POPULATION RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM
  
Release Date:  May 31, 2001

RFA:  RFA-HD-01-010

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
 (http://www.nichd.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  October 15, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       November 16, 2001

THIS RFA USES THE "MODULAR GRANT" AND "JUST-IN-TIME" CONCEPTS.  IT INCLUDES 
DETAILED MODIFICATIONS TO STANDARD APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS THAT MUST BE USED 
WHEN PREPARING R21 APPLICATIONS IN RESPONSE TO THIS RFA.

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), through 
the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB), Center for Population 
Research (CPR), invites applications for infrastructure grants in support of 
population research relevant to the DBSB mission.  Applicants may request 
funds to support infrastructure and/or research designed to:   (1) enhance 
the quality and quantity of population research conducted at an institution; 
and (2) develop new research capabilities to advance population research 
through innovative approaches.  A central goal of this program is to 
facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in population 
research while providing essential and cost-effective core services in 
support of the development, conduct, and translation of population research 
based in centers or comparable administrative units.  

This announcement invites applications for two types of award:  for full-
fledged Research Infrastructure Awards and for Developmental Awards.  
Developmental Awards are intended to support the development and demonstrate 
the feasibility of programs that have high potential for advancing population 
research, but have not yet fully developed the necessary resources and 
mechanisms to qualify for a Research Infrastructure Award.

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 Request for 
Applications (RFA) is related to one or more of the priority areas.  
Potential applicants may obtain “Healthy People 2010” at 
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

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 are not eligible for these 
grants; however, subcontracts to foreign institutions may be included. 
Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are 
encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.  

Eligibility for Developmental Awards is restricted to institutions that have 
not held a P30 or P50 grant related to population research in the 10 years 
prior to the application date.  Institutions may not simultaneously hold a 
Developmental Award and a Research Infrastructure Award.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff listed under 
INQUIRIES, below, to discuss eligibility prior to submission of an 
application.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Resource-related 
Research Project Grant (R24) mechanism for Research Infrastructure Awards and 
the Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) mechanism for Developmental Awards.  
The R24 mechanism is used to support projects that enhance the capabilities 
of resources to contribute to NIH extramural research.  The R21 mechanism is 
used to encourage the development of promising research programs.  
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 RFA should equal five years for 
R24 applications and up to three years for R21 applications. R21 applications 
are non-renewable and may not be submitted by institutions that have held a 
P30 or P50 grant related to population research in the 10 years prior to the 
application date. A table summarizing the differences between the R21 and R24 
mechanisms as applied to this RFA is available at: 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/HD-01-010/HD-01-010.htm#summary.  NICHD expects 
to issue an RFA annually to solicit applications for this program; 
applications may be submitted only in response to an RFA.  The anticipated 
award date is July 1, 2002.
Specific application instructions for R21 applications 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://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm. 

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NICHD intends to commit approximately $1.6 million in total costs [Direct 
plus Facilities and Administrative (F & A) costs] in FY 2002 to fund three to 
six new and/or competing continuation grants in response to this RFA.  
Although the financial plans of the NICHD provide 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.

Because the nature and scope of the research proposed may vary, it is 
anticipated that the size of each award will also vary.  Applicants for an 
R21 Developmental Award may request a project period of up to three years and 
a budget for direct costs of up to $150,000 per year.  Applicants for the R24 
Research Infrastructure Award should request a project period of five years 
and should request support appropriate to the size and impact of their 
scientific portfolio and to the goals of their infrastructure program.  

As a general rule, NICHD expects direct cost budget requests for R24 
applications to average approximately $15,000 for each researcher in the 
program who can provide evidence of research activity directly relevant to 
the DBSB mission in two or more of the following categories:  (1) externally 
funded research grants or contracts in the past three years; (2) publications 
in peer-reviewed journals during the past three years; and (3) papers in 
preparation and future plans for research.  See SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS, below, 
for further information on these categories of research activity.  DBSB 
program staff will be the final arbiters of whether proposed research is 
relevant to the mission of the Branch, and will consider program priorities 
in making funding decisions.  Requests may vary from the guideline provided 
above as justified by evidence of exceptionally high impact or productivity 
or special features of the proposed infrastructure program. Applicants may 
request additional funds beyond those suggested by the guideline for Public 
Infrastructure activities (see RESEARCH OBJECTIVES, below).  Applicants are 
encouraged to discuss budget requests with program staff listed under 
INQUIRIES, below, prior to submission.  

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB) is one of three 
programs in the Center for Population Research of the NICHD.  The mission of 
the Branch is to foster research on the processes that determine population 
size, growth, composition, and distribution, and on the determinants and 
consequences of those processes.  This mission translates into a research 
portfolio that looks intensively at the demographic processes of fertility, 
mortality, and migration and at their broad interrelationships with larger 
social, economic, and cultural processes.  Areas of supported research 
include fertility and family planning, sexually transmitted disease, family 
and household demography, mortality and health, population movement, 
population and environment, and population composition and change.  Research 
supported by the Branch uses a broad spectrum of scientific approaches in the 
clinical, behavioral, and social sciences.

During the years 1972-2000, NICHD provided infrastructure support for 
population research through the Center Core Grant (P30) and Specialized 
Research Center Grant (P50) mechanisms.  In 1999, DBSB undertook a 
comprehensive review of this program to determine whether its structure and 
guidelines best served the future needs of population research.  A report 
summarizing the results of this review is available at 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/cpr/dbs/pubs/report.pdf and from the program 
contact named under INQUIRIES.  As a result of the review, DBSB is phasing 
out the P30 and P50 mechanisms in favor of the R24 and R21 mechanisms. 

Objectives and Scope

The primary purposes of the Population Research Infrastructure Program are to 
provide resources to support and advance research that will improve the 
understanding of the antecedents and consequences of population structure and 
change, facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among investigators 
conducting population-related research, and promote innovative approaches to 
population research questions.  An additional goal is to facilitate 
interaction among scientists in locations throughout the United States to 
contribute to the integration and coordination of population research. 

The Infrastructure Grant will retain some of the characteristics of 
traditional P30 and P50 grants.  It will continue to provide infrastructure 
to support a portfolio of population research housed in or coordinated by a 
center or other research unit (hereafter, “research unit” or “unit”) at an 
institution.  However, it is designed to move beyond the traditional center 
grant mechanism to allow institutions to aggressively pursue scientific 
opportunities appearing at the boundaries between traditional population 
research and allied fields, and to facilitate partnerships among diverse 
scientists and institutions.  The Infrastructure Grant will permit a 
streamlined format that allows more flexible use of funds to address not only 
the core support needs of existing projects, but also the development of new 
directions and approaches to population research and the translation and 
dissemination of research findings and resources.  It asks applicants to 
design and propose infrastructure programs that will serve to advance the 
interdisciplinary reach, innovation, and impact of their research programs, 
in addition to serving the existing needs of researchers.  It also allows and 
encourages the development of infrastructure that broadly serves the field of 
population research.

Institutions that have not held a P30 or P50 grant related to population 
research in the 10 years prior to the application date may, at their option, 
request to be considered for a R21 Developmental Award.  This award is 
intended to support the development of research units that have high 
potential for advancing population research.  The award provides such units 
the opportunity to further develop the mechanisms and resources required to 
support and facilitate significant new contributions to the field, continue 
to build a substantial interdisciplinary portfolio of population research, 
and demonstrate their feasibility as full-fledged population research units.

Applicants responding to this RFA must articulate a clear vision for their 
research unit and its current and future contributions to population 
research.  Applicants must identify the central scientific objectives and 
signature population-related themes of the unit and these must be relevant to 
the DBSB mission.  A description of the DBSB mission is available at 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/cpr/dbs/dbs.htm.   Illustrative examples of 
population research topics that fall within the DBSB mission are listed 
below.  Applicants are encouraged to consult with program staff listed under 
INQUIRIES to determine the relevance of other topics to the DBSB mission. 

1.  Antecedents and consequences of changes in population size, structure, 
and composition, including the relationship of economic development to 
population change; population modeling and the projection and/or prediction 
of human population change; the interrelationship between population and the 
physical environment.

2.  Family and household dynamics, including issues related to 
intergenerational relationships.

3.  Fertility and family planning, including issues related to union 
formation and dissolution; births and birth spacing; family size; gender in 
relation to fertility; social acceptability of measures for the biological 
regulation of human fertility.

4.  Spatial distribution of human population groups; causes and consequences 
of migration, including issues related to international and internal 
migration, residential mobility, and interrelationships between population 
and the environment.

5.  Demographic aspects of health, morbidity, disability, and mortality, 
including issues related to the influence of early life on later life 
development and outcomes; status of children; the interrelationship between 
health and socioeconomic status.

6.  Social, demographic, and behavioral studies of sexual behavior, sexually 
transmitted diseases, and contraception.

Infrastructure Support – R24 Research Infrastructure Awards 

R24 applicants may request support in the following categories:  (1) Research 
Support Cores; (2) Developmental Infrastructure; (3) Research Projects; and 
(4) Public Infrastructure.  Applicants are not expected to request support in 
all or even most of the categories; rather, they should request types and 
levels of support that best suit their needs and objectives.  NICHD expects 
that the amount and allocation of infrastructure support that applicants 
request will vary substantially. 
The first three categories of infrastructure support are intended to advance 
the scientific program of the applicant research unit.  For these categories, 
applicants must justify the types and amounts of support requested in terms 
of:  (1) the scope, objectives, and current and potential impact of the 
applicant’s research program; (2) the potential contribution of requested 
infrastructure to advancing the research program; and (3) the cost-
effectiveness of the requested support.  Applicants are expected to define 
guidelines for determining the eligibility of researchers and research 
projects to access resources provided under this program, and guidelines and 
procedures for allocating such resources.  No restrictions on access (e.g., 
by students, investigators lacking research support, investigators in fields 
other than population research) are imposed under this announcement.  
However, applicants must demonstrate that their proposed guidelines and 
procedures for controlling access to core resources are consistent with the 
scientific objectives of their research program and the goals of this RFA.
1.  Research Support Cores provide shared resources that support the 
applicant’s research program.  Examples include: 
o  Administrative Core, providing for coordination of research, editorial 
services, and/or assistance with grant application development and fiscal 
management of grants.
o  Computing Core, providing equipment and/or services supporting shared 
computing needs. 
o  Information Core, providing support for retrieving information, materials, 
and data commonly used in population research.
o  Methodology Support Cores, providing support for specific methodologies 
employed in population research (e.g., GIS, statistical methods, biomarkers, 
survey methodologies).
Research Support cores should be designed to advance the central scientific 
objectives and signature population-related themes of the applicant's 
research program while providing essential, cost-effective services to 
support on-going research activities.  Cores should be designed to facilitate 
and promote innovation in the science conducted by program researchers in 
addition to responding to researcher needs.  Equipment and support services 
that are specific to individual research projects or researchers are not 
allowable, except in the context of individual research projects that may be 
proposed in response to this RFA. 
2.  Developmental Infrastructure refers to activities that promote the 
development of new research capabilities.  Examples include:

o  Seed grant programs, providing funds for the development of new research 
projects.  Institutions proposing seed grant programs must develop guidelines 
and eligibility requirements appropriate to the goals of this RFA, and 
procedures and policies for administration of the program.  Issues that may 
be addressed include (but need not be limited to):  (1) priorities for 
allocating funds (e.g., junior researchers, specified areas of research, 
interdisciplinary work, etc.); (2) procedures for reviewing applications; (3) 
requirements for leveraging funds or preparing research proposals to continue 
or expand the research project; (4) size of awards; (5) length of award 
periods; (6) number of awards permitted to an individual researcher; (7) 
mentoring arrangements; and (8) cost-sharing arrangements with the parent 
institution.

o  Faculty development, providing for partial salary support or other support 
for the recruitment of new faculty in scientific areas critical to the 
development of innovative and/or interdisciplinary research directions.  
Support for any one individual may not exceed three years in duration.

o  Activities that foster the development of new core services.  For example, 
applicants may propose to hire consultants to assist with the design of GIS 
services, or conduct pilot studies to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of 
alternative modes of core service delivery. 

o  Workshops, conferences, seminar series, and visiting scholar programs that 
lay the groundwork for new substantive work or foster new research 
collaborations.

3.  Research Projects proposed must be of R01 quality, must directly address 
and advance the program’s central scientific objectives and signature 
population-related themes, and should emphasize innovative, 
interdisciplinary, and/or cross-cutting elements.  Institutions are 
encouraged to consider R01 and other research grant mechanisms for the 
support of research projects that do not explicitly meet these criteria.

4.  Public Infrastructure activities differ from the first three categories 
of infrastructure support in that they are not solely intended to advance the 
research program at the applicant institution, but are primarily directed 
instead at external audiences.  These audiences may include (but are not 
limited to) the broad community of population researchers or communities 
concerned with public policy or health or social programs.  
o  Illustrative examples of activities benefiting the broader scientific 
community include: supporting and disseminating databases of high relevance 
to population research; developing and disseminating multidisciplinary 
bibliographic databases; and providing general resources for data sharing.  
Applicants must justify public infrastructure activities aimed at the 
scientific community by demonstrating:  (1) that these activities will 
significantly advance the field of population research; (2) that the proposed 
activity does not duplicate existing resources or services; and (3) that the 
proposed activity is cost-effective.  Applicants must present their plans for 
sharing their resource(s) or service(s) with the scientific community.  They 
should also address the time frame during which the resource(s) or service(s) 
will be needed, and the short- and long-term plan for supporting them.  This 
plan should address, as applicable, expectations for NICHD support, cost-
sharing by the institution and other sources of support, and plans for 
charging users and managing program income.
o  Illustrative examples of activities benefiting policy or program audiences 
include the development of tools for effectively communicating population 
research findings to relevant audiences and innovative strategies for 
translating basic research findings for application to programs designed to 
improve health and well-being.  Applicants must present their plans for 
ensuring effective dissemination of the resources, tools or services 
developed by the activity. They should also address the time frame during 
which the resource(s) or service(s) will be needed, and the short- and long-
term plan for supporting them.  This plan should address, as applicable, 
expectations for NICHD support, cost-sharing by the institution and other 
sources of support, and plans for charging users and managing program income.
Applicants may propose to cooperate with other institutions in undertaking 
any of the above-mentioned infrastructure activities.  Cooperative activities 
may include the development of research partnerships involving scientists in 
the applicant’s program and colleagues in other institutions, and/or joint 
ventures with other institutions to provide research, developmental, or 
public infrastructure services.  Proposed research partnerships must be 
justified in terms of the scientific advances to be gained through 
collaborations across institutions relative to those likely to emerge from 
within-institution partnerships.  Examples of allowable activities include 
travel for project development and coordination and use of research support 
core, seed project, and research project funds.  Applicants also may propose 
cooperative research support, developmental, or public infrastructure 
services in which the applicant and a Population Center or similar unit in 
another institution participate in joint funding and administration of a 
common service or resource.  Examples might include a shared library, data 
archive or outreach effort.  Partners in a cooperative venture need not be 
another funded applicant or Center.  Applicants must clearly describe the 
rights and responsibilities of each proposed partner in the funding, 
administration, and use of shared resources.

Infrastructure Support - R21 Developmental Awards 

R21 applicants may request support in only two categories:  (1) Research 
Support Cores and (2) Developmental Infrastructure.  Although applicants may 
not request support for R01-like research projects, they may request support 
for developmental research projects, using a seed grant or similar mechanism 
(see description under Developmental Infrastructure, above).  Specific 
guidelines for these categories are provided above under “Infrastructure 
Support - R24 Research Infrastructure Awards.”  Applicants must justify the 
types and amounts of support requested in terms of:  (1) the scope, 
objectives, and current and potential impact of the applicant’s research 
program; (2) the potential of the requested infrastructure to develop the 
resources and mechanisms required to build a substantial interdisciplinary 
portfolio of population research and facilitate significant new contributions 
to the field; and (3) the cost-effectiveness of the requested support.  All 
other guidelines pertaining infrastructure requests for R24 Research 
Infrastructure Awards apply also to R21 awards.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Application Requirements

Applicant institutions must have an established research center or other 
administrative unit (referred to as the “research unit” or “unit”) that 
serves as a focal point for or coordinates population research across the 
institution.  This unit must have a defined governance structure.  The 
Principal Investigator should be a scientist or science administrator who can 
provide effective administrative and scientific leadership.  

The research conducted at the unit should reflect scientific benefits and 
cost-efficiencies resulting from cooperation and interaction among a pool of 
scientists with shared interests in population research.  Applicants should 
have in place (or propose in their applications) effective mechanisms for 
fostering the development of an intellectual community that bridges 
investigators from different disciplines and different projects and promotes 
innovation in population research.  

To be eligible to apply, the unit must have at least three researchers who 
can present evidence of research activity related to the mission of DBSB in 
all three of the following categories:  (1) externally funded research grants 
or contracts in the past three years; (2) publications in peer-reviewed 
journals during the past three years; (3) papers in preparation and future 
plans for research.  The “past three years” refers to the 36-month period 
preceding the application submission date for this RFA.  “Externally funded” 
means funding is received from sources outside the institution; it may 
include funding from NIH, NSF, other federal agencies, state and local 
governments, and private foundations.  Include only projects on which the 
individual has served as Principal Investigator or had substantial 
involvement, comparable to that indicated by identification of an 
investigator as “key personnel” on an NIH-funded grant.

Note that the criterion used for unit eligibility above (at least three 
researchers with evidence of research activity in all three categories) 
differs from the criteria used to define guidelines for requested budgets 
under FUNDS AVAILABLE and to define page limitations under APPLICATION 
PROCEDURES - C. RESEARCH ACTIVITY.  In each of the latter two cases, the 
criterion of an “active researcher” is evidence of research activity in at 
least two of the three categories defined above.

In addition, because the Infrastructure Program is expected to enhance the 
unit’s competitiveness for NIH funding, the institution and pertinent 
departments are expected to show a strong commitment to the unit and to match 
the requested infrastructure support at a level appropriate to the resources 
of the institution and the scope of the proposed program activities.  Such 
commitment may be demonstrated by the provision of dedicated space, faculty 
appointments in subject areas relevant to the goals of the unit’s research 
program, salary support for investigators or core staff, dedicated equipment, 
or other financial support for the proposed program.  Applicants are 
encouraged to consult with program staff listed under INQUIRIES to discuss 
this requirement.

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 sub-populations 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 
UPDATED “NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research,” published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at:   
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm.  The 
revisions relate to NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials and require:  a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols to 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) all investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
differences.

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,” published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts, March 6, 1998, and available at:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html. 

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

REQUIRED EDUCATION IN THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
policy published in the NIH Guide for Grants an Contracts, June 5, 2000 
(Revised August 25, 2000), and available at:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.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.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a 
descriptive title of the proposed application, the name, mailing address, 
email address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator, the 
identities of other key personnel and participating institutions, and the 
number and title of this RFA.  The letter of intent is not required, is not 
binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application.  
However, the information that it contains allows NICHD staff to estimate the 
potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Christine Bachrach at the address 
listed under INQUIRIES, below, by October 15, 2001.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES 

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional 
offices of sponsored research, on the Internet at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html, and 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.   

Application Instructions

Applications for Research Infrastructure Awards (R24) and Developmental 
Awards (R21) should be prepared according to the Application Guidelines 
available at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/HD-01-010/HD-01-010.htm and from 
program staff listed under INQUIRIES.  All instructions and guidelines 
accompanying the PHS 398 are to be followed, with the exception of the 
sections modified by these guidelines. 

Submission Instructions

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be 
stapled to the bottom of the face page of the application and must display 
the RFA number HD-01-010.  A sample RFA label is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf.     Please note 
this is in the pdf format.  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 be 
marked. 

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:

L. R. Stanford, Ph.D.
Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5E01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)

Applications must be received by November 16, 2001.  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 this 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.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
for responsiveness to this RFA by the NICHD.  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 NICHD in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  
Although site visits may be conducted in selected cases, applicants should 
anticipate that no site visit will be conducted and ensure that their 
applications are complete at the time of submission.  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, assigned a priority score, and receive a 
second level review by the National Advisory Child Health and Human 
Development Council.

Review Criteria

Overall Program – R24 Research Infrastructure Awards:

Two primary criteria will be used to evaluate the overall scientific merit of 
an application for a Research Infrastructure Award:  

1) Quality of the research program and its impact on the field:  Reviewers 
will consider the significance, innovation, and quality of current and recent 
contributions of program scientists.  Have these contributions produced new 
knowledge and/or new approaches to research that have significantly expanded, 
improved or altered the content, methods, and direction of population 
research?   In order to create a level playing field for smaller and larger 
programs on this criterion, reviewers will be asked to take size of the 
program into account in assessing impact.  In other words, while both larger 
and smaller programs will be expected to demonstrate research activity of 
high quality, programs with fewer researchers would not be expected to 
demonstrate the same quantity of research productivity and program impact as 
programs with a greater number of researchers. 

2) The potential future contributions of the applicant program to population 
research:  Reviewers will base their assessment of potential on such factors 
as the current trajectory of research productivity, innovation, and 
accomplishments; the significance of the applicant's central scientific 
objectives and signature population-related themes and the plan for advancing 
them; the program’s plan for encouraging synergy and interaction among 
population researchers; and the applicant's success in contributing to the 
development of junior investigators.

Applicants proposing only Public Infrastructure activities will be judged on 
the basis of the secondary criteria below and the detailed review criteria 
listed below under “Public Infrastructure.”

Three secondary criteria will also be used to assess the overall scientific 
merit of applications:

1) Quality and potential impact of proposed infrastructure program:  
Reviewers will examine the overall quality, scientific merit, and innovation 
of the activities to be supported. Reviewers will consider the likelihood, 
based on existing capabilities and proposed activities, that the proposed 
program will enhance population research, promote new research directions, 
facilitate interactions across disciplines and substantive areas of study, or 
advance theoretical or technical approaches. For infrastructure components 
benefiting audiences outside the population research community, reviewers 
will assess potential impact in terms of improving the accessibility of 
population research to significant audiences and enhancing the appropriate 
application of research findings to activities that improve health and well-
being.

2) Research competence of key personnel:  Reviewers will consider the 
capability and scientific credentials of the Principal Investigator to direct 
the Program and maintain high standards of research collaboration; the 
specific technical qualifications of core directors; and the scientific 
accomplishments of all participating investigators.

3) Institutional commitment and environment:  Reviewers will assess the 
nature and level of resource commitment from the institution in which the 
center is housed and any cooperating institutions, taking into account the 
institutional context.  Reviewers also will consider the academic and 
physical environment as it bears on research opportunities, space, equipment, 
and the potential for interaction with scientists from various departments, 
institutions or disciplines.

Overall Program – R21 Developmental Award:

One primary criterion will be used to evaluate the overall scientific merit 
of an application for a Developmental Award:  

The potential future contributions of the applicant program to population 
research. Reviewers will base their assessment of potential on such factors 
as the current level and trajectory of research productivity, innovation, 
quality and significance; the significance of the applicant's central 
scientific objectives and signature population-related themes and the plan 
for advancing them; the program’s plan for encouraging synergy and 
interaction among population researchers; and the applicant's success in 
contributing to the development of junior investigators.

Three secondary criteria will also be used to assess the overall scientific 
merit of applications:

1) Quality and potential impact of proposed infrastructure program:  
Reviewers will examine the overall quality, scientific merit, and innovation 
of the activities to be supported. Reviewers will consider the likelihood, 
based on existing capabilities and proposed activities, that the proposed 
program will develop the resources and mechanisms required to build a 
substantial interdisciplinary portfolio of population research and facilitate 
significant new contributions to the field.

2) Research competence of key personnel:  Reviewers will consider the 
capability and scientific credentials of the Principal Investigator to direct 
the Program and maintain high standards of research collaboration; the 
specific technical qualifications of core directors; and the scientific 
accomplishments of all participating investigators.

3) Institutional commitment and environment:  Reviewers will assess the 
nature and level of resource commitment from the institution in which the 
center is housed and any cooperating institutions, taking into account the 
institutional context.  Reviewers also will consider the academic and 
physical environment as it bears on research opportunities, space, equipment, 
and
the potential for interaction with scientists from various departments, 
institutions or disciplines.

Infrastructure Support Components:

For both R21 and R24 applications, each individual element of the proposed 
infrastructure program will be evaluated separately based on the criteria 
below.

Research Support Cores 

o Potential or actual contribution of the proposed core to advancing research 
within  the applicant unit, by: enhancing the productivity of the existing 
scientific program; fostering new scientific advances; facilitating 
interactions across disciplines and substantive areas of study; and/or 
advancing theoretical or technical approaches. 

o Appropriateness to the size and characteristics of the applicant’s existing 
research program and the central scientific objectives and signature 
population-related themes of the program;

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the cores or activities and their ability to 
devote the required time and effort to the program; and

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of cost-
sharing arrangements with the institution, relevant departments, and other 
external infrastructure support programs.

Developmental Infrastructure

o Potential of the proposed activity to advance research within the applicant 
unit by stimulating innovation in population research and/or fostering the 
development of junior scientists.

o Appropriateness to the size and characteristics of the applicant’s existing 
research program and the central scientific objectives and signature 
population-related themes of the program;

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the activities and their ability to devote the 
required time and effort to the program; and

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of cost-
sharing arrangements  with the institution, relevant departments, and other 
external infrastructure support programs.

o For seed grant programs proposed under “Developmental Infrastructure,” the 
appropriateness and quality of procedures and policies for administering the 
program, such as guidelines for reviewing applications, priorities for 
allocating funds, requirements for leveraging funds, and size and length of 
awards, and other program guidelines.  Upon renewal, seed grant programs will 
be reviewed for their success in developing funded research projects relevant 
to the mission of DBSB.

Research Projects (R24 only):

Each proposed research project will be evaluated with respect to:

o  The contribution of the project to advancing the unit’s central scientific 
objectives and signature population-related themes and the extent to which it 
embodies innovative, collaborative, and/or cross-cutting elements of the 
unit.

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following 
aspects of each project in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed 
research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each 
of the criteria listed below will be addressed and considered in assigning 
the score for a research project, weighting them as appropriate for each 
project.  Note that the project 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.  

(1) 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?

(2) 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?

(3) 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?

(4) 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)?

(5)  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 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 
individual scientific projects 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 or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project 
proposed in the application.

Public Infrastructure (R24 only):

Public infrastructure components will be evaluated according to the following 
criteria:

o For activities intended to benefit the research community, the value and 
significance of the proposed activity for population researchers and its 
potential for promoting interdisciplinary and/or innovative population 
research.

o For activities directed to policy, program, or other audiences, the 
significance of the proposed activity and its potential for improving the 
accessibility of population research to significant audiences and enhancing 
the appropriate application of research findings to activities that improve 
health and well-being. 

o Appropriateness of the targeted audiences and the adequacy of the plans for 
disseminating the proposed activities, resources, or services to these 
audiences.

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of  the 
short- and long-term plans for supporting them (including cost-sharing 
arrangements).

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the cores or activities and their ability to 
devote the required time and effort to the program.

Applications proposing to undertake any infrastructure activity in 
cooperation with another institution will be evaluated for the value added by 
the involvement of other institutions and the appropriateness and adequacy of 
plans for the sharing of rights and responsibilities among proposed partners 
with respect to the funding, administration, and use of shared resources.

SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    October 15, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         November 16, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 April 2002
Council Review:                   June 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  July 1, 2002

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other applications 
that are submitted in response to this RFA.  Selection of applications for 
award, and the levels of support provided, will be based on:  (1) scientific 
and technical merit of the proposed project and components as determined by 
peer review; (2) relevance of the applicant's research program to the DBSB 
mission; (3) program priorities and program balance; and (4) availability of 
funds.  Within applications recommended for funding, specific infrastructure 
components may be funded selectively. 

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any 
issues or respond to questions from potential applicants is welcome.  
Researchers considering an application in response to this RFA are strongly 
encouraged to discuss their ideas with DBSB staff in advance of formal 
submission.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Dr. Christine Bachrach
Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch, CPR
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B07, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 496-9485
FAX:  (301) 496-0962
Email:  cbachrach@nih.gov (email communication preferred)

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal and administrative matters to:

Ms. Kathy Hancock  
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A17G, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 496-5482
Email:  kh47d@nih.gov   

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.864 (Population Research).  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 grant policies and Federal Regulations 42 
CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or to Health 
Systems Agency review.

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