Release Date:  January 30, 2001

RFA:  RFA-AA-01-003

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  April 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       May 14, 2001



The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) seeks grant 
applications to conduct exploratory and developmental research on high alcohol 
content malt and wine specialty consumption as risk factors for alcohol-
related health and social problems in racially, ethnically and economically 
diverse communities. The most popular of the malt beverages is known as “malt 
liquor”. For the purpose of this RFA, the beverages of interest are those with 
an alcohol content above 5 percent, often sold in similar containers as malt 
and wine cooler products having an alcohol content of 5 percent or lower.     

Previous studies of consumption patterns (quantity, frequency and type of 
beverage consumed) have often failed to consider these beverages.  This has 
resulted in underestimates of the quantity of alcohol consumed and an 
imprecise understanding of what is considered “a drink”.  The high alcohol 
content of these beverages, often about 7 percent or more, raises special 
concerns: 1) for their potential appeal to younger, often under-age drinkers; 
2) because they are thought to be primarily, but not exclusively, marketed in 
predominantly urban minority communities; and 3) because promotional materials 
appear to target the minority youth market.  “Malt liquor” is also relatively 
low cost per ounce of absolute alcohol and is often packaged in large-volume 
(40 ounce and larger), sometimes, non-recloseable, containers that encourage 
more immediate consumption.  Community groups have alleged that these 
beverages are associated with faster consumption, a high blood alcohol 
content, and a more frequent loss of control and aggressive behavior than 
other, more standard alcoholic beverages.  For example, one community passed a 
resolution that requests that off-sale outlet operators voluntarily withdraw 
the sale of malt liquor.  The community has alleged, largely on the basis of 
citizen complaints, that malt liquor consumption contributes significantly to 
alcohol–related problems in the community.
Little research-based information is available about the association between 
the consumption of these beverages and the development of a spectrum of anti-
social and risky behaviors.  This RFA will support research that adds to our 
knowledge of the consumption patterns of these beverages and adverse health 
and social outcomes, if any.  It is hoped that the results of this research 
will form the basis for the development of effective interventions and 
prevention approaches.  


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion 
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national 
activity for setting priority areas.  This Request for Applications (RFA)  
related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain 
a copy of "Healthy People 2010" 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 
exploratory/developmental grants under this RFA.  Racial/ethnic minority 
individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as 
Principal Investigators.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) award mechanism.  
Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants supported under this RFA may request 
up to $100,000 per year (direct costs) for up to three years. Responsibility 
for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be 
solely that of the applicant.  The R21 awards are not renewable.  However, we 
expect successful exploratory/developmental project awardees supported through 
this RFA to subsequently submit regular research project grant (R01) 

Applications for competitive supplements to existing R01 research grants for 
up to $100,000 (direct costs) a year for up to three years may also be 
accepted. Applicants for a supplement to an existing grant should assure that 
the grant meets the requirements to be supplemented.  The time frame for 
competing supplements cannot exceed the parent grant project period.  
Applicants should consult the program administrator before submitting a 
competing supplement application under this RFA. 

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

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  The anticipated award date is September 
28, 2001


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism plans to spend up to $1 
million in FY 2001 to fund 7 to 10 new grants under this RFA. An applicant may 
request a project period of up to three years and a budget for direct costs of 
up to $100,000 per year for an R21 or a competitive supplement to an existing 
grant.  Because the nature and scope of the research proposed might vary, it 
is anticipated that the size of each award will also vary. Although the 
financial plans of the Institute provide support for this program, awards 
pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the 
receipt of a sufficient number of applications of outstanding scientific and 
technical merit.  



Alcoholism and alcohol-related problems have an enormous impact on our 
society. Most adults can drink alcohol moderately and responsibly without 
complications. However, nearly 14 million Americans meet the medical criteria 
for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Although a dollar figure 
cannot adequately reflect the social and human devastation caused by these 
illnesses, it is estimated that the economic and health care costs to society 
from alcoholism and alcohol abuse are nearly $185 billion annually.  Much of 
this cost is related to lost productivity, motor vehicle crashes, alcohol-
related medical expenses and crime.  

Why some people who drink get into trouble from alcohol use, while many others 
do not, has been a central question in alcohol research.  It is clear that 
there are genetic influences on an individual's risk for alcoholism, but 
environmental influences are also key factors. African, Hispanic and Native 
Americans are at higher risk than whites for certain alcohol-related health 
and social problems and alcohol is the number one substance of abuse used by 
American adolescents and young adults. Research suggests that causal processes 
leading to alcohol use and abuse among youth do not necessarily differ across 
ethnic groups but prevalence of factors that affect development of risk does. 
Consumption of low cost per ounce, higher alcoholic content (5 percent or 
more) malt beverages and other often sweetened alcoholic beverages, especially 
among younger adolescents, is of concern because they may contribute to 
increased alcohol use and abuse and increased risk. These products are higher 
in potency than regular beer or wine coolers, which have alcohol contents of 5 
percent alcohol or less and are usually sold in 12 ounce and smaller 


Issues surrounding higher alcohol content malt and wine specialties have been 
identified as areas where research-based information on possible associations 
with social, psychological, economic and other adverse consequences is 
lacking.  Little research-based information exists to link outcomes 
specifically to consumption of these beverages, independent of other 
beverages. This request encourages applicants to consider a broad range of 
approaches and methods.  Methods and approaches that the Institute believes 
will further this effort include: Case control, quantitative, qualitative, 
econometric, consumer behavior and longitudinal studies; surveys; natural 
experiments; event analyses; multivariate analyses and analyses of marketing 
practices and advertising content and sales. Rigorous studies of socially 
disruptive activities including fighting, missing school, risky sexual 
behaviors, accidents and violent behaviors are also of interest. Research is 
needed to determine: if these alcoholic beverages are more available in 
ethnically diverse communities; if levels of consumption are higher in these 
communities, if advertising, marketing and packaging contribute to higher 
consumption levels and what the adverse consequences might be, if any.

The following areas illustrate suitable topics for research. While applicants 
are not limited to these themes, they are advised to consult with program 
staff on the relevance of their research plans to the RFA.

A. Studies are needed to ascertain:  

1) Prevalence
- The evidence of problems directly or indirectly associated with consumption 
of these beverages 
- Definable pathways leading to  consumption of these beverages.

2) User characteristics 
- The age, gender, ethnicity and product knowledge of consumers
- Consumers terminology for this beverage
- Awareness of its alcohol content and its influence on their decision to 
drink these beverages  

3) The degree of harm  
- Provide demographic information on populations likely to consume these 
beverages versus populations that are likely to consume more traditional beer, 
wine or distilled spirits.
- Compare product availability in selected communities.
- Collect and analyze information on national marketing practices in minority 
- Evaluate differences in consumatory practices and social settings of malt 
liquor and high alcohol content wine specialty drinkers and drinkers of 
comparable products such as beer.

4) Consequences/outcomes
- Effects of consumption of these beverages on health, crime, violence and 
other adverse outcomes.
- Compare outcomes in neighborhoods with similar demographics where these 
beverages are and are not sold. 
- Studies using biological measures to determine physiologic effects; studies 
of quantity and frequency of consumption, including blood alcohol 
concentrations, in comparison to other alcoholic beverages.

5) Drinking patterns
- Prevalence of chugging and bingeing.  Amounts typically consumed and 
relationship, if any, to socioeconomic status.  
- Consumers definition of “a drink”.
- Youth trends in mixing malt liquor and other alcoholic beverages or drugs 
(e.g. “blunts”).
- Role of malt liquor as a “gateway” to drink other alcoholic beverages.
- Consumer expectancies for different beverages, including malt liquor. 
- Consumers expectations of a different “high” from these beverages.
- Drinker expectancies related to advertising.

6) Social Acceptability
- Social norms regarding drinking in public vs. private.
- Cultural differences among youth groups.
- Differences in Hispanic and Native Americans as compared to African American 
youth and adult groups.
- Presence of collective efficacy, the level of social control and/or 
willingness of individuals in a neighborhood to intervene in non-sanctioned 

7) Marketing strategies
- Advertising promotional strategies specific for these beverages.
- The potential of ads displaying images of strength and power to attract  
specific types of drinkers (male bias). Characterize the use of cultural icons 
to market these beverages (African, Native, Hispanic Americans).
- Perceptions of these beverages among their drinkers.
- The role of sponsorship (music, etc.)

B.  To Evaluate Policy Issues- Effects of changes in alcohol laws

1) Availability
- Outlet-density differences for these beverages versus other alcoholic 
beverages (e.g., shelf space dedicated to such products).
- Selling locations by geography and area. 
- Quantity of sales by location. 
- Effects of on-site versus off site outlets.
- Issues regarding access by minors.
- Control/zoning issues, including presence/absence of enforcement.
- Data to support maintaining or changing policies regarding 
marketing/advertising of these beverages.

2) Price/Taxation
- Effects of price and the relationship of statewide pricing to sales volume.
- Price differences in products according to neighborhood/SES.
- Effects due to container size for 40 ounce sometimes non-resealable 
- Effects of price/taxation on consumption/outcomes.

3) Labeling/Definitions 
- Consumer awareness of the alcohol content of these beverages and influence 
of perceived alcohol content on consumer’s decision to drink malt liquor.


An annual meeting will be held in the Washington, D.C., area to facilitate the 
exchange of information and coordination among investigators.  Applicants 
should include support for these required meetings as part of the overall 
budget request. 


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating 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 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require: a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans 
to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.


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.


All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit 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 the RFA in 
response to which the application may be submitted.  Although a letter of 
intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of 
a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to 
estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to: 

Extramural Project Review Branch 
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 
6000 Executive Boulevard, Room 409, MSC 7003 
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003 
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)

Telephone: (301) 443-4375 FAX: (301) 443-6077 by the letter of intent receipt 
date listed.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional 
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach and 
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, 
MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/710-0267, email:


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 Grant applications for Exploratory/Developmental (R21) Grants and 
competing supplements will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to a 
total direct cost request of $100,000 per year for up to three years. 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 below:

PHS 398

o FACE PAGE: Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in 
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $100,000) 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 all 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 all 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.  Include the Letter of 
Intent to establish a consortium.

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the 
number of modules requested.

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. 

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA 
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed 
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee 
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on 
line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be 

The sample RFA label available at: has been modified to 
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

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

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

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be 
sent to: 

RFA: AA-01-003 
Extramural Project Review Branch 
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 409, MSC 7003 
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003 
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service) 

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the 
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will 
be returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The 
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one 
already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of substantial 
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must include 
an introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by the NIAAA.  If the application is not responsive to the RFA, 
CSR staff may contact the applicant to determine whether to return the 
application to the applicant or submit it for review in competition with 
unsolicited applications at the next review cycle.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for 
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by 
the NIAAA in accordance with the review criteria stated below. As part of the 
initial merit review, a process will be used by the initial review group in 
which applications 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 the applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a 
priority score, and receive a second level review by the National Advisory 
Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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 high 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.

(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 

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

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

o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed research.

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project  
proposed in the application.

o  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data, if appropriate.

Additional consideration pertinent to the review of Exploratory/Developmental 
Grant (R21) applications:

Pilot/feasibility studies may 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.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    April 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         May 14,  2001
Peer Review Date:                 July, 2001
Council Review:                   September 18, 2001
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 28, 2001


Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities.


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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Ernestine Vanderveen, Ph.D.
Office of Collaborative Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Blvd, Suite 302, MCS 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-2531
FAX  (301) 480-2358

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Tony Beck, Ph.D.
Extramural Project Review Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Blvd, Suite 409, MCS 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-0913
FAX  (301) 443-6077

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to: 

Linda Hilley
Grants Management Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Blvd, Suite 504, MCS 7003
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-0915
FAX  (301) 480-3891


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.273.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 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 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.

Return to Volume Index

Return to NIH Guide Main Index

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.