NATIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARDS INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING GRANTS IN GENOMIC
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

Release Date:  December 18, 1998

PA NUMBER:  PA-99-028

P.T.

National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Application Receipt Date:  May 10

This is a reissue of Program Announcement, PA-94-085, which appeared in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 27, July 22, 1994.

PURPOSE

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Institute
of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) announce the availability of support for
institutional training programs in genomic sciences.  The purpose of this Program
Announcement is to train scientists who will have the multi-disciplinary skills
that will enable them to engage in research to accomplish the long-term
objectives of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and to take full advantage of the
resulting genomic data and resources to solve biomedical problems, such as
evaluating the complex gene-environment interactions resulting from multiple
exposures and variability in susceptibility because of polymorphisms in multiple
genes. 

The multidisciplinary training programs are intended to provide broad training
for individuals who wish to conduct research at the interface of (1) biological
disciplines and non-biological scientific disciplines relevant to genomic
sciences (e.g., physical, chemical, mathematical, computational biology,
bioinformatics, computer and/or engineering sciences) and (2).biological
disciplines relevant to environmental health sciences, such as molecular biology,
molecular toxicology and environmental epidemiology.

The goals of this program are to: (1) encourage institutions with academically
outstanding departments in molecular biology and one or more of the non-
biological scientific disciplines relevant to genomic sciences to consider
developing training programs and (2) expand the number of institutions capable
of training scientists in genomic sciences and genomic science as it applies to
the Environmental Genome Project. 

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This PA, National Research Service Awards
Institutional Training Grants in Genomic Analysis and Interpretation, is related
to several of the priority area. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of
"Healthy People 2000" at: http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Only domestic universities and medical colleges may apply for training grants
supported under the National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanism.  Only U.S.
citizens or permanent residents of the United States may be appointed as trainees
on NRSA-funded training grants.  Racial and ethnic minority individuals, women,
and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as principal investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Support for this program will be through the National Research Service Award
Program (T32). These research training opportunities will be supported through
institutional training grants which may support pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and
short-term trainees.  Short-term training opportunities are intended for students
in non-biological scientific disciplines who wish to learn more about genomic
analysis and interpretation.  Institutional training grants are made for project
periods of up to five years and are renewable.  

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently engaged, along with several
other federal, private, and international organizations, in a research program
to characterize the human genome and the genomes of selected model organisms. 
The HGP has the following interrelated goals: the development of detailed maps
and the determination of the complete nucleotide sequence of the human genome and
the genomes of selected organisms; the development of efficient methods for
identifying genes and their function; the development of the capability to
collect, store, distribute and analyze the data and materials produced; the
development of new technologies to achieve these goals; the examination of the
ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genome research; and the
development of training and career development programs to ensure that there will
be enough adequately trained scientists and scholars to develop and utilize the
products emanating from the HGP and to address the related ELSI issues.  The
products of the HGP will be information and material resources, as well as new
technologies, that will be available to the entire research community to
facilitate further research leading to the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of
disease, as well as to further understanding of human biology. 

In 1990, the NIH and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly published a plan that
sets out specific goals to be achieved in the first five-year phase of the U.S.
human genome program.  Anticipating the attainment of much of the initial set of
goals, the NIH and the DOE extended the original goals of the Human Genome
Program.  These goals are described in the article, "A New five-year Plan for the
U.S. Human Genome Project," (Science, Vol. 262, pp. 43-46, October 1, 1993) and
cover the years 1994-1998.  In the Fall of 1998, the NHGRI and DOE published a
new five year plan (Science, Vol. 282, p 682, October 23, 1998 and
http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/98plan/). The completion of the human DNA sequence and
the development of technology for mapping and sequencing will continue to be
areas of emphasis.  New technological areas of interest will include the
interpretation of genomic sequence, the study of sequence variation  and the
analysis of gene expression.

The Human Genome Project is opening up new approaches to molecular medicine. 
Attaining the solutions to biomedical problems will require that the research
methods of the biological sciences be augmented by and complemented with the
approaches and methods of non-biological scientific disciplines.  For the NHGRI,
there is a critical shortage of scientists with the appropriate complementary
skills to bring such multi-disciplinary approaches to genomic research. 
Individuals capable of developing new technology and tools are needed, as are
molecular biologists who are capable of taking multi-disciplinary approaches and
using the resources provided by the HGP to address important biomedical and
biological research problems.

For the Environmental Genome Project, molecular biology and molecular genetics
have become essential tools in environmental toxicology as understanding the
biological processes at the molecular level have enabled the study of the
mechanisms of action of many toxic compounds.  The issue of differential
sensitivity among individuals within a population, and the identification of
genes whose expression contributes to increased sensitivity or resistance to
toxic environmental agents in humans has become a priority. Thus, there is a
great need to train scientists who have the appropriate multidisciplinary
expertise to develop the new approaches and tools to study the interplay of
environmental exposures and population genetics.  For example, individuals with
backgrounds in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, structural biology,
epidemiology, computational and statistical sciences, and non-biological
disciplines relevant to genomic sciences who can expand their research
capabilities are needed to evaluate the complex gene-environment interactions
resulting from multiple exposures and from the variability in susceptibility
resulting from polymorphisms in multiple genes.  A description of the
Environmental Genome Project can be found at the following
URL:http://WWW.NIEHS.NIH.GOV/envgenom/

Successful training programs will attract individuals with backgrounds in
relevant non-biological scientific disciplines or molecular biology and should
have sufficient flexibility to provide the appropriate interdisciplinary training
to individual candidates.  It is essential that trainees who are supported under
this program receive thorough training in multi-disciplinary approaches to modern
molecular genetics and genomics research.

While the training needs of the two participating institutes have genomic
research as a central theme, the focus of each is very specific in order to meet
the needs of the individual institutes.  Therefore, prospective applicants are
encouraged to contact staff listed under "INQUIRIES" prior to developing an
application.  

Training Program 

Genomic science represents a new scientific approach to solving biomedical
research problems.  Thus, most institutions have not, as yet, developed graduate
and post-graduate training programs in genomic science that would enroll students
or postdoctoral fellows trained in molecular biology or one of the non-biological
scientific disciplines appropriate for genomic science and provide training that
would allow them to develop complementary expertise in another discipline. 
Because of the unique training requirements of the HGP, the participating
institutes recognize that institutions will need to develop new training
programs.  Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from institutions that
can demonstrate academic excellence in molecular biology and one or more of the
non-biological scientific disciplines appropriate for genomic analysis and
interpretation, have outstanding faculties that are committed and willing to
cooperate in developing a genomic sciences training program, have access to a
pool of highly qualified graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and have
sound training plans, but have not as yet established (or are just developing)
training programs in genomic science.  Applications from institutions that wish
to apply as a consortium are welcomed, but must demonstrate that they can mount
a well-coordinated and integrated program.  

Format

The participating institutes are seeking to support training programs that allow
trainees access to broad research opportunities across disciplinary and
departmental lines, while not sacrificing the standards of depth and creativity
characteristic of the best doctoral and postdoctoral programs of individual
departments.  We recognize that there is no one model for this type of training
and encourage institutions to develop innovative training programs that are
responsive to the needs of genomic sciences as well as to the needs of individual
trainees.  

Types of Training Positions Allowed

All training positions, whether yearly or short-term appointments, are full-time
positions with a minimum of 40 hours per week  of research training required. 
An institutional training grant may include all of the following types of
training positions:

l.  Pre-doctoral positionsþ for pre-doctoral students trained in chemistry,
physics, mathematics, bioinformatics, computational biology, computer sciences
or engineering sciences who wish to pursue additional training in molecular
biology, molecular genetics, molecular toxicology, statistics, and environmental
epidemiology, or for individuals with training in molecular biology, molecular
genetics, molecular toxicology, statistics, and environmental epidemiology, who
wish to pursue an area of technology development as it relates to genomic
science.   An exposure to technology development is encouraged for all pre-
doctoral trainees.

2.  Postdoctoral positions--for postdoctoral students trained in chemistry,
physics, mathematics, bioinformatics, computational biology, computer sciences
or engineering sciences who wish to pursue additional training in molecular
biology, molecular genetics, molecular toxicology, statistics,  and environmental
epidemiology, or for individuals with training in molecular biology, molecular
genetics, molecular toxicology, statistics, and environmental epidemiology, who
wish to pursue an area of technology development as it relates to genomic
science.

Short-term training positions--only for graduate students enrolled in a Ph D.
program and trained in chemistry, physics, mathematics, bioinformatics,
computational biology, computer sciences or engineering sciences who wish to
spend three to six months in a molecular biology laboratory in order to get
acquainted with the field. 

The number of postdoctoral positions should be limited to approximately one-third
of the total full-time training positions.  No application which requests only
postdoctoral positions will be accepted.

Stipends and Other Allowable Costs

The stipends for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral trainees are at the new level that
was announced in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts, January 9, 1998.  Tuition
may be requested for full-time pre-doctoral trainees only.  Institutional costs
of up to $1,500 per year per pre-doctoral trainee and up to $2,500 per year per
postdoctoral trainee may be requested to defray the costs of other training-
related expenses, such as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research
supplies, and travel.  The institution may receive up to $125 per month to offset
the cost of tuition, fees, travel, supplies, and other expenses for each short-
term research training position.  Indirect cost allowance based on 8 percent of
total allowable direct costs exclusive of tuition, fees, health insurance, and
expenditures for equipment, or actual indirect costs, whichever is less, may be
requested.  Prior to developing budgets, applicants are strongly encouraged to
interact with the appropriate Grants Management staff listed under INQUIRIES.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Public
Law 103-43).

Investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the NIH
Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research which were published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59
14508-14513), and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number
11, March 18, 1994.

Investigators may obtain copies from these sources or from the program staff or
contact person listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional
relevant information concerning the policy.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  This
policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt dates
after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for Grants
and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL address:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on grant application form PHS 398 (rev 4/98). 
The submission date for new and competing applications is May 10, annually.   
Application kits are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research, from the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, 
National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD
20892-7910, telephone (301) 435-0714, e-mail: GrantsInfo@nih.gov; and from the
NIH web page: http://www.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.

The title and number of this program announcement must be typed in Item 2 on the
face page of the application. 

The completed original application and three legible copies must be delivered 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)

At the same time, two copies of the full application must be sent to:

OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE
BUILDING 38A, ROOM 609
BETHESDA, MD 20892-6050
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)

Postdoctoral trainees and fellows supported under the National Research Service
Award Program are subject to payback provisions in accordance with NRSA
regulations and guidelines.  Details about the policies and payback provisions
governing payback requirements are posted on the NIH website:
http://www.nih.gov/training/nrsaguidelines/nrsa_toc.htm .   Additional information about
NRSA Guidelines and NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/1/98) can be obtained from
the following website: http://www.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral
guidelines.  Applications will be reviewed for scientific merit by an initial
review group convened in accordance with standard NIH pro procedure.  The
following review criteria will be applied: the research and training experience
and leadership capabilities of the program director; the qualifications and
commitment of the training faculty as measured by research grant support,
publication record, and past training record; the quality of the applicant pool;
the design of the training program including its relevance to the goals of the
NHGRI's Human Genome Program and the NIEHS's  Environmental Genome Project, as
appropriate; provisions for guidance and quality control of the individual
trainee's programs; and adequacy of the resources and environment.  For
institutions that are in the process of developing a genomic science training
program, greater weight will be given to the design of the institution's training
program than to past experience in this area.  For institutions that are
submitting competing renewals, both the past performance of the genomics training
program and the future directions of the training program will be evaluated.  

Following assessment of the quality of the proposed training program and
assignment of priority scores indicative of the merit, the initial review group
will evaluate each application on its (1) plans for attracting and retaining
individuals from underrepresented minority groups and (2) plans for instructing
trainees in the responsible conduct of research.  If an application is deficient
in one of these areas, it may not be funded, regardless of scientific merit.

Site visits will not be conducted as part of the review process, except in
unusual circumstances.  Therefore, applicants must present a complete and well-
justified written proposal and not depend on a site visit to amplify the
applications.

Subsequent to the initial scientific review, the appropriate national advisory
council will review applications for relevance to its scientific mission.  Among
the information the Councils will consider in addition to the merit of the
training program is the initial review group's comments on plans for, or
experience in, the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented
minority groups into the training program.

AWARD CRITERIA

The NIH Institutes will use the following criteria in making funding decisions:
quality of the training program as determined by its potential to meet the short-
and long-term goals of the Human Genome Project or the Environmental Genome
Project; leadership capabilities of the program director and the quality of the
participating faculty; commitment of the biology and non-biology faculty to the
training program; and availability of funds.  NIH understands that it takes time
for institutions to develop cooperative efforts across departmental and
scientific discipline lines and this factor will also be considered when funding
decisions for first time applicants are made.  In addition, no award will be made
unless plans for the recruitment and retention of minorities and for the
instruction of trainees in the responsible conduct of research are deemed
adequate.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD  20892-6050
Telephone:  (301) 496-7531
Email:  Bettie_Graham@nih.gov

Carol K. Shreffler, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
MD EC-23
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone: (919) 541-1445
Email: Shreffl1@niehs.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Jean Cahill
Division of Extramural Research
National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 38A, Room 613
Bethesda, MD  20892-6050
Telephone:  (301) 402-0733
Email:  Jean_Cahill@nih.gov

Ms. Jackie Russell
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
MCEC-22
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone: (919) 541-0751
Email:  Russell@niehs.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.172 (NHGRI) and 93.894 (NIEHS). Awards are made under authorization of the
Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by
Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies
and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66 and 45 CFR Part 74. 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 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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