ENHANCING RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAPACITY BUILDING FOR U.S. DENTAL 
INSTITUTIONS 

RELEASE DATE:  August 6, 2003

RFA Number:  RFA-DE-04-008  

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
 (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov)

LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE:  March 14, 2004 

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE:       April 14, 2004  

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER:  93.121

THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION
o Purpose of this RFA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanism(s) of Support
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Special Requirements
o Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Supplemental Instructions 
o Submitting an Application
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS RFA

The initiative to be supported through this RFA is designed to provide 
the necessary resources for dental schools to implement comprehensive 
institutional plans to enhance their research infrastructure.  This RFA 
follows from and represents Phase II of the previously issued RFA DE-
03-006, "Planning Awards for the Improvement of Research Infrastructure 
in U.S. Dental Schools" that utilized the R24 mechanism 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DE-03-006.html).  
However, any dental institution may respond to this RFA regardless of 
whether they received a R24 planning award.  

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

A large portion of dental, oral and craniofacial research is performed 
in the nation's dental schools.  However, data indicate that the bulk 
of NIDCR funding to dental schools goes to relatively few such 
institutions.  Therefore the research infrastructure and workforce 
capacity of many dental schools need to be strengthened in order to 
help them take advantage of the new opportunities in research and to 
remain competitive and full participants in the modern research 
enterprise.  

For oral, dental and craniofacial diseases and disorders, there are 
numerous research opportunities and challenges.  These diseases and 
disorders are among the most common problems affecting the health and 
well being of the U.S. population.  As highlighted in the U.S. Surgeon 
General's Report "Oral Health in America," oral health is essential to 
general health and means much more than healthy teeth.  This report and 
the subsequent "National 'Call to Action' to Promote Oral Health" 
stress the need for accelerating research in basic, applied and 
clinical areas (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/sgr/oralHealth.asp).  The 
challenge is to understand the orofacial complex diseases caused by the 
interaction of multiple genes with environmental and behavioral 
variables and to translate research findings into improved care and 
healthier lifestyles.  NIDCR has expanded its research support 
portfolio to address these complex interactions in the genesis of oral, 
dental and craniofacial diseases and disorders.  The growth in the 
scientific areas of interest has been accompanied by a parallel shift 
in research emphasis from traditional disciplines to new approaches 
involving molecular medicine and other tools of modern biomedical 
research.  These have been highlighted in the NIDCR Strategic Plan, 
which can be found at 
(http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/about/strat-plan/draft011603.asp). 
Research opportunities identified in the Plan 
include (1) advancing the understanding of the processes underlying 
oral, dental and craniofacial diseases through studies related to 
genetics, structure and function of oral tissues and cells, 
communication between and within cells, biocompatible materials, gene 
and environment interactions, pharmacogenetics) and (2) preventing, 
diagnosing, treating and eliminating oral, dental and craniofacial 
disorders (e.g., through research related to the development and 
validation of biomarkers, clinical research and trials, population-
based, genetics, social and behavioral research).  Of special 
importance is the application of basic science advances to clinical 
research.  These areas of scientific opportunity require not only an 
appropriate research infrastructure, but also cross-disciplinary 
interactions between investigators with solid skills and competencies 
in new and expanding areas of science. Additional information about 
current and future NIDCR research priorities is found on the NIDCR home 
page at http://www.nidcr.nih.gov.  

Objectives and Scope

The objective of this RFA is to enable U.S. dental schools to 
strengthen their research capabilities by recruiting and retaining 
outstanding research personnel, obtaining appropriate equipment and 
materials to perform the highest quality science, and establishing 
institutional linkages that augment and expand their research capacity.  

Applicants are expected to have previously identified one or more areas 
of scientific focus, completed an assessment of research infrastructure 
needs for the selected research areas and, from the needs assessment, 
developed a comprehensive plan to expand and sustain the research 
infrastructure.  For this RFA, critical research infrastructure needs 
may include recruiting, supporting and mentoring clinical, basic, 
translational, behavioral or other research investigators in tenure-
track (or equivalent) positions; recruiting outstanding experienced 
scientists for tenured positions; retraining senior scientists as 
necessary; and providing a well-organized biomedical research 
environment that includes technical support personnel, appropriate 
equipment, supplies, shared resources, and inter- and intra-
institutional linkages.  

During this award, the institutions will be expected to implement the 
proposed strategies in their plan for enhancing research infrastructure 
and capacity building.  At the end of the funding period the awardees 
will be expected to have strengthened their capability to prepare and 
submit scientifically meritorious research project grant applications 
and to have initiated or enhanced research training and career 
development programs relevant to the mission of the NIDCR.  

This initiative is part of a larger NIDCR effort that is attempting to 
create a momentum at U.S. dental schools for conducting scientific 
investigations, for developing an interest among students and junior 
faculty to pursue careers in research, for stimulating an increased 
understanding and appreciation among educators and future practitioners 
for the importance of research, and for pursuing the transfer of 
scientific findings to clinical practice.

Specific information on the application requirements is described in 
the section under SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS.  

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the NIH U24 award mechanism.  The applicant will be 
solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed 
project.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  The anticipated award 
date is September 1, 2004.

This RFA uses just-in-time concepts.  It also uses the non-modular 
budgeting format because a detailed, categorical budget is needed for 
purposes of review. See 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm for a 
discussion of budget formatting.  

The NIH U24 is a cooperative agreement award mechanism in which the 
Principal Investigator retains the primary responsibility and dominant 
role for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project, with 
NIDCR staff being substantially involved as a partner with the 
Principal Investigator, as described under the section "Cooperative 
Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award."  

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIDCR intends to commit approximately $9.0 million total cost over 
FY 2004 and FY 2005 to fund six new grants in response to this RFA.  An 
applicant may request a project period of up to two years and a budget 
for direct costs of up to $1 million per year plus applicable 
facilities and administrative (F&A) costs to enable the dental 
institution to implement the IEP.  Because the nature and scope of the 
proposed research will vary from application to application, it is 
anticipated that the size of each grant will vary.  Although the budget 
plans of the NIDCR project support for this program, awards pursuant to 
this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt 
of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.  

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS 

You may submit an application if your institution has any of the 
following characteristics: 
   
o Non-profit organizations only.  For-profit organizations are not 
eligible to apply.
o Public or private dental institutions.  However, only dental 
institutions that received LESS THAN $6 MILLION from the NIDCR in FY 
2001 are eligible to submit an application.  This information can be 
obtained from the internet at 
www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/supportedSchools/rank2001dental.htm.  
o Domestic only.  

Foreign Institutions are not eligible to apply.

The applicant Institution is encouraged to propose collaborative 
affiliations with other entities, including dental, medical, public 
health, engineering and graduate institutions.  The collaboration can 
be with entities from within the parent institution as well as outside 
institutions (for example, with recipients of Minority Infrastructure 
Grants from NIDCR) and should be for the purpose of facilitating and 
addressing the objectives outlined in this RFA. 

Institutions can apply for a U24 award if they have not received a R24 
planning award.  However, they must provide documentation that they 
have previously completed a needs assessment and developed an 
infrastructure improvement plan that meets the specifications of the 
R24 planning award.  

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

The Institution should designate a Principal Investigator who 
preferably is a faculty member with NIH research funds or a senior 
official, such as Associate Dean/Director for Research.  Individuals 
from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals 
with disabilities are encouraged to serve as a Principal Investigator. 

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

There are a number of Special Requirements and Provisions with which 
each institution must comply: 

o Applications for this initiative must include four parts.  

PART 1 contains the results of an Assessment of Critical Needs to 
enhance the dental school's research infrastructure in one or more 
scientific areas.  

PART 2 is a comprehensive, institution-wide Infrastructure Enhancement 
Plan (IEP) based on the Assessment of Critical Needs and represents the 
desired infrastructure for the area(s) of research identified in Part 1.  

PART 3 is a description of how the IEP will be implemented, including 
an evaluation plan.  

PART 4 contains written institutional commitment to this entire program 
by the leadership of the university or Academic Health Science Center 
(e.g., President of the health science center or Chancellor of 
university) to help support the development of the dental school's 
research infrastructure and enhance the school's capacity to carry out 
research throughout the two-year funding period and beyond the award.  
This part also should document the support for institutional linkages 
and/or collaborations.

o To facilitate the successful implementation of the IEP, the Principal 
Investigator must organize an Internal Advisory Committee and an 
External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee.  

Internal Advisory Committee

The Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) should consist of individuals 
from the dental school as well as other components of the academic 
health science center and parent institution or university (for 
example, the schools of medicine, public health, engineering and 
graduate studies).  All such individuals should be from components of 
the parent institution that were integral partners in conducting the 
Assessment of Critical Needs and in developing the Infrastructure 
Enhancement Plan.  (The IAC was referred to in the R24 Planning Award 
RFA as "Internal Planning Committee.") The IAC has responsibility for 
assisting the Program Director in directing and monitoring the 
activities of the U24 program.  This committee must define the chain of 
responsibility for decision-making and administration beginning at the 
level of the Dean and including all key staff (e.g., Sponsored Programs 
Administrator and Department Chair).  The IAC will establish a time-
line for proposed activities.  This committee must also develop 
opportunities for information exchange, seminar presentations, and 
research training opportunities for faculty and students.

External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee 

The External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee (ESPAC) will be 
composed of at least six distinguished senior scientists and 
collaborating partners from outside the dental school. (The ESPAC was 
referred to in the R24 Planning Award RFA as the "External Advisory 
Committee.")  The specific types of expertise and names of ESPAC 
members must be included in the application.  Members can include 
faculty at other dental schools, medical schools, public health 
schools, etc.  They also can include representatives from private 
industry and public or private foundations.  The Principal 
Investigator, NIDCR staff, other ex-officio members and consultants are 
non-voting members of this Committee.  This Committee must provide an 
objective and multidisciplinary perspective, expert attention to the 
many factors during the course of implementing the research 
infrastructure program, and considerable judgment to assess the 
progress made by the institution, making recommendations for the future 
direction of the Infrastructure and Capacity Building initiative and 
providing advice and guidance about personnel matters and the 
allocation of resources on at least a semi-annual basis.  Additional 
members with specific scientific or evaluation expertise may be added 
to ensure an adequate review of the research infrastructure program.  
The chair of the Committee will be elected by and from the Advisory 
Committee.  The Committee's recommendations, in the form of written 
semi-annual reports, are to be submitted to the Principal Investigator 
and NIDCR.  These reports will be used by the Principal Investigator to 
guide and direct the development of the grant and for evaluation 
purposes.  The Principal Investigator generally will be expected to 
accept and implement the recommendations of the ESPAC. In those 
situations where the recommendations are not feasible to implement, the 
Principal Investigator must provide a thorough explanation and 
rationale to the NIDCR.  

o Each dental school is limited to applying for only ONE Research 
Infrastructure and Capacity Building award.  

o For each collaborative partner there must be written "Letters of 
Support" from a senior official of the institution illustrating the 
type of support to ensure that these partnerships will have the maximum 
chance for success.

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF AWARD 

The following Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the notice 
of grant award and will be provided to the principal investigators and 
to the appropriate institutional officials at the time of award.  The 
following special terms of award are in addition to, and not instead 
of, otherwise applicable OMB administrative guidelines, DHHS grant 
administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 74 and 92, and other DHHS, 
PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.  F&A costs are calculated 
and awarded for cooperative agreement awards the same as for grants.  

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program is a 
cooperative agreement (U24), an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an 
"acquisition" mechanism) in which substantial NIDCR scientific and/or 
programmatic involvement with the grantee is anticipated during 
performance of the activity.  Under the cooperative agreement, the 
NIDCR supports and/or stimulates the recipient's activity by being 
involved in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipient in a 
partner role, but it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, 
or a dominant role in the activity.  Consistent with this concept, the 
dominant role and prime responsibility for the activity resides with 
the awardee(s) for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and 
activities in carrying out the studies will be shared among the 
awardees and the NIDCR Program Director.  These are summarized below: 

1. Awardee Rights and Responsibilities 

a) Awardees have primary authorities and responsibilities to define 
objectives and approaches, and to plan, conduct, analyze, and publish 
results, interpretations, and conclusions of their studies.  

b) Awardees will retain custody of and have primary rights to data 
developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access 
consistent with current HHS, PHS, and NIH policies.

c) The Principal Investigator must organize an Internal Advisory 
Committee (IAC).  The IAC should consist of individuals from the dental 
school as well as other components of the academic health science 
center and parent institution or university that were integral partners 
in conducting the Assessment of Critical Needs and in developing the 
Infrastructure Enhancement Plan.  The IAC has responsibility for 
assisting the Program Director in directing and monitoring the 
activities of the U24 program.  The IAC will establish a time-line for 
proposed activities.  This committee also must develop opportunities 
for information exchange, seminar presentations, and research training 
opportunities for faculty and students.

d) The Principal Investigator must organize an External Scientific and 
Program Advisory Committee (ESPAC).  The ESPAC will be composed of at 
least six distinguished senior scientists and collaborating partners 
from outside the dental school. Members can include faculty from other 
dental, medical and other relevant schools, as well as representatives 
from private industry and public or private foundations.  Additional 
members with specific scientific or evaluation expertise may be added 
to ensure an adequate review of the research infrastructure program.  
The Principal Investigator, NIDCR staff, other ex-officio members and 
consultants are non-voting members of this Committee.  The ESPAC must 
provide an objective and multidisciplinary perspective, expert 
attention to the many factors during the course of implementing the 
research infrastructure program, and considerable judgment to assess 
the progress made by the institution. The ESPAC can make 
recommendations for the future direction of the Infrastructure and 
Capacity Building initiative and provide advice and guidance about 
personnel matters and the allocation of resources on at least a semi-
annual basis.  The chair of the Committee will be elected by and from 
the Advisory Committee.  The Committee's recommendations, in the form 
of written semi-annual reports, are to be submitted to the Principal 
Investigator and NIDCR.  These reports will be used by the Principal 
Investigator to guide and direct the development of the grant and for 
evaluation purposes.  

e) Awardees agree to follow the advice and recommendations of the 
External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee, whenever possible, 
in meeting the intent of this initiative. In those situations where the 
recommendations are not feasible to implement, the Principal 
Investigator must provide a thorough explanation and rationale to the 
NIDCR.  

f) The Principal Investigator and collaborators/partners should plan 
for regular meetings to discuss the progress and direction of its 
activities and to ensure that the necessary interactions are taking 
place.  

g) The Principal Investigator, collaborative partners, and other 
designated individuals will attend an annual meeting to be organized by 
NIDCR staff in Washington, DC.  

h) The Principal Investigator will submit annual progress reports 
(including recommendations of the External Scientific and Program 
Advisory Committee) to the NIDCR that describe activities and 
accomplishments during the previous funding period.

2. NIDCR Staff Responsibilities  

The NIDCR Program Director, who is responsible for normal program 
stewardship, will have, in addition, substantial programmatic 
involvement in the award performance period, as follows:

a) Work closely with the Principal Investigator to facilitate 
collaborations with other NIDCR-funded research scientists, components 
of the health science center and parent university and other dental 
institutions, and to leverage the resources available for this effort.  

b) Facilitate the awardee's development of the institutional 
environment, resources and other infrastructure and administrative 
areas. 

c) Assist the Principal Investigator to gain access to fiscal and 
intellectual resources provided by the NIH, industry, private 
foundations and other federal funding agencies.

d) Together with the ESPAC, will help the grantee institution and 
Principal Investigator establish reasonable time lines to achieve the 
developmental goals of this initiative.  

e) Provide assistance in reviewing and commenting on all major 
institutional changes prior to implementation to assure consistency 
with the goals of this RFA.

f) Monitor institutional commitments and resources to ensure that the 
program receives the maximum opportunity for stabilization and success.

g) Organize an annual meeting of all funded Principal Investigators or 
their designees to share progress and research insights that may 
benefit all of the projects.  

h) Assist, where warranted, in data analyses, interpretations and the 
dissemination of study findings to the research community and other 
dental institutions.   

3. Arbitration

When an agreement between an awardee and NIDCR staff cannot be reached 
on scientific or programmatic issues that may arise after the award, an 
arbitration panel will be formed.  The panel will consist of one person 
selected by the awardee, one person selected by NIDCR staff, and a 
third person selected by these two members.  The decision of the 
arbitration panel, by majority vote, will be binding.  This special 
arbitration procedure in no way affects the right of an awardee to 
appeal an adverse action in accordance with PHS regulations at 42 CFR 
Part 50, Subpart D, and HHS regulations at 45 CRF Part 16.  

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES 

We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA 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:

  
Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to: 

Dr. James A. Lipton
Special Assistant for Research Infrastructure and Curriculum 
Development, Office of the Director
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Natcher Building, Room 4AS-25J
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-6401
Telephone: (301) 594-2618
Fax: (301) 480-8322
e-mail: James_Lipton@nih.gov

Direct your questions about peer review issues to: 

Dr. H. George Hausch
Acting Director, Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 
45 Center Drive, Room 4AN-44F
Bethesda, MD  20892-6402
Telephone:  (301) 594-2904
Fax:  (301) 480-8303
Email:  George.Hausch@nih.gov

Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Ms. Mary Daley
Grants Management Officer, Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 
45 Center Drive, Room 4AN-44B
Bethesda, MD  20892-6401 
Telephone:  (301) 594-4800
Fax:  (301) 402-1517
Email:  Mary_Daley@nih.gov

Pre-application consultations with NIDCR staff is encouraged.  In 
addition, there will be at least one Technical Assistance Workshop, 
currently planned for October or November, 2003, conducted by NIDCR 
staff to which interested faculty and research administrators will be 
invited.  Topics to be discussed will include this RFA, the application 
procedure and review process.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that 
includes the following information: 

o Descriptive title of the proposed research
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o Names of other key personnel
o Participating institutions
o Number and Title of this RFA

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does 
not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information 
that it contains allows NIDCR staff to estimate the potential review 
workload and plan the review. 

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning 
of this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to Dr. H. George 
Hausch at the address listed above.  

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS: 

Allowable Costs

NIDCR recognizes that institutions are different and require different 
types of research infrastructure activities and initiatives, depending 
upon particular needs and circumstances.  Accordingly, this 
announcement provides general rather than specific guidance on the 
types of developmental activities appropriate under the Research 
Infrastructure and Capacity Building Award.  Support may be requested 
for, but is not limited to, the following: 

o Administrative costs (not to exceed 20% of the total direct costs per 
year) for managing the program, such as salaries for key personnel and 
equipment to support an administrative structure.  

o Planning and evaluation may include the travel costs for key 
personnel to perform internal and external activities; travel and per 
diem for the ESPAC members, consultants, workshops, seminars, retreats 
and other forums to strengthen, stabilize and consolidate interactions 
and cooperation in areas of existing high priority. 

o Regular meetings to discuss the progress and direction of project 
activities and to ensure that the necessary interactions are taking 
place.  

o Attendance at an annual meeting to be organized by NIDCR staff in 
Washington, DC.  

o Developmental costs for the purchase of equipment (any purchases 
greater than $50,000 per year require justification).  Make sure to 
include a detailed list of equipment and specific reasons for their 
need.

o Costs for resources (e.g., laboratory materials and personnel) shared 
with other components of the university, health science center, or 
institutions external to the dental school; costs for establishing 
other types of intra- and inter-institutional collaborative links to 
enhance the research program (e.g., with senior scientists, use of 
libraries and computer/information facilities, etc.).

o Recruitment of junior and senior research faculty, including start-up 
packages, salary, equipment, supplies, etc.

o Establishing and conducting pilot programs in research training and 
career development, faculty development and release time including 
special courses or seminars. 

o Data management and statistical analysis needs. 

o Travel and per diem for an annual 1½ - 2 day meeting of Program 
Directors to meet with staff from NIDCR and other Institutes/Centers.

Direct costs for construction, renovation or for salaries for teaching 
or other non-research activities are NOT allowable in this grant.  
Costs for the performance of research projects also will NOT be 
provided through the U24 award.

Application Requirements

The application should contain the following: 

Part 1 - Critical Needs Assessment Summary:
 
This covers the results of an Assessment of Critical Needs to enhance 
the dental school's research infrastructure in one or more scientific 
areas.  The applicant should specify the area(s) of research focus that 
will be developed or strengthened as well as the rationale for their 
selection.  Where more than one research area is identified, these 
areas should be complementary and there should not be any overlap among 
the specific areas.  

o Describe the approach that was used for assessing the capacity of 
your school, as well as any other departments in the university or 
collaborating institutions, to conduct state-of-the-art investigations 
in basic, clinical, behavioral and other research related to oral, 
dental and craniofacial health; 

o Identify the specific area(s) of research strength to be pursued in 
this award and the rationale for their selection (the process should 
build on the existing strengths and expertise at the applicant 
institution and collaborating parts of the parent university or 
external institutions, if any);

o Provide a description of all research activities that currently exist 
in the areas of research strength at the dental school as well as in 
the academic health center, including schools of medicine and public 
health or at institutions at additional sites deemed by the applicant 
institution to fall within a feasible distance for frequent 
interactions and research collaborations;  

Part 2 - the Institutional Infrastructure Enhancement Plan: 

This is a comprehensive, institution-wide Infrastructure Enhancement 
Plan (IEP) based on the Assessment of Critical Needs and represents the 
desired infrastructure for the area(s) of research identified in Part 
1.  Achieving the capacity to address the identified research area(s) 
is the goal and the objectives specify how this goal will be reached. 
The IEP must address the critical research infrastructure needs, 
including the recruitment and retention of personnel with relevant 
expertise, such that the dental school's capability to perform 
outstanding research is improved, as measured by the future receipt of 
research project grants from the NIH and other funding sources.  The 
IEP should describe the strategy to create, improve or enhance the 
necessary research infrastructure.  The following must be included.

a) Research Resources:

o The existing infrastructure.  This MUST include human resources 
(e.g., researchers and support personnel), equipment, physical 
structure, space layout, shared resources and infrastructure pertinent 
to the research focus of the institution.  This information will be 
used as part of a future evaluation for the institutional 
accomplishments through the grant award.

o Acquiring state-of-the-art research supplies and equipment, including 
the purchase of equipment, costs for shared resources and other related 
activities.

o Establishing intra- and inter-institutional links to enhance the 
research program, including the development of shared research cores 
with collaborating institutions.  Discuss how cooperative linkages and 
partnerships would be formed with these centers or institutions.  
Evidence of strong collaborations with research-intensive institutions 
is encouraged by the NIDCR both within and outside the parent 
university or Academic Health Center.

o Creating or renovating research facilities (if indicated), using non-
NIDCR dollars (for example, grants from the National Center for 
Research Resources (NCRR) of the NIH).

b) Research Capacity and Personnel:

o Creating a critical mass of researchers (clinical, basic, 
translational, behavioral, or some combination) in the selected area(s) 
of research, as appropriate.  This can be done by identifying "magnet 
investigators" (either senior scientists currently at the university or 
established researchers at other institutions who will be recruited).  
A "magnet investigator" (1) must be recognized in her/his scientific 
field, (2) has been the principal investigator on at least three major 
NIH research or center grants, such as the R01, U01, P01, P50, or P60 
awards (previous or current), (3) has extensive mentoring experience, 
(4) has received significant awards and honors from major research 
organizations, and (5) has published extensively in leading peer 
reviewed journals in a relevant scientific field. Indicate approximate 
number of these individuals to be recruited and specific type of 
expertise each individual will possess; how the individual(s) will be 
integrated into the institution; how she/he fulfills or will help to 
achieve the objectives of the grant; support that will be provided in 
terms of salary and benefits, supplies, equipment, space, technical 
staff, etc; time to be made available for mentoring junior and mid-
level scientists; and approach to recruit individuals not presently at 
the institution.  "Magnet investigators" should be able to attract 
postgraduate trainees, junior investigators and outstanding scientists 
to the institution. 

A second way of creating a critical mass of researchers in the area(s) 
of research described in Part 1 of this application is by recruiting, 
integrating, mentoring and supporting relatively junior scientists 
(e.g., through creation of tenure-track or equivalent positions).  
Junior scientists should be provided with at least two years of support 
(supplies, equipment, lab space, etc.) to enable them to start their 
research career.  

o Developing research training and career development programs for 
existing  faculty, students and junior scientists. 

(c) Evaluation:

o Performing ongoing evaluations and preparing interim reports.  These 
can be in response to periodic assessments by NIDCR staff as well as by 
the IAC and ESPAC that are based on outcome measures developed and 
specified in the application, and through recommendations (resulting 
from semi-annual meetings) by the ESPAC.

o Preparing a final report after completion of the U24 grant.  The 
report will detail exactly what was done during the years of support 
and how the institution plans to continue its efforts after the award 
is completed  

Part 3 - Implementation of the Infrastructure Enhancement Plan:

This consists of very detailed methods, outcome evaluation and costs of 
implementing each component of the Infrastructure Enhancement Plan 
described in Part 2.  It is essential to include a time-line specifying 
the processes, steps and benchmarks for implementing the IEP.  This is 
a particularly important part of the application.

Parts 1, 2 and 3 should not exceed 35 pages in length.  Any additional 
documents (e.g., strategic plan), reports (e.g., accreditation visits), 
manuals, etc., can be included in appendices.

Part 4 – Letters of Commitment and Support:

The U24 application MUST include two sets of letters.  The first 
consists of "Letters of Commitment" from the senior leadership of the 
parent institution (e.g., University President and/or Chancellor, 
Health Science Center President).  The letters should detail the 
specific resources that the institution is willing to provide.  For 
example, the institution may contribute complementary funds, resources 
in terms of release time for the PI; support for clerical and 
administrative personnel, travel, consultants and meetings; office and 
laboratory space; discretionary resources that will be made available 
to the Principal Investigator, guarantees of protected time for faculty 
and students to perform the research and training activities and other 
administrative responsibilities for the Principal Investigator and 
other key staff; and support to assist in the recruitment and 
performance of "magnet investigators."   The letters must specifically 
indicate how the investigators and facilities will be supported after 
the U24 award period ends, such as through partnering and leveraging.  
The second set of letters consists of "Letters of Support" from any 
partner institutions with which the applicant has established linkages 
or collaborations.

Since the objectives, methods, and contents of this application differ 
significantly from that which most applicants are familiar, specific 
instructions as to how the PHS 398 application should be prepared are 
available on the NIDCR web site at www.nidcr.nih.gov.

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the 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.

USING THE RFA LABEL:  The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 
5/01) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page 
of the application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use 
this label could result in delayed processing of the application such 
that it may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In 
addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face 
page of the application form and the YES box must marked.  The RFA 
label is also available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf.

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 and all appendix 
material of the application must also be sent to:  

Dr. H. George Hausch
Acting Director
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 
45 Center Drive, Room 4AN-44F
Bethesda, MD  20892-6402 

APPLICATION PROCESS:  Applications must be received on or before April 
14, 2004.  If an application is received after that date, it will be 
returned to the applicant without review. 

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application 
in response to the RFA 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 substantial revisions of applications already 
reviewed, but such applications must include an Introduction addressing 
the previous critique.  

PEER REVIEW PROCESS 

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by the NIDCR.  

Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration.  

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be 
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer 
review group convened by the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) at 
NIDCR in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of 
the merit review, all applications will 

o Receive a written critique 
o Undergo a process in which those applications deemed to have  
scientific and technical merit will be discussed and assigned a 
priority score.
o Receive a second level review by the NIDCR National Advisory Council.

REVIEW CRITERIA 

For this RFA, the review criteria are not organized under the 
traditional headings of Significance, Approach, Environment, 
Investigator and Innovation typically used for NIH research grants.  
Reviewers will have to use considerable flexibility in determining the 
merit of a broad range of possibilities that can strengthen the 
research capabilities of dental schools, expand training and career 
development opportunities for faculty and students, and increase the 
effectiveness of dental schools in establishing partnerships or 
collaborations with other institutions.  A well-prepared application 
should reflect a close, effective interaction between the Principal 
Investigator, the School's leadership and the faculty.  

Specific criteria for Part 1: 

o Assessment of Critical Research Needs: Appropriateness and adequacy 
of the process and methods used to assess institutional research needs, 
opportunities and the capacity to conduct biomedical, behavioral or 
clinical research on oral, dental and craniofacial health. 

o Area(s) of Research Enhancement: The rationale for selection of a 
particular area(s) of research for enhancement.  If several areas have 
been identified, they can be complementary but no overlap should exist.  

Specific criteria for Part 2: 

o Adequacy and detail of the description of current research 
infrastructure to address specified areas of science:  This should 
include appropriateness and adequacy of the description of all research 
activities, equipment, research space, etc., that currently exist in 
the dental school as well as in the academic health center, including 
school of public health or institutions at additional sites deemed by 
the applicant institution to fall within a feasible distance for 
frequent interactions and research collaborations.

o Extent to which the plan builds on current institutional support for 
conducting research and significantly augments and improves the support 
of research: This includes adequacy of approach for acquiring state of 
the art research supplies and equipment; and feasibility of approach to 
establishing intra- and inter-institutional links to enhance the 
research program, including the development of shared research cores 
with collaborating institutions.  

o Specific details of plan for creating a critical mass of scientists 
in the selected area(s) of research: This should address (a) 
recruiting, integrating, mentoring and supporting relatively junior 
scientists and identifying internal scientists or procedures for 
recruiting and supporting established external "magnet" investigators 
who can attract postgraduate trainees and other outstanding scientists 
to the institution; (b) adequacy of plans for providing research 
training to existing institutional faculty; (c) extent to which the 
plan enhances institutional capacity and individual faculty research 
development plans and the degree to which the components enhance one 
another in achieving the overall objectives.

o Likelihood that research projects in the designated research area(s) 
will emerge from this effort and that such projects will be of 
sufficient scientific merit to be successful in securing competitive 
NIH research project grant support.  

o Internal Advisory Committee: The appropriateness and adequacy of the 
specific faculty and scientists identified for the Internal Advisory 
Committee and their ability to contribute effectively to each aspect of 
this planning effort.

o External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee: The adequacy of 
the qualifications and experience of each proposed member of the 
External Scientific and Program Advisory Committee to evaluate and 
monitor the progress of the program in achieving its priorities and 
objectives, to recommend midcourse changes in approaches and tactics, 
and to help evaluate the program and take advantage of new 
opportunities.  

o Quality and appropriateness of the organizational and administrative 
structure proposed: This includes likelihood to support meeting the 
goals of this solicitation; appropriateness of the collaborators and 
partners identified for achieving the goals/ objectives outlined in the 
RFA.

o Evaluation: Adequacy of plans for performing ongoing evaluations and 
preparing a final report after completion of the U24 grant.  

Specific criteria for Part 3:

o Qualifications of project personnel, especially the experience and 
time commitment of the Principal Investigator.

o Supplies and Equipment: Justification of the proposed implementation 
of the IEP regarding supplies, equipment, lab space and linkages with 
research partners.  Of special importance is the rationale for 
requested equipment.

o Adequacy, feasibility and details of the proposed implementation 
approach for research investigators: recruitment and support of junior 
scientists; identification, recruitment and support of "magnet 
investigators" that are committed to the proposed research goals; and 
provision of research training to current institutional faculty.  
Assessment will be made of the qualifications of all individuals 
proposed for "magnet investigators" as well as any other scientists 
identified as potential mentors.

o Adequacy of evaluation plans, especially delineation of specific 
outcome measures, potential benchmarks, procedures to prepare interim 
reports and their frequency, and approach to developing a final report.

o Timeline: Inclusion of a timeline for implementation activities and 
the feasibility that the institution will accomplish its proposed goals 
according to the timeline.

o Long-Term Stability and Potential Success: Extent to which the 
implementation will provide long-term stability to the scientific 
research activities of the dental institution.  Expectations that 
dental school research staff will be successful in obtaining additional 
research project grants within a reasonable amount of time after the 
IEP has been implemented.

o Appropriateness of all proposed costs.

Specific criteria for Part 4:

o Inclusion of "Letter(s) of Commitment" from the senior leadership of 
the parent institution that detail the resources the institution is 
willing to provide.  The letters must specifically indicate how the 
investigators and facilities will be supported after the U24 award 
period ends, such as through partnering and leveraging.  

o Assurances of both direct and "in-kind" support and, specifically, 
the adequacy of the resources (e.g., discretionary resources, space, 
faculty positions, protected time for research, funds, etc.) that the 
dental school, parent institution/university and the institutions 
identified as collaborators or partners will provide to promote the 
successful achievement of the priorities and objectives of this 
program.  These will be provided through "Letters of Support" from 
potential collaborating institutions.

o The level of authority of institutional officials (e.g., university 
President and/or Chancellor or health science center President) and 
collaborators or partners committing to this effort that gives 
confidence that commitments will be stable and continue after grant 
support has ended.

o The degree to which the letters of commitment and support address and 
fully support the priorities and objectives of the implementation plan.  

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:           March 14, 2004 
Application Receipt Date:                April 14, 2004
Peer Review Date:                        May 2004
Council Review:                          August 2004 (special Council)
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:         September 2004

AWARD CRITERIA

Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:  

o Scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o Availability of funds
o Programmatic priorities

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS

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 a 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 RFA 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 
No. 93.121 (NIDCR) Oral Diseases and Disorders Research Awards 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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