Release Date:  February 28, 2000

RFA:  DC-00-001

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Application Receipt Date: June 12, 2000


The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 
(NIDCD) announces the availability of small grants (R03) to support 
doctoral dissertation research in human communication for doctoral 
candidates who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups that 
are under-represented in biomedical and behavioral research.  The goals 
of this program are to aid the research of new minority investigators 
and to encourage minority individuals from a variety of academic 
disciplines and programs to conduct research in hearing, balance, 
smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.


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), NIDCD Minority Dissertation Research Grants in 
Human Communication, is related to several priority areas applicable to 
human communication. 

Potential candidates for the awards may obtain a copy of "Healthy 
People 2000" (Full Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  
Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, 
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-


Candidates for this award must be graduate students in good standing 
and must be identified by the grantee institution as a member of an 
ethnic or racial group that is under-represented in biomedical or 
behavioral research.  Awards will be limited to citizens or non-citizen 
nationals of the United States or to individuals who have been lawfully 
admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of an Alien 
Registration Receipt Card) at the time of application.  Within this 
group, women and persons with disabilities are particularly encouraged 
to apply. 

The doctoral candidate must have a dissertation topic approved by 
his/her institutional committee established for that purpose.  This 
information must be verified in a letter of certification from the 
thesis committee chairperson and submitted with the grant application 
(see APPLICATION PROCEDURES).  Research topics must address issues in 
human communication, focusing on one or more of the seven NIDCD 
scientific mission areas described under RESEARCH OBJECTIVES.

The applicant organization must be a domestic institution, such as a 
university or college, supporting doctoral level training.  The 
performance site may be foreign or domestic.


The mechanism of support is the NIH small grant (R03).  Grants to 
support dissertation research may be requested for up to two years.  
These grants will provide up to $36,000 in direct costs over the two-
year period, with no more than $30,000 in direct costs in any one year.


The NIDCD has committed approximately $272,000 to award up to seven 
grants in response to this RFA.  These grants are not eligible for 


This grant initiative is to provide students who are members of 
minority groups with grants-in-aid to perform their dissertation 
research on a topic related to human communication, and thereby 
increase the pool of minority researchers in the sciences of human 
communication. The research supported by NIDCD encompasses the basic or 
fundamental sciences and the clinical or applied sciences subserving 
hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language.

The descriptions below of the research foci of NIDCD are provided to 
guide potential applicants in determining whether a given scientific  
topic may be appropriate for this initiative.  These descriptions are 
not intended to be comprehensive.  Questions on the relevance of a 
particular topic to the NIDCD scientific mission and other questions 
about this RFA should be addressed to the program contact listed under 
INQUIRIES.  Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss 
their application with the program contact.

HEARING.  Diseases and disorders of the auditory system including 
otitis media, otosclerosis, autoimmune-mediated hearing loss, tinnitus, 
and genetic deafness/hearing impairment; the normal auditory system, 
including plasticity, development and regeneration of auditory 
structures, cochlear mechanics, and perception of complex auditory 
signals; and rehabilitation devices, including but not limited to, 
cochlear prostheses and hearing aids.

BALANCE.  Human balance control; structure and function of the 
peripheral and central vestibular system; development and regeneration 
of vestibular structures; molecular bases of vestibular function; 
adaptive plasticity in the vestibular system; vestibulo-autonomic 
regulation; diseases and disorders primarily affecting balance and the 
vestibular system, including, but not limited to, Meniere's disease, 
vestibular toxicity and age-related changes in vestibular functioning; 
clinical assessment of balance and vestibular function; and 
medical/surgical therapeutics and physical rehabilitation of balance 
and vestibular disorders.

SMELL. Normal and abnormal olfactory functions, including development 
and regeneration of olfactory receptor neurons; transport of substances 
to and from the brain via the olfactory receptor neurons, including 
transport of pathogens; and associations between olfaction and diseases 
throughout life.

TASTE.  Normal and abnormal sense of taste, including development and 
regeneration of taste bud cells; central processing; gustatory 
determinants of food intake; and the diagnosis of gustatory disorders.

VOICE.  The neural basis of vocal learning and vocalization; neural 
mechanisms and physiology of the larynx; voice disorders, including 
assessment, characteristics of specific populations, and treatment of 
voice disorders.

SPEECH.  Speech perception; characterization of normal speech 
production; and disorders of speech production, such as neurogenic 
speech disorders (apraxia and dysarthia), speech of deaf individuals, 
and stuttering.

LANGUAGE.  Normal language processing; brain bases of language; adult 
aphasia; the grammatical abilities and writing deficits associated with 
Alzheimer's disease; language acquisition in deaf individuals; American 
Sign Language; literacy in deaf individuals; and language disorders in 
children, including specific language impairment, early expressive 
language delay, and language deficits associated with autism.


Additional Material. In addition to the completed PHS 398 form 
described under APPLICATION PROCEDURES, applicants must also submit:

o  A letter from the faculty committee or university official directly 
responsible for supervising the development and progress of the 
dissertation research.  The letter must be countersigned by a 
representative of the graduate school of the sponsoring institution.  
The letter must:  (a) fully identify the members of the committee and 
certify their approval of the dissertation topic and, (b) certify that 
the author of the letter has read the application and believes that it 
reflects the work to be completed in the dissertation;

o  A tentative timeline for completion of the research, the 
dissertation, and the dissertation defense;

o  A transcript of the candidate’s graduate school record;

o  A biography of the dissertation advisor, limited to 2 pages (use the 
Biographical Sketch page in form PHS 398).

o  A statement of the candidate’s career goals, to be placed under
"Background" (see the Research Plan instructions in form PHS 398); and

o  A signed statement from the sponsoring institution establishing the 
eligibility for support under this program, including information on 
the candidate’s ethnic and/or racial origin and citizenship.  (See 

Grant Conditions.  The following conditions apply to dissertation 
research grants:

o  The doctoral candidate must be the designated Principal Investigator 
on the grant and must be the only individual named in the application 
for whom salary support is requested.

o  The principal investigator's salary may not exceed $15,000 per 
twelve months.

o  Work on the funded project must be initiated within three months 
after the date of the award.

o  The principal investigator may request support for up to 24 months.  
An application that requests support beyond this time period will be 

o  A copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the NIDCD and 
constitutes the final report of the grant.  The dissertation must be 
officially accepted by the faculty committee or university official 
responsible for the candidate's dissertation and must be signed by the 
responsible officials.

An applicant who receives support for dissertation research from the 
NIDCD under this research grant program may not receive concurrent 
stipend or salary support under a Federal predoctoral traineeship or 
fellowship grant, or be supported under any other research project 
grant awarded by a Federal agency.

Allowable Costs.  Expenses usually allowed under a PHS research grant 
will be covered by this program, but may not exceed $36,000 in direct 
costs for the total project period.  Of this amount, no more than 
$30,000 may be budgeted for a 12-month period.  Allowable costs 
include: 1) the investigator's salary (not to exceed $15,000 per 12 
months), and 2) direct research project expenses, such as supplies, 
data processing costs, dissertation preparation costs and travel to one 
scientific meeting per year (the latter limited to $1,000 per year).  
Candidates are generally expected to devote their full time effort to 
the dissertation project.  Any level of effort by the candidate that is 
less than full time must be fully justified. 

No tuition support is allowed.  It is expected that most equipment 
needed for the research will be available at the site or laboratory in 
which the dissertation is to be performed.  Therefore, any requests for 
equipment must be specifically justified. Facilities and administrative 
costs are limited to eight percent (8%) of requested direct costs, less 


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 in the NIH 
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age 
of 21) must be included in all human subjects research conducted or 
supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and/or ethical 
reasons not to include them.   This policy applies to all initial (Type 
1) applications submitted for receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should 
read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as 
Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in 
the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available 
at the following URL address:


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, FAX (301) 480-0525, email

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 (NIDCD Minority 
Dissertation Research Grants in Human Communication, DC-00-00X) must be 
typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and on the RFA 
label, and the YES box must be marked.  The sample RFA label available 
at: has been 
modified to allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format. 
Instructions for completing the application are found in the PHS 398 
form.   These instructions must be followed except that under C.  
Specific Instructions - Research Plan, no more than 10 pages may be 
used for items A to D (instead of 25 pages as stated in the standard 
instructions).  Applications that exceed the 10 page limit for this 
section will be returned.  Appendices may not be used to circumvent the 
page limitations.

Submit a signed original of the application (with the supporting letter 
and the graduate school transcript), including the Checklist, and three 
signed photocopies, 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 (with the supporting letter and the graduate school 
transcript) to:

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Division of Extramural Research
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
6120 Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C - MSC-7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 496-8683
FAX:  (301) 402-6250
ATTN:  Minority Dissertation

Applications must be received by June 12, 2000.  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 also 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 
(not exceeding one-half page) addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and 
for responsiveness to this RFA by the NIDCD.  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 
NIDCD, in accordance with standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part 
of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written 
critique and may 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 

Review Criteria

o  Scientific and technical merit, significance, and originality of the 
proposed research;

o  Appropriateness and adequacy of the literature review and soundness 
and feasibility of the experimental approach and methodology proposed 
to carry out the research;

o  Qualifications of the Principal Investigator (the student), based on 
the candidate’s history as a student, past and current research 
experience, and potential for a productive scientific career;

o  Qualifications of the mentor, based on the mentor’s research and 
research training experience, particularly, but not exclusively, in the 
proposed area of research;

o  Quality and availability of research resources needed to complete 
the dissertation research;

o  Appropriateness of the requested budget and the duration of support 
in relation to the research proposed;

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

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the 
protection of human and animal subjects, and the safety of the research 


The anticipated date of award is September 2000.  Final funding 
decisions are based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the 
relevance of the project to NIDCD priorities, and the availability of 


Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NIDCD 
program official named below for inquiries concerning this RFA.
Daniel A. Sklare, Ph.D.
Program Branch
Division of Extramural Research
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 6120
Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C - MSC 7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 496-1804
FAX:  (301) 402-6251

Direct inquiries relating to fiscal matters to:

Castilla McNamara, M.P.A.
Grants Management Branch
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 6120
Executive Boulevard, Room 400-B - MSC 7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 402-0909
FAX:  (301) 402-1758


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
No. 93.173 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 NIDCD 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 

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