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Full Text HS-93-01


NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 35, October 2, 1992

RFA:  HS-93-01

P.T. 34

  Health Services Delivery 
  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 

Agency for Health Care Policy and Research

Application Receipt Date:  January 22, 1993


The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) was established
in December 1989 by P.L. 101-239 as the successor to the National
Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology
Assessment (NCHSR).  The AHCPR conducts research that will enhance the
quality, appropriateness and effectiveness of health care services, and
access to such services.

The AHCPR announces a Request for Applications (RFA) for grants for
health services dissertation research.  The provision of dissertation
grant support is part of the effort of the AHCPR to stimulate the
development of innovative and timely research on issues related to the
delivery of health care services.  Grant support is designed to aid the
career development of new health services researchers and to encourage
individuals from a variety of academic disciplines and programs to
study complex issues with respect to health care services.


The 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.  The AHCPR urges applicants to
submit grant applications with relevance to specific objectives of this
initiative.  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


A student applying for a dissertation research grant must be enrolled
in an accredited doctoral degree program in the social, management,
medical, or health sciences.  The student also must be conducting or
intending to conduct dissertation research on issues related to the
delivery of health care services as described below.  The proposed
Principal Investigator (PI) must be a registered doctoral candidate in
resident or nonresident status.  All requirements for the doctoral
degree other than the dissertation must be completed by the time of the
award.  This information must be verified in a letter of certification
from the thesis chairperson and submitted with the grant application

The applicant may be either the institution that will administer the
grant on behalf of the proposed PI or the proposed PI applying as an
individual.  Whenever feasible, the proposed PI is encouraged to have
the application administered through an institution.  This may be
either the degree-granting institution or another nonprofit institution
with which the proposed PI is professionally affiliated.  In
determining which institution is more appropriate, the student must
consider the extent to which the resources of the designated
institution are capable of supporting the proposed research effort.

A proposed PI for dissertation research grant support need not be a
citizen of the United States.  However, a PI who is not a U.S. citizen
and does not have a permanent resident visa must apply through an

Also, an application from a student enrolled in a foreign institution
will be accepted provided that the application is in English and the PI
applies through an institution.

A PI who receives support for dissertation research under a grant from
AHCPR may not at the same time receive support under a predoctoral
training grant or fellowship grant awarded by any other agency of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


This RFA will use the AHCPR small grant (R03).  Responsibility for the
planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be
solely that of the proposed PI.  In addition to the requirements stated
in this RFA, awards will be administered under PHS grants policy as
described in the PHS Grants Policy Statement.

The budget of an application for a dissertation research grant must not
exceed $20,000 in direct costs for the entire project period.  An
application that exceeds this amount will be returned to the applicant.

Investigators may request support only for the amount of time necessary
to complete the dissertation.  A dissertation research grant usually is
awarded for a period of 12 months or less but may be awarded for up to
17 months.  Investigators who need 18 months or more to complete the
research project will be required to submit a continuation application
for support beyond the first 12 months.  Continuation support may be
awarded if satisfactory progress is being made, but the direct costs of
the entire project may not exceed $20,000.


The AHCPR expects to fund about 15 to 20 dissertation research projects
in 1993.  The number of awards will depend on the availability of


Only applications that propose studies in the areas identified in
section 902 of the Public Health Service Act are eligible for support.
Section 902 authorizes research in the following areas:

o  Effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of health care services
o  Outcomes of health care services and procedures
o  Clinical practice, including primary care and practice-oriented
o  Health care technologies, facilities, and equipment
o  Health care costs, productivity, and market forces
o  Health promotion and disease prevention
o  Health statistics and epidemiology
o  Medical liability
o  AIDS/HIV infection
o  Rural health services
o  Health of low-income, minority, elderly, and other underserved

Applicants are encouraged to discuss the suitability of their research
topics by letter or by phone with AHCPR staff members.  (See INQUIRIES)

Allowable Costs

Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants will be covered by
AHCPR dissertation research grants.  Allowable costs include the PIs
salary; direct project expenses such as travel, data processing, and
supplies; and for institutional applicants only, indirect costs.  Fees
for maintaining matriculation or other fees imposed on those preparing
dissertations are allowable costs, provided the fees are required of
all students of similar standing regardless of the source of funding.
Applicants are expected to work full time on the project.  Any level of
effort that is less than full-time must be fully justified.

For the purpose of calculating indirect costs, dissertation research
grants are considered to be training grants.  Therefore, in accordance
with PHS policy, indirect costs are limited to eight percent of direct
costs, payable only when the applicant is an institution.

Other Conditions

The following conditions apply to dissertation grants:

A PI who discontinues or suspends a project during the grant period
must inform the AHCPR immediately in writing.  The AHCPR may suspend or
terminate the grant as requested by the PI or on its own initiative.

The dissertation 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.  Three copies of the
dissertation must be submitted to the AHCPR.

The dissertation and all financial status reports must be submitted in


The AHCPR requires applicants for research grants to include minorities
and women in study populations so that research findings can be of
benefit to all persons at risk of the disease, disorder, or condition
under study.  Special emphasis should be placed on the need to include
minorities and women in studies of diseases, disorders and conditions
which disproportionately affect them.  This policy is intended to apply
to males and females of all ages.  If women or minorities are excluded
or inadequately represented in research, particularly in proposed
population-based studies, a clear and compelling rationale should be

The composition of the proposed study population must be described in
terms of gender and race/ethnicity.  In addition, gender and
racial/ethnic issues should be addressed in developing the research
design and sample size appropriate for the scientific objectives of the
study.  This information should be included on the form PHS 398 in
Sections 1-4 of the Research Plan and summarized in Section 5, Human
Subjects.  State and local governments using form PHS 5161 should
include this information in the Program Narrative section.

Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including
the broadest possible representation of minority groups.  However, the
AHCPR recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all
research projects to include representation of the full array of United
States racial/ethnic minority populations (i.e., Native Americans,
Asian/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics).  Where appropriate, the
applicant should provide the rationale for studies on single minority
population groups.

All applications for research submitted to the AHCPR are required to
address this policy.  The AHCPR will not award grants for applications
which do not comply.  If the required information is not contained in
the application, the application will be returned without review.

Problem Significance

o  The project is focused on a significant problem in the delivery of
health care.

o  The methodology or anticipated results of the project have national
interest, provide a basis for generalized conclusions, or have
important practical applicability.

Research Design

o  The problem to be addressed by the research is clearly defined.

o  The application reflects an adequate knowledge of other research
related to the problem.

o  Questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested are well
formulated and clearly stated.

o  Research methodology is fully described including, where applicable,
explanation of sampling procedures, description of types and sources of
data to be gathered, discussion of methodological problems expected to
be encountered, and description of specific analyses to be undertaken.

o  The application adequately describes the plans for managing the
project, including a tentative schedule for the main steps of the
investigation within the project period requested.

Investigator's Qualifications and Support Structure

o  The applicant shows promise as a health services research

o  The experience and training of the applicant are sufficient to carry
out the research.

o  The available facilities and organizational arrangements are
appropriate to the research.

o  Faculty advice, composition of dissertation committee, and support
are suitable to the research being undertaken, as evidenced by the
letter of support.

Budgetary Appropriateness

o  The allocation of time and money reflects an understanding of the
research tasks to be accomplished and of the problems likely to arise.

o  Where appropriate and feasible, the proposed approach uses data
available or being collected through government and other sources.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in applying for these grants in accordance with the special
instructions described here and in the application kit.  Research grant
application materials and special instructions for dissertation grant
applications are available from:

AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 8549
Silver Spring, MD  20907
Telephone:  1-800-358-9295

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application must be affixed to
the bottom of the face page.  Failure to use this label may result in
delayed processing of an application such that it may not reach the
review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and
number, HS-93-01, must be typed in the box marked Item 2a of the
application face page.

The original application and five copies must be sent directly to:

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

Applicants that are State and local governments may use form PHS 5161
and submit an original and two copies.

Applications must be received by Friday, January 22, 1993.

A letter from the faculty committee or university official directly
responsible for supervising the development and progress of the
dissertation research must be submitted with the application.  The
letter must:  (1) fully identify the members of the committee and
certify their approval of the dissertation proposal, (2) certify that
all requirements for the doctoral degree except the dissertation are
completed (or will be completed by the time of the grant award), and
(3) note that the university official or faculty committee expects the
doctoral candidate to proceed with the approved project proposal with
or without AHCPR support.  An attachment must identify all members of
the applicant's faculty advisory committee, including for each the
university departmental affiliation and rank, highest degree with name
of degree granting institution, date conferred and major discipline.
An application that does not conform to these instructions will be

Revised and resubmitted applications have seldom been funded,
therefore, individuals are strongly encouraged to contact Dr.
Pellegrino, at the address listed below, to discuss their intentions
prior to submitting a revised application.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by the Division of Research
Grants for completeness and by AHCPR staff for responsiveness.
Incomplete or unresponsive applications will be returned to the
applicant.  Dissertation research grant applications will be reviewed
under AHCPR review procedures by non-Federal or Federal experts.
Reviewers will be selected on the basis of their health services
research accomplishments and knowledge and their experience in research
career development.  Because reviews are rigorous, considerable
methodological detail is important in the narrative of the application.
All elements of the application will be considered in the review
process.  Primary emphasis will be given to the significance,
scientific merit, and feasibility of the project.

Applications may be subject to triage to determine their scientific
merit relative to other applications received in response to this RFA.
The AHCPR will withdraw from further competition those applications
judged by triage to be noncompetitive for award and notify the PI and
institutional official.  Those applications judged to be competitive
will undergo further scientific merit review.  Review results and
funding decisions will be announced approximately five months after the
submission date.  Review criteria, award criteria, and continuation of
support are described below.

Review Criteria

Applications are reviewed to determine their suitability to review
criteria in four major areas:  problem significance, research design,
investigator's qualifications and support structure, and budgetary


Reviewers will provide recommendations with regard to the scientific
and technical merit of the application and whether it should receive
further consideration.  Funding decisions are made by the AHCPR based
on the recommendations of the reviewers, the relevance of the project
to program priorities, and the availability of appropriated funds.


Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss programmatic issues, such as the
suitability of their research topics, by letter or telephone with:

Julius Pellegrino, M.B.A., M.P.H.
Program Coordinator, Dissertation Grants
Center for General Health Services Extramural Research
Executive Office Center, Suite 502
2101 E. Jefferson Street
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone:  (301) 227-8357

Direct inquiries regarding instructions for completing the application

Galen B. (Sandy) Warren, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Office of Scientific Review
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
Executive Office Center, Suite 602
2101 E. Jefferson Street
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone:  (301) 227-8449

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal and administrative matters to:

Ralph Sloat
Chief, Grants Management Branch
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
Executive Office Center, Suite 601
2101 E. Jefferson Street
Rockville, MD  20852
Telephone:  (301) 227-8447


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No. 93.226.  Awards are made under authority of title IX of the Public
Health Service Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 299-299c-6), and administered
under PHS grants policies and in accordance with regulations of Title
42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 67, Subpart A.  A copy of
these regulations and the dissertation research grant application
instructions will be among the materials sent to each applicant.  The
requirements of Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Review of
Federal Programs, are not applicable to AHCPR research grant programs.


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