Release Date:  January 9, 1998

RFA:  DK-98-012


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  June 23, 1998
Application Receipt Date:  July 22, 1998


The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
invites applications for Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Core Center grants. 
The NIDDK anticipates the award of three competitive Digestive Diseases Core
Center Grants (P30) in Fiscal Year 1999.

The Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers are part of an
integrated program of digestive diseases-related research support provided by the
NIDDK. The Centers currently funded in this program have provided a focus for
increasing collaboration and improving the cost-effectiveness of supported
research among groups of successful investigators at institutions with an
established, comprehensive digestive diseases research base.


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),
Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers, is related to the priority area of
diabetes and chronic disabling conditions.  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) through the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).


Applications may be submitted by domestic 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. Foreign institutions are not eligible for core center (P30)
grants.  Minority individuals and women are encouraged to submit as Principal

Applicant institutions must have an adequate base of established programs of high
quality in laboratory and/or clinical digestive diseases-related research.  The
quality of the programs must be evident from the fact that support has been
awarded through peer reviewed competition, such as NIDDK research project grants
(R01), program project grants (P01), First Independent Research Support and
Transition (FIRST) (R29) awards, Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Awards
(K08), cooperative agreements, and contracts, or through other Federal agencies
or non-federal groups.  It is required that at least fifty percent of the
digestive diseases-related research being conducted at a new applicant
institution be supported by the NIDDK.


Support of this program will be through the NIH core center (P30) award. 
Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed center
will be solely that of the applicant.

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  The receipt of three competing continuation
applications is anticipated.  These applications will compete for three awards
along with other applications received in response to this RFA.  The total
project period for each application submitted in response to this RFA may not
exceed five years.  The earliest possible award date will be June 1999. 
Applicants must limit their requests to not more than $700,000 direct costs for
the initial budget period. Included in this $700,000 may be a maximum of $100,000
for a pilot and feasibility program.  Future budget period escalations may not
exceed a three percent increase over the previous budget period.

Applicants from institutions that have a General Clinical Research Center (GCRC)
funded by the NIH National Center for Research Resources may wish to identify the
GCRC as a resource for conducting the proposed research.  If so, a letter of
agreement from either the GCRC program director at the National Center for
Research Resources or a Principal Investigator must be included with the


For FY 1999, up to $2,500,000 in total costs will be committed to fund three
applications submitted in response to this RFA.  However, this funding level is
dependent upon the receipt of a sufficient number of applications of high
scientific merit.  To help meet the goals of NIDDK for managing the costs of
biomedical research, first-time applicants must limit their requests to not more
than $700,000 direct costs for the initial budget period. Competing applicants
must limit their requests to not more than a 10% increase over their last year's
awarded budget, or $700,000, whichever is less. Although this program is provided
for in the financial plans of the NIDDK, the award of grants pursuant to this RFA
is also contingent upon the availability of funds for this purpose.


The objective of the Core Centers is to bring together investigators from
relevant disciplines to enhance and extend the effectiveness of research related
to digestive diseases and their complications.  A Core Center must be an
identifiable unit within a single university medical center or a consortium of
cooperating institutions, including an affiliated university.  The overall goal
of the Core Center is to bring together clinical and basic science investigators
in a manner that will enrich the effectiveness of digestive diseases research. 
An existing program of excellence in biomedical research in the area of digestive
diseases and disorders is required. This research must be in the form of NIH
funded research projects, program projects, or other peer reviewed research that
is already funded at the time of submission of a Center grant application.  Close
cooperation, communication, and collaboration among all involved personnel of all
professional disciplines are ultimate objectives.

The Core Center must have a central focus of research investigation. The central
focus must be a digestive disease, group of diseases or functional studies
relating to digestive diseases; at least half of the research must relate to this
central focus.  Examples of a gastrointestinal disease-related central focus of
research investigation include (but are not restricted to) inflammatory bowel
disease, peptic ulcer disease, pancreatic disease, liver disease, pediatric
gastrointestinal disease, and AIDS in gastrointestinal disease.  Examples of
functional studies as the central focus include (but are not restricted to)
gastrointestinal motility, gastrointestinal hormones, or gene therapy for
digestive diseases.  Applicants should consult with NIDDK staff concerning plans
for the development of the Center and the organization of the application.

Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers are based on the core
concept.  Three to six cores are usually included in a Center.  Cores are defined
as shared resources that enhance productivity or in other ways benefit a group
of investigators working in a center to accomplish the stated goals of the
Center.  Examples of such resources include electron microscope, transgenic
animal, and membrane preparation facilities.

Centers are encouraged to include a clinical component or core that deals with
patients.  This clinical component can exist as a stand-alone core or as a part
of another core such as the administrative core.  Besides leading to a better
understanding of disease etiology and natural history of disease, such cores
might provide biostatistics support; enhance clinical study design; foster
collaboration among researchers; aid in recruitment of subjects for clinical
studies; support epidemiological studies in areas of digestive diseases; or
provide modest funding for tissue, DNA, or serum storage. In addition, a clinical
or epidemiology core may more effectively address NIH policies concerning issues
of women and ethnic minority population participation in clinical studies.

Two other types of activities may also be supported with Center funding:  a pilot
and feasibility (P/F) program and an enrichment program.  The P/F program
provides modest support for new initiatives or feasibility research studies. 
This program is directed at new investigators, at investigators established in
other research disciplines with expertise that may be applied to digestive
disease research, and, occasionally, at investigators already working in
digestive diseases who wish to make a substantial change in the direction of
their research.  In addition, temporary salary support for one Named New
Investigator in a specified area of research with a defined P/F study may be
requested for up to 24 months.  Subsequent individuals for this slot will be
named by the Center Director and approved by the Center's External Advisory Board
and the NIDDK.  The Core Center grant may include limited funds for program
enrichment such as seminars, visiting scientists, consultants, and workshops.


At least 50 percent of the already funded research base in a new application must
be supported by the NIDDK.  In competing continuation applications the percent
may be less than 50 percent due to, for example, a growing research base of
investigators entering digestive diseases from other fields.  The significance
of the research base will be determined by the initial review group.


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.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program staff listed
under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant information
concerning the policy.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by June 23, 1998, 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 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 NIDDK staff to estimate the potential review workload and to avoid
conflicts of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to:

Chief, Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
45 Center Drive, Room 6AS-37F, MSC 6600
Bethesda, MD  20892-6600
Telephone:  (301) 594-8886
FAX:  (301) 480-3505


The research grant applications form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in
applying for these grants.  Applications kits are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and 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:

Administrative Guidelines for Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core
Centers may be requested from the NIDDK program staff listed under INQUIRIES.

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.  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.

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

BETHESDA MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA MD  20817(for express/courier service)

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

Chief, Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
45 Center Drive, Room 6AS-37F, MSC 6600
Bethesda, MD  20892-6600

Applications must be received by July 22, 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.


Upon receipt, applications will be initially reviewed for completeness and
responsiveness.  Incomplete applications or non-responsive applications will be
returned to the applicant without further consideration.  Evaluation for
responsiveness to the program requirements and criteria stated in the RFA is an
NIDDK staff function.

Applications that are complete and are responsive to the RFA will be evaluated
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened
by the NIDDK in accordance with NIH peer review procedures. Applications are
unlikely to be reviewed by a site visit team; therefore, the written application
must be complete to facilitate review without a site visit.  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 will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a
second level review by the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Advisory Council.

The most important component of a DDRCC is an ongoing, strong base of digestive
disease-related research.

Specific review criteria for Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers are:

o  The scientific excellence of the Center's research base (its strengths, its
breadth and depth) as well as the relevance and interrelation of these separately
funded research projects to the central theme(s) or focus of the Center and the
likelihood for meaningful collaborations among Center investigators.  The
existence of a base of established, independently supported biomedical research
of high quality is a prerequisite for the establishment of a Digestive Diseases
Research Core Center and is the most important component of the review. (The
results of previous peer reviews of its content will weigh heavily in the
assessment of the application's overall strength as a potential recipient of an

o  The qualifications, experience, and commitment of the Center investigators
responsible for the individual research projects, and their willingness to
interrelate with each other and contribute to the overall objectives of the
Digestive Diseases Core Center.

o  The appropriateness and relevance of the proposed Cores and their modes of
operation (such as how usage will be prioritized), facilities, and potential for
contribution to ongoing research.  Competing continuation applications must
document the use, utility, quality control, and cost effectiveness of each Core
requested to continue as part of the Center.  Progress will be judged in part by
the list of publications arising from the cores.  At least two users are required
to establish a core.  However, a greater number of users will be considered to
be more cost effective.

o  For all applications, four P/F studies should be submitted for evaluation as
part of the review of the P/F program.  In general for new applications, the
proposed P/F projects will be examined to assess the eligibility of the P/F
applicant and the adequacy of the selection process by which the individual
studies were selected. Applicants should refer to the Administrative Guidelines
for DDRCCs for specific details regarding the P/F program and its review by the

o  A Named New Investigator, if requested, will be considered separately.

o  The scientific and administrative leadership abilities of the proposed Center
Director and Associate Director and their commitment and ability to devote
adequate time to the effective management of the program.

o  The administrative organization proposed for the following:

(a) Coordination of ongoing research between the separately funded projects and
the Center, including mechanisms for internal monitoring;

(b) Establishment and maintenance of internal communication and cooperation among
the Center investigators;

(c) Mechanism for selecting and replacing professional or technical personnel
within the Core Center;

(d) Mechanism for reviewing the use of and administering funds for the P/F

(e) Management capabilities that include fiscal administration, procurement,
property and personnel management, planning, budgeting, and other appropriate

o  The institutional commitment to the program, including lines of accountability
regarding management of the Center grant and the institution's contribution to
the management capabilities of the Center;

o  The academic environment and resources in which the activities will be
conducted, including the availability of space, equipment, facilities, and the
potential for interaction with scientists from other departments and

o  Efficient and effective use and/or planned use of the limited enrichment
funds, including the contribution of these activities in enhancing the objectives
of the Center;

o  The appropriateness of the budgets for the proposed and approved work to be
done in Core facilities, for P/F studies (these are restricted funds and are
capped at $100,000), and for enrichment in relation to the total Center program.

Also, for competing continuation applications, the budget reductions instituted
in accordance with NIDDK administrative policy are taken into consideration.
Ongoing Center grants have incurred negotiated budget reductions averaging
approximately 10 to 20 percent per year in addition to the budget reductions
recommended by the Initial Review Group as indicated in the summary statements. 
The applicant should address how these cuts affected their Center.


The earliest anticipated date of award is June 1999 for one center and September
1999 for two centers.

Applications recommended by the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases Advisory Council will be considered for funding on the basis of overall
scientific and technical merit of the research as determined by peer review,
program needs and balance, and availability of funds.


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged. The opportunity to clarify any
issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.  It is suggested that
the pamphlet "Administrative Guidelines for Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases
Research Core Centers" be obtained before an application is prepared.

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues and requests for the Administrative
Guidelines may be directed to:

Judith M. Podskalny, Ph.D.
Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
45 Center Drive, Room 6AN-12E - MSC 6600
Bethesda, MD  20892-6600
Telephone:  (301) 594-8876
FAX:  (301) 480-8300

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Mr. George Tucker
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
45 Center Drive, Room 6AN-49B - MSC 6600
Bethesda, MD  20892-6600
Telephone:  (301) 594-8853
FAX:  (301) 480-3504


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  June 23, 1998
Application Receipt Date:       July 22, 1998
Initial Review:                 November 1998
Second Level Review:            January  1999
Anticipated Date of Award:      Jun/Sept 1999


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.848.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act,
Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241
and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42
CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The 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
routing 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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