Release Date:  February 10, 2000

RFA:  AG-00-001

National Institute on Aging (

Letter of Intent Date: June 15, 2000
Application Receipt Date: August 23, 2000


The National Institute on Aging (NIA) invites applications for support of Claude D. 
Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (OAICs).  These centers are for the 
purpose of increasing independence in older Americans. OAICs will provide support 
for research to develop and test clinical interventions, and for core laboratories 
in the basic sciences. OAICs also will train individuals in research approaches to 
develop and test methods of maintaining and increasing independence, and to enhance 
expertise in aging research through the provision of training in the relevant 
fundamental scientific disciplines.  They will conduct demonstration projects and 
information dissemination concerning the applications of such research.  Centers 
should promote linkages between mechanistic and outcome research and thereby foster 
the development by new investigators of better clinical treatments and preventive 
approaches.  It is recognized that the balance between support devoted to 
intervention studies and fundamental science will differ among Centers to take 
advantage of areas of strength in geriatric and gerontologic research available at 
different institutions.  In those instances where applications request significant 
core resources to enhance ongoing projects, the number and quality of externally 
funded peer-reviewed studies will be of special importance.  OAICs may support a 
broad range of geriatric and aging research. However, applications with a 
predominant focus in neuroscience (with the exception of stroke rehabilitation in 
older persons) or the behavioral and social sciences are more appropriate for other 
NIA centers' programs with a primary focus in these disciplines.


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 Request for Applications (RFA), Claude D. Pepper 
Older Americans Independence Centers, is related to the priority area of chronic 
disabling conditions.  

Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at


Only U.S. organizations are eligible to apply.  Applications may be submitted by 
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 


Older Americans Independence Centers will be supported through the comprehensive 
center grant (P60) mechanism.  The awarding of funds pursuant to this RFA is 
contingent on availability of funds.


First year budgets may not exceed $1.6 million (direct plus facilities and 
administrative (F&A) costs).  Budget increments for subsequent years generally will 
be limited to no more than one percent.  Awards are made initially for five years 
and may be renewed competitively for five-year periods. 

Although it is anticipated that up to $6.4 million will be directed to the support 
of competing OAICs in Fiscal Year 2001, and that four awards will be made from the 
applications received in response to this RFA, issuance of an Older Americans 
Independence Center award is contingent upon the receipt of scientifically 
meritorious applications and allocation of appropriated funds for this purpose.  


Background and Goals

Millions of older Americans suffer from loss of abilities needed to live fully 
independently.  Loss of independence imposes enormous personal and financial 
burdens on older persons and their families.  The annual cost to the Nation for 
care of dependent older persons totals billions of dollars.

Dependence is not inevitable in old age.  It results from disabling conditions 
which are potentially, if not currently, preventable or reversible.  The 
development and testing of interventions to reduce disability and increase 
independence thus offers immense benefits and potential savings in health care 

To date efforts to develop such interventions and test their efficacy in 
maintaining and increasing independence have been modest, and the number of 
researchers with the abilities to conduct such research has been small.  There is a 
need for more researchers and research teams with the ability to:

1) Conduct controlled clinical trials of promising interventions against disabling 
conditions of older persons.

2) Fill gaps in knowledge of the pathophysiology of disabling conditions, and of 
the mechanisms affecting their responses to treatment, and develop and test 
improved treatments based on this knowledge.

3) Develop and test ways of applying independence-enhancing advances in treatment 
within the American health care system. 

The combination of these three abilities would allow the conduct of concerted 
research programs to increase independence for older Americans.  The Claude D. 
Pepper OAIC program is designed to expand this research and the number of 
researchers capable of conducting it.

Specifically, as authorized under amendments to Section 445A of the Public Health 
Service Act, each OAIC will conduct: "research into the aging processes and into 
the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, disorders and complications related to 
aging, including menopause, which research includes research on such treatments, 
and on medical devices and other medical interventions regarding such diseases, 
disorders and complications, that can assist individuals in avoiding 
institutionalization and prolonged hospitalization and in otherwise increasing the 
independence of the individuals and programs to develop individuals capable of 
conducting research in these areas."  As defined by Section 445A of the Public 
Health Service Act, "the term independence, with respect to diseases, disorders, 
and complications of aging, means the functional ability of individuals to perform 
activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living without 
assistance or supervision."

The overall goals of the OAIC program are:

1) To facilitate the development and testing of interventions to increase or 
maintain abilities needed for independence of older persons.

2) To use knowledge gained in these intervention studies in developing and testing 
improved interventions.

3) To strengthen core laboratories in the basic sciences as they relate to aging 
research and to train researchers in the techniques of fundamental research 
relevant to studies in aging and geriatric medicine.

4) To train researchers capable of leading and conducting research programs as 
described in 1), 2), and (3) above.  OAIC research projects should provide 
opportunities for the training of such researchers.

5) To translate OAIC research findings into improvements in health care practice 
through demonstration and dissemination projects.

The components of OAICs derive from these goals.  OAICs will support intervention 
studies (IS) and intervention development studies (ID, Research Resources Cores 
(RRC), Research Development Cores (RDC), Demonstration and Information 
Dissemination Projects (DIDP) and Leadership/Administrative Cores. These components 
are described below.

Intervention Studies and Intervention Development Studies

At least one Intervention Study or Intervention Development Study which utilizes 
human subjects must be eligible for funding following peer review to qualify as an 

Intervention Studies.  Proposed intervention studies must test the efficacy of 
interventions to prevent or ameliorate functional impairments contributing to loss 
of independence.  Studies may be of effects on long-term disability and/or 
temporary disability following illness or injury.  In studies of prevention 
interventions, a focus on subgroups at high risk for disability is encouraged where 

All Intervention Studies should measure direct effects on functional status and 
have adequate statistical power to determine important intervention effects on 
functional abilities.  Central in the evaluation of these studies will be the 
adequacy and appropriateness of the plans for measurements of changes in functional 
status.  Measures of related medical and physiologic endpoints are encouraged 
wherever pertinent.

Because older persons with multiple health problems are at especially high risk for 
disability, determinations of the efficacy of interventions in such persons, and 
analyses of the effects of different health problems on treatment efficacy, are 
encouraged where feasible.  Tests of interventions specifically designed against 
disabilities resulting from the interaction of two or more comorbid conditions are 
also encouraged.

Besides measurements of intervention effects on the above outcomes, each proposed 
intervention study must also include planned investigations of:

o  Mechanisms underlying the interventions' effects on functional status, to 
provide a basis for further improvements in interventions.  Intervention 
interactions with intermediary response variables such as underlying disease 
mechanisms, symptoms, and behavioral factors should be measured and analyzed as 
needed for this purpose.

o  Factors affecting recruitment into the study and participants' compliance, to 
provide data for potential wider applications of the interventions are considered 
pertinent and must be included.

o  Cost-effectiveness and effects on health care utilization (e.g.  
hospitalizations, nursing home admissions and stays, use of home care services) of 
the intervention(s) tested.

Proposals for intervention studies which do not contain the above elements will be 
returned to applicants.

Examples of types of interventions for study include:

o  Interventions to prevent or reduce frailty and increase physical performance 
abilities. Exercise, nutritional, pharmacologic, rehabilitative, surgical, and 
other interventions against disorders such as osteoarthritis, congestive heart 
failure, chronic pulmonary disease, pathologic loss of muscle mass and/or strength, 
protein-calorie malnutrition, dizziness, nausea, and gait and balance problems are 

o  Interventions to reduce risk of disabling events such as hip fractures and 
strokes, and to reduce impairments following these events.  Studies of 
interventions against osteoporosis and to prevent hip fracture, and studies of 
techniques to improve functional status after hip fracture and strokes are 

o  Interventions to prevent or reduce disabling side effects from medication use.  
Examples include drug withdrawal studies and testing of non-pharmacologic 
therapeutic alternatives, as well as testing improved pharmacologic agents or 

o  Interventions to prevent, lessen, or shorten temporary disability from 
exacerbation or complications of chronic diseases of older persons.  Examples 
include transient disability associated with exacerbations of chronic pulmonary 
disease, deconditioning during hospitalization, and acute confusional states.

o  Interventions to prevent or reduce disabling sequelae of menopause and 
associated estrogen deficiency.  Examples include osteoporotic fractures and urge 

o  Combined intervention strategies to prevent or ameliorate disabilities in older 
persons with multiple impairments.

The above list is not exhaustive and its order is not intended to reflect NIA 
priorities.  All studies of promising interventions to enhance independence in 
older persons are encouraged.  No priority is placed on having a diversity of 
intervention topics associated with a single OAIC.  Applicants may find it 
advantageous to concentrate on one or a few topics in which their strengths are 

Subjects for these studies may include older persons living at home, recipients of 
home care, nursing home residents, hospitalized patients, and those in other 
pertinent clinical settings, as appropriate to each intervention study.  
Organizational liaisons involving one or more medical centers, nursing homes, home 
care services, and other care organizations are encouraged wherever appropriate for 
the conduct of OAIC activities.

All activities to be performed by proposed cores as part of Intervention Studies 
should be clearly described in the plans for the Intervention Study itself.  
Examples include functional assessment, biostatistical support, etc. 

Intervention Development Studies.  The OAIC center grant may support other studies 
to identify, develop, or refine potential interventions to preserve or increase 
independence.  Each proposed Intervention Development Study should present a 
complete plan for conduct of the proposed research, analogous in the level of 
detail to an individual research project grant proposal.  It should be presented in 
sufficient detail to allow for full scientific review.

Types of such studies include:

o  Tests of therapies on physiologic factors known to affect functional status.  
Both beneficial and adverse effects may be studied.

o  Studies to identify or confirm reversible or preventable risk factors for 
disability and/or disabling events.  Examples include diseases, and previously 
unidentified pathophysiologic changes leading to functional impairment and/or 
disabling events.  Large-scale epidemiologic studies are outside the scope of this 

o  Studies of experimental therapeutics directed at the prevention or treatment of 
morbid conditions associated with aging.  Research utilizing animal and/or human 
subjects is appropriate. (If a study utilizing animal  subjects is proposed, 
another study utilizing human subjects must be included in the IS/IDS section.)

All activities to be performed by proposed cores as part of Intervention 
Development Studies should be clearly described in the plans for the Intervention 
Development Study itself. Examples include functional assessment, biostatistical 
support, etc.

Research Resources Cores

Applicants may request core resource support to enhance the quality of OAIC 
research projects, i.e., Intervention Studies, Intervention Development Studies and 
Pilot Research Projects. RRCs for the support of laboratories in the fundamental 
sciences as they relate to aging research or geriatric medical subspecialties may 
be requested as well.  RRCs may also provide support for research projects relevant 
to the mission of OAICs whose support is independent of the OAIC. (e.g. R01, P01,  
foundation Grant). Opportunities to participate in the scientific activities of 
RRCs should serve to enhance the development of research skills of new 
investigators and where appropriate should encourage linkages between fundamental 
science and clinical intervention research.

Applicants should not propose a core unless it supports at least two projects 
(otherwise the core could simply be included in the one project it supports).  The 
justification for proposed cores (including the merit and number of projects they 
would support) will be evaluated by peer reviewers.  Routine patient care costs may 
not be requested, but research-related patient care costs are eligible for support.

Examples of possible RRCs include:

o  Recruitment/screening/assessment/registry units for subjects for different OAIC 
intervention study research protocols. 

o  Functional assessment units to monitor functional status of subjects in OAIC 

o  Diagnostic and pathophysiologic units for studies of mechanisms of treatment 
response and interactions with disease.

o  Basic science laboratories providing state of the art technologies and training 
to center investigators.
o  Biostatistical/data management units.

o  Cost-effectiveness analysis units.

o  Veterinary Units for the support of laboratory animals used in aging research 
and the development of animal models of age-associated diseases.

The above list is not intended to describe the full range of activities to be 
supported, nor to direct applicants towards these areas.  Inclusion of research 
resources cores of any or all these types in a single proposed OAIC is neither 
required nor necessarily advisable.  Innovative organizational approaches are 
encouraged.  Institutions which are recipients of  NIH General Clinical Research 
Center awards who wish to apply for an (OAIC) award are encouraged to use core 
resources from these Centers for support of OAIC projects where appropriate.

For each Research Resources Core proposed, a core leader should be named, and plans 
for the scientific and administrative functioning must be presented.  The method 
for prioritizing access to core resources requested by multiple projects should be 

Research Development Core

The Research Development Core is a required component of all OAICS.  The RDC will 
provide salary and other support for junior faculty and research associates to 
acquire abilities in research to enhance the independence of older persons.  This 
includes all phases of research to develop interventions to enhance independence, 
including clinical trials, studies of mechanisms of treatment response, and cost- 
effectiveness/health care utilization studies. The development of persons who will 
have the necessary breadth and depth of experience needed to lead teams spanning 
this range of research is of high priority.

The career development of individuals acquiring skills in fundamental aging 
research related to the mission of OAICs may also be supported here.

The research development core should promote linkages between mechanistic and 
outcome research.  This will enhance the capacity of young scientists to develop 
better clinical treatments and preventive approaches. This goal may be achieved in 
a variety of ways including periodic meetings of center staff and other scientists 
and most importantly through the provision of suitable training opportunities.  
While the creation of these linkages is an important overall function of the RDC, 
it is recognized that this will not in all cases be feasible.  However, the plan 
for the educational program of the RDC as a whole should describe the approach to 
be followed and the  training plan for at least one (preferably more) of the 
individuals receiving support under the RDC should document how training 
opportunities will be utilized to achieve the goal of creating these linkages.

The components of the Research Development Core are:

Junior Faculty Development Support.  Support may be requested for salary and fringe 
benefits for junior faculty participating in OAIC Intervention Studies and other 
OAIC research.  The Research Development Core should present a plan for achieving 
development of junior faculty supported under this  component, including a 
mechanism for monitoring their scientific progress and development toward 
independent research.  Applicants should clearly specify the role of senior mentors 
in training and supervising junior faculty and research associates. A biographical 
sketch (two pages maximum), a list of active research support, and a brief 
description of the mentor's role in proposed OAIC activities should be provided for 
all proposed mentors.

Though applicants are not required to identify individual junior faculty, research 
associates, and their specific roles in advance, they are encouraged to do so if 
possible, since this information is useful to peer reviewers.  If support is 
requested for "to-be-named" junior faculty or research associates, applicants 
should present their plans for recruiting, training, and supervising these persons.

The Research Development Core may also serve to encourage the research career 
development of other junior faculty and research associates (in addition to those 
receiving salary support from this core) by coordinating the participation in OAIC 
research projects of other junior faculty and research
associates whose salary support may come from other sources.  The overall 
contribution of the OAIC to the development of researchers throughout the grantee 
institution who can contribute to the development of independence-enhancing 
interventions will be considered in the evaluation of OAIC proposals.

Didactic Training.  Support may be requested for didactic training in such topics 
as clinical trials methodology, biostatistics, pertinent topics in disease 
mechanisms and related basic sciences, behavioral sciences, health services 
research, etc.  Such support is not restricted to individuals receiving salary 
support from the core, but may be provided to other personnel on OAIC research 
projects or OAIC Intervention Development Studies.

Pilot and Feasibility Studies.  Pilot and feasibility studies may be proposed.  New 
initiatives or pilot and feasibility studies for biomedical, epidemiological, or 
behavioral research may be supported by the RDC funding.  These funds may be used 
for new investigators, investigators from other fields willing to bring their 
research expertise to geriatrics research, and for investigators whose proposed 
research would constitute feasibility testing.  This funding mechanism is intended  
to provide modest support which will allow an investigator the opportunity to 
develop preliminary data sufficient to provide the basis for an application for 
independent research support through conventional granting mechanisms.

New initiatives, or pilot and feasibility studies, are typically limited to a one-
time nonrenewable award for a maximum of one year of support.  In very special 
circumstances, which must be described and well justified, two years of support may 
be requested.  Any one investigator is eligible only once for pilot support, unless 
the additional proposed pilot and feasibility study constitutes a real departure 
from his or her ongoing research.  Pilot and feasibility study support is not 
intended for large undertakings of established investigators for which it would be 
appropriate to submit separate research grant applications.  Pilot and feasibility 
funds are not intended to support or supplement ongoing-supported research of an 

The proposals for the pilot or feasibility studies should present a testable 
hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail the procedures to 
be followed, and discuss how the data will be analyzed.  Each pilot project is 
limited to no more than $50,000 direct costs.  If the pilot project is requested 
and justified for two years, the direct costs are limited to $50,000 per year.  A 
maximum of $150,000 (direct costs) may be spent on Pilot and Feasibility Projects.

Research Development Core Leader.  Support may be requested for a core leader who 
will be responsible for coordination of the above activities and must report 
annually on the progress of all individuals supported thorough this core, and other 
core activities.

A maximum of $300,000 in total (direct plus facilities and administrative (F&A) 
costs) first-year costs may be requested for the Research Development Core. Budget 
increments in future years will generally be limited to one percent.

Demonstration and Information Dissemination Projects

OAICS must include a DIDP which supports activities to translate findings from 
their research into health care practice.  These activities would normally be 
expected to be conducted beginning in the second year of the project, with the 
first year devoted to planning.  A maximum of $50,000 first-year total (direct plus 
F&A) costs and $80,000 annual total (direct plus F&A) costs for project years two 
through five may be requested for these activities. (This sum is a ceiling, not a 
floor; if less is requested in this core, more may be requested in other parts of 
the application.) Specific projects for demonstration/information dissemination 
activities should be described.  The staffing plan and a rationale for the 
organization of this core should be presented.  The methods and techniques to be 
employed for information dissemination and the audience targeted and size should be 
defined.  Attention should be directed to issues of cultural sensitivity with 
regard to the target audience. Where appropriate, the information should be 
structured so that it can effectively reach minority populations, including non-
English-speaking older people.

Examples of projects that may be supported include dissemination of research 
results to the public, professionals, and paraprofessionals, through symposia and 
in-service training.  Planning and pilot activities for larger scale demonstration 
projects to evaluate the practicability of interventions tested in OAICs within 
various health care settings are also appropriate.

Leadership/Administrative Core

Applicants may include a Leadership/Administrative Core which requests funds for 
the OAIC director, OAIC administrator, and support staff.  The OAIC director should 
be a scientist who can provide effective administrative and scientific leadership 
and coordination with OAIC Intervention Studies.  An OAIC administrator who will 
assist the director in managing the Center, addressing issues of fiscal management 
and compliance with institutional, PHS, NIH and NIA policies, should be identified.  
A maximum of $120,000 (direct plus F&A costs) per year for this core, for salary, 
travel, and other expenses of the director, administrator and appropriate 
administrative staff may be requested.  Future year annual increases will generally 
be limited to no more than one percent.

OAIC Advisory Panel.  OAIC applications, regardless of whether a 
Leadership/Administrative Core is requested, must describe a plan and budget for 
the selection of experts from outside the OAIC who will meet yearly to review the 
progress of the OAIC and provide a written report to the OAIC Director.  Potential 
outside experts should not be selected or named.  The outside experts' review will 
be included in the annual OAIC Progress Report to the NIA.  (A member of the NIA 
extramural staff assigned to each Center will routinely attend the Advisory Panel 
meetings. It will be the OAIC Director's responsibility to notify NIA Staff well in 
advance of the date scheduled).

Coordination Among OAICs.  OAICs are expected to meet together yearly to compare 
research results and to explore possibilities for collaborative efforts.  Funds 
should be requested to permit travel of the OAIC director, administrator and PIs on 
all OAIC Intervention Studies, and Intervention Development Studies for meetings 
with NIA staff and staff from other OAICs.  Responsibility for organizing these 
meetings will rotate among OAIC sites.

Required Components of an OAIC.  The minimum required components which must be 
determined to be eligible for funding by the peer reviewers in order to qualify for 
an OAIC Award are 1) at least one Intervention Study or Intervention Development 
Study 2) a Research Development Core and 3) a Demonstration and Information 
Dissemination Project.  All required components must be recommended for the full 5 
years in order for the application to be eligible for funding.

The total first year budget may not exceed $1,600,000 (direct plus F&A costs) and 
the total first year budget for the sum of the Research Resources Cores, Research 
Development Core, Demonstration and Information Dissemination Project and the 
Leadership/Administrative Core may not exceed $1,275,000.  Thus, a center 
application requesting the full $1,600,000 will have an Intervention 
Study/Intervention Development Study first year total budget request of at least 


SPECIAL NOTE:  Required Components of an OAIC.  The minimum required components 
which must be determined to be eligible for funding by the peer reviewers in order 
to qualify for an OAIC Award are 1) at least one Intervention Study or Intervention 
Development study utilizing human subjects. 2) a Research Development Core and; 3) 
a Demonstration and Information Dissemination Project.  All required components 
must be recommended for the full five years in order for the applications to be 
considered for funding.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their 
subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral 
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale 
and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the 
health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.  This policy results from 
the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH 
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research," 
which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-
14513) and reprinted in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 
11, March 18, 1994,


All proposed clinical research must adhere to "Implementation of Policies for Human 
Intervention Studies", originally published in the NIH Guide, Volume 25, Number 33, 
October 4, 1996, and now revised and available from  NIA further 
requires adherence to its own clinical research policy statement to be found at


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by the letter of intent receipt date 
listed in the heading of this RFA, a letter 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 RFA.  Although a letter of intent is not required, 
is not binding, and does not enter into the review of subsequent applications, the 
information that it contains allows NIA staff to estimate the potential review 
workload and to avoid possible conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to the program staff listed under INQUIRIES by 
the letter of intent receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.


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; from the Office of Grants Information, Center for Scientific 
Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC, 7910, Bethesda, 
MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/710-0267.  The application should be prepared using 
the OAIC (P60) Guidelines available from the program administrator listed under 

Page Limitation

Applications may not exceed a total of twenty-five (25) pages for parts a-d of the 
Research Plan for each project and (10) pages for each core section, with the 
exception of The Research Development Core which may include an additional (10) 
pages for the Research Plan of each pilot project. 

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.  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:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC, 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710, 

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

Mary Nekola, Ph.D., Chief, SRO 
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building - Room 2C212
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205

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 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 CSR and 
responsiveness by the program staff of NIA.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive 
applications will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.  
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 NIA 
in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit 
review, a process may 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 relevant institute advisory board.


The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of biological 
systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  The reviewers will 
comment on the following aspects of the application in their written critiques 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 by the reviewers in assigning the overall score weighting them as 
appropriate for each application.

The five criteria to be used in the evaluation of grant applications are listed 

1. Significance.
o  Will the program be effective in contributing to increasing independence for 
older Americans through the conduct of research, demonstration, and dissemination 
projects; and developing academic leaders in geriatrics who have effective 
research, teaching and clinical capabilities?
o  Will the research provide foundations or infrastructure for other research and 
outstanding opportunities for career development of researchers in geriatrics and 
o  Will the research advance human health directly or indirectly?
o  Will the OAIC have a significant effect on the concepts or methods that drive 
efforts to enhance independence for older persons?

2. Approach.
o  Is the conceptual, organizational and operational framework reasonable and 
appropriate to the aims of the project?
o  Do the Research Resources Cores, where included, enhance the quality of 
research, training and pilot projects.  Where major resources are requested for the 
RRCs, the number and quality of externally-funded peer-reviewed studies will be of 
considerable importance.
o  Does the Research Development Core  provide educational and other career 
development opportunities for fellows, junior faculty and other professional and 
paraprofessional personnel associated with the Center?  The quality of the plans to 
promote linkages between mechanistic and applied research are an important aspect 
in the evaluation of the RDC. For competing renewal applications, the subsequent 
career activities of junior faculty and other professionals supported in the prior 
funding cycle(s) will be of importance.
o  Are there adequate arrangements for internal quality control of ongoing 
research, the allocation of funds, day-to-day management, contractual agreements, 
the internal communication and cooperation among investigators in the program?
o  Does the program incorporate both fundamental discovery and the development of 
applied research?
o  Does the RDC provide  a viable strategy for career development and a menu of 
education opportunities, ranging from formal programs to courses and seminars, 
visiting scientist programs, etc?
o  Is there a viable strategy to develop a plan for making tangible, useful output 
available to the research community?
o  Is there a clear plan for defining sharing of responsibilities among 
investigators and between institutions (if more than one institution is involved)?
o  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative 

3. Innovation.
o  Does the OAIC employ novel approaches or methods for facilitating scientific 
o  Are the proposed projects original and innovative?
o  Does the OAIC group challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or 

4. Investigators.
o  Are the OAIC PI, and lead investigators appropriately trained and well suited to 
the organizational and scientific responsibilities associated with this project?
o  If there are plans to recruit investigator(s), are those plans reasonable and 
necessary and can those efforts be completed in a timely manner, such that the 
recruited investigator(s) can make meaningful contributions to the OAIC?

5. Environment.
o  Is there evidence of significant commitment of the institution to fulfilling the 
objectives of the OAIC?
o  What is the quality of the academic and physical environment as it bears on 
patients, space and equipment and on the potential for interaction among scientists 
within the center and with scientists from other departments, institutions and 
Claude D. Pepper Centers?
o  If collaborative arrangements are proposed, is there a convincing demonstration 
that these interactions will be consistent enough to meet the needs of the OAIC?
o  Is the proposed external review process adequate?

The initial review group will also examine: the appropriateness of proposed project 
budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities 
and their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research and 
plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; the adequacy of plans for the 
provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety of the 
research environment. For competing renewal applications, an assessment of 
achievements during the prior award period is an important aspect for evaluation.


The award criteria are:

o  priority score
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities

OAIC awards will be based primarily on the basis of scientific merit as determined 
by peer review, availability of funds, and programmatic priorities.


Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The 
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is 

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Stanley L.  Slater, M.D.
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, 3E-327
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9205
Telephone: (301) 496-6761
Fax: (301) 402-1784

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

David Reiter
Grants Management Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2N_212
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9205
Telephone (301) 496_1472


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.  
93.866.  Awards are 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.

The Public Health Service (PHS) strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide 
a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  This is 
consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental 
health of the American people.

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