EXPLORATORY/DEVELOPMENTAL GRANT APPLICATIONS (R21)

Release Date:  November 6, 2000 (see reissuance PA-02-171)

PA NUMBER:  PA-01-012

National Institute on Drug Abuse
 (http://www.nida.nih.gov)

THIS PA USES THE "MODULAR GRANT" AND "JUST-IN-TIME" CONCEPTS. IT INCLUDES 
DETAILED MODIFICATIONS TO STANDARD APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS THAT MUST BE USED 
WHEN PREPARING APPLICATIONS IN RESPONSE TO THIS PA.

PURPOSE

This program announcement (PA) is a reissuance of PA-98-004, NIDA's 
Exploratory/Developmental Grant Applications, published in the NIH Guide for 
Contracts and Grants, October 24, 1997, volume 26, number 36.   This PA 
replaces PA-98-004 in its entirety.  

The objective of the exploratory/developmental grant (R21) mechanism is to 
encourage applications from individuals who are interested in testing 
innovative or conceptually creative ideas that are scientifically sound and 
may advance our understanding of drug abuse and addiction.  The 
exploratory/developmental mechanism of grant support is intended to enable an 
investigator to explore the feasibility of an innovative research question or 
approach.  Thus, preliminary data specific to the proposed project are not 
expected, but data demonstrating feasibility are desirable.  Novel and 
creative approaches are essential.

An exploratory/developmental proposal should be submitted in the standard 
format of an NIH research project grant application (i.e., R01).  The 
relevance of the proposed work to the mission of NIDA should be clearly 
described.   The first sentence of the abstract should indicate that this is a 
R21 application.  The significance, importance, or potential impact of 
proposed research should be clearly discussed, and the procedures, data 
analyses, and expected conclusions should be well described.  Experienced 
investigators whose research has been outside the drug abuse field are 
encouraged to use the R21 mechanism to explore new avenues and approaches.  
The mechanism may also be especially appropriate for an investigator 
experienced in drug abuse research to adapt concepts or methods established in 
other fields to the drug abuse field.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion 
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS led national 
activity for setting priority areas.  This Program Announcement (PA), 
Exploratory/Developmental Grant Applications, is related to one or more of the 
priority areas.   Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 
2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, 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.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, 
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal 
investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This PA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
exploratory/development R21 award mechanism.  Responsibility for planning, 
direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the 
applicant.  The total project period for an application submitted in response 
to this PA may not exceed 3 years.
 
ALLOWABLE COSTS

In general, the requested funding for exploratory/developmental projects 
should be modest.  A grant supported under this mechanism is limited to a 3-
year effort and a maximum of $100,000 in direct costs per year.  However, 
well-justified costs exceeding $100,000 in modules of $25,000 may be 
considered only in exceptional cases (e.g., PET imaging technology).  The 
award is not renewable. 

Grant funds may be used for expenses clearly related and necessary to conduct 
research projects, including both direct costs which can be specifically 
identified with the project and allowable indirect costs of the institution.  
Funds may not be used to establish, add a component to, or operate a 
treatment, rehabilitation, or prevention/intervention service program.  
Support for research-related treatment, rehabilitation, or prevention services 
and programs may be requested only for costs required by the research.  These 
costs must be justified in terms of research objectives, methods, and designs 
which promise to yield generalizable knowledge and/or significant contribution 
to theoretical concepts.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS - 
UPDATED AUGUST 2, 2000

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 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm.  The 
revisions related to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require: a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans 
to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

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 
address: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.

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

NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON DRUG ABUSE RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES FOR THE 
ADMINISTRATION OF DRUGS TO HUMAN SUBJECTS  

The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse recognizes the importance of 
research involving the administration of drugs to human subjects and has 
developed guidelines relevant to such research.  Potential applicants are 
encouraged to obtain and review the recommendations of the Council before 
submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects.  
The guidelines are available on NIDA's Home Page at http://www.nida.nih.gov/ 
under Funding or may be obtained by calling (301) 443-2755.

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form 398 (rev. 4/98) 
and will be accepted at the standard applications deadlines as indicated in 
the application kit.  Application kits 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) 435-0714, e-mail:  
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.  

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODULAR GRANT APPLICATIONS

The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets. Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The 
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when 
there is a possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these changes 
will reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers, and 
Institute staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is 
to be used in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted below.

BUDGET INSTRUCTIONS

Modular Grant applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to 
a total direct cost request of $100,000 per year for no more than 3 years for 
the NIDA R21 mechanism.  

PHS 398

o FACE PAGE - Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in 
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $100,000 for the R21) and Total Costs 
[Modular Total Direct plus Facilities and Administrative  (F&A) costs] for the 
initial budget period.  Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the 
Direct and Total Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

o DETAILED BUDGET FOR THE INITIAL BUDGET PERIOD - Do not complete Form Page 4 
of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the 
application.

o BUDGET FOR THE ENTIRE PROPOSED PERIOD OF SUPPORT - Do not complete the 
categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required 
and will not be accepted with the application.

o NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative 
page. (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm for sample 
pages.)  At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for 
each year.  This is not a Form page.

Under Personnel, list all project personnel, including their names, percent of 
effort, and roles on the project.  No individual salary information should be 
provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation language 
salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in developing 
the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct 
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the nearest 
$1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or 
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of all personnel, 
and role on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating institution is 
foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a consortium/contractual arrangement 
is included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount.  Include the 
Letter of Intent to establish a consortium.

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the 
number of modules requested.

o BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by  
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific 
role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall 
qualifications of the research team. A biographical sketch is required for all 
key personnel, following the instructions below.  No more than three pages may 
be used for each person.  A sample biographical sketch may be viewed at:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on 
research projects ongoing or completed during the last three years; and
- List selected peer-reviewed publications with full citations.

o CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the 
application.  If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the 
type of agreement and the date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied in 
the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all future 
budget years.

o The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual to 
contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional information 
is necessary following the initial review. 

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed on line 2 of 
the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.

The completed original application and five legible copies must be sent or 
delivered to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20897 (for overnight/express mail service)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral 
guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit 
by an appropriate scientific review group convened in accordance with the 
standard NIH peer review procedures.  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, generally 
the top half of applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a 
priority score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate national 
advisory council or board.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects 
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research 
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these 
criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, 
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application 
does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major 
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.   However, since 
this is an exploratory/developmental mechanism, it is expected that novel 
ideas and approaches will characterize the applications submitted, but pilot 
or preliminary data are not expected.

(1) Significance:  Does this study address an important problem?  If the aims 
of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive 
this field?

(2) Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or 
methods?  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited 
to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience 
level of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

(5) Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be 
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments 
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements?   Is there evidence of institutional 
support?

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

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

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

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals, or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project 
proposed in the application.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended 
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:  
Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review, availability of 
funds, and program priority.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions 
from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Harold Gordon, Ph.D.
Division of Treatment Research and Development
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 4234, MSC 9559
Bethesda, MD  20892-9559
Telephone:  (301) 443-4877
Fax:  (301) 443-6814
E-mail:  hg23r@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Gary Fleming, J.D., M.A.
Grants Management Branch
Office of Planning and Resource Management
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3131, MSC 9541
Bethesda, MD  20892-9541
Telephone:  (301) 443-6710   
FAX:  (301) 594-6847
E-mail:  gf6s@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS 

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.279.  Awards are made under authorization of sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 
74 and 92.  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 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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