PREDOCTORAL RESEARCH TRAINING IN COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Release Date:  December 9, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-00-023 (Reissued as PAR-07-384)

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

PURPOSE

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) 
plans to provide predoctoral National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) to
individuals for research training in specified areas of biomedical and 
behavioral research related to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) 
to help ensure that highly trained scientists will be available in adequate 
numbers and in appropriate research areas and fields to meet the nation"s 
health research needs. As such, this program is intended to provide a 
mechanism to train future generations of outstanding scientists committed  to 
pursuing a research career in CAM.

Potential applicants should contact the appropriate NCCAM Program Staff and 
the NCCAM website, listed under INQUIRIES, prior to preparing an application, 
to obtain current information about program priorities with regard to 
predoctoral fellowships. 

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 Program Announcement 
(PA), Predoctoral Research Training in Complementary and Alternative 
Medicine, is related to the priority area of human resource development.  
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" on the web 
at: http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

It is important that prospective applicants consult "National Research 
Service Awards Guidelines," published in the NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 21, 
June 20, 1997.  It can be found on the web at:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not97-009.html

Citizenship:  Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the 
United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for 
permanent residence and have in their possession an Alien Registration 
Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551) at the time of award.

Degree Requirements:  Applicants must have received, as of the activation 
date of the award, a baccalaureate degree and must be enrolled in a program 
leading to a research doctorate such as the Ph.D. or D.Sc., or a combined 
clinical and research degree such as D.C., D.O., M.D. or N.D./Ph.D. by the 
proposed fellowship activation date. Research training applied toward 
preparation of a dissertation is permitted. NRSAs do not support study 
leading to the D.C., D.O., M.D., N.D. or similar professional degrees unless 
they are part of a combined degree program.

Sponsorship: Prior to formal submission of a fellowship application, an 
applicant must arrange for appointment to an appropriate institution and 
acceptance by a sponsor to supervise the research training experience.  The 
institutional setting may be a domestic or foreign (if clearly justified), 
private (profit or non-profit) or public institution, including the NIH 
intramural programs and other Federal laboratories.  The sponsoring 
institution must have staff and facilities available on site to provide a 
suitable environment for performing high-quality work.

An NRSA may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored 
fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise 
duplicates provisions of the NRSA.  An individual may not have more than one 
competing NRSA application pending with PHS concurrently.  An NRSA recipient 
may, however, accept concurrent educational remuneration from the Department 
of Veterans Affairs (VA) and loans from Federal funds.  Receipt of non-
Federal funds during
the Fellowship is allowable if it is in accordance with the sponsoring
institution"s policy and does not detract from or prolong the approved 
research
training program.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The mechanism of support is the NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31)
which is intended to provide biomedical or behavioral research training
experiences to individuals committed to pursuing a research career in 
complementary and alternative medicine.  Women, minorities, and individuals 
with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Period of Support

By law, an individual may receive no more than five years of support in the
aggregate at the predoctoral level under the NRSA program, including any
combination of support from individual and institutional awards.  The 
applicant and the institution must observe this limitation of support when 
requesting the duration of the fellowship.  Accurate information regarding 
previous NRSA support must be included in the application and will be 
considered at time of award.  Recommendations of review committees are 
generally for two or three years of support for individual fellows. However, 
up to five years of support can be considered with adequate justification 
documented in the application.

Allowable Costs

Stipends:  The annual stipend for predoctoral fellows will be at the level 
established for that fiscal year.  Applicants should consult with Institute 
Program Staff for the latest stipend level.  Alternatively, applicants may 
obtain information about current stipend levels and other policy documents 
from the URL for "NIH Research Training Opportunities: National Research 
Service Award (NRSA) Training Grants and Fellowships” at:  
http://www.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm

The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Public Law 99-514, describes the tax liability of 
all persons supported under the NRSA program. The stipend is not a payment 
for services performed, i.e., it is not a salary.  Further, NRSA fellows are 
not considered to be in an employer-employee relationship with the NIH or the
sponsoring institution, and it is unallowable for institutions to seek funds 
for, or to charge individual award recipients for, costs normally considered 
employee benefits.  The stipend may be supplemented by the sponsoring 
institution without obligation to the trainee fellow.  PHS grant funds may 
not be used for this purpose.  An institution may also provide additional 
funds to a fellow in the form of compensation (as salary and/or tuition 
remission) for services such as teaching or serving as a laboratory assistant 
on a limited part-time basis apart from the normal training activities.  
Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the 
services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong 
the fellow"s training, nor be for the same research program.

Research Allowance:  An allowance of up to $3,000 per predoctoral fellow per 
twelve month period will be provided to the sponsoring institution to help 
defray such expenses as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific 
meetings, and related items for the individual  fellows, and to otherwise 
offset, to the extent possible, appropriate administrative costs of graduate 
research training.  The allowance is provided only upon official activation 
of the award, and the sponsoring institution is expected to administer the 
allowance and disburse the funds.  If an individual fellow is not in a 
training status for more than six months of the award year, only one-half of 
that year"s allowance may be charged to the grant.

Tuition and Fees:  Tuition and fees will be funded in accordance with the NIH
policy, "Tuition Costs on NIH NRSA Training Grant and Fellowship Awards--New
Policy," NIH Guide, Vol. 25, No. 2, February 2, 1996, which is available on 
the web at:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not96-020.html.  
NIH will reimburse 100 percent of the cost of tuition up to 
$2,000 and 60 percent of tuition costs above $2,000 for the predoctoral 
fellow.  Tuition, for the purposes of this NRSA policy, means the combined 
cost of tuition, fees, and self-only health insurance.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The applicant should provide evidence of potential for a productive research
career based upon the quality of previous research training and academic 
record.  The applicant must propose a research training program which falls 
into one of the research areas relevant to the mission of the NCCAM.  The 
research training experience must provide enhancement in the 
conceptualization of research problems and in research skills such as 
biostatistics, experimental design, pharmacology, epidemiology, manuscript 
preparation, clinical research, etc.  The research training will occur under 
the guidance and supervision of a committed sponsor who is an active
and established investigator in the area of the applicant"s proposed 
research.  The research training program should be carried out in a research 
intensive environment that includes appropriate human and technical resources 
and is demonstrably committed to research training in the particular program 
proposed by the applicant so that the applicant can grow as a creative 
scientist.

The application must include evidence that instruction in the principles of
responsible conduct of research will be incorporated into the proposed 
research training plan.  Applications without plans for training in 
responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be 
returned without review.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Awards must be activated within six months of receipt of award notice (see 
below for application receipt, review, and start dates).  No funds may be 
disbursed until the individual has started training under the award and an 
Activation Notice (PHS 416-5) has been submitted to and accepted by the 
NCCAM.

Individuals are required to pursue their research training on a full-time 
basis, devoting at least 40 hours per week to the training program.

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 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103 43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which was published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 
59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 
11, March 18, 1994, available on the web at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-100.html

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 on the web at:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

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

Schedule

Application Receipt Dates:  Apr 5       Aug 5       Dec 5
Initial Review Dates:       Jun/Jul     Oct/Nov     Feb/Mar
Earliest Start Dates:       Sep 1       Jan 1       May 1

Applications received after these receipt dates are subject to assignment to 
the next cycle or may be returned to the applicant.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Prospective applicants should contact the NCCAM Program Staff listed
under INQUIRIES for pre-application consultation and information regarding 
the application process.  The Individual National Research Service Award 
application kit PHS 416-1 (rev. 12/98) must be used in applying for 
fellowships.  These forms are available at most institutional office of 
sponsored research and may be obtained 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, FAX: (301) 480-0525, Email:  GrantsInfo@nih.gov.  Application kits are 
also available on the web at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm

The number and title of this program announcement must be typed in Item 3 on 
the face page of the application form.  At least three completed letters of 
reference in sealed envelopes must be attached to the application.  
Applications without the required number of reference letters will be 
returned without review.

An original and two copies of the completed and signed application are to be
submitted 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)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral
guidelines.  Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific 
and technical merit by an NCCAM peer review group convened in accordance with
the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the merit review, all
applications will receive a written critique and will be assigned a priority
score.  If an application lacks significant and substantial merit, it may be
designated as "not recommended for further consideration (NRFC)."

Review Criteria

The F31 individual predoctoral fellowship is designed to train future 
generations of outstanding scientists committed to pursuing a research career 
in complementary and alternative medicine.  The review of an application 
should focus on the following: the applicant, the research training plan, the 
sponsor, and the institutional environment/commitment.  Information from the 
letters of reference should be used to inform considerations of these 
factors, and the final priority score should reflect the overall evaluation 
of the entire application.

Applicant:

o  the applicant"s potential for, and commitment to, a productive scientific
career.  The reviewers may take into account the applicant"s history as a
student, as well as past and current involvement in research activities.

o the applicant"s commitment to CAM research.

Research Training Plan:

o  objectives, design, and direction of the proposed research program,

o  specificity and clarity of the description of the research skills and
knowledge to be acquired,

o  overall coherence and potential of the research training plan to provide 
the fellow with individualized supervised experiences that will develop 
research skills,

o  clarity, completeness, originality, and significance of the goals of the
proposed research training plans,

o  adequacy of knowledge of relevant literature and current methods in the
proposed research area,

o  adequacy of plans for the protection of human subjects, animals, or the
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the research
proposed,

o  adequacy of plans to include women, children and minorities as subjects in
research, if applicable,

o  adequacy of plans to receive training in the responsible scientific 
conduct of research.

Sponsor:

o  caliber of the sponsor as a researcher, including successful competition 
for research support,

o  evidence of the proposed sponsor"s understanding of and commitment to
fulfilling the role of sponsor and mentor,

o  evidence of an understanding of the applicant"s research training needs 
and a demonstrated ability, on the part of the sponsor, to assist in meeting 
those needs,

o past research training record of the sponsor in terms of the rate at which 
former predoctoral trainees obtain their doctoral degree and go on to 
postdoctoral or other scientific careers.

Institutional Environment/Commitment:

o  training environment including the institutional commitment to CAM 
research training and career development,  the quality of the facilities and 
related resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer time, subject 
populations) and the availability of research support.

AWARD CRITERIA

The responsibility for award decisions resides solely with authorized Program
Staff of the Institutes.  The following criteria will be used in making award
decisions: (1) overall merit of the application, (2) relevance of the 
application to the research priorities and mission of the NCCAM and program
balance, and (3) availability of funds.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the
NCCAM Internet Website in order to obtain current information about program
priorities, research topics of interest, and policy guidelines at:
http://altmed.od.nih.gov/

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Neal B. West, Ph.D.
Program Officer
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Building 31/ Room 5B58
Bethesda, MD  20892-2182
Telephone:  (301) 402-5867
FAX:  (301) 402-4741
Email:  westn@od.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Suzanne White*
Grants Operations
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7150
Rockville, MD  20892-7926
Telephone: (301) 435-0171
FAX:  (301) 480-3301
Email: whitesa@qwgate.nhlbi.nih.gov

* Note: NHLBI is the Grants Management Service Center for the NCCAM.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos.
93.272, 93.278, and 93.282.  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.  Awards will be administered 
under PHS policy as stated in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (October 1, 
1998).

PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the nonuse 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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