NIH Guide, Volume 26, Number 39, December 5, 1997

RFA:  AG-98-002


National Institute on Aging

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 30, 1998
Application Receipt:  March 10, 1998


As the National Institute on Aging (NIA) continues to work to strengthen training
of minority researchers in aging, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a
number of professional organizations and academic institutions have developed
substantial networks of faculty and students committed to bolstering the training
of minority researchers.  This initiative is intended to foster collaboration
between such organizations and the National Institute on Aging in order to
increase the number of qualified and successful minority investigators in aging


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),
Networks to Enhance Minority Recruitment to Aging Research, is related to the
priority area of human resource development.  Potential applicants may obtain a
copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary
Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) from the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 at Telephone 202/512-1800.


Applications may be submitted by domestic, non-Federal organizations, public or
private, such as scientific and professional organizations, medical, dental, and
nursing schools or other institutions of higher education. Minorities, women and
individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators.

Prior to submission, the organization must have established an advisory group
that focuses on recruiting participants from minority populations into research.
This eligibility criterion is not the sole or major criterion upon which
applicants will be evaluated.

Eligible students

For the purpose of this RFA, eligible participants are defined as individuals
belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group that has been determined by the
grantee institution to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research.
In making these awards, NIA will give priority consideration to applications that
document their ability to recruit substantively from African American, Hispanic,
Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian populations.  Participants must
be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or individuals who have
been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of an Alien
Registration Receipt Card) at the time of award. In addition, students must
either: (1) be in the last year of a baccalaureate program at a fully accredited
institution and plan to pursue a graduate degree; (2) be in the process of
applying for admission to graduate school; or (3) be registered for, and in good
standing in, an accredited program of graduate study for leading to a doctoral
degree; or (4) be in postdoctoral training and within three years of receiving
an earned doctorate.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Education Project (R25)
mechanism. Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the
project will be solely that of the applicant.  The total project period for an
application submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed five years.  The
anticipated award date is December 1998.

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Renewal of the program, after the initial
period of support, will depend upon progress, demonstrated continuing need for
the program, and availability of funds.


NIA expects to fund five Networks in Fiscal Year (FY) 1998.  However, the
specific number of Networks awarded will be contingent upon the merit of the
proposals.  Annual total costs for a single award may not exceed $65,000.
Facilities and administrative costs are limited to 8% of eligible direct costs
exclusive of equipment.


Despite the existence of several NIA- and NIH-supported programs to increase the
participation of minority and OTHER under-represented groups in biomedical
research, minority researchers continue to be under-represented in most fields
of biomedical and behavioral research on aging.  This under-representation limits
the cultural and ethnic diversity of the research workforce as well as the
important perspectives that comes with such diversity.

This initiative seeks to redress this imbalance through developing and enriching
existing efforts by organizations to recruit minority and underrepresented
graduate students, as well as, junior faculty to research.  Applicants may
include students at various levels of training but significant emphasis is
accorded networks with strong representation from graduate students and junior
faculty.  The initiative seeks applicants willing to link faculty and staff in
different institutions who have the common interest of enhancing minority
participation in research.  The goal is to increase the cultural and ethnic
diversity of the research workforce on aging.

Because many minority students are at primarily undergraduate institutions, NIA
is particularly seeking organizations with strong networks of faculty at such
primarily undergraduate institutions or strong links to institutions that have
high enrollment of minority students. Through this initiative, applicants will
be able to provide support to underrepresented minorities by providing assistance
in finding graduate school placement, assistance in identifying postdoctoral
research training, and in identifying employment opportunities in research.

Networks to enhance minority recruitment to aging research may be organized
around a series of activities. The particular organization of the Network and the
interactions among faculty and activities should be described and justified in
the application.

Networks developed through this RFA may also help to foster the development of
minority and underrepresented researchers/students recruited to the network by:
(1) organizing workshops that complement and enrich their graduate school
experience; (2) identifying mentors who can provide additional research guidance;
(3) providing travel awards to permit attendance at relevant national scientific
meetings and important seminars in their research area; (4) providing travel
awards for participants to work for a limited time in laboratories of mentors at
an institution different from the participantþs home institution; and (5)
providing career guidance and assistance to the participants.

Applicants are encouraged to develop electronic communication networks to allow
participants to communicate easily with each other, and with faculty in the
program, and with the NIA.  As a component of the overall program, electronic
networks also may be used to provide information about NIA programs of interest
to the participants and to identify research funding and training opportunities
for them. (No federal funds may be used to assist participants to prepare
applications for federal grants or other federal funds.)

Networks are intended to support only educational activities that promote
research knowledge and skills and may not be used for support of clinical
training or clinically oriented continuing education programs in the health

Allowable costs

Funds are available to support the immediate costs of operating the program, and
to provide travel and per diem expenses (to conferences, workshops, and
laboratories of mentors) for participants recruited to the program. Salary
support and travel expenses are allowable for faculty and staff who run the

Participants may be paid a salary only when they are working to assist the
organization in its mission relevant to this grant. Participants may not be paid
stipends for training purposes.

Participants who receive other forms of financial assistance (such as NRSA
traineeships and minority supplements) are eligible to participate, or to
continue participating, in the networks. However, networks should take account
of availability of other funding when allocating resources to support
participants' attendance at workshops, conferences, or site visits to other
research laboratories.

Consultantsþ costs are allowed if evidence is presented that the services are
required by the Networkþs objectives and are not otherwise available.

Unallowable costs:

Tuition costs are not allowed under this RFA nor can the participants receive any
payment for attendance, nor be charged a fee for attendance at Network activities
or workshop(s).


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by January 30, 1998, a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed project, the name,
address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator, the identities of
other key personnel and participating institutions (or affiliated professional
organization as appropriate), 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 a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows NIA
staff to estimate the potential review workload, to select reviewers
appropriately and to avoid conflicts of interest in the selection of reviewers. 
The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Ronald P. Abeles at the address listed


It is strongly recommended that prospective applicants contact the appropriate
NIA staff person listed under INQUIRIES early in the planning phase of
application preparation to discuss areas of interest and award provisions.  Such
contact will help ensure that applications are responsive to the aims expressed
in this announcement.

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in applying
for these grants. These forms are available at most institutional offices of
sponsored research and also may be obtained from the Division of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/710-0267, email:

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application form.  Failure to use
this label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it
might not reach the review committee in time for review. In addition, the RFA
title and number (Networks to Enhance Minority Recruitment to Aging Research, RFA
AG-98-002) must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and
the YES box must be marked.

In general, applications should follow instructions in the PHS 398 form (rev
5/95). The instructions below show how the sections of the application should be
completed for those parts of the research plan that differ in content from a
traditional research grant application.

Research Plan (see PHS 398 pp. 15 to 19)

Preliminary Studies - Applicants should:

Describe any development and recruitment activities already initiated at the
organization/institution relevant to enhanced minority recruitment to aging
research or in similar fields.

Describe any evaluation of the current program's success in meeting its goals.

Research Design and Methods -

Program Focus - Applicants should describe the:

Overall goals, objectives of the program and the number of participants to be
supported. A draft application form to be used to recruit and select participants
should be included.

Activities proposed to assist participants in developing research careers.
Applicants should justify their choice of activities by showing how they will
develop the potential of minority applicants and researchers in aging;

Breadth, depth, and quality of the Network plan including qualifications,
capability, and experiences of the Program Director to successfully recruit,
mentor and advance science and/or minorities in research.

Relationship and responsibilities of the Network to the overall programs of the
sponsoring organization.

Advisory group (page 1) diversity including ethnic, minority, and gender
diversity. The advisory group must include representatives from several different
organizations or institutions in addition to the parent organization.
Organizations with extensive existing networks related to aging research are
encouraged to participate.

Continuing role of the advisory group in the Network's operation.

Organizational plan proposed to initiate or continue minority recruitment and
development in areas of interest to aging research.

Plans for tracking and monitoring of participants' educational progress.

Extent and quality of the Network of faculty and staff engaged in identifying
underrepresented participants for this program and in assisting those selected.
Applications should show how individual faculty and staff would participate in
the different activities.

Methods to facilitate the subsequent transition to research careers upon
completion of Network activities.

Participants' Focus þ Applicants should describe:

And justify the intended level(s) of participants(undergraduate, graduate, or
postdoctoral students, or junior faculty) to be recruited to the program;

Strategies to recruit participants who are in non-intense research environments
as well as those participating in undergraduate programs such as Career
Opportunities in Research Education and Training (COR).

Internal pre-award review or post-award evaluation procedures used to select
participants for the program, and particular travel awards, and other awards
within the program;

Participants' commitment to the field of aging.  The level of specificity should
be consistent with the level of the participant, e.g., an undergraduate student
may have a lesser commitment than a junior level faculty member.

Subsequent Annual Progress Reports must:

Include a one page summary of each Network student's progress;

Include a table indicating participant's name, current address and telephone
numbers, educational affiliation, academic major, and network activities

All applicants must submit a signed, typewritten original of the application,
including the checklist, and three signed exact photocopies, in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW (formerly Division of Research Grants)
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
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

Mary Nekola, Ph.D.
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 Division of Research Grants.

The application must be received by March 10, 1998.  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 previously reviewed, but such
applications must include an introduction addressing the previous critique.


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 NIA in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures. As part of
the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and
undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest
scientific merit, generally the top half of applications under review, will be
discussed and assigned a priority score.

Review Criteria

1) Significance:  What effect will the network have on research skills and
competence of students engaged in research, particularly aging research?

(2) Approach:  Are the organizational framework, design, methods, and procedures
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 methods?
Are the approaches original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing
recruitment paradigms or develop new methods or approaches?

(4) Investigator:  Is the principal investigator experienced and well suited to
carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level
of the principal investigator and other collaborators (if any)?

(5) Environment:  Does the organizational environment in which the Network is
established contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed activities
take advantage of unique features of the environment or employ useful
collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of appropriate institutional
resources and (organizational) support?

In addition to the above criteria, and in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications will be reviewed with respect to the following criterion where

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


The anticipated date of award is December 1998. Final funding decisions are based
on the recommendations of the reviewers, the relevance of the project to NIA
priorities, and the availability of funds.


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

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues and the application process, as well as
letters of intent, may be directed to:

Ronald P. Abeles, Ph.D.
Behavioral and Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 533
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 402-4156
FAX:  (301) 402-0051

Direct inquiries relating to fiscal matters to:

Mr. Joseph Ellis
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


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 30, 1998
Application Receipt Date:       March 10, 1998
Initial Review:                 May/June 1998
Second Level Review:            September 1998
Anticipated Date of Award:      September 30, 1998


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.866. Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act
Title IV, Part A (Public Law 79-410, 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. The requirements of Executive Order
12372,"Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," are not applicable to NIA
research grant programs.

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

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.