TRANSITION TO INDEPENDENT POSITIONS (TIP)

Release Date:  February 13, 1998

RFA:  ES-98-001

P.T.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: June 15, 1998
Application Receipt Date: July 21, 1998

PURPOSE

Human health and human disease result from three interactive elements:  (1)
environmental exposures, (2) individual susceptibility, and (3) time.  The
mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is to
reduce the burden of human illness and dysfunction from environmental exposures
by understanding each of these elements and how they interrelate.  The NIEHS
achieves its mission through multi-disciplinary biomedical research programs,
prevention and intervention efforts, and communication strategies that encompass
training, education, technology transfer, and community outreach.

An important element of the NIEHS mission is to develop the next generation of
exceptionally talented young scientists who are committed to understanding the
impact of environmental exposures on human health.  The NIEHS TIP Program is a
pilot Research Scholar Development Award (K22) program targeted to talented
postdoctoral scientists.  It provides a unique mechanism for attracting and
supporting exceptionally talented new investigators who can impact our
understanding of the problems and mechanisms associated with exposure to
environmental agents in order to better protect the public health.  

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 RFA, Transition to Independent
Positions (TIP), is related to the priority area of Environmental Health. 
Potential applicants 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

There are specific eligibility criteria that must be met in order to apply for
this program.  If an applicant is uncertain of his/her eligibility, he/she is
strongly encouraged to contact the program administrator listed at the end of
this announcement.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Individuals with a research or health professional doctoral level degree or
equivalent with no more than five years of postdoctoral research training at the
time of application, and with demonstrated outstanding abilities in basic,
clinical or population-based (e.g., epidemiologic) research, are eligible to
apply.  This includes individuals with postdoctoral research experience in any
environment (e.g. academic, industry, government).  Individuals who have had more
than five years of postdoctoral research experience or who have held research or
other professorship or equivalent positions in academe or elsewhere are NOT
eligible to apply.  However, years of clinical training will not count against
the five years of relevant research experience.  Individuals who have been
principal investigators on either PHS research grants (e.g. R29, R01, P01 or its
subprojects) or non-PHS peer-reviewed research grants are NOT eligible to apply
for this award.

Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.  Candidates must be U.S. citizens
or non-citizen nationals, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent
residence and possess an Alien Registration Card (I-151 or I-152) or some other
verification of legal admission as a permanent U.S. resident, at the time of
submission.  Non-citizen nationals, although not U.S. citizens, owe permanent
allegiance to the U.S.  They are usually born in lands that are not states, but
are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdictions, or administration.  Individuals on
temporary or student visas are NOT eligible to apply. 

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible to apply for a TIP Award the following additional criteria will
apply:

1.  The applicant must be either:

A.  A current or former NIEHS Individual National Research Service Fellow (NRSA,
F32), or

B.  A current NIEHS Intramural Research Training Awardee (IRTA), staff fellow,
or clinical fellow who has competed successfully in the NIEHS Intramural
eligibility process.  The Intramural contact person for this program is Dr.
Steven Akiyama, 919-541-3467, or

C.  A current NIH Individual NRSA Fellow who is training in an area specific to
the mission of the NIEHS, but whose support is from another Institute, Center or
Division (ICD) of the NIH.  

The NIEHS will return applications not considered relevant either to the mission
or to the research priorities of the NIEHS as part of the initial review
described in the section, RESPONSIVENESS OF APPLICATIONS TO RFA.  This decision
is final.  Fellows are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact the program administrator
listed at end of this RFA to determine the priority and relevance of his/her
research topic to the NIEHS prior to submitting an application.  Applicants
should identify an NIEHS area of special emphasis that is relevant to his/her
research interests.  This information is available on the NIEHS web site:  
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/dert/programs/special/special.htm.

2.  The applicant must have COMPLETED at least 18 months of postdoctoral training
at the time of submission of an application (July 21 Receipt Date).

3.  The applicant must submit the application on a PHS Research Grant Application
form (PHS 398, rev. 5/95).

4.  The applicant must include two letters of recommendation which address the
applicant"s potential to become an important contributor to basic, clinical or
population-based (e.g., epidemiologic) research or behavioral science relevant
to the mission of NIEHS.  One of the letters of recommendation must be from the
current mentor.  Applications without letters of recommendation will be
considered incomplete and will not be accepted.  Late receipt of letters of
recommendation (e.g., letters not included with the application) will not be
allowed.

All applicants are encouraged to contact the NIEHS regarding their eligibility
for this award (see INQUIRES section).

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The NIEHS TIP Program will use the NIH Research Scholar Development Award (K22). 
Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project
will be solely that of the applicant.  The requested costs and project period
will be $100,000 (direct cost) per year for a maximum of three years (a maximum
of $300,000 direct costs).

Scholar Development grants (K22s) are not renewable but may be extended at no
additional costs at the discretion of the sponsoring institution where the TIP
award has been made.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

It is anticipated that applications to the NIEHS TIP Program will be solicited
annually through the reissuance of this RFA.  The total estimated funds available
for this announcement is approximately $500,000 which will support 4 to 5 awards. 
This level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number of
applications of high scientific merit.

The earliest feasible start date for the initial awards will be June 1, 1999. 
Although this program is provided for within the financial plans of the NIEHS,
awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds for
this purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The Congress of the United States enacted the National Research Service Act
Program in 1974 to help ensure that highly trained scientists would be available
in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the Nation"s
biomedical and behavioral research agenda. Under this congressional authority,
the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) awards the NRSA
individual postdoctoral fellowship (F32) and Intramural Research Training Award
(IRTA) to the most promising applicants to support full-time research training
related to the mission of the NIEHS.  The goal of these and other postdoctoral
training programs is to develop the next generation of exceptionally talented
young scientists who are committed to understanding the impact of environmental
exposures on human health.  The NIEHS has determined that there is a need for a
mechanism to assist exceptionally talented investigators in making the transition
from postdoctoral trainee to academic researcher.  To meet this need, the NIEHS
has initiated the TIP Program to facilitate the transition of the most talented
trainees into career positions relevant to the research priorities of the NIEHS.

Goals and Scope

The NIEHS TIP Program is designed for exceptionally talented new environmental
health scientists in basic, clinical or population-based (epidemiology) research
who have demonstrated outstanding scientific abilities during their training. 
The objective of the program is to provide a commitment of support for the most
promising new investigators early in their career while they establish their
independent research program in a research intensive environment relevant to
environmental health sciences.  The TIP grantees are expected to design and
pursue their research projects independently in their areas of interest.  It is
anticipated the successful applicant will use the award to establish an
independent research program and obtain preliminary data that will be the basis
for a future research application.  Specifically, the TIP Awardee is expected to
use the preliminary data as a basis for an investigator initiated research grant
(R01) to the NIH in an area of a science relevant to the mission of the NIEHS
within the first 24 months after initiation of the award.

The NIEHS has identified priority areas of research which can significantly
contribute to our understanding of the impact of environmental exposure on human
health.  Research proposals which address one of these areas will receive a
priority for funding.  The current areas of special emphasis are:

Basic Molecular Mechanisms of Environmental Insult
Development of Alternative Models for Environmental Health Research and
Toxicology Testing
Genetic Susceptibility
Human Health Effects of Complex Mixtures
Human Health Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Role of the Environment in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Prevention Research--Molecular and Community-Based Approaches
Impact of Environmental Exposures on Special Populations (Women, Children and
Minorities)

Additional information about these research topics is available on the NIEHS web
site http://www.niehs.nih.gov/dert/programs/special/special.htm.  This site is
updated each year.

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 new
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.

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

ALLOWABLE COSTS

The final budget for the TIP award will be $100,000 direct cost per year for
three years.  The total direct costs for this award are $300,000 over a period
of three years. Indirect costs will be reimbursed at eight percent of modified
total direct costs or at the actual indirect cost rate, whichever is less.

The awardee and sponsoring institution will have considerable latitude in
deciding how these funds will be expended, with the exception of salary
(described below).  This is to allow sufficient flexibility and benefit the
awardee"s research and academic career.

1.  Salary:  The awardee may request up to $50,000 per year (plus fringe
benefits) from this award for salary.  The award does not require that salary
support be derived from the award, use of the entire direct costs for research
related expenses is allowed.

The total salary requested must be based on a full-time, 12 month staff
appointment. It must be consistent both with the established salary structure at
the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution to other
staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the
department.

2.  Research-Related Expenses: The entire direct costs of this award, or the
balance remaining after subtracting the amount devoted to salary, may be used for
supplies, equipment, technical personnel, travel and other research-related
expenses.

3.  Ancillary Personnel Support: Salary for secretarial or administrative
assistance is not allowed.

AWARD PROCESS AND INITIATION

At the time a decision is made to award an application,  the applicant will be
provided a Letter to Commit Funds which will be signed by the Grants Management
Officer.   This letter is a conditional intent of the NIEHS to make an award, and
may be used by the potential awardee to identify a suitable academic institution
and enter into negotiations for a position.  Please note that this is different
from the usual NIH process since this commitment is not made initially to a
specific institution.  

After a TIP awardee has identified a permanent position preferably tenure-track
or equivalent, at a research intensive institution (sponsoring institution), the
sponsoring institution will request that an award be issued by submitting a form
PHS 398 (competing grant application) that includes a detailed budget.  The 
application also must include letters from the institutional official signing the
application describing the position and confirming that the awardee has been
offered and has accepted a permanent preferably tenure-track or equivalent,
position.  In addition, a statement from the Department Chair or equivalent
official must be included which describes the resources that will be available
for the TIP Awardee.  Finally, if the research involves animals/human subjects,
the certification that the protocols were approved by the appropriate
institutional committee must be provided.  These and other relevant materials are
to be submitted to the NIEHS Grants Management Office at the address listed on
the Letter of Commitment.

These materials will be used by NIEHS staff to carefully assess the
appropriateness and soundness of this arrangement.  The institution will be
examined for its ability to make a significant commitment of resources, time and
other factors conducive to the research project and career establishment of the
TIP awardee.  Arrangements in which a candidate moves from a postdoctoral
position to that of an assistant professor at the same institution must make an
especially strong case for the new position.

Please note that an award can ONLY be made after the principal investigator has
accepted a position at a sponsoring institution, and this has been confirmed by
the institutional official.  In addition, the principal investigator must be
appointed to a permanent position in a research intensive environment relevant
to environmental health sciences.  Finally, no funds can be used until the award
has been made to a sponsoring institution.

NIEHS recognizes that each awardee will have unique circumstances that will
affect the timing for the initiation of the award.  Thus, the NIEHS will allow
the awardee up to eighteen months between the Letter to Commit Funds notice for
funding an application and the start of  a permanent position at a research
intensive institution. 

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by June 15, 1998, a letter of intent
that includes a descriptive title of the proposed project, the name, address, and
telephone number of the Principal Investigator and title of the RFA Transition
to Independent Positions (TIP) Program.

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter
into the review of subsequent applications, the information that it contains is
helpful in planning for the review of applications.  It allows NIEHS staff to
estimate the potential review workload and to avoid conflict of interest in the
review.

The letter of intent is to be sent by June 15, 1998 to:

Linda Bass, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, EC-24
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, EC-24 (for express/courier service)
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1307
FAX:  (919) 541-2503
Email:  bass@niehs.nih.gov

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in applying
for these grants.  Applications kits are available at most institutional offices
of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Division of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email: 
ASKNIH@od.nih.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS

The following supplemental instructions are provided:

Only one grant application may be submitted by a principal investigator for a
receipt date.

The Detailed Budget for the Initial Budget Period (Form Page 4-DD) and Budget for
Entire Proposed Period of Support (Form Page 5 EE.) are not required for the
initial application.  A detailed budget is required for the activation of the
award at the academic institution.  The project period for these awards is a
maximum of three years.  The maximum amount awarded to each grantee on this RFA
will be $300,000 direct costs for a three-year project period.  The amount
awarded for any given year (budget period) will not exceed $100,000 direct costs. 
Equipment will be limited to $100,000 direct costs for the three-year project
period.  The maximum salary allowed from this award is $50,000 per year.

Annual meetings, to be held either in conjunction with a national scientific
meeting, such as the Society of Toxicology or in the Research Triangle Park, NC,
are planned for the exchange of information among investigators.  Applicants must
budget travel costs associated with these meetings (one per year) in their
applications.

The Research Plan (Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary
Studies, Research Design and Methods sections) is not to exceed 15 pages.  Tables
and figures but not the references are included in the 15 page limitation. 
Applications that exceed page limitations or PHS 398 requirements for font size
(height or letters), type density (characters per inch), and margins (see PHS 398
directions) will be returned to the investigator.

The Research Plan is expected to follow the typical NIH grant application, and
should include, but is not limited to, the following:

o  a one page description (or less) of the long term research goals and how
his/her research program would impact on an environmental health problem.

o  a specific testable hypothesis

o  a set of specific aims to address the hypothesis

o  methods to obtain data to satisfy the specific aims

o  the application should provide the investigator the opportunity to obtain the
scientific preliminary data needed for an investigator-initiated research grant
(R01) to the NIH in an area of a science relevant to the mission of the NIEHS. 

Color/glossy photos may be submitted as an appendix, however the appendix may not
be used to circumvent the page limitation.  Letters of recommendation are not
considered appendices, and do not count towards the 15-page limit.

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 must be typed on Line 2 of the face page of the application form and the
YES box must be marked.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
checklist, and three signed, clear, and single-sided 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 must be sent
to:

Linda Bass, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training 
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, EC-24
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, EC-24 (for express/courier service)
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709 
Telephone:  (919) 541-1307
FAX:  (919) 541-2503
Email:  bass@niehs.nih.gov

Applications must be received by July 21, 1998.  However, an application received
after the deadline may be acceptable if it carries a legible proof-of-mailing
date assigned by the carrier and the proof-of-mailing is not later than one week
prior to the deadline date.  Proof of mailing is a U.S. Postmark or dated receipt
from a commercial carrier.  Private meter marks are not acceptable.  Late
applications with a postmark after July 21, 1998, will be returned to the
applicant without review.

The following is the schedule planned for this initiative.  It should be noted
that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were
unanticipated at the time of the RFA.

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:           June 15, 1998
Application Receipt Date:                July 21, 1998
Initial Scientific Review:               October 1998
Second Level Review by NAEHS Council     January 1999
Letter of Commitment Notification Date:  April 1999

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the Center for
Scientific Review (CSR) and responsiveness to the RFA by senior scientific staff
of the Division of Extramural Research and Training, NIEHS.  Only those
applications considered to be responsive to the RFA will be forwarded for peer
review.  Applications that are incomplete and/or considered non-responsive to the
RFA will be inactivated and 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 a peer review group convened by the NIEHS in
accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the initial
review process, 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.  Applications judged to be in the lower half of
applications under review may or may not be discussed or assigned a priority
score.

Review Criteria

Candidate

o  the applicant"s potential to become an important contributor to basic,
clinical or population-based (e.g., epidemiologic) research or behavioral science
relevant to the mission of NIEHS,

o  the qualifications and research experience of the Principal Investigator and
staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in the area of the proposed research.

Research Plan

o  the originality, innovation and scientific or medical significance of the
project as to new concepts and ideas as opposed to an escalation or extension of
the current training project,

o  the appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental approach and methodology
proposed to carry out the research, the appropriateness of the work proposed to
the experience level of the principal investigator, the acknowledgment of
potential problem areas and consideration of alternative tactics,

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

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

Budget

o  Although a budget is not required, the appropriateness of the scope of work
for the funds that are available through this grant will be considered.  The
applicant should assume that general laboratory equipment items such as
spectrophotometer, centrifuges, etc., will be available at the institution. 
However, highly sophisticated or limited use equipment required for the studies
should be identified and funds for the use of such equipment should be considered
by the applicant in developing the research plan.  For example, magnetic
resonance imaging equipment and fluorescence cell sorters are available for a fee
at many institutions, and the cost for their use should be considered by the
applicant.

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of notification of a Letter to Commit Funds is April, 1999. 
The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

o  potential of the applicant to make a significant contribution to the NIEHS
mission,

o  quality of the proposed project"s scientific merit as determined by peer
review,

o  availability of funds, and

o  program balance among research areas of the announcement.

INQUIRIES

Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is
welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Michael J. Galvin, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training 
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, EC-23
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, EC-23 (for express/courier service)
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-7825
FAX:  (919) 541-5064
Email:  Galvin@niehs.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Mr. David L. Mineo
Division of Extramural Research and Training 
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, EC-22
111 T.W. Alexander Drive, EC-22 (for express/courier service)
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709 
Telephone:  (919) 541-1373
FAX:  (919) 541-5064
Email:  mineo@niehs.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.113 and 93.115. Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health
Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law
99-158, 43 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and
Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject
to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health
Systems Agency review.

The Public Health Service (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.



Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy


Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.