Release Date:  August 23, 1999 (see correction NOT-MH-02-008)

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-153 (see replacement PAR-03-142)

National Institute of Mental Health

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


This program announcement (PA) replaces PAR-97-110, which was published in the
NIH Guide, Vol. 26, No. 32, September 26, 1997.  This revision includes an
increase in the maximum amount that can be requested for a Center, and an
expanded description of the Center organization and review criteria reflecting
the goal of NIMH to fund multi-disciplinary research programs addressing broad
issues on the mental health aspects of HIV/AIDS.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office of AIDS Research will
establish Centers to Support 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 is to provide a mechanism to
facilitate currently funded investigators in improving and expanding research
infrastructure, including administrative coordination, subject recruitment,
equipment, laboratories, statistical analysis and database management.  This
utilization of resources will 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 Program for Mental
Health/AIDS Research, is related to the priority areas of mental health and
mental disorders and AIDS research.  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.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and
persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators.


NIMH AIDS Funded Research Base

Applicants must demonstrate a minimum funded research base of four NIMH-funded
research grants, and at least two more peer-reviewed AIDS and AIDS-related
research awards at the time that the CSPAR is funded and throughout the award
period.  The additional grants may be from other NIH Institutes or from
peer-reviewed funding from alternate sources.  This research base must
demonstrate synergy and collaboration for AIDS-related behavior research or
research investigating the neurological and neurobehavioral complications of
HIV infection.  The research base includes grants and contract utilizing the
following mechanisms: P01, R01, R03, R21, R29, R35, R37, U01, U10, U19, and K
series awards.

NIMH will provide up to a maximum of $2,000,000 total costs per year for a
CSPAR grant.  NIMH CSPARs are expected to provide a resource for maximizing
the synergy and innovation that can result from research crossing disciplines,
approaches and levels of analysis.  By providing a resource of shared
expertise and resources, it is expected that unnecessary duplication of effort
and support will be eliminated.  Applicants must provide a thorough
justification of the level of funding requested, with detail describing how
the Center will promote research interactions and collaborations that cross
disciplines, technical and theoretical approaches, and levels of analysis.  As
an NIMH Center, the applicant must also provide detailed descriptions of how
each component of the Center will provide the resources to enhance and expand
research addressing mental health issues and HIV/AIDS.


The mechanism of support for the CSPAR is the core center grant (P30).  The
purpose of this core support grant is to provide a mechanism that will allow
currently funded investigators to consolidate and expand resources that will
enhance and extend the effectiveness of research related to mental health and
HIV/AIDS.  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., administrative coordination, subject recruitment,
equipment, laboratories, statistical analysis, database management, and
developmental cores.  Applicants must demonstrate the potential for continuing
funding for projects proposed to be supported by the core.


The NIMH seeks to foster a synergistic approach to research on mental health
issues of HIV infection.  The goal of the Core Support Program for AIDS
Research (CSPAR) is to encourage the application of multiple scientific
perspectives and approaches to stimulate inter- and multi-disciplinary
collaboration and coordination which will: 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 and the
consequences; 3) study the effects of HIV infection on the nervous system; 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 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 core support.

Through this core support program, NIMH seeks to encourage outstanding
scientists to cooperate to bring together expertise, approaches, and advanced
technologies to a multi-disciplinary study of problems related to mental
health and HIV.  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.  Thematic integration is a defining feature of
Center grants.

CSPAR grant applications may be submitted in any of the scientific areas
supported by the NIMH.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with
appropriate NIMH program staff for questions concerning program-specific
requirements.  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.

Although the specific structure and organization of individual research
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 Center applications must describe in detail the essential function(s) of
each component of the Center, and how this component contributes to the
overall theme and organization of the Center, leading to successful
achievement of the overall goals of the Center.  Specific aims of the proposed
components should be clearly defined, with delineation of a timeline for
implementation and a mechanism for evaluating the achievement of these aims. 
This overall purpose and the goals of the Center should be clearly addressed
in the Introductory section prefacing the application.

o  Research Environment

Each Center must provide an environment that promotes the conduct of the
highest quality, state-of-the-art research, exhibiting leadership and
innovation in its particular area(s) of investigation.  Through its
activities, the CSPAR must demonstrate that it is a significant regional or
national scientific research resource.  Applicants should be very specific in
describing the advantages of the overall Center structure, how it will be
beneficial, and how it will contribute to advancing the field.  The
application of multiple scientific perspectives and a synergistic approach as
well as thematic integration should be defining features of the Center.  For
competing continuations, applicants should identify original approved specific
aims and clearly describe the progress made on each specific aim as well as
evidence of relevant publications produced in the previous funding period.

o  CSPAR Director

The CSPAR Director must be scientifically and administratively qualified
appropriate to the nature and complexity of the research objectives of the
Center.  A critical requirement is the ability of the CSPAR Director to
demonstrate leadership for the scientific program and the team of individuals
involved.  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 Center as
a significant local, regional, or national resource.  Because of the role and
importance of the Center Director to the success of the Center, an individual
should not serve as director of more than one research Center grant.  In
addition, it is expected that the Center Director will make a significant and
justifiable commitment of time and effort to the Center.

o  Training

As a leader in its particular area of investigation, the CSPAR should attract
new investigators and provide for mentoring and career development.  An
important component related to the Center and its research efforts is the
training, career development and mentoring of new investigators who show
potential for significant contributions and independent research careers.  The
applicant institution must therefore 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.  Center grant funds may not be used
to pay stipends or other trainee costs, however, the Center staff may
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

o  Travel

Limited support is available to cover travel of the Center 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

o  Organization

NIMH Center grants are expected to be multi-disciplinary 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 in a well organized plan
that explains how this will result in enhanced quality, productivity and
overall progress in 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. 
The applicant should describe clearly how interactions and collaborations of
participating investigators will enhance and expand 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 research Center grant.  The CSPAR should be
organized to include the cores listed below.

o  Administrative Core

The Center must have appropriate and adequate administrative structure with an
internal organization capable of planning and evaluating Center activities.  A
strategic plan must be outlined which identifies the immediate and long term
goals of the Center.  A process for implementing the activities to achieve the
goals set by the Center should be clearly defined.  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 clearly defined.  Appropriate criteria and review processes must be
established 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
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, with a detailed description of their
responsibilities for the Center and strong justification for the level of
support requested.  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 allowable. 
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.

o  Research Cores

The structure of the CSPAR will include the establishment of at least two
research cores to support shared resources that are not easily funded through
standard research granting mechanisms.  The number and goals of the research
cores should be reflective of the overall level of funding requested for the
Center.  Research cores can be developed around any research activity that can
provide resources to basic and clinical investigators.  The research cores are
expected to be used as shared resources and services and are intended to
provide access to technology that enhances the research productivity of the
Center, scientific interaction and consultation.  These shared resources also
provide access to services that facilitate the research and strengthen the
administrative and organizational cohesion of the Center.  Research within the
core structure is allowed when directed toward improving and expanding the
resource.  Each research core should clearly describe a plan for identifying
new or expanded services that it provides.  In addition, each research core
should clearly describe a plan for identifying potential users of the shared
resources, and for providing the resources to investigators who may request
them.  The potential benefits of these resources and a mechanism to evaluate
these benefits must be detailed in the description of the core.

Centers may request funds for use of inpatient, residential, or outpatient
facilities which are essential to the conduct of the research such as patient
bed costs, research ward costs, outpatient facility and other health services
costs.  Such funds will be made available, however, only when it is clear that
no other funds are available and the services are essential to the conduct of
the research.  Center funds can also support subject recruitment and incentive
costs, as well as community sanction efforts where relevant.  The costs
associated with sharing data and methodologies with the scientific community
and training colleagues in the use of such methodologies are also allowed.

o  Developmental Core

Developmental core money may be used as start-up funds for new, innovative
pilot projects by independent investigators.  Developmental support may be
used for pilot projects by investigators new to AIDS research and for
feasibility studies.  Generally, the total amount of money allocated to pilot
projects should not exceed 10 percent 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. 
The mechanism to review potential projects and make funding decisions, and the
manner in which projects will be monitored and evaluated must be clearly
described to ensure effective use of pilot project funds.  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.

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 current funding status of completed pilot projects, and whether
data generated from pilot projects provided a basis for projects with
independent funding.

o  Budgetary Items and Supportable Activities

Allowable costs in NIH grants are governed by rules set forth in the NIH
Grants Policy Statement and the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, unless
otherwise stated on the Notice of Grant Award.  Under these rules, the Center
Director has flexibility to meet unexpected Center requirements by rebudgeting
or requesting approval to rebudget among categories within the total direct
cost budget of the Center (as shown on the Notice of Grant Award).  The Center
is intended to provide reasonable costs for any or all of those activities
noted below which are clearly related to the specialized research needs of the
Center and allowed by NIH policy.


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.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by December 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
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6209, MSC 9619
Bethesda, MD  20892-9619


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted at January 2 of each year.  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, Email:  The
application is also available at

Applicants planning to submit an investigator-initiated new (type 1),
competing continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended/revised
version of the preceding grant application types requesting $500,000 or more
in direct costs for any year are advised that he or she must contact the
Institute program staff before submitting the application, i.e., as plans for
the study are being developed.  Furthermore, the application must obtain
agreement from the Institute staff that the Institute will accept the
application for consideration for award.  Finally, the applicant must
identify, in a cover letter sent with the application, the staff member and
Institute who agreed to accept assignment of the application.  Refer to the
NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 20, 1998 at

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed on line 2 of
the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH program staff
early in the planning process.

To facilitate the review process, the application should be organized
according to  the outline described here.  (1) An overview should include an
overall description of the proposed Center, including objectives and
integrating theme; justification of Center goals and proposed organization;
evidence of the cohesiveness of the proposed Center; a brief description of
background and responsibilities of the Center Director, key personnel, and
participating investigators; a diagram illustrating the organization and
function of the programmatic and advisory structure of the Center (limited to
10 pages).  (2) A Research Plan should include a detailed description of the
goals of the scientific projects, an action plan to achieve those goals, and a
short and long term time line to meeting the goals; the strengths and
opportunities of the proposed Center; methods to be used; information about
resources and facilities available to the Center; policies and procedures for
strategic planning, monitoring and evaluating the Center activities; an
overview of the core structure, including a justification for specific cores
and a plan for how the cores will interact with the Center functions; and a
description of how the Center will facilitate the existing science at the
Institution (limited to 25 pages).  (3) A detailed description of each
individual Core should include the aims and activities of the core and a
description of how the aims will be met; a justification and description of
the personnel within each core; the proposed users and anticipated percent of
time that is expected; a plan for outreach to other potential users; resources
and environment; and a plan for evaluating the activities of the core (limited
to 10 pages for each core).

The receipt dates for all new and competing continuation Center grant
applications will be January 2.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and five signed photocopies in one package to:

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


Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an
appropriate scientific review group convened by NIMH 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 NIMH
Advisory Council.

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 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,
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  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 meritorious 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.

Applications will be reviewed using the following review criteria.  Applicants
should ensure that their applications are responsive to the research goals of
NIMH and to the essential organizational and administrative characteristics of
a NIMH Center as described below.

Overall Center Program Review Criteria

o  Scientific significance of the Center research program to furthering
research on mental health and HIV
o  Extent of thematic integration
o  Synergy of approach, cohesiveness of objectives
o  Unique strengths and contributions of the Center, including significance,
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, the core units, and the research projects, and provisions for
coordinating the research projects and core units
o  Quality of the administrative functions and overall infrastructure in
relation to Center themes and research projects
o  Extent of collaboration among investigators within the Center and with
other research institutions
o  Participation of a suitable number of responsible, experienced
o  Arrangements for internal quality control of ongoing research, allocation
of funds, day-to-day management, contractual agreements and internal
communication and cooperation among investigators
o  Quality of plans for internal peer review of papers, chapters, and grant
applications including procedures for determining authorship and other
sensitive matters
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

Center Director

o  Scientific and administrative qualifications of the Center Director
o  Evidence of strong leadership potential
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 provide research training, career development, and mentoring

Core Units

o  Evidence of cost-effectiveness and document of quality control of core
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
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  Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the Center mission of the
investigators responsible for the core units 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

Personnel (Overall Center and Cores)

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 (Overall Center and Cores)

o  Availability and accessibility of appropriate research laboratories,
equipment, and subjects
o  Availability and accessibility of appropriate clinical facilities (if
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

Budget (Overall Center and Cores)

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

Information Dissemination (Overall Center and Cores)

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 non-researcher investigators and the
local community when applicable


Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended
applications assigned to the Institute.  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.


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
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6209, MSC 9619
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-7281
FAX:  (301) 443 9719

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

William F. Caputo
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone: (301) 443-6004
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 NIH Grants Policy Statement (October 1, 1998).

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.

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