SUPERFUND HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES BASIC RESEARCH PROGRAM

Release Date:  November 18, 1998

RFA:  ES-99-001

P.T.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 29, 1999
Application Receipt Date:  May 11, 1999

PURPOSE

The mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
is to promote research that will ultimately reduce the extent of adverse
health effects occurring as a consequence of exposure to hazardous
environmental substances.  Complementary to this mission are the goals of the
national Superfund Program, established by Congress in 1980 to: identify
uncontrolled hazardous wastes; characterize the impacts of hazardous waste
sites and emergency  releases on the surrounding environment (i.e.,
communities, ecological systems, and ambient air, soil, water); and institute
control or remediation approaches to minimize risk from exposure to these
contaminants.  With the 1980 passage of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), better known as Superfund,
it soon became clear that the strategies for the cleanup of Superfund sites,
and the technologies available to implement these cleanups, were inadequate to
address the magnitude and complexity of the problem.

In 1986, six years after the CERCLA was enacted, Congress authorized NIEHS to 
implement a university-based program of basic research and training grants. 
The intent of the basic research program was to improve the ability to
identify, assess, and evaluate the potential health effects of exposure to
hazardous waste and to develop innovative chemical, physical and biological
technologies for remediating hazardous substances.  The assignment of this
Program, the Superfund Hazardous Substances  Basic Research Program [Superfund
Basic Research Program (SBRP)], to the NIEHS  underscored an emphasis on human
health effects evaluation and prevention.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) legislation mandates
that the research funded by this Program should include development of:

o  Methods and technologies to detect hazardous substances in the environment;

o  Advanced techniques for the detection, assessment, and evaluation of the
effect on human health of hazardous substances;

o  Methods to assess the risks to human health presented by hazardous
substances;

o  Basic biological, chemical, and physical methods to reduce the amount and
toxicity of hazardous substances.

Accordingly, NIEHS is proposing the continuation of a special Program to
address these mandates.  Grants made under the SBRP will be for coordinated,
multiproject, multidisciplinary programs; the objective is to establish and
maintain a unique Program linking biomedical research with related
engineering, hydrogeologic, and ecologic components.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM

The SBRP supports a wide range of research to address the broad public health
concerns arising from the release of hazardous substances into the
environment, particularly from uncontrolled, leaking waste disposal sites. 
While some of the research currently supported by the NIEHS is relevant to
these concerns, the SBRP and NIEHS are distinct in that their primary
objective is to expand the base of scientific knowledge necessary to: make
informed decisions based on biological relevancy; reduce the amount and
toxicity of hazardous substances; and, ultimately, prevent adverse human and
ecological health effects.  In addition, the SBRP balances scientific
excellence with relevance to the Nation's Superfund Program.

In establishing the SBRP, NIEHS chose to create a network of
multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary teams of researchers to provide a broad
perspective on environmental health research.  The goal of establishing 
multidisciplinary programs is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of
the complex environmental issues in order to support State, local, and Federal
agencies and private organizations and industry in making decisions related to
the management of hazardous substances.  Assembling researchers from diverse
disciplines to focus on a unifying theme, provides the opportunity to advance
the science in a more effective manner than could be accomplished by single
unrelated projects.

Presently, the Program funds 18 grants at 70 universities and institutions
encompassing 140 individual research projects and 60 support cores involving
more than 850 scientists and technical staff addressing its legislated
mandates.  Many or all of these programs will be submitting applications for
the competitive renewal of their grants.  Nonetheless, this competition is
open to all institutions meeting the criteria defined in this Request for
Applications (RFA).

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),
Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research Program, is related to one or
more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of
"Healthy People 2000" at http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Section 311(a)(3) of SARA limits recipients of awards to "accredited
institutions of higher education," which are defined in the Higher Education
Act, 20 USC (annotated) 3381.  However, grantees are permitted under the law,
and encouraged by NIEHS, to subcontract as appropriate with organizations,
domestic or foreign, public or private (such as universities, colleges,
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible
agencies of the Federal government) as necessary to conduct portions of the
research.  Examples of other organizations may include generators of hazardous
wastes, persons involved in the detection, assessment, evaluation, and
treatment of hazardous substances, owners and operators of facilities at which 
hazardous substances are located, and State and local governments. 
Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are
encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) multiproject grant-
in-aid (P42) award mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant. 
Grants funded under this Program must be multiproject, interdisciplinary
efforts bringing together investigators from different scientific disciplines
to direct discrete Research Projects, each of which is to be related to the
goals of the SBRP.  In order to be funded each applicant must successfully
meet the requirements as stated below.

Requires minimum of:
o  Three approved biomedical Research Projects (e.g., mechanistic based
studies, epidemiology, human risk assessment, exposure assessment, genetic
susceptibility, etc.) and,
o  One approved non-biomedical Research Project (e.g., ecology, ecological
risk assessment, fate and transport, hydrogeology, engineering, remediation,
phytoremediation, etc.)

Requires an approved Administrative Core to include:
o  an information transfer activity (required)
o  a governmental liaison activity (required)
o  an external advisory committee (strongly recommended)
o  a technology transfer activity (strongly recommended)

Requires a minimum of one approved Research Support Core:
o  a Research Support Core must provide support to two or more Research
Projects.

In addition to the required elements, an application may contain:
o  One Outreach Core (strongly recommended)
o  One Training Core (strongly recommended)
o  One Community-based Prevention and Intervention (CBPI) Research Project
(optional)

The following restrictions or caps are applicable to each program:
o  The total number of Research Projects and Research Support Cores cannot
exceed 12, and the  maximum number of Research Projects is ten.  Sub-projects
will be considered individual projects.  This cap does not include the
Administrative, Outreach, and Training Cores or the CBPI Research Project.
o  The applicant is required to specify which projects are to be counted as
biomedical and which are non-biomedical.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIEHS expects to commit approximately $37 million in FY 2000 to fund 15 to
20 new grants or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA.  An
applicant is requested to submit a grant proposal with a project period of
five years.  Because the nature and scope of the research proposed may vary, 
it is anticipated that the size of each award will also vary.

Superfund authorization expired in 1994 and since that time the SBRP has been
operating under the authority granted by annual appropriations.  The FY99
appropriated level for this program is $37 million.  The NIEHS is uncertain at
this time about the status of reauthorization of this  Program, and,
therefore, as to future funding levels.  Nonetheless, actual amounts will be
appropriated each year according to the Federal budget process.  Because the
funding level of this Program may vary from year to year, actual award levels
for approved and funded applications will be based on Program balance and the
availability of funds, in addition to the scientific merit considerations of
the review process.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

In 1986 SARA was passed and Congress under section 311(a) established the SBRP
as a university-based grants program to be managed by the NIEHS, an institute
of the NIH. The Program complements activities undertaken by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the principal manager of the Superfund
Program,  and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 
The EPA has specific mandated research responsibilities in the area of
hazardous waste sites; hazardous waste containment and destruction
technologies; and environmental fate and transport of chemicals; as well as
monitoring and testing for hazardous substances in the environment.  The
mission of the ATSDR, as an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, is to prevent exposure and adverse human health effects and
diminished quality of life associated with exposure to hazardous substances
from waste sites, unplanned releases, and other sources of pollution present
in the environment.

ATSDR is directed by congressional mandate to perform specific functions
concerning the effect on public health of hazardous substances in the
environment. These functions include public health assessments of waste sites,
health consultations concerning specific hazardous substances, health
surveillance and registries, response to emergency releases of hazardous
substances, applied research in support of public health assessments,
information development and dissemination, and education and training
concerning hazardous substances.

To ensure that the SBRP meets the programmatic goals of the national Superfund
Program and complements the needs of EPA and ATSDR, the research that is
supported by this Program must provide a fundamentally sound science base for
sister Superfund programs' "applied" objectives.

From a regulatory perspective, protection of human health, ecological health
and the environment depends upon both limiting exposure and preventing
exposures, where possible.  Decisions need to be based on the mechanistic
knowledge gained from the integration of available data from all relevant
research disciplines such as toxicology, molecular biology, epidemiology,
geology, ecology and engineering.  A conceptual framework that has guided the
SBRP is one that encompasses a holistic approach to environmental health
sciences and basic research.

At a hazardous waste site it is critical to identify the chemical
contaminants, the fate and transport of these contaminants through the various
environmental media, properties which may impact on this transport and
bioavailability of contaminants, as well as determining the critical exposure
pathways that have potential impact on human or ecosystem exposure. 
Prevention strategies to minimize the exposure to a population, be it human or
wildlife, require the development and application of appropriate remediation
technologies specific for the site under study.  Currently, remediation
strategies and technologies have been approved for clean-up at many Superfund
sites.  Research questions remain, however, as to the effectiveness and
appropriateness of available or newly emerging technologies.  There is a
continued need for fundamental research focused on site characterization and
the impact it has on selecting and applying a remediation strategy, the
molecular and physical processes involved in different remediation strategies,
and the continued development of newer and more effective approaches.

The public particularly wants to understand the consequences of exposure to
environmental agents on human health and the relationship between exposure and
disease outcome.  From a scientific perspective,  it is of critical importance
to determine whether individuals have been exposed to environmental agents,
the route of exposure, the levels and timing of exposure and whether the
substance has reached the target organ or cell.  Equally important is to
determine if exposure to hazardous substances results in changes in normal
physiologic processes which could lead to disease or dysfunction. In addition,
determining the intrinsic (e.g., genetic polymorphisms) and host (e.g.,
nutrition, health, lifestyle habits) factors, that may lead to enhanced
sensitivity or resistance in a subset of the population will be important in
developing risk assessments for human health.  These fundamental relationships
are difficult to address.  However, with the rapidly emerging development of
new and sensitive methodological tools, some of these relationships are being
addressed with increased sophistication.  Continued development of exposure
models, development and validation of biomarkers of exposure, effect and
susceptibility based on mechanistic data, and the application of these to
epidemiological studies will be important for risk assessment and in the
decision making process for developing better and more effective remediation
and/or containment strategies.  Likewise, long-term investments need to be
made in basic research to understand the underlying cellular, biochemical, and
molecular processes that may be important in disease and dysfunction related
to chemical exposure.

Exposure to chemical agents may also have adverse effects on ecosystem
structure and function, and may alter the mobility of toxic contaminants
through the food chain to humans. Hazardous substances are distributed widely
in ecosystems.  The long-term effects of these substances are largely unknown
and research has been somewhat limited.  Applying tools that have been
designed for molecular biology to studies both at the population level, and
the organismic level, may provide new insights into this area.

Although the SBRP has provided long-term investments in basic research, it is
critical that the research findings be translated into useful applications
directed toward attenuation and prevention of exposure and of adverse effects
on human health, ecological health and the environment.  This translation of
basic research findings can take many forms.  For example, community-based
prevention and intervention research projects "allow" the community an
opportunity to help shape research, in close collaboration with laboratory
investigators, that has potential relevance to their community.  Similarly,
technology transfer provides the opportunity for collaborations between
laboratory investigators and government or industry representatives to
transfer an innovative remediation strategy from basic research, to
incremental scale up, to a demonstration project at a contaminated site.

Partnering Activities in Preparation for the RFA

Before NIEHS initiated the current RFA process, it wanted to be certain that
the applicants had access to, were aware of, and considered the most relevant
basic research needs.  The NIEHS has an established mechanism of surveying the
scientific community for identifying cutting edge science and critical gaps in
the various disciplines through its sponsorship of workshops and conferences.
(For a listing of conferences and workshops sponsored by NIEHS, refer to the
following web site: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/newweb/sbrpconf1.htm.)  In
addition to this, NIEHS sought to solicit advice and recommendations from
environmental and public health protection officials - including those from
the EPA and the ATSDR; scientists; engineers and technicians; health care
providers; community representatives; and public policy experts through a
series of regional meetings.  The intent of this outreach effort was for NIEHS
to be able to provide prospective grant applicants with examples of the kinds
of research needed for the effective and efficient remediation of hazardous
waste sites and to develop a heightened level of partnership between NIEHS and
its "Superfund research clientele" in the development of the RFA.

The NIEHS held a series of five meetings across the country with the various
stakeholders between May and July 1998.  The meetings were:

"Superfund Basic Research: Integrating State and Local Needs and Perspectives"
May 6, 1998; Washington, D.C.

"EPA's National Association of Remedial Project Managers (NARPM) Annual
Meeting"
June 9-11, 1998; New York, NY

"Superfund Basic Research in the Next Century: Setting the Agenda"
June 17, 1998; Berkeley, CA

"EPA's Risk Assessors Annual Meeting"
June 24, 1998; New York, NY

"Superfund Basic Research: Integrating Federal Needs and Perspectives"
July 15, 1998; Kansas City, MO

Reports were drafted for each meeting and are comprised primarily of a list of
research needs.  These have been posted to the SBRP RFA Development Page,
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/newweb/99rfa.htm.  The meetings were
informative, they identified new needs, and confirmed that many research
issues that the Program has encouraged in the past continue to be relevant and
fitting to the needs of the Superfund Program.

While NIEHS recognizes the importance of the information gained from the
professionals dealing with risk and hazardous waste management, and community
representatives impacted by hazardous waste, it also sought the perspective of
experts in the research community.  Accordingly NIEHS convened the "Research
Needs Evaluation Workshop" on October 15, 1998.  At this meeting researchers
and policy makers from academia, federal and state laboratories, industry and
non-governmental organizations reviewed the research needs identified at the
five previous meetings and provided NIEHS with their perspective of the
feasibility of these suggestions.  The results of this meeting in combination
with the previous five meetings and the information gained from SBRP supported
conferences provided NIEHS with a strong base for formulating a scientifically
sound and highly relevant RFA. The information gained from this process
allowed NIEHS to develop a series of research goals and scientific objectives,
as listed below, relevant to the mission of EPA and ATSDR in meeting the
cleanup goals of the national Superfund Program.

RESEARCH GOALS

The goals and objectives of this RFA are to support and foster the growth of
collaborative multidisciplinary research programs aimed at understanding
health and environmental effects associated with hazardous waste sites, and at
developing improved strategies and technologies for cleaning up these sites. 
However, the primary focus of the Program is the effects on human health.

[Note: Program with an uppercase "P" as used in this document, denotes the
SBRP, whereas the lower case "p" denotes the research program of the
individual applicant.]

The Program's approach emphasizes basic research, using state-of-the-art
techniques, to improve the sensitivity and specificity for detecting adverse
effects in humans or in ecological systems.  Since effects follow from
exposure, a second major emphasis is to understand phenomena that affect
transport, fate and transformation of hazardous substances, and to develop
approaches to attenuate and mitigate exposure through the development of
remediation strategies.

For the purposes of this RFA, the applicant should consider chemicals
appropriate for study to be:
o  Hazardous substances found with some frequency at Superfund sites.
o  Hazardous breakdown products of such substances formed in environmental
media.
o  Hazardous metabolites of the above substances or their breakdown products
formed in humans or experimental animals.
o  Chemicals with structural similarity to hazardous substances found at
Superfund sites.

Note also that the applicant may refer to the Web site:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/newweb/rfa/resneeds.htm to obtain information on
hazardous substances that are relevant to Superfund and to EPA and ATSDR.

Listed below are examples of research topics that are appropriate to support
the goals and objectives of the SBRP.  The list is provided to stimulate the
thinking of potential grantees by showing basic research and its application,
and potential interdisciplinary linkages.  This list is not intended to be
complete, and investigators may study these and many other topics that meet
the objectives of the RFA.

Biomedical Research

Studies (in vivo and in vitro) of the underlying biological mechanisms of
human disease and dysfunction and the factors that contribute to disease and
dysfunction; particularly, the role exposure to hazardous substances plays in
affecting these mechanisms.

o  Studies on the mechanistic basis for cellular and molecular perturbations
and associated health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances
(e.g., receptor mediated effects, signal transduction, genetic instability).
o  Research to determine the interrelationship between exposures and genetic
factors at the molecular and cellular level in order to understand
susceptibility to disease.
o  Studies to assess the impact of toxic chemicals on the male and female
reproductive system including hormone production, end-organ responsiveness,
germ cell biology, maturation (puberty), senescence (menopause), fertility,
fecundity, ectopic tissue production and oncogene expression in reproductive
tissues.
o  Studies on the effects of toxic agents on immune competence as it relates
to cellular and humoral responses and immune-endocrine interactions (stress).
o  Studies of potential effects of low-level chronic exposure to toxic
chemicals on susceptibility to age-related deterioration by oxidative free
radicals or to endogenous neuroexcitatory chemicals.
o  Studies on the temporal relationship between chemical exposures and
development (e.g., pre-implantation, in utero, perinatal through puberty).
o  Studies of behavioral, neurological and neuroendocrinological effects
(including latent effects) of toxic chemical exposures, especially to chronic
low levels.
o  Analysis and evaluation of pollutant impact on toxicity endpoints,
especially effects on the respiratory, renal and cardiovascular systems, on
the integument (skin), and on hearing and vision.

Identification and development of methods and tools to improve our
understanding of the relationship of exposure to hazardous substances and
health.

o  Development and validation of new biomarkers of exposure, effect and
susceptibility, especially for non-cancer endpoints, which will aid in
assessing the health risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances.
o  Studies to validate the efficacy of biomarkers in providing a link between
exposure and disease outcome.
o  Studies (basic and epidemiological) on the use of markers of genetic
susceptibility to determine potential risk of health effects in population
subgroups exposed to toxic substances associated with hazardous wastes.
o  Studies to identify, evaluate or validate factors in the individual's
environment (e.g., nutritional status, home or workplace exposures) or
physiological makeup [including genetic (e.g., polymorphisms) or cellular
(e.g., altered protein function or structure)] that may lead to an increased
likelihood of disease or dysfunction relative to the general population upon
exposure to contaminants.
o  Epidemiologic and molecular epidemiologic studies of health effects
associated with exposure to hazardous substances.  Endpoints of interest
include neurologic, renal, respiratory, developmental and reproductive
effects, immune dysfunction, and cancer.
o  Studies to develop and demonstrate innovative monitoring technologies
capable of measuring individuals' incremental or long-term exposures to
contaminants at environmental (low) concentrations; data would be important to
reduce uncertainties in exposure assessment parameters used in epidemiologic
studies.
o  Studies (both basic research and epidemiological) characterizing exposure
and uptake of hazardous substances in special populations such as children,
site workers, the elderly.
o  Studies designed to understand the role the route of exposure, the
pharmacokinetics of metabolism and clearance, the DNA repair capacity and the
timing of exposures contribute to varying degrees of sensitivity in these
special populations.
o  Studies to understand the contribution of multiple exposures in determining
body burden for hazardous substances.
o  Studies to determine how continuous and/or multiple exposures to mixtures
of chemicals (similar or differing chemical classes, structure or biological
function) impact health outcome.
o  Epidemiological studies to identify potential biomarkers  in susceptible
individuals who respond adversely to exposure to low levels of environmental
chemicals and mixtures.
o  Studies (toxicology and population-based research) to generate biological
data and methodologies to develop and validate risk models for translating in
vitro and in vivo research findings to effects in humans.
o  Studies to establish dose-response relationships for hazardous substances
at low concentrations likely to be found in the environment.
o  Development and application of novel and innovative methods (e.g., cDNA
microarray technologies, biological reporter systems) to quantify biological
responses resulting from exposure to low concentrations of hazardous
substances.
o  Development of analytical methods for use in the field to identify/quantify
hazardous substances from Superfund sites and to evaluate sources of
environmental hazards.
o  Mechanistic studies using novel methodologies and tools to develop the
scientific data base for biologically-based risk assessment models.
o  Studies to evaluate potential age-related, gender-specific consequences of
toxic chemical exposures to susceptible populations.
o  Studies to evaluate mechanisms of action or interaction of mixtures of
contaminants found in media at hazardous waste sites to enable integrated
evaluation and characterization of the risks of the mixtures or the
contaminated media.

Biostatistical methods and risk assessment models for analysis of research
data.

o  Development of biostatistical approaches to interpret complex and diverse
data sets investigating gene-environment, gene-gene, or multi-gene-environment
interactions.
o  Development and validation of risk assessment models that incorporate
inter-individual variability of biomarker endpoints.
o  Development of physiologically-based/pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic models
that incorporate spatial and temporal parameters with chronic low dose
exposure to individual chemicals and/or mixtures.
o  Development and validation of probabilistic risk assessment models
incorporating biological data.
o  Development of statistical tools to manage and interpret diverse
epidemiological studies.

Site Evaluation and Fate And Transport

Studies to improve the tools and methodologies required for complete hazardous
substance site characterization: Mass (the size and contents);  Location
(mapping of subsurface structures); Transformation (changes in the
physical/chemical properties of the hazardous substances over time and in
different geological and climatic conditions); and Transport (description of
movements and physical/chemical processes that occur as substances migrate
within or from the site).

o  Studies that determine how Mass/Location/Transformation/Transport change
over time and as a result of various remedial options.
o  Studies applying methodological approaches (e.g., GIS, imaging, subsonic
mapping, and macro and micro biosensors) to define subsurface geological
structures and hydro-geological configurations and to sample for the presence
of contaminants in these structures.
o  Studies to quantify the physical variability and the chemical and
biological heterogeneity of the media and to determine how these relate in the
subsurface.
o  Development of personal monitors and tools to monitor the migration of
gaseous substances from hazardous waste sites into the indoor air of on-site
and off-site dwellings and other inhabited structures.
o  Studies of the evolution of contaminants or mixtures of contaminants in
environmental media over time (e.g., transformations to different molecular
species or changes in interactions with the media) and the resultant increases
or decreases in transport rate, bioavailability, or toxicity.
o  Studies in the area of fate and transport of chemicals through various
media from hazardous waste sites; techniques for measuring and modeling
movement and alteration of chemicals through the media surrounding the
hazardous waste site.
o  Research to quantify the uncertainty in hydrogeologic models.

Remediation Research

Research on new and innovative remediation strategies and technologies that
reduce bioavailability and/or toxicity of hazardous substances.

o  Development of remediation methods to clean up contaminated aquifers.
o  Studies of various physical and chemical parameters involved in thermal
treatment and other methods of degradation (e.g., biological conversion,
chemical conversion or neutralization) of hazardous substances.
o  Development of real-time monitors of performance effectiveness.
o  Development of new, non-invasive methods to characterize hazardous waste
sites and for the long-term assessment of the effectiveness of remedial
actions.
o  Development of methods to detect and measure non aqueous phase liquids and
dense non aqueous phase liquids in the subsurface.
o  Studies to develop and demonstrate methods and strategies to remediate
metals or other inorganics (e.g., Arsenic, Mercury, Cadmiun, Manganese) found
in high concentrations or widely dispersed in soils and sediments, perhaps
using biological or biophysical approaches.
o  Studies to develop and evaluate tests, models or strategies for long-term
reliability of containment technologies, or to alert to imminent failure.
o  Development of new and advanced techniques in biodegradation, especially of
recalcitrant chemicals, simple and complex mixtures, and metals.
o  Development of bioreactors for remediation.
o  Studies on the use of genetically engineered higher plant species to
remediate toxic waste sites, including the fate of remediation products in the
environment.
o  Studies to develop and validate toxicological tests or measurement systems
that allow engineers to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment technologies.

Ecological Research

Research on the effects of hazardous substances on animal and plant species in
the vicinity of hazardous waste sites that serve as sentinels for human
exposure and uptake.

o  Studies pertaining to the food web, such as the development of model
systems to look at the effects of hazardous substances on the food web.
o  Development of methods and strategies for evaluating
bioavailability/bioconcentration in the food web as a basis for predicting
bioavailability/bioconcentration in humans. 

Research on the effect of hazardous substances on ecological systems,
especially those related to ecological succession and the impact toxic
substances may have on the natural course of succession as well as on
biodiversity.

o  Studies to develop, assess and apply new molecular genetic techniques in
ecology studies.
o  Studies to improve our understanding of the ecological implications of
short-term genotoxic responses, specifically by defining the linkages to the
field of ecological genetics to population- and ecosystem-level ecological
theory.
o  Studies designed to determine the resistance and resilience to the impact
of toxics on ecosystems.
o  Studies related to sentinel species model development.
o  Development of strategies or methods to define "key" species.
o  Development of tools for rapid ecological evaluation of stressed
ecosystems.

Bioavailability Research

Studies of bioavailability and uptake of hazardous substances occurring via
the kinds of exposures (multimedia and multiple routes) encountered at
Superfund sites.

o  Studies on the bioavailability of mixtures in media and/or experimental
organisms (particularly the mixtures found at Superfund sites and the low-
level, long-term, multimedia exposures).
o  Studies detailing the cellular and physiological processes that affect the
bioavailability, disposition and excretion of contaminants in the body.
o  Studies to determine the relationship between the environmental
concentration, speciation and environmental matrix and the dose internalized.
o  Studies to assess how the route of exposure (via dermal, oral/gut and
inhalation routes) affects uptake, bioaccumulation, distribution and excretion
of hazardous substances (single chemicals or mixtures).
o  Studies relating biomarkers of exposure to results of in vitro or modeled
bioavailability studies.
o  Studies evaluating the bioavailability of remediation products or the
change in bioavailability as the result of remediation.
o  Studies of bioavailability or tissue concentrations of contaminants in non-
human organisms as predictors of human exposure.
o  Studies of the evolution of contaminants or mixtures of contaminants in
environmental media over time (e.g., transformations to different molecular
species or changes in interactions with the media) and the resultant changes
in bioavailability.

The above examples of research opportunities are only illustrative of the
types of research efforts that may be appropriate to this Program and are not
meant to be all-inclusive or restrictive.  Nonetheless, it is important that
investigators submitting an application under this RFA propose
multidisciplinary studies that are integrated and designed to produce results
in the hazardous waste area, primarily in identifying, evaluating and
attenuating the adverse effects on human health resulting from exposures to
hazardous substances.

CORES AND COMMUNITY-BASED PREVENTION/INTERVENTION RESEARCH PROJECTS

Although novel, innovative cutting edge research projects are the core of an
SBRP grant, it is the intent of the SBRP that the research activities be
integrated into an interdisciplinary program.  To support this goal, NIEHS
requires the establishment of cores.  Each grant must include one Research
Support Core and an Administrative Core.  Outreach and Training Cores, or CBPI
Research Projects may also be included in support of achieving a truly
multidisciplinary approach to hazardous substances research.

Administrative Core

It is expected that the organization of the Administrative Core will provide a
supportive structure sufficient to ensure accomplishment of the following:

o  Planning and Coordination of Research Activities
o  Fiscal and Resource Management Planning
o  Information Dissemination Planning
o  Government Liaison
o  Technology Transfer Planning

In order to facilitate effectively the coordination of a multi-project
program, NIEHS requires the establishment of an Administrative Core. This Core
will provide leadership, ensure the integration of the program, and serve as a
resource to the program in administrative matters. As part of this role, the
NIEHS strongly recommends the establishment of an External Advisory Committee.
The advisory group would  assist in evaluating the merit of the research
program, the relevance and importance of the individual components to the
goals of the program, the appropriateness of outreach activities, and the
effectiveness of information transfer and dissemination activities. The group
would make recommendations to the Principal Investigator regarding future
research, training and outreach, and ensure that all activities are consistent
with the objectives of the SBRP. The External Advisory Committee should meet
at least once annually.

NIEHS recommends that the fiscal aspects of the program be coordinated through
the Administrative Core. While budget formulation and planning will likely
originate with the Principal Investigator in association with scientific
staff, execution, management and coordination would be the responsibility of
the Administrative Core.

NIEHS recognizes that the effective communication of information gained from
this Program is critical. Accordingly, NIEHS requires that the Administrative
Core include a plan and designate resources to this end. Three elements have
been identified: 1) information dissemination and transfer; 2) government
liaison; and 3) technology transfer. All programs are to include plans for the
first two elements. The third element should be included for any program that
has research or technology that will be ready for transfer within the time
frame of the award period.

It is envisioned that one individual would be assigned the responsibility for
information transfer and dissemination. This individual would be the point of
contact for NIEHS staff for coordinating written documents about the program.
In addition this person would review the NIEHS Web site on their program's
activities for accuracy and would track programmatic information such as the
training conducted by the program. This person would ensure the effective
communication and transfer of important research findings to NIEHS and other
appropriate audiences in a style and language that clearly conveys the
importance of the activity being reported.

The same or another individual should serve as a liaison between the program
and government agencies and offices. It is anticipated the each program will
establish an active exchange of information between itself and the appropriate
EPA regional office and State and local offices of health and/or environment.
The intent of this interaction is to ensure that governmental offices have
access to the valuable resources the program can provide, and that the
investigators have knowledge of the real and immediate needs faced by their
counterparts in the public sector.  In addition, this person would track all
program activities involving the Research Project or Core leaders and other
government agencies as well as track research being conducted at Superfund
sites. (Note: This activity does not preclude the establishment of a formal
outreach core that is directed to a specific project with a government office
or agency.)

To further support the Program's goal in technology transfer, NIEHS recommends
that the program designate an individual to promote technology transfer for
the program. The responsibilities of this person would be to seek
opportunities for applying research findings with the appropriate audience.
This may exist as a formal technology transfer activity, where the person
would coordinate with the university's established technology transfer
program, or in less formal arrangements where the individual would seek
opportunities for partnership in advancing the science from the laboratory
into application. This person would assume a proactive role in assessing the
entire program for opportunities to advance basic research into application
and then assist the investigator in developing a strategy for moving the
research or technology to the next level. This role, to a great extent, may be
most appropriate for recompeting programs.

Research Support Cores

Research Support Cores are principally designed as a service or resource
component to the research projects within a program.  Core facilities may
include laboratory and clinical facilities, biostatistical support, and
analytical equipment and services.  Cores must support two or more research
projects.  The intent of a Research Support Core is to provide centralized
services that will produce an economy of effort and or savings in overall
costs.  Furthermore, these cores also promote interdisciplinary activities.

Outreach Core

There is a public health need to link members of the professional community
with environmental health and environmental technology research. Accordingly,
NIEHS strongly encourages applicants to formulate an Outreach Core. Target
communities appropriate for this core include professionals in public or
environmental health, or established and recognized groups engaged in
translating environmental health research findings to communities. The
inclusion of an Outreach Core is to allow for the translation of the research
information to improve public health. For example, Outreach Cores may consist
of activities impacting public awareness, disease prevention programs, or the
training of  health professionals or training at secondary, community college,
college or professional levels. NIEHS strongly encourages that outreach
efforts that impact public awareness or involve disease prevention programs be
conducted in coordination and collaboration with other existing outreach
programs such as those within EPA, ATSDR, CDC, or State and local programs. 
Some examples of education and training outreach activities would be training
health care providers in the recognition of environmental exposures, training
in risk assessment or risk communication methodologies, or developing printed
and audio visual education materials.

It is important that the Outreach Core define the community/organizational
unit with which it proposes to collaborate. It is expected that each Outreach
Core will be consistent with the research strengths of program. Support for
appropriate staff positions, travel and supplies for this activity is allowed.
The budget should include travel for an annual meeting with other Outreach
Core and CBPI Research Project Leaders.

Training Core

An area of importance to the overall performance of the Program, and to the
future of environmental health research in general, is training.  The NIEHS
intends to support graduate and advanced training in environmental health,
environmental sciences, ecology, and geosciences (including hydrogeology,
geologic engineering, geophysics, geochemistry, and related fields) in the
setting of the research program.  Applicants are encouraged to propose
specific plans for interdisciplinary training as part of their overall
program. The NIEHS encourages potential applicants to develop a structured,
interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program within an established training
core.  The training core should reflect the integration of the overall
research effort.  Of special interest is the training of students and post-
doctoral fellows in the non-biomedical projects in the context of
environmental health sciences and biomedical research.  Likewise, students of
the biomedical sciences should have opportunities to learn about the non-
biomedical areas of study.

Additional training of pre- and post-doctoral students may also be carried on
outside the structured training program.

In keeping with the NIH efforts to train members of minority groups, and those
with disabilities, in its ongoing training programs, applicants are encouraged
to consider these candidates in their recruitment efforts.

Individuals in the training positions must be considered employees of the
institution and not trainees receiving stipends as in National Research
Service Award programs.  Salaries and fringe benefits consistent with
institutional policies may be requested.  Funds may also be requested for 
tuition, where appropriate, and travel to one scientific meeting per year. 
The total costs of the Training Core are not to exceed six percent of the
total budget.

Community-Based Prevention/Intervention Research Project

NIEHS recognizes the benefit in establishing collaborative relationships with
communities in developing prevention and intervention strategies related to
exposures to Superfund sites. These partnerships help ensure that
investigators develop realistic approaches with knowledge and resources that
only a community can provide.  Therefore NIEHS encourages programs to include
one research project that develops, implements, and evaluates a
community-based intervention/prevention research initiative.  As appropriate,
the applicant is also encouraged to inform or involve existing Federal, State
or local programs that interact with the community when developing a CBPI
research project.  Activities conducted under this RFA should be consistent
with Federal Executive Order No. 12898 entitled, "Federal Actions to Address
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations."  To
the extent practicable and permitted by law, grantees shall make achieving
environmental justice part of their project's mission by identifying and
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health
effects of environmental contaminants on minority, low-income, and medically
underserved communities, including African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native
Americans.

The goal of a CBPI Research Project is to develop a fundamental research
project and link it to a specific community being impacted by exposure to
hazardous substances - such as living in proximity to a Superfund or
Brownfields site. This research and linkage should increase the understanding
of public health research approaches related to diseases and health conditions
that have an environmentally-related etiology. It is strongly encouraged that
this intervention research project be related to an area of other research in
the application or be the natural continuation of an existing Research
Project. In either case the CBPI Research Project will facilitate the transfer
of information between the  laboratory to the community.

Examples of possible CBPI Research Projects that would be fitting for
inclusion in an application are:

o  Develop strategies and methods for hazard surveillance, particularly in
highly exposed subpopulations, to allow for early intervention or better risk
assessment in the population at-large.

o  Develop and validate behavior modification strategies to reduce exposures
or threats, in the short-term or in the long-term when mitigation is slow or
impossible.

o  Validate biomarkers of exposure in a population living in proximity to a
Superfund site.

It is important to note that this project must specifically address all of the
following parameters: (a) scientific basis of the proposed research and the
hypothesis to be tested; (b) identification and description of target
community and known environmental health hazards; (c) means of establishing
effective interaction and collaboration with community members; (d) sample
size needed, power considerations, procedures for sample selection, and
recruitment and retention of a study population; (e) detailed description of a
research design for the proposed intervention; (f) measurement instruments and
their reliability and validity, considering both process and outcome
evaluation; and (g) data management and analysis methods. Also prevention and
intervention schemes must take into account the social and cultural lifestyle
and behavioral factors that contribute to environmentally associated
disorders.

Because this project is intended to be community-based, the application must
demonstrate a specific, existing linkage to a community-based organization and
specific involvement of community members in development, conduct, and
interpretation of the intervention.  The goal is to involve the community
members throughout the research process, from development of the research
question to interpretation, application and dissemination of the results. It
is important that the likely outcomes of this partnership be clearly
communicated to the participating community in order that the community's
expectations will be realistic.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

It is the intent of the NIEHS to hold annual meetings of grantees under this
Program.  Funds for travel by the Principal Investigator and appropriate staff
to a three day meeting should be included in each year's budget.  The location
of the meeting site will rotate among the different grantees.

It is anticipated that the Outreach Core Leaders and CBPI Research Project
Leaders of the SBRP will take part in an annual meeting, and this should be
included in the individual budgets.

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 was published in
the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 11, March 18, 1994, available on
the web at:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-105.html.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

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.

INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS

Prospective applicants are invited to attend an informational meeting on
applying for a Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research Program grant. 
For the convenience of the applicant, NIEHS staff will hold "Applicant
Information Meetings" (AIMs) at two locations: one at the Sheraton San Diego
Hotel and Marina, in San Diego, California, on Thursday, December 10, 1998;
and one at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, on Wednesday,
December 16, 1998.  NIEHS staff will explain the purpose of the Program,
provide instructions about the application process, and answer questions. 
Further information and registration forms for these meetings can be found at
the following Web site: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/newweb/rfa/aim.htm.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by January 29, 1999, a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed research and each
project and core, 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 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 NIEHS staff
to estimate the potential review workload, determine the scientific expertise
needed for the review panel and helps avoid conflicts of interest in the
review.  The receipt date for the letter of intent is January 29, 1999.

The letter of intent is to be sent to:

David Brown, M.P.H.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
111 Alexander Drive, MD EC-24
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4964
FAX:  (919) 541-2503
Email:  brown4@niehs.nih.gov

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) 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, Email:
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

As the PHS 398 is used primarily for the traditional research project grant
applications, several sections of the PHS 398 must be modified and expanded to
provide the additional information needed for the Superfund Basic Research
Program applications.  Detailed guidelines to supplement the PHS instructions
are provided in the "Application Guidelines for the Superfund Hazardous
Substances Basic Research Program" and can be found on:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/dert/rfa.htm.

Additional information with regards to relevant research can be found on:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/newweb/rfa/resneeds.htm

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) 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 one signed, photocopy, 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 same time, three additional signed copies of the application and six
copies of collated (by research project and core) appendix material MUST be
sent to the NIEHS Scientific Review Administrator (SRA):

David Brown, M.P.H.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-24
111 T. W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the
heading of this RFA (May 11, 1999).  If an application is received after that
date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications and supporting material will be examined for
completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH.  In addition, the
Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT), NIEHS will do an
administrative review for completeness and responsiveness to the RFA;
incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without further
consideration.  The specific points of consideration are: (1) the
appropriateness of the science proposed in regard to the mission of the NIEHS
and the SBRP's mandates; and (2) the general completeness of the application
including responsiveness to programmatic requirements and the organizational
adequacy for review (this includes both scientific and budgetary
considerations.)

Initial Scientific Review

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit, in accordance with the review criteria stated
below, by an appropriate peer review group [Special Emphasis Panel, (SEP)]
convened by the NIEHS.  The SEP will include scientific and technical experts
with the necessary proficiency to adequately review the biomedical and non-
biomedical science as well as the essential characteristics of a SBRP.  Since
these applications are complex and no formal site visits are planned, it is
essential that applications be thoroughly prepared and that they be well
organized in accordance with the guidelines.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written
critique.  Those applications judged by the SEP to be considered non-
competitive will not be scored. The remaining applications, generally the top
two/thirds under review, will be assigned a priority score based on the
scientific merit of the overall application, and receive a second level review
by the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences (NAEHS) Council.

As part of the initial scientific review for competitive applications, the
applicant will have the opportunity to address questions/concerns that the
panel may have.  This will occur in two phases: 1) Prior to the initial review
meeting, if the SEP needs additional information or clarification, the
applicant will be asked to submit this information in writing.  2) During the
initial review meeting, the applicant will be asked to be available via
telephone to address the SEP, if necessary.  Each applicant will receive a
call even if no additional information is required.

It is important to note, SEP members will examine proposed budgets closely. 
The SEP may recommend adjustments, as judged appropriate, in the requested
budgets and periods of support for the components of SBRP applications which
are deemed to have significant and substantial merit.

Submission of Additional Information by Applicants

There is a period of several months between the time of submission of the
application and the  initial review.  In the event of substantial new findings
during this interval, the applicant is encouraged to contact the SRA to seek
permission to submit supplementary materials.  These materials will generally
not be accepted within 30 days prior to the initial scientific review.  The
SRA will make the final determination as to what additional information will
be provided to the reviewers.  Please note, this is information that the
applicant wishes to include and not information being requested by the SEP
members as described above.

NAEHS Council Review

The final review and recommendation on all scored applications is made by the
NAEHS Council.  The Council has two responsibilities relating to grant
applications under review:  (1) it evaluates the adequacy and appropriateness
of the initial review process, and (2) it considers the significance of the
application to the overall program goals of the NIEHS.  Upon consideration of
these issues the Council makes appropriate recommendations to the Director,
NIEHS.  The Council does not function as a second scientific review body.

REVIEW FACTORS

Review Factors for the Overall Superfund Basic Research Program Application

The SEP will review the applications for: (1) the multidisciplinary and
interdisciplinary nature of the program, (2) the qualifications of the
Principal Investigator, (3) the scientific merit of the Research Projects, (4)
the Research Support Core(s), and (5) the Administrative Core and other Cores
or CBPI Research Project if included in the application. In addition, for
competing renewal applications the following will be considered:

o  Progress and achievements specific to this program since the previous
competitive review and the documentation through publications, conferences,
etc., that collaboration has occurred.
o  Evidence that the previous specific aims, as funded, have been accomplished
and that the new research goals are logical extensions of ongoing work.
o  Previous performance and estimated use of the core(s).
o  Justification for adding new projects or cores or for deleting components
previously supported.
o  Commitment to transferring research findings to appropriate audiences such
as EPA, EPA Regions, ATSDR, State and local professionals or other
professionals working in the field of hazardous waste management.

The SEP will evaluate the relationship and contributions of these components
to the overall theme and goals of the program as well as the scientific merit
of the program as a whole.  This includes the significance and importance of
the research program to further the knowledge of environmental health sciences
and the understanding of the physical, chemical and biological properties of
hazardous substances in the environment.  Components that are not recommended
for further consideration are not included in the overall evaluation; however,
such projects will reflect on the leadership capabilities of the Principal
Investigator.

For a SBRP application to receive a priority score, it must consist of at
least three biomedical projects, one non-biomedical  project and one Research
Support Core (each found to have significant and substantial merit) for the
duration of the project period and an acceptable Administrative Core.  Each
Research Support Core must provide essential functions or services for at
least two Research Projects.

Specific factors to be evaluated in the consideration of the program are as
follows:

Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Nature of Program

o  Scientific gain of combining the component parts into a program.  The
program should be small enough to afford effective interaction focused on a
specific central theme, but diverse in scientific disciplines in order to
achieve meaningful contributions to protecting human health and the
environment.

o  Integration and interaction of the non-health related research with the
health-based research as it contributes to the overall theme of the program.

Principal Investigator

o  Leadership and scientific ability of the Principal Investigator to
effectively direct a large complex multidisciplinary program.

o  Commitment and ability to develop a well-defined central research focus.
o  Ability to coordinate the interactions of the Research Projects with
effective utilization of cores to achieve programmatic goals.

Research Projects

The goal of the SBRP is to improve the ability to identify, assess, and
evaluate the potential health effects of exposure to hazardous waste and to
develop innovative chemical, physical and biological technologies for
remediating hazardous substances.  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 projects will have a substantial
impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these aspects will be addressed
and considered in assigning the overall score.  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.

The review of the individual Research Projects is similar to the review of
investigator-initiated individual project grant applications (R01). 
Accordingly, these projects must have substantial scientific merit.  Reviewers
will evaluate the individual projects against five review criteria.  The four
technical review criteria (Significance, Approach, Innovation and Environment)
are intended to encourage reviewers to focus on the global impacts of each
project, rather than concentrating on the experimental details and their
critiques.  The review criteria are as follows:

(1) Significance: Does this study address an important problem?  If the aims
of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? 
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive
this field?

(2) Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? 
Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) Investigator: Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to
carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level
of the Principal Investigator and other researchers?

(5) Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional
support?

Additionally, reviewers will evaluate each project for its contribution to the
overall goals of the SBRP application:

o  Scientific merit of each individual project in the context of the proposed
programmatic theme, (i.e., assessment of the importance of the ideas or aims,
the rationale and originality of the approach, the feasibility of the methods
and the value of the result).
o  Specific scientific objectives of each project that will benefit
significantly from, or depend upon, collaborative interactions with other
projects in the program (i.e., objectives that can be uniquely accomplished,
specific contributions to the accomplishments of objectives in other projects,
objectives that can be accomplished with greater effectiveness and/or economy
of effort, etc.).

Administrative Core

o  Leadership and planning structure required to manage a multi-project
program.  This includes the capability of coordinating interdisciplinary
research, promoting and stimulating collaborations among constituent Research
Projects and Cores and evaluating research productivity.  Also included is the
establishment and use of the external advisory committee.
o  Decision-making process for the management of funds and resources, and the
ability to provide administrative support to the project and core leaders.
o  Adequacy of the academic and physical environment in which research is to
be conducted.
o  Commitment to effectively communicate research advances to professional
audiences that may benefit from this information.  This includes the
development of a plan to translate research and the adequacy of the effort to
coordinate information exchange with NIEHS, with other governmental offices
and other appropriate audiences.  Resources committed to the required
components of the Administrative Core will be evaluated.

Research Support Cores

o  Utility of the core to the program.  Each core should provide essential
facilities or service for two or more of the Research Projects judged to have
substantial scientific merit. (Utility includes the number of projects that
will benefit from centralized administrative and research services and the
economy of effort that will be realized through use of shared services, etc.)
o  Quality of the facilities or services provided by this core and criteria
for prioritization of usage.
o  Appropriateness of the Quality Control and Quality Assurance plans for
cores that are providing quantitative analyses.
o  Qualifications, experience, and commitment of the personnel involved in the
core.

Outreach Core

o  Appropriateness, adequacy and feasibility of the proposed approach,
including sensitivity to cultural and socioeconomic factors when appropriate.
o  Appropriate coordination and collaboration with professionals focused on
translating research.
o  Qualifications and experience of the staff.

Training Core

o  Past research training record related to the SBRP (for competing renewals
only).
o  Objectives, design, and direction of the research training program.
o  Training environment, including the institutional commitment, the quality
of the facilities, availability of courses appropriate to the SBRP; and for
post-doctoral training, the availability of research support.
o  Recruitment and selection plans for individuals participating in the
Training Core.
o  Opportunities to interface with different scientific disciplines.
o  Approach and methods to develop training curriculum and courses, including
the interdisciplinary nature of the training curriculum.

CBPI Research Project

In addition to the five review criteria listed for Research Projects, the
Community-based Prevention Intervention Research Project will also be assessed
on the following factors:

o  Appropriate coordination and collaboration of the university-based
researchers and community members in the development, conduct and
interpretation of the research.
o  Extent of community sanction will be evaluated (e.g.,evidence of access to,
interaction with, and participation of community members and community
leaders).
o  Appropriateness, adequacy and feasibility of the proposed approach
including sensitivity to cultural and socioeconomic factors.

Other 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 adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research that involves human subjects.  Plans for the recruitment and
retention of subjects will also be evaluated.
o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
proposed research.
o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project
proposed in the application.
o  The provisions for the protection of human subjects and the safety of the
research environment.

SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    January 29, 1999
Application Receipt Date:         May 11, 1999
Peer Review Date:                 October 1999
Council Review:                   February 2000
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  April 1, 2000

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

INQUIRIES

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:

Claudia L. Thompson, Ph.D.
Chemical Exposures and Molecular Biology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-21
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4638
FAX:  (919) 541-4937
Email:  thompsol@niehs.nih.gov

David A. Bennett, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-27
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-7592
FAX:  (919) 541-4937
Email:  bennett7@niehs.nih.gov

William A. Suk, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Office of Program Development
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-27
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-0797
FAX:  (919) 541-4937
Email:  suk@niehs.nih.gov

Questions of an administrative or fiscal nature not directly related to the
scientific aspects of the application should be directed to the Grants
Management Branch official listed below:

Dorothy G. Duke
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-22
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-2749
FAX:  (919) 541-2860
Email:  duke3@niehs.nih.gov

Once the application has been submitted to the NIH/NIEHS, the primary point of
contact should be through the Scientific Review Branch official listed below:

David Brown, M.P.H.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233  MD EC-24
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4964
FAX:  (919) 541-2503
Email:  brown4@niehs.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

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

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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