Full Text HD-93-03


NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 22, June 12, 1992

RFA:  HD-93-03

P.T.  34, FF

  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 
  Child Psychology/Development 
  Cognitive Development/Process 

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Mental Health

Application Receipt Date:  August 26, 1992


The Human Learning and Behavior Branch (HLB) of the Center for Research
for Mothers and Children (CRMC) and the Demographic and Behavioral
Sciences Branch (DBS) of the Center for Population Research (CPR), both
of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), and the Division of Basic Brain and Behavior Sciences of the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are inviting grant
applications for the support of research on the normative behavioral
development of ethnic minorities.

The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to generate high-
quality behavioral research about the NORMATIVE developmental
experiences, processes, and outcomes of minority children in the U.S.A.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objective of "Healthy People 2000", a
PHS-led national activity for setting priority goals.  This RFA,
Normative Behavioral Research on Ethnic Minorities, is related to this
initiative since it will stimulate research about variations in
psychological health among minority children and about the familial,
cultural, and societal conditions that influence such variations.
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full
Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or "Healthy People 2000" (Summary
Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of
Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC  20402-9325
(telephone (202) 783-3238).


Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,
units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of the
Federal Government.  Applications from minority individuals and women
are encouraged.  It is suggested that applicants have research
experience pertinent to the research agenda described in the RFA.


This RFA will use individual research grants (R01).  Responsibility for
the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be
solely that of the applicant.  The total project period for
applications submitted in response to the RFA may not exceed five

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited competing
continuation applications will compete with all investigator-initiated
applications and be reviewed according to the customary NIH/ADAMHA
NIH/ADAMHA peer review procedures.


The NICHD has set aside $800,000 for the first year of support (direct
costs) for the entire program.  It is anticipated that five awards will
be made. The NIMH will set aside $300,000 for the first year of support
(direct costs) of the program, and it is anticipated that two awards
will be made.  This level of support is dependent on the receipt of a
sufficient number of applications of high scientific merit.  Although
this program is provided for in the financial plans of the NICHD and
NIMH, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability
of funds for this purpose.



This RFA is a response to a request that the U.S. Congress addressed to
the NICHD.  In Report # 102-104, accompanying the FY 1992 appropriation
(pages 119-120), the Senate Appropriation Committee urged the NICHD to
develop an RFA for normative research on ethnic minorities. The report
stated the rationale for the RFA as follows:  "Because most
developmental research on minorities focuses on high-risk groups
affected by poverty, lack of education, lack of health care, and other
conditions, there is a critical lack of research about normative
developmental experiences of ethnic minorities.  While problem areas
are critically important for research, it is also important to identify
the general norms for various aspects of development in African
American, Asian-American, and Hispanic children and youth." The House
Appropriation Committee's Report # 102-121, accompanying the FY 1992
appropriation (page 86), uses very similar language justifying the
request that the NICHD develop an RFA on the topic of ethnic

This RFA can be thought of as an expression of the NICHD's long-
standing commitment to the support of research on normative
development, including perceptual, cognitive, social, and emotional
development, from infancy through adolescence.  It is also a
continuation of a 1987 initiative by the NICHD.  At that time, an RFA
was issued entitled "Minority Families and Children:  Behavioral and
Societal Variables Affecting Children's Development."  In addition, the
RFA relates to the "National Plan for Research on Child and Adolescent
Mental Disorders" of the NIMH.  The National Plan, developed in
response to Congressional request, seeks to expand the full spectrum of
research related to child and adolescent mental disorders, including
basic research in normal social, emotional, and cognitive development,
and in the influence of social and cultural factors on development and
healthy functioning.


The objective of this RFA is to stimulate behavioral research about the
normative development of minority children living in the U.S.  Minority
children constitute a rapidly growing segment of the population and the
scientific documentation of their normative development and conditions
that influence it are important.  At present, research about minority
children is relatively limited, a fact that stands in the way of our
society's ability to appreciate the variations among minority
individuals in terms of their strengths and needs. The fact that the
scientific literature about the normative development of minorities is
not as broad in scope and rich in detail as it ought to be is due to
(a) the relatively small number of minority investigators who have
devoted their career to the study of child development, and (b) the
higher costs involved in doing research with minority and poor segments
of the population.  At the same time, those investigators who have
turned their attention to studying the normative development of
minority children have set forth an impressive research agenda that the
NICHD and the NIMH would like to support through this RFA as well as
through the support of investigator-initiated applications.

In the context of this RFA, behavioral-developmental research refers
primarily to psychological research.  However, it is recognized that
demographic, sociological, economic, and anthropological constructs and
methods, when combined with psychological research, will greatly enrich
our understanding of the development of minority children.  Therefore,
interdisciplinary approaches are highly encouraged by this RFA.

Research about the developmental outcomes of minority children must be
driven by ecological and cultural models of human development, showing
how variations in communities and their institutions (e.g., church,
school), family characteristics (e.g., family structure, including
presence or absence of nuclear or extended family members), parental
lifecourse experiences (e.g., cultural and migratory experiences),
parental attitudes and behaviors, economic resources, and social
support systems (e.g., quality and quantity of non-maternal child care)
affect the development of minority children.  Most of the research
conducted to date has compared children of one minority group with
non-minority children, or compared children of different minority
backgrounds.  The research, however, has not focused on the contexts in
which these children grow or on individual differences among children
who are reared in similar cultural and/or socio-economic contexts.
There is evidence from the study of non-minority children and from
cross-cultural research that familial, institutional, and other
environmental contexts influence children's developmental outcome.
There is also scientific information about how this happens.  Similar
process oriented research is needed about variations in the ecology of
child rearing within and across minority groups, and how these
variations shape the developmental outcome of the children involved.

Research about developmental processes and outcomes describes the way
knowledge and skill are acquired; it uncovers the internal
psychological influences (e.g., motivation, pre-requisite cognitive
abilities, social skills) and the external forces (e.g., availability
of human and material resources, coaching, role modeling,
reinforcement) that work together to create, advance, or hinder certain
aspects of psychological attainment. The developmental outcomes that
need to be investigated are in all domains of human functioning, e.g.,
cognitive, linguistic, academic, social, emotional.  Much of the
research that has been conducted so far has focused on the academic
attainment and the cognitive development of minority children.  It is
now recognized that the research agenda needs to pay more attention to
social and emotional development, in addition to the more traditional
domains of research on minority children.

Research about the developmental experiences of minority children
cannot ignore the medical health and nutritional status of these
children from birth on.  Variations in health and nutritional status
need to be documented and related to the environmental factors and to
the outcome of minority children's development.  Minority children are
known to experience more medical problems and less access to medical
care. These, in turn, may adversely affect the developmental outcome of
the children.  Therefore, the ways in which variations in nutritional
and medical health status interact with variations in the ecology of
development and with developmental outcome needs to be documented.
However, research focusing on the development of a homogeneous group of
children, all at high medical/nutritional risk, will not be responsive
to this RFA.

The research agenda for studying the normative development of minority
children is extensive.  Much of it is set forth in the review papers
published in "Child Development" in a special issue on minority
children that appeared in April 1990 (volume 61, no. 2).  No one
research project to be supported through this RFA will be able to focus
on all the issues mentioned above.


To help investigators who are funded through this RFA to share
information and to learn from each other, it is recommended that each
applicant ask for funds to attend an annual meeting of the grantees.
The meeting will take place at the NIH, Bethesda, MD.


The RFA calls for research on all minority children.  These include
African American, Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islanders,
and Hispanic children.  Research on children of all ages (0 to 17) is
welcome.  Newborns, infants, toddlers, preschool age children, and
school-age children of all ages and both sexes, including adolescents,
could be the subjects of research applications to be submitted in
response to this RFA.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in responding to this RFA.  These forms are available at most
institutional business offices and from the Office of Grants Inquiries,
Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, 5333
Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD  20892, telephone  (301)

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 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 2a 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, and three signed, photocopies, in one package to:

Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
Westwood Building, Room 240
Bethesda, MD  20892**

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

Dr. Laurance Johnston,
Division of Scientific Review
Executive Plaza North, Room 520A
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1485

Applications must be received by August 26, 1992.  If an application is
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without
review.  The Division of Research Grants (DRG) will not accept any
application in response to this announcement that is essentially the
same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant
withdraws the pending application.  The DRG 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 by NIH staff for
completeness and responsiveness.  Incomplete applications will be
returned to the applicant without further consideration.  If the
application is not responsive to the RFA, NIH staff will return the
application to the applicant.  The applicant will then have the option
of submitting it to the DRG for review in competition with unsolicited
applications at the next review cycle.

Applications may be triaged by a standing peer review group on the
basis of relative competitiveness.  The NIH will withdraw from further
competition those applications judged to be non-competitive for award
and notify the applicant Principal Investigator and institutional
official.  Those applications judged to be competitive will undergo
further scientific merit review.  Those applications that are complete
and responsive will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria stated
below for scientific/technical merit by a special peer review committee
convened by the NICHD (following consultation with NIMH staff).  The
second level of review will be provided by the National Advisory Child
Health and Human Development Council and by the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH) Council.

The review criteria are:

o  scientific significance, technical excellence, and originality of
proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the approach and methodology
proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator, collaborating investigators and staff, particularly, but
not exclusively, in the area of the proposed research;

o  experience of the Principal Investigator and collaborating
investigators in conducting research with minority research

o  availability of resources necessary to perform the research,
including ability to recruit and maintain minority data collectors;

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


Responsiveness to the RFA, scientific merit, and technical proficiency,
as described in the application, will be the predominate criteria for
determining funding.

The anticipated date of award is April 1, 1993.


Potential applicants are welcome to ask for clarification of issues and
questions concerning this RFA.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Hildegard P. Topper, M.S.
Special Assistant
Office of the Director
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 31, Room 2A04
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-0104


Mary Ellen Oliveri, Ph.D.
Chief, Personality and Social Processes Research Branch
Division of Basic Brain and Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11C-10
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3566

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Edgar D. Shawver
Office of Grants and Contracts
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6130 Executive Boulevard
Executive Plaza North, Room 505 G
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1303


Bruce Ringler,
Chief, Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 7C
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3065


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No. 93.865, research for Mothers and Children, and 93,242, Mental
Health Research Projects.  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.  Awards are also under authorization of PHS Act, Title V, Part
B.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health System Agency review.


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