SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT CENTERS

Release Date:  July 29, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-130

National Institute of Mental Health

Application Receipt Date:  September 13, 1999; June 1 each year thereafter

PURPOSE

This program announcement is a revision of and therefore supersedes,
PAR-92-78, (Revised November 1995) and will govern future competing renewals
by new or currently funded SWRDC grants.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announces the availability of
support for Social Work Research Development Centers (SWRDC) focused on the
development of social work research in all areas of mental health research.
Each SWRDC will consist of two components, both of which are required: I. NIMH
SWRDC INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PLAN; and II. NIMH SWRDC RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT
PROPOSAL(S).

The award mechanism to be used is designed to provide the flexibility to meet
unique institutional needs for developing a strong mental health research
program.  The overall goal is to strengthen the institutional infrastructure
and to develop the capability of faculty members within academic social work
settings to carry out mental health research.  This is accomplished by support
of research infrastructure development and research that addresses major
scientific knowledge gaps and needs.

The SWRDC program is in response to recommendations of the National Advisory
Mental Health Council (NAMHC) in "Building Social Work Knowledge for Effective
Services and Policies: A Plan for Research Development" (November 1991), the
Report of a special Task Force on Social Work Research which held meetings
over a period of nearly 3 years in order to analyze the current state of
research education, research resources, and research development in social
work.

This announcement is also responsive to recommendations of the NAMHC report 
"Bridging Science and Service" (1998) concerning the efficacy, effectiveness,
practice, and service systems research to foster integration across these
fields and to expedite the implementation of research based-based practices
and policies.  Please see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/bridge.htm

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, Social Work Research
Development Centers, is related to the priority area of Mental Health and
Mental Disorders.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People
2000" at http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000/

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Only domestic public and private universities and/or colleges which award
graduate degrees in social work/social welfare may apply, but the application
may include undergraduate programs in social work.  Women, racial/ethnic
minority individuals, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as
principal investigators.  Foreign institutions are not eligible for the R24
funding mechanism.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This PA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Resource-Related
Research Projects (R24) mechanism. Initial support for a SWRDC Infrastructure
Improvement Award (R24) may be requested for a 5-year period.  If substantial
progress has been achieved in the initial period and additional support is
essential for developing the capacity to become a national research resource
center, a second 5-year award may be requested.  A SWRDC may not receive more
than a total of 10 years of support through this mechanism.

Allowable Costs

Because the nature and scope of the research proposed in response to this
program announcement may vary, it is anticipated that the size of an award
will also vary.  The maximum request for an Infrastructure Improvement award
(R24) is $400,000 direct costs per year. Individual Research Enhancement
Projects (R24) are limited to $250,000 direct costs per year.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

BACKGROUND

Social work is a dynamic profession with a large and growing body of
practitioners working in a diverse range of programs.  The development of
research and research resources within social work, however, was seen as
lagging far behind the growth of the profession as a whole.  This disparity
was particularly evident in the mental health services field where social
workers probably provide more care for the severely mentally ill than any
other professional group.  The amount of research in schools of social work,
however, was so small that the Task Force concluded that there was a crisis in
social work research.  While progress has been made in achieving these goals,
additional support is needed.

The discipline of social work emphasizes a person-in-environment framework
which focuses on complex interactions among social systems that affect
clients, service organizations, and service providers.  This perspective,
linked to insights derived from the practice experiences of social workers in
various settings, can greatly enrich the field of mental health research.  To
date, this potential has gone largely unrealized because of a pervasive
absence in the social work field of the organizational and financial supports
needed for greater participation of social workers in rigorous mental health
research.

Most research in social work during the past three decades has been based in
the Nation's schools of social work.  Research centers located in these
schools offer a highly promising means of providing stimulating and productive
environments in which social work researchers can interact with investigators
drawn from other disciplines in the conceptualization and development of
research.  The September 1998 "Report on Progress in the Development of
Research Resources in Social Work" documents what has been accomplished and
the need for further development of research resources.

The SWRDC should be planned and organized to address major scientific
knowledge gaps and needs in mental health research.  The substantive research
focus of the improvement plan must be clearly conceptualized and developed in
both the SWRDC Infrastructure Plan and in the closely inter-related SWRDC
Research Enhancement Projects.

Research areas of NIMH concern are described on the NIMH Home Page,
www.nimh.nih.gov and specifically at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/grants/grantgen2.htm#n4
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/index.cfm.  It is the task of the applicant
to identify the specific scientifically important mental health research gaps
and needs that the proposed SWRDC will addressed.

SWRDC PROGRAM SPECIFICATIONS

I. NIMH SWRDC INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PLAN

The NIMH Infrastructure Improvement Plan must address major scientific
knowledge gaps and needs in mental health research in one or more core
research areas and must have a plan for developing the research infrastructure
needed to build the capacity to do research in one or more core areas.

A. CORE RESEARCH AREA:

Core activities, including core research, should contribute to the goal of
filling major gaps in or further developing significant scientific areas in
mental health research.  The SWRDC must conceptualize and describe an
organizing mental health research theme, or set of themes, and a research
agenda that define the mission of the Center.  For each theme or core area,
the SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan must review the relevant empirical
and theoretical literature, identify major unresolved issues, and present a
plan for developing a rigorous, theory driven, multi-disciplinary program to
address research questions and clarify theory and/or practice.  (If there is
more than one core research area or theme, separate descriptions of each such
core research area must be provided.)  Each SWRDC should clearly define one or
more substantive research questions or core themes that will be addressed by
the SWRDC study teams.

The proposed research agenda for the SWRDC must be based upon a highly
integrated, multidisciplinary approach which bridges basic and applied
science, and involves the most advanced technologies relevant to the research
area.  A SWRDC need not be limited by departmental or geographical boundaries. 
A research team may consist of investigators drawn from research components
within a single institution or institutions which are geographically distant,
to the extent that this is feasible and cost effective.

The selection of a substantive mental health research area and the
conceptualization and development of a core theme(s) should be justified on
the basis of the public health significance of the issues to be addressed, the
current state of scientific knowledge, the feasibility of doing research in
the designated areas (e.g., availability of measurement instruments,
populations to study), and the capacity of the applicant to conduct research
in this area.  The plan for each research core area must be clearly defined
for the entire period of support requested.  It must include descriptions of
the pilot and developmental research projects to be supported by the
infrastructure component and must integrate any related Research Enhancement
Projects.

Innovative pilot projects: SWRDC are expected to request seed money and
start-up funds to support new, innovative pilot projects.  Preliminary studies
have the potential to provide the preliminary data needed to develop larger
projects that can within a year or two compete for funds as regular research
projects or as Research Enhancement Projects.  Like a small grant, they should
be conceptualized as leading to and being the basis for the development of the
larger research grant applications.  SWRDCs must provide a process of
scientific review for the pilot study program.

The leadership and composition of each of the multidisciplinary research teams
that will be working together to develop research in each core area must be
described.  SWRDCs are expected to involve experienced researchers from other
relevant academic departments and professional schools, in addition to social
work researchers.  SWRDCs are encouraged to include investigators from
disciplines such as psychiatry, psychology, pediatrics, nursing, education,
epidemiology, statistics, sociology, economics, and public health.

The Principal Investigator must serve as the Director of the SWRDC and provide
scientific and administrative leadership by devoting at least 50 percent of
her/his time to the SWRDC, including time spent on mental health research
projects.  The Center Director must be responsible for the planning,
coordination, and efficient operation of the Center program, preparation of
the budget, control of expenditures, staff appointments to the Center, and
space allocation.  He/she should be a scientist with appropriate training and
experience and should have the authority and support of the institution to
implement the plan effectively.  Another individual may be designated as
responsible for the day-to-day administration of the SWRDC.

B.  RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE CAPACITY/DEVELOPMENT:

The application should describe a comprehensive and coherent plan of
improvement to the institution's current research environment that will
enhance the capability of investigators at the institution to carry out
extramurally supported mental health research.  The applicant must specify
particular needs and explain how the award will enable them to advance the
substantive research in the core area or areas.

The Infrastructure Improvement Plan must (1) assess the current institutional
and faculty capacity to conduct mental health research; (2) identify unmet
needs; and (3) describe the activities to develop the institutional
infrastructure and faculty capacity to conduct mental health research.  The
application must describe the institution's strategic plan to improve the
quality of its mental health research and educational programs.  It must
provide details of the role that the SWRDC will play in achieving its
objectives, the rationale for the selection of specific improvement strategies
and their relation to the long-term institutional goals, and the improvements
anticipated as a result of an SWRDC award.

The applicant must describe the current institutional capacity to support
mental health research and provide a summary of relevant existing research
projects at the institution.  The summary of current projects must include the
title and substantive focus of research supported; the name and discipline of
the principal investigator; names and disciplines of other participating
faculty; the amount, source, and level of funding by year; the time-line for
completion of each project; any cross-institutional collaboration; and the
significance of each project relative to this proposal.

The application must describe the collaborative research relationships and
linkages under way or being established between the school of social work and
researchers in other relevant disciplines.  If applicable, the application
should document close linkages with one or more State mental health
authorities and/or one or more major public mental health agencies.

Mentoring:  SWRDCs are expected to provide mentoring of junior investigators
by experienced mental health researchers as well as research opportunities to
new and established investigators through a program of training, career
development, and research apprenticeships.  Special attention should be given
to the recruitment of minority investigators.  The full range of research
training and other career mechanisms can be used.

Methodology:  SWRDCs are expected to provide state-of-the-art, sophisticated
methodological expertise to Center-related research projects, including
research design, sample development, methods and instrument development,
assessment and diagnosis, statistical analysis, and primary and secondary data
analysis.

Data Management:  SWRDCs are expected to facilitate up-to-date data processing
and analysis, including secondary data analysis, development of data for
public use, and timely production of research publications;

Individual Faculty Development Plans:  While it is expected that faculty will
participate in the core research teams, the infrastructure improvement plan
may include individual faculty research and research development plans which
would meet each faculty member's particular needs.  Such individual plans
might involve:  1) a description of the specific area of mental health
research the faculty member intends to pursue, including the present state of
her/his knowledge and research experience in this area, the significance and
importance of work in this area, and the feasibility of methods and resources
for the research; 2) a description of additional training and experience
(types of skills, knowledge, methods, theory, statistics, etc.) needed by the
faculty member in order to further develop his/her research capability; 3)
specific plans for meeting these needs (e.g., consultation and/or
collaborative research with senior scientists, workshops, specialized
seminars).  The budget should clearly indicate the amount of support provided
to junior faculty.

While only domestic public and private university and/or colleges which award
graduate degrees in social work/social welfare may apply for this program, it
is recognized that there may be wide variation in each institution's
infrastructure for assisting faculty to develop competitive mental health
research programs.  Therefore, in all instances, it is necessary for the
institution to assess its infrastructure and propose modifications or
expansion to provide an appropriate environment for developing quality mental
health research programs.

For an SWRDC to be effective, strong support and leadership from the Dean of
the School of Social Work and from the university are also required. 
Documentation of this support is required with the application.

Applicants from institutions which have another research center may wish to
identify this center as a resource for conducting the proposed research.  In
such a case, a letter of agreement from the program director or principal
investigator should be included with the application.

Establishment of an SWRDC Advisory Committee is encouraged.  The proposed
organizational, administrative, and managerial relationships between the
SWRDC, the School of Social Work, and the university must be addressed.  Each
SWRDC is expected to have an administrative structure that will contribute to
efficient operation, sound financial practices, and effective use of available
resources.

The nature, amount, and duration of non-Federal commitment to the program,
including fiscal, personnel, and facilities, should be documented.

SWRDCs are developing centers which have research themes and existing
collaborations, but, in contrast to regular NIMH centers, need funds to
recruit additional scientists, expand core functions, or fully develop a
multidisciplinary mental health research agenda.  A developing center contains
research planning activities and a developmental program of pilot research
which will determine the specific form and direction that a fully operational
research Center could take in future years.  Although the level of funding of
developing centers will be relatively modest and a function of the specific
needs of the Center, the intent of the grant is to provide maximum flexibility
to allow the achievement of its desired goals.  As a developing center
progresses, in terms of both the articulation of major research programs and
the development of resources and facilities, applications for R01s will be
expected.  Developing centers should demonstrate the potential for becoming a
national scientific research in particular area of mental health research.

ALLOWABLE COSTS:

SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan (limited to $400,000 direct costs per
year)

1. Personnel:  Partial salary for core personnel, such as:

Center Director for the percent of effort devoted specifically to the
administrative leadership and scientific responsibilities associated with the
SWRDC (effort should be distinguished from that which would normally be
supported by research grants).  A minimum of 50 percent of full time
professional effort is required.

Other resource staff, such as:  biostatistician; data analysts; research and
computer technicians; research assistants at various levels; research
administrator for day-to-day administration of the SWRDC.

Scientific and statistical collaborators and consultants, e.g.:  Research
expertise across departmental lines of applicant's department at applicant
institution, including joint appointments. Senior scientists in other
institutions for collaborative linkages.

2. Equipment:  Project-specific equipment essential for the SWRDC and not
otherwise available.

3. Travel:  Essential travel for core scientific and clinical personnel for
attendance at advanced meetings in areas of mental health research, scientific
techniques, statistical analysis, or computer sciences.

4. Supplies directly related to the SWRDC and not otherwise available or
included in the Facilities and Administrative Costs.

5. Other costs essential for the SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan, such
as data acquisition and storage costs, publication costs, research subjects or
participant costs.

All budget items must be specified in detail, including a complete
justification in the application.

It is expected that Center developmental efforts will lead to research
proposals submitted to NIMH and other agencies by Center investigators for
major mental health research projects (e.g., R01s or additional individual
SWRDC research enhancement projects) as well as career development
applications (e.g., training grants, fellowships, research career
applications).

II. SWRDC RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT PROPOSALS:

In addition to the Infrastructure Improvement Plan support, the program
provides support for one or more research projects by SWRDC participants.  The
individual projects should be designed to take advantage of the infrastructure
improvement plan being supported by the program and should be an integral part
of the SWRDC application.  (For faculty who are not submitting or
participating in a research enhancement project, the SWRDC program will
support research proposal development through the Infrastructure Improvement
Plan.)

At least one or more individual research enhancement projects, or in
exceptional cases other ongoing research projects, must be directly linked to
the infrastructure improvement plan.  The research enhancement projects should
be well thought out and include a detailed research proposal, although it is
recognized that some initial research projects may be developmental in nature. 
They should be thought of and conceptualized as the launching pad for a future
R01 application.  They should involve a learning experience for junior staff
and their mentors to develop the capacity to launch serious, fundable R01
applications and as well as articles that are publishable in top journals. 
They need to develop both talented scientists and fundable projects.

Each research enhancement project is prepared as a separate grant application
and must follow the application format used for regular research projects
(R01), although they will be coded R24.

a.  Specific Aims:  Besides listing the specific objectives of the individual
research enhancement project, briefly summarize how the overall objective or
long-term goal of the research relates to the goals of the SWRDC as stated in
the Infrastructure Improvement Plan.

b.  Background and Significance:  In addition to discussing the overall
scientific significance of the proposed research, this section must briefly
summarize the relevance of the project to the scientific goals of the SWRDC.
Linkages and collaboration with active researchers in other departments and/or
institutions should be described.

As a part of individual research enhancement projects, principal investigators
are encouraged to request support for Research Assistantships for students
(undergraduate and graduate) in order to involve them in research.  One of the
goals of the SWRDC is to involve students in research in order to encourage
them to pursue careers in mental health research.  Funds for assistantships,
travel to professional/scientific meetings, and other related expenses may be
requested.

The Directors of Individual Research Enhancement Projects are responsible for
the scientific conduct, administration, and implementation of the specific
research enhancement projects.

Allowable Costs:

SWRDC Research Enhancement Project(s)(limited to $250,000 direct costs per
year; since these are developmental projects which should result in the
development of larger projects, applications for smaller amounts for two or
three years are strongly encouraged.)

1. Personnel: Partial support for:

Individual faculty percent of effort devoted to a specific research project; 
research assistants; Consultants or Collaborators; Senior scientists at other
than the applicant organization, or, if at the applicant organization, across
departmental lines.

2. Equipment: Small project-specific equipment not otherwise available.

3. Travel for the individual's specific research project, training experiences
and workshop, specialized seminars, professional meetings, etc., essential for
further development of research capability

4. Supplies directly related to the Research Enhancement Project for the
individual faculty member--not otherwise available and not included as
Facilities and Administrative costs

5. Other costs essential for the Enhancement Project--not otherwise available
and not included as Facilities and Administrative costs.

All budget items must be specified in detail, including a included complete
justification in the application.

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, Vol. 23,
No. 11, March 18, 1994 available on the web at the following URL address:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/1994/94.03.18/notice-nih-guideline008.html.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

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

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

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

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff early in
application development with any questions regarding the responsiveness of
their application to the goals of this PA.

A SWRDC consists of the coordinated submission of two or more separate grant
applications in a single bundled package which includes (1) a single
application for an NIMH SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan, and (2) one or
more applications for an NIMH SWRDC Research Enhancement Project.  Each
application will be reviewed independently for scientific merit as well as for
its integration as a component of the SWRDC.

SWRDC applications, whether new, amended or competing continuations will be
accepted only on September 13, 1999, and thereafter annually on June 1.  New
or amended Research Enhancement Projects linked to a competing or funded
Infrastructure Improvement Plan may only be submitted on September 13, 1999,
or June 1 annually thereafter.  Research Enhancement Projects may not be
submitted as competing continuation R24 applications, but may be submitted as
regular research grant applications.

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted as noted above.  The earliest possible funding in
2000 would be March 1.  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; fax: (301)480-0525, Email: GRANTSINFO@NIH.GOV.  The application
is also available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm

SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plans are limited to $400,000 direct costs,
and Research Enhancement Projects are limited to $250,000 direct costs.  Both
of these limits are below the general NIH policy requiring approval prior to
the submission of grants requesting support of $500,000 or more in any year.

Applications for new R24 SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Centers and
competing renewal Center grants under the R24 mechanism have the following
page limitations: (1) the Overview of the Center including sections on the
Background, Significance, and Aims of the Center, the SWRDC Infrastructure
Plan, and a brief description of each Research Core, are considered one
component with a 25-page limit; and (2) a maximum of 5 additional pages per
Research Core may be used to describe each Research Core and how it is
expected to relate to and enhance the capabilities of the other Cores and the
overall aims of the Center.

For R24 applications for previously funded SWRDCs (as R24s), an additional 5
pages may be used to report on overall progress of the Center, and another 5
pages per Core to report on the progress of each Research Core during the
preceding years.

Each individual Research Enhancement Project (R24) application is subject to
the page limitations and other restrictions stipulated in the PHS Form 398
grant application kit for R01 type grants.

The title, "NIMH SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan" or "NIMH SWRDC
Research Enhancement Project" and number of the program announcement,
PAR-99???, must be typed in Section 2 on the face page of the application.

Cover Letter:  Include a cover letter with the packaged group of applications
that identifies the total number of applications in the SWRDC group and
indicates the principal investigator and title of each component.

The completed original set of applications 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 express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must also
be sent to:

Henry Haigler, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892-9609

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an
appropriate peer review group convened by the NIMH in accordance with the
standard 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 Mental Health Council.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
bio-behavioral systems, improve the control of disease and disorder, and
enhance health.  In their 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.

SWRDC INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PLANS:

(1) Public Health Significance:  Does this center address an important public
health problem?  If the aims of the application are achieved, how will the
knowledge base of mental health research be expanded or improved?  What will
be the effect of the center and its affiliated studies on fundamental advances
in the development, testing, and dissemination of knowledge concerning mental
health, and on social work practice and on informing public health policy?

(2) Approach:  Is the concept of a center fulfilled, including (a) an
integrated research theme and a multidisciplinary thrust to achieve a common
mission, (b) attraction of experienced investigators and development of
genuine collaborations among a team of investigators with diverse backgrounds
and areas of expertise working together on an important scientific problem,
(c) a research development component for new or mid-career investigators
through research participation and career development mechanisms, (d) a
process for stimulation, development, and evaluation of new pilot study
proposals?  Will a center approach add significantly to what could be
accomplished through other modes of research support?  Is the approach
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to its public health
aims?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation:  Does the center propose to develop novel concepts,
approaches, measures or methods in its research?  Are the aims original and
innovative?  Does it effectively address important mental health issues of
concern to social work?  Does the center extend existing approaches or develop
new methodologies or technologies in mental health research?

(4) Leadership:  Are the center director and other senior investigators at the
forefront of their respective fields?  Do they have the experience and
authority necessary to organize, administer and direct the center?

(5) Environment:  Does the scientific, technical, and administrative
environment of the center contribute to excellence and the probability of
success?  Does the center take advantage of unique features of the scientific
environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements?  Is the center able
to gain access to representative samples of target populations in a variety of
community and institutional settings?  Is there evidence of a high level of
institutional commitment and support?

The initial review group will also examine:  the appropriateness of proposed
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders,
minorities and their subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific
goals of the research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects;
the provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety
of the research environment.

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

o  SWRDC Organization.  The quality and appropriateness of the organizational
structure, the quality and experience of the administrative staff, the plans
for quality control through in-house consultation and outside review (e.g.,
Scientific Advisory Board), and the quality of the plans for the allocating
and monitoring of resources;

o  Center Functions.  The quality of the proposed research functions,
including: research agenda/theory development, methodology, data management,
mentoring, collaboration, community sanction/liaison, etc.  The extent to
which these Center functions can be expected to contribute to the quality of
individual research projects developed under the Center umbrella, and to the
quality of research in the field more broadly;

o  Community Collaboration.  The quality of proposed procedures for community,
institution, or agency outreach and input in developing and testing culturally
competent and acceptable prevention strategies.

o  Appropriateness and relevance of the proposed improvement strategies to the
school's and institution's needs; their compatibility with SWRDC objectives;
and their potential for effecting significant and lasting improvements in
academic mental health research competitiveness

o  The quality and extent of institutional support available to facilitate the
development of the SWRDC.  The nature and level of resource commitments from
the home institution/department and from other participating
institutions/departments are of necessity not of the level of the mature
center.  Nonetheless, evidence of significant commitment of long-term
institutional support is needed;

o  The quality and significance of the planned core substantive area(s)of
mental health research; adequacy of the theoretical and conceptual framework
for the research as well as appropriateness of research approaches and
methodology in each area;

o  The quality of plans to recruit excellent new research faculty, or to
further integrate the work of existing investigators within the research
program of the Center.  The quality of its plans to recruit or re-deploy high
caliber investigators, the likelihood these plans will succeed, and the
probability that the developing center will lead to significant new research
collaborations or multi-disciplinary integrations;

o  The extent to which the plan will build on the current institutional
support for mental health research; will significantly augment and improve the
support of mental health research; and will serve as a mechanism to expand the
proposed research theme into a fully developed research agenda that will serve
as a basis for becoming a major national research resource

Additional Criteria for SWRDCs seeking a Competing Renewal:

o  The likelihood that the SWRDC will develop during the next five years of
support to become a national research resource in scientifically important
areas of research.

o  The extent to which the developing center has matured and can demonstrate
that it will continue to do so.  The extent to which the center has developed
a significant research identity, and is evolving into a major national
scientific resource;

o  The extent to which the SWRDC leadership has been successful in developing
a strong research agenda, articulating the program of each research core,
encouraging collaborations, and in developing administrative procedures and
practices that foster research of the highest quality and significance;

o  The extent to which the SWRDC has been successful in attracting productive
investigators and promising trainees to the center, and will continue to
contribute to the development and enhancement of mental health research
activities and research careers.

RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT PROJECTS:

Specific criteria for each project include:

(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?  What is the scientific quality of the project design and
methodology, including appropriateness of control or comparison groups,
reliability and validity of instruments to assess key variables, methods to
identify and minimize biases and threats to validity, and specification of
statistical power and sample sizes (i.e., numbers of cases needed for
statistical significance)?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem
areas and consider alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method? 
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)?  Are
needed and appropriate co-investigators/mentors/consultants available?

(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?  Is the relationship to the SWRDC clear; how will it benefit from the
SWRDC and how will it benefit the SWRDC?

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

o  The contribution of the research project to the overall development of the
goals of the SWRDC

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  description and justification of the extent of generalizability of findings
to locations, programs, and populations other than those studied

o  appropriateness of the budget

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the protection
of human and animal subjects, the safety of the research environment, and
conformance with the NIH Guidelines for the Inclusion of Women and Minorities
and Children as Subjects in Clinical Research.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
program relevance, quality of the proposed project as determined by peer
review, availability of funds, program balance, and Institute priority.

Each Research Enhancement Project judged to have substantial merit will be
eligible for funding either as an independent R24 resource-related research
project grant or as a component of the proposed SWRDC; this will be determined
by Institute staff.  A meritorious Research Enhancement Project may be funded,
in exceptional circumstances, even if the associated Infrastructure
Improvement Plan is not.

An SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan application will be funded only when
(1) at least one Research Enhancement Project is to be funded or is already
active, or (2) in exceptional circumstances, a separately submitted but
closely related regular research project (R01) is also to be funded or is
already active.

The maximum award for the SWRDC Infrastructure Improvement Plan is limited to
$400,000 direct costs per year, plus indirect costs.  Under no circumstances
will a SWRDC Infrastructure Plan be funded beyond a total of 10 years from its
first award.  Each Research Enhancement Project will be treated as an
independent research project and will be funded at a level appropriate to its
scope, limited to a maximum of $250,000 direct costs per year.  However, since
these are developmental projects with expectation of resulting in subsequent
development of larger projects, application for amounts below the maximum
allowed for two or three years are very strongly encouraged.

INQUIRIES

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact appropriate program staff well
in advance of submitting an application for peer review. The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to NIMH Division most relevant
for the core area of research.  This may be determined at
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/grants/rtcd.htm:

Della M. Hann, Ph.D.
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6219, MSC 9621
Bethesda, MD  20892-9621
Telephone: 301 443-9700
FAX: 301 443-4611
Email: dhann@nih.gov

Denise Juliano-Bult, M.S.W.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Neuroscience Center Room 7137, MSC 9631
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892-9631
Telephone:  301 443 1638
FAX: 301 443 4045
Email: djuliano@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Diana S. Trunnell
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD 20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-2805
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email: Diana_Trunnell@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 the Public Health Service Act,
Title IV, 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 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health
Systems Agency review.  Awards will be administered under PHS grants policy as
stated in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (October 1, 1998).

PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a
smoke-free workplace and promote the nonuse 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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