This Program Announcement Expires on August 27, 2005, unless reissued.

VISION RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS (R24)

RELEASE DATE:  January 24, 2002

PA NUMBER:  PAR-02-050

UPDATE: The following update relating to this notice has been issued:

April 14, 2006 (NOT-OD-06-060) - See this notice for the Expiration of 
PAR-02-050 Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grants (R24) 

PARTICIPATING INSTITUTES AND CENTERS (ICs):

National Eye Institute (NEI)
 (http://www.nei.nih.gov)

RECEIPT DATE:  August 27 each year

THIS PAR CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of the PAR
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 Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS PAR

The objective of the Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grant (R24) 
is to provide small groups of investigators who have achieved independent 
National Eye Institute (NEI) funding with additional, shared support to 
enhance their own and their institutions" capability for conducting vision 
research.  The award is designed for institutions in which three or more 
investigators hold independent NEI research awards (see eligibility section 
below for details).  Secondary goals of the program are to facilitate 
collaborative studies of the visual system and its disorders, and to attract 
scientists of diverse disciplines to research on the visual system.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

This award is made to enhance the environment and capability to conduct 
research in institutions holding seven or fewer NEI research project grants.  
The Research Infrastructure Grants are organized into discrete units or 
modules, each devoted to a specific activity that would be impractical, less 
efficient, or undesirable to support on an individual research project.  This 
can include the purchase and maintenance of a shared instrument.  Some 
sharing of Research Infrastructure Grant resources and services with other 
NIH-funded collaborators and with investigators new to vision research is 
encouraged.  Applicants may request one or two modules.

Modules are based on function:

o  Resource Modules usually provide laboratory services, facilitate the 
production of materials for research, or support the purchase, maintenance, 
and technical support of shared equipment.  Examples include, but are not 
limited to:  Confocal Microscopy, Tissue and Cell Culture, Laboratory Animal 
Resources, and DNA Microarray Facilities.  Resource modules may also help 
support computer experts, biostatisticians, and other individuals who can 
assist or collaborate with participating investigators in conducting 
laboratory or applied clinical research.

o  Service Modules support essential technical services provided by one or 
more highly skilled persons.  Examples of this kind of module are Machine 
Shops, Electronics Shops, and Photographic Services.

o  Biostatistics/Epidemiology Modules may be used to enhance applied clinical 
research programs through the application of advanced epidemiologic and 
biostatistical methodology to vision research projects.  For groups of three 
or more NEI-funded investigators conducting applied clinical research, the 
types of qualifying funding are expanded to include NEI cooperative 
agreements (U01 and U10)or research and development contracts (N01).

For a specific module on a Research Infrastructure grant to be funded, the 
module must be used to a moderate or extensive degree by at least three 
investigators, each holding one or more of the types of awards specified 
above.  The module usage requirement is the minimum, a larger number of NEI-
funded investigators using modules to a moderate or extensive degree would 
generally strengthen an application.

MECHANISM(S) OF SUPPORT 

This PAR will use the NIH R24 Resource-Related Research Project award 
mechanism.  As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, 
directing, and executing the proposed project.  The total direct costs for an 
application submitted in response to this PAR may not exceed $750,000 over a 
five year period.  The total project period for an application submitted in 
response to this PAR may not exceed five years.

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS

You may submit an application if your institution has 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

Institutions holding an NEI Core Grant for Vision Research (P30) are not 
eligible for the Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grant (R24).

To be eligible, an institution must have, on the receipt date, three or more 
investigators with NEI-funded research project grants (R01), Bioengineering 
Research Partnership Awards or Collaborative Research on Therapy for Visual 
Disorders Awards (R24), FIRST Awards (R29), MERIT Awards (R37), Mentored 
Clinical Scientist Development Awards (K08), Mentored Patient-Oriented 
Research Career Development Awards (K23), or Midcareer Investigator Awards in 
Patient-Oriented Research (K24).  Noncompeting extensions of these awards, 
made with or without additional funds, are eligible.  No other mechanisms or 
source of research support will be considered in determining eligibility, 
except in the following special case:  qualifying funding of investigators 
applying for a Biostatistics/Epidemiology module may include NEI-supported 
cooperative agreements (U01 or U10) or research and development contracts 
(N01) which conduct applied clinical research.  Eligibility will be confirmed 
by NEI staff.

No more than two Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grants will be 
made to any single applicant organization.  For multicampus institutions, no 
more than two Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grants will be made 
to each campus.  Joint applications may be submitted by investigators at 
neighboring, independent institutions.

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 PAR and welcome the opportunity 
answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may fall into three 
areas:  scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants 
management issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Ralph J. Helmsen, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research
National Eye Institute
Building EPS, Room 350
6120 Executive Blvd, MSC 7164
Bethesda, MD  20892-7164
Telephone:  (301) 496-5301
FAX:  301-402-0528
Email:  rh27v@nih.gov

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Samuel C. Rawlings, Ph.D.
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Eye Institute
Building EPS, Room 350
6120 Executive Blvd, MSC 7164
Bethesda, MD  20892-7164
Telephone:  (301) 496-5561
FAX:  301-402-0528
Email:  rawlings@nei.nih.gov

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

William W. Darby
Grants Management Officer
National Eye Institute
Building EPS, Room 350
6120 Executive Blvd, MSC 7164
Bethesda, MD  20892-7164
Telephone:  (301) 496-5884
FAX:  301-402-0528
Email:  wwd@nei.nih.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the Public Health Service (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.

In preparing the application, follow the PHS 398 instructions, but substitute 
the following special instructions where indicated:

o  Form Page 1.  The title and number of the PAR must be typed on line 2 of 
the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.

o  Form Page 2.  Key Personnel are defined as the Principal Investigator, the 
Module Directors, the Biostatistician, and Participating Investigators who 
will use any module to a moderate or extensive degree.

o  Form Pages 4 and 5.

a).  Summary Budget.  Provide overall summary budget pages for the initial 
and the entire budget period for the Research Infrastructure Grant, 
presenting the aggregate budget for all administrative and module activities.  
Provide a budget justification only for requests not contained in the 
separate module budgets that will follow (e.g., for administrative 
activities).

b)  Module Budgets.  Provide separate budget pages and justifications for 
each module.  Module budget requests and justifications should not be 
repeated elsewhere in the application.

c)  Allowable Costs.  Requests for salary support for the Principal 
Investigator may not exceed 5% effort.  Support for secretarial and 
administrative staff may be requested in the summary budget to the extent 
that it relates directly to the management of Core Grant activities, see the 
NIH guide announcement 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-276.html.  
Costs for all secretarial and administrative activities (including 
support for the Principal Investigator) ordinarily may not exceed 15% of the 
total direct costs of a Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grant 
award in any year.  Salary support for up to 75% effort of a Biostatistician 
or Epidemiologist on a Biostatistics/Epidemiology Module may be requested, 
whether or not this individual is the Module Director.  Technical support 
personnel salary, consultants, shared equipment, consumable supplies and 
Other Expenses directly related to the operation of the module (e.g., 
photographic supplies, electronics parts, tissue culture media, equipment 
maintenance contracts, computer time, lease of computer lines) may be 
requested.  Alteration and Renovation costs are allowable but must be 
thoroughly justified.  Cost sharing by the institution is strongly encouraged 
and these arrangements should be described in the application.

d)  Non-allowable Costs.  Requests may not be made for salary support for 
Module Directors and Participating Investigators, Travel, Patient Care Costs, 
human subjects reimbursement, animal care per diem charges (boarding), and 
costs associated with seminars, conferences, workshops, etc.

o  Biographical Sketch Format Page.  Biographical sketches should be provided 
for Key Personnel only.

o  Resources Format Page.  Do not submit information on overall institutional 
or departmental resources.  As described below, a Resources Format Page 
should be presented for each module.  This should outline the facilities and 
equipment that would be available for the module.  It should include the 
space, in terms of its location, capabilities, and availability for the 
participating investigators.  Be sure to include the most important equipment 
items that would be made available.  If a major equipment item (e.g., an 
electron microscope) is located in the individual research space of an 
investigator, the issue of its accessibility for participating investigators 
should be addressed in more detail.

o  Research Plan.  This section should include the following five sections:

a).  Overview.  Provide an overview of how the Research Infrastructure 
Development Grant would be used to enhance the capabilities of participating 
NEI-funded investigators and the institution for conducting vision research.  
If pertinent, describe how the grant services and resources would be used to 
help initiate or to continue collaborative studies, and/or to help attract 
scientists to research on the visual system.

b).  Administrative Arrangements.  Describe how potential problems, such as 
establishing priorities for allocation of resources or scheduling for use of 
a module, will be handled.  Use of an advisory committee is encouraged.

c).  Institutional Commitment.  Describe and give examples of institutional 
commitment and support of the goal of fostering vision research.

d).  Modules.  Present each module as a separate and internally complete 
section.  Do not include module budgets and budget justifications in this 
section.  Include the following information:

1.  Resources Format Page(s).  Describe the resources that will be available 
to support the module.

2.  Module Supervision.  The module should be directed, preferably, by an 
NEI-funded, independent investigator who has the expertise to supervise its 
use. Other arrangements may be proposed, but must be well-justified.

3. Module Use and Impact.  Describe how the module will enhance the research 
capabilities of investigators using the module, citing some specific 
examples.  Characterize the extent to which the module will be used by each 
investigator, using the terms "limited", "moderate", or "extensive".  This 
information should be summarized in a table (see example below) which gives 
the extent of module use for each proposed user.

Image Analysis Module

INVESTIGATOR      LIMITED USE      MODERATE USE       EXTENSIVE USE

Dr. A                                                      X

Dr. B                                   X

Dr. C                X

Dr. D                                                      X

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATES

Applications submitted in response to this PAR will be accepted one time a 
year on August 27.  If the receipt date falls on a weekend, it will be 
extended to the following Monday.

SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
checklist, and three 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)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application MUST be 
sent to:

Samuel C. Rawlings, Ph.D.
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Eye Institute
Executive Plaza South, Suite 350
6120 Executive Blvd MSC 
Bethesda, MD  20892-7164

APPLICATION PROCESSING

Applications must be received by or mailed before August 27.  The CSR will 
not accept any application in response to this PAR that is essentially the 
same as one currently pending initial review unless the applicant withdraws 
the pending application.  The CSR will not accept any application that is 
essentially the same as one already reviewed.  This does not preclude the 
submission of a substantial revision of an application already reviewed, but 
such application must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique.

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

Applications submitted for this PAR will be assigned to the NEI.  An 
appropriate scientific review group convened by the NEI 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 Be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a second level review by the National Advisory Eye Council.

REVIEW CRITERIA

In the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following 
aspects of the application in order to judge the scientific and technical 
merit.  The application as a whole, and each module separately, will be 
evaluated and rated.  Each module will be separately evaluated with emphasis 
placed on assessing the quality and productivity of the research conducted by 
the primary users of the module, the benefits that would be derived from the 
module, and the quality of the products and efficiency of services provided 
by the module.  Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in 
assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each 
application.  Note that the 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.

o  The strength of the research track record of the Participating 
Investigators.  Does the overall level of independent, peer-reviewed research 
support from the NEI/NIH seem appropriate for the number of participating 
investigators?  Is it likely that the participating investigators, as a 
group, will remain productive and competitive?

o  Is the Principal Investigator qualified and in a position to administer 
this Grant effectively?

o  Are procedures proposed or in place to ensure smooth administration of the 
grant overall and of the modules?  Is there an advisory group? Is its 
composition appropriate?  Are its responsibilities defined?  If an advisory 
group is not proposed, are there alternative procedures to administer the 
Grant effectively?  How will priorities be set, and how will issues regarding 
accessibility to Grant facilities be handled?

o  What is the extent of the commitment and support by the Institution to the 
goal of fostering research on the visual system and its disorders?  Are 
examples provided of significant space commitments, faculty-position 
commitments, full or partial payment of salaries for support staff, purchases 
of equipment, financial support of new construction or renovation, etc.?

o  Is the module directed by an NEI-funded independent investigator with the 
appropriate scientific credentials?  If other arrangements are proposed, are 
these appropriate?

o  How will the module enhance or facilitate the research efforts of the 
participating investigators?  Will the module support a resource or service 
that would be impractical or less-efficient to support on an individual 
research grant?

o  What will be the overall level of use for the module? Is this 
level appropriate?

o  Are the resources appropriate?  Are grant facilities easily accessible to 
members of the group?  If not, will this be an impediment to full utilization 
of the module?

o  Is the proposed budget reasonable and of an appropriate duration in 
relation to the proposed research?  Is each requested module budget item 
directly related to the operation of the module and justified adequately?  If 
funds for renovation are requested, is the request appropriate considering 
available space and other resources?  Are there any requests in the overall 
budget beyond those included in the budgets for the individual modules, are 
these appropriate and consistent with NEI guidelines?

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications submitted in response to a PAR 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

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

o  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.

o  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 
PAR 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.

o  AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS:  This program is described in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance No. 93.867 and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 
and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and 
administered under NIH grants policies described at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm and under Federal Regulations 
42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free 
workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products.  In addition, 
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in 
certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which 
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early 
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent 
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of 
the American people.



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