NIDCD/ORMH MINORITY DISSERTATION RESEARCH GRANTS IN HUMAN COMMUNICATION

Release Date:  March 18, 1998

RFA:  DC-98-001

P.T.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Office of Research on Minority Health

Application Receipt Date:  May 22, 1998

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and
the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) announce the availability of
small grants (R03) to support doctoral dissertation research in human
communication for minority doctoral candidates.  Grant support is designed to aid
the research of new minority investigators and to encourage minority individuals
from a variety of academic disciplines and programs to conduct research in
hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.

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 Request for Applications (RFA),
NIDCD/ORMH Minority Dissertation Research Grants in Human Communication, is
related to several priority areas applicable to human communication.  Potential
candidates for the awards may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full
Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1)
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington,
DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Minority Status.  Applicants must be from ethnic/racial groups that are
underrepresented in the biomedical or behavioral research sciences in the U.S. 
For purposes of this RFA, the NIDCD will give priority consideration to
applications from African Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Native
Americans, and Pacific Islanders.  Within this group, women and persons with
disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.  The applicant for
dissertation research grant support must be a citizen of the United States or
have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

The doctoral candidate must have a dissertation topic approved by his/her
institutional committee established for that purpose.  This information must be
verified in a letter of certification from the thesis chairperson and submitted
with the grant application (see APPLICATION PROCEDURES).  Research topics must
address issues in human communication, focusing on one or more of the areas
described under RESEARCH OBJECTIVES.

The applicant organization must be a domestic institution supporting doctoral
level training, such as a university or college.  The performance site may be
foreign or domestic.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The mechanism of support is the NIH small grant (R03).  Grants may be made for
up to two years.  Grants to support dissertation research will provide no more
than $30,000 in direct costs over the two-year period, and no more than $25,000
in direct costs in any one year.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIDCD and ORMH have committed approximately $300,000 to award up to 10 grants
in response to this RFA.  These grants are not eligible for renewal.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

This grant initiative is to provide minority students assistance to perform their
dissertation research on a topic related to human communication and thereby
increase the pool of minority researchers in hearing, balance, smell, taste,
voice, speech and language. The research supported by NIDCD includes basic or
fundamental sciences as well as clinical or applied sciences, such as molecular
and cellular biology, genetics, epidemiology, and imaging.

The descriptions below of the research foci of NIDCD are provided to help
potential applicants determine whether a topic may be appropriate for this
initiative.  Questions on the relevance of a particular topic can be addressed
to the program contact listed under INQUIRIES.

HEARING.  Diseases and disorders of the auditory system including otitis media,
otosclerosis, autoimmune-mediated hearing loss, tinnitus, and genetic
deafness/hearing impairment; the normal auditory system, including plasticity,
development and regeneration of auditory structures, cochlear mechanics, and
perception of complex auditory signals; rehabilitation devices, including but not
limited to cochlear prostheses, and hearing aids.

BALANCE.  Human balance control, structure and function of the peripheral and
central vestibular system; development and regeneration of vestibular structures;
molecular bases of vestibular function; adaptive plasticity in the vestibular
system; vestibulo-autonomic regulation; diseases and disorders primarily
affecting balance and the vestibular system, including Meniere's disease,
vestibular toxicity and age-related changes in vestibular functioning; clinical
assessment of balance and the vestibular function; and therapeutics and physical
rehabilitation of balance and vestibular disorders.

SMELL. Normal and abnormal olfactory functions, including development and
regeneration of olfactory receptor neurons; transport of substances to and from
the brain via the olfactory receptor neurons, including transport of pathogens;
associations between olfaction and diseases throughout life.

TASTE.  Normal and abnormal sense of taste, including development and
regeneration of taste bud cells; central processing; gustatory determinants of
food intake; and the diagnosis of gustatory disorders.

VOICE.  The neural basis of vocal learning and vocalization; neural mechanisms
and physiology of the larynx; voice disorders, including assessment,
characteristics of specific populations, and treatment of voice disorders.

SPEECH.  Speech perception; characterization of normal speech production; and
disorders of speech production such as neurogenic speech disorders (apraxia and
dysarthia), speech of deaf individuals, and stuttering.

LANGUAGE.  Normal language processing; brain basis of language; adult aphasia;
the grammatical abilities and writing deficits associated with Alzheimer's
disease; language acquisition in deaf individuals; American Sign Language;
literacy in deaf individuals; and language disorders in children, including
specific language impairment, early expressive language delay, and language
deficits associated with
autism.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Additional Material. In addition to the completed PHS 398 form described under
APPLICATION PROCEDURES, applicants must also submit:

o  A letter from the faculty committee or university official directly
responsible for supervising the development and progress of the dissertation
research.  The letter must be countersigned by a representative of the graduate
school of the sponsoring institution.  The letter must:  (a) fully identify the
members of the committee and certify their approval of the dissertation topic
and, (b) certify that the author of the letter has read the application and
believes that it reflects the work to be completed in the dissertation.

o  A tentative timeline for completion of the research, the dissertation, and the
doctoral defense.

o  A transcript of the investigator's graduate school record

o  Biography of mentors, limited to 2 pages each (use the Biographical Sketch
page in form PHS 398)

o  Statement of the investigator's career goals to be placed under "Background"
(see the Research Plan instructions in PHS 398)

o  A signed statement from the sponsoring institution establishing the
eligibility for support under this program including information on ethnicity and
citizenship.  (See Eligibility Requirements).

Grant Conditions.  The following conditions apply to dissertation grants:

o  The doctoral candidate must be the designated Principal Investigator on the
grant and the doctoral candidate must be the only individual named in the
application for whom salary support is requested.

o  The principal investigator's salary may not exceed $12,000 per twelve months.

o  Work on the funded project must be initiated within three months after the
date of the award.

o  Investigators may request support for up to 24 months.  An application that
requests support beyond this time period will be returned.

o  Grantees who are approved for two years of support must submit a satisfactory
progress report no later than 10 months after the start of the first year of the
grant.  This report should contain a brief summary of the work completed to date
together with copies of any publications supported wholly or in part by the
dissertation grant.

o  A copy of the dissertation must be submitted and constitutes the final report
of the grant.  The dissertation must be officially accepted by the faculty
committee or university official responsible for the candidate's dissertation and
must be signed by the responsible officials.

An applicant who receives support for dissertation research under a grant from
the NIDCD/ORMH may not at the same time receive salary support under a
predoctoral or fellowship grant, nor be supported under any other research
project grant awarded by a Federal agency.

Allowable Costs.  Expenses usually allowed under PHS research grants will be
covered by the NIDCD/ORMH dissertation research grants, but may not exceed
$30,000 for the total  project.  Allowable costs include the investigator's
salary (not to exceed $12,000 per 12 months); direct research project expenses
such as travel to one scientific meeting per year (limited to $1000 per year),
data processing, supplies, and dissertation preparation costs.  Any level of
effort by the candidate that is less than full time must be fully justified.  No
tuition support is allowed.  It is expected that most equipment needed for the
research will be available at the site or laboratory in which the dissertation
is to be performed.  Therefore, any requests for equipment must be specifically
justified. Facilities and administrative costs are limited to eight percent of
requested direct costs, less equipment.

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.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in applying
for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional offices of
sponsored research and 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
ASKNIH@OD.NIH.GOV.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  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 (NIDCD/ORMH Minority Dissertation Research Grants in Human Communication,
DC-98-001) must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and
the YES box must be marked.

Instructions for completing the applications are found in the PHS 398 form. 
These instructions must be followed except that under C.  Specific Instructions -
 Research Plan, no more than 10 pages may be used for items A to D (instead of
25 pages as stated in the standard instructions).  Applications that exceed the
10 page limit for this section will be returned.  Appendices may not be used to
circumvent the page limitations.

Submit a signed original of the application (with the supporting letter and
graduate school transcript), 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 (with the
supporting letter and the graduate school transcript) must be sent to:

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
6120 Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C - MSC-7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 496-8683
FAX:  (301) 402-6250
ATTN:  Minority Dissertation

Applications must be received by May 22, 1998.  If an application is received
after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.  The Center
for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in response to this
RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review, unless
the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The CSR will not accept any
application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.  This does not
preclude the submission of substantial revisions of applications already
reviewed, but such applications must include an introduction addressing the
previous critique.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by CSR and
responsiveness by the NIDCD.  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 the NIDCD 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 and assigned a priority score.

Review Criteria

o  scientific and technical merit, significance in relation to the promotion of
public health, and originality of the proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the literature review, experimental approach
and methodology proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal Investigator (the
student);

o  qualifications, research and training experience of the mentor particularly,
but not exclusively, in the proposed area of research;

o  quality and availability of research resources needed to complete the
dissertation;

o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
research;

o  Adequacy of plans to include minorities and their subgroups and both genders
as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.  Plans for the
recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.

The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the protection of
human and animal subjects and the safety of the research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is September 1998.  Final funding decisions are
based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the relevance of the project to
NIDCD priorities, and the availability of funds.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any
issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.  Interested
investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the person named below who can
provide clarifying information about material described in this RFA.  The
investigator will then be referred to the relevant program to discuss the
suitability of the research topic.

Dr. Judith A. Cooper
Division of Human Communication
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
6120 Executive Boulevard, Room 400-C - MSC 7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 496-5061
FAX:  (301) 402-6251
Email:  judith_cooper@nih.gov

Direct inquiries relating to fiscal matters to:

Ms. Sharon Hunt
Grants Management Branch
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
6120 Executive Boulevard, Room 400-B - MSC 7180
Bethesda, MD  20892-7180
Telephone:  (301) 402-0909
FAX:  (301) 402-1758
Email:  sh79f@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.173 Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act Title
IV, Part A (Public Law 79-410, 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.  The requirements of Executive Order 12372,
Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, are not applicable to NIDCD
research grant programs.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to
protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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