POPULATION RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM - FY05

RELEASE DATE:  August 11, 2004

RFA NUMBER:   RFA-HD-04-022 (This RFA has been reissued, see RFA-HD-05-028) 

EXPIRATION DATE:  November 24, 2004

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
 (http://www.nih.gov) 

COMPONENT OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION: 
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) 
 (http://www.nichd.nih.gov/)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER(S):  93.865

LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE: October 25, 2004
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: November 23, 2004 

THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

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

PURPOSE OF THIS RFA

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), through 
the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB), Center for Population 
Research (CPR), invites applications for infrastructure grants in support of 
population research relevant to the DBSB mission. Applicants may request funds 
to support infrastructure development and/or research designed to: (1) enhance 
the quality and quantity of population research conducted at an institution; 
and (2) develop new research capabilities to advance population research 
through innovative approaches. A central goal of this program is to facilitate 
interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in population research while 
providing essential and cost-effective core services in support of the 
development, conduct, and translation of population research based in centers 
or comparable administrative units. 

This announcement invites applications for Research Infrastructure Awards. A 
separate announcement invites applications for Developmental Infrastructure 
Awards, which are intended to support the development and demonstrate the 
feasibility of programs that have high potential for advancing population 
research, but have not yet fully developed the necessary resources and 
mechanisms to be competitive for a Research Infrastructure Award.

A table summarizing the differences between the Infrastructure Award (R24) and 
Developmental Infrastructure Award (R21) is available at: 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/HD-04-022/HD-04-022.htm. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch (DBSB) is one of three programs 
in the Center for Population Research of the NICHD. The mission of the Branch 
is to foster research on the processes that determine population size, growth, 
composition, and distribution, and on the determinants and consequences of 
those processes. This mission translates into a research portfolio that looks 
intensively at the demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and 
migration and at their broad interrelationships with larger social, economic, 
and cultural processes. Areas of supported research include fertility and 
family planning, sexually transmitted disease, family and household 
demography, mortality and health, population movement, population and 
environment, and population composition and change. Research supported by the 
Branch uses a broad spectrum of scientific approaches in the clinical, 
behavioral, and social sciences.

During the years 1972-2000, NICHD provided infrastructure support for 
population research through the Center Core Grant (P30) and Specialized 
Research Center Grant (P50) mechanisms. In 1999, DBSB undertook a 
comprehensive review of this program to determine whether its structure and 
guidelines best served the future needs of population research. A report 
summarizing the results of this review is available at 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/cpr/dbs/pubs/report.pdf and from the program 
contact named under WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES, below. As a result of the review, 
DBSB is phasing out the P30 and P50 mechanisms in favor of the R24 and R21 
mechanisms.  This announcement uses the R24 mechanism.  A corresponding 
announcement (PAR-04-138) uses the R21 mechanism.

Objectives and Scope

The primary purposes of the Population Research Infrastructure Program are to 
provide resources to support and advance research that will improve 
understanding of the antecedents and consequences of population structure and 
change, facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among investigators 
conducting population-related research, and promote innovative approaches to 
population research questions. An additional goal is to facilitate interaction 
among scientists in locations throughout the United States that contributes to 
the integration and coordination of population research. 

The Infrastructure Grant retains some of the characteristics of traditional 
P30 and P50 grants. It funds infrastructure to support a portfolio of 
population research housed in or coordinated by a center or other research 
unit (hereafter, "research unit" or "unit") at an institution. However, it is 
designed to move beyond the traditional center grant mechanism to allow 
institutions to aggressively pursue scientific opportunities appearing at the 
boundaries between traditional population research and allied fields, and to 
facilitate partnerships among diverse scientists and institutions. The 
Infrastructure Grant allows units to use funds to address not only the core 
support needs of existing projects, but to develop new directions and 
approaches to population research. It asks applicants to design and propose 
infrastructure programs that will advance the interdisciplinary reach, 
innovation, and impact of their research programs, in addition to serving the 
existing needs of researchers. It also allows the development of 
infrastructure that broadly serves the field of population research by 
translating and/or disseminating research findings and resources.

Applicants responding to this RFA must articulate a clear vision for their 
research unit and its current and future contributions to population research. 
Applicants must identify the signature population-related themes of the unit 
and these must be relevant to the DBSB mission. Signature themes are defined 
as research topics that exemplify the applicant program's most significant 
current and/or anticipated contributions to population research. The themes 
should reflect major strengths of the program and need not encompass all 
research topics covered by program researchers. Applicants must also 
articulate a vision for the potential future contributions of the program.

Population Research Topics:

A description of the DBSB mission is available at 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/cpr/dbs/dbs.htm. Illustrative examples of 
population research topics that fall within the DBSB mission include, but are 
not limited to, the list that follows.  Applicants may consult with program 
staff listed under WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES to discuss the relevance of other 
topics to the DBSB mission.  

1. Research on the antecedents and consequences of changes in population size, 
structure, and composition, including the documentation, analysis, and/or 
projection of population composition with respect to demographic, economic, 
social, and geographic characteristics; economic and social mobility; the 
relationship of economic, social, and cultural factors to population change; 
and the interrelationship between population and the physical environment.

2. Research on families and households, including studies of the determinants 
of trends in marriage, divorce, and cohabitation; the formation of and changes 
in household structures, fatherhood, patterns of child support and visitation 
with absent parents; the use of child care services; the relationship between 
changing fertility and family patterns and the well-being of children; 
intergenerational demography; and the implications of welfare and health 
policies on families.

3. Fertility research, including research on individual, social, economic, and 
cultural determinants and consequences of fertility and fertility trends, on 
the interrelationship between fertility patterns and education, work, union 
formation and dissolution, family structure, and health; and on contraceptive 
use, abortion, and sexual behavior. 

4. Research on population movement and distribution, including studies of the 
determinants and consequences of international and internal migration and 
residential mobility, assimilation and adaptation of migrants; migrant 
selectivity; residential segregation; and spatial demography.

5. Demographic aspects of health, morbidity, disability, and mortality, 
including research on infant mortality and low birth weight; health 
disparities; research that relates demographic and social processes to 
mortality and health across the life course; and the health and well-being of 
children (see http://www.nichd.nih.gov/cpr/dbs/dbsb_mission.htm for more 
information).

6. Behavioral research on the sexual transmission of HIV, including 
demographic studies of sexual behaviors related to HIV transmission; studies 
of the interrelationships between social, institutional, economic, and 
cultural contexts and sexual behavior; studies of the interrelationships among 
pregnancy, pregnancy prevention, and HIV prevention; theoretically grounded 
intervention studies within these areas; and related methodological studies 
(see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAS-00-136.html). 

Infrastructure Support 

Applicants may request support in the following categories: (1) Research 
Support Cores; (2) Developmental Infrastructure; (3) Research Projects; and 
(4) Public Infrastructure. Applicants are not expected to request support in 
all or even most of the categories; rather, they should request types and 
levels of support that best suit their needs and objectives. The NICHD expects 
that the amount and allocation of infrastructure support that applicants 
request will vary substantially. 

The first three categories of infrastructure support are intended to advance 
the scientific program of the applicant research unit. For these categories, 
applicants must justify the types and amounts of support requested in terms 
of: (1) the scope, objectives, and current and potential impact of the 
applicant's research program; (2) the potential contribution of requested 
infrastructure to advancing the research program; and (3) the cost-
effectiveness of the requested support. Applicants are expected to define 
guidelines for determining the eligibility of researchers and research 
projects to access resources provided under this program, and guidelines and 
procedures for allocating such resources. No restrictions on access (e.g., by 
students, investigators lacking research support, investigators in fields 
other than population research) are imposed under this announcement. 
However, applicants must demonstrate that their proposed guidelines and 
procedures for controlling access to core resources are consistent with the 
goal of effectively advancing the scientific program of the unit and the goals 
of this RFA.

Definitions of Infrastructure Support Categories:

1. Research Support Cores provide shared resources that support the 
applicant's research program. Examples include: 

o Administrative Core, providing for coordination of research, editorial 
services, and/or assistance with grant application development and fiscal 
management of grants.

o Computing Core, providing equipment and/or services supporting shared 
computing needs. 

o Information Core, providing support for retrieving information, materials, 
and data commonly used in population research. 

o Methodology Support Cores, providing support for specific methodologies 
employed in population research (e.g., GIS, statistical methods, biomarkers, 
survey methodologies).

Research Support cores should be designed to advance the applicant's research 
program while providing essential, cost-effective services to support on-going 
research activities. Cores should be designed to facilitate and promote 
innovation in the science conducted by program researchers in addition to 
responding to researcher needs. Equipment and support services that are 
specific to individual research projects or researchers are not allowable, 
except in the context of individual research projects that may be proposed in 
response to this RFA. 

2. Developmental Infrastructure refers to activities that promote the 
development of new research capabilities. Such activities may lead to outcomes 
such as innovative projects and approaches, new interdisciplinary 
collaborations, the scientific development of junior researchers, or the 
integration of experienced researchers from other fields into population 
research. Examples of potential developmental infrastructure activities 
include:

o Seed grant programs, providing funds for the development of new research 
projects. Institutions proposing seed grant programs must develop guidelines 
and eligibility requirements appropriate to the goals of this RFA, and 
procedures and policies for administration of the program. Issues that may be 
addressed include (but need not be limited to): (1) priorities for allocating 
funds (e.g., junior researchers, specified areas of research, 
interdisciplinary work, etc.); (2) procedures for reviewing applications; (3) 
requirements for leveraging funds or preparing research proposals to continue 
or expand the research project; (4) size of awards; (5) length of award 
periods; (6) number of awards permitted to an individual researcher; (7) 
mentoring arrangements; and (8) support for the program from the parent 
institution or other funding sources.

o Faculty development, providing for partial salary support or other support 
for the recruitment of new faculty in scientific areas critical to the 
development of innovative and/or interdisciplinary research directions. 
Support for any one individual may not exceed three years in duration. 

o Activities that foster the development of new core services. For example, 
applicants may propose to hire consultants to assist with the design of GIS 
services, or conduct pilot studies to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of 
alternative modes of core service delivery. 

o Workshops, conferences, seminar series, and visiting scholar programs that 
lay the groundwork for new substantive work or foster new research 
collaborations.

3. Research Projects proposed for R24 support must be of R01 quality, must 
directly address and advance the program's central scientific objectives and 
signature population-related themes, and should emphasize innovative, 
interdisciplinary, and/or cross-cutting elements. Institutions are encouraged 
to consider R01 and other research grant mechanisms for the support of 
research projects that do not explicitly meet these criteria.

4. Public Infrastructure activities differ from the first three categories of 
infrastructure support in that they are not solely intended to advance the 
research program at the applicant institution, but are primarily directed 
instead at significant external audiences. These audiences may include (but 
are not limited to) the broad community of population researchers or 
communities concerned with public policy or health or social programs. 

o Illustrative examples of activities benefiting the broader scientific 
community include: supporting and disseminating databases of high relevance to 
population research; developing and disseminating multidisciplinary 
bibliographic databases; and providing infrastructure for data sharing. 

o Illustrative examples of activities benefiting policy or program audiences 
include the development of tools for effectively communicating population 
research findings to relevant audiences and innovative strategies for 
translating basic research findings for application to programs designed to 
improve health and well-being. 

Applicants are encouraged to request funds for public infrastructure 
activities only when they can justify: (1) that these activities will 
significantly advance the field of population research and/or benefit policy 
or practice communities; (2) that the proposed activity does not duplicate 
existing resources or services; and (3) that the proposed activity is cost-
effective. They should also address the time frame during which the 
resource(s) or service(s) will be needed, and the short- and long-term plans 
for supporting them. This plan should address, as applicable, expectations for 
NICHD support, support from the institution and other sources of support, and 
plans for charging users and managing program income.

Applicants may propose to cooperate with other institutions in undertaking any 
of the above-mentioned infrastructure activities. Cooperative activities may 
include the development of research partnerships involving scientists in the 
applicant's program and colleagues in other institutions, and/or joint 
ventures with other institutions to provide research, developmental, or public 
infrastructure services. Proposed research partnerships must be justified in 
terms of the scientific advances to be gained through collaboration across 
institutions relative to those likely to emerge from within-institution 
partnerships. Examples of allowable activities include travel for project 
development and coordination and use of research support core, seed project, 
and research project funds. Applicants also may propose cooperative research 
support, developmental, or public infrastructure services in which the 
applicant and a Population Center or similar unit in another institution 
participate in joint funding and administration of a common service or 
resource. Examples might include a shared library, data archive or outreach 
effort. Partners in a cooperative venture need not be another funded applicant 
or Center. Applicants must clearly describe the rights and responsibilities of 
each proposed partner in the funding, administration, and use of shared 
resources.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the NIH Resource-Related Research Project (R24) award 
mechanism. As an applicant you will be solely responsible for planning, 
directing, and executing the proposed project. The anticipated award date is 
July 01, 2005. NICHD expects to issue an RFA annually to solicit applications 
for this program; applications may be submitted only in response to an RFA.

This RFA uses just-in-time concepts. This program does not require cost 
sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement at  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part2.htm.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NICHD intends to commit approximately $1.936 million in total costs 
[Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F & A) costs] in FY 2005 to 
support two to four new and/or competing continuation grants in response to 
this RFA.  Applicants should request a project period of five years and should 
request support appropriate to the size and impact of their scientific 
portfolio and to the goals of their infrastructure program.  As a general 
rule, NICHD expects direct cost budget requests for R24 applications to 
average approximately $15,000 for each researcher who can provide evidence of 
research activity directly relevant to the DBSB mission in two or more of the 
following categories:  (1) externally funded research grants or contracts in 
the past three years; (2) publications in peer-reviewed journals during the 
past three years; and (3) papers in preparation and future plans for research. 
See ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS, below, for further information on these categories 
of research activity.  Count only researchers holding permanent (tenured or 
non-tenured) appointments; do not count trainees, post-doctoral fellows, or 
visiting professors. Requests may vary from the guideline provided above as 
justified by evidence of exceptionally high impact or productivity or special 
features of the proposed infrastructure program.  Applicants may request 
additional funds beyond those suggested by the guideline for Public 
Infrastructure activities (see RESEARCH OBJECTIVES, above). Applicants may 
discuss budget requests with program staff listed under WHERE TO SEND 
INQUIRES, below, prior to submission.

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from 
application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of 
each award will also vary.  Although the financial plans of the NICHD provide 
support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the 
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious 
applications. 

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS

You may submit an application if your institution has any of the following 
characteristics: 

o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, 
and laboratories 
o Units of State and local governments 
o Eligible agencies of the Federal government
o Domestic institutions
o Faith-based or community-based organizations 
o Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicant institutions must have an established research center or other 
administrative unit (referred to as the "research unit" or "unit") that serves 
as a focal point for or coordinates population research across the 
institution. This unit must have a defined governance structure. 

The research conducted at the unit should reflect scientific benefits and 
cost-efficiencies resulting from cooperation and interaction among a pool of 
scientists with shared interests in population research. Applicants should 
have in place (or propose in their applications) effective mechanisms for 
fostering the development of an intellectual community that bridges 
investigators from different disciplines and different projects and promotes 
innovation in population research. 

To be eligible to apply, the unit must have at least three researchers who 
hold permanent (tenured or non-tenured) appointments with the applicant 
institution and can present evidence of research activity related to the 
mission of DBSB in all three of the following categories: (1) externally 
funded research grants or contracts in the past three years; (2) publications 
in peer-reviewed journals during the past three years; (3) papers in 
preparation and future plans for research. Because their association with the 
unit can be expected to be temporary, trainees, post-doctoral fellows, and 
visiting professors should not be counted toward this requirement. The "past 
three years" refers to the 36-month period preceding the application 
submission date for this RFA. "Externally funded" means funding is received 
from sources outside the institution; it may include funding from NIH, NSF, 
other federal agencies, state and local governments, and private foundations. 
Include only projects on which the individual has served as Principal 
Investigator or had substantial involvement, comparable to that indicated by 
identification of an investigator as "key personnel" on an NIH-funded grant.

Note that the criterion used for unit eligibility above (at least three 
researchers with evidence of research activity in all three categories) 
differs from the criteria used to define guidelines for requested budgets 
under FUNDS AVAILABLE and to define page limitations under the Application 
Guidelines at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/HD-04-022/HD-04-022.htm.  

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

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

The Principal Investigator should be a scientist or science administrator who 
can provide effective administrative and scientific leadership.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Because the Infrastructure Program is expected to enhance the unit's 
competitiveness for NIH funding, the institution and pertinent departments are 
expected to show a strong commitment to the unit by providing additional 
infrastructure support at a level appropriate to the resources of the 
institution and the scope of the proposed program activities. Such commitment 
may be demonstrated by the provision of dedicated space, faculty appointments 
in subject areas relevant to the goals of the unit's research program, salary 
support for investigators or core staff, dedicated equipment, or other 
financial support for the proposed program. Applicants may consult with 
program staff listed under WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES to discuss this 
requirement.

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

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

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:  

Christine Bachrach, Ph.D.
Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B07, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone: (301) 496-9485
FAX: (301) 496-0962
Email: bachracc@mail.nih.gov 

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:  

Robert Stretch, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone: (301) 496-1485
FAX: (301) 402-4104
Email: stretchr@mail.nih.gov 

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

Rashawn Farrior
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, 8A17, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone: (301) 496-5482
FAX: (301) 402-0915
Email: farriorl@mail.nih.gov 

LETTER OF INTENT

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

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

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not 
enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it 
contains allows NICHD staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan 
the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of this 
document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:  

Christine Bachrach, Ph.D.
Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B07, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 496-9485
FAX: (301) 496-0962
Email: bachracc@mail.nih.gov 

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS:  Applications for Research Infrastructure Awards 
(R24) should be prepared according to the Application Guidelines available at 
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/RFA/HD-04-022/HD-04-022.htm and from program staff 
listed under WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES. All instructions and guidelines 
accompanying the PHS 398 are to be followed, with the exception of the 
sections modified by these guidelines.  

USING THE RFA LABEL:  The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) 
application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the 
application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this label 
could result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not 
reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and 
number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and 
the YES box must be marked.  The RFA label is also available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf.

SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH:  Submit a signed, typewritten original of 
the application, including the Checklist, and three signed photocopies, in one 
package to: 

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all 
copies of the appendix material must be sent to: 

Robert Stretch, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, 5B01, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an application 
is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without 
review. 

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding 
assignment within eight weeks.
 
PEER REVIEW PROCESS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by the NICHD. Incomplete or non-responsive applications will 
not be reviewed. 

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

o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under 
review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the National Advisory Child Health and 
Human Development Council.

REVIEW CRITERIA

Reviewers will evaluate each application for overall scientific merit 
according to the criteria provided below. Reviewers will also evaluate the 
merit of proposed Infrastructure Support Components. 

The size and scope of applicant programs are not a review criterion. NICHD 
believes that investments of infrastructure resources in small centers of 
excellence with focused scientific programs may be highly cost-efficient for 
the field. Reviewers are encouraged to take the number of researchers involved 
in a program into account in applying the review criteria below, particularly 
when evaluating current and potential program impact. While both larger and 
smaller programs are expected to demonstrate research activity of high 
quality, programs with fewer researchers would not be expected to demonstrate 
the same quantity of research productivity and program impact as programs with 
a greater number of researchers.

OVERALL PROGRAM: 

Three primary criteria will be used to evaluate the overall scientific merit 
of an application for a Research Infrastructure Award: 

o Quality of the research program and its impact on the field: Reviewers will 
consider the significance, innovation, and quality of current and recent 
contributions of program scientists. Considering both the applicant's 
signature population-related themes and other relevant research, have these 
contributions produced new knowledge and/or new approaches to research that 
have significantly expanded, improved or altered the content, methods, and 
direction of population research? Reviewers may consider the impact of large-
scale projects that benefit the field broadly, creation of interdisciplinary 
collaborations, training and mentoring of junior researchers, scientific 
leadership of program personnel, and translational activities to improve 
clinical practice, public intervention programs, and public policy 
formulation. The number of researchers involved in the program will be taken 
into account in evaluating impact. 

o The potential future contributions of the applicant's program to population 
research: Reviewers will base their assessment of potential on such factors as 
the current trajectory of research productivity, innovation, and 
accomplishments; the applicant's vision for the potential future contributions 
of the program; the plan for advancing the scientific program; and the 
applicant's success in contributing to the development of junior researchers.

o The applicant program's success in creating an active intellectual community 
that encourages synergy and intellectual exchange among population researchers 
and advances innovative and/or interdisciplinary research.

Applicants proposing only Public Infrastructure activities will be judged on 
the basis of the secondary criteria below and the detailed review criteria 
listed below under "Public Infrastructure."

Three secondary criteria will also be used to assess the overall scientific 
merit of applications:

o Quality and potential impact of proposed infrastructure program:  
Reviewers will examine the overall quality, scientific merit, and innovation 
of the activities to be supported. Reviewers will consider the likelihood, 
based on existing capabilities and proposed activities, that the proposed 
program will enhance population research, promote new research directions, 
facilitate interactions across disciplines and substantive areas of study, or 
advance theoretical or technical approaches. For infrastructure components 
benefiting audiences outside the population research community, reviewers will 
assess potential impact in terms of improving the accessibility of population 
research to significant audiences and enhancing the appropriate application of 
research findings to activities that improve health and well-being.

o Research competence of key personnel:  Reviewers will consider the 
capability and scientific credentials of the Principal Investigator to direct 
the Program and maintain high standards of research collaboration; the 
specific technical qualifications of core directors; and the scientific 
accomplishments of all participating investigators.

o Institutional commitment and environment: Reviewers will assess the nature 
and level of resource commitment from the institution in which the research 
unit is housed and any cooperating institutions, taking into account the 
institutional context. Reviewers also will consider the academic and physical 
environment as it bears on research opportunities, space, equipment, and the 
potential for interaction with scientists from various departments, 
institutions or disciplines.

INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT COMPONENTS:

Each individual element of the proposed infrastructure program will be 
evaluated separately based on the criteria below.

Research Support Cores 

o Potential or actual contribution of the proposed core to advancing research 
within the applicant unit, by: enhancing the productivity of the existing 
scientific program; fostering new scientific advances; facilitating 
interactions across disciplines and substantive areas of study; and/or 
advancing theoretical or technical approaches. 

o Appropriateness to the size and characteristics of the applicant's existing 
research program and the vision for the potential future contributions.

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the cores or activities and their ability to 
devote the required time and effort to the program; and

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of cost-
sharing arrangements with the institution, relevant departments, and other 
external infrastructure support programs.

Developmental Infrastructure

o Potential of the proposed activity to advance research within the 
applicant's unit by stimulating innovation in population research and/or 
fostering the development of junior researchers.

o Appropriateness to the size and characteristics of the applicant's existing 
research program and the vision for the potential future contributions.

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the activities and their ability to devote the 
required time and effort to the program; and

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of cost-
sharing arrangements with the institution, relevant departments, and other 
external infrastructure support programs.

o For seed grant programs proposed under "Developmental Infrastructure," the 
appropriateness and quality of procedures and policies for administering the 
program, such as guidelines for reviewing applications, priorities for 
allocating funds, requirements for leveraging funds, and size and length of 
awards, and other program guidelines. For competing continuation applications, 
seed grant programs will be reviewed for their success in developing funded 
research projects relevant to the mission of DBSB.

RESEARCH PROJECTS:

Each proposed research project will be evaluated with respect to:

o The contribution of the project to advancing the unit's signature 
population-related themes and the extent to which it embodies innovative, 
collaborative, and/or cross-cutting elements of the unit.

PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE:

Public infrastructure components will be evaluated according to the following 
criteria:

o For activities intended to benefit the research community, the value and 
significance of the proposed activity for population researchers and its 
potential for promoting interdisciplinary and/or innovative population 
research.

o For activities directed to policy, program, or other audiences, the 
significance of the proposed activity and its potential for improving the 
accessibility of population research to significant audiences and enhancing 
the appropriate application of research findings to activities that improve 
health and well-being. 

o Appropriateness of the targeted audiences and the adequacy of the plans for 
disseminating the proposed activities, resources, or services to these 
audiences.

o Cost-effectiveness of services or activities and appropriateness of the 
short- and long-term plans for supporting them (including cost-sharing 
arrangements).

o Qualifications, experience, and commitment to the program of the 
investigators responsible for the cores or activities and their ability to 
devote the required time and effort to the program.

Collaborations

Applications proposing to undertake any infrastructure activity in cooperation 
with another institution will be evaluated for the value added by the 
involvement of other institutions and the appropriateness and adequacy of 
plans for the sharing of rights and responsibilities among proposed partners 
with respect to the funding, administration, and use of shared resources.

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, the following 
items will be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the 
priority score:

PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS FROM RESEARCH RISK:  The involvement of human 
subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in 
the proposed research will be assessed.  (See criteria included in the section 
on Federal Citations, below.)

INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES AND CHILDREN IN RESEARCH: The adequacy of plans 
to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and 
subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research will be assessed.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of 
subjects will also be evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria in the sections on 
Federal Citations, below.)

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS 

SHARING RESEARCH DATA:  Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs 
in any year of the proposed research must include a data-sharing plan in their 
application. The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for 
not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, 
reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the 
determination of scientific merit or priority score.

BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of 
support in relation to the proposed research.

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: October 25, 2004
Application Receipt Date: November 23, 2004
Peer Review Date: March 2005
Council Review: June 2005
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: July 1, 2005

AWARD CRITERIA

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
o Relevance of the applicant's research program to the DBSB mission.

Within applications recommended for funding, specific infrastructure 
components may be funded selectively.

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION:  Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that 
applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with 
reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against 
these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and 
others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained 
http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm
 
SHARING RESEARCH DATA:  Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking 
$500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a 
plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible  
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).  Investigators should seek 
guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies, 
local IRB rules, as well as local, state and Federal laws and regulations, 
including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but 
will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the 
priority score.

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

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

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS: 
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 
21) must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by 
the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in 
research involving human subjects that is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 
301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) 
and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards 
are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other 
considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH Grants 
Policy Statement can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm 

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


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NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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