HIGH END INSTRUMENTATION PROGRAM

Release Date:  June 11, 2001

RFA:  RFA-RR-01-004

National Center for Research Resources

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  August 14, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       September 14, 2001

PURPOSE

In recognition of the need for and advantages of continuing investment in new 
instrumentation for the advancement of biomedical research, the National 
Center for Research Resources (NCRR) announces a new program for the support 
of research instrumentation. Awards will be made for up to a maximum of $2.0 
million in direct costs for a single major item of advanced equipment. 
Instruments in this category include structural and functional imaging 
systems, macromolecular NMR spectrometers, high-resolution mass 
spectrometers, electron microscopes, and supercomputers.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health 
promotion and disease prevention objectives of “ Healthy People 2010,” a PHS 
led national activity for setting priority areas. This Request for 
Applications (RFA), High End Instrumentation Program, 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

Under the general research support authority of Section 301(a)(3) of the 
Public Health Service Act, Shared Instrumentation Grant awards are made to 
public and non-profit institutions only.  For purposes of these guidelines, 
an "institution" is defined as the organizational component identified on 
page 1, item 11 of the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98), for which descriptive information 
is provided on pages 9-10 in the PHS 398 kit.  These institutions include 
health professional schools, other academic institutions, hospitals, health 
departments, and research organizations.  Federal institutions, foreign 
institutions, and for-profit institutions are not eligible to apply. 
Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are 
encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) S10 grant 
mechanism. The program will assist in the acquisition of major research 
equipment that is too costly for support through the NCRR Shared 
Instrumentation Grant (SIG) program. Awards will be made for the direct cost 
of the instrument only. No indirect costs are provided. Matching funds are 
not required; however, commitment of an appropriate level of institutional 
support to insure the associated infrastructure is expected (building 
alterations, or renovations, post-award service contracts and technical 
personnel). Support for operation and maintenance and trained personnel may 
also be obtained from the research project grants of the users or supplements 
to them.

The instrument must be utilized by a minimum of three Principal investigators 
on NIH peer reviewed research grants at the time of application and award.  
For purposes of this program, research grants are defined as those grants 
awarded with the following activity codes: P01, R01, U01, U19, R29, R35, and 
R37. A common categorical focus is not required.  Since this program 
interfaces with other programs, it is strongly urged that applicants contact 
the staff person in the Division of Biomedical Technology of NCRR before 
submitting a proposal. 

It is expected that most of the equipment requested in the HEI Program will 
be of a specialized nature and will require a high level of technical 
expertise to operate the instrument and conduct experiments.  Therefore, for 
the requested instrument to be used effectively and to avoid abuse of 
instrumentation, which frequently occurs in an open access environment, the 
bulk of the research time may have to be reserved for a few investigators.  
Alternatively, some type of instruments might be accessed by the research 
community through collaborations with appropriate investigators. Other types 
of instruments requested may not be as dedicated and will serve a broadly 
diversified biomedical community. In any case, priority for instrument use 
should be given to NIH-supported scientists engaged in biomedical/behavioral 
research.

The program will provide 12-month, nonrenewable awards up to a maximum $2.0 
million. Only one major item of equipment can be requested per application. 
Supplemental applications will not be accepted.  Although the focus of the 
HEI Program is on a new generation of instruments that cost over $1.0 
Million, the floor for the program has been set at $750,000. Applications for 
routine instruments such as mid-field NMR spectrometers, multi-photon 
microscopes and other applications for requests totaling over $750,000 which 
are the result of an overestimation of price and/or an excessive number of 
accessories, will be returned as not being responsive to the HEI Program. 
Identical or very similar applications may not be submitted to the Shared 
Instrumentation Program and the High End Instrumentation.  However, a revised 
application based on a previously reviewed SIG submission may be submitted to 
the HEI program.  In order to submit a revised application, the investigator 
must have received the summary statement from the previous review and must 
address the criticisms raised in the Introduction. An institution may submit 
more than one application, but the instruments requested should be 
substantially different. It is anticipated that only a few grants will be 
awarded in a given technological area. Generally, if the funds requested do 
not cover the total cost of the instrument, documentation of the availability 
of the remainder of the funding, signed by an appropriate institutional 
official, must be submitted to NCRR prior to issuance of an award.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NCRR intends to commit approximately $10,000,000 in FY 2002 to fund five 
to ten new grants in response to this RFA.  Because the nature and scope of 
the research proposed may vary, it is anticipated that the size of each award 
will also vary.  Although the financial plans of the NCRR provide support for 
this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the 
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious 
applications. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

With advances in the technological development, biomedical scientists require 
ever more powerful tools for their research. As new instruments with enhanced 
performance become available, their importance for research increases along 
with the costs. Although the Program provides a cost-effective mechanism for 
groups of NIH supported investigators to obtain commercially available 
equipment costing between $100,000 and $500,000, at present there is no NIH 
program that provides expensive, high-end instruments to the broad community 
of basic and clinical scientists.  While the National Science Foundation has 
several major equipment programs, they exclude instrumentation used for 
disease-oriented research.  To meet the demands of the community, the NCRR 
initiated this new program to support expensive, high-end instruments.

Examples of key instruments in this category include but are not limited to:

Imaging: The boundaries of imaging technology have been extended to acquire 
functional, biochemical and physiological information in intact biological 
systems including humans. This has led to an increased demand for 
multinuclear spectroscopy and functional magnetic resonance and PET imaging 
instruments.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance:  There is a significant demand for increased 
sensitivity and resolution of high-field NMR spectrometers to determine 
three-dimensional structures of large proteins and protein complexes in 
extremely small samples.  This need is magnified by the extended run times 
for data collection at lower fields, which limits access to these 
instruments. 

Mass spectrometers: Instruments that combine electrospray ionization with 
Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometry are now 
available.  The FTICR methods provide very high resolution and accurate 
molecular weight measurement to study large biopolymers and their 
interactions. 

Electron microscopes: The frontier of cell biology now focuses on elucidating 
the nature and function of cell organelles and the role of complex protein 
machines. Such studies require intermediate voltage electron microscopes with 
field emission illumination for high resolution imaging of single molecules. 
Such microscopes are also needed to perform computer reconstruction at the 
subnanometer scale for macromolecular assemblies that are too large and 
complex to study by x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy.

Supercomputers:  Computational biologists require computers or clusters of 
computers with high-performance visualization hardware, parallel 
architectures, and large data storage and transfer capabilities at increased 
speed.  Applications for general use computer networks will not be accepted. 

Applications for synchrotron equipment, with the exception of detectors, will 
not be accepted.

The Principal Investigator must be able to assume administrative and 
scientific oversight responsibility for the instrument requested.  Although 
it is not required, it is strongly encouraged that the Principal Investigator 
be a scientist with expertise in the unique technical area.  It is not 
required that the Principal Investigator be an NIH awardee.

An internal advisory committee must be named to assist the Principal 
Investigator in administering the grant and overseeing the responsibility for 
the instrument.  The membership of this committee should be broadly based and 
include members without a conflict of interest who can resolve disputes if 
they arise.  The Principal Investigator and the advisory committee are 
responsible for the development of guidelines for:

o maximum utilization of the instrument, including time allocation 
o a detailed plan for the day-to-day management of the instrument.
o a financial plan for the long term operation and maintenance of the 
instrument during the post award period.

During the post award period, the Principal Investigator will also be 
responsible for obtaining appropriate no-cost extensions of the project 
period if needed.  Ninety days following the end of the project period, a 
final progress report is required that describes the instrument purchased, 
and a list of all users and a description of the value of the instrument to 
the investigators and to the institution as a whole.

URLS IN NIH APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICIES

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 for the review because reviewers are under no 
obligation to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their 
anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit by the deadline given on the first 
page of this announcement a letter of intent that includes a descriptive 
title with the name of the type of instrument requested; the name, address, 
telephone number and e-mail address of the Principal Investigator; the 
identities of other key personnel and participating institutions; and the 
number and title of the RFA. Although the letter of intent is not required, 
is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent 
application, this information is useful to NIH staff to plan the review 
process. The letter of intent can be sent via email to HEI@NCRR.NIH.GOV or 
faxed to Marjorie A. Tingle, Ph.D.  An acknowledgment of receipt will be 
provided.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application from PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants. Applications kits are available at most 
institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained 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, email: grantsinfo@nih.gov. For those applicants 
with Internet access, the 398 kit may be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.

The RFA label available in the PHS (rev.4/98) 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 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.

Follow the PHS 398 instructions with the following special instructions 
below.  

Do not use the format for Modular Grant applications or Just-In-Time 
applications.  

1.  Form page 1 (Face page of the application) 

Item 1. Name the type of instrument requested.
 
Item 2. Check the box marked "YES" and enter the number and title of this 
RFA.

Item 4. Not applicable

Item 5. Not applicable

Item 6. The dates should be 07/01/02 through 06/30/03.

Items 7A and 7B, 8A and 8B. Use these blocks to give the total amount 
requested from NCRR for this instrument. The direct costs and total 
costs for the budget period and project period must be the same.

Item 11. Insert the appropriate code identification (same as PHS 398).

2.  Form page 2. Complete the abstract as directed.  Under "Key Personnel," 
give data on the Principal Investigator and the other participating 
investigators.

3.  Form page 4. Describe the instrument requested including manufacturer and 
model number. The model chosen should be justified by comparing its 
performance with other available instruments where appropriate. Specific 
features and any accessories should be justified, both in this section and in 
the description of research projects. Provide a detailed budget breakdown of 
the main equipment and accessories requested including tax and import duties, 
if applicable. An itemized quote from a vendor should be included. If a 
project involves a potential biohazard, funds for accessory containment 
equipment for the instrument or instrument system may be included in the 
requested budget.

4. Form page 5. Budget Estimates for All Years.  Not applicable; do not 
complete.

5.  Form page 6 - Biographical Sketch.  In addition to the personnel listed 
on page 2, include a biographical sketch of the person(s) who will be in 
charge of maintenance and operation of the instrument and a brief statement 
of the qualifications of the individual(s). Biographical sketches should not 
exceed 2 pages for each individual.

6.  Form page 7 - Other Support.  Provide the other support information for 
each participating investigator.

7.  Form page 8 - Resources.  Not applicable; do not complete.

8.  Research Plan section of the application. (If this is a revised 
application, note the special instructions on page 14 in the PHS 398 kit 
regarding completion of this section of the application.)

9. Form page II – Checklist.

The following topics must be addressed in the research plan which may not 
exceed 25 pages:

a. Instrumentation Requested

Describe the instrument requested and the significance of the technology to 
biomedical research. For a new generation instrument present the design 
concept, rationale and development methods in sufficient detail to allow 
evaluation of its technical feasibility. Inventory current and related 
instrumentation at the applicant institution or nearby institutions and 
describe why they are unavailable or inappropriate for the proposed research. 
Provide a clear justification why new instrumentation, including accessories 
is needed. Include specific documentation on the current usage and downtime 
of existing instruments and a realistic estimate of the projected usage of 
the requested instrument.
     
b.  Technical Expertise

Describe the technical expertise available at the applicant institution to 
set up, run and maintain the instrument. Specify how and by whom the 
instrumentation will be operated and maintained. Are there any collaborations 
between disciplinary and interdisciplinary scientists for developing the 
technical aspects of the instrumentation? Outline the roles of the technical 
staff in training new users and in facilitating the adoption of these state-
of-the-art techniques in the users’ research programs.
       
c.  Research Projects

Give a brief description of the users’ projects focusing on the benefit of 
the instrument to the research objectives of each user. Sufficient technical 
detail (results of preliminary data and /or supplemental information) should 
be included to evaluate whether the instrument requested is appropriate, 
would be effectively employed, and would provide advantages over other 
methods. The need for special features and accessories must be justified. If 
possible, each user should highlight those publications that demonstrate the 
users’ expertise in using the requested instrumentation. If the number of 
projects is large and broadly diversified, select out a smaller 
representative group. Use a table to list the names of the users, brief 
titles of the projects, the NIH grant numbers and the estimated percentage of 
use. Make a separate table to indicate the user’s needs for the requested 
accessories. List the page number of each table under “Table of Contents” 
(Form page 3) after resources. 

d.  Institutional Commitment

Explain how the requested instrumentation will contribute to the 
institution’s biomedical research goals. Describe the institutional 
infrastructure (space, environment and utilities) available to support the 
instrumentation.  Indicate if the institution has any history of making 
technology available and for keeping instruments in top operating condition. 
       
e.  Administration of the Instrument

Describe the organizational plan for administering the grant. Include how the 
instrument will be utilized, how requests are made, how time will be 
allocated to competing research projects and how schedules are posted. How 
will the results obtained be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific 
understanding?  What are the plans for attracting new users. Include the 
names and titles of members of local and/or external advisory committees to 
oversee its use. Describe the role and responsibility of the advisory 
committee(s) in developing policies and procedures to assure equitable use of 
the instrument time and their meeting schedules. 
      
f.  Financial Administration.
            
Provide a financial plan for long term operation of the instrument. Specify 
how and by whom the requested instrumentation will be operated and 
maintained. Pertinent data on user charges, salaries of technical support 
personnel, maintenance contracts, instrument upgrades, shop charges and other 
expenses, should be included. Specify the plans for fully funding the 
instrument. Specify the sources and amounts of cost sharing funds (private, 
state or institutional funds) and a projection of when they will be 
available. Give a time frame or prospects for delivery of the instrument. 
Provide documentation (separate letters signed by appropriate institutional 
officials) specifically describing the institutional commitment (in dollars) 
in support of the instrument.

Applications must be received by September 14, 2001. Applications received 
after this date will not be accepted for review in this competition and will 
be returned to the applicant. The completed, signed original and four  exact 
photocopies of the signed application and any appendix material must be sent 
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)

One copy of the application l must be sent to:

DIVISION OF BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGY 
NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH RESOURCES
6705 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 6154 - MSC 7965
BETHESDA, MD 20892-7965
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)

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

Applications that are complete and responsive to the program announcement 
will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer 
review group convened in accordance with NIH peer review procedures. As part 
of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique 
and may undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of applications under 
review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a second 
level review by the National Advisory Research Resources Council (NARRC).

Applications are reviewed by specially convened initial review groups of the 
Center for Scientific Review (CSR) for scientific and technical merit and for 
program considerations by the NARRC of the NCRR. Funding decisions on all 
applications received for the September 14, 2001, deadline will not be made 
until the program receives an appropriation for FY2002.  The earliest 
possible state date is July 1, 2002.
    
REVIEW CRITERIA

Is the need for the instrument clearly and adequately justified? Is the 
equipment essential and appropriate? Will the instrument requested have a 
significant impact on biomedical/ behavioral research and contribute to the 
advancement of human health? 

Does the institution have the high-level technical expertise and access to 
the necessary infrastructure to make effective use of the requested 
equipment?  How well–qualified are the participating investigators to operate 
and maintain the instrument, conduct the projects, and evaluate the research 
results? Are there collaborations in place between disciplinary and 
interdisciplinary scientists?

Will research with the requested instrument advance the knowledge and 
understanding of the proposed projects?  Will the results be disseminated 
broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding?  Are there 
appropriate plans in place for record keeping and bioinformatics?

Is the plan for the management and maintenance of the requested instrument 
appropriate and does it make possible the wide usage of the instrument?  Are 
there plans for maximizing the effectiveness of the investment in 
instrumentation?

Is the membership of the advisory committee broadly based to oversee the use 
of the instrument for a wide range of biomedical investigators?  How will 
research time allocated to competing projects?  

Is the financial plan for fully funding the purchase and long term operation 
and maintenance of the instrument reasonable?

What is the evidence of institutional commitment to support the instrument?  
Is there an institutional track record for making technology available?

 AWARD CRITERIA

In making funding decisions, the NCRR will give consideration to:
O scientific merit as determined by peer review
O program priorities
O program balance among various types of instruments supported
O availability of funds

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic or scientific issues to:
Marjorie A. Tingle, Ph.D.
High End Instrumentation Program
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Room 6154, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0772
FAX:  (301) 480-3659
Email:  HEI@ncrr.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Ms. Mary Niemiec
Office of Grants Management
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Room 6205, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0842
Email:  MaryN@ncrr.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.371. Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241, 287 and 287a) 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 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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