Release Date:  September 8, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-164 (Reissued as PAR-07-444)

Agency for Health Care Policy and Research


The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) announces its interest
in supporting Independent Scientist Awards (ISA) in health services research.
The ISA provides support for newly independent scientists who can demonstrate
a need for a period of intensive research focus.  This award is intended to
foster the development of outstanding scientists and enable them to expand
their potential to make significant contributions to their field of research.

AHCPR supports and conducts research to improve the outcomes, effectiveness,
quality, access to, and cost and utilization of health care services.  AHCPR
achieves this mission through health services research designed to: (1)
improve clinical practice, (2) improve the health care systems leader"s
ability to provide access to and deliver high quality, high-value health care,
and (3) give policy makers the ability to assess the impact of system changes
on outcomes, effectiveness, quality, access, cost and use of health care

AHCPR programs and products are designed to be responsive to the needs of
consumers, patients, clinicians, and other providers, institutions, plans,
purchasers, and public and private policy makers at all levels for evidence-
based information they may need to improve quality and outcomes, control
costs, and ensure access to needed services.  A copy of AHCPR"s strategic plan
is available at

AHCPR is committed to achieving the goals of the President"s Race and Health
Disparities Initiative: Eliminating by the year 2010 the differences in
outcomes and health status for racial and ethnic minority populations in six
clinical areas (infant mortality, cancer screening and management,
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV infection, and child and adult
immunization).  Many of these disparities are not due to gaps in knowledge
regarding disease processes, but are largely the result of provider factors,
patient factors, and organizational factors which impair the implementation of
existing knowledge.  AHCPR seeks research projects which will advance the
implementation of existing research findings to assist in achieving this
ambitious goal.

In addition, AHCPR recognizes the need for collaborative and integrative work
that addresses issues of access to care, outcomes, quality, and the cost and
use of services for children.

Applications that focus on developing the careers of investigators who will
study minority, child, and older adult health services research with the above
interests are strongly encouraged.  It is anticipated that some awards will be
made specifically to highly meritorious applications that foster the research
careers of investigators studying these populations.


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 health improvement priority for the United States.  AHCPR
encourages applicants to submit grant applications with relevance to the
specific objectives of this initiative.  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


The AHCPR career development program is conducted in compliance with
applicable laws that provide that no person shall, on the grounds of race,
color, national origin, sex, disability, or age, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination.  Applicant organizations are required to have appropriate
Assurance of Compliance forms filed with the Office of Civil Rights, Office of
the Secretary, DHHS before a grant may be made to that institution.  The
Division of Research Education, Office of Research Review, Education, and
Policy (ORREP) should be contacted with any questions concerning compliance


The candidate must have a clinical (e.g., M.D., D.O., D.D.S.) or research
doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., Sc.D.), and must be no more than five years out
of the latest research training experience.  In addition, at the time of
award, the candidate will preferably either be  playing a key role on a major
ongoing peer-reviewed research project or be receiving independent peer-
reviewed research support.  Alternatively, the candidate can demonstrate
potential excellence by having completed a research training experience
through a nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed, postdoctoral research program
or individual grant.  The candidate must also be willing to spend a minimum of
75 percent effort conducting research and research career development during
the award, and institutional support for this time allocation must be clear. 
Lastly, the candidate must demonstrate that the requested period of research
focus will foster his/her career as highly productive investigator in the
indicated field of research.

Applications may be submitted on behalf of candidates by domestic, non-Federal
public or private non-profit organizations, including medical, dental, public
health, or nursing schools or other institutions of higher education.  AHCPR,
by statute, can make grants only to non-profit organizations.  Organizations
described in section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in
lobbying are not eligible.

Members of minority groups, women, and persons with disabilities are
encouraged to apply.  Candidates must be U.S. citizens or non-citizen
nationals, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and
possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551) or some other
verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.  Non-citizen
nationals, although not U.S. citizens, owe permanent allegiance to the U.S. 
They are usually born in lands that are not states, but are under U.S.
sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration.  Individuals on temporary or
student visas are not eligible.


Awards in response to this program announcement (PA) will use the Research
Scientist Development Award (K02) mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning,
direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the
applicant.  However, the institution must demonstrate a commitment to the
candidate and the candidate"s goals for career development.  The project
period for an application submitted in response to this PA is between three
and five years and is not renewable.


Through the career development program ISA award, AHCPR seeks to expand the
number of researchers who conduct health care services research in areas
identified in the AHCPR Health Services Research Program Announcement (PA)
published in the NIH Guide on March 26, 1998. (See Funding Opportunities at  The PA outlines broad research interests that would:

o  support improvements in health outcomes, at both the clinical and system

o  strengthen quality measurement and improvement including the use of
evidence-based practice information and tools,

o  identify strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use, and reduce
unnecessary expenditures including research on the organization, financing,
and delivery of health care and the characteristics of primary care practices.
A special focus is on health issues related to priority populations including
minority populations, older adults, women, and children,

o  advance methodologies in health services research, especially cost-
effectiveness analysis, and

o  focus on ethical issues across the spectrum of health care delivery.

Applications responding to this program announcement should reflect the

A. Environment:  The institution should have a demonstrated commitment to
research and a commitment to the continuing development of the candidate as an
independent scientist.  The institution must provide assurance that the
candidate is an integral part of its research and academic program.

B. Program:  The award provides up to three to five consecutive, 12 month
appointments.  At least 75 percent of the recipient"s full-time professional
effort must be devoted to the program and the remainder devoted to other
research-related and/or teaching pursuits consistent with the objectives of
the award.

C. Allowable Costs:

1. Salary:  The AHCPR will provide salary and fringe benefits for the K02

Total requested percentage of the candidate"s institutional salary, up to
$75,000 annually, plus associated fringe benefits.

The institution may supplement the AHCPR contribution up to a level that is
consistent with the institution"s salary scale, however, supplementation may
not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal
program from which such funds are derived.  In no case, may PHS funds be used
for salary supplementation.  Institutional supplementation of salary must not
require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose
of the ISA.  Under expanded authorities, however, institutions may rebudget
funds within the total costs awarded to cover salaries consistent with the
institution"s salary scale.

The total salary requested must be based on a full-time, 12-month staff
appointment.  It must be consistent both with the established salary structure
at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution from
its own funds to other staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and
responsibilities in the department concerned.  If full-time, 12-month salaries
are not currently paid to comparable staff members, the salary proposed must
be appropriately related to the existing salary structure.

2. Research Development Support:  It is expected that candidates for a K02
award will have research support at the time of the award. Candidates may
request funds only to  offset the cost of tuition, fees, and books related to
career development, if needed and justified.  Travel support for one
scientific meeting per year may be requested.  No additional funds for other
research support may be requested.  Applicants should request additional
information from the Division of Research Education listed under INQUIRIES.

3. Ancillary Personnel Support:  Salary for secretarial, technical, and/or
administrative assistance, etc., is not allowed.

4. Indirect costs:  Indirect costs will be reimbursed at 8 percent of modified
total direct costs, or at the actual indirect cost rate, whichever is less.

D. Evaluation:  In carrying out its stewardship of human resource related
programs, the AHCPR, at some point in the future, may begin requesting
information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program.
Accordingly, recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted after
the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their
employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts,
honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in
evaluating the impact of the program.

E. Other Income:  Fees resulting from clinical practice, professional
consultation, or other comparable activities required by the research and
research-related activities of this award may not be retained by the career
award recipient.  Such fees must be assigned to the grantee institution for
disposition by any of the following methods:

The funds may be expended by the grantee institution in accordance with the
AHCPR policy on supplementation of career award salaries and to provide fringe
benefits in proportion to such supplementation.  Such salary supplementation
and fringe benefit payments must be within the established policies of the
grantee institution. The funds may be used for health-related research

Awardees may retain royalties and fees for activities such as scholarly
writing, service on advisory groups, or honoraria from other institutions for
lectures or seminars, provided these activities remain incidental and if the
retention of such pay is consistent with the policies and practices of the
grantee institution.

Usually, funds budgeted in an institute-supported research or training grant
for the salaries or fringe benefits of individuals, but freed because of a
career award, may not be rebudgeted.  An institute will consider approval for
use of released funds only under unusual circumstances.  Any proposed
retention of funds released because of an AHCPR career award must receive
prior written approval of the awarding component.

F. Special Leave:  Leave to another institution, including a foreign health
services research program, may be permitted if directly related to the purpose
of the award.  Only local, institutional approval is required if such leave
does not exceed three months.  For longer periods, prior AHCPR written
approval is required.  To obtain prior approval, the award recipient must
submit a letter describing the plan, countersigned by his or her department
head and the appropriate institutional official.  A copy of a letter or other
evidence from the institution where the leave is to be taken must be submitted
to assure that satisfactory arrangements have been made.  Support from the
career award will continue during such leave.

Leave without award support may not exceed 12 months.  Such leave requires
prior written approval and will be granted only in unusual situations. 
Support from other sources is permissible during the period of leave.  Such
leave does not reduce the total number of months of program support for which
an individual is eligible.  Parental leave will be granted consistent with the
policies of the AHCPR and the grantee institution.

G. Termination or Change of Institution:  When a grantee institution plans to
terminate an award, AHCPR must be notified in writing at the earliest possible
time so that appropriate instructions can be given for termination.  If the
individual is moving to another eligible institution, career award support may
be continued provided that a new career award application is submitted by the
new institution, the period of support requested is no more than the time
remaining within the existing award period, and the new application is
submitted far enough in advance of the requested effective date to allow the
necessary time for review.  Depending upon the circumstances, AHCPR may
require a new review by an initial review group or a review may be carried out
by internal AHCPR staff.

The AHCPR Administrator may discontinue an award upon determination that the
purpose or terms of the award are not being fulfilled.  In the event an award
is terminated, the AHCPR Administrator shall notify the grantee institution
and career award recipient in writing of this determination, the reasons
thereof, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision. 
Replacement of the Principal Investigator on the grant will not be approved.

A final progress report, invention statement, and Financial Status Report are
required upon either termination of an award or relinquishment of an award in
a change of institution situation.  Annual reports describing project
progress, and including articles that are published or in-press, are also

Applicants who have questions regarding the relevance of their research to
AHCPR goals should contact, by telephone, E-mail or letter, staff listed under
INQUIRIES.  The Notice on Request for Planning Ideas published in the Federal
Register April 15, 1999
( also lists AHCPR
Strategic goals and types of activities in support of those goals.

Data Privacy

Pursuant to section 903(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 299a-
1(c)), information obtained in the course of any AHCPR-study that identifies
an individual or entity must be treated as confidential in accordance with any
promises made or implied regarding the use and purposes of the data
collection.  Applicants must describe in the Human Subjects section of the
application procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of such identifying
information.  The description of the procedures should include a discussion of
who will be permitted access to the information, both raw data and machine
readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or
identifiable data will be safeguarded.

The grantee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data
have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds those established by
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB circular No. A-130, Appendix
III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems.  The National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published several
implementation guides for this circular.  They are: An Introduction Computer
Security: The NIST handbook, Generally Accepted Principle and Practices for
Securing Information Technology Systems, and Guide for Developing Security
Plans for Information Technology Systems.  The circular and guides are
available on the web at,,,, respectively.

Rights in Data

AHCPR grantees may copyright or seek patents, as appropriate, for final and
interim products and materials including, but not limited to, methodological
tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and
analyses, which are developed in whole or in part with AHCPR funds.  Such
copyrights and patents are subject to a Federal government license to use and
permit others to use these products and materials for AHCPR purposes.  In
accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHCPR purposes may
include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making research
materials, data bases, and algorithms available for verification or
replication by other researchers, and subject to AHCPR budget constraints,
final products maybe made available to the health care community and the
public by AHCPR, or its agents, if such distribution would significantly
increase access to a product and thereby produce public health benefits. 
Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHCPR publicizes research findings but
relies on grantees to publish in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-
supported products.


It is the policy of AHCPR that women, and members of minority groups be
included in all AHCPR-supported research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that
inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the
purpose of the research.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in
Clinical Research," which have been published in the Federal Register of March
28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513), and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts of
March 18, 1994.  AHCPR follows the NIH Guidelines, as applicable.

Investigators may obtain copies from the above sources or from the AHCPR
contractors listed under INQUIRES, or from the NIH Guide website

AHCPR is also encouraging investigators to consider including children in
study populations, as appropriate. AHCPR announced in the NIH Guide of May 9,
1997, that it is developing a policy and implementation plan on the inclusion
of children in health services research.  This Notice is available through the
AHCPR Web site (Funding Opportunities) and InstantFAX
(see instructions under INQUIRIES).

Investigators may obtain copies of these guidelines and policies from the
sources listed above or from the AHCPR contractor, Equals Three
Communications, Inc., (see INQUIRIES.)

AHCPR program staff may also provide information concerning these policies


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) using the instructions for Research Career Award Applications in Section
IV as appropriate.  Applications will be accepted on the standard application
receipt dates as indicated in the PHS 398 application kit.  Application kits
are available at most institutional offices of sponsored research, 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:, on the NIH Website at, and from the AHCPR

Equals Three Communications, Inc.
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD  20814-3015
Telephone:  (301) 656-3100
FAX:  (301) 652-5264

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

The completed, signed, typewritten, original application and four copies must
be sent or delivered to:

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

At the time of submission, one additional copy must be sent to AHCPR at:

Division of Research Education
Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20852-4908

The application must address the following issues (a concise introductory
statement on A and B below should precede the description of the research

A. Candidate

o  Describe the candidate"s commitment to a career in health services

o  Document the candidate"s success as an investigator and his/her potential
to make future contributions to the chosen field of research as an independent

o  Describe immediate and long-term career objectives.  Explain how this award
will contribute to these goals.

o  Describe how the Independent Scientist Award will further the candidate"s
research career and ultimate impact on knowledge about health and health care.

B. Career Development Plan

o  Describe the career development plan, incorporating consideration of the
candidate"s goals and prior experience.

o  The candidate must either describe plans to participate in courses related
to instruction in the responsible conduct of research or demonstrate
competency in this area. These plans must detail the proposed subject matter,
format, frequency, and duration of instruction as well as the amount and
nature of the candidate"s participation.  No award will be made if an
application lacks this component.

C.  Research Plan

o  Describe the research plan as outlined in form PHS 398 including sections
on the Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Progress Report/Preliminary
Studies, Research Design and Methods.

o  Describe how the research will advance AHCPR"s mission and goals.

D.  Environment and Institutional Commitment

o  The application must contain evidence of the applicant institution"s
commitment to the career enhancement of the candidate.  Indicate the types of
facilities, supplies, equipment, and human resources that will be made
available to the applicant.  Provide assurance that the candidate will be able
to devote 75 percent of his/her full-time professional effort to research
related activities.

E.  Budget

o  Budget requests must be provided according to the instructions in form PHS
398.  The request for tuition and fees, books, travel, etc., must be justified
and specified by category.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness and
responsiveness to the PA by the AHCPR Referral Officer and Scientific Review
Administrator.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications
not following form PHS 398 instructions for Research Career Award applications
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.  Applications
that are complete and responsive to the PA will be evaluated for scientific
and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance
with standard AHCPR peer review procedures.

As part of the merit review, all applications will receive a written critique,
and also may undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have
the highest scientific merit will be discussed and assigned a priority score.

The following review criteria will be applied:

A. Candidate

o  Capacity to carry out independent research,

o  Potential to become an outstanding investigator who will make significant
contributions to the field,

o  Past and present research productivity as evidenced by such criteria as:
contributions to the scientific literature, and success in obtaining
independent funding,

o  Ability to conceptualize and organize a long-term research approach, and

o  Level of training, experience, and competence commensurate with the
purposes of the award.

B. Career Development Plan

o  Likelihood that the award will contribute substantially to the continued
research career development and productivity of the candidate,

o  The extent to which the award will enable a candidate to devote full time
to research and related duties by release from teaching, administration, and
other responsibilities,

o  Consistency of the career development plan with the candidate"s career
goals, and

o  Collaboration with other active investigators and opportunities for
professional growth.

C. Research Plan

o  Quality of research plan and significance for contributing to the health
services research literature,

o  Scientific and technical merit of the proposed research plan,

o  Relevance of the proposed research to AHCPR"s goals and priorities, and

o  Adequacy of plans to include both genders, children, and minorities and
their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research. 
Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.

D. Environment and Institutional Commitment

o  Institutional commitment to the development of the candidate as an
independent scientist and assurances that the institution intends the
candidate to be an integral part of its research and academic program, and

o  Strength of the institution"s commitment to scientific research.

E. Budget

o  Justification of budget requests in relation to career development goals
and research aims and plans.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other applications
under this Program Announcement.  The following will be considered in making
the funding decisions: quality of the proposed career development plan and
proposed project as determined by peer review, program balance, and
availability of funds.

It is anticipated that some awards will specifically be made to highly
meritorious applicants pursuing research that addresses minority, child, and
older adult populations, or to individual investigators from predominantly
minority institutions.


Copies of this PA and copies of the grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98)
are available from the AHCPR contractor:

Equals Three Communications, Inc.
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3015
Telephone: 301-656-3100 or FAX: 301-652-5264

The PA is also available on AHCPR"s Website, and through
AHCPR InstantFAX at (301) 594-2800.  To use InstantFAX, you must call from a
facsimile (FAX) machine with a telephone handset.  Follow the voice prompt to
obtain a copy of the table of contents, which has the document order number
(not the same as the PA number).  The PA will be sent at the end of the
ordering process.  AHCPR InstantFAX operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
For questions abut this service, call AHCPR"s Division of Communications at
(301) 594-6344.

AHCPR welcomes the opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from
potential applicants who have read the PA.  Written and telephone inquiries
concerning this PA are encouraged.  Direct inquiries regarding programmatic
issues, including information on the inclusion of women, minorities, and
children in study populations to:

Division of Research Education
Office of Research Review, Education and Policy
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 400
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone: (301) 594-1449

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal and administrative matters to:

George "Skip" Moyer
Grants Management Staff
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 601
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone: (301) 594-1842


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number
93.226.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 901(b), 902(c), and
925(c) of the Public Health Service Act, as amended (42 USC 299(b), 299a(c)
and 299c-4(c)) and Section 1142 of the Social Security Act (42 USC 1320b-12)
as applicable.  Awards are administered under the PHS Grants Policy Statement
and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 67, Subpart A, and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. 
This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In
addition, Public Law 103-227, The Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking
in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of
the American people.

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.