BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE TRACK AWARDS FOR RAPID TRANSITION-NIAAA

Release Date:  January 20, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-043

P.T.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Application Receipt Dates:  June 1, 1999; October 1, 1999; February 1, 2000

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) invites newly
independent investigators to submit applications for small-scale, exploratory
(i.e., pilot) research projects related to NIAAA's behavioral sciences mission. 
The Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition (B/START-NIAAA) will
provide rapid review and funding decisions of applications. Experimentally-based
research applications are encouraged across a wide variety of behavioral factors
in alcohol abuse and its sequelae, including neurocognitive, cognitive and
perceptual processes and psychosocial influences such as, motivational, social
and community factors.  Both animal and human studies are encouraged.  Since
alcohol abuse sometimes plays a role in HIV/AIDS transmission, studies applying
basic behavioral science models and methods to address this issue are also
encouraged.

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 program announcement (PA), Behavioral
Science Track Awards for Rapid Transition-NIAAA, is related to the priority area
of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.  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, and eligible agencies of the
Federal Government.  Foreign organizations are not eligible to apply. 
Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are
encouraged to apply as principal investigators.

To be eligible for a B/START-NIAAA award, the proposed principal investigator
must be independent of a mentor at the time of award, but be at the beginning
stages of her/his research career.  If the applicant is in the final stages of
training, he/she may apply, but no B/START award will be made to an individual
in training status.  The proposed principal investigator may not have been
designated previously as principal investigator on any Public Health Service
(PHS)-supported research project.  Previous receipt of National Research Service
Award funds (i.e., Institutional Training Grant stipend or Individual Fellowship)
or a Mentored Research Career Development (K) Award is permissible.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The funding mechanism that will be used to support this initiative is the small
grant (R03).  Each award may not exceed $50,000 in direct costs per year for a
period of up to two years.  The award is not renewable.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The NIAAA, through the issuance of this program announcement (PA) hopes to
facilitate the entry of beginning investigators into the field of alcohol-related
behavioral science research.  This is of special concern to NIAAA because
understanding behavioral processes is a fundamental aspect of reducing alcohol
abuse and alcoholism.

Because of the importance of this public health mission, the support of
behavioral science investigators who will make the next important discoveries in
alcohol abuse is a high priority.  The purpose of this PA is to underscore
NIAAA's commitment and interest in expanding the scope of basic behavioral
sciences research in alcohol abuse. NIAAA supports both animal and human basic
research to elucidate underlying behavioral mechanisms, determinants and
correlates of alcohol abuse, and to characterize the harmful sequelae of alcohol
abuse and dependence.

Animal and human research applications are encouraged in the following broad
areas (specific research examples shown are illustrative only; research topics
are not restricted to those listed).

o  Behavioral genetic approaches either in animal models (e.g., transgenic
animals, development of simple high-input behavioral screens) or human subject
studies (e.g., genetic association studies using existing subject samples,
secondary analyses of data from twin and genetic linkage studies).

o  Cognitive effects and causative factors in humans and animals (e.g., learning
and memory, information processing, perceptual processes including pain and
analgesia, attention, problem solving, concept formation, spatial ability,
neuropsychology and neurocognition, animal cognition).

o  Psychosocial, social and personality factors (e.g., psychosocial risk factors,
group and interpersonal processes, risk taking and HIV/AIDS, social influence,
social values, social attitudes and cognition, persuasion, conformity, and
compliance).

o  Motivational bases of behavior (e.g., negative affective states, behavioral
alternatives, craving, appetitive and ingestive behaviors, fear, anxiety,
stress).

o Modification and/or development of animal paradigms to study alcohol's
behavioral effects during juvenile through adolescent period (e.g., self-
administration, drug discrimination, dependence).

o Evaluation of behavioral interventions for impairments resulting from prenatal
alcohol exposure.

o Temperamental factors related to the development of alcoholism (e.g.,
antisocial personality, emotional reactivity, disinhibition/self-control.)

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 is 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.

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://www.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.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98).  Application 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.

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed in Section 2 on
the face page of the application.

The Research Plan (Items A-D) should not exceed 10 typewritten pages. 
Additionally, the NIH Just-in-Time application procedures apply for B/START-NIAAA
submissions such that Other Support and detailed budgetary information is not
required until the application is likely to be funded.  See the NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts, Vol. 25, No. 10, March 29, 1996, for further information.

The completed original application and three legible copies must be sent or
delivered to:

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

To permit an expedited review of the application, applicants must simultaneously
send two complete copies to:

Chief, Extramural Project Review Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 409, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)

In FY 1999, the regular receipt date of June 1 for R03 applications applies.  For
FY 2000 and beyond, there will be two receipt dates per fiscal year:  October 1
and February 1.

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 by the NIAAA.  As part of the 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 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 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:

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

AWARD CRITERIA

Future support for this program will depend upon available appropriations.  The
following will be considered in making funding decisions:  quality of the
proposed project as determined by peer review, availability of funds, and program
priority.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Darryl Bertolucci, M.A.
Division of Biometry and Epidemiology
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 514, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-4898
Email:  dbertolu@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

Joanne Fertig, Ph.D.
Division of Clinical and Prevention Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 505, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-0635
Email:  jfertig@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

Ellen Witt, Ph.D.
Division of Basic Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 402, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-6545
Email:  ewitt@willco.niaaa.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Judy Simons
Grants Management Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 504, MSC 7003
Bethesda, MD  20892-7003
Telephone:  (301) 443-2434
Email:  js182a@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.273.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act,
Sections 301 and 464H, and administered under NIH grant policies and Federal
Regulations Act Title 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 74 or Part 92, as
applicable.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The Public Health Service (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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