prior to the beginning
date of an R03 research project as a Principal Investigator.


This program will use the small grant (R03) mechanism.  Support may be
requested for up to two years at $50,000 per year in direct costs, plus
facilities and administrative (F&A) costs.  Small grants are not renewable.

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts being examined by the NIH. 
Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant
applications can be found at


The small grant program provides relatively limited financial support for
research of high priority to the NIMH for which a time period of one to two
years is appropriate.  Priority will be given to applications in any of the
following four categories:

1.  Newer, less experienced investigators.
2.  Investigators at institutions without well developed research traditions
and resources.
3.  More experienced investigators, for exploratory studies that represent
significant change in research direction for them.
4.  More experienced investigators, for developing and testing new methods or

Applications must include an introductory paragraph in the research plan
section of the application identifying which priority category (1 through 4
above) is relevant and providing explicit justification for its applicability. 
If the application does not fall into any of the priority categories, this
should be stated.

Applications may be made for support of research in any scientific area
relevant to mental health (for program areas supported by NIMH see:  While applications may involve
a wide variety of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical disciplines, relevance
to the mission of the NIMH must be clear.  Applications for studies outside
these areas will be returned without review.  Potential applicants with
questions concerning acceptability of their proposed work may contact the
program staff listed under INQUIRIES.


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 available on the web at the following URL address:


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 these policies from the program staff
listed under Inquiries.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant
information concerning the policy.


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 Institute
staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used
in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted below.


Modular Small Grant applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules,
up to a total direct cost request of $50,000 per year.  The total direct costs
must be requested in accordance with the program guidelines and the
modifications made to the standard PHS 398 application instructions described

PHS 398

o FACE PAGE: Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $50,000 per year) and Total Costs
[Modular Total Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the
initial budget period Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the
Direct and Total Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required
and will not be accepted with the application.

o NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative
page. (See for sample
pages.) At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for
each year.  This is not a Form page.

o Under Personnel, List key project personnel, including their names, percent
of effort, and roles on the project.  No individual salary information should
be provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation language
salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in developing
the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the nearest
$1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of key personnel,
and the role on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating institution
is foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a consortium/contractual
arrangement is included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount.

o BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific
role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall
qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for
all key personnel, following the instructions below.  No more than three pages
may be used for each person.  A sample biographical sketch may be viewed at:

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on
research projects ongoing or completed during the last three years.
- List selected peer-reviewed publications, with full citations;

o CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the
application.  If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the
type of agreement and the date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied in
the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future
budget years.

o The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual to
contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional information
is necessary following the initial review.

Specific instructions for Small Grant applications:

In addition to the above instructions, the following specific instructions
must be followed:

1. The narrative portion of the small grant application that describes the
research plan (items a-d) may not exceed 10 pages of text.  Applications
exceeding this length will be returned without review.  Appendices may not be
used to exceed the page limitation.

2. An introductory paragraph to the research plan must identify which of the
four priority categories listed under RESEARCH OBJECTIVES applies and provide
an explanation of how that priority category applies.  If the application does
not fall into any of the priority areas, this should be stated.

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in apply
for this program.  Application kits are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and may be obtained 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: GrantsInfo@NIH.GOV.  They may also be
obtained from the following Website:

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed in Section 2 on
the face page of the application.

An original and five legible copies of the completed and signed application
are to be sent or delivered to:

BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)

Applications for NIMH SMALL GRANT PROGRAM will be accepted and reviewed three
times a year according to the following schedule:

Application Receipt Dates:      Feb 1    Jun 1     Oct 1
Review Meeting:                 Jun/Jul  Oct/Nov   Feb/Mar
NIMH Council Meeting:           Sep      Jan       May
Earliest Possible Start Dates:  Dec 1    Apr 1     Jul 1


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.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In
the written review, comments on the following aspects of the application will
be made 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 the assignment of the overall score:

(1) Significance.  Does this study address an important problem? 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 applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation.  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method?
Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) Investigator.  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 support?

(6) Appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
proposed research;

(7) Adequacy of plans to include genders, children and adolescents, and
minorities and their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research, or justification for their exclusion.  Plans for the recruitment and
retention of subjects will also be evaluated.

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the protection
of human and animal subjects, the safety of the research environment, and
conformance with the NIH Guidelines for the Inclusion of Women, Children and
Adolescents and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research.

Additional considerations pertinent to the review of NIMH Small Grant (R03)

o  Because the research plan is limited to 10 pages, a Small Grant application
may not have the same level of detail or extensive discussion normally found
in an R01 application.  Review emphasis should be placed on conceptual
framework and general approach to the problem, with less emphasis on
methodological details.

o  Pilot/feasibility studies contain little or no preliminary data.  Review
should focus on whether the rationale for the study is well developed and
whether the proposed research is likely to generate data that will lead to a
regular research project grant or full-scale clinical trial.  Adequate
justification for the proposed work may be provided through literature
citations, data from other sources, or investigator-generated data.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review, availability of
funds, and program priority.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH staff for technical
assistance and information concerning current program priorities before
applying for an award.  Information about "NIMH Extramural Programs and
Program Official Contacts" may be obtained from the following Website:

For overall NIMH policy with regard to this initiative, contact:

Henry Khachaturian, Ph.D.
Office of Science Policy and Program Planning
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8208, MSC 9667
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-4335
FAX: (301) 443-3225

For specific Division/Office-level program interests, contact the following
training staff, to whom letters-of-intent should be addressed:

Della Hann, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6217, MSC 9621
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-9700
FAX: (301) 480-6000

Walter L. Goldschmidts, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7196, MSC 9645
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-3563
FAX: (301) 443-1731

Enid Light, Ph.D.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7160, MSC 9635
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-1185
FAX: (301) 443-4045

Michael Hirsch, Ph.D.
Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167, MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-1815

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 443-2805
FAX: (301) 443-6885


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 National Institutes of Health Grants Policy Statement (October
1, 1998).

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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