Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

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

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

Title: Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research (U54)

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of RFA-HD-06-005, previously released on January 19, 2006. 

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

Request For Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-HD-07-003

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.865

Key Dates   
Release Date: December 6, 2006
Letters Of Intent Receipt Date(s): May 22, 2007    
Application Receipt Date(s): June 22, 2007
Peer Review Date(s): October/November 2007
Council Review Date(s): January 2008
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): April 1, 2008
Additional Information to Be Available Date (Url Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: June 23, 2007

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
  1. Research Objectives

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

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

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
  1. Award Notices
  2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
      1. Principal Investigator Rights and Responsibilities
      2. NIH Responsibilities
      3. Collaborative Responsibilities
      4. Arbitration Process
  3. Reporting

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

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


1. Research Objectives

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), through the Reproductive Sciences Branch (RSB) in the Center for Population Research (CPR), provides funding for a limited number of research centers in the reproductive sciences.  These centers provide an arena for multidisciplinary interactions among basic and clinical scientists interested in establishing high quality research programs in the reproductive sciences.  The centers also serve as national resources for the career development of young scientists electing to pursue research in high priority areas of reproduction and infertility research.  Accordingly, the purpose of this RFA is to announce the annual recompetition of the Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction Research now called the Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research.  Applications are sought from investigators willing to participate with the NICHD under a cooperative agreement in a multicenter cooperative research program.  Center investigators will be expected to work with NICHD staff in facilitating research collaborations and interactions within and among centers.  Such a cooperative program will form a national network that fosters communication, innovation and research excellence with the ultimate goal of improving human reproductive health through accelerated transfer of basic science findings into clinical practice.

Background

Families, family values, and family planning form the cultural essence and cohesiveness of our existence as human societies.  One of the most basic of human rights -- the right to procreate -- is frustrated or denied by the occurrence of infertility in couples desiring children.  It has been estimated that infertility affects between 37 and 70 million married couples around the world.  In U.S. studies described over 50 years ago, it was stated that up to 10 percent of married couples were ‘sterile,’ with the remaining 90 percent having varying degrees of fertility.  More recent and technically rigorous U.S. survey studies have conservatively identified that there are about 2.3 million infertile couples, which is about nine percent of the domestic married couple population base with wives aged 15-44.  In addition, such studies found that about 7.9 million or approximately 13 percent of U.S. women in this age range had an impaired ability to have children.  In couples, at least 25-40 percent of infertility is attributable to male factor infertility for which the pathophysiology is either not understood at all or, at best, poorly understood.  The prognosis for male infertility treatment outcomes is extremely poor at present.  Indeed, whereas 80 percent of infertile women can be successfully treated, male infertility can be treated in only 10-20 percent of such men.  However, the widespread use of assisted reproductive technologies such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and its variants has enabled otherwise infertile men to father children, although possible genetic causes of the infertility are likely transmitted to the progeny.

While analyses of the U.S. population base have not found alarming annual increases in the overall number of infertile couples or the overall prevalence of infertility, significant age-related increases in infertility, coupled with delayed childbearing in the contemporary couple population base, have been found in such studies.  Physician office visits reflecting current societal life style requirements for infertility services have markedly increased in the U.S. almost four fold between 1968 (600,000) to 2000 (2,100,000).  Indeed, it is estimated that 13 percent of American women will receive infertility services during their lifetime.  Of the infertile couples seeking treatment for infertility, it has been estimated that up to one half will be unsuccessful in achieving their desired outcome.  In concert with the increased medical assistance sought, U.S. infertility service costs have risen to exceed a billion dollar annual medico-economic impact in the U.S.

Reproductive tract disorders affecting fertility are associated with significant morbidity and a degree of mortality in some specific instances that cannot be ignored.  Accompanying the human costs of morbidities of reproductive tract disorders are the attendant substantial costs to the U.S. health care system involving the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up services provided to the patients, as well as the added costs to the patient and the U.S. economy of lost employment and family service hours.  In reproductive-aged couples, the obstructive sequelae of male accessory gland infections account for eight to 12 percent of male partner diagnostic costs for fertility impairment.  In reproductive-aged females, it has been estimated that the general incidence of endometriosis is five to 15 percent.  The incidence of endometriosis in females being surgically treated for infertility is known to be 30 to 50 percent.  Among infertile females with no other known cause of their infertility, the incidence of endometriosis has been reported to be 40 to 70 percent.  A diagnosis of severe endometriosis often leads to hysterectomy associated treatment.  While the causative role of endometriosis in infertility remains poorly understood and its optimal diagnosis and treatment remain a goal not an accomplishment of contemporary medicine, the morbid impact of the associated pelvic pain has significant human cost as well as national economic costs.

Similarly, the role of dysfunctional uterine bleeding, either in the presence or the absence of uterine leiomyomata (fibroids), is not well understood despite its common occurrence and decades of research.  It is a significant factor in noncompliant contraceptive use or discontinuance and, therefore, in the unintended pregnancy problem.  Uterine leiomyomata occur in nearly 20 percent of all reproductive-aged women, are the single most common diagnosis in gynecological hospital admissions, may be the only abnormality observed in an infertile couple, and represent the most common medical indication for an unintended and often unwanted hysterectomy that prematurely ends a female’s reproductive options. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a major cause of female infertility, as well as other reproductive system and other tissue and organ system morbidities.  Identified more than 60 years ago by Stein and Leventhal, the etiology of PCOS remains misunderstood despite 60 years of research.  This insidious disease is currently the most common endocrine disorder of reproductive-aged women, affecting between five and 10 percent of women aged 15-44 or more than four million women in the U.S.  All PCOS women present with hyperandrogenemia and anovulation.  Often, these conditions are accompanied by obesity, polycystic ovaries and insulin resistance.  Indeed, the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among PCOS patients is five- to 10-fold higher than in the normal population, and the prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome is nearly two-fold higher in PCOS women then in the general population.  Considering the high prevalence of diabetes in PCOS women, a very recent study estimated that the total annualized cost of evaluating and providing care to PCOS women is a staggering $4.6 billion dollars.   

Also poorly understood is the pathogenesis of premature ovarian failure that affects one in 100 women by age 40.  Interestingly, 16 percent of women carrying the fragile X pre-mutation present with premature ovarian failure.  The mechanism(s) underlying pre-mutation-based ovarian insufficiency is not known, but once known could provide critical insights into the basic biological processes regulating ovarian follicular growth, differentiation and atresia. 

It is becoming increasingly apparent that some conditions of male and female infertility may be genetically based.  In males, there is considerable evidence from breeding studies and gene knockout experiments in animals that mutation of over 100 separate genes results in infertility.  More limited studies in humans show that a number of inherited diseases are associated with abnormal sperm morphology and function.  These data suggest that a significant number of men with infertility may have one or more mutations that predispose to their condition.  However, it is currently not possible to determine which men have genetic infertility.  Similarly, it is estimated that 15-20 percent of human pregnancies are chromosomally abnormal as a result of division errors during oocyte meiosis or early embryonic cleavage.  Such errors not only are the leading cause of birth defects, but may be the single most important factor contributing to human infertility.

An area of emerging public health interest is the preservation of fertility in individuals undergoing treatments for diseases such as cancer.  Currently, there are more than 9 million cancer survivors in the U.S. of whom approximately 5% are under the age of 35.  The chemical or radiological consequences of these treatments oftentimes target vital reproductive organs such as the gonads depleting the gamete stem cell pool thereby causing permanent infertility.  Therefore, providing options for preserving fertility in men, women and children is not only an important reproductive health issue, but a quality of life issue as well.       

The need for the availability of contraceptive options acceptable to diverse populations remains globally unmet.  Among the 600 million women of reproductive age in today’s world, as many as 228 million women are at risk of unintended pregnancy.  Up to 64 percent of all worldwide pregnancies are unintended (mistimed or completely unwanted).  Over 50 million abortions occur worldwide each year, with minimal estimates of at least 100,000 abortion-related deaths annually.  In the U.S., more than three million unintended pregnancies, about 60 percent of all pregnancies, occur annually, with half resulting in abortion as an outcome.  In half of the abortions occurring in the U.S. each year, a contraceptive method being used failed to prevent pregnancy.

Recognizing that the interactive needs of basic and clinical research necessary to address the above and related problems may be so complex that they cannot be solved by individual investigators working alone, without the intellectual and fiscal resources of a cooperative specialized center program, it is the intention of the RSB, contingent upon the availability of funds, to continue and maintain organized, multi-component reproduction and infertility research programs of high quality that focus on topics of high priority and significance because of their critically important relationship to the mission of the RSB.

Objectives

The objectives of this Centers Program are to support specialized reproductive research programs of high quality, and to facilitate and accelerate bidirectional transfer of knowledge between the laboratory and clinic.  This process of translating research between the laboratory and clinic is a continuum that encompasses all aspects of knowledge transfer from non-human animal models to humans.  For example, application of information from rodent species to non-human primates is considered part of the translational continuum.  However, the ultimate goal of supporting translational research through this Centers Program is to improve human reproductive health. 

This RFA is specifically designed to stimulate the reproductive sciences research community to organize and maintain research-based centers of outstanding quality that, serving as national research resources, form a cooperative network with NICHD that fosters communication, innovation and high quality reproduction and infertility research.  Such networking as afforded by the cooperative nature of this Centers Program will ensure that the reproductive research community remains in the forefront of the development and utilization of new technologies that can be used to diagnose, treat and ameliorate reproductive diseases and disorders, as well as to identify novel leads for fertility regulation.

Research Scope

The Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research is composed of research-based center grants designed to support interactive groups of research projects and supporting core service facilities.  The research activities included in these center grants must comprise, by definition, a multidisciplinary approach to biomedical problems addressing the specific research topic areas announced in this RFA (see below).  These centers may have more than one theme, focus or emphasis, but all of the subprojects involved must be responsive to one or more of the specific research areas of reproduction supported by the RSB.  Furthermore, the objectives of this Program require that one of the subprojects be entirely or predominantly clinical and that all basic science subprojects be linked to the clinical component(s) of the center.

The following is a list of topics that are considered to be responsive to the research mission areas of the RSB.  Additionally, these topics identify areas where research at the basic/clinical interface is deemed essential to the potential development of new leads or approaches to fertility regulation, as well as of diagnostic tools and procedures for the detection, treatment and effective management of reproductive disorders that impact on reproductive competence.

Because this list is not meant to be all inclusive, prospective applicants preparing either a new or competing continuation center grant application are encouraged to discuss program relevance issues with the program staff contact cited below.  However, applicants should note that the research scope of this RFA does not include studies in the area of reproductive oncology, reproductive toxicology or reproductive epidemiology, or studies dealing with post-implantation pregnancy and parturition.  These topic areas are outside the scope of research supported by the RSB and, therefore, will be deemed non-responsive to this RFA.  Further, applications proposing research activities focused exclusively on basic research, or applications or components thereof proposing epidemiological or large-scale clinical trial research, will not be considered responsive to this RFA.

Guidance and Management Structures

Overall coordination of the Centers Program, consistent with the stated objectives set forth in this RFA (see Objectives), will be done by a Steering Committee consisting of all Center Principal Investigators and an NICHD Staff Research Coordinator from the RSB, CPR.  The Steering Committee will employ a consensus decision process to guide the Centers Program in evaluating the progress of member Center programs, their proposed new research initiatives within the general scope of the approved program, the need to provide the entire Center network with access to new technologies, the need for collaborations either within or outside the Center network, and the need to redirect certain efforts of member Centers due to either sufficient data acquisition to permit conclusion, the acquisition of data supporting an alternative study initiative or experience proving that the proposed research is no longer feasible.

In addition to the Steering Committee, smaller cooperative groups will be formed that consist of research components of member centers having common research interests addressing a specific basic and/or clinical research problem.  These research focus groups will perform coordinated research activities as recommended by the Steering Committee, subject to peer review.  In turn, progress of the focus groups will further guide the Steering Committee in decision making regarding changes in specific research directions, translational activities, and collaborative research initiatives.  The research focus group will consist of an NICHD Staff Research Coordinator from the RSB, CPR, and Key Investigators of the relevant subproject and/or Core Directors.

Further details of the guidance and management structures and processes may be found under “Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award,” below.

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

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This funding opportunity will use the NIH Specialized Cooperative Research Center (U54) award mechanism. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

The NIH U54 is a cooperative agreement award mechanism. In the cooperative agreement mechanism, the Principal Investigator retains the primary responsibility and dominant role for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project, with NIH staff being substantially involved as a partner with the Principal Investigator, as described under the Section VI. 2. Administrative Requirements, "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award."  At this time, the NICHD plans to reissue this RFA on an annual basis.  The anticipated award date is April 1, 2008.

This funding opportunity uses the just-in-time budget concepts. It also uses the non-modular budget format described in the PHS 398 application instructions (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html). A detailed categorical budget for the "Initial Budget Period" and the "Entire Proposed Period of Support" is to be submitted with the application.

2. Funds Available

The NICHD intends to commit approximately $3.6 million in total costs [Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F & A) costs] in FY 2008 to fund up to three new and/or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA. An applicant for a new center may request a project period of up to five years and a budget for direct costs up to $1 million for the first year with incremental increases for recurring costs (i.e., personnel, consultants, supplies, travel and other expenses) not to exceed three percent in each subsequent year.  An applicant for a competing continuation grant may request a project period of up to five years and a budget for direct costs of up to $1 million in the first year or 110 percent of the direct costs awarded for the final competitive segment of the preceding project period as stated in the Notice of Grant Award, whichever is higher. Applications exceeding the budgetary limits specified above will be returned to the applicant without peer review. 

Because the nature and scope of the research proposed may vary, it is anticipated that the size of awards also will vary.  Although the financial plans of 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.

In the event that an application submitted in response to this RFA is not funded, two resubmissions of the application may be submitted in response to subsequent RFAs.  Requested budgets for resumbitted applications must follow the recommendations of the peer review group who evaluated the previous submission.  If a second resubmitted competing continuation application is not selected for funding, the applicant institution may then submit only a new, substantially different application in response to a subsequent RFA that will be subject to the direct cost limit of $1 million.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

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

The policy of the NICHD allows support of more than one Specialized Cooperative Center at a given institution if based in a different department or unit and if the research areas of the two centers are different (e.g., one center on female reproduction and one center on male reproduction).

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

The most current Grants Policy Statement can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#matching_or_cost_sharing.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are 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.

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the most current PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. Applications must have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dunandbradstreet.com/The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

See Section VI.2 Administrative Requirements for additional information.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

Applications for the U54 grant are to be prepared in a manner consistent with the information presented in the NICHD U54 Cooperative Specialized Research Center Grant Guidelines, available from the contacts listed below and at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/funding/mechanism/u54_guide.cfm.

Description of a Center

The minimal requirements for a Center described in this RFA are as follows (see sections on Review Procedures and Award Criteria below):

Optional components of the Center organization include the mix of subprojects and cores to be included in the Center:

Closed Access Structure:  In this center structure, administrative and all technical service cores will be utilized by budgeted center subprojects only.  Consistent with NICHD guidelines for establishment of core facilities, utilization by three subprojects is required to justify a core technical service facility.  Percent utilization by any one of the three subprojects justifying the core may not exceed 50 percent or be less than five percent.  The percent utilization of additional subprojects requiring core services may be less than five percent.  Costs necessary to use a particular core facility may be incorporated into the budget of the core unit, and not in the budgets of the research subprojects per se.  No internal charge-back system would be required.

Open Access Structure:  In this center structure, budgeted center subprojects, as well as research projects external to the Center (e.g., R01, R03, R21, P01 subproject), may have access to technical service cores.  However, special consideration must be given to justification of a technical service core facility and the formal establishment of an effective charge-back system for all technical service cores.  For each core service facility, at least one of the three projects used to justify a core must be a budgeted center subproject, while the remaining project(s) used in justifying the core must be externally funded NICHD projects administered by the RSB.  Percent utilization by any internally budgeted center subproject or externally funded RSB project used to justify a particular core facility may not exceed 50 percent or be less than five percent.  An additional seven federally funded, peer reviewed external research projects addressing program relevant research areas of the RSB may access the core up to 100 percent of its service capacity.  The 50/5 percent utilization requirement applies to this group of external projects.  Centers must establish an internal management policy for evaluating the acceptability of proposed RSB program relevant external projects to access the core facilities.  Approval of requests for core access privileges for external projects which would replace those described above must be made to RSB Program Staff who then will evaluate the extent to which the project is relevant to RSB mission research areas (see Research Scope), and render a decision accordingly.

If centers choose to operate in an open access format, costs necessary to utilize a particular core facility by budgeted center subprojects must be incorporated into the budget of the subproject and not the core budget in order to accommodate participation in the required charge-back system.  Core budgets will be justified and evaluated based on access by budgeted center subprojects and external, program relevant research projects as described above.  Above and beyond this arrangement, technology based core units may offer services to additional external projects addressing any area of research regardless of funding source only on a full payback (fee for service or in-kind) basis.  However, additional funds necessary to provide services to these external projects (e.g., technical support, supplies, etc.) must come from sources other than the center funding, such as the supply budgets of the external projects wishing to access the core facilities.  In choosing to configure a center in an open access center structure, the Principal Investigator must have in place, and adequately describe in the application, management policies that ensure that budgeted center subprojects are given highest priority in receiving services provided by the core.

Centers choosing to configure in an open access center format may propose one or more technical service cores that will be utilized exclusively by budgeted center subprojects.  These centers may, therefore, have a mix of open and restricted access technical service cores.  On the other hand, administrative cores in open center structures may be accessed only by budgeted center subprojects.

Once an award is made, centers configured as a closed access center structure may, at a later time, choose to convert to an open access center structure by requesting such conversion in writing to the NICHD.

Travel to Meetings

Principal Investigators should request travel funds to support their participation in the annual Steering Committee Meeting as well as one research focus group meeting.  Key Investigators of budgeted center subprojects and Directors of technical service cores should request travel funds to support participation in two research focus group meetings.

Training

Although not required in a formal sense, investigators supported by the center are strongly encouraged to provide training experiences for students and fellows in their laboratories, particularly those from under-represented minority groups, those with disabilities and those who wish to re-enter an active research career after taking time to care for children or attend to other family responsibilities.  The NIH offers supplements to the parent award to support individuals representing these special populations.  Guidelines on how to apply for these supplements are provided in PA-05-015, “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research” (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-015.html).

3. Submission Dates and Times

Applications must be received on or before the receipt date described below (Section IV.3.A). Submission times N/A.

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Application Receipt Date(s): June 22, 2007
Peer Review Date(s): October/November 2007
Council Review Date(s): January 2008
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): April 1, 2008

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

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

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 NICHD 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:

Louis V. DePaolo, Ph.D.
Reproductive Sciences Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852
(for express/courier service; non-USPS service)
Telephone: (301) 435-6970

FAX: (301) 496 0962
Email: ld38p@nih.gov 

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. 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 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

Personal deliveries of applications are no longer permitted (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-040.html).

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Robert Stretch, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

Using the RFA Label:  The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application instructions 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 be marked. The RFA label is also available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be received on or before the application receipt date(s) described above (Section IV.3.A.). If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the NICHD. Incomplete and non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

When an unfunded application that had been previously submitted to an earlier version of the RFA is submitted in response to this RFA, it is to be prepared as an AMENDED application.  The application must include an introduction describing the changes and improvements made, the text must be marked to indicate the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application, and the previous application number must be indicated.

Information on the status of an application should be checked by the Principal Investigator in the eRA Commons at: https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/.

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

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

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.  

6. Other Submission Requirements

Applications for the U54 grant are to be prepared in a manner consistent with the information presented in the NICHD U54 Cooperative Specialized Research Center Grant Guidelines, available from the contacts listed below and at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/funding/mechanism/u54_guide.cfm.

At minimum, an application in response to this RFA should include:

All applicants must document their ability to meet or exceed the minimum requirements as set forth in this RFA.  This specifically includes understanding of and commitment to the cooperative nature of this Program, and willingness to meet the Terms and Conditions of Award.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing, the format of the final dataset, the documentation to be provided, whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided, whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use), and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under their own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on their institutional or personal website, through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.

The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data may be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy expects that grant recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm and http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

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

2. Review and Selection Process

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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 NICHD in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

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

Individual Research Projects

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

Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? 

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

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the investigators 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? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

Core Units

Center as an Integrated Effort

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

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

For competing continuation (renewal) applications:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research: The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under Section F of the PHS Form 398 research grant application instructions will be assessed.

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

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research. The priority score should not be affected by the evaluation of the budget.

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Data Sharing Plan: The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score. The presence of a data sharing plan will be part of the terms and conditions of the award. The funding organization will be responsible for monitoring the data sharing policy.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy expects that grant recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps/part_ii_5.htm#availofrr and http://www.ott.nih.gov/policy/rt_guide_final.html). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

Program staff will be responsible for the administrative review of the plan for sharing research resources.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. Program staff may negotiate modifications of the data and resource sharing plans with the awardee before recommending funding of an application. The final version of the data and resource sharing plans negotiated by both will become a condition of the award of the grant. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Not applicable

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official (designated in item 12 on the Application Face Page).

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm) and Part II Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

The following Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the award statement and will be provided to the Principal Investigator as well as to the appropriate institutional official, at the time of award.

2.A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable OMB administrative guidelines, HHS grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement (NIH Specialized Cooperative Research Center U54), an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

2.A.1. Principal Investigator Rights and Responsibilities

The Principal Investigator will have the primary responsibility for participating cooperatively with the Steering Committee in the following activities:

The awardees will agree to: 1) accept the coordinating role of the Steering Committee which includes evaluating objectives and research goals of the Centers Program, and recommending modification, deletion or addition of protocols within the Centers Program; 2) follow any common protocols in which they participate for multicenter projects that are approved by the Steering Committee; and 3) accept the cooperative nature of the group process, including the establishment, where appropriate, of smaller collaborative groups comprised of interacting subprojects and/or cores focused on a particular reproductive research topic area.

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

2.A.2. NIH Responsibilities

The NICHD Research Coordinator will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

Additionally, an NICHD program official, apart from the Research Coordinator, will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

The NICHD Program Official will:

2.A.3. Collaborative Responsibilities

Overall Coordination of the Centers Program consistent with the stated intent of the RFA will be done by a Steering Committee consisting of the Principal Investigators from each of the participating Centers and one NICHD staff member from the RSB, CPR, NICHD, who will be the Research Coordinator.  A member of the NICHD grants management staff will serve as a nonvoting advisor to the Committee.  A non-NIH chairperson for the Steering Committee will be chosen by a majority vote of the Principal Investigators.  The Steering Committee meetings will be convened at least once per year.  The purpose of these meetings is to share scientific information, assess scientific progress, identify new research opportunities and potential avenues of collaborations such as with industry, private foundations and/or NIH intramural scientists, establish priorities that will accelerate the translation of preclinical findings into clinical applications, reallocate resources and conduct the business of the cooperative research program.  In anticipation that some centers will have common research interests that address a specific basic and/or clinical research problem, it is envisioned that research focus groups will be formed to conduct coordinated research activities recommended by the Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee will approve multicenter protocols on specific research activities.  As needed, the Steering Committee will develop a publication policy regarding joint authorship of research reports derived from such collaborative efforts.

Each full member will have one vote. Awardee members of the Steering Committee will be required to accept and implement policies approved by the Steering Committee.

2.A.4. Arbitration Process

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to arbitration. An Arbitration Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special arbitration procedure in no way affects the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulations 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and HHS regulations 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit the PHS Non-Competing Grant Progress Report, Form 2590 annually (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts


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

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Louis V. DePaolo, Ph.D.
Reproductive Sciences Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)
Telephone: (301) 435-6970
FAX: (301) 496 0962
Email: ld38p@nih.gov   

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Robert Stretch, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)
Telephone: (301) 496-1485
FAX: (301) 402-4104
Email: stretchr@mail.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Ms. Robin Kurtz
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A07E, MSC 7510
Bethesda , MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)
Telephone: (301) 435-6978
FAX: (301) 451-5510
Email: rkurtz@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

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

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

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local IRB rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

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

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

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

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

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

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

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

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

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

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002 . The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

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

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. For publications listed in the appendix and/or Progress report, internet addresses (URLs) must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles.  Unless otherwise specified in this solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide any other information necessary for 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 at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The NIH Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

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

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


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