DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH LITERACY IN SPANISH-SPEAKING CHILDREN

Release Date:  July 20, 1999

RFA:  HD-99-012

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Office of Educational Research and Improvement

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  September 1, 1999
Application Receipt Date:  November 17, 1999

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 APPLICATIONS IN RESPONSE TO THIS RFA.

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), through
the Child Development and Behavior Branch (CHDB), Center for Research for
Mothers and Children (CRMC), and the Department of Education, through the
Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), invite research grant
applications to develop new knowledge relevant to the critical factors that
influence the development of English-language (denoted L2) literacy (reading
and writing) competencies among children whose first language is Spanish
(denoted L1).

Specifically, NICHD and OERI seek to stimulate systematic, programmatic,
multidisciplinary research to increase understanding of the specific
cognitive, sociocultural and instructional factors, and the complex
interactions among these factors, that promote or impede the acquisition of
English reading and writing abilities for Spanish-speaking children.  It is
expected that the research studies and programs stimulated by this initiative
will contribute scientific data that bear directly on a number of public
policy issues and instructional practices that include, but are not limited
to, these overarching questions:  Are there conditions under which English
language literacy skills (reading and writing) are best acquired after oral
language, reading and writing capabilities are first developed in Spanish?  If
so, when and how is the transition from Spanish to English best accomplished? 
On the other hand, are there conditions under which Spanish-speaking children
best acquire English language literacy skills through immersion in English
oral and written language?  Additionally, are there specific linguistic and
cultural advantages that accrue with instructional approaches that develop
oral language and literacy skills in both Spanish and English simultaneously
(dual language-literacy approaches)?  This collaborative project is being
undertaken by the Department of Education pursuant to the joint funding
authority in 20 USC Section 1231.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priorities.  This Request for Applications (RFA),
English-Language Literacy Development in Spanish-Speaking Children, is related
to several priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy
People 2000" at http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State and local governments, local education agencies,
and eligible agencies of the Federal government, i.e., those Federal agencies
that have the express statutory authority to accept grants from another
Federal agency.  Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply for these
grants.  However, for the purposes of this RFA, applications from institutions
in the United States may propose collaborations with foreign institutions/
scientists.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

MECHANISMS OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) individual research
project grant (R01) mechanism, the NICHD Small Grant (R03) mechanism and the
program project grant (P01) mechanism.  A range of funding mechanisms is being
made available to applicants to accommodate the complex and multivariate
nature of the research to be supported.

o  Individual Research Project Grants (R01)

The R01 mechanism is used to fund a discrete, specified, and circumscribed
project that ranges in initial length from two to five years.

o  Small Grants (R03)

The R03 mechanism typically is used to support new projects of relatively
small size and length ($50,000 direct costs for each of two years; $100,000
total direct costs).  The R03 cannot be used to supplement research projects
already being supported or to provide interim support of projects under
review, nor are simultaneous submissions of both small (R03) and regular (R01)
research grant applications allowed.  In the main, the R03 is used to support
the development of pilot/preliminary data or to fine-tune methodological
procedures to ensure that measurement and data analytic strategies and
instruments are ready for application in larger scale R01 or P01 studies.  In
addition, the R03 mechanism is employed to provide new investigators with
support to develop pilot and preliminary data for the development of a program
of research in a well-defined area.  For the purposes of this initiative, the
R03 will be employed for these purposes as they relate to developing pilot
data, measurements, and methodologies to enable investigators to pursue
research questions relevant to the development of English-language literacy
skills among Spanish-speaking children.  Potential applicants may obtain the
program announcement that describes the NICHD R03 research program at
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-99-126.html.

Specific application instructions for the R01 and R03 mechanisms 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.

o  Program Project Grants (P01)

In contrast to applicants submitting an individual research project grant
application (R01, R03), other applicants may be interested in conducting
collaborative multidisciplinary and even multi-site studies that involve
expertise in a number of disciplines, and that address research questions and
hypotheses that require the integration of multiple methodologies and
variables. The P01 supports a broadly based, long-term (at least three years,
but typically five years), multidisciplinary research program that has a well-
defined central theme and research focus.  The P01 mechanism supports at least
three interrelated projects and core resources that support at least three
projects at all times.  Inter-relationships and synergism among component
research projects should result in greater scientific contributions than if
each project were supported through a separate mechanism like the R01.  The
P01 research effort is facilitated by the sharing of ideas, data, and
specialized resources, such as equipment, services, and clinical facilities. 
An essential requirement is a central theme toward which the total scientific
effort is directed and to which each component project relates in a
synergistic manner.  Certainly, each of the component projects must have
outstanding scientific merit individually, but they also must complement one
another and support the program's overall theme.  Potential applicants may
obtain a copy of the NICHD guidelines for P01 grants at
http://www.nih.gov/nichd/docs/po1_guidelines_final.htm.

For all mechanisms, responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution
of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The total
project period for R01 and P01 applications submitted in response to this RFA
may not exceed five years; R03 projects may not exceed two years.  This RFA is
a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited competing continuation
applications will compete with all investigator-initiated applications and be
reviewed according to the customary peer review procedures.  The anticipated
date of award is July 1, 2000.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

Subject to the availability of funds, the NICHD and the OERI each intend to
commit approximately $4.5 million (total costs) to fund new grants in response
to this RFA in FY 2000.  An applicant for the P01 may request a project period
of up to five years and a budget for direct costs of up to $1 million per
year.  An applicant for the R01 may request a project period of up to five
years and a budget for direct costs of up to $300,000 per year.  An applicant
for the R03 may request a project period of up to two years and a budget for
direct costs of $50,000 per year.  Application instructions for the Small
Grant (R03), reflecting MODULAR APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCEDURES, are
described below.

It is anticipated that three multidisciplinary program project grants (P01)
and 10 to 15 individual research grants (R01, R03) will be awarded under this
program.  All awards will be made by the NICHD.  Although the financial plans
of the NICHD and OERI provide support for this program, awards pursuant to
this RFA are contingent upon receipt of a sufficient number of applications of
outstanding scientific and technical merit, and the availability of funds.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background
In October, 1998, the NICHD, in collaboration with the Office of Bilingual
Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA) and the OERI within the
Department of Education, convened a conference to discuss the state of science
and practice in promoting English-language literacy development for Spanish-
speaking children.  Within this context, a working group of distinguished
scientists in bilingual education, reading development and disorders, research
methodology, and educational policy met to assess the current research base in
the development of English-language literacy skills among children whose first
language is Spanish, identify gaps in the knowledge base, and make
recommendations to the NICHD and the OERI regarding promising areas for future
research.  On the basis of discussions at this conference, as well as data
provided in two reports from the National Research Council entitled "Improving
Schooling for Language-Minority Children" and "Educating Language-Minority
Children," this working group reached consensus on a number of issues and made
recommendations for research to better understand the development of English
reading and writing skills among Spanish-speaking children.  These conclusions
and recommendations are summarized as follows:

First, there is a compelling rationale and need for the development of a
comprehensive program of research that can identify the full range of
linguistic, cognitive, cultural, familial, socioeconomic, regional, and
instructional factors, and the interactions among these factors, that are
directly relevant to the development of English-language reading and writing
abilities in Spanish-speaking, limited English-proficient students.  Becoming
literate in the English language is a complex developmental process that
children living in the United States must negotiate successfully in order to
compete effectively in this country.  The complexity of this developmental
process is exacerbated when the child's primary language differs from the oral
and written language he/she encounters in school, as is the case for many
youngsters whose primary language is Spanish.  It is it now estimated that 59
percent of fourth grade students and 51 percent of eighth grade students whose
primary language is Spanish cannot read and comprehend English-language text
materials at a basic level.  Indeed, Hispanic and Latino children constitute
the largest group of limited-English-proficient students in the U.S. and are
approximately twice as likely as non-Hispanic and Caucasian students to read
significantly below average for their age.  No doubt, contributing to this
trend are the small number of Hispanic children enrolled in Head Start
programs, the significantly low enrollment of Hispanic children in high
quality, language-rich center-based child care programs, and the increasing
number of very poor Hispanic families in Even Start.

The complexity of understanding how language, cultural, and instructional
factors influence English literacy development in Spanish-speaking children is
compounded because these factors also interact in varying degrees with
geographic and regional (urban vs. rural) location, immigrant status, migrant
status, socioeconomic status, generation status of both children and parents,
the quality of the child's oral language development in Spanish, motivational
factors, the type, quality and amount of Spanish or English spoken in the home
and reinforced in the neighborhood and community, the linguistic and cultural
characteristics of the teacher, the nature of previous literacy instruction,
and individual differences in cognitive, linguistic, and neurobiological
development.  Such complexity requires the development of a collaborative
multidisciplinary, multi-level, and multi-contextual program of research. 
More specifically, this program of research should foster the application of
diverse research methodologies across varied contexts to develop models of
second-language literacy acquisition and to delineate the influences, and
pathways of influence, on English-language literacy development in Spanish-
speaking children at the child level, the home/family level, the classroom
level, and the school level.  While the development of normative models of
English reading and writing acquisition in Spanish speaking children is
strongly encouraged, an in-depth understanding of the factors and conditions
that predict and characterize atypical English-language literacy development
(i.e., learning disabilities, specific language deficits, dyslexia) in this
population is also critical, as is the development of instructional strategies
to prevent or remediate such disabilities.

Against this background, a major goal of this research initiative is to obtain
converging scientific evidence that ultimately can inform the development and
application of assessment and instructional approaches and strategies to
develop robust literacy skills and to prevent or remediate reading and writing
difficulties and disabilities among children whose first language is Spanish.
In essence, research grant applications are solicited to address three major
questions:

1) How do children whose first language is Spanish learn to read and write in
English?  Specifically, what skills and abilities are required, what types of
home, preschool, child care, school, and cultural experiences and environments
are most supportive of English-language literacy development at different
phases of development?

2) Why do some Spanish-speaking children have difficulties acquiring English-
language reading and writing skills?  What specific cognitive, linguistic,
environmental, sociocultural, neurobiological, and instructional factors
impede the development of accurate and fluent English-language reading and
writing skills, and what are the most significant risk factors that predict
difficulties in the development of literacy skills?

3) For which children whose first language is Spanish are which instructional
approaches and strategies most beneficial, at which stages of reading and
writing development, and under what conditions?  Also, what teacher knowledge,
teaching skills and instructional strategies are required to ensure optimal
outcomes?

The complex and multivariate nature of this research goal necessitates the use
of both individual-investigator research studies (e.g., R01, R03) and
integrated, multidisciplinary, and multi-site approaches involving expertise
in a number of disciplines (e.g., P01).  Also required is access to a
sufficient number of Spanish-speaking children who will be expected to acquire
English-language literacy abilities.  The specific mechanisms of support are
discussed in a separate section of the RFA.

o  Research in English-language Reading Development, Disorders, and
Instruction:  An Overview

The NICHD and the OERI have had a long-standing interest in the study of
reading development, reading disorders, and reading instruction with children
whose primary language is English.  Over the past 30 years, studies supported
by the NICHD, OERI, and other agencies and sources have obtained substantial
data that converge on the following findings with children for whom English is
the primary language.  Good readers have developed phonemic awareness and an
understanding of the alphabetic principle, and can apply this knowledge in a
fluent and automatic manner when reading words and text.  Given the ability to
rapidly and accurately decode and recognize words, good readers bring strong
vocabularies and well-developed syntactical and grammatical skills to the
reading comprehension process, and actively relate what is being read to their
background knowledge.  Evidence has also accrued that indicates learning to
read is a relatively lengthy process that begins very early in development and
before children enter formal schooling.  Children who are provided with
stimulating oral language and literacy experiences from birth onward have an
advantage in developing vocabulary, understanding the goals of reading, and
acquiring an awareness of print and literacy concepts.  The data also suggest
that children who are read to frequently at very young ages are exposed to the
sounds of the language and to vocabulary which will serve as the building
blocks for the development of the alphabetic principle.  As children are
exposed to literacy activities at young ages, they begin to recognize and
discriminate letters and begin to link the names of letters with their sounds. 
The data converge in demonstrating that ultimately, children's ability to
comprehend what they read is inextricably linked to their skill in reading
words accurately and rapidly, to the development of vocabulary and language
comprehension abilities, and to their background knowledge.  In contrast,
converging evidence indicates that reading failure among English-speaking
children is significantly related to deficits in phoneme awareness and the
development of the alphabetic principle, difficulties in the rapid application
of phoneme awareness, decoding, and word recognition skills when reading
connected text, a non-strategic approach to reading comprehension; and the
failure to develop and maintain motivation to learn and practice reading
skills.

To date, there have not been comprehensive programmatic research efforts of
this kind to address issues and questions relevant to (1) normative English-
language reading and writing development among Spanish-speaking children, (2)
difficulties/disabilities encountered by this population in learning to read
and write in a second language (English), and (3) the development of effective
prevention, remediation, and reading and writing instructional approaches and
strategies for Spanish-speaking, English-language learners.  To address this
critical need, studies that contribute effectively to the research focus
described below are encouraged.

Research Focus

The major focus of this RFA is to identify the conditions under which English-
language reading and writing skills are most efficiently and productively
developed in children whose first language is Spanish.  Within this context,
this collaborative NICHD/OERI research program seeks to increase understanding
of the specific instructional, linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural and
socioenvironmental factors, and the interactions among these factors, that
promote or impede the acquisition of English-language reading and writing
skills in Spanish-speaking children.  An additional important focus of this
RFA is the identification and/or development of reliable and valid measurement
strategies and assessment instruments for all domains under study. 
Descriptive and experimental studies employing quantitative and qualitative
research methodologies are encouraged, and studies that combine methodologies
are particularly sought.  While longitudinal designs will be critical in
addressing many of the research questions, cross-sectional studies and
combinations of longitudinal and cross-sectional studies are likewise
encouraged.  It is not expected that each application will address the entire
range of issues discussed in this RFA, although multidisciplinary program
projects (P01) will clearly address a combination of research targets using an
integrated and synergistic design.  On the other hand, individual research
project grants (R01 and R03) can focus primarily on highly delineated research
targets that do not necessarily require multidisciplinary expertise.  As
mentioned, a significant emphasis is placed on studies of the effects of
different prevention, intervention, and instructional approaches and
strategies at different phases of oral language and reading development in
both Spanish and English.

Irrespective of the type of funding mechanism (P01, R01, R03) selected by
prospective investigators, each applicant should take care to ensure that the
application addresses in depth the following methodological and organizational
issues:

o  Research Population

The selection of the research population should be based on the scope of the
study, the methodological requirements of the study, the specific research
questions posed and the nature and degree of integrated multidisciplinary
effort.  For both P01 and R01 funding mechanisms, applicants are encouraged to
select a core research population that provides the opportunity to conduct
integrated, prospective, longitudinal as well as cross-sectional
investigations of reading and writing development in Spanish and English with
an emphasis on the conditions under which literacy skills are best acquired
and the instructional, linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural,
socioenvironmental, and familial factors that influence development.  It is
expected that children within the research population will manifest different
background characteristics and different strengths and weaknesses in skills
critical for success on both Spanish and English reading and writing
development.  As such, applicants should consider research protocols that are
capable of detecting individual differences and well-defined subgroups and
subtypes that may exist within any sample.  Applicants should also consider
casting the sampling net wide enough to ensure a representative number of
children and contrast groups for study at preschool, kindergarten, and
elementary school-age levels.

o  Subject Selection Criteria

The samples selected for study must be rigorously defined so that complete
independent replication can be accomplished. Within this context, applicants
should provide clearly documented and operationalized definitions for their
subject selection criteria.  Specifically, all participants selected for study
should be defined with reference to age, grade level (if applicable), gender,
ethnicity, socioeconomic status, immigrant/migrant status, generation status
(of children and parents), geographic region, previous and concurrent
educational placements and programs, type and severity of
learning/language/academic disabilities (if known),
neurophysiological/neuropsychological characteristics (if applicable), levels
of academic achievement in oral language, reading, and writing, and presence
of attention deficit disorder (if applicable).  To the extent possible,
comparison groups should be equated on these characteristics.

o  Measurement Criteria

Standardized tests, laboratory tasks, observational measures, interview
schedules, and other assessment/observational procedures (e.g., dynamic
assessments, case studies, ethnographic studies) should be selected on the
basis of known reliability, validity, trustworthiness, and appropriateness to
the samples under study.  If reliability, validity, and trustworthiness of the
measurement/assessment/observational procedures are initially unknown, the
application must include specific plans for establishing these measurement
properties.  The valid measurement of change over time will be critical to
much of the research solicited via this RFA since the study of the
developmental course of both Spanish-language and English-language reading and
writing acquisition under a variety of conditions and across a variety of
settings is of significant interest.

o  Instructional Components and Definitions

One important dimension along which reading and writing instructional
approaches and strategies are distributed is the explicitness and detail with
which spoken and written language structures relevant to literacy acquisition
are taught.  For the purposes of this RFA, the degree of implicitness-
explicitness inherent in the instruction should be described in detail.  For
example, explicit instruction of language and literacy structures can be
characterized by (1) deliberate organization of lesson format and content; (2)
calibration of concept difficulty along both linguistic and developmental
continua; (3) corrective feedback designed to foster linguistic insight and
self-reliance in the child; (4) careful selection of textual reading material
for practice; and (5) conscious interplay between spoken and written language
during instruction.

Another dimension along which reading instruction is distributed is the extent
to which all components of a complete, integrated approach are included in
each lesson, regardless of the student's reading level.  Integration is one of
the most important principles of instruction to emerge from reading research,
yet instructional studies frequently overemphasize one instructional component
to the detriment of others.  An example of this lack of integration can be
found in several English-language reading instruction studies where
instruction was provided to develop phonemic awareness and decoding skills
without concomitant attention given to the application of these skills in text
reading.  Even when integrated lesson designs are used, applicants should
consider designing studies to specifically demonstrate which instructional
components are most pivotal in learning to read Spanish (if applicable) and
English at different phases of reading development, and to explicate any
interactions between response to instruction and learner characteristics,
language of instruction, stage of reading development, teacher/learner
activities, ecological factors, and the like.

These examples of instructional dimensions are neither inclusive nor
exhaustive, and applicants are encouraged to provide and define their
particular frame of instructional reference in detail.  The important
consideration is that most instructional characteristics vary dimensionally
from highly explicit to highly implicit, and applicants are encouraged to
define and describe these instructional dimensions in detail.  Likewise,
applicants are encouraged to explicitly define and describe the types and
nature of language, literacy, and learning interactions that occur in home and
family settings during early childhood and preschool periods.

o  Research Methodologies

New statistical methodologies are currently emerging to enhance the
information gleaned from longitudinal studies and to bolster the
interpretation of multivariate interactions that are identified in studies of
behavioral/learning changes over time.  This is important given that it is
sometimes difficult to interpret why and how gains were achieved in
instructional studies.  This interpretation problem is frequently related to
both instructional and non-instructional factors (social, economic, cultural,
environmental, familial, etc.) that can interact to influence response to
intervention.  A number of methodologies are now available for studying
quantitative change and for studying the manner in which a variety of
determinants, including instructional and ecological factors, influence rates
and patterns of change over time.  Applicants are encouraged to apply
methodologies that can illuminate these types of multivariate interactions.

Of significant interest is also the application of qualitative research
methodologies to include open-ended interviews with students, teachers,
parents, and administrators, teacher logs, stimulated recalls, student's
response journals, analysis of teacher's daily plans, and videotaping and
coding of instructional interactions.  When considering the use of qualitative
methods, applicants must ensure the trustworthiness and credibility of the
data, the transferability of the data, the adequacy of the research process
for testing theory, and the empirical grounding of the research findings. 
Applicants are encouraged to combine quantitative and qualitative methods to
optimize the validity and applicability of the findings.

Research Priorities and Examples of Research Questions

The NICHD and the OERI have developed a list of research priorities and
examples of research questions to illuminate areas of particular interest to
these agencies.  These examples are illustrative but not restrictive, nor are
they inclusive or exhaustive.  The information on research priorities and
examples of research questions may be obtained from the contact listed under
INQUIRIES, below, or at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/hd-99-012/hd-99-012.htm.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

o  Annual Meetings for Investigators

Principal Investigators from projects funded though this RFA will be expected
to attend an annual NICHD/OERI meeting to share findings, research approaches,
and core instrumentation. The first meeting is expected to take place in
January 2001.  Provision for funds for travel to this annual meeting should be
included in the application budget and budget justification.

o  Advisory Boards

Because of their complexity and size, program project (P01) grants require
guidance and interaction with senior members of the scientific community not
directly involved in the conduct of the research operations.  Applicants for
P01 grants should propose and design an External Advisory Board to provide
outside counsel and periodic review for the program project.  Applicants are
not to select or contact proposed Advisory Board members at this time. 
Details of the operation of the Board, including size, structure, function,
and frequency of meetings should be specified, as well as the type of
expertise and level of seniority of Board members to be recruited.  Members of
the Advisory Board are to be selected and confirmed within three months of the
award date and notifications sent to program staff at NICHD and OERI. 
Provision for costs of the Advisory Board are to be included in the
application budget and budget justification.

Following the award of grants resulting from this RFA, a multidisciplinary
advisory group composed of bilingual educators, early childhood educators,
reading teachers, teacher educators, researchers, school administrators, and
school policy specialists will be formed by NICHD, OERI, and all Principal
Investigators to provide ongoing information and advice relevant to critical
issues and trends in the field at large.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993
(Section 492B of the Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which was published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR
59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No.
11, March 18, 1994, available at:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/1994/94.03.18/notice-nih-guideline008.html.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt
dates after October 1, 1998.

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

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

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a
descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, 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. 
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
avoid conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Peggy McCardle, Ph.D., MPH, at the
address listed under INQUIRIES by September 1, 1999.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used for
applying for these grants (P01, R01, R03).  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.

Applications for the R01 grant should be prepared according to the
instructions accompanying Form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98), as modified by the Modular
Grant instructions, below.

Applications for the R03 grant should be prepared according to the
instructions accompanying Form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98), as modified by the
instructions below.

Applications for the P01 grant should be prepared in a manner consistent with
the information presented in the NICHD Program Project Guidelines, available
from the contact listed under INQUIRIES, below, and at
http://www.nih.gov/nichd/docs/po1_guidelines_final.htm.

Specific application instructions for the R01 and R03 have been modified to
reflect "MODULAR GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts.  The modular
grant concept establishes specific budget modules in which direct costs may be
requested, as well as a maximum level for requested budgets.  Only limited
budgetary information is required under this approach.  The just-in-time
concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when there is a
possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these changes will reduce
the administrative burden for applicants, reviewers, and NICHD staff.

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

Application Instructions for the R01

Modular Grant R01 applications in response to this RFA will request direct
costs in $25,000 modules, up to a total direct cost request of $300,000 per
year.  The total direct costs must be requested in accordance with the RFA
guidelines and the modifications made to the standard PHS 398 application
instructions described below:

FACE PAGE

Items 7a and 7b:  These items should be completed, indicating Direct Costs (in
$25,000 increments up to a maximum of $300,000) and Total Costs [Modular Total
Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial budget
period.

Items 8a and 8b:  These items should be completed, indicating the Direct and
Total Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

DETAILED BUDGET FOR THE INITIAL BUDGET PERIOD

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

BUDGET FOR THE ENTIRE PROPOSED PERIOD OF SUPPORT

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

NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION

Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative page.  (For sample pages, see
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm)  At the top of the
page, enter the Total Direct Costs requested for each year.  This is not a
Form Page.

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

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

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the
number of modules requested.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

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

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

OTHER SUPPORT

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

CHECKLIST

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

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

Application Instructions for the R03
FACE PAGE

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

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

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

DETAILED BUDGET FOR THE INITIAL BUDGET PERIOD

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

BUDGET FOR THE ENTIRE PROPOSED PERIOD OF SUPPORT

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

NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION

Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative page.  (For sample pages, see:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm)  At the top of the
page, enter the total direct costs requested for each year (i.e., $50,000). 
This is not a Form Page.

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

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

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

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

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

OTHER SUPPORT

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

RESEARCH PLAN

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

APPENDIX

Appendix material should not be submitted and will not be accepted with the
application.

CHECKLIST

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

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

Submission Procedures

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-99-012.  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 sample RFA label available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf has been modified to
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

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 must be
sent to:

Scott Andres, Ph.D.
Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5E-03, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 435-6911

Applications must be received by November 17, 1999.  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 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 by the NICHD and the OERI.  Incomplete and/or non-
responsive applications will be returned to the applicant without further
consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to this RFA will be evaluated
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review group convened by
the NICHD in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the
initial merit review, a process may be used by the initial review group in
which applications receive a written critique and 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 for R01 and R03 Applications, and P01 Subprojects

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

(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
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

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 will also be evaluated.

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

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.

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the protection
of human subjects and the safety of the research environment.
Additional Review Criteria for P01 Applications

All Program Project (P01) applications in response to this RFA will also be
reviewed with respect to the following:

Review Criteria for P01 Core Units

o  The qualifications, experience, and commitment of the core director and
other core personnel;

o  The quality of services provided by the core;

o  The cost effectiveness and quality control of the core;

o  The utility of the core to the program;

For the P01 Administrative Core, the following criteria also are addressed:

o The core director's experience in research administration;

o  The decision-making process within the proposed program project for the
evaluation of research productivity, allocation of funds, and the management
of resources;

o  The plan for program project evaluation, including the use of any internal
and external advisory groups.

P01 Overall Critique

Program as an Integrated Effort:

o  The coordination, interrelationships, cohesiveness, and synergy among the
meritorious research projects and core components as they related to the
common theme of the program project;

o  The advantages of conducting the proposed research as a program rather than
separate research efforts;

o  The mechanisms proposed for regular communication and coordination among
investigators in the program, and;

o  The appropriateness of administrative structures and day-to-day management
of the program.

Overall Merit of the Program:

o  Significance of the program overall and its potential to advance scientific
knowledge in the field;

o  Adequacy and quality of the experimental approaches proposed in the
projects and the overall design of the program project;

o  Degree to which the overall program applies novel concepts and innovative
approaches, represents novel collaborations, etc.;

o  Qualifications of the Principal Investigator, the program leadership, and
individual project and core directors;

o  Scientific, organizational/institutional, and administrative environment of
the program.

In addition, the overall P01 application must be evaluated with respect to
Inclusion of Women, Minorities and their Subgroups, and Participation of
Children.

SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    September 1,  1999
Application Receipt Date:         November 17, 1999
Peer Review Date:                 April 2000
Council Review:                   May 2000
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  July 2000

AWARD CRITERIA

Criteria that will be used to make award decisions include scientific and
technical merit as determined by peer review; availability of funds; and
programmatic priorities.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic and scientific issues to:

Peggy McCardle, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Chief, Child Development and Behavior Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 4B05, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Phone: 301/435-6863
Fax:  301/480-7773
Email: pm43q@nih.gov

Daniel B. Berch, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
Office of the Assistant Secretary
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
555 New Jersey Avenue, Room 602C, NW
Washington DC  20208
Phone:  202/219-2215
Fax:  202/219-1402
Email:  daniel_berch@ed.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal and administrative matters to:

E. Douglas Shawver
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A-17, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 496-1303
FAX:  (301) 402-0915
Email:  ds117g@NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.865, Research for Mothers and Children.  Awards are made under
authorization of the Public Health Services Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law
78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 284 and administered
under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part
74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements
of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency Review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant 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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