Release Date:  April 30, 2001

RFA:  RFA-AG-02-001

National Institute on Aging

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  September 1, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       November 28, 2001


The general goal of the OAIC program is to increase scientific 
knowledge that will lead to better ways to maintain or restore 
independence to older persons.  Specifically, NIA’s goal for the OAIC 
program is to develop or strengthen awardee institutions’ programs that 
focus, and sustain progress, on a key aging research area. The means by 
which the OAIC program seeks to achieve this goal is provision of 
resources to institutions to help them address key research problems, 
technologic limitations, and needs for trained researchers, on issues 
in which progress could contribute to greater independence for older 


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), "Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence 
Centers," is related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential 
applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" 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 investigators.

Institutions eligible for Older Americans Independence Centers Grants 
(P30) are those at which there are (1) at least five principal 
investigators with any PHS agency research grant or comparable peer 
reviewed research project (including those funded by State governments 
or private foundations) related to geriatrics and/or aging research, 
each with at least two years of committed support remaining at the time 
of the application or (2) one or more program project (P01) grant(s) 
related to geriatrics and/or aging research which also have at least 
two years of committed support remaining. If P01 grant(s) exist, there 
should be no overlap between the P01 cores and the OAIC cores proposed.


Support for this program will be through the National Institutes of 
Health (NIH) P30 Core Center Grant mechanism. The project period for an 
application submitted in response to the present RFA must be for five 
years and may not exceed this time period.  The anticipated award date 
is September 2002.


First year budgets may not exceed $2.0 million (direct plus facilities 
and administrative (F&A) costs).  Applications requesting smaller 
budgets, appropriately reflecting the needs for core funds of a smaller 
portfolio of aging research grants, are also welcome. Heterogeneity in 
the size of awards made is to be expected. 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 $4.35 million will be directed to 
the support of competing OAICs in Fiscal Year 2002, and that three 
awards will be made from the applications received in response to this 
RFA, issuance of Older Americans Independence Center awards is 
contingent upon the receipt of scientifically meritorious applications 
and allocation of appropriated funds for this purpose.  It is 
anticipated that further RFAs soliciting applications for OAICs will be 
issued in the future as existing centers complete their 5-year award 


NIA’s objective for the OAIC program is development or strengthening of 
awardee institutions’ programs that focus, and sustain progress, on a 
key aging research area, leading toward interventions that increase or 
maintain independence for older persons. NIA’s goal is that an OAIC, in 
a given area of focus, will:

o  Provide intellectual leadership and innovation;

o  Stimulate translation between basic and clinical research, e.g., 
research to develop or test interventions or diagnostic tests based on 
new findings from basic aging research or other basic research, or 
studies to improve understanding of mechanisms contributing to clinical 
or functional findings; 

o  Facilitate and develop novel multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary 
research strategies;

o  Stimulate incorporation of emerging technologies, methods and 
scientific advances into research designs as appropriate;

o  Serve as a source of advice and collaboration to other institutions 
regarding technology, methodology, analysis, or other expertise and

o  Provide career development for future research leaders.

An OAIC should be designed to promote a sustained research program in 
the OAIC area(s) of focus, through which the center will accomplish the 
innovation, leadership, collaborative, and career development functions 
described above.  Thus, identifying one or more important research 
areas to be addressed, specifying goals to be achieved within the five-
year OAIC award period, and providing a plan to reach these goals, 
together with a method to evaluate progress toward these goals during 
the course of the OAIC award, are crucial to the design of an OAIC.  
The selection of Core activities (see below) should follow from these 

An OAIC may select a research focus area from a broad range of topics, 

o  Aging–related issues concerning a specific condition contributing to 
loss of independence in older persons, e.g., role of aging changes in 
the etiology of the condition, special issues in the diagnosis, 
treatment or prevention of the condition in old age; complications, 
disability, or symptoms from the condition found principally in older 

o  Causes, assessment, prevention, treatment (including rehabilitation) 
of a specific type of disability in older persons.

o  Causes, prevention and treatment of a geriatric syndrome (e.g., 
involuntary weight loss, dizziness, incontinence) that is related to 
multiple pathologies and/or disabilities.

o  Specific aging-related physiologic changes, other risk factors, 
and/or interventions (e.g., physical activity) that affect risk for 
multiple conditions or disabilities in old age. 

o  Interactions of multiple diseases, disabilities, and interventions 
(e.g., medications) in older persons, and their relationship to risk of 
morbidity, progression of disability, and efficacy of prevention or 
treatment strategies. 

As evidenced by the above examples, an OAIC may provide support to a 
variety of types of research in its area of focus:

o  testing of prevention, intervention, diagnostic, or functional 
assessment techniques.

o  translational research (including mechanistic studies), experimental 
therapeutic studies in laboratory animals.

o  technology or methods development research.

Though applicants are not required to restrict the focus of their 
proposed OAIC to one research area, they are strongly encouraged to do 
so, selecting an area in which their strengths allow their OAIC to 
fulfill NIA’s goal for the OAIC program stated above. Institutions with 
strong research programs in more than one area may propose an OAIC with 
more than one area of focus but, if so, should propose, for each of 
these areas, a set of  activities that will fulfill this goal. 

To accomplish the program goals, OAIC awards will provide support for 
the following types of activities:

Research Cores (RCs) will provide resources to (a) enhance or support 
projects funded primarily by other mechanisms, and (b) develop and 
validate model systems (e.g., animal models), methods, assays, analytic 
techniques, and equipment, as well as diagnostic, assessment and survey 
instruments to advance aging research. 

A Research Career Development Core (RCDC) will support career 
development activities and infrastructure, including salary, fringe 
benefits, travel, and didactic training for junior faculty who are 
conducting pilot studies, developmental projects or working on 
independently funded projects.

A Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (P/EC) will support research to 
acquire information needed to select or design future crucial studies 
in the OAIC area of focus.

A Leadership and Administrative Core (LAC) will support research 
planning and evaluation activities for the Cores, the OAIC as a whole, 
and other administrative activities. 

While most of the research receiving support from RCs, the P/E C, and 
the RCDC should be focused in areas selected as the OAIC research 
theme(s), a limited amount of support is acceptable for topics in other 
areas of aging research related to the goal of increasing independence 
for older Americans, to capitalize on unanticipated research 
opportunities or unexpected needs for career development support. 

All OAICs must support a significant amount of clinical research with 
human subjects in their cores. Support for animal, and in vitro studies 
is also appropriate.  Proposed OAICs should not include major foci on 
neurosciences (with the exception of rehabilitation) or behavioral and 
social sciences, as these are more appropriate for other NIA programs  
that also use the Center mechanism.

Research Core(s). 

Each Research Core (RC) should be based on a research field or function 
that contributes to the OAIC area(s) of focus.  These cores may be 
defined in terms of a biomedical or biotechnology field (e.g., clinical 
trials, endocrinology, geriatric assessment, bioengineering), a service 
function (e.g., subject recruitment and retention, pathology, 
genotyping), or a supply function (e.g., animals).  A minimum of one RC 
is a required for an OAIC application. Though applicants are strongly 
encouraged to consider the full range of disciplines, technologies, 
methodologies, services, and resources that could be brought to bear on 
their selected area(s) of focus, there is no requirement that an OAIC 
Research Cores include this full range.  The selection of areas for 
Research Cores should be made on the basis of their contribution to the 
overall goals of the OAIC. A clear statement of how the cores will 
enhance the scientific productivity of the projects and assist the 
center investigators to realize the OAIC objectives for its area of 
focus must be provided.

RCs should provide services to enhance and integrate the scientific 
contributions of basic and/or clinical research projects relevant to 
the OAIC focus, whose support is independent of the OAIC (R01, P01, 
U01, non-NIH). They may also provide services for development studies 
that are part of the RC (see below) and for pilot/exploratory studies 
included in the P/E C (see below).  In general, it is expected that RCs 
will interact with, and provide expertise in the design, conduct, and 
analysis of results from the studies they support, as well as provide 
technical services or products. Hence, support for professional staff 
time for such interactions is encouraged where appropriate.

Applicants should not propose a Research Core unless it will support at 
least two projects. The evaluation of the justification for proposed 
cores by peer reviewers will include consideration of the scientific 
merit of the core. Routine patient care costs may not be requested, but 
research-related patient care costs are eligible for support.  In 
designing cores, applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the 
full range of disciplines, technologies, methodologies, services, and 
resources that could be applied to their selected area(s) of focus. 

Examples of possible RCs include:

o  Recruitment/screening/assessment/registry units for subjects in 
clinical research protocols, including clinical trials.

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

o  Basic science laboratories providing assays or other measures of 
cellular, molecular, or biochemical factors for clinical or basic 
o  Biostatistical/data management units.

o  Cost-effectiveness analysis units.

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

In addition to the support of services to other projects, RCs may 
directly conduct a limited amount of technology, resource and/or 
methods development projects, (referred to below as Development 
Projects) for activities such as: 

o  Development or preliminary testing of new data acquisition methods 
or technologies, assays, materials, or instruments to assess their 
feasibility and potential to provide important information, relevant to 
the OAICs focus, that is not available or less feasibly obtained with 
current methods.  The range of approaches in which such projects may be 
conducted includes, genetic, molecular, biochemical, engineering, 
imaging, clinical diagnostic, functional assessment, bioinformatics, 
and survey methods.

o  Development and testing of new data analytic and computational 
strategies to allow more informative results from studies in the OAIC 
area of focus.

o  Preliminary evaluation of new animal models for relevant age-related 

Such activities must be justified in terms of the overall goals of the 
OAIC.  A proposed RC may request support of up to $100,000 (direct 
costs) per year for development projects. Specific developmental 
projects to be conducted by an RC using these funds may last from one 
to five years. Development studies which challenge existing paradigms 
or develop new methodologies or technologies are highly valued. The 
first year of development activities to be performed using these funds 
should be described in detail, clearly delineating the approach taken 
for developing and testing the new methods or analytic approaches, and 
discussing how the results will be analyzed.  Planned developmental 
activities for subsequent years must be reviewed by the OAICs internal 
and external review mechanisms (see Leadership Core section).

The above list is not intended to describe the full range of activities 
to be supported, nor to direct applicants towards these areas. 
Innovative organizational approaches are encouraged for each Research 
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 described.  Salary and other expenses for the core 
leader and administrative staff may be requested. 

Research Career Development Core  

A Research Career Development Core (RCDC) is a required component of an 
OAIC. The RCDC should be led by a scientist with experience in research 
training and a history of successful mentoring. 

The OAIC program’s goal for RCDCs is to promote the development of 
future research leaders in the OAIC area of focus, particularly leaders 
who can integrate clinical insights regarding health, disease, 
independence, and disability in old age with knowledge of advances in 
the basic sciences, including gerontology, to develop better 
interventions to maintain health and independence.  

To help reach this goal, the RCDC will provide salary and other support 
for junior faculty and research associates to acquire research 
abilities in the area of the OAIC focus.  Specifically, the Research 
Career Development Core will provide support for salary, didactic 
training, travel, information resources, and secretarial or technical 
support. Junior faculty and research associates who receive RCDC 
support may also receive funding for pilot/exploratory studies (see 
Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core below). Support for salaries and other 
expenses of the RCDC Core Leader, who will be responsible for 
coordination, oversight, and reporting of the above activities, and 
support staff may be requested. 

The RCDC’s career development plans for at least some of the junior 
faculty and research associates to be supported should provide for the 
development of combined competence in basic and clinical research, 
either by enhancing clinical research experience of basic scientists, 
basic research experience of clinical investigators, or providing a 
combination of the two. An emphasis on development of skills for 
translating basic findings into clinical research, and clinical 
findings into mechanistic studies, is encouraged. OAICs should consider 
the extent of previous training of individual candidates for OAIC RCDC 
support with regard to the goal of developing researchers with combined 
expertise in clinical and basic research, including aging research, in 
deciding on the nature and extent of didactic training and research 
activities for which they request support for particular individuals.

At least some of the junior faculty and research associates selected 
for support through the RDC should hold a clinical doctoral degree. A 
particular program priority is the development of strong aging-related 
research capabilities in individuals with clinical geriatrics 
competence, as evidenced by Board certification of qualifications in 
geriatrics. (Such individuals include both those whose sole fellowship 
training is in geriatrics, as well as those who have received training 
in both geriatrics and another clinical specialty.)  Though the 
inclusion of such individuals among those receiving RCDC support is not 
a requirement for OAICs, applicants are strongly encouraged to explore 
possibilities for recruiting and including such persons, and to 
coordinate their activities with clinical training programs at their 
institutions and others to encourage the development of individuals who 
have both training in geriatrics and research interests in the OAIC 
area of focus.

OAIC career development support for individuals supported through the 
RCDC should be integrated with other sources of career support that 
they may be receiving (e.g., NIH “K-series” career development awards, 
fellowship, non-NIH career awards) in concerted programs for their 

The OAIC proposal should identify the individuals selected for at least 
the first year of RCDC support, and should describe what their 
activities will be, and the nature of institutional commitments to the 
individuals’ development.  A description of mentors’ research 
activities (including a biographical sketch) and their commitments in 
training and supervising these individuals should also be provided.  
The OAIC goals for the individual, career progression by the end of the 
OAIC award period should be described. The description should explain 
how the proposed use of OAIC funds (including funds for 
pilot/exploratory study funding if this is also proposed for the 
individual) will contribute to OAIC program goals for research career 
development in its selected research area. 

In addition OAICs should provide a plan for their strategy, over the 
proposed OAIC award period, of recruiting, selecting, mentoring, and 
monitoring the progress of individuals who will receive RCDC support, 
and describe the abilities they expect recipients of this support to 
acquire.  This plan should include provision for peer review of 
proposals for provision of RCDC salary support to junior faculty. At 
least one third of these peer reviewers should be from outside the 
awardee institution. Special attention should be paid to the 
recruitment of minority candidates for career development activities. 
Attention to issues of health disparities is highly valued by the 

A maximum of $400,000 in first-year direct costs may be requested for 
the Research Career Development Core. Budget increments in future years 
will generally be limited to one percent.

Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core 

OAICs may conduct pilot/exploratory studies to acquire information 
needed to select or design future crucial studies in the OAIC area of 
focus. These studies may be led by junior faculty and research 
associates receiving OAIC Research Career Development Core support, or 
by other senior or junior investigators.  A scientist responsible for 
leadership of this core must be named.

Funding for pilot/exploratory studies may be for 

o  preliminary testing of an intervention or other research protocol in 
humans or animals for safety, feasibility, or determination of optimal 
time course or dosage

o  analysis of data acquired in ongoing or previous studies to explore 
hypotheses that may guide the selection and design of future studies

The above examples are not exhaustive of the types of pilot/exploratory 
studies that could be supported. 

Specification of the proposed pilot/exploratory studies for the first 
year of the OAIC project is required, and a plan for the selection of 
subsequent projects, if any, must be provided.  This plan should 
include a committee of reviewers with relevant expertise of whom at 
least one-third is external to the OAIC and the Institution. (See also 
Leadership/Administrative Core description below.)  Meetings of this 
committee may occur in person or by teleconference.  The membership of 
the committee may need to vary to provide the needed expertise and 
should be determined after initial consideration of the projects 
proposed.  The proposals for the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core 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/exploratory study is limited to no more 
than $150,000 (direct costs) over its entire period of support, which 
should be for no more than three years. (Thus, there is an inverse 
relationship between the amount of yearly support and the duration of 
the project.) 

A maximum of  $250,000 (direct costs) per year may be requested for the 
Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core.  Participating researchers in OAICs are 
also encouraged to consider seeking additional sources of funding for 
pilot or exploratory studies, such as the NIA Pilot Grant program 
(, or the 
NIA Geriatrics Program’s Planning Grants for Biomedical Epidemiologic 
and Intervention Studies. 
and other exploratory studies grants in specific 
areas (

Leadership and Administrative Core

The Leadership and Administrative Core (LAC) will provide support for 
planning, organizational, evaluation, and administrative activities 
relating to the other Cores and the OAIC as a whole. The LAC is 
responsible for monitoring, stimulating, sustaining, evaluating, and 
reporting progress toward the overall goals of the OAIC. 

Specifically, the LAC should conduct or organize the following 

o  Regular review of utilization of core resources by the other OAIC 
cores, and reallocation of resources within or among cores.

o  Assessment of scientific opportunities for new utilization of core 
resources, and planning to utilize them.  One topic that should 
routinely be assessed is the potential for translation between basic 
and clinical research, e.g., research to develop or test interventions 
or diagnostic tests based on new findings from basic aging research or 
other basic research, or studies to improve understanding of the 
mechanisms contributing to clinical or functional findings. 

o  Assessment of potential areas for collaboration among OAIC cores 
within the center, and with other OAICs or other projects, and planning 
for collaborative activities, if merited.

o  Review by an independent panel or panels of proposed  Developmental 
Projects (see Research Core(s)); Pilot/Exploratory Studies; and salary 
support for specific junior faculty by the Research Career Development 

The LAC may elect to convene a single panel or separate panels to 
conduct reviews of the above activities. Ad hoc reviewers to address 
specific projects may be used. On each panel, at least one third of the 
members should be external to the awardee institution.  Panels may meet 
in person or by teleconference.  

Additionally, active involvement in the following activities is 
required of the LAC.

o  Yearly review of progress toward the OAIC goals by an Advisory Panel 
external to the awardee institution, selected by the OAIC, subject to 
approval by NIA.  A report by this Panel of its review should be 
included in annual non-competing renewal applications. 

o  Preparation of information for a progress review by an external 
advisory board, selected and convened by NIA, at the conclusion of the 
second year of the OAIC award. (This board will review multiple OAICs.)

o  Preparation of administrative documents relating to the award

Additional activities for which the LAC may provide support include:

o  Research planning meetings (including participants from other 
institutions) and support for invited scientific presentations.

o  Travel expenses for OAIC staff to visit other OAICs for joint 

The membership of the required advisory panels should not be included 
in the application. However, the operating procedures of these groups, 
including the frequency of their meetings and the methods for the 
identification of members should be specified. The Principal 
Investigator of the OAIC should be the Principal Investigator of the 
LAC, and should have sufficient expertise in the area of the OAICs 
research focus to exercise effective scientific leadership and 

Up to $150,000 in direct costs per year may be requested for LAC 


Participation of OAIC investigators at an annual scientific meeting is 
mandatory.  Participants will include the PI, Center Administrator, 
Core Leaders and others, as appropriate for purposes of programmatic 
coordination and scientific exchange. Applications must include budget 
requests for attendance at these meetings as part of the budget for the 
SPECIAL NOTE:  Required Components of an OAIC.  In order to qualify for 
an OAIC Award, the minimum required components which must be determined 
by the peer reviewers to be eligible for consideration for funding are 
1) one or more Research Cores; 2) a Research Career Development Core; 
and 3) a Leadership/Administrative Core.  All OAICs must support a 
significant amount of clinical research with human subjects, but 
support for animal and in vitro studies, and for secondary data set 
analyses, is also appropriate.  All required components, as well as the 
support of research utilizing human subjects, must be recommended for 
the full five years in order for the applications to be considered for 

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 

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.

NIA further requires adherence to its own clinical research policy 
statement to be found at


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 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 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: Applications are 
also available on the internet at

Supplemental application guidelines are available from the Director, 
OAIC Program whose contact information is available below. 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 marked.

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

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

6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, send two additional copies of the 
application to:

Mary Nekola, Ph.D.
Chief, Scientific Review
Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2C212
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205

It is important to send these copies at the same time as the original 
and three copies are sent to the Center for Scientific Review. These 
copies are used to identify conflicts and to help ensure the 
appropriate and timely review of the application.

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.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and 
responsiveness by the NIA.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive 
applications will be returned to the applicant without further 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be 
evaluated for scientific, technical, and educational merit by an 
appropriate peer review group convened by the respective Institute in 
accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the 
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique 
and undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have 
the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the 
applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority 
score, and receive a second level review by the National Advisory 
Council on Aging.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health. 
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.

The criteria to be used in the evaluation of OAIC applications are 
listed below.

1. Significance.

o  How important is (are) the OAIC selected area(s) of focus in regard 
to potential advances in understanding or treating age-related 
conditions affecting independence of older Americans?

o  Will the goals set for the OAIC over the project period 
significantly contribute to advances in its area(s) of focus? 

o  How effectively will the OAIC promote the development of future 
research leaders in its area of focus, particularly leaders who can 
integrate clinical insights regarding health, disease, independence, 
and disability in old age with knowledge of advances in the basic 
sciences, including gerontology, to develop better interventions to 
maintain health and independence?

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  Has one or more important topics been selected as an area of 
research focus? How adequate is the proposed strategy for promoting a 
sustained research program in the selected area(s) of focus through 
which the OAIC will accomplish the innovation, leadership, 
collaborative, and career development functions sought?  Are the goals 
to be achieved within the five-year OAIC award period specified? How 
adequate is the plan to reach these goals, and the proposed methods to 
evaluate progress toward these goals during the course of the OAIC 

o  How adequate are the LAC's plans for monitoring, stimulating, 
sustaining, evaluating, and reporting progress toward the overall goals 
of the OAIC? Are they clearly stated and are approaches specified to 
deal with inadequate progress toward achieving goals, should this 

o  How adequately do the Research Cores, enhance the quality of 
research, career development and pilot projects?  How adequate is the 
plan for prioritizing access to RC resources?

o  What is the scientific quality of the pilot/exploratory studies 
proposed and are they likely to acquire information needed to select or 
design future crucial studies in the OAIC area of focus?

o  How adequately does the Research Career 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 RCDC. 

o  How adequate are the 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  How effectively does the program incorporate both fundamental 
discovery and the development of applied research?

o  How clear is the plan for defining sharing of responsibilities among 
investigators and between institutions (if more than one institution is 
involved)? 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  How thoughtfully does the applicant acknowledge potential problem 
areas and consider alternative approaches?

o  How adequate are the plans for the external review process?
3. Innovation.

o  How effectively will the OAIC facilitate and develop novel 
multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research strategies?

o  How original and innovative are the developmental projects and 
pilot/exploratory studies?

o  Does the OAIC group challenge existing paradigms or develop new 
methodologies or technologies?

o  To what extent will the OAIC stimulate translation between basic and 
clinical research?
o  To what degree will the OAIC add new research directions that are 
based on insights from basic aging research or geriatrics?

4. Investigators.

o  How adequate is the proposed leadership for achieving the goals of 
the OAIC? Are the OAIC PI, and lead investigators appropriately trained 
and well suited to the organizational and scientific responsibilities 
associated with this project? Is the PI an established investigator in 
the area selected as the focus of the OAIC research? 

o  To what extent does the PI have the leadership qualities, including 
the ability to work collaboratively with other investigators, to 
establish mechanisms for quality control of the science receiving core 
funds, and to move the OAIC into new innovative research areas as 
appropriate.  Does the PI demonstrate the ability for the translation 
of new scientific findings in basic aging research into testing of 
interventions in animals and humans?  Has the OAIC PI created adequate 
plans for the external review of the overall OAIC and for the review of 
the proposed developmental projects and pilot/exploratory studies?

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  To what extent 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 OAICs?  Will the 
center serve as a source of advice in the area of its theme regarding 
technology, methodology, analysis or other expertise?

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 as
appropriate for the scientific goals of the research. Plans for the 
recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.

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.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  September 1, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       November 28, 2001
Date of Initial Review:         May, 2002
Review by Advisory Council:     August, 2002
Anticipated Award Date:         September, 2002


The award criteria are: scientific merit as determined by peer review, 
availability of funds, and programmatic priorities.


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

Stanley L. Slater, M.D.
OAIC, Program Director
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3E-327 MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-6761
FAX:  (301) 402-1784
Email:  ss81z@NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Cynthia Riddick
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2N212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672
Email:  cr53f@NIH.GOV


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