MULTIDISCIPLINARY CLINICAL RESEARCH CENTERS

RELEASE DATE:  July 19, 2004
 
RFA Number:  RFA-AR-05-001

EXPIRATION DATE:  February 25, 2005  (Reissued as RFA-AR-07-001)

(Reissued as RFA-AR-06-001)

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
 (http://www.nih.gov/)
 
COMPONENT OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) 
 (http://www.niams.nih.gov/)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER (S): 93.846
 
LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE:  January 24, 2005
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE:  February 24, 2005
 
THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of this RFA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanism(s) of Support 
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Special Requirements
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Submitting an Application
o Supplementary Instructions
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS RFA 

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
(NIAMS) invites new and renewal applications for Multidisciplinary Clinical 
Research Centers (MCRCs) in arthritis and/or musculoskeletal disorders and/or 
skin diseases.  Each MCRC will be organized around a methodology core and 
will be expected to include a minimum of three highly meritorious projects 
encompassing clinical research drawing from different disciplines. The 
methodology core will be the foundation of the center, providing key support 
for development and implementation of clinical projects.  Each project must 
address a critical issue that directly involves prevention, assessment and/or 
outcomes for patients with one or more of the many chronic diseases within 
the mission of the NIAMS.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
 
The goals of the MCRC program are to prevent disease and to assess and 
improve outcomes for patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases; 
musculoskeletal disorders including orthopaedic disorders, bone diseases and 
muscle diseases; and skin diseases. For a comprehensive listing of the 
disease areas covered in the NIAMS extramural programs, please see 
http://www.niams.nih.gov/rtac/funding/faq.htm

o  Any given MCRC will not be expected to include all disease areas defined 
above or all clinical approaches included in the NIH definition of clinical 
research.  An MCRC can focus on one or more disease areas, e.g. arthritis or 
skin diseases, but should not focus on just one disease, e.g. osteoarthritis 
or psoriasis.  Two or more clinical approaches (patient-oriented research, 
epidemiologic and behavioral studies, outcomes research and health services 
research) must be encompassed by the projects supported in the MCRC.

o  Each MCRC will define its research base, goals for promoting clinical 
research utilizing that research base, and how multidisciplinary research 
will be promoted.  The interaction with a General Clinical Research Center 
(GCRC), if present, must be documented.  

o  An MCRC is not a mechanism to support a large or complex clinical trial, 
but proof of concept trials may be appropriate.  In addition, research on 
animals and animal models should not be proposed in the MCRC application.  

The key elements of an MCRC will include:

1.  a Center Director, Associate Director and an executive committee with 
outstanding credentials for promoting clinical research;

2.  a research base that encompasses diseases/disorders within the NIAMS 
mission and provides professional and patient resources for developing 
clinical projects using more than one clinical research approach;  

3.  a methodology core that will play a key role in the design and 
implementation of ALL projects supported through the center; and 

4.  a minimum of three highly meritorious clinical research projects that 
utilize the methodology core and encompass one or more disease areas, e.g. 
arthritis or skin diseases, but not just one disease, e.g. osteoarthritis or 
psoriasis, within the NIAMS mission.  

Optional elements of an MCRC are (a) one development and feasibility project 
supported by the methodology core and lasting no more than three years and 
(b) other core(s) supportive of two or more of the proposed projects.

The Director of the MCRC, aided by an Associate Director, an executive 
committee and the methodology core, is expected to provide leadership to 
focus all research projects on clinically relevant issues to improve patient 
outcomes and to assure a rigorous research approach. The proposed director 
must document this leadership with examples of the ability to network with 
colleagues from clinical and other areas of biomedical research.  Plans for 
data sharing must be described in the Administrative Core.

A methodology core is a required component of the MCRC and must serve all 
projects proposed in the center. The core should have sufficient professional 
personnel to provide an interactive leadership role not only in supporting 
the projects within the MCRC, but also promoting rigorous methodologic and 
biostatistical support for the research base.  The methodology core should 
also provide oversight plans for data safety and monitoring issues. Other 
cores supporting two or more of the research projects proposed may be 
requested. 
         
A minimum of three highly meritorious clinical research projects, each with a 
focus to prevent disease or to assess and/or improve outcomes for patients, 
must be present in an MCRC. Each project will define the patient problem 
under study and the anticipated improvement in assessment and/or outcome for 
the patient that might be realized through this project. The projects must 
represent two or more general areas of clinical research.

An optional component in an MCRC is one development and feasibility project 
lasting no more than three years and with a budget of $20,000 - $50,000 a 
year. The goal of the development and feasibility project should be to gather 
preliminary data or to develop a resource for a future study.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
This RFA will use the NIH P60 award mechanism.  As an applicant you will be 
solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed 
project.  This RFA is the first of three yearly RFAs planned.  The earliest 
anticipated award date in response to this RFA is January 1, 2006. 

This RFA uses just-in-time concepts. The instructions for non-modular budget 
research grant applications should be followed.  This program does not 
require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement at 
http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.

FUNDS AVAILABLE
 
NIAMS intends to commit approximately $3.6 million in FY 2006 to fund 3 new 
and/or competitive continuation applications in response to this RFA. An 
applicant may request a project period of up to 5 years and a budget for 
direct costs of up to $800,000 per year (excluding F&A costs of 
subcontracts). Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will 
vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and 
duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the 
NIAMS provides 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.  
 
ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS
 
You may submit (an) application(s) if your domestic institution has any of 
the following characteristics   

o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities or hospitals 
o Units of State and local governments
o Eligible agencies of the Federal government

o Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply. 

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS   

Individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out 
the proposed research are invited to work with their institution to develop 
an application for support.  Individuals from underrepresented racial and 
ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged 
to apply for NIH programs.   
 
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Director and Associate Director should budget for an annual two-day 
meeting with NIAMS staff and other MCRC directors.

All applications will be expected to address data sharing as indicated at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing. Therefore, the 
Administrative Core should include a plan for data sharing from the center 
projects or state why this is not possible. 

Each project must discuss recruitment and retention of patients, clinical 
expertise and facilities needed, and a data safety and monitoring plan.  It 
is not anticipated that a Data Safety and Monitoring Board will be required 
for oversight of an MCRC study because multi-site or complex clinical trials 
are generally not appropriate for the MCRC mechanism.  However, if the 
patient population is at some significant risk, a Data Safety and Monitoring 
Board should be proposed.  For most studies, an independent Safety Officer, 
not affiliated with the institution, will be appropriate. The methodology 
core should detail support for the data safety and monitoring issues for the 
projects proposed.  NIAMS has developed guidelines for data safety and 
monitoring plans:  http://www.niams.nih.gov/rtac/clinical/index.htm. If the 
application is funded, the investigators will be expected to provide detailed 
methods of operating procedures, patient consent forms, and updated data and 
safety monitoring plans.
 
WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the opportunity to 
answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may fall into three 
areas:  scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management 
issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Charisee Lamar, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Multidisciplinary Centers and Diversity Programs
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, MSC 4872
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Telephone:  (301)594-5052
FAX:  301-480-4543
Email: lamarc@mail.nih.gov

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Tommy Broadwater, Ph.D.
Chief, Review Branch
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, MSC 4872
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Telephone:  (301) 594-4952
FAX:  (301) 402-2406
Email: broadwat@mail.nih.gov

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Melinda Nelson
Chief, Grants Management Branch 
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, MSC 4872
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Telephone:  (301) 594-3535
FAX:  (301) 480-5450
Email:  nelsonm@mail.nih.gov

LETTER OF INTENT
 
Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes 
the following information:

o Descriptive title of the proposed research
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o Names of other key personnel 
o Participating institutions
o Number and title of this RFA 

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not 
enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it 
contains allows NIAMS staff to estimate the potential review workload and 
plan the review.
 
The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of 
this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:

Charisee Lamar, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Multidisciplinary Centers and Diversity Programs
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, MSC 4872
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Telephone:  (301)594-5052
FAX:  301-480-4543
Email: lamarc@mail.nih.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001). Applications must have a DUN and 
Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the 
Universal Identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative 
agreements. The DUNS number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or 
through the web site at http://www.dunandbradstreet.com/. The DUNS number 
should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form. The PHS 
398 document is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive 
format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, 
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.
 
SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS:

Guidelines are available for the MCRC program at 
http://www.niams.nih.gov/rtac/funding/grants/centers_programs.htm#P60.
These guidelines are intended to assist the applicant in assembling an 
application in a manner to facilitate an optimal review of the complex topics 
covered in the application.
 
USING THE RFA LABEL: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) 
application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the 
application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this label 
could result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not 
reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title 
and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form 
and the YES box must be marked. The RFA label is also available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf.
 
SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH: Submit a signed, typewritten original of 
the application, including the Checklist, and three signed, photocopies, in 
one package to:
 
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
 
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all 
copies of the appendix material must be sent to:
 
Tommy Broadwater, Ph.D.
Chief, Review Branch
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, MSC 4872
Bethesda, MD  20892-4872
Telephone:  (301) 594-4952
FAX:  (301) 402-2406
Email: broadwat@mail.nih.gov
 
APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant 
without review. 

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding 
assignment within 8 weeks.
 
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.  
However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as an 
investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to an RFA, 
it is to be prepared as a NEW application.  That is, the application for the 
RFA must not include an Introduction describing the changes and improvements 
made, and the text must not be marked to indicate the changes from the 
previous unfunded version of the application.  

PEER REVIEW PROCESS  
 
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by NIAMS. Applications that are not complete or not responsive 
to the RFA will be returned to the applicant.  

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by NIAMS in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As 
part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

o 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 and assigned a priority score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal 
and Skin Diseases 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.

Each project and core (including the administrative unit) will be 
individually reviewed for scientific merit and a rating assigned by committee 
consensus.  Merit ratings will also be provided for other center elements, 
i.e. qualifications of the center leadership, the research base, the 
institutional environment and resources.  If a competitive renewal is being 
sought, the progress during the previous funding period will also be 
evaluated.  To be funded, there must be a highly meritorious methodology core 
and at least three highly meritorious projects (not including the 
developmental/feasibility project, if any). 

Review Criteria for MCRC Leadership:
Do the Director and Associate Director have the leadership and research 
qualifications to lead a Center?  Does the leadership team (Director, 
Associate Director, and executive committee) have the collective expertise to 
assure focused development and implementation of high quality and meaningful 
clinical research projects?

Review Criteria for Research Base:
Is there a substantial productive and funded research base?  Is the research 
base sufficiently broad to foster new multidisciplinary research?  Is there a 
definition of who will be a Center investigator and what this designation 
might mean?

Review Criteria for Institutional Base:
Is there evidence of a supportive institutional environment for the proposed 
MCRC?  Will the MCRC add an important multidisciplinary element to the 
institutional environment?  Does the proposed MCRC utilize available 
resources well?  Is there support and commitment from the institutional 
authorities?

Review Criterion for Applications Seeking Competitive Renewal:  
Does the progress report reflect significant accomplishments?  Has any work 
been published or are publications likely? 

Review Criteria for Administrative Unit: 
1. Do the proposed MCRC Director, Associate Director and executive committee 
have the collective expertise and leadership to identify and focus research 
projects on clinically relevant issues?

2. Is the management proposed appropriate for scientific administration as 
well as fiscal administration, procurement, property and personnel 
management, planning, budgeting, etc.?  

3. Is there a plan for establishment and maintenance of internal 
communication and cooperation among the MCRC investigators, core leaders and 
executive committee?  Are there plans for outside review and input?  

4. Is there scientific and administrative leadership, commitment and ability, 
and adequate time commitment of the MCRC Director and Associate Director for 
the effective management of the MCRC program?

5. Is there documentation of institutional support for the MCRC by the parent 
institution? 

6. Is a plan for data sharing included?

Review Criteria for Methodology Core:

1.  Does the methodology core serve all projects proposed in the Center 
(mandatory)?  Have issues relating to data and safety monitoring been 
addressed?  Is there a plan describing teaching services for the research 
base?

2.  Are the services offered appropriate and of high quality, especially for 
the projects directly supported?  How is cost reimbursement proposed?

3.  Will the core likely promote multidisciplinary research?  Are unique 
services offered?  Is there a plan for prioritizing services to the research 
base?

4.  Are the qualifications of the professional and support personnel 
appropriate?  Is there a plan for interactive leadership of the methodology 
core and the proposed projects?

5.  Are the facilities and equipment adequate?  Is there institutional 
commitment to the core?

Review Criteria for Other Cores:
1.  Will the core have utility to at least two of the MCRC projects?

2.  Are the services of high quality?  Are there procedures for quality 
control? Is the core cost effective?  

3.  Do the services offered best fit within a core structure?  If this is an 
add-on to a preexisting core, what is the benefit to the Center over direct 
purchase of services from the existing core?  If the core offers new services 
that may be used by non-MCRC projects, how will the non-MCRC projects 
purchase these services from the core?

4.  Are the personnel appropriate?

5.  Are the facilities and equipment adequate?  Is there institutional 
commitment to the core?

Review Criteria for Research Projects:

Significance:  Does this project address an important clinical issue, 
especially one not well studied?  Is it likely that the research may have a 
clinically important impact?  Will these studies influence concepts or 
methods that drive this field?

Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project?  Does the investigator acknowledge potential problem areas and 
consider alternative tactics?  Does the project utilize the multidisciplinary 
resources of the Center, especially the Methodology Core?  Is a data safety 
and monitoring plan included, if appropriate?

Innovation:  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project 
challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?   
(The quality of the idea or the extent to which the research will advance 
theory or practice should outweigh an emphasis on technical excellence.)

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 collaborators?

Environment:  Does the scientific environment of the Center contribute to the 
probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique 
features of the Center and employ useful collaborative arrangements? 

Review Criteria for Development and Feasibility Project (Optional):

Significance:  Does this project address an important problem?  If the aims 
of the application are achieved, will the work be the basis for a full 
research proposal?

Approach: Does the project utilize the expertise of the methodology core?  
Does the investigator acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?  Does the project utilize the multidisciplinary 
resources of the MCRC?  

Innovation:  Does the project employ sound concepts, approaches or methods?  
Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing 
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?   (The quality of the 
idea or the extent to which the research will advance theory or practice 
should outweigh an emphasis on technical excellence.)

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 collaborators?

Environment:  Does the scientific environment of the Center contribute to the 
probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique 
features of the Center and employ useful collaborative arrangements?  

After the review of the individual components of the application, an 
application may be judged non-competitive and not scored, or may be assigned 
an overall priority score.  This score will reflect not only the individual 
quality of the projects, cores, and administration, but also how the proposed 
MCRC will bring together all these elements in a workable unit.  The overall 
score may be higher or lower than the average of the descriptors based on the 
assessment of whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  The 
overall priority score will reflect:

1.  The scientific excellence of the Center's research base as well as the 
relevance and interrelationship of these separately funded research projects 
to the goals of the Center and the likelihood for meaningful collaboration 
among Center investigators.  The application must convey how the proposed 
Center will enhance significantly the established research base of the host 
institution.  

2.  The overall environment for a Center.  This includes the institutional 
commitment to the program, including lines of accountability regarding 
management of the Center, the institution's partnership with the Center, and 
the institutional commitment to individuals responsible for conducting 
essential Center functions. This also includes the academic environment and 
resources in which the activities will be conducted, e.g., the availability 
of space, equipment, facilities, and the potential for interaction with 
scientists from other departments and schools.

3.  The overall priority score assigned to the application will also reflect 
how well the policies regarding (a) the inclusion of women, minorities and 
children in study populations, (b) the protection of human subjects from 
research risks, (c) sharing research data, and (d) the budget have been 
addressed.

PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS FROM RESEARCH RISK: The involvement of human 
subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation 
in the proposed research will be assessed. (See criteria included in the 
section on Federal Citations, below).
 
INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES AND CHILDREN IN RESEARCH: The adequacy of 
plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups 
(and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be 
evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria in the sections on Federal Citations, 
below).

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

SHARING RESEARCH DATA

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year of the 
proposed research must include a data-sharing plan in their application. The 
reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing 
research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not 
factor the proposed data-sharing plan into the determination of scientific 
merit or priority score. All applications will be expected to address data 
sharing as indicated at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-032.html
This discussion is to be included in the Administrative Core.

BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period 
of support in relation to the proposed research.  The total direct cost 
cannot exceed $800,000(excluding F&A costs of subcontracts).

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 24, 2005 
Application Receipt Date: February 24, 2005
Peer Review Date: June 2005
Council Review: October 2005
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  January 1, 2006

AWARD CRITERIA

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

o Scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o Availability of funds
o Programmatic priorities.
 
REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS 

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION: Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that 
applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with 
reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against 
these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and 
others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained.
http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm 

DATA AND SAFETY MONITORING PLAN: Data and safety monitoring is required for 
all types of clinical trials, including physiologic, toxicity, and dose-
finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (phase II); efficacy, 
effectiveness and comparative trials (phase III).  The establishment of data 
and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical 
trials involving interventions that entail potential risk to the 
participants.   (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, June 12, 1998: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).  

SHARING RESEARCH DATA:  Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking 
$500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a 
plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible. 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing.  Investigators should seek 
guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional 
policies, local IRB rules, as well as local, state and Federal laws and 
regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data-
sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the 
scientific merit or the priority score.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN CLINICAL RESEARCH: It is the policy of 
the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations 
must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a 
clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is 
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the 
research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 
492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines 
for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research - 
Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts 
on October 9, 2001 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html);
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. 
The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical 
research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB 
standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical 
trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and 
responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy 
continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS: 
The NIH maintains a policy 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. 

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 is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm

REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS: NIH 
policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for 
all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  You will find this policy announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants 
and Contracts Announcement, dated June 5, 2000, at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS (hESC): Criteria for federal funding of research on 
hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html.  Only 
research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem 
Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (see http://escr.nih.gov).   
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide, in the project 
description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH 
identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research.  
Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without 
review. 

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: The 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a 
project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited 
publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has 
the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA.  
It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this 
amendment.  NIH has provided guidance at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm.

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this RFA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the 
application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure 
informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the 
potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

STANDARDS FOR PRIVACY OF INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION:  The 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to 
the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information,” 
the “Privacy Rule,” on August 14, 2002.  The Privacy Rule is a federal 
regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 
(HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable 
health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for 
Civil Rights (OCR).  

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside 
with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website 
(http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including 
a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on “Am I a covered 
entity?”  Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH 
processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, 
cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

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

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010: The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving 
the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 
2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This RFA is 
related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain 
a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.healthypeople.gov/.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 
301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 
284)and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and. All 
awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other 
considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH Grants 
Policy Statement can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm 

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


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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