EXPLORATORY/DEVELOPMENTAL GRANTS IN SOCIAL NEUROSCIENCE

Release Date:  September 6, 2001

RFA:  RFA-MH-02-004

National Institute of Mental Health
 (http://www.nimh.nih.gov)
National Institute on Aging
 (http://www.nih.gov/nia)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
 (http://www.nichd.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  December 11, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       January 11, 2002

THIS RFA USES "MODULAR GRANT" AND "JUST-IN-TIME" CONCEPTS.  MODULAR 
INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE USED FOR RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS REQUESTING LESS THAN 
$250,000 PER YEAR IN ALL YEARS. MODULAR BUDGET INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED IN 
SECTION C OF THE PHS 398 (REVISION 5/2001) AVAILABLE AT 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

PURPOSE

Under this Request for Applications (RFA), the National Institute of Mental 
Health (NIMH), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and National Institute of 
Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) invite applications examining the 
neural processes involved in social behavior within the framework of the 
exploratory/developmental granting mechanism.  The intent of this RFA is to 
act as a catalyst for a newly emerging area of interdisciplinary research 
merging social/personality/affective psychology with neuroscience in order to 
elucidate fundamental mechanisms of social behavior.  Recognizing that the 
development of a new field, especially one that spans disciplinary boundaries, 
takes time, this RFA is meant to foster new collaborations and pilot work.  
The intent is to develop a body of data upon which future competitive 
applications may be built, with the ultimate goal of understanding how the 
brain performs its social functions.  The research must be driven by a social 
behavioral research question (or set of questions) that is framed at the 
behavioral level (e.g., social cognition, social development, social 
interaction, social aspects of emotion and personality) and makes connections 
with neural level processes.  New technologies in studying the human brain are 
beginning to make it possible to engage in a systematic examination of the 
neural circuits and mechanisms involved in social cognitive and affective 
information processing, and social behavior, thereby facilitating the 
development of theories about the underlying processes.  Ultimately, this 
knowledge will contribute to the understanding of the biobehavioral processes 
involved in social behaviors related to normal development and mental health, 
and in disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, various personality disorders, 
learning disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and age-related dementias. 

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, Exploratory/Developmental 
Grants In Social Neuroscience, is related to one or more of the priority 
areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at 
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private institutions, such as universities, 
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and 
eligible agencies of the Federal government.  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) Exploratory/ 
Developmental Grant (R21) award mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, 
direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the 
applicant.  Funding under this developmental RFA will be up to a maximum of 
$125,000 direct costs per year for up to two years.  For those applications 
that include a subcontractual/consortium arrangement, direct costs of up to 
$150,000 per year may be requested to allow for F&A costs on those consortium 
arrangements.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Awards are not renewable 
and supplements are not allowed.  The anticipated award date is July 1, 2002.

The R21 mechanism is designed to encourage innovative new research directions 
and exploration of the use of approaches and concepts new to a particular 
substantive area.  As such, it encourages newcomers to a field and also high-
risk, high-impact hypotheses, and expects much less preliminary data than 
other funding mechanisms.  Applications submitted under this mechanism should 
be innovative and novel, whether breaking new ground or extending previous 
discoveries towards new directions and applications.  Nevertheless, applicants 
should make clear that the proposed research is scientifically sound, that the 
qualifications of the investigators are appropriate, and that resources 
available to the investigators are adequate.

Please note that the Research Plan is limited to 15 pages.  Appendix material 
is limited to 3 items. 

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR 
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts that have been adopted by the 
NIH.  Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant 
applications have been incorporated into the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001).  
Additional information on Modular Grants can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

The participating Institutes plan to commit approximately $2.3 million in FY 
2002 (with NIMH contributing $1.5 million) to fund 11–13 new grants in 
response to the RFA.  An applicant may request a project period of up to 2 
years and a budget for direct costs of up to $125,000 per year or $150,000 per 
year if the application involves a subcontract (to allow for F&A costs on 
consortium arrangements, as noted above).  Because the nature and scope of the 
research proposed may vary, it is anticipated that the size of each award will 
vary also.  Although the financial plans of the Institutes 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.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Although neuroscientific methods have already contributed to major advances in 
research on basic cognitive processes such as memory, attention, and learning, 
we still have little understanding of the neural basis of social cognition and 
behavior.  Much still needs to be done to explicate the specific pathways by 
which social behavioral processes and experiences influence and are influenced 
by brain function.  Applying the concepts and tools of neuroscience (e.g., 
brain imaging, lesion methods, neurodegenerative diseases, transcranial 
magnetic stimulation (TMS), computational modeling) can help shed new light on 
areas of inquiry in social psychological processes, such as: attitude change, 
stereotyping, person perception, social decision making, empathy and 
interpersonal relationships, as well as self-perception, self-regulation, and 
emotion-regulation.  Likewise, social and developmental behavioral research 
has a repertoire of sophisticated paradigms for subtle manipulations of 
affect, attention, or motivation that offer considerable promise for linking 
cognitive neuroscience investigations with social behaviors.  Importantly, 
understanding the neural basis of social psychological processes also can 
contribute to the advancement of knowledge regarding the development of these 
processes across the life span.  Furthermore, this knowledge may elucidate 
personality processes and inform strategies and methods for personality 
assessment.  At a clinical level, understanding the neural processes and 
development of social cognition will inform the diagnosis and treatment of 
disorders of personality (e.g., borderline) and other disorders marked by 
problems in social cognition (e.g., autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s 
disease, and age-related dementias).

This RFA is intended to signal a long-term commitment to social neuroscience 
research and thus to increase the number and quality of researchers in this 
area.  While some researchers and research teams have already embarked on this 
novel enterprise and are making good initial progress, it is clear that 
developing this new area of research that crosses disciplinary boundaries is 
very difficult.  The purpose of this RFA is to facilitate appropriate 
collaborations, and to aid in the acquisition of resources and equipment in 
the service of developing a neuroscientific approach to social behavior.  In 
addition to addressing the needs of researchers already doing work focusing on 
the neural processes involved in social behavior, this RFA is also meant to 
attract outstanding investigators who have not been part of the social 
neuroscience field.  The RFA is intended to support the research of 
investigators at all stages of their career and at varying stages of their 
work in this new area.  The exploratory/developmental mechanism allows for the 
development of new paradigms, methods, collaborations, and the accumulation of 
pilot data, so that researchers can demonstrate and document the feasibility 
of these approaches for future work.   

General Characteristics of Responsive Applications

Only applications that integrate neurobiological and behavioral approaches 
involving social processes will be considered responsive to this RFA.  
Moreover, the focus of the research questions must be on the behavioral 
aspects of social processes or interpersonal interaction.  Basic neuroscience 
research that does not have an overriding emphasis on behavioral and social 
processes and research questions is not appropriate for this RFA.  

Furthermore, this RFA seeks to foster novel and innovative work that is still 
in its relatively initial stages of development.  Accordingly, its intent is 
to support work that has not yet amassed substantial preliminary data.  
Applications that aim to increase knowledge in long-term ongoing and well-
established areas of social neuroscience work (e.g., brain imaging of face 
perception, language development studies) will not be considered.  

Although applications can be from single investigators, collaborations are 
encouraged, particularly between behavioral scientists and neuroscientists.  
Investigators need not demonstrate any history of prior collaboration, as long 
as they can delineate factors that will facilitate success of the 
collaboration.  Collaborations between different departments or institutions 
(including those at other geographic locations) are acceptable.  However, the 
applicants must demonstrate how communication will occur across these 
boundaries, so that fully developed collaborative research partnerships can 
transpire.  

The project must include plans for research apprenticeships.  These should 
include opportunities for at least one apprentice (graduate student, post-doc, 
or early career investigator) to be trained on the theories and methods of 
both social behavioral research and neurobiological approaches, as they relate 
to the interdisciplinary overlap of the specific social neuroscience topic of 
the project. 

Since the duration and total amount of support provided under this mechanism 
are limited, it is not expected that substantial research projects will be 
funded in entirety from this support.  Instead, support for pilot projects of 
limited scope, or funding of substantive expansions of ongoing projects (so 
long as they can demonstrate innovation and novelty) would be appropriate.  

As part of the developmental activity, the project may include new innovative 
and high-risk pilot projects (including pilot studies in high-risk clinical  
populations) that are expected to open up new areas of inquiry for future 
work.  

The goal of this RFA is to support the development of an initial data base and 
to foster significant potential for conducting research integrating 
neurobiological and psychological approaches to social behavior.  It is 
expected that the PI will have a substantial investment in developing work in 
this area with the goal of future R01 (or other NIH mechanism) applications.  
Accordingly, the application should clearly describe the scope and goals of 
intended future work.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact one of the NIH program staff 
listed at the end of this document with any questions regarding the 
responsiveness of their proposed project to the goals of this RFA.

Research Scope

Applications in response to this RFA need to combine neurobiological with 
behavioral psychological approaches with the goal of understanding social 
behavior.  Areas of behavioral science that are relevant include social 
cognition (e.g., controlled and automatic information-processing, social 
perception and attention, stereotyping, attributions, expectancies); social 
decision making; social emotions (e.g., experienced and expressed emotions, 
emotional traits, empathy); theory of mind; social behavior associated with 
personality processes and individual differences (e.g., extraversion, 
agreeableness, public and private self-consciousness, self-monitoring); social 
processes in motivation (e.g., approach and avoidance, intrinsic and extrinsic 
motivation); social influences and processes; self-regulation and self-
control; attitudes and persuasion; verbal and nonverbal communication; 
interpersonal interaction and social relationships (including social conflict 
and aggression). 

Neuroscience approaches that are relevant include examinations of neural 
systems, structures, circuits, or processes that can be used to develop 
theories regarding any of the above mentioned social behavioral processes.  
Techniques may include brain imaging (e.g., fMRI, PET, SPECT), 
psychophysiological methods (e.g., EEG, MEG), neurochemical or lesion methods, 
transcranial magnetic stimulation, neuroendocrine methods, neuropsychological 
methods (e.g., investigating processes in memory disorders and 
neurodegenerative diseases), and computational modeling.

Developmental approaches to understanding any of the social behavioral 
processes are also a major concern.  In addition to human studies, research 
with animal models is appropriate, as are mathematical and computational 
modeling approaches.  Studies with clinical populations aimed at understanding 
social dysfunction associated with certain diseases (e.g., autism, 
schizophrenia, various personality disorders, psychopathology, Williams 
syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias) are  
appropriate, if they offer promise of providing insights into the normative 
operations of social neurobehavioral processes.  Neurochemical and genetic 
examinations of neural aspects of social cognition and behavior are also under 
the auspices of this RFA.
 
The focus of this RFA is specifically on social behavioral and interpersonal 
interaction.  Accordingly, basic cognitive processes (e.g., attention, 
learning and memory) and basic emotional processes (e.g., positive and 
negative affectivity, mood) are only appropriate if examined in the context of 
serving social behavior.  Likewise, studies on basic language processes (e.g., 
language production and comprehension) that do not have an overriding emphasis 
on social communication and behavior are not appropriate.  Basic neuroscience 
research that is not directly focused on understanding social behavioral 
processes is also not appropriate.  Finally, applications with a genetic 
component are acceptable, if the focus is on understanding the genetic effects 
on neural mechanisms involved in social behavior; or on behavioral influences 
on gene expression. 

Example Research Topics

The following are examples of broad research topics that might be the focus of 
this Social Neuroscience RFA.  The list is not meant to be comprehensive, nor 
are the examples meant to be exclusive of other topics.

o  Research aimed at understanding whether the information-processing demands 
made by social cognition are different from those made by non-social 
cognition.  Questions about the domain-specificity of social cognition vs. its 
overlap with emotion, or communication.  

o  Research identifying common and distinct neural systems (and the 
development of those systems across the lifespan) specialized for processing a 
variety of social-cognitive inference and evaluation tasks and behaviors; 
e.g., automatic categorization and evaluation of social entities; 
distinguishing conscious and intentional processing, attention, and explicit 
memory from implicit or automatic processing. 

o  Studies on implicit and explicit social learning and social learning across 
development; e.g., imitation, use of social attention cues, attitude formation 
and change, etc.

o  Research aimed at understanding both self- and other-perception (including 
their development); e.g., the neural processes involved in expressing and 
conveying one’s emotional states to others vs. those involved in perspective 
taking; is perspective taking achieved via theory of mind or via empathy 
(i.e., by simulations of how the other might feel)?

o  Studies linking existing knowledge about different neural pathways for 
approach and avoidance and for positive and negative emotions to social 
behavior and self-regulation and their development from infancy onward.  
Questions regarding interactions of brain regions (e.g., the prefrontal cortex 
inhibiting the amygdala) in self-regulation and self-control.

o  Research aimed at furthering our understanding of personality structure and 
change in a social context; e.g., by understanding the neural bases for social 
behavior associated with temperamental personality dimensions such as 
extraversion or neuroticism; or by applying connectionist or other forms of 
computational modeling to understand distinctive interpersonal behaviors that 
are characteristic of certain personality dimensions/disorders. 

o  Research studying developmental aspects of social neuroscience across the 
life span (including aging); e.g., understanding when children learn about 
social concepts and how they process this information at a neural level; or 
examining the neural mechanisms that underlie how older adults access and use 
specific types of social information. Questions regarding whether these 
mechanisms change during different stages of development.

o  Studies investigating the neurobiological pathways that mediate the effects 
of social interaction on morbidity and mortality in older adults.

o  Research using animal models of social behavior to inform processes such as 
affiliation, social structure, dominance, as well as critical periods for 
social bonding.

o  Studies examining neurochemical processes mediating social cognition, such 
as the effect of oxytocin or endogenous opiates on neural substrates of social 
bonding, separation anxiety and social play; or the effect of serotonin on 
neural substrates of social status, dominance and aggression.

o  Studies translating results and principles from social neuroscience studies 
of normal populations to research on the etiology, pathophysiology, and 
treatment of mental disorders, including autism, mood and personality 
disorders, social phobia, and schizophrenia.

o  Studies examining social behavioral aspects of brain diseases such as 
Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and age-related dementias in order to answer basic 
questions about the involvement of the brain (e.g., basal ganglia, amygdala, 
prefrontal cortex, limbic system) in social interaction.

o  Studies examining the influence of contextual or cultural processes on 
neural processes and resultant social behavior; e.g., are distinctive cultural 
identities represented differently at the neural level in a way that explains 
associated differences in social behavior? 

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating that inclusion 
is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of  
the research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). 

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm.  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require: a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans 
to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the 
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt 
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 
address: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.

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

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.  This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at the following website: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.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.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

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

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

LETTER OF INTENT

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

The letter of intent is to be sent Dr. Carolyn Morf at the address listed 
under INQUIRIES by the letter of intent receipt date listed.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact one of the NIH program staff 
listed at the end of this document with any questions regarding the 
responsiveness of their proposed project to the goals of this RFA.

The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html are to be used in 
applying for these grants.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable PDF format. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, 
Telephone 301/435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

There are special application instructions for this RFA: The Research Plan is 
limited to 15 pages.  Appendix material is limited to 3 items.  As part of the 
description, applicants must identify briefly how this application relates to 
the purpose of the R21 mechanism as stated in this RFA.  Special attention 
should be paid to explaining how the work proposed in the application is 
innovative and novel.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODULAR GRANT APPLICATIONS 

The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets.  Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The just-in-
time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when there 
is a possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these changes will 
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers and NIH staff. 
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html is to be used in 
applying for these grants, with modular budget instructions beginning on page 
13 of the application instructions. 

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.

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 must be 
sent to:

Jean G. Noronha, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)

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

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The 
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one 
already reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of substantial 
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must include 
an Introduction addressing the previous critique.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by program staff of the participating institutes.  Incomplete 
and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the applicant without 
further consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for 
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by 
the NIMH in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the 
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and 
undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest 
scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under review, 
will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a second level 
review by the National Advisory Councils of the participating institutes.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects 
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research 
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these 
criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, 
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application 
does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major 
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, an 
investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not 
innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(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 and the Exploratory/Developmental Mechanism (R21)?  Does the applicant 
acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?  Does 
the applicant establish both the novelty and potential impact of the project?  
To what degree will support of the proposed developmental activities help 
develop an initial data base and significant potential for successfully 
conducting research examining neurobiological processes involved in social 
behavior in the future?

(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?  Special 
emphasis will be placed on the level of integration between neurobiological 
and psychological approaches to develop promising theories and paradigms 
towards understanding neural processes involved in social behavior.  Within 
these approaches priority is given to high innovation, be it in new lines of 
research, or novel extensions of ongoing work in new directions.  Less 
emphasis will be placed on detailed protocols or methods.

(4) Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited 
to carry out this work?  Is there adequate and appropriate expertise for both 
the neurobiological and the behavioral aspects of the proposal –- either by 
the principal investigator him- or herself, or among other members of the 
research team? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the 
principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?  The inclusion of 
outstanding investigators who have not previously directly engaged in social 
neuroscience research is encouraged, as long as the joint expertise among the 
research team is appropriate to the aims of the project.

(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?  Does the project include plans for at least one research 
apprenticeship?

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.  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.

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    December 11, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         January 11, 2002
Scientific Review Date:           March/April 2002
Advisory Council Review:          May 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  July 1, 2002

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 answer questions from potential applicants is available.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Carolyn C. Morf, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7216, MSC 9651
Bethesda, MD  20892-9651
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 443-3942
FAX:  (301) 443-9876
Email:  cmorf@mail.nih.gov

Daniel B. Berch, Ph.D.
Behavioral and Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 533
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 594-5942
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
Email:  Berchd@nia.nih.gov

Lisa Freund, Ph.D.
Child Development and Behavior Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 4B05D, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 435-6879
FAX:  (301) 480-7773
Email:  freundl@mail.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Carol J. Robinson
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-3858
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  crobinso@mail.nih.gov

Linda Whipp
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2N212
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672
Email:  whippl@nia.nih.gov

Mary Daley
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A07D, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 496-1305
FAX:  (301) 402-0915
Email:  daleym@mail.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos. 
93.242 (NIMH), 93.866 (NIA), 93.865 (NICHD).  Awards are made under 
authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as 
amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies and 
Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.  This program is not 
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 
or Health Systems Agency review.

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


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