Release Date:  May 20, 1999  

RFA:  DC-99-001

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Office of Research on Minority Health

Application Receipt Date: July 13, 1999


The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
and the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) announce the availability
of small grants (R03) to support doctoral dissertation research in human
communication for minority doctoral candidates.  Grant support is designed 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/ORMH 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 202-512-1800).


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 underrepresented 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 applicant for dissertation research
grant support must be a citizen of the United States or have been lawfully
admitted for permanent residence.

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 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 areas described under RESEARCH OBJECTIVES.

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


The mechanism of support is the NIH small grant (R03).  Grants may be made for
up to two years.  Grants to support dissertation research will provide no more
than $30,000 in direct costs over the two-year period, and no more than
$25,000 in direct costs in any one year.


The NIDCD and ORMH have committed approximately $300,000 to award up to 10
grants in response to this RFA.  These grants are not eligible for renewal.


This grant initiative is to provide minority students assistance to perform
their dissertation research on a topic related to human communication and
thereby increase the pool of minority researchers in hearing, balance, smell,
taste, voice, speech and language. The research supported by NIDCD includes
basic or fundamental sciences as well as clinical or applied sciences, such as
molecular and cellular biology, genetics, epidemiology, and imaging.

The descriptions below of the research foci of NIDCD are provided to help
potential applicants determine whether a topic may be appropriate for this
initiative.  Questions on the relevance of a particular topic can be addressed
to the program contact listed under INQUIRIES.

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; 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 Meniere's disease,
vestibular toxicity and age-related changes in vestibular functioning;
clinical assessment of balance and the vestibular function; and 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; 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 basis 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 doctoral defense.

o  A transcript of the investigator's graduate school record.

o  Biography of mentors, limited to 2 pages each (use the Biographical Sketch
page in form PHS 398).

o  Statement of the investigator's career goals to be placed under
"Background" (see the Research Plan instructions in PHS 398).

o  A signed statement from the sponsoring institution establishing the
eligibility for support under this program including information on ethnicity
and citizenship.  (See Eligibility Requirements).

Grant Conditions.  The following conditions apply to dissertation grants:

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

o  The principal investigator's salary may not exceed $12,000 per twelve

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

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

o  Grantees who are approved for two years of support must submit a
satisfactory progress report no later than 10 months after the start of the
first year of the grant.  This report should contain a brief summary of the
work completed to date together with copies of any publications supported
wholly or in part by the dissertation grant.

o  A copy of the dissertation must be submitted 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 under a grant from
the NIDCD/ORMH may not at the same time receive salary support under a
predoctoral or fellowship grant, nor be supported under any other research
project grant awarded by a Federal agency.

Allowable Costs.  Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants will be
covered by the NIDCD/ORMH dissertation research grants, but may not exceed
$30,000 for the total  project.  Allowable costs include the investigator's
salary (not to exceed $12,000 per 12 months); direct research project expenses
such as travel to one scientific meeting per year (limited to $1000 per year),
data processing, supplies, and dissertation preparation costs.  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 of requested direct costs, less equipment.


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 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


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/ORMH Minority Dissertation Research Grants in Human
Communication, DC-99-001) 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 not 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
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, two additional copies of the application (with the
supporting letter and the graduate school transcript) must be sent to:

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
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 July 13, 1999.  If an application is received
after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.  The
Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in response
to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial
review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The CSR will
not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already
reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of substantial revisions of
applications already reviewed, but such applications must include an
introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and
responsiveness 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 the 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 in relation to the promotion
of public health, and originality of the proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the literature review, experimental
approach and methodology proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal Investigator (the

o  qualifications, research and training experience of the mentor
particularly, but not exclusively, in the proposed area of research;

o  quality and availability of research resources needed to complete the

o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the

o  Adequacy of plans to include minorities and their subgroups and both
genders 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 environment.


The anticipated date of award is September 1999.  Final funding decisions are
based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the relevance of the project to
NIDCD 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.  Interested
investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the person named below who
can provide clarifying information about material described in this RFA.  The
investigator will then be referred to the relevant program to discuss the
suitability of the research topic.

Dr. Judith A. Cooper
Division of Human Communication
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 6120
Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C - MSC 7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 496-5061
FAX:  (301) 402-6251

Direct inquiries relating to fiscal matters to:

Ms. Sharon Hunt
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 people.

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