NIMH SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

RELEASE DATE:  December 4, 2002 

PA NUMBER:  PA-03-039 (see Notice of Inactivation NOT-MH-04-007)
                      (also see NOT-MH-04-008)

EXPIRATION DATE:  August 2005, unless reissued.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
 (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/)

THIS PA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o  Purpose of the PA
o  Research Objectives
o  Mechanism(s) of Support 
o  Eligible Institutions
o  Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o  Special Requirements
o  Where to Send Inquiries
o  Submitting an Application
o  Peer Review Process
o  Review Criteria
o  Award Criteria
o  Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS PA  

This Program Announcement (PA) replaces PAR-99-140.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Small Grants Program provides
research support of up to $50,000 per year (direct costs) for up to two years
for new research projects in areas of high relevance to the mission of the
NIMH.  Small grants (R03) are short-term awards designed to answer specific and
targeted research questions.  Both new and more experienced investigators are
encouraged to apply for grants under this announcement.  Newer investigators
may use the award to generate new or additional preliminary data for future
research grants (e.g., R01).  More experienced investigators may justify
support under this mechanism as either representing new research directions
for the investigator or representing the development and testing of new 
methodology.  The award is also intended to support investigators at
institutions that do not have extensive research resources.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The small grant program provides relatively limited financial support for
research of high priority to the NIMH for which a time period of one to two
years is appropriate.  Priority will be given to applications in any of the
following four categories:

1.  Newer, less experienced investigators.
2.  Investigators at institutions without well-developed research traditions
and resources.
3.  More experienced investigators, for exploratory studies that represent 
significant change in research direction for them.
4.  More experienced investigators, for developing and testing new methods or 
techniques.

Applications must include an introductory paragraph in the research plan
section of the application identifying which priority category (1 through 4
above) is relevant and providing explicit justification for its applicability. 
Applications not falling into any of the priority areas may be submitted;
however, the introductory paragraph should state that the submission does not
respond to any of the priority category areas.

Applications may be made for support of research in any scientific area relevant
to mental health (for program areas supported by NIMH see: 
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/compon.cfm).  While applications may involve
a wide variety of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical disciplines, relevance
to the mission of the NIMH must be clear.  Applications for studies outside
these areas will be returned without review.  Potential applicants with
questions concerning acceptability of their proposed work may contact the
program staff listed under INQUIRIES.

MECHANISM(S) OF SUPPORT 

This PA will use the NIH small grant (R03) mechanism, which provides up to two 
years of funding with a maximum of $50,000 direct costs, plus facilities and 
administrative (F&A) costs, for each year.  Small grants are not renewable.  As
an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and
executing the proposed project.

This PA uses just-in-time concepts.  It also uses the modular budgeting format   
(see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm).  Specifically, 
since the NIMH Small Grants program has a cap of $50,000 per year direct costs,  
the modular format should be used.

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS 

You may submit (an) application(s) if your institution has any of the following 
characteristics:

o  For-profit or non-profit organizations
o  Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
and laboratories
o  Units of State and local governments
o  Eligible agencies of the Federal government
o  Domestic or foreign
o  Faith-based or community-based organizations

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out
the proposed research is invited to work with their institution to develop an 
application for support.  Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic 
groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply
for NIH programs.

It is important to note that while the NIMH encourages applications from new
investigators, individuals who are in training status and being supported by
National Research Service Awards (NRSA) traineeships and/or fellowships are
not eligible to be supported until the completion or termination of the
approved research training program, which must occur prior to the beginning
date of an R03 research project as a Principal Investigator.

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage your inquiries concerning this PA and welcome the opportunity to 
answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may fall into two areas:  
scientific/research and financial or grants management issues:

Information about "NIMH Extramural Programs and Program Official Contacts" may
be obtained from the following Website:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/grants/grantinfo.cfm.

o  Direct your questions about overall NIMH policy with regard to this
initiative to:

Jean G. Noronha, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892-
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 443-3367
FAX:  (301) 443-4720
Email:  jnoronha@mail.nih.gov

o  Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to one of the
following  program-specific Division/Office contacts:

Mark R. Chavez, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6207, MSC 9623
Bethesda, MD  20892-9623
Telephone:  (301) 443-3563
FAX:  (301) 443-6000
Email:  mchavez1@nih.gov

Michael Huerta, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7202, MSC 9645
Bethesda, MD  20892-9645
Telephone: (301) 443-3563
FAX: (301) 443-4822
Email: mhuerta@helix.nih.gov

Enid Light, Ph.D.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7160, MSC 9635
Bethesda, MD  20892-9635
Telephone:  (301) 443-1185
FAX:  (301) 443-4045
Email:  elight@mail.nih.gov

Michael D. Hirsch, Ph.D.
Office on Neuroinformatics
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6167, MSC 9613
Bethesda, MD  20892-9613
Telephone:  (301) 443-1815
FAX:  (301) 443-1867
Email:  mhirsch@mail.nih.gov

Direct inquiries about financial or grants management matters to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-2805
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  diana_trunnell@nih.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  The PHS 398 is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive
format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714,
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATES:  Applications submitted in response to this program 
announcement will be accepted at the standard application deadlines, which are 
available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/dates.htm.  Application deadlines are 
also indicated in the PHS 398 application kit.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODULAR GRANT APPLICATIONS:  Applications requesting
up to $250,000 per year in direct costs must be submitted in a modular grant
format.  The modular grant format simplifies the preparation of the budget in
these applications by limiting the level of budgetary detail.  Applicants
request direct costs in $25,000 modules.  Section C of the research grant
application instructions for the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html includes step-by-step 
guidance for preparing modular grants.  Additional information on modular grants
is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR SMALL GRANT APPLICATIONS:  In addition to the above 
instructions, the following specific instructions must be followed.

1.  The narrative portion of the small grant application that describes the
research plan (items a-d) may not exceed 10 pages of text.  Applications
exceeding this length will be returned without review.  Appendices may not be
used to exceed the page limitation.

2.  An introductory paragraph to the research plan must identify which of the
four priority categories listed under RESEARCH OBJECTIVES applies and provide
an explanation of how that priority category applies.  If the application does
not fall into any of the priority areas, this should be stated.

SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH:  Submit a signed, typewritten original of the 
application, including the checklist, and five signed photocopies in one package 
to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

APPLICATION PROCESSING:  Applications must be received by or mailed on or before 
the receipt dates described at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm.  
The CSR will not accept any application in response to this PA 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 a substantial revision of an application already
reviewed, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the
previous critique.

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

Applications submitted for this PA will be assigned on the basis of established
PHS referral guidelines.  An appropriate scientific review group convened in
accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures
(http://www.csr.nih.gov/refrev.htm) will evaluate applications for scientific
and technical merit.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

o  Receive a written critique
o  Undergo a selection 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 score
o  Receive a second level review by the National Institute of Mental Health 
Advisory Council

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
your application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals:

o  Significance
o  Approach
o  Innovation
o  Investigator
o  Environment

The scientific review group will address and consider each of these criteria in 
assigning your application's overall score, weighting them as appropriate for
each application.  Your 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.  For example, you may propose to carry out important work that
by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(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?  Does the applicant acknowledge the complexity of the
specific settings, populations, and professions engaged in each study?

(3) INNOVATION:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method?
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)?  Has the principal 
investigator involved researchers from other fields that, if necessary,
complement the PI's experience?

(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?

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA:  In addition to the above criteria, your application 
will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

PROTECTIONS:  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.

INCLUSION:  The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all
racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the
scientific goals of the research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of
subjects will also be evaluated.  (See Inclusion Criteria included in the
section on Federal Citations, below)

DATA SHARING:  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data. 

BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of 
support in relation to the proposed research.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS:  The following additional considerations are
pertinent to the review of NIMH Small Grant (R03) applications:

o  Because the research plan is limited to 10 pages, a Small Grant application
may not have the same level of detail or extensive discussion normally found
in an R01 application.  Review emphasis should be placed on conceptual
framework and general approach to the problem, with less emphasis on
methodological details.

o  Pilot/feasibility studies contain little or no preliminary data.  Review
should focus on whether the rationale for the study is well developed and
whether the proposed research is likely to generate data that will lead to a
regular research project grant or full-scale clinical trial.  Adequate
justification for the proposed work may be provided through literature
citations, data from other sources, or investigator-generated data.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications submitted in response to a PA will compete for available funds with 
all other recommended applications.  The following will be considered in making 
funding decisions:

o  Scientific merit of the proposed project as determined by peer review
o  Availability of funds
o  Relevance to program priorities

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS

MONITORING PLAN AND DATA SAFETY AND MONITORING BOARD:  Research components 
involving Phase I and II clinical trials must include provisions for assessment
of patient eligibility and status, rigorous data management, quality assurance,
and auditing procedures.  In addition, it is NIH policy that all clinical trials 
require data and safety monitoring, with the method and degree of monitoring
being commensurate with the risks (NIH Policy for Data Safety and Monitoring,
NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, June 12, 1998:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN CLINICAL RESEARCH:  It is the policy of the 
NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be 
included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and 
compelling justification is provided indicating 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 clinical research should read the AMENDMENT "NIH 
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research - Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and
Contracts on October 9, 2001
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html);
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm.  The 
amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; 
updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; 
clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials 
consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of
NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy continues to require for all
NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals
and/or protocols must 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) investigators must report annual
accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender
and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS:  The 
NIH maintains a policy 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 is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm.

REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS:  NIH policy 
requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all 
investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human subjects.
You will find this policy announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts 
Announcement, dated June 5, 2000, at
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS:  Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs
can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/stem_cells.htm and at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html.  Only
research using lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem
Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (see http://escr.nih.gov).
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the official NIH
identifier(s)for the line(s)to be used in the proposed research.  Applications
that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT:  The
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide
public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is
supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and
officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and
effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA.  It is
important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment.  NIH
has provided guidance at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm.

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public archive, 
which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an 
indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should include a description
of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in
the budget justification section of the application.  In addition, applicants
should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human
subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under
this award.

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.  Furthermore, we
caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly
access an Internet site.

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 PA 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.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS:  This program is described in the Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance No. 93.242, and is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.
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 described at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm and under
Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and discourage the 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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