CHILD AND ADOLESCENT INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH NETWORKS

Release Date:  November 26, 2001
 
RFA:  RFA-MH-02-011

National Institute of Mental Health
 (http://www.nimh.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  March 4, 2002
Application Receipt Date:       April 10, 2002

THIS RFA USES "MODULAR GRANT" AND "JUST-IN-TIME" CONCEPTS.  MODULAR 
INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE USED FOR RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS REQUESTING LESS THAN 
$250,000 PER YEAR IN ALL YEARS. MODULAR BUDGET INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED IN 
SECTION C OF THE PHS 398 (REVISION 5/2001) AVAILABLE AT 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) seeks to encourage 
collaborative partnerships among scientists from various disciplines to 
facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to significant public health questions 
in child and adolescent mental health.  To this end, this Request for 
Applications (RFA) is designed to create interdisciplinary networks for 
fostering innovative approaches to research in child and adolescent mental 
health.  This RFA is in response to a report by the National Advisory Mental 
Health Council's Workgroup on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Intervention 
Development and Deployment entitled "Blueprint for Change:  Research on Child 
and Adolescent Mental Health" (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/childhp/councildesc.cfm).  

To develop effective solutions to problems in a field as complex as children's 
mental health, coordinated research efforts that integrate scientific advances 
from a range of specialty areas are required.  Interdisciplinary studies could 
be brought to bear on issues of etiology, risk processes, intervention 
development and implementation.  While advances have been made in 
understanding some of the basic psychological processes related to attention, 
cognition, motivation, and stress, for example, their application to public 
health questions about risk processes, the etiology of disorders, and clinical 
interventions has yet to be realized, in part due to the challenges unique to 
children's mental health.  Similarly, a growing research base on effective 
treatments, preventive interventions, and services for youth with mental 
disorders exists, but unresolved and important questions still remain about 
those core processes that are related to outcomes and about the feasibility of 
implementing the evidence-base in different service contexts.

This initiative serves as a catalyst for the Institute's long-term commitment 
to strengthening the research base on child and adolescent mental health.  
Critical to these efforts is the recognition of the importance of linking 
basic science and clinical intervention development, of accelerating the pace 
of intervention development by repositioning such work within real-world 
settings, and of realigning the evidence base with clinical and service 
practice.  

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, Child and Adolescent 
Interdisciplinary Research Networks, 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/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants are strongly advised to contact NIMH staff listed below, prior to 
submission, to discuss the eligibility of a proposed application.  Applicants 
are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of intent by March 4, 2002.  

Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible 
agencies of the Federal government.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, 
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal 
Investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use two mechanisms to support two types of interdisciplinary 
research partnerships:  the R21 Exploratory Network grant award mechanism and 
the R24 Developmental Network grant award mechanism.  Responsibility for the 
planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that 
of the applicant.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited 
competing applications that stem from this network will compete with all 
investigator-initiated applications and be reviewed according to the customary 
peer review procedures.  The earliest anticipated award date is September 30, 
2002.

The R21 mechanism is designed to encourage new research directions and 
exploration of approaches and concepts that are innovative to a particular 
area.  As such, it encourages newcomers to a field and also high-risk, high-
impact hypotheses, with fewer expectations regarding preliminary data than 
other funding mechanisms.  The R24 mechanism is designed for groups of 
currently funded investigators working on a common problem.  The goal is to 
bring together investigators at different institutions and to provide 
resources for collaborative and interactive activities that will further the 
shared research goals and significantly enhance what could be accomplished 
within the individual investigator's grant support.

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR 
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts that have been adopted by the 
NIH.  Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant 
applications have been incorporated into the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001).  
Additional information on Modular Grants can be found at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

The NIMH intends to commit approximately $2,000,000 in FY 2002 to fund new 
and/or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA.  For the R21 
grants, an applicant may request a project period of up to 3 years and a 
budget for direct costs of up to $125,000 per year; this award is not 
renewable.  For the R24 grants, an applicant may request a project period of 
up to 4 years and a budget for direct costs of up to $250,000 per year; this 
award is also not renewable, and is not transferable to another institution.  
Although the facilities and administrative (F&A) costs associated with all 
contractual and consortium arrangements are considered as direct costs to the 
applicant organization, for the purposes of this announcement only, these will 
not count against the direct cost limits. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The National Advisory Mental Health Council convened its first workgroup 
focused exclusively on child and adolescent mental health in January 1999.  
This workgroup was comprised of an interdisciplinary group of scientists, 
providers and consumers with shared expertise in youth mental health.  This 
workgroup assessed the status of the NIMH portfolio and identified research 
opportunities in the development, testing, and deployment of treatment, 
service, and preventive interventions for children and adolescents in the 
context of families and communities.  Their findings and recommendations are 
reported in the "Blueprint for Change:  Research on Child and Adolescent 
Mental Health Research" (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/childhp/councildesc.cfm).

The key recommendation by the workgroup relates to the need for inter- 
disciplinary integration of knowledge in a range of scientific areas to 
address some of the more vexing problems in children's mental health, 
including unresolved questions about etiology, risk processes, intervention 
development and the implementation of effective interventions into practice 
settings.  The workgroup further recognized that if the form and function of 
research are to be transformed to meet public health needs, partnerships must 
be forged with groups sometimes considered outside the scientific arena, 
including families, youth, providers, and other key stakeholders.  The 
complexity of the problems within children's mental health, the impressive 
research advances from the basic sciences, and the pressing need for effective 
solutions for children with mental disorders, led the workgroup to suggest 
several actions steps:

1.  Linkages must be made among neuroscience, genetics, epidemiology, 
behavioral science, and social sciences, and the resulting interdisciplinary 
knowledge must be translated into effective new interventions.

2.  Scientifically proven interventions must be disseminated to the clinics, 
schools, and other places where children, adolescents, and their families can 
easily access them.  This requires an interdisciplinary science base that can 
be translated, used and sustained in the community.  

This RFA is designed to encourage unique partnerships with the goal of 
fostering new approaches to diagnosis, functioning, assessments of risk, 
development of new preventive strategies, treatments, and services, and the 
implementation of interventions in real-world settings.  The workgroup 
recognized that different areas in the field of children's mental health are 
at varying stages of readiness for such collaboration. Consequently, this RFA 
offers two types of interdisciplinary network arrangements. For investigators 
who are just beginning to explore interdisciplinary research questions, there 
is the Exploratory Network grant.  For investigators who have already 
initiated some collaborative partnerships and want to increase 
interdisciplinary capability, there is the Developmental Network grant.  Each 
grant will be discussed below.

General Characteristics

All applications to this RFA must provide a cogent rationale as to why an 
interdisciplinary approach is needed to address the chosen problem area.  The 
description of the topic(s) should include a compelling justification for the 
interdisciplinary potential of the research collaboration, including the 
relevance for clinical or practical utility, the theoretical progress that 
will be accomplished through the cross-disciplinary networking, and the 
reasons why an interdisciplinary approach will advance the field or answer 
previously intractable questions. In all cases, a strong knowledge base should 
already be available that is germane to the interdisciplinary effort.  
Relevant areas of the basic sciences for an interdisciplinary focus may 
include:  animal models of human behavior, decision-making models, or behavior 
change theories.  Proposed candidate circuits and brain mechanisms that can be 
directly tested through animal models, human neuroimaging, or genetic 
comparisons could be appropriate.  Relevant areas of the clinical or services 
science appropriate for an interdisciplinary network might include:  
methodology development (e.g., for assessing core mediational processes or 
intervention effectiveness); models of assessment; specific paradigms for 
collaborative partnerships to facilitate the uptake and sustainability of 
scientifically-supported interventions. These areas should not be considered  
exclusive and experts from any of them might be brought together to form a 
network.  The center of gravity for the network should revolve around the core 
research questions for which interdisciplinary approaches are likely to yield 
significant progress.        

Applications must demonstrate that research partnerships among basic 
scientists (e.g., developmental, behavioral, neuroscience, genetics), clinical 
and/or services researchers, key stakeholders or others with relevant 
expertise (e.g., from anthropology, social marketing, educational or school 
psychology, history, organizational/industrial psychology, information theory, 
health economy, etc.) exist or will be developed and nurtured.  The minimum 
collaborative arrangement would thus involve at least 3 investigators from 
different scientific disciplines, although larger groups of actual and 
potential collaborators are encouraged.  Where appropriate, the involvement of 
mental health stakeholders outside the scientific community is strongly 
recommended.  Networks are to be conceptualized by the nature of the research 
goals and are expected to extend beyond geographical and departmental 
boundaries. Collaborations among different institutions are strongly 
encouraged.  In all cases, applications should be clear about how 
communication will occur across these boundaries so that the feasibility of 
achieving a fully-developed collaborative research partnership is apparent.

Note that the Research Plan is limited to 15 pages for the R21 grants and to 
25 pages for the R24 grants.  

R21 Exploratory Network Grants for Interdisciplinary Research

R21 Exploratory Network grants provide an avenue for investigators to initiate 
and explore potential research collaborations.  These networks are defined by 
the following characteristics:

o  Initial development of collaborative work: Investigators need not 
demonstrate any history of prior collaboration.  However, those factors in the 
investigators' background and/or institutional circumstances that would 
facilitate success in collaboration should be clearly delineated.

o  Clear plan for the development of the collaboration:  Such efforts could 
include travel among sites for informal meetings; workshops and small 
conferences; consultants; and analyses of extant data sets, using new 
methodologies or approaches.  The purpose of these activities will be to shape 
or refine conceptual frameworks for organizing additional interdisciplinary 
research and to identify which specific research questions show greatest 
promise for advancement.

o  Pilot studies may be included (although not required) to demonstrate 
feasibility of certain aspects of the research approaches and develop further 
interdisciplinary research projects.

o  Salary support for faculty, research assistants, and other professional 
staff may be provided.  
o  Description of the anticipated longer-term goals or outcomes of the 
collaboration and an anticipated timetable:  Such goals might variously 
include an application for a R24 developmental network grant or an R01-based 
research collaboration.

R24 Developmental Network Grants for Interdisciplinary Research 

R24 Developmental Network grants provide support for the development and 
enhancement of interdisciplinary research capabilities and pilot projects.  As 
such, it is expected that the primary components of these projects will 
involve activities designed to foster interdisciplinary approaches to defined 
research questions. These networks are characterized by the following:

o  Demonstrated ability to organize, administer, and direct the network:  The 
principal investigator should have a demonstrated history of organizing, 
administering and directing collaborative, interdisciplinary research 
activities.  Further, the PI should propose a clear and feasible 
organizational scheme, and show a minimum time commitment of 15 percent.  
Other investigators must also allot a percentage of effort that is 
commensurate with their role in the project.  Prior research collaborations 
among investigators under this network would be beneficial.   

o  Integration of ideas from diverse scientific and disciplinary realms:  This 
network should comprise a group of investigators who are interested in 
integrating ideas from diverse scientific and disciplinary realms.  
Participating researchers on this network should have external, peer-reviewed 
research grant support from either an NIH institute or another source. 
Although it is not necessary that all members of the project have independent 
research funding, investigators (with the exception of non-scientist mental 
health stake holders) are expected to demonstrate a strong record of 
scientific productivity and innovation.

o  Development of a specific set of hypotheses:  The goals of the network 
should define the interdisciplinary mission of the study, addressing relevant 
theoretical and empirical literature from the scientific areas to be studied.  
The potential for developing significant and innovative interdisciplinary 
research should be demonstrated.  Accordingly, the study should clearly 
describe the scope and goals of intended future work, including scientific 
goals and how this network will serve as a critical stepping stone for future 
anticipated mechanisms of support (e.g., Collaborative R01 submissions) that 
are expected to emerge from the developmental process.

o  Seed money and start-up funds may be requested to support new, innovative 
pilot projects that reflect: (1) research that is needed to facilitate the 
translation of basic science findings to applied research issues; and (2) 
research on clinical or services issues that incorporate the theories or 
methods of basic science, or vice versa.

o  Access to specialized resources and equipment:  Funds may be used to 
facilitate access to resources such as those for genomics, brain imaging, 
electronic communication media, bioinformatics and computational services to 
facilitate collaborative capabilities.   

o  Plans for interdisciplinary research apprenticeships to facilitate cross-
fertilization of knowledge:  These networks should include opportunities for 
at least two young investigators to be mentored in one or more areas of 
specialization, and specifically address the application of basic research 
principles to clinical or services issues.  Project leaders are expected to 
make maximum use of the variety of funding mechanisms available to foster the 
development of junior scientists with expertise in interdisciplinary research 
(e.g., minority supplements, mentored K awards).  Specialized training of 
personnel in cross-disciplinary concepts and approaches is strongly 
encouraged.  

Research Themes

The following are examples of broad research themes that might be the focus of 
interdisciplinary efforts.  They are not meant to be exhaustive or 
restrictive, but to highlight areas of particular interest for advancing the 
Institute's research agenda on children's mental health.  

Core Components, Processes, and Mechanisms of Action of Therapeutic 
Interventions

The past 25 years of clinical trials in child and adolescent mental health 
interventions have yielded evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of 
certain interventions.  Further, research indicates that processes of 
implementation such as fidelity and family engagement are linked to outcomes 
of interventions.  Thus, intervention-related changes may be due to key 
processes or components of an intervention or factors related to the manner 
and context of the intervention's delivery.  Yet, the active components and 
processes by which such change occurs are not well understood.  Conceptual 
models or specific theories about how interventions achieve therapeutic change 
are needed.  Further it is important to identify the active ingredients or 
processes of interventions and the causal mechanisms that mediate effective 
and sustained benefits.  Identifying core processes of interventions that 
potentiate the outcomes of interests is important if consumers of research and 
buyers of services are to make informed choices about how to improve the 
efficiency of services.  This network could focus on:

o  Identifying key components or active ingredients that represent specific 
components of an identified intervention that mediate change.  The mechanism 
of change may occur at multiple levels (e.g., decreased deviant peer 
association (active ingredient) mediated by increased parental monitoring of 
child activities (change in family interaction), leading to decrease in 
aggression and change in neurochemical activity) 

o  Identifying key processes that mediate therapeutic change, maintenance of 
gains, and relapse.  Such key processes may be non-specific, and may or may 
not draw directly upon knowledge about the disorder itself (e.g., therapeutic 
alliance, client motivation, changes in expectations, attributional changes)

o  Understanding how the implementation process (e.g., family engagement, 
intervention x client fit, provider characteristics, organizational factors) 
and service delivery context (e.g., home vs. school or primary care vs. 
specialty clinic) may influence outcomes.  

Functional Impairments in childhood mental disorders

Assessment of functioning has lagged behind the assessment of clinical 
symptoms in children's mental health research. The definition of what 
constitutes functional impairments varies greatly across professional 
disciplines and service systems involved in providing mental health care 
(e.g., education, welfare, juvenile justice, primary care, substance abuse, 
specialty mental health).  In addition, the serious economic and societal 
burden of childhood mental illness requires developmentally-appropriate tools 
to help researchers, policymakers and other mental health stakeholders to (1)  
assess the form, frequency, and severity of functional impairments; (2) 
account for the relative importance of these impairments vis-à-vis the 
particular sociocultural contexts in which a child lives; and (3) project 
future needs for mental health treatment and support.  

Limited conceptual models and tools have been developed with which to examine 
issues related to functioning.  Both animal models and basic behavioral 
studies can contribute to the assessment of functioning.  There is a need for 
detailed empirical study of specific social, cognitive, emotional, and 
behavioral processes that are impaired in childhood disorders and their 
relationship to broader areas of functioning (e.g., social and academic 
functioning).  For example,

o  Identifying critical deficits in memory, attention, language, emotional 
processing and regulation, social cognitive capacities, and dimensions of 
child temperament. Specifying the nature of deficits in these domains to 
identify genetic, biologic and experiential risk processes involved in the 
etiology of these deficits

o  Developing new assessment tools by taking advantage of knowledge in basic 
and behavioral sciences.  For example, animal models, biological measures, 
measurement theory (i.e., Item Response Theory), and computerized adaptive 
testing may be applied in developing new tools.  Of particular interest are 
psychometrically sound measures that are sensitive to intervention related 
changes and usable in clinical settings

o  Developing targeted interventions where researchers have already documented 
specific cognitive and psychophysiological deficits and fMRI differences 
associated with childhood mental disorders; understanding how those deficits 
are related to specific functional problems and how such problems may be 
addressed by interventions and rehabilitation.  

Disorders of Mood Regulation

Mood disorders are among the most prevalent, recurrent, and disabling of all 
illnesses.  Childhood unipolar and bipolar mood disorders, while rare, can be 
chronic and recurrent conditions.  Adults often report onset of their 
depressive disorder in late adolescence or earlier.  Recent studies of 
children and adolescents confirm that serious symptoms of mood disorders are 
detectable.  Further, these disorders are often associated with adverse and 
chronic illnesses or disabilities and tend to be familial. While many risk 
factors for mood disorders have been identified, these are correlates rather 
than causal.  The etiologic processes that give rise to unipolar and bipolar 
disorders remain elusive, despite significant knowledge growth in the basic 
sciences. Integrated models are needed to understand the interplay among 
genetic, biologic and environmental risk processes involved in mood disorders 
and their relationship to commonly comorbid conditions.  Interdisciplinary 
networks that can draw from the substantial knowledge and tools from diverse 
fields such as epidemiology, genetics, developmental neuroscience, 
developmental psychology, cognitive, behavioral and clinical science are 
encouraged.  Such networks might focus on: 

o  Understanding the mechanisms behind the well-documented sex disparity in 
the prevalence of unipolar depression from puberty onward, including the role 
of biologic changes (e.g., hormonal, morphological), social changes or their 
interactions; the impact of early adverse experiences on the developing 
stress-response system; and the neuropathophysiology of depression in the 
developing brain to improve targets of intervention

o  Developing interventions or service delivery models that are sensitive to 
differences in the neuropathophysiology of depressed pre-pubertal children, 
with attention to factors such as cognitive capacity, familial culture, 
environmental adversity, comorbid conditions, or other factors that may 
influence treatment course and outcome 

o  Clarifying the development of bipolar disorder through studies examining 
the genetic and neurobiologic determinants of extreme mood lability in 
childhood and environmental contributions to course, outcomes, and 
cormorbidity with other mental disorders.  

Dissemination and Implementation for Treatment and Prevention  

Efficacious interventions for child emotional or behavior problems exist 
(e.g., psychopharmacologic, psychosocial, integrated interventions); however, 
these interventions are not commonly implemented into practice.  Efforts to 
disseminate knowledge to stakeholder groups or implement "evidence-based" 
interventions have often failed partly due to their poor fit with the target 
audience or setting context.  "Dissemination" involves the targeted 
distribution of information to a specific audience.  "Implementation" is the 
use of strategies to introduce or change practices within communities.  
Current conceptual models, methods, and strategies have largely failed to 
facilitate dissemination or implementation efforts to translate research to 
practice.  Interdisciplinary networks are needed to explore the complex nature 
of such dissemination or implementation processes.    

Community-based child mental health preventive or treatment services are often 
provided outside of traditional mental health specialty care; however, 
relevant stakeholders from these settings are often not involved in 
intervention development or testing.  These stakeholders (i.e., state/county 
health administrators, family members, pediatricians, teachers, social 
workers) will be critical to both the dissemination and implementation 
process.  Interdisciplinary networks on either dissemination or implementation 
processes could draw from the substantial knowledge and tools of the 
stakeholders listed above as well as more traditional research disciplines 
(e.g., clinical scientists, social scientists, methodologists, economists, 
anthropologists, public policy, information theory, marketing).  Such 
interdisciplinary networks could focus upon, but are not limited to, the 
following:

o  Understanding how messages about mental health treatments and prevention 
can be created, packaged, delivered, and evaluated within a dissemination 
study.  Since dissemination is concerned with the transmission and reception 
of messages, networks might draw upon the fields of information theory, 
marketing, organizational theory, or learning.  

o  Understanding the specific contexts in which information on interventions 
is disseminated or in which interventions are being implemented.  Various 
service providers (teachers, administration, social workers) and delivery 
contexts (e.g. primary care) likely require unique information or intervention 
delivery strategies.  

o  Understanding the process of implementing evidence-based interventions, 
involving factors such as provider behavior change, decision-making, consumer 
help-seeking and motivation, management and financing.  The outcome of 
implementation studies is the use of the intervention in real world settings.  

o  Clarifying factors that influence the sustainability of treatment or 
preventive interventions.  Networks might examine the impact of past 
dissemination and implementation trials, as well as design pilot studies to 
assess the sustainability of messages, treatments, and programs.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported 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 AMENDMENT "NIH 
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical 
Research - Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts on October 9, 2001 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are 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 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 the following URL 
address: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.

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

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 proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at the following website: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

PUBLIC 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 public 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 RFA 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.

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 the RFA in 
response to which the application may be submitted.  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 IC staff to 
estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Serene Olin by the letter of intent 
receipt date listed in the heading of the RFA.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html must be used in 
applying for these grants.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, 
Telephone 301/435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

The title and number of the RFA must be typed on line 2 of the face page of 
the application form and the YES box must be marked.  

For the R24 mechanism, the background section must include a description of 
already funded component projects that is sufficient to enable an assessment 
of the degree to which the R24 grant would facilitate collaborative approaches 
to the research problem.  This section also should contain a rationale for why 
this group of components and investigators was selected, and why the requested 
consortium support is likely to significantly enhance progress on the research 
problem, beyond what could be accomplished with the individual research grant 
support.  If some of the participating investigators are at the same 
institution, a rationale must be provided explaining how this R24 mechanism 
will enhance integration and collaboration amongst those participants, beyond 
what would normally be expected of a group of investigators with shared 
interests at the same institution.  The Research Plan should contain a 
description of the approaches and how they will be accomplished to further the 
research goals.  The principal investigator should describe how the activities 
will be coordinated and made accessible to all participating components.  
Applicants should also include specific plans for sharing data and materials 
that may be generated through the consortium grant.  The Resource section 
should address existing intellectual and other resources.  

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODULAR GRANT APPLICATIONS

The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets. Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The 
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when 
there is a possibility for an award. It is anticipated that these changes will 
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers and NIH staff.  
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html is to be used in 
applying for these grants, with modular budget instructions provided in 
Section C of the application instructions.  

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA 
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed 
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee 
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on 
line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be 
marked. The RFA label is also available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf.

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: 

Jean Noronha, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892-9609
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the 
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will 
be returned to the applicant without review.
  
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The 
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one 
already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of substantial 
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must include 
an Introduction addressing the previous critique.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by the NIMH.  Incomplete applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration.  If the application is not responsive 
to the RFA, CSR staff may contact the applicant to determine whether to return 
the application to the applicant or submit it for review in competition with 
unsolicited applications at the next review cycle.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for 
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by 
the NIMH in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the 
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and 
undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest 
scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under review, 
will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a second level 
review by the National Advisory Mental Health Council.
 
Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
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:  Will the collaborative activities supported by this 
application further research on 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 and to the type of application, i.e., R21 or R24?  Does the applicant 
acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Are the 
basic research components and research questions suitably chosen to represent 
a feasible and potentially valuable interdisciplinary project?

(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 principal investigator appropriately trained and 
well suited to carry out this work?  Does the interdisciplinary network 
involve basic and clinical/services expertise, other mental health 
stakeholders and experts as appropriate? Is the work proposed appropriate to 
the experience level of the principal investigator and collaborative 
researchers?

(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?

Additional Review Criteria for the R24 grant mechanism:

o  Will the proposed collaborative activities and/or resources significantly 
enhance the ability of the investigators to address the goals of the component 
projects?

o  Do the component projects address a common problem and are they suitable 
for a collaborative and integrative approach?

o  Have the team members been assembled with respect to employing the 
expertise needed to address the shared research problem, regardless of their 
location?

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

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

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

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

o  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data, if appropriate.

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    March 4, 2002
Application Receipt Date:         April 10, 2002
Peer Review Date:                 June/July 2002
Council Review:                   September 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2002

AWARD CRITERIA

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

o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities

INQUIRIES

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

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues may be directed to the individuals 
listed on the following website:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/grants/MH02011rfacontacts.cfm

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Joy Knipple
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-8811
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  jk173r@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.242.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 
74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review 
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

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