Dissertation Research Grants To Increase Diversity In The Mental Health Research Arena
Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations 
National Institute of Mental Health (http://www.nimh.nih.gov)

Title: Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant To Increase Diversity (R36)
 
Announcement Type
This Funding Opportunity Announcement replaces PAR-03-110, which was previously released April 21, 2003

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 (R&R) forms and Application Instruction Guide. APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and should be started at least four weeks in advance of the planned submission.

Two steps are required for on time submission:

1) The application must be submitted to grants.gov by 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the submission date (see Key Dates below)

2) Applicants must complete a verification step in the eRA Commons within two business days of notification from NIH. Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to periodically check the Commons.

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PAR-06-217

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)   
93.242


Key Dates  
Release/Posted Date:   March 3, 2006
Opening Date: March 3, 2006 (Earliest date on application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not applicable
Application Submission Date(s): April 22, 2006; August 22, 2006; December 22, 2006; April 22, 2007; August 22, 2007; December 22, 2007; April 22, 2008; August 22, 2008; December 22, 2008 (including resubmissions).    
For AIDS applications Submission Dates are: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS.
Peer Review Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
Council Review Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward. 
Expiration Date: January 8, 2009  

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary  

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism of Support
2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
     A. Eligible Institutions
     B. Eligible Individuals
2.Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Submission, Review and Anticipated Start Dates
         1. Letter of Intent
    B. Sending an Application to the NIH
    C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
     A. Additional Review Criteria
     B. Additional Review Considerations
     C. Sharing Research Data
     D. Sharing Research Resources
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
 3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


1. Research Objectives 

The primary objective of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is to increase the diversity of the mental health research workforce by stimulating and supporting the dissertation research of: students from racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral science; students with disabilities; or students from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.  Eligible students must have the objective of becoming successful investigators in areas of biomedical or behavioral science relevant to the mission of the NIMH. 

A dissertation represents the most extensive research experience formulated and carried out by doctoral candidates, with the advice and guidance of mentors.  Dissertation research involves a major investment of the doctoral student's time, energy, and interest and its substance is often the basis for launching a research career.  Lack of financial support during this phase of training can delay completion of the dissertation project.  The Mental Health Dissertation Research grant will provide full-time salary support and research funds for up to two years for eligible students to facilitate completion of their doctoral research project and dissertation in a research area relevant to the NIMH mission and research priorities. 

The NIMH, as part of the NIH, recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to:

This dissertation research award announcement is intended to stimulate the participation of individuals from the following groups:

A. individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups;
B. individuals with disabilities; and
C. individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.

The NIMH is organized in five scientific divisions.  Each division’s research priorities can be found on the following web pages:  Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS)Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development (DATR); Division of Pediatric Translational Research and Treatment Development (DPTR): Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research (DAHBR); and Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR).  Potential applicants are encouraged to visit these Web and to contact the Scientific/Research Contact listed in Section VII to gain more information on the relevance of the proposed dissertation research topic to the NIMH mission.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

 Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This funding opportunity will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dissertation Award (R36) mechanism.  The predoctoral student is the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) of the application and is responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project under the supervision, and with the approval, of a university-approved and appointed doctoral committee. The student-PD/PI must have an appointment at the applicant institution (e.g., research assistant).

This funding opportunity uses the just-in-time budget concepts.  It also uses the non-modular budget format. This budget is found in the SF424 (R&R) Budget Component described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Package and Instructions Guide.

Dissertation awards are not renewable nor may they be transferred to another PD/PI.

2. Funds Available

A project period of up to two years and a budget for direct costs of up to $35,000 per year may be requested.

Although the financial plans of the NIMH  provides support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

F&A costs are limited to 8% of modified total direct costs for education programs.

Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, see NOT-OD-05-004.

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

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

In addition, eligible institutions must have an accredited doctoral degree-granting program in the candidate’s area of study.  

1.B. Eligible Individuals

As discussed in Section I, the NIMH is particularly interested in assisting the following classes of candidates to complete their doctoral research education:

A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/women/start.htm). In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting and individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the applicant institution are eligible for support under this program.

B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

1. Individuals who were raised in a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such candidates have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or that they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

2. Come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Eligibility related to predoctoral and dissertation-eligible status

Provided that you meet the eligibility criterion just above, you are eligible to apply for this award if:

The applicant must be a citizen or non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of an Alien Registration Receipt Card) at the time of award.  Individuals on student or temporary visas are not eligible to apply.  Academic institutions are encouraged to facilitate submission of applications from qualified doctoral candidates.

Eligible individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research are invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support.  A student applying for a Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant must be enrolled in an accredited doctoral degree program in an area or discipline relevant to the mission of the NIMH, and must be conducting dissertation research relevant to that mission.  The student applicant must be a doctoral student who has advanced to candidacy and who has completed all requirements for the doctoral degree (excluding the clinical internship requirement) other than the dissertation by the time of the award.  Documentation of the applicant’s advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree and an approved dissertation project must be provided at the time of application (see section IV.2 and IV.6).

Applicants for the Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant are expected to pursue full-time research and career development activities directly relevant to the mission of the NIMH.  Applications with marginal or no relevance to the NIMH mission will be considered unresponsive and will not be accepted for review.  Therefore, prior to preparing and submitting an application, it is imperative that prospective applicants contact the NIMH staff listed under section VII. to discuss this program and their dissertation research project.

Note that individuals supported under Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms including F30 and F31 predoctoral fellowships and predoctoral trainees on NIH institutional research training grants are eligible to apply for an NIMH dissertation award.  Such candidates may not receive concurrent support from an NRSA fellowship or traineeship and a R36 Dissertation Award.  The dissertation award may only be used when NRSA eligibility has been exhausted or is no longer available. 

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria
 
Not Applicable

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


Registration and Instructions for Submission via Grants.gov


To download an Application Package and Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PD/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the NIH eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant institution/organization can submit an electronic application, as follows:

1) Organization/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Started

Direct questions regarding Grants.gov registration to:

Grants.gov Customer Support
Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726
Business Hours: M-F 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Email support@grants.gov

2) Organization/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

Direct questions regarding the Commons registration to:

eRA Commons Help Desk
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Business hours M-F 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Email commons@od.nih.gov

3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer-reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.

Several of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. Applicants will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the “Attachment” files may be usable for more than one FOA.

For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF) instructions.

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH.

There are fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components that, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application is comprised of data arranged in separate components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY will include all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA will include the following components:

Required Components:

SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
Research & Related Budget
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan (Including Letters of Support, Letter of Certification of Applicant Eligibility, and Academic Transcript attachments)
PHS398 Checklist

Optional Components:

PHS398 Cover Letter File
R & R Subaward Budget Attachment (s)Form

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF) are to be followed, with these further specifications.

SF 424 (R&R)

Page 2

Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations Component:

Respond to all required fields.  This section identifies the primary site(s) where the research will be carried out.  If multiple sites are involved, each location must be identified.

Research & Related Other Project Information Component:

Respond to all required fields.  This is where Human/Animal subject information is given; and where the Abstract, Project Narrative, Bibliography & References Cited, Facilities and Other Resources and Equipment information are attached.  The information in Items 9 and 10 must include descriptions of the research setting(s), the facilities, resources, tools and equipment available to the investigator.  Provide in adequate detail, descriptions of the research environment, including unique or special resources, experimental organisms, patient/subject populations, tools, or instrumentation that are relevant to the feasibility of the project. 

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile(s) Component:

This section will be automatically populated with information provided in previous components.  Check each section to make sure all required information is provided.  The “Credential, e.g. agency login” refers to your eRA Commons Login ID.  Your application will be rejected if this element is not provided for you, the PD/PI.  The Key Persons for whom Profiles must be provided include the Doctoral Candidate (the PD/PI), the Faculty Advisor, Dissertation Committee Chair and/or Supervisor.  Other committee members and individuals who contribute significantly to the development or execution of the proposed research should be listed as “Other Significant Contributors (OSCs)”.  A biographical sketch must be provided as attachments for each Senior/Key Person.  Follow the recommended format in the 424 R&R Guide.  For the “doctoral candidate” the attached Biographical Sketch must also contain a scientific autobiography that states her/his career goals, including reference to his/her interest in the specific area of mental health/mental disorders-related research, and that describes their intended career trajectory. 

Research & Related Budget Component:

An application for the NIMH Dissertation Research Award must include a detailed budget.  Follow the PHS 424 R&R Guide Instruction to complete the budget pages.  Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants will be covered by the NIMH dissertation research grant but may not exceed $35,000 per year in direct costs for the project, for a maximum period of two years.  An application that exceeds this amount may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.  Allowable costs include the candidate's salary for 12 months full-time effort.  The salary and fringe benefits provided to the graduate student must be in accordance with the sponsoring institution’s established policy, consistently applied to all individuals in similar positions, regardless of the source of funds.  Funds may also be used   for research project expenses, such as data processing, supplies, payments to subjects, and dissertation costs (e.g., printing and binding).  The applicant must provide detailed justification (Section K) for each budget item requested for the total period of support being requested.  The candidate may request up to $1,000 travel to one scientific meeting; any additional travel costs in connection with research at a remote performance site must be fully justified and included in the research project expenses.  Specific costs not allowed on dissertation research grants are permanent equipment items, tuition, alterations/renovations, space rental, contracting or consortium costs, dissertation defense or deposit fees, membership fees and faculty/advisor mentor supervision.  This listing is not exclusive, and the applicant institution should contact the NIMH staff regarding any other cost item being considered.

***Level of Effort:  It is expected that students will devote 12 calendar months to the dissertation.  Any level of effort that is less than full time must be fully justified, and the student's salary must be prorated accordingly. 

F&A costs are limited to eight percent of approved direct costs, less any equipment costs.

PHS 398 Components

Cover Page Supplement Component: This is required.  Follow the instructions in the PHS 424 R&R Guide. 

PHS 398 Research Plan Component:  Do not exceed a total of 10 pages for items 2 to 5 of the Research Plan.  It is recommended that sections 2-5 be prepared as one document and then subsequently split into a separate PDF for each  item.  Plans for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (see Section IV.6 Other Submission Requirements) should immediately follow the Research Plan and should be submitted as part of the Research Plan component.

The items of the Research Plan are as follows:

Item 1. Introduction to Application, Limited to one (1) page (For Resubmission Only)

Item 2. Specific Aims.  This section must identify the research questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested by the project and must also address the relevance of the project to NIMH research priorities.  This section must identify the questions to be answered or the hypotheses to be tested by the project.

Item 3. Background and Significance. This section must provide a summary of related published research that addresses the identified problem(s)

Item 4. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report. This section may include descriptions of ongoing work conducted in the laboratory or section in which the student is based and which is relevant to the proposed project.  The doctoral candidate does not have to have been involved directly in this prior work for it to be described here.  The candidate should indicate their level of involvement in such work and their accomplishments in the specific research setting, especially as they relate to the dissertation project. 

Item 5. Research Design and Methods.  Describe the experimental design and methodological procedures to be followed and, whenever applicable, provide information on such matters as sampling procedures, including the size and composition of the population to be studied and the size and composition of the sample and control groups, as well as a description of the types and sources of data to be gathered, methodological problems that may be encountered, specific statistical analyses to be made, expected and alternative outcomes and their interpretation, and steps that will be taken to protect human subjects or research animals as appropriate.  In addition, the management of the project, including a schedule or time-line of the main steps of the proposed investigation should be provided.

Items 6-10. Human Subjects Sections: If Human Subjects will be involved in the project, follow the instructions in the Supplemental Instructions for Preparing the Human Subjects Section of the Research Plan that are included in the PHS 424 R&R Guide (Section II).  Add appropriate attachments.   

Other Research Plan Sections: follow the instructions in the PHS 424 R&R Guide to complete the sections relevant to the dissertation project.

Item 11. Vertebrate Animals Section

Item 12. Consortium/Contractual Arrangements

Item 13. Letters of Support:

A letter from the faculty advisor, dissertation committee chair or university official directly responsible for supervising the dissertation research must be submitted with the application to demonstrate the PD/PI has advanced to candidacy.  The letter must (a) list the members of the dissertation committee and certify their approval of the dissertation proposal; (b) certify that the applicant is eligible for this grant mechanism and that all requirements for the doctoral degree, except the dissertation and, if necessary, the clinical internship, are completed or will be completed by the time the award starts; (c) confirm that the university official or faculty committee expects the doctoral candidate to proceed with the approved project proposal with or without NIMH support and that the supervisor will provide time as needed to the student to allow timely completion of the dissertation; (d) certify that the institution's facilities and general environment are adequate to conduct the proposed research; and (e) describe the advisor’s or committee’s role in advising, guiding, training or mentoring the doctoral student in conducting the project.

The faculty advisor and at least one other member of the dissertation committee must submit letters that address (a) their perceptions of the doctoral candidate’s progress to date; and (b) the candidate’s commitment to mental health-related  research and her/his prospect of becoming an independent investigator in this area. 

All letters must be submitted in one attachment.

Item 14. Resource Sharing Plan

Item 15. Appendix:

PHS 398 Checklist Component: This is a Required Component.  Follow the instructions in the PHS 424 R&R Guide.

PHS 398 Cover Letter File: This is an optional but recommended component.  Follow the instructions in the PHS 424 R&R Guide to attach a cover letter.

Note: While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.    

The NIH requires the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component. The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A for details.

3.A. Submission, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Opening Date:  March 2, 2006
Application Submission Date(s): April 22, 2006; August 22, 2006; December 22; 2006; April 22, 2007; August 22, 2007; December 22; 2007; April 22, 2008; August 22, 2008; December 22; 2008 (including resubmissions).
For AIDS applications the published schedule applies  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS
Letter of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not applicable
Peer Review Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Council Review Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Application in response to this FOA may only be submitted to Grants.gov through Grants.gov/Apply
PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications may be submitted to Grants.gov on or after the Opening Date and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application submission dates described in (Section IV.3.A.).   If an application is not received by that date, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be transferred from Grants.gov to the NIH Electronic Research Administration process for validation. Both the PD/PI and the Signing Official for the organization must verify the submission via the Commons within 2 business days of notification of the NIH validation.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by CSR. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique. Note such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF 424 (R&R).

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. Information related to the assignment of an application to the Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons.

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-Award Costs are allowable. A grantee may, at their own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award if such costs are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Special Instructions and General Guidance for the Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant Application: 

Renewal (formerly “competing continuation” or “Type 2”) applications are not permitted.  

Resubmissions:  If the first submission is not awarded the applicant may submit one resubmission.  The submission dates for resubmissions are the same as for new applications.  The resubmission must include an Introduction (limited to 1 page) that addresses the concerns and criticisms raised in the summary statement.  Refer to specific instructions on the preparation of an Introduction to a revised application in the  SF424 Instruction Guide.  The Introduction page is not included in the 10-page limit for the Research Plan narrative for the Dissertation Research Grant Application. 

Scope of Awards:  A Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant will be awarded for a period of up to 24 months.  Within this time frame the applicant may request support for the amount of time necessary to complete the dissertation.  Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants will be covered by the NIMH dissertation research grant but may not exceed $35,000 per year in direct costs for the project for a maximum period of two years.  An application that exceeds this period and cost will not be accepted for review.

Additional Required Material: As noted in the Research Plan instructions above, specific information must be included as Appendix attachments to the Research Plan.  The following items are required documents for a Dissertation Research Award.

Instructions in the Responsible Conduct of Research: Applications must include the student-PD/PI’s plans for obtaining instruction in the responsible conduct of research, including the rationale, subject matter, appropriateness, format, frequency and duration of instruction.  The amount and nature of faculty participation must be described.  No award will be made if an application lacks this component.

Plan for Sharing Research Data
Not Applicable

Sharing Research Resources
Not Applicable

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria (Update: Enhanced review criteria have been issued for the evaluation of research applications received for potential FY2010 funding and thereafter - see NOT-OD-09-025).

 Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will be assigned to the NIMH on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines.

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review group convened by the NIMH in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

Significance: Does the proposed project address an important problem relevant to the NIMH mission and research priorities?  If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced?  What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services or interventions that drive this field? Will the results have heuristic value?
 
Approach: Are the conceptual framework, hypothesis to be tested, research design, methodology, and analyses adequately developed, clearly defined, and appropriate to the aims of the project?  Does the doctoral candidate acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative approaches or tactics to complete the planned studies?  Does the project reflect a grasp of scientific principles and adequate knowledge of other research related to the problem?

Innovation: Within the context of dissertation research, does the proposed project employ or develop novel concepts, approaches or methods?  Within the same context, are the aims original and innovative?

Investigators/Mentors: Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the doctoral candidate-investigator? Does the student show promise as a research investigator in areas relevant to the proposal?  Is the proposed research project consistent with the long-term research interests of the applicant?  Are the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and other doctoral committee members appropriately qualified to provide guidance as needed?  Have the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and any other participating members of the committee indicated that they will provide sufficient time to allow completion of the dissertation?  Will the faculty advisor/dissertation chair provide the necessary supervision and mentoring to the student?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Does the proposed project benefit from unique features of the scientific and training environment, subject populations or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support including available facilities appropriate to the research?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.   See item 6 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research: The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.   See item 7 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under item 11 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R) will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research:  Quality and appropriateness of proposed training in the responsible conduct of research.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research may be assessed by the reviewers. Is the effort listed for the PD/PI appropriate for the work proposed? Is each budget category realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods?

Period of Support: The appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed dissertation research.

2.C. Sharing Research Data
Not applicable.   

2.D. Sharing Research Resources
Not applicable.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Not Applicable.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons.      

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Also Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

There are Terms and Conditions specific to Mental Health Dissertation Research Grants:

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement

This report requires the principal investigator to provide a review of the progress made towards completing the objectives of the dissertation grant, including important or significant findings and list any publications submitted for review or published that were directly supported by the grant.    

Confirmation of completion, filing and acceptance of the dissertation constitutes the final report of the grant.  As a part of the closeout process, documentation of the filing and acceptance of the dissertation must be submitted to the NIMH within 90 days of the termination of the grant.  Documentation of acceptance of the dissertation must include the signatures of the faculty committee or university official responsible for the candidate's dissertation, and the Dissertation Abstracts citation.  The final report should also indicate where the doctoral recipient is continuing their research career. 

Section VII. Agency Contacts


We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Please see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/researchfunding/contactsforr36program.cfm

2. Peer Review Contacts:

David Armstrong, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd, Room 6138, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD 20892-9609
Telephone: (301) 443-3534
FAX: 301-443-4720
Email: armstrda@mail.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Rebecca Claycamp, M.S., C.R.A.
Grants Management Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd, Room 6122, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD 20892-9605
Telephone: 301-443-2811
FAX: 301-443-6885
Email: rclaycam@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

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 access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). All investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal, beginning with the October 1, 2004 receipt date, are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the SF424 (R&R); and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

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 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp 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 (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, 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.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from 1) currently funded NIH research projects or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the Policy or the submission process please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools including the Authors' Manual (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/publicaccess_Manual.htm).

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).

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

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This PA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

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

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

Loan Repayment Programs:

NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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