NICHD SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

Release Date:  July 13, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-126

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

THIS PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT REPLACES PA-96-025, NICHD SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM.

THIS PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT USES "MODULAR GRANT" AND "JUST-IN-TIME" PROCEDURES. 
DETAILED MODIFICATIONS TO STANDARD APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS THAT MUST BE USED
WHEN PREPARING APPLICATIONS IN RESPONSE TO THIS PA ARE OUTLINED BELOW.

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) announces
the continuation of its Small Grants Program, first published in February
1996.  Several modifications to the program are introduced in the current
announcement.  The program will continue to provide limited financial support
for new biomedical and behavioral research projects relevant to the NICHD
mission in population science; reproductive science; pregnancy and birth;
human growth and nutrition; normal and atypical development; pediatric,
adolescent and maternal HIV/AIDS; genetics and teratology; developmental
biology; and medical rehabilitation research.

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), NICHD
Small Grants Program, is related to several priority areas.  Potential
applicants may obtain a copy of  "Healthy People 2000" at
http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic, for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of
the Federal government.  Foreign institutions and organizations are not
eligible for the NICHD small grant.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals,
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal
Investigators.  The NICHD also encourages applications from new investigators.

NICHD small grant support is for new projects only; competing continuation
applications will not be accepted.  An R03 grant may not be used to supplement
research projects already being supported or to provide interim support for
projects pending review.  Simultaneous submission of both small grant and
traditional research grant applications on the same topic will not be
accepted.
Small grant support may not be used for thesis or dissertation research.

Only one small grant application from an individual Principal Investigator
will be considered by NICHD during a given Council round, and only one
revision of a previously reviewed small grant application may be submitted.

Applications for research aimed at problems outside the NICHD mission will not
be accepted for potential funding by NICHD.  Potential applicants are strongly
encouraged to contact staff listed under INQUIRIES below to discuss their
proposed project prior to submission of an application.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This program will use the NIH small grant (R03) award mechanism. 
Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed
project will be solely that of the applicant.  The total project period for an
application submitted in response to this PA may not exceed two years. The
NICHD small grant is a $50,000 per year direct cost award.  Support may be
requested for $50,000 (direct costs) for one year or $100,000 (direct costs)
for two years.  These grants may not be renewed.

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts being examined by the NIH. 
Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant
applications can be found at: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

When introduced in 1996, the NICHD Small Grant (R03) Program announced branch-
specific interests for the type of R03 project that each of the Institute's
extramural programs was particularly interested in supporting.  However, based
on an evaluation of the short-term outcomes of the program (available at: 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/pa/r03eval.htm), the current announcement describes
NICHD-wide interests.

Scope

The NICHD Small Grant (R03) Program is designed to provide support for
projects requiring minimal funding for limited periods of time.  Proposed
research must be relevant to the mission of the Institute as represented by
its program areas:

Center for Population Research:  Contraceptive Research; Demographic and
Behavioral Science; Reproductive Sciences.

Center for Research for Mothers and Children:  Child Development and Behavior;
Developmental Biology, Genetics and Teratology; Endocrinology, Nutrition and
Growth; Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities; Pediatric,
Adolescent and Maternal AIDS; Pregnancy and Perinatology.

National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research:  Behavioral Sciences and
Rehabilitation Engineering; Biological Sciences; Clinical Practices.

Project Types

Examples of the types of projects suited to the R03 mechanism include:

Pilot or Feasibility Studies
Innovative Research
Development of Research Methodology
Applied Research
High Risk/High Payoff Studies
Development of New Research Technology
Reanalysis of Existing Data

The NICHD is particularly interested in supporting small grants submitted by
new investigators, that is, investigators who have never before been Principal
Investigator on an NIH research grant.

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 are 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 have been 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 at the following URL: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/1994/94.03.18/notice-nih-guideline008.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/or ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt
dates after October 1, 1998.

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

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted on the standard application deadlines as indicated
in the application kit (October 1, February 1, or June 1 for new applications;
November 1, March 1, or July 1 for revised applications).  Application kits
are available at most institutional offices 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, E-mail:  grantsinfo@nih.gov.  The form
PHS 398 may also be found on the Internet at: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

Application Instructions

The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets.  Only
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The just-in-
time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when there
is a possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these changes will
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers, and Institute
staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used
in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted below.

The following instructions are to be used in conjunction with the information
accompanying application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98); they refer only to selected
items in the application form.  All PHS 398 requirements should be followed,
with the exception of those items affected by the following instructions. 
Applications not conforming to the requested format will be returned to the
applicant without review.

FACE PAGE

The title, "NICHD Small Grants Program,"and number of this Program
Announcement must be typed on line 2 of the face page and the YES box must be
marked.

Item 6:  Up to a total of two years of support may be requested.

Items 7a and 7b:  These items should be completed indicating Direct Costs
($50,000) and Total Costs [$50,000 plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A)
costs] for the initial budget period.

Items 8a and 8b:  These items should be completed indicating the Direct (i.e.,
either $50,000 or $100,000) and Total Costs (i.e., either $50,000 or $100,000
plus F&A) for the entire proposed period of support.

DETAILED BUDGET FOR THE INITIAL BUDGET PERIOD

Do not complete Form Page 4 of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not
be accepted with the application.

BUDGET FOR THE ENTIRE PROPOSED PERIOD OF SUPPORT

Do not complete the categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398. 
It is not required and will not be accepted with the application.

NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION

Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative page.  For sample pages, see:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for each year
(i.e., $50,000).  This is not a Form Page.

Under Personnel, list key project personnel, including their names, percent of
effort, and roles on the proposed project.  No individual salary information
should be provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation
language salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in
developing the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the nearest
$1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of key personnel,
and role on the proposed project.  Indicate whether the collaborating
institution is foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a
consortium/contractual arrangement is included in the overall requested
$50,000 direct cost amount.  Include the Letter of Intent to establish a
consortium.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

The Biographical Sketch provides information used by reviewers in the
assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific role in the
proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall qualifications of the
research team.  A Biographical Sketch is required for all key personnel,
following the instructions below.  No more than three pages may be used for
each person.  A sample Biographical Sketch may be viewed at: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

o  Complete the educational block at the top of the Form Page.
o  List position(s) and then any honors.
o  Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on
research projects ongoing or completed during the last three years.
o  List selected peer-reviewed publications, with full citations.

OTHER SUPPORT

Do not complete this section.  It is not required and will not be accepted
with the application.

RESEARCH PLAN

Items a - d of the Research Plan (Specific Aims, Background and Significance,
Preliminary Studies, and Research Design and Methods) may not exceed a total
of 10 pages.  Please note that a Progress Report is not needed; competing
continuation applications will be not accepted for an R03.

APPENDIX

Appendix material may not be submitted.

CHECKLIST

This page should be completed and submitted with the application.  If the F &
A rate agreement has been established, indicate the type of agreement and the
date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied in the calculation of the
F&A costs for each budget period.

The applicant should provide the name and telephone number of the individual
to contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional
information is required following initial review.

Submission Procedures

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 should be
sent to:

Director
Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5E03, MSC 7510
Bethesda MD 20892-7510
Rockville MD 20852 (for express/courier service)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be reviewed for completeness and for responsiveness to this
PA by NIH staff.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications may be
returned to the applicant without further consideration.  Applications will be
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate scientific
review group convened by the NICHD according to the review criteria stated
below.  As part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a
written critique and may undergo a process in which only those applications
deemed to have the highest scientific merit will be discussed and assigned a
priority score.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In
their written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following
aspects of the application 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 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.  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 this study address an important problem?  If the aims of
the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  What
will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive this
field?

Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics?

Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? 
Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to
carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level
of the Principal Investigator and other researchers (if any)?

Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done
contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments take
advantage of the unique features of the scientific environment or employ
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional
support?

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications also will be reviewed with respect to the following:

o  The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects also will be
evaluated.

o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
proposed research.

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals, and the
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project
proposed in the application.

The scientific review group also will examine the provisions for the
protection of human subjects and the safety of the research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:  Scientific and
technical merit of the application as determined by peer review; program
priorities; consideration of the Principal Investigator's overall level of
research support from all sources; new investigator status of the Principal
Investigator; and availability of funds.

INQUIRIES

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

For inquiries regarding both programmatic and fiscal matters, complete NICHD
contact information may be found at: 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/contacts/R03PAcontacts.htm.

AUTHORITIES AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.864, 93.865, and 93.929.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public
Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285)
and administered under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52
and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

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


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