AHRQ GRANT PROGRAM FOR LARGE CONFERENCE SUPPORT

RELEASE DATE:  May 8, 2003

PA NUMBER:  PA-03-117 (This PA has been reissued, see PA-06-378) 

CFDA NUMBER: 93.226

EXPIRATION DATE: April 28, 2006

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
 (http://www.ahrq.gov)

THIS PA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

o   Purpose of the PA
o   Research Objectives
o   Mechanism(s) of Support
o   Eligible Institutions
o   Where to Send Inquiries
o   Submitting an Application
o   Peer Review Process
o   Review Criteria
o   Receipt and Review Schedule
o   Award Criteria
o   Required Federal Citations   

PURPOSE OF THE PA

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announces its continued 
interest in supporting conferences through its Large Grant Program for 
Conference Support.  AHRQ Large conference grants are those with direct costs 
of more than $50,000 per year or with a project period of longer than 1 year, 
but not exceeding 5 years.  This Program is intended to complement and 
promote AHRQ's core research by providing a mechanism for Agency stakeholders 
and others to (1) develop health services research agendas and identify 
strategies and mechanisms for studying them; (2) discuss and develop 
consensus around health services research methodological and technical 
issues; (3) disseminate health services research information and facilitate 
adoption of research findings from AHRQ-sponsored research and research 
training grants in the formulation or evaluation of health policy, management 
of health care programs, and use or purchase of health services; and (4) 
develop partnerships with stakeholder organizations and build their capacity 
to participate in research activities and use the results of health services 
research.

This announcement describes the procedures and criteria for the Program.  It 
updates and supersedes the "Health Services Research Conference Grants," 
PA-91-061, published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on May 31, 1991. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Conference Objectives

AHRQ seeks to support conferences that help to further its mission.  The 
mission of AHRQ is to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness 
of health services, and access to such services, through the establishment of 
a broad base of scientific research and through the transfer of knowledge 
about improvements in clinical and health systems practices, the prevention 
of diseases and other health conditions.  AHRQ also strongly encourages 
applicants to demonstrate consideration of research issues critical to 
priority populations, including:  individuals living in inner city and rural 
(including frontier) areas; low-income and minority groups; women, children, 
and the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including 
those with disabilities and those who need chronic or end-of-life health 
care.  The types of conferences eligible for support include: 

1)  Research development - conferences to define issues or problems in the 
financing, organization, and delivery of health services or to develop 
research agenda or strategies for studying them;
 
2)  Design and methodology - conferences to address methodological, data 
development, and technical issues of major importance in the field of health 
services research are addressed or new conceptual frameworks, research 
designs, tools, and methodologies; and
 
3)  Dissemination conferences - to synthesize, summarize, and communicate 
research findings to a broad range of organizations and individuals that have 
the capability to use the information to further AHRQ's mission.  
Dissemination conferences include conferences that are intended to develop 
strategies for translating and disseminating research for public and private 
decision makers, including the development of strategies to foster and 
document the impact of health services research.

AHRQ is especially interested in supporting conferences that demonstrate 
strategies which include plans for disseminating conference materials and 
products beyond the participants attending the event.  Such strategies might 
include, but are not limited to, submitting articles for publication, posting 
information on a Web site with a provision for active marketing of the site, 
and seeking out formal opportunities to discuss conference information with 
others.

AHRQ's Mission

AHRQ achieves its mission through health services research designed to (1) 
improve clinical practice, (2) improve the health care system's ability to 
provide access to and deliver high quality, high-value health care, and (3) 
provide policymakers with the ability to assess the impact of system changes 
on outcomes, quality, access to, cost, and use of health care services.  

This Program Announcement (PA) expresses AHRQ's interest in supporting 
conferences that focus on the Priority Program Areas identified in the "AHRQ 
Health Services Research - Program Announcement" 
(http://www.grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-111.html).  
That PA outlines broad research interests in the following areas: 

o   Improvements in health outcomes.  Drawing from literature on variations 
in clinical practice and associated outcomes, the documented increase in the 
prevalence of chronic disease, and growing interest in the impact of 
different delivery modalities and financing arrangements on the outcomes of 
care, AHRQ seeks to support research to understand and improve decision-
making at all levels of the health care system, the outcomes of health care 
and, in particular, what works, for whom, when, and at what cost.

o   Quality measurement and improvement.  AHRQ is interested in a broad array 
of research topics, including studies to develop valid and reliable measures 
of the process and outcomes of care, causation and prevention of errors in 
health care, strategies for improving measurement and reporting in order to 
strengthen programs of quality improvement and patient safety, and 
dissemination and implementation of validated quality improvement and patient 
safety mechanisms. 

o   Strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use, and reduce 
unnecessary expenditures.  This area focuses on issues pertaining to the 
types of health care services Americans use; the cost of these services and 
sources of payment; determinants of access to care; and whether particular 
approaches to health care delivery and financing, or characteristics of the 
health care market, alter behaviors in ways that improve access and promote 
cost-effective use of health care resources.

Accordingly, AHRQ strongly encourages applicants to propose conferences which 
focus on the above-described subjects as well as conferences that address 
aspects of these research subjects critical to the above-referenced priority 
populations.

AHRQ encourages conference planners to disseminate tools and data either 
developed or supported by AHRQ, for example, the CAHPS products, related 
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey products (MEPS), data and quality indicators 
from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Evidence-based 
Practice Centers (EPCs) Reports, National Quality Measures Clearinghouseâ„¢ 
(NQMC); and research results derived from the previous examples as well as 
from the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), 
Excellence Centers To Eliminate Ethnic/Racial Disparities (EXCEED), Patient 
Safety Initiative, Translating Research into Practice (TRIP); and U.S. 
Preventive Services Task Force materials, and descriptive material about the 
National Guideline Clearinghouse.  Depending on the particular conference 
design and topic and goal, possible dissemination avenues for AHRQ products 
could include advertisements in affiliated newsletters, AHRQ's logo on the 
conference web page with a link to AHRQ's website, the inclusion of a 
promotional insert in participant packets relevant AHRQ material(s) in the 
conference notebook or briefing packet or display table or AHRQ exhibit booth 
space at the meeting, recognition in conference program, verbal recognition 
at various conference functions or participation by an AHRQ topic expert in 
panel discussions/presentations.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This Program Announcement will use the conference grant (Rl3) mechanism.  
Responsibility for the 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 5 years.  

Applicants will not be required to match or share in project costs if an 
award is made.

Applicants should refer to the AHRQ web-page at http://www.ahrq.gov for 
"Funding Opportunities."  Program Announcements and Requests-for-Proposals 
posted on the site may provide potential applicants for conference support 
with information on current AHRQ priorities, recent initiatives, and 
appropriate program staff contacts.  Large conference grant applications are 
reviewed using the timeline as set forth in the Receipt and Review Schedule 
Section of this Program Announcement.

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS

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

o   Domestic 
o   Public and private nonprofit organizations, including universities, 
clinics, units of State and local governments
o   Tribes and tribal organizations
o   Foundations
o   Scientific or professional societies
o   Faith-based or community-based organizations

An individual is not eligible to receive a grant in support of a conference.  
In the case of an international conference, the U.S. representative 
organization of an established international scientific or professional 
society is the eligible grantee.  

For the purpose of this PA, AHRQ will make grants only to non-profit 
organizations; however, for-profit organizations may participate in grant 
projects through consortium arrangements or as subcontractors.  Organizations 
described in section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue code that engage in 
lobbying are not eligible.

Applicants may request full or partial support for conferences.  Where 
partial support of a conference is requested, the peer review will consider 
the overall structure and design of the conference as well as the sub-
component for which support is being requested.

AHRQ encourages investigators and new investigators (as defined in the PHS 
398 application instructions) who are women, members of racial and ethnic of 
minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply as Principal 
Investigators. 

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

AHRQ welcomes the opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from 
potential applicants who have read the PA.  Written and telephone inquiries 
concerning this PA are encouraged.  Direct your questions regarding program 
matters to the offices listed below by specific program areas:

1.   Improving Health Outcomes

Heddy Hubbard, R.N., M.P.H.
Acting Director
Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research
Telephone:  301/594-1485
E-mail: hhubbard@ahrq.gov

2.   Quality of Care

Daniel Stryer, M.D.
Acting Director
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Telephone: 301/594-6672
E-mail: dstryer@ahrq.gov

3.   Evidence-based Practice and Technology Assessment

Jean Slutsky, P.A., M.P.H.
Acting Director
Center for Practice and Technology Assessment
Telephone: 301/594-4026
E-mail: jslutsky@ahrq.gov 

4.   Primary Care

Helen Burstin, M.D.
Director
Center for Primary Care Research
Telephone: 301/594-1357
E-mail: hburstin@AHRQ.gov

5.   Cost and Financing

Steven B. Cohen, Ph.D.
Director
Center for Cost and Financing Studies
Telephone: 301/594-6171
E-mail: scohen@AHRQ.gov

6.   Organization, Delivery, and Markets

Irene Fraser, Ph.D.
Director
Center for Organization and Delivery Studies
Telephone: 301/594-6824
E-mail: ifraser@AHRQ.gov

7.   Training and Career Development

Francis Chesley, M.D.
Director
Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy
Telephone: 301/594-6410
E-mail: fchesley@AHRQ.gov

8.   Minority Health

Kay Felix-Aaron, M.D.
Office of Priority Population Research
Senior Advisor for Minority Health
Telephone:  301/594-6198
E-Mail:  kfaaron@ahrq.gov

9.   Children's Health

Denise Dougherty, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor for Child Health
Telephone: 301/594-2051
E-mail: ddougher@AHRQ.gov

10.   Clinical Preventive Services

David Atkins, M.D.
Medical Officer
Center for Practice and Technology Assessment
Telephone: 301/594-4016
E-mail: datkins@AHRQ.gov

11.   Cost-effectiveness Analysis and Other Methodological Advances

Joanna Siegel, Sc.D., R.N.
Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research
Telephone: 301/594-0667
E-mail: jsiegel@ahrq.gov

o  Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Pat Thompson, Ph.D.
Director Division of Scientific Review
Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy
Telephone: 301/594-1404
E-mail: pthompso@ahrq.gov 

o   Direct your questions about financial or grant management matters to:

George (Skip) Moyer
Division of Grants Management
Telephone: 301/594-1842
Fax: 301/594-3210
E-mail: smoyer@AHRQ.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

The following directions apply to applications for conference grants of more 
than $50,000 in direct costs per year or requesting more than one year of 
support but not exceeding 5 years.  Applicants proposing conference grants 
for $50,000 or less in total direct costs should read the "Small Grant 
Program for Conference Support," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts on October 2, 2000 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/
PAR-00-141.html).

Applicants are required to seek approval from AHRQ staff at least 6 weeks 
prior to the anticipated submission of any application requesting $500,000 or 
more in direct costs for any year.  If staff is contacted less than 6 weeks 
before submission, there may be insufficient time to make a determination 
about assignment prior to the intended submission date.  Applicants proposing 
conference grants for $500,000 or more for any year should read the "Advance 
Approval of Unsolicited Applications That Request More Than $500,000 Direct 
Costs in Any One Year," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts 
on August 22, 1997 (http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/advance.htm).

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and form (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.

State and local government applicants may use PHS 5161-1, Application for 
Federal Assistance (rev. 5/96), and follow those requirements for copy 
submission. See (http://www.psc.gov/forms/MSWPHS/PHS-5161-1.doc)  
To ensure equity among applicants, however, applicants using this form must 
observe page number and font size requirements specified in the Form PHS 398.  
AHRQ encourages use of Form PHS 398 in preference to Form 5161-1.

The PA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the yes box must be checked.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODULAR GRANT APPLICATIONS:  AHRQ is not using the 
Modular Grant Application and Award Process.  Applicants for funding from 
AHRQ should ignore application instructions concerning the Modular Grant 
Application and Award Process, and prepare applications according to 
instructions provided in form PHS 398.  Applications submitted in the Modular 
format will be returned without review.

Specific Application Instructions

The proposed date for the conference must be included on page 2 of the 
application as a part of the conference description.

The proposed location and facilities for the conference must be described on 
page 2 of the application under the section entitled "Performance Site(s)."

The narrative portion of the application will substitute for the Research 
Plan described in form PHS 398 (Rev. 5/2001).  The narrative portion should 
be responsive to the "Application Review Criteria" outlined in this PA, and 
describe the following: 

o   General purpose of the conference, including how the conference might 
impact on the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health services, 
access to such services, and how it might address issues related to priority 
populations described in the review criteria;

o   Planning process, including who assisted (or might assist) to plan the 
conference and the criteria for their selection;

o   Topics selected for discussion, including how health services research 
findings will be incorporated if a purpose of the conference is to 
disseminate information;

o   Format for the conference;

o   Proposed (or confirmed) speakers and discussants, including the criteria 
for selecting such;

o   Expected product(s) resulting from the conference, including how these 
products would be disseminated beyond those attending the conference;

o   Expected participants; and

o   Plans for evaluating the conference's success.

The narrative portion may not exceed 25 pages in length and must include all 
material related to the project justification.  A conference agenda or draft 
agenda, if available, should be added as an appendix.

Although policies governing study populations are not directly relevant, 
applications for AHRQ-supported conferences will be expected to demonstrate 
consideration of the possible relevance of conference subject matter to the 
following priority populations:   low income groups; racial and ethnic 
minority groups; women; children; the elderly; individuals with special 
health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and those who need 
chronic care and end-of-life health care; and individuals living in inner-
city, rural, and frontier areas.  Consideration for priority populations may 
be reflected in the design of the agenda, selection of topics and speakers, 
attendees, and the final product associated with the conference, whether it 
is a research agenda or conference proceedings.

SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH and AHRQ:  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
              (20817 for express/courier service)
 
APPLICATION PROCESSING:  Applications must be received by the receipt dates 
listed under RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE below.  If an application is 
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without 
review.  The CSR and AHRQ 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 and AHRQ 
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.  

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.

Applicants are encouraged to read all PHS Forms 398 instructions prior to 
preparing an application in response to this PA.  The PHS 398 type size 
requirements (p.6) will be enforced rigorously and non-compliant applications 
will be returned.  State and local government applicants may use PHS 5161-1, 
Application for Federal Assistance (rev. 5/96), and follow those requirements 
for copy submission.  It is very important to note that limitations on number 
of pages and size of font must be observed; applications violating these 
requirements will be returned without review.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of human subjects is not required 
prior to peer review of an AHRQ application.  The "AHRQ Revised Policy for 
IRB Review of Human Subjects Protocols in Grant Applications" was published 
in the NIH Guide on September 27, 2000.  
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-hs-00-003.html). 

The PA is also available on AHRQ's Web site, http://www.AHRQ.gov, (see under 
Funding Opportunities) and through AHRQ InstantFAX at (301) 594-2800.  To use 
InstantFAX, you must call from a facsimile (FAX) machine with a telephone 
handset.  Follow the voice prompt to obtain a copy of the table of contents, 
which has the document order number (not the same as the PA number).  The RFA 
will be sent at the end of the ordering process.  AHRQ InstantFAX operates 24 
hours a day, 7 days a week.  For comments or problems concerning AHRQ 
InstantFax, please call (301) 594-6344.

In carrying out its stewardship of research programs, the AHRQ, at some point 
in the future, may begin requesting information essential to an assessment of 
the effectiveness of Agency research programs.  Accordingly, grant recipients 
are hereby notified that they may be contacted after the completion of awards 
for periodic updates on publications resulting from AHRQ grant awards, and 
other information helpful in evaluating the impact of AHRQ-sponsored research.  

AHRQ expects grant recipients to keep the Agency informed of publications as 
well as the known uses and impact of their Agency-sponsored conferences and 
research.  Applicants are to agree to notify AHRQ immediately when a 
manuscript based on research supported by the grant is accepted for 
publication, and to provide the expected date of publication as soon as it is 
known, regardless of whether or not the grant award is still active. 

To receive an award, applicants must agree to submit an original and 2 copies 
of an abstract, executive summary, and full report of the results in the 
format prescribed by AHRQ no later than 90 days after the end of the project 
period.  The executive summary should be sent at the same time on a computer 
disk which specifies on the label the format uses (WP5.1 or WP6.0 is 
preferable.)

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness  to the PA.  
Incomplete applications or applications not following instructions given in 
the PHS 398 form will be returned to the applicant without further 
consideration.  Applications that are complete to the PA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review group convened in 
accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures. 

Reviewers may also take into consideration the extent to which the applicant 
responds to any suggestions or priority issues provided by AHRQ prior to 
submission of the application.

As part of the merit review, all applications will:

o   Receive a written critique
o   Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit will be discussed and assigned a priority score.

REVIEW CRITERIA

Conference Topic

1.  The topic selected must complement existing Agency research activities 
and interests.

2.  The conference must relate clearly and directly to the field of health 
services research and its goals of developing and translating research to 
improve our health care system.

3.  The conference topic and objective(s) must be succinctly and clearly 
stated, and reflected in all aspects of the conference proposal.

4.  Conference sessions should include health services research related, but 
not limited, to issues such as: 

o   The quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness, safety, and 
value of health care services; 

o   Quality measurement and improvement;

o   The outcomes, cost, cost-effectiveness, and use of health care services 
and access to such  services;

o   Clinical practice, including primary care and practice-oriented research 
topics and methodologies;

o   System strategies to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety; 

o   Health care technologies, facilities, and equipment;

o   Health care costs, productivity, organization, and market forces;

o   Health promotion and disease prevention; 

o   Health statistics, surveys, database development, and epidemiology;

o   Medical liability;

o   Market dynamics and its impacts on cost, quality and access;

o   Delivery system organization; 

o   Medical informatics;

o   Evidence-based medicine and practice and its implementation into care 
settings;

o   Systems re-engineering and other ways to improve health care systems to 
make them more effective and efficient;

o  Bioterrorism;

o  Using information technology effectively and appropriately within 
different settings; and 

o   Disparities in access, quality, and utilization.

5.   The conference should address issues related to priority populations-- 
low income groups; racial and ethnic minority groups; women; children; the 
elderly; individuals with special health care needs, including individuals 
with disabilities and those who need chronic care and end-of-life health 
care; and individuals living in inner-city, rural, and frontier areas--to the 
extent appropriate to the conference topic.

6.   The topic selected must be important to Agency stakeholders such as 
consumers and patients; clinicians and other providers; institutions; plans; 
purchasers; and policymakers in all sectors (e.g., Federal, State and local 
governments; voluntary associations; international organizations; and 
foundations).

7.   The outcome of the conference should have the potential to influence 
future research, policy, or practice, or enhance AHRQ's collaborative 
relationships. 

8.   Expected conference outcomes should have a national impact or make a 
significant contribution to a particular field.  If the conference is 
regionally based, plans for a broad dissemination of conference materials and 
some indication of national relevance must be included.

Conference Design

1.  The conference must support one or more of the following purposes: 
disseminating and implementing health services research results, formulating 
a research agenda, or developing research methodologies, tools, and data 
sources.

2.  If the meeting format includes a call for abstracts, the application 
should include a summary of the process for soliciting, reviewing and 
selecting research to be presented at the conference. 

3.  The conference format must support the conference purpose and facilitate 
expected outcomes.

4.  The planning committee should include representation from the research 
and research-user communities, and include a process for outreach to a subset 
of the conference target audience.  To the extent consistent with the 
conference design, topic and goal(s), the planning process also should 
include outreach to people of differing views, and outreach to women and 
members of minority groups and representatives of one or more of the other 
Agency priority populations.
 
5.  Speakers selected or proposed, or criteria for speaker selection, must be 
appropriate for the session topic.  A plan should be in place to identify 
other presenters if those originally sought are unavailable.

6.  Evaluation of the conference results must be included in the design.

Personnel

1.   Conference planning staff and/or advisors must include persons with the 
requisite education, training and experience. 

2.   The applicant organization must have the institutional resources, 
infrastructure, and demonstrated capacity to support the proposed conference.

Dissemination Activities

1.   Plans must have been made to disseminate conference outcomes to an 
audience broader than the conference participants. 

2.   To the extent relevant to the particular conference topic, goal and 
format, the application should address opportunities for dissemination of 
germane AHRQ interest(s), i.e., research findings and publications, 
databases, tools.

Budget

1.   The budget must be adequate to support the conference design and must be 
justified.

2.   Other resources necessary to produce the intended outcome should have 
been identified or obtained. 

Special Budget Requirements

Applications may request full or partial support for conferences.  However, 
applicants are encouraged to obtain multiple sources of funding as a means of 
maximizing limited AHRQ funds.  Where partial support of a conference is 
requested from AHRQ, application reviewers will consider the overall 
structure and design of the conference as well as the sub-component for which 
support is being requested.  Sources and amounts of other funding should be 
clearly identified.  Applications must include a composite budget listing 
costs by category to be provided by other sources as well as costs being 
requested from AHRQ.

Allowable and Unallowable Costs

Expenses allowed follow the guidelines described in the form PHS 398 (rev. 
5/01) and PHS Grants Policy Statement (April 1, 1994) Appendix 7.  Areas of 
particular relevance to conference grants and exceptions to the general 
policies are described below.

Direct Cost Expenditures

a.   Equipment.  Grant funds may be used for rental of necessary equipment.  
Funds may not be used for the purchase of equipment.  Rental expenses should 
be listed under the other expenses category.

b.   Travel.  Proposed per diem or subsistence allowances must be reasonable 
and will be limited to the days of attendance at the conference plus actual 
travel time required to reach the conference location by the most direct 
route available.

Travel costs are limited to the extent provided for by formal institutional 
travel policy.  If the grantee institution has no formal travel policy, the 
institution is required to conform to the Federal guidelines for travelers as 
indicated at www.gsa.gov.  The General Services Administration guidelines 
shall be applied in determining the amount of travel chargeable to grant 
funds.

Where meals and/or lodging are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost 
(e.g., as part of the registration fee), the proposed per diem or subsistence 
allowance must take this into consideration.

Transportation costs for those attending and participating in the conference 
and paid with grant funds may not exceed economy class fares. U.S. carriers 
must be used where possible.

For local participants in the conference, grant funds may not be used to pay 
per diem or expenses other than local mileage.

c.   Supplies.  Grant funds may be used for the purchase of conference 
supplies, provided the supplies are received and used during the project 
period.

d.   Conference Services.  Grant funds may be used for necessary recording of 
proceedings, simultaneous translation, and subsequent transcriptions.

e.   Publication Costs.  Grant funds may be used to pay for the publication 
and dissemination of conference proceedings.

f.   Registration Fees.  Registration fees, when paid by the grantee to other 
organizations on behalf of attendees, may be paid from grant funds, provided 
such fees cover only those allowable costs properly chargeable to the grant.

g.   Entertainment and Personal Expenses.  Costs of amusement, diversion, 
social activities, ceremonial, and related incidental costs such as bar 
charges and personal telephone calls of participants or guests cannot be 
charged to the grant.

h.   Federal Employees.  Grant funds may not be used to cover the cost of 
travel or any payment to a full-time Federal employee, except when that 
employee is on leave without pay status from his or her employing office.

i.   Honoraria.  Honoraria or other payments given for the purpose of 
conferring distinction on or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration may 
not be paid from grant funds.  Speaker fees for services rendered, however, 
are allowable.

j.   Alteration and Renovations.  Grant funds may not be used to support 
facility alteration or renovations of any kind.

k.   Meals.  When meals are an integral and necessary part of a conference 
(i.e., working meals where conference related business is transacted), grant 
funds may be used for such meals.  Food costs that are not integral and 
necessary to the conference (e.g., preconference registration refreshments, 
continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, and receptions) are not allowable.

Facilities and Administration Costs (F&A)

F & A costs (indirect costs) will not be allowed on grants in support of 
conferences.

DATA SHARING:

Data Confidentiality
 
Pursuant to section 924(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 299c- 
3(c)), information obtained in the course of any AHRQ supported-study that 
identifies an individual or entity must be treated as confidential in 
accordance with any explicit or implicit promises made regarding the possible 
uses and disclosures of such data. There are now civil monetary penalties for 
violation of this confidentiality statute. (42 U.S.C.299c-3(d))  In the Human 
Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for 
ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected. 
The description of the procedures should include a discussion of how personal 
identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and 
safeguarded. Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees 
under this RFA will also be managed in accordance with 42 CFR Parts 160 and 
164, federal regulations pertaining to the privacy of patient-related health 
information. These privacy regulations, developed by the Department of Health 
and Human Services pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and 
Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), are scheduled to be effective and 
enforceable in April 2003. These regulations serve to limit the disclosure of 
personally identifiable patient information and define when and how such 
information can be disclosed. Thus, for example, health care plans and 
providers will require either patient authorization of disclosures of 
identifiable information to be made to researchers who are not their health 
care providers or waivers of such authorizations obtained from an IRB or 
Privacy Board (defined in the regulations) upon being satisfied that any 
identifiable health information will be appropriately safeguarded by the 
investigators. Additional information about the regulations and their 
implementation can be obtained from: http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/  

If AHRQ funds will be used to support preparation of research papers for 
presentation, the awardee should ensure that computer systems containing 
confidential research data have a level and scope of security that equals or 
exceeds those established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB 
Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information 
Systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has 
published several implementation guides for this circular. They are: An 
Introduction to Computer Security: The NIST Handbook; Generally Accepted 
Principals and Practices for Securing Information Technology Systems; and 
Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems. The 
circular and guides are available on the web at 
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-12/.  

Rights in Data 

AHRQ grantees may copyright unless otherwise provided in grant awards, or 
seek patents, as appropriate, for final and interim products and materials 
including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with 
documentation, literature searches, and analyses, which are developed in 
whole or in part with AHRQ funds.  Such copyrights and patents are subject to 
a worldwide irrevocable Federal government license to use and permit others 
to use these products and materials for government purposes.  In accordance 
with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, 
subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, 
data bases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication 
by other researchers; and subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products 
may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or 
its agents, if such distribution would significantly increase access to a 
product and thereby produce public health benefits. Ordinarily, to accomplish 
distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to 
publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-
supported products.

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Application Receipt Dates:  February 1, June 1, October 1
Peer Review Date:  June, October, February
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  August, January, May

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with other conference 
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions: 

o   Merit of the proposed conference as determined by review
o   Availability of funds
o   Relevance to program priorities

Conditions of Award 

In addition to standard grant requirements, the following terms and 
conditions of award will be set prior to the issuance of a Notice of Grant 
Award:  

1.   Agreement for up to 5 AHRQ staff to attend the conference without paying 
a registration fee.

2.   Agreement to hold the conference within 12 months of the start date of 
the budget period.

3.   Agreement to submit an original and two copies of an executive summary 
and one-page  abstract of the conference and summary of participant's 
evaluation ratings/comments, which includes discussion of what you learned 
and what you might do differently in the future, to AHRQ no later than 90 
days after the dates of the conference.  At the time of the award, the 
project officer will determine how many copies of the conference products 
will be required for distribution to AHRQ staff and other DHHS colleagues.
 
4.   To the extent relevant to the particular conference design, topic and 
goal, agreement to dissemination of germane AHRQ product(s).

5.   Agreement to list AHRQ as a meeting supporter on conference materials, 
subsequent proceedings and references.

6.   General program income subject to the additional costs alternative shall 
be reported on lines 10r and 10s, as appropriate, of the financial status 
report (FSR 269 long form).  Refer to 45 CFR part 74 § 74.24 for information 
concerning program income.

TIMELINE - Time from review of application to earliest anticipated award date:   

-   4 months for study section review.  

-   Funding decision 6 months after submission date.  

-   Earliest possible start date is 7 months after submission date.  

Date of conference:  Within 12 months of start date of the budget period.

Conference Summary:  For large conference grants with project periods of one 
year or less, the conference summary is due 90 days after the project period.  
The conference summary must be included in the progress report summary of the 
PHS 2590 Non-competing grant progress report for grants that are approved for 
more than one year of support and as part of the final report that is 
required at the end of the project.

Potential applicants are reminded that no public announcement of AHRQ's 
financial commitment can be made for a conference before the applicant 
receives a Notice of Grant Award.  Prospective applicants should allow 
adequate time for application submission and review and award processing in 
their plans for conference development.

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS

INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND ONE OR MORE OTHER AHRQ PRIORITY 
POPULATIONS IN RESEARCH STUDY POPULATIONS:   It is the policy of AHRQ that 
women and members of minority groups be included in all AHRQ-supported 
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling 
rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate with 
respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.  All 
applicants proposing projects involving human subjects should read the 
amended "NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects 
in Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
October 9, 2001 (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.   To the extent possible, AHRQ requires adherence to these 
NIH Guidelines.

AHRQ also strongly encourages investigators to consider including one or more 
AHRQ priority populations within the contexts of choosing conference 
presenters and presentations and of developing a research design appropriate 
to the scientific objectives of the planned study.  The AHRQ Policy on the 
Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research was published in the NIH Guide 
on February 28, 2003 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/
NOT-HS-03-010.html).  All applicants proposing large conference projects 
should read this policy.

Applicants may obtain copies of these guidelines and policies from those 
sources listed above or from the NIH Guide Web site 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html.  AHRQ program staff may also 
provide information concerning these policies (see INQUIRIES).

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.  If no Federal act is taken, having the force and effect of 
law, in reliance upon an AHRQ supported research project, the underlying data 
is not subject to this disclosure requirement and under FOIA, 5 USC 552(b), 
disclosure of identifiable data from such study is exempted from disclosure 
under "the (b)(3) exemption."  It is important for applicants to understand 
the scope of this requirement and its limited potential impact on data 
collected with AHRQ support. Proprietary data might also be exempted from 
FOIA disclosure requirements under "the (b)(4) exemption", for example, if it 
constituted trade secrets or commercial information.  However, courts have 
generally not regarded a researcher's interest in "his" data as proprietary. 
NIH has provided guidance at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. 

Should applicants wish to place data collected under this PA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data (e.g., as required by the 
confidentiality statute applicable to AHRQ supported projects, 42 U.S.C. 
299c-3(c)) and manage the distribution of non-identifiable data for an 
indefinite period of time, they may.  The application should include a 
description of any 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.

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 health improvement priorities for the 
United States.  AHRQ encourages applicants to submit grant applications with 
relevance to the specific objectives of this initiative.  Potential 
applicants may obtain a copy of AHealthy People 2010" at  
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, 
Number 93.226. Awards are made under authorization of Title IX of the Public 
Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 299-299c-7), as amended by P.L. 106-129 (1999).  
Awards are administered under the PHS Grants Policy Statement and Federal 
Regulations 42 CFR 67, Subpart A, and 45 CFR Parts 74 or 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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NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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