DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE E-LEARNING PRODUCTS FOR WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH 
TRAINING IN HAZARDOUS WASTE AND CHEMICAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Release Date:  December 12, 2001

RFA:  RFA-ES-02-002

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
 (http://www.niehs.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  March 17, 2002
Application Receipt Date:       April 17, 2002

PURPOSE

The mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 
is to promote research and training that will ultimately reduce the burden of 
human disease and illness occurring as a consequence of exposure to hazardous 
environmental substances.  

The major objective of the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program is to 
prevent work related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best 
to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous 
materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials 
transportation, environmental restoration of contaminated facilities or 
chemical emergency response. The creation of prevention partnerships between 
employers, employees, universities and community members has been a hallmark 
of the program.  A major goal of the NIEHS program is to assist organizations 
efficiently and effectively with the development of institutional competency 
to provide appropriate model training and education programs to hazardous 
materials handlers, chemical emergency responders, and waste cleanup workers, 
as specified in Section 126 (g) of the Superfund Amendments and 
Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA).

The NIEHS program has been funded primarily on the basis of the worker 
protection statutes of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 
1986 (Section 126 of SARA). Since its authorization by Congress in 1986, the 
NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) has been funding the 
development, deployment, and utilization of state-of-the‚Äďart safety and health 
training for hazardous waste operations workers and chemical emergency 
responders for over a decade. In addition, the WETP began administering 
additional grant awards for such training that has been funded by the 
Department of Energy to meet that Department's expanding high hazard 
operations training needs associated with the massive environmental 
restoration program being undertaken by the DOE Office of Environmental 
Management (EM). More recently, additional training grant awards have been 
executed and managed by WETP targeting minority HAZWOPER workers and the EPA 
Brownfields program.

Through the encouragement of multi-state, university-based consortia and the 
development of national non-profit organizations which have focused on 
specific workforce sectors, the program has established technically-proficient 
curriculum materials and quality-controlled course presentations.  These 
courses have been delivered to hazardous waste workers and emergency 
responders in every region of the country and have established new national 
benchmarks for quality worker safety and health training.  

The immediate goal of worker health and safety training is educational in 
nature, designed to provide students with relevant information, program-
solving skills, and the confidence needed to use these tools.  Long-term goals 
of the model training programs should be to assure that workers become and 
remain active participants in determining and improving the health and safety 
conditions under which they work and that avenues for collaborative employer-
employee relationships in creating safe workplaces are established.

NIEHS intends to build on its program experience in environmental safety and 
health training by stimulating creative Small Business Innovative Research 
proposals to create products that will support high quality health and safety 
training for hazardous waste workers and emergency responders.  To further 
enhance our ability to move toward commercialization of on-line learning 
technologies relevant to model safety and health training for hazardous waste 
workers and emergency responders, this initiative focuses on the development 
of technology driven commercial products using the Small Business Innovative 
Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) program.  
This RFA provides a flexible system within the SBIR program to cover the 
extensive needs and complex development processes needed to develop products 
to support and integrate technology-supported training for workers at 
Superfund sites.  
 
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 Request for Applications (RFA) is 
related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain 
a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility requirements are described in the Omnibus SBIR Solicitation.  Each 
organization submitting an SBIR/STTR grant application must qualify as a small 
business concern in accordance with the definition given in Section III of the 
Omnibus SBIR Solicitation
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/index.pdf).

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA invites grant applications for Small Business Innovation Research 
(SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) projects with 
award duration and amounts greater than those routinely allowed under the 
SBIR/STTR program.  This RFA must be read in conjunction with the Omnibus 
Solicitation of the Public Health Service (Omnibus Solicitation) for Phase I 
SBIR/STTR Grant Applications  and the PHS 398 instructions (see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.) All instructions and 
information in these documents also apply to applications in response to 
this RFA. 

This RFA is a one-time solicitation. Responsibility for the planning, 
direction and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the 
applicant.  Awards will be administered under NIH grants policy stated in the 
NIH Grants Policy Statement, NIH publication 99-8 October 1998.

Because the length of time and cost of research involving development and 
evaluation of learning technologies may exceed that routinely awarded for 
SBIR/STTR grants, the NIEHS will entertain well-justified Phase I applications 
for an SBIR/STTR award with a project period up to two years and a budget not 
to exceed a total cost of $200,000 per year.

Consultant and contractual costs associated with Phase I: The total amount of 
all consultant costs and contractual costs normally may not exceed 33 percent 
of the total costs requested for Phase I SBIR applications.  However, the 
NIEHS will entertain well-justified Phase I applications for an SBIR award 
with greater than 33 percent contractual costs when those costs are necessary 
to support development and evaluation of a remediation or monitoring 
technology.

A.  INDIVIDUAL PHASE I APPLICATIONS.  Phase I applications in response to this 
RFA will be funded as Phase I SBIR Grants (R43) and STTR Grants (R41) with 
modifications as described below. Applications for Phase I grants should be 
prepared following the directions for Phase I SBIR/STTR applications as 
described in Chapter VI of the PHS 398 Instructions 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.)  The NIH Omnibus 
SBIR Solicitation is available on the Internet at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/index.pdf.

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

The NIEHS intends to commit approximately $670,000 in FY 2002 from the Worker 
Education and Training Program allocation to fund three to six new awards in 
response to this RFA. The number of awards will be contingent upon the 
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious 
applications. 

BACKGROUND

NIEHS WETP, in considering the development and application of Advanced 
Training Technology (ATT) to worker safety and health training, has realized 
that there is a substantial challenge of integrating this new technology to 
our awardee organizations. This challenge is associated with the fact that 
each of the WETP awardee organizations is different with regard to its 
training target audience, the computer literacy and access to such technology 
among its target audience, the work its training target population performs, 
and training delivery methods and means among others.  In many ways, these 
challenges reflect the current reality of delivering job-related training 
content to any adult population in the United States. The digital divide in 
its various manifestations is a reality for anyone who attempts to use ATT 
approaches to effectively reach target populations with low levels of computer 
experience and knowledge.  This concern for hazardous waste workers and 
chemical emergency responders has been particularly acute for a high risk 
target population, which is characterized by ethnic and cultural diversity, 
low levels of formal education, and minimal prior computer fluency.

Given the WETP core values for hands-on learning, instructor-to-learner, and 
learner-to-learner interaction is viewed as a very valuable part of the 
learning experience. Thus, wholesale replacement of an instructor-led course 
with online (Computer-based Training or Web-based Training) methods is not 
normally desirable. The virtual unanimity of views expressed by participants 
at the initial WETP ATT workshop in 1999 indicates that successful ATT 
insertion into an NIEHS-type program would require a careful understanding of 
the relationship between individual skill-based components and hands-on, 
instructor and worker-oriented training.  The consensus of the workshop 
participants was that these elements need to be clearly identified and that 
any ATT enhancements must be clearly shown compatible with these skill 
objectives for an ATT driven training program to be successful.

It is clear that there is a growing convergence between both Learning 
Management Systems (LMS) and Knowledge Management Portals, which should merge 
into more learner-centered technology.   Moreover, there is a continuing 
synthesis of traditional classroom pedagogy and the purely on-line or 
computer-based method of learning, which have been characterized as a blended 
learning approach. The NIEHS WETP Advanced Training Technology  (ATT) 
Initiative has already created a wealth of background materials that have 
explored the application of technology-supported learning to the safety and 
health field. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

NIEHS encourages applicants to this SBIR RFA to review the relevant program 
documentation, to pursue partnerships and collaboration with awardees of the 
WETP program, and to design new e-learning products that can extend the 
existing NIEHS curricula and training programs into the digital world.  The 
following four areas describe the type of electronic learning products that 
will be supported under this SBIR RFA.  Examples include but are not limited to:
A.  Products to support e-collaboration in safety and health training:
"E-collaboration in safety and health training" involves enabling 
collaborative development of course materials by personnel widely separated 
geographically within the same organization and between collaborators working 
for different organizations. Some of these course materials exist and can be 
transmitted electronically via the Internet to the instructors and/or learners 
across the nation or world.  
 
In addition to traditional face-to-face meetings and phone calls, a number of 
electronic tools and online approaches can be used to facilitate distributed 
teams in their creating or updating instructional products. These capabilities 
include email, list serves, bulletin boards, chat rooms, threaded discussion 
groups, ftp, and web-enabled database-oriented development tools. Potential 
products include: 
 
1.  Create a database enabling instructors from all over the country to add 
new case studies in hazardous materials response. As an instructor is 
preparing to teach a course, he or she searches through this database to find 
the four most applicable problems. These problems are then downloaded and 
printed and included in the learner's binders. 

2.  Develop a technology application to enable electronic distribution of 
self-study and classroom based curriculum materials to instructors and 
learners who are involved hazardous materials response. This saves significant 
dollars in shipping and allows for an entire community to have the latest 
materials always available to them. 

3.  Create an electronic forum with collaboration tools to discuss needs and 
provide feedback regarding new or existing courses via list serve or enable 
hazardous materials instructors to post requests/recommendations to others in 
the training community regarding existing courses, resources, and lessons 
learned that have been deployed.  

B.  Products to support e-certification in safety and health training:
"E-certification in safety and health training" involves preparing and 
maintaining instructor competence as a critical issue in creating and 
maintaining the quality of health and safety training delivery and assuring 
adequate worker protection. This ATT option entails the use of online 
resources to improve instructor competence. The role of the instructor is 
highly valued in the WETP. Many grantee programs have systematic approaches to 
train, certify, and maintain instructor competence in both the content matter 
and in teaching skills. Potential products include: 
 
1.  Developing a system to provide pre-class training as an approach to 
deliver information before a class event to learners. For example, the 
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has created three ATT 
knowledge-oriented courses to be completed by prospective peer trainers prior 
to attending their live Instructor Certification course. 

2.  Creating a web-based product for supporting online discussions among 
instructors as an approach that can stimulate exchange before a formal 
training begins. For example, the International Association of Firefighters 
(IAFF) has created an online bulletin board that instructors can use to ask 
content and teaching methodology questions. 

3.  Sharing electronic or printable resources as an approach that can make 
large reference materials and resources open to learners at any time. The IAFF 
has also created an online bulletin board that supports posting and sharing of 
instructor produced electronic resources.   

4.  Providing access tools to knowledge-oriented resources through innovative 
technology deployment to extend training effectiveness and continuity. Pre-
assessments (knowledge self-checks) could be posted as an "Am I ready" (useful 
prior to teaching various courses), coupled with learning resources, online 
reviews, or FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions).  

5.  Facilitating learning technology for ATT-augmented classroom teaching as 
an effective feedback and collaboration approach for training in multiple 
locations. Stored streaming video clips of effective live classroom techniques 
including how to use ATT effectively as a tool in the classroom can also be a 
resource to trainers. 

C.  Products to support e-teaching in safety and health training:
"E-teaching in safety and health training" encompasses live or virtual 
classroom training as significant part of effective safety and health training 
delivery. A key WETP core value relative to ATT is to preserve the role of the 
trainer/instructor in classroom-like environments in the modeling, teaching 
and verifying of skills and knowledge.   This ATT option for safety and health 
training delivery looks directly at ways technology can be used appropriately 
in live instructor-led, face-to-face and virtual classrooms. Potential 
products include:
1. Creating applications for augmenting the face-to-face classroom environment 
as an approach that can foster collaborative learning. Recent years have seen 
a remarkable improvement in the capability and quality of what can be 
presented electronically in the instructor-led classroom. High quality fixed 
or portable projectors can be attached to desktop or portable computers to 
enable the instructor to augment the classroom learning experience in very 
exciting ways.  
  
2. Technology applications for using special computer-equipped classrooms to 
bring technology seamlessly into the learning process. Some classrooms, 
particularly those designed to teach programming or use of the Internet will 
have several networked computers (one for each learner or pair of learners). 
In these classrooms, the instructor can facilitate the hands-on learning of 
the new skills and may be able to show the entire class what one individual or 
team is learning. Group brainstorming and decision-making, if appropriate to 
the class objectives, are also supported in these classrooms. 
 
3. Technology applications for broadcasting live classes to remote learners 
that can reach learners who have no access to technical safety and health 
resources. Various new web broadcasting technologies are making it possible 
for an instructor to teach in real time over the Internet (similar to video 
conferencing which works over phone lines or satellite broadcasts that must be 
up-linked and then picked up through receivers). The most sophisticated 
systems digitize and send a video (and audio) stream (live) over the Internet 
that learners can pickup at their desktops or in learning centers. 
D.  Products to support e-learning in safety and health training:
"E-learning in safety and health training" involves technology deployment to 
provide individualized or small group based training in learning centers, in a 
technology-enabled "smart classroom" or to learner's desktop is a core part of 
the technology-supported learning process.  As an ATT option, e-learning is 
used to enable individualized learning, at the learners' convenience and own 
pace, prior to, as part of, after, or in place of classroom training. E-
learning capability is now available to learners at their workplace (desktop, 
shared computer/kiosk, or learning center) and optionally at home or at the 
union hall.   While multimedia computers connected to the Internet are much 
more widely available each year, care must be taken to ensure that a targeted 
set of learners will in fact have the needed access to workstations or 
learning centers. Potential products include: 

1.  Creation of applications to provide pre-class assessment and preparatory 
assignments. Just as instructors within IUOE program have been required to 
complete certain online courses prior to coming to their onsite instructor 
certification course, there may be analogous situations where learners who may 
have not been required to use what they learned previously to do some online 
pre-assessing and reviewing. This would enable them to catch up to main group 
and greatly simplify the instructor's job. It may also enable the classroom 
activities to be more focused on application and doing than on background 
information and knowledge. 

2.  Building a technology-supported learning medium for separating out 
knowledge-based components of a health and safety course and teaching it via a 
blended approach.  Using primarily online methods, Hazardous Materials 
Training and Research Institute's (HMTRI) online HAZWOPER course is an 
excellent example for this application. For courses with objectives beyond 
familiarization, these knowledge-based components (sub-courses) must be 
matched with hands-on components (sub-courses). Familiarization-only courses 
may be appropriate as standalone online courses as there is no implied 
capabilities to be demonstrated other than awareness. The following are types 
of content and activities that are commonly taught via online learning: facts 
and concept knowledge acquisition including drill and practice (e.g. rail-
workers first responder course). Animations and simulations including virtual 
walkthroughs, procedure practice, case studies, problems, assignments and 
quizzes and tests may also be part of this application approach. 

3.  Creation of an Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) as a post-
training resource for workers involved in HAZWOPER activities. Providing post-
class follow-up, refresher training, review and online reference allows 
learners to re-access the online course and materials for up to a year after 
completing it. The traditional workplace or craft-based EPSS may also be 
blended with knowledge management or web-based portal applications. 

4.  Learning technology applications and collaboration tools for augmenting 
live or individualized training with email, discussion groups, and other 
collaborative tools for not-at-the-same-time (asynchronous) communications and 
learning. This can be done between instructor and student(s) via email to 
provide feedback and answer questions or between students working as teams and 
on group assignments (via discussion groups and collaborative tools). 

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 these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.

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 sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided 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 research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm:  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require: a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to 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) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

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.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

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 (PA) 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.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a 
descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, address, and telephone 
number of the Principal Investigator, the identities of other key personnel 
and participating institutions, and the number and title of the RFA in 
response to which the application may be submitted.  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 NIEHS staff 
to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the letter of intent receipt date 
listed to:

Ethel B. Jackson, DDS
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Office of Program Operations
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, MD EC-30
79 TW Alexander Drive, Building 4401
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Phone:  (919) 541-7846
Fax:  (919) 541-2503
E-mail:  jackson4@niehs.nih.gov

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applicants should follow the instructions for SBIR Phase I submission with the 
modifications as noted in this RFA.  

This RFA must be read in conjunction with the OMNIBUS SOLICITATION OF THE 
PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH GRANT (SBIR) and 
SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER (STTR) GRANT APPLICATIONS.  All of the 
instructions apply with the following exceptions:

- Special receipt date
- Additional award considerations

Applications received in response to this RFA are to be prepared as described 
in the PHS 398 Instructions, which are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

Applicants should follow the instructions for SBIR Phase I submission with the 
modifications as noted in this RFA.  A sample Phase I SBIR application can be 
found at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/sbir/modelsbi.htm.

Projects may be presented for SBIR/STTR support at all stages of learning 
technology development. Projects will be evaluated on overall innovation and 
success potential.  The future year support will be contingent upon NIEHS 
programmatic evaluation to ensure that the investigators are accomplishing 
milestones and time lines presented in the original application.

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/label-bk.pdf.

For purposes of identification and processing, the title and number of this 
RFA must be shown in item 2 on the face page of the SBIR/STTR Phase I 
applications.  

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 applications must be 
sent to:

Ethel B. Jackson, DDS
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Office of Program Operations
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
79 T.W. Alexander Drive
Bldg. 4401, Rm. 110
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Phone:  (919) 541-7846
Fax:  (919) 541-2503
E-mail:  jackson4@niehs.nih.gov

Applications must be received by 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.

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 
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 NIEHS Scientific Review Branch.  Incomplete and/or non-
responsive applications will be returned to the applicant without further 
consideration.

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 NIEHS in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part 
of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique 
and undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under 
review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score. 

REVIEW CRITERIA

Review criteria are described in the Omnibus SBIR Solicitation and available 
on the web at the following URL address: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/index.pdf.

Additional review criteria are that the proposal must produce a learning 
technology that is relevant to health and safety issues faced by workers and 
chemical emergency responders at Superfund sites and that the application must 
address the evaluation and validation of the method.  The phase I application 
should specify clear, measurable goals and milestones.

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.

SBIR/STTR Review Criteria

In considering the scientific and technical merit of each application, the 
following criteria will be used: 

All SBIR/STTR Applications

 o Significance 
  - Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a 
marketable product or process? Does this study address an important problem? 

  - What may be the anticipated commercial and societal benefits of the 
proposed activity? 

  -  If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific 
knowledge be advanced? 

  -  Does the proposal lead to enabling technologies (e.g., instrumentation, 
software) for further discoveries? 

  - Will the technology have a competitive advantage over existing/alternate 
technologies that can meet the market needs?

 o Approach 
  - Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately 
developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? 

  - Is the proposed plan a sound approach for establishing technical and 
commercial feasibility 

  - Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative strategies? 

  - Are the milestones and evaluation procedures appropriate?

 o Innovation 
  - Does the project challenge existing paradigms or employ novel 
technologies, approaches or methodologies? 
  - Are the aims original and innovative?
  - Investigators 
  - Is the Principal Investigator capable of coordinating and managing the 
proposed SBIR/STTR? 
  - Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Principal 
Investigator and other researchers, including consultants and subcontractors 
(if any)? 
  - Are the relationships of the key personnel to the small business and to 
other institutions appropriate for the work proposed?"

o Environment 
 - Is there sufficient access to resources (e.g., equipment, facilities)? 
 - Does the scientific and technological environment in which the work will 
be done contribute to the probability of success? 
 - Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the 
scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements?

In accordance with NIH policy, the following criteria will be applied to ALL 
applications: 

o Biohazards 
 - Is the use of materials or procedures that are potentially hazardous to 
research personnel and/or the environment proposed?
 - Is the proposed protection adequate?

o Animal Welfare 
 - If vertebrate animals are involved, are adequate plans proposed for their 
care and use?
 - Are the applicant's responses to the five required points appropriate?
 - Will the procedures be limited to those that are unavoidable in the 
conduct of scientifically sound research?

o Budget 
 - For all applications, is the percent effort listed for the PI appropriate 
for the work proposed?
 - On applications requesting up to $100,000 total costs, is the overall 
budget realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods proposed?
 - On applications requesting over $100,000 in total costs, is each budget 
category realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods?

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

o Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risks - for all studies involving 
human subjects. See instructions and "Guidance for Preparing the Human 
Subjects Research Section". 
- If an exemption is claimed, is it appropriate for the work proposed? If no 
exemption is claimed, are the applicant's responses to the six required 
points appropriate? 

- Are human subjects placed at risk by the proposed study? If so, are the 
risks reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits to the subjects 
and others? Are the risks reasonable in relation to the importance of the 
knowledge that reasonably may be expected to be gained?
- Are the plans proposed for the protection of human subjects adequate?
     	
Inclusion of Women Plan - for clinical research only. See instructions. 
- Does the applicant propose a plan for the inclusion of both genders that 
will provide their appropriate representation? Does the applicant provide 
appropriate justification when representation is limited or absent? 
- Does the applicant propose appropriate and acceptable plans for 
recruitment/outreach and retention of study participants?

Inclusion of Minorities Plan - for clinical research only 
- Does the applicant propose a plan for the inclusion of minorities that 
will provide their appropriate representation? Does the applicant provide 
appropriate justification when representation is limited or absent?
- Does the applicant propose appropriate and acceptable plans for 
recruitment/outreach and retention of study participants?

Inclusion of Children Plan- for all studies involving human subjects 
- Does the applicant describe an acceptable plan in which the representation 
of children of all ages (under the age of 21) is scientifically 
appropriate and recruitment/retention is addressed realistically? 
- If not, does the applicant provide an appropriate justification for their 
exclusion?

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan - for clinical trials only 
- Does the applicant describe a Data and Safety Monitoring Plan that defines 
the general structure of the monitoring entity and mechanisms for reporting 
Adverse Events to the NIH and the IRB?

Phase II Application Review Criteria

In addition to the above criteria: 

- How well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I 
objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation 
for the proposed Phase II activity?
- Did the applicant submit a concise Product Development Plan that 
adequately addresses the four areas described in the Research Plan, item 
J?
- Does the project carry a high degree of commercial potential, as described 
in the Product Development Plan?

Amended Applications

In addition to the above criteria, the following criteria will be applied to 
revised applications. 

- Are the responses to comments from the previous SRG review adequate? 
- Are the improvements in the revised application appropriate?

Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Application Review Criteria

For Phase I/Phase II Fast Track applications, the following criteria also will 
be applied: 

- Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals 
(milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?
- Did the applicant submit a concise Product Development Plan that 
adequately addresses the four areas described in the Research Plan, item 
J?
- To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, 
additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector 
or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for 
commercialization?
- Does the project carry a high degree of commercial potential, as described 
in the Product Development Plan?

Phase I and Phase II Fast-Track applications that satisfy all of the review 
criteria will receive a single rating. Failure to provide clear, measurable 
goals may be sufficient reason for the scientific review group to exclude the 
Phase II application from Fast-Track review.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

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

o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed research.

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project(s)  
proposed in the application.

o  Applicants should adequately address the concerns raised in the NIEHS WETP 
ATT HAZWOPER in April 1999, the WETP ATT Pilots Lessons Learned Report in 
September 2000, and the Development of an Integrated WETP ATT Program: Final 
Report in April 2001. 

o  Applications should describe the potential creation of further 
opportunities for testing, evaluating, mentoring and partnership building 
between various NIEHS WETP consortia and other grantee organizations in the 
development and deployment of e-learning products for safety and health 
training.

o  Proposed product development research should propose methodologies for the 
development, delivery and evaluation of health and safety content with a focus 
on new, technology-supported approaches that improve learning, reduce costs, 
and can be demonstrated as effective. 

o Each of the proposed product research and development processes should 
include an effectiveness evaluation schema to assess the learning and 
retention process as part of the product deployment, as well as a lessons 
learned format to document and capture the process of product development and 
documentation.

 o  Proposed learning products should be created for compatibility with the 
federal government's Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) to assure 
interoperability of technology-supported learning applications.

SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    March 17, 2002
Application Receipt Date:         April 17, 2002
Review Date:                      June 2002
Council Review:                   September 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2002

AWARD CRITERIA

The following will be considered when making funding decisions: quality of the 
proposed project as determined by peer review, program balance among 
development areas of the announcement, the availability of funds, and the 
commercialization status where the small business concern has received more 
than 15 Phase II awards in the prior five fiscal years, if applicable (see 
this application requirement under "Prior SBIR Phase II Awards" found in the 
"Introduction and Application Instructions" potion of the Omnibus Solicitation).

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  Potential applicants are 
strongly encouraged to contact program staff for pre-application guidance 
and/or for more specific information on the research topics described in this 
RFA.  They are also encouraged to read the advice and information on SBIR 
programs located on the Internet at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/index.pdf.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Mr. Joseph T. "Chip" Hughes Jr., MPH, Director
Worker Education and Training Program
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233, MD EC-25
RTP, NC  27709
Phone:  919-541-0217
Email:  hughes3@niehs.nih.gov
WETP web:  http://www.niehs.nih.gov/wetp

or

Ms. Sharon Beard
Program Administrator
Worker Education and Training Program
Division of Extramural Research and Training 
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, MD EC-25
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1863
Fax:  (919) 316-0462
E-mail:  beard1@niehs.nih.gov
 
Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Ethel B. Jackson, DDS
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
Office of Program Operations
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233 
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, MD EC-02
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1307
Fax:  (919) 541-2503
E-mail:  jackson4@niehs.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Carolyn Mason
Deputy Chief
Grants Management Branch
Office of Program Operations
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
PO Box 12233 
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, MD EC-22
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1373
Fax:  (919) 541-2860
E-mail:  mason6@niehs.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.113, 93.115 and 95.143 (NIEHS Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research 
and Education Grant Program).  Awards will be made under authority of the 
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, Title 1, Section III, 
and Title II, Section 209 (Public Law 99-499); and are made under 
authorization of sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as 
amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies and 
Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 Part 74 and 92.  This program is not 
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 
or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant 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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