NEUROSCIENCES TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

NIH Guide, Volume 26, Number 38, November 21, 1997

PA NUMBER:  PA-98-012

P.T.

National Center for Research Resources

PURPOSE

The mission of the Biomedical Technology area of the National Center for Research
Resources (NCRR) is to support research to identify, create and develop
innovative technologies and to provide these technologies for biomedical
research.  Areas of emphasis are biomedical engineering, biomedical computing,
and technologies for the study of structure and function at all levels of living
systems.

The purpose of this program announcement (PA) is to encourage submission of new
research project grant (R01) applications to develop new (or enhance existing)
technologies, methods, or instrumentation for the study of the biology of the
brain, with special emphasis on approaches that are appropriate for investigating
dynamic changes with time, the fourth dimension.  Recently, several new
technologies from microscopic to tomographic approaches have enabled significant
progress in this area.  Examples include application of multi-photon imaging of
cellular processes and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain as a whole or of
microscopic regions.  However, the contributions of these approaches to providing
biological information with suitable spatial and temporal resolution are in early
stages of development.  It is an opportune time to capitalize on these beginnings
to engage other sophisticated and sensitive image acquisition and analysis
methodologies, as well as encourage the development of appropriate strategies for
integrating the large amounts of data that are derived from such imaging systems.
This solicitation is intended to include any novel or emerging technology
suitable for studying the brain, including:  magnetic resonance imaging,
microscopic imaging, physiological tracer imaging, image
processing/manipulation/fusion, modeling/simulation, and database
access/analysis.  Since such imaging approaches must ultimately be linked to
brain function, approaches such as: electrophysiological recording, mass
spectrometry, cartography, virtual reality/environments, and visualization must
similarly be developed in ways which permit mapping onto imaging
results/databases.

The special requirements imposed on studies of the brain suggest general thrusts
for methodological and technical developments.  These include: hierarchical brain
modeling (simulation), multiscale (time/space) data acquisition and integration,
development of reporter/indicator molecules, novel detectors, nanotechnology,
data visualization approaches, and application of bioinformatics approaches. 
Increasing the speed of data processing, ultimately to the level of real-time,
is urgently required.

Under these general areas, applications are solicited for specific technological
innovations and enhancements such as creation and delivery of new labels and
dyes; federated data bases and search engines; higher field electrical and
optical imaging, MEG, and other tools; higher temporal/spatial resolution, larger
field-of view cameras; more efficient microscopies for use in the living brain;
stereo, non-invasive (or non-destructive) stimulators; techniques that bridge
interfaces (e.g. dyes that work with MR, confocal, and other modalities); image
analysis tools such as intelligent segmentation and registration; and virtual or
augmented visualization.

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 priority areas.  This PA is related to several of the
priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000"
(Full Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report: Stock No.
017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202/512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by foreign and domestic nonprofit and for-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.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Support of this activity will be through the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
research project grants (R01) mechanism.  Indirect costs will be provided.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this PA is to provide the opportunity to:

o  explore new approaches, test imaginative new ideas or to challenge existing
paradigms in technologies to stimulate innovative research  to study the biology
and function of the brain;

o  develop significant enhancements to existing technology important to
neuroscience research; or

o  translate a scientific concept into the basis for a future technology that
leads to the solution of important neuroscience research problems.

The research sought should be innovative with the potential to have significant
impact on brain research, especially in areas relating to dynamic 3-D imaging.

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 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 have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994
(FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23,
Number 11, March 18, 1994.

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

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
5/95) and prepared according to the instructions provided.  Application kits are
available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained
from the Office of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, 6701 Rockledge
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email:
asknih@od.nih.gov.

C.  SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Face Page of the application:

Item 2.  Check the box marked ~YES~ and type the number and title of this program
announcement.

2.  Description:

As part of the description, identify concisely the technology or methodology to
be developed; its innovative nature; its relationship to presently available
capabilities and its expected impact on brain research.

Research Plan:

Item a., Specific Aims.  The instructions for this section suggest that the
applicant state ~the hypotheses to be tested.  Since the goal of this program
announcement is to develop innovative technologies, hypothesis testing per se may
not be the driving force in developing such a proposal and, therefore, may not
be applicable.

Item b:

Under Background Significance, elaborate on the innovative nature of the proposed
research. Clarify how the technology development proposed in this project is a
significant improvement over existing approaches. Explain the potential of the
proposed technology for having a broad impact on neuroscience research or on
improved human health. Clearly identify how the project, if successful, would
result in new capabilities for research, and how these capabilities would differ
from existing technologies.

Use the mailing label in the application kit to mail the original and five copies
of the application to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW (formerly Division of Research Grants)
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral
guidelines.  Applications not adhering to application instructions described
above and those applications that are incomplete will be returned to the
applicant without review.

An initial review group convened by the CSR in accordance with NIH peer review
procedures will evaluate applications that are responsive to the program
announcement, for scientific and technical merit. 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 the applications, will be discussed, assigned
a priority score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate National
Advisory 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 review, comments on the following aspects of the application will be made
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 the assignment of the overall score.

Significance

Does the study focus on the development of an important technology? If the
technological aims of the project are achieved, will it have a significant impact
in advancing neuroscience?

Approach

Are the experimental and engineering approaches adequately developed, well
integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant
acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

Innovation

Does the project propose new technological approaches or explore new research
paradigms in engineering, instrumentation, physical sciences, mathematics or
computer science as applied to neuroscience or challenge existing paradigms in
these fields?

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)?

Environment

Does the scientific and technological 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?

Investigators should be aware that NIH urges applicants to give added attention,
where feasible and appropriate, to the inclusion of minorities and women in study
populations.  If minorities and/or women are not included in a given study
involving human subjects, a clear rationale for their exclusion must be provided.

The initial review group will also examine the adequacy of the proposed means for
protecting against or minimizing potential adverse effects upon humans, animals
or the environment.

In addition to review of the merit of the application, the review committee will
also examine the appropriateness of the requested budget.

AWARD CRITERIA

The award of grants is contingent on the receipt of applications of high
scientific merit; relevance to the mission of the Biomedical Technology area of
the NCRR; and the availability of appropriated funds.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Subject areas: bioengineering, biomedical computing

Dr. Richard DuBois
Biomedical Technology
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive Room 6160, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0755
FAX:  (301) 480-3659

Subject areas: imaging, molecular structure and function

Dr. Abraham Levy
Biomedical Technology
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive Room 6160, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-79652
Telephone:  (301) 435-0755
FAX:  (301) 480-3659

Subject areas: electron microscopy, mass spectrometry

Dr. Mary Ann Markwell
Biomedical Technology
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive Room 6160, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0755
FAX:  (301) 480-3659

Subject areas: all other

Dr.  Karl Koehler
Biomedical Technology
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive Room 6160, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0755
FAX:  (301) 480-3659

Or send an email inquiry to:  BTAdir@ep.ncrr.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Judith Musgrave
Office of Grants Management
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Room 6086, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0844
Email: judithm@ep.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 the Public Health Service Act,
Title III, Part A (Public Law 78- 410), as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC
241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations
42 CFR 52.  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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