THE CENTRAL PROCESSING OF TASTE INFORMATION

RELEASE DATE:  May 1, 2003

PA NUMBER:  PA-03-115 November 27, 2006  - This PA has been reissued as (PA-07-094).

EXPIRATION DATE: April 1, 2006, unless reissued. 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
 (http://www.nidcd.nih.gov)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER(S):  93.173

THIS PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT (PA) CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of the PA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanism of Support
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Submitting an Application
o Sending an Application to the NIH
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citation

PURPOSE 

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) 
supports basic, clinical, biobehavioral and biomedical research in gustation 
(taste). This PA reiterates the continuing interest of the NIDCD in receiving 
applications for the study of the role of the central nervous system in the 
processing of taste information and in the perception of taste quality.  The 
purpose of this PA is to foster basic and clinical research on the central 
mechanisms underlying the perception of taste quality.  A broad range of 
experimental approaches is encouraged. 

The NIDCD encourages applications from investigators who are conducting research 
outside the field of gustation and who are using methodological approaches that 
have not been typically applied to but which would greatly promote scientific 
progress within the field. The NIDCD also encourages applications from new 
investigators in the early stages of establishing an independent research 
program. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

This PA is timely because of the recent advances in our understanding of the 
genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the detection of 
taste stimuli at the level of the taste receptor cell.  Each taste receptor cell 
is likely to possess both an assortment of receptor subtypes and ion channels,  
and a variety of complex signal transduction cascades in order to detect the 
basic taste qualities of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and possibly umami 
(glutamate taste).  The depolarization of the taste receptor cell represents 
the initial step in the perception of taste quality.

The perception of taste quality also involves central higher-order synthetic 
(spatial-temporal coding) and cognitive elements that have been poorly 
characterized in most structures that constitute the central taste pathway.  
While the peripheral taste system continues to be studied extensively, the 
study of the central taste pathway and its role in the processing of taste 
information has lagged behind and has not taken full advantage of the gains 
garnered at the peripheral level.  

The central taste pathway is a complex, multisynaptic pathway that involves 
structures located in the lower brainstem, hypothalamus, pons, thalamus, and 
cortex. Information arising at the receptor level is transmitted to the 
brainstem and activates ascending and descending central pathways that are 
responsible for the perception of taste quality and for eliciting the 
visceromotor reflexes associated with eating (e.g., swallowing and salivation).  
Consequently, the taste system is highly interconnected and integrated with 
brain areas involved in the regulation of food intake.  An understanding of how 
the perception of taste quality is coded within the central taste pathway will 
also require a better understanding of the interactions among these various 
levels and feeding. The purpose of this PA is to encourage the study of the 
central taste pathway using contemporary neurobiological tools, including 
sophisticated behavioral assays, in normal, altered and regenerating model 
systems. Examples of possible research topics include, but are not limited to, 
those listed below. 

o  Computational modeling of central taste coding which accommodates both the 
spatial and temporal patterns of taste-evoked activity

o  Functional imaging of activity in the central taste pathway under normal and 
altered conditions

o  Neurochemical modulation of local and relay circuitry in the brainstem, 
thalamus, and cortex

o  Electrophysiological and biophysical properties of taste-responsive CNS 
neurons

o  Taste quality perception, food intake and nutrition

o  Psychophysical studies of normal and altered taste quality perception

o  Studies to determine whether umami is a basic taste quality 

o  Developmental determinants of taste quality perception

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT 

This PA will use the NIH R01 award mechanism. 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 as well as the 
non-modular budgeting formats (see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm).  Specifically, if you 
are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or 
less, use the modular format.  Otherwise follow the instructions for non-modular 
research grant applications.  This program does not require cost sharing as 
defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement at 
http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2001/part_i_1.htm.

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.

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage your inquiries concerning this PA and welcome the opportunity to 
answer questions from potential applicants.  

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Dr. Barry Davis
Director
Taste and Smell Program
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
6120 Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C, MSC-7180
Rockville, MD  20892-7180
Telephone: (301) 402-3464
FAX: (301) 402-6251
Email: barry_davis@nih.gov

o Direct inquires of financial or grants management matters to:

Ms. Sara Stone 
Chief, Grants Management Branch 
Division of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Executive Plaza South-400C
6120 Executive Blvd.  MSC-7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180 
Telephone:  (301) 402-0909 
Fax:  (301) 402-1758 
Email:  stones@nidcd.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 APPLICATIONS REQUESTING $500,000 OR MORE PER YEAR: 
Applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year must 
include a cover letter identifying the NIH staff member within one of NIH 
institutes or centers who has agreed to accept assignment of the application.   

Applicants requesting more than $500,000 must carry out the following steps:

1) Contact the IC program staff at least 6 weeks before submitting the 
application, i.e., as you are developing plans for the study; 

2) Obtain agreement from the IC staff that the IC will accept your application 
for consideration for award; and,
  
3) Identify, in a cover letter sent with the application, the staff member and 
IC who agreed to accept assignment of the application.  

This policy applies to all investigator-initiated new (type 1), competing 
continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended or revised version 
of these grant application types. Additional information on this policy is 
available in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, October 19, 2001 at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-004.html

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)

The title, CENTRAL PROCESSING OF TASTE INFORMATION, and the number of this 
announcement, PA-03-115, must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the YES box must be marked.

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be 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.  

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, 
applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within 8 
weeks.

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 Deafness and Communication 
Disorders 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 your study address an important problem? If the aims of 
your application are achieved, how do they advance scientific knowledge?  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?  Do you acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative 
tactics?

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

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

(5) ENVIRONMENT:  Does the scientific environment in which your 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, the following 
items will be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the 
priority score:

PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS FROM RESEARCH RISK: The involvement of human 
subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in 
the proposed research will be assessed. (See criteria included in the section 
on Federal Citations, below).
 
INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES AND CHILDREN IN RESEARCH: 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 will be assessed.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects 
will also be evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria in the sections on Federal 
Citations, below).

CARE AND USE OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS IN RESEARCH: If vertebrate animals are to be 
used in the project, the five items described under Section f of the PHS 398 
research grant application instructions (rev. 5/2001) will be assessed.  

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

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 

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 "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.

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.

STANDARDS FOR PRIVACY OF INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION:  The 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the 
"Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the 
"Privacy Rule," on August 14, 2002.  The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation 
under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 
that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, 
and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). 
Those who must comply with the Privacy Rule (classified under the Rule as 
"covered entities") must do so by April 14, 2003  (with the exception of small 
health plans which have an extra year to comply).  

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside 
with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website 
(http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a 
complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?"  
Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving 
the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, 
and research contracts can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

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 at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to 
the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 
and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and 
under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are 
subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations 
described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH Grants Policy Statement 
can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm 

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.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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