NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING: PILOT RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM (PAR-98-021)/NOA - NIH

01/21/98

(Please note that this announcement is also available from http://web.fie.com/htdoc/fed/nih/gen/any/proc/any/01099809.html.)


Release Date:  January 9, 1998

PA NUMBER:  PAR-98-021

P.T.

National Institute on Aging

Application Receipt Dates:  March 17, 1998; July 17, 1998; November 17,
1998

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is seeking small grant (R03)
applications in specific areas to: (1) stimulate and facilitate the
entry of promising new investigators into aging research, or (2)
encourage established investigators to enter new targeted, high priority
areas in this research field.  This Small Grant (R03) Program provides
support for pilot research that is likely to lead to a subsequent
individual research project grant (R01) and/or a significant advancement
of aging research.

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 Program
Announcement (PA), National Institute on Aging:  Pilot Research Grant
Program, is related to several priority areas applicable to aging.
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full
Report: Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-
00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public and private, 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.  Foreign organizations and
institutions are not eligible.  Participation in the program by
investigators at minority institutions is strongly encouraged.

New or established investigators are eligible to apply for this award.
(1) For a new investigator to be eligible the individual should be in
the first five years of his or her independent research career. If the
applicant is in the final stages of training it is permissible to apply
for an R03 but no award will be made to individuals who are still in
training or fellowship status at the time of award. (2) For an
established investigator to be eligible, the individual must propose
research that is unrelated to a currently funded research project in
which the investigator participates.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Applicants may request up to $50,000 (direct costs) for one year through
the small grant (R03) mechanism. These awards are not renewable.  Before
completion of the R03, investigators are encouraged to seek continuing
support for research through a research project grant (R01).

Replacement of the Principal Investigator on this award is not
permitted. Revisions of applications previously reviewed under this
initiative but unfunded are not permitted.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Investigators may apply for a small grant in one of the following areas.
Applications for support in other areas will be returned to the proposed
Principal Investigator without review. Investigators should follow the
instructions described under APPLICATION PROCEDURES to identify the
topic on which the application is focused.

1.  HIV/AIDS and aging: Behavioral, social, clinical, neuroscientific,
and/or biological research on older people infected by, and affected by,
HIV/AIDS. Prevention sciences research is encouraged and both basic and
applied research are welcomed.

2.  Racial and ethnic differences: Studies on causes of differences
among ethnic and racial groups in susceptibility to age-related disease
and dysfunction.

3.  Cartilage aging/Osteoarthritis (OA): Studies of the basic underlying
mechanisms of cartilage aging, including changes in cartilage turnover,
signal transduction and regulation of cartilage gene expression; and
pilot studies of new clinical diagnostic tools for OA (e.g., novel
imaging techniques, new or improved methods to quantitate data from
radiographs or MRI scans; and identification of potential biochemical
markers for OA).

4.  Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular aging: Behavioral, social,
clinical, and biological studies of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular
aging. Clinical studies include systems physiology and integrative
approaches to defining age-associated changes in the cardiovascular,
cerebrovascular, pulmonary or renal systems and how these changes
increase the risk of developing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular
disease.

5.  Alternatives to estrogen therapy: Preliminary clinical studies to
explore potential therapeutic benefits, feasibility, and/or risks of
administering selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) to middle-
aged and older women and men to prevent, retard or treat a variety of
age-related disorders such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and
Alzheimerūs disease. Potential therapeutics may include pharmaceuticals
or naturally occurring substances, such as phytoestrogens.

6.  Reproductive aging: Molecular and cellular mechanisms of
reproductive aging: areas include prostate growth in middle-aged and
older subjects (see PA-93-052, Prostate Growth in Older Men: Age-
dependent Mechanisms); biology of the menopausal process (see PA-95-006,
Biology of the Menopause: Change of Ovarian Function) including
molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying development of
cardiovascular and brain pathology; and neuroendocrine mechanisms
underlying reproductive senescence.

7.  Nutrient modulation: Mechanisms that underlie nutrient modulation of
cellular, tissue and organ integrity during the aging process. This
might include but is not limited to nutrient modulation/control of cell
repair and regeneration, cell-cell signaling, and transport mechanisms
at the molecular level.

8.  DNA polymorphisms: Studies to identify DNA polymorphisms in
candidate genes that may affect age-related pathologies and/or lifespan
in either human or animal models.

9.  Gene expression vectors: Development and/or use of conditional gene
expression vectors for the regulation of aging- and cell-specific gene
expression.

10.  Enhancing self care and management: How older people recognize and
act upon new illness symptoms and/or manage everyday chronic conditions
and how they interact with their health care providers. Three types of
research are solicited: 1) basic research exploring the patterns,
dynamics and processes of self care behaviors practiced by older adults;
2) the design, implementation, and evaluation of theoretically based
self-care interventions; and 3) either basic or intervention studies
examining the nature and outcomes of older-patient/health provider
medical encounters and interactions.

11.  Social and structural factors in health care: Interactions between
changing health care systems and the needs of aging persons in an aging
society: 1) impact of the type of health care organization on clinical
outcomes, patient satisfaction, and/or provider satisfaction; 2) health
and social consequences of a change in the usual source, quality, and
quantity of health care at the time of Medicare enrollment; 3) effect of
managed care's prevention model on clinical and behavioral outcomes in
an aging patient base; and 4) the dynamic interplay between changing
needs of aging persons and changing health care delivery system
characteristics.

12.  Death and dying: Research on understanding the role of family, care
providers, and relevant social institutions upon decreasing the trauma
and difficulty of end-of-life decisions.  Research on the dying process
as a normal life transition within a social context is also solicited.

13.  Social psychology of aging: Interplay among psychological processes
and personal relationships in the immediate social environment as people
age in regard to: 1) close interpersonal relationships (friends and
family) in midlife and old age; and 2) social cognition (e.g., knowledge
schemas, collaborative cognition, emotion and motivation, self
regulation, self evaluation, and attitudes and beliefs including
stereotypes and automaticity; (see PA-97-065, Social Cognition and
Aging, NIH Guide, Vol. 26, No. 19, June 6, 1997).

14.  Personality in adulthood and old age: Studies of stability and
change in personality with age; personality, health and disease;
personality and environment; personality and genetics; and age-related
differences in personality by socioeconomic class, gender, and
racial/ethnic groups.

15.  Behavior genetics and aging: Suggested areas for behavior genetics
and aging research in both humans and animals include attention,
processing speed, memory, intelligence, training, emotionality, sense of
control, motivation, and temporal organization.

16.  Sensory and motor processing: Mechanisms underlying changes in
sensory and motor processing in the aging nervous system and in sensory
receptors.

17.  Attention and frontal lobe function: Studies of neural mechanisms
of age-related changes in attention and frontal lobe executive
processes.  Development of specific behavioral tasks of attention and
other areas of cognition for use in evaluation of animal models
generated through genetic and molecular manipulations.

18.  Neuronal tissue RNA metabolism: Regulation of RNA metabolism in
cells of the nervous system during aging and in age-related neurological
disorders.

19.  Sleep and circadian processes: Mechanisms underlying changes in
sleep and circadian processes in older organisms. Studies at the
molecular and cellular level are encouraged.

20.  Blood-brain barrier: Research on changes that occur at the
molecular level in the blood brain barrier, especially its transport
mechanisms, with age and age-related diseases.

21.  Amyloid precursor protein: Studies of the normal function of the
CNS amyloid precursor protein. Studies of the amyloid beta protein are
excluded.

22.  Pathogenic organisms: Susceptibility of the aging nervous system to
pathogenic organisms, and  neural, neuroendocrine and immune system
mechanisms and pathways modulating the aging immune system in response
to such challenges.

23.  Non-neuronal cells in the nervous system: Studies on the function
and plasticity of neuroglial/non-neuronal cells in aging that examine
cellular and molecular factors controlling cell activation, death,
regional specificity, receptor and transport activities, and
mitochondrial alterations.

24.  Genetic epidemiology: Preliminary genetic epidemiologic research on
longevity, active life expectancy, or slow rate of progression of age-
related pathologies.  Examples include analyses of existing familial,
demographic, and/or epidemiologic data for feasibility and power
calculations; pilot testing of proband-identification and recruitment
strategies; identifying families with high frequencies of these traits;
determining the frequency of known polymorphisms, and/or estimating
their contribution to the phenotype of interest. (See also program
announcement on Secondary Analysis in Demography and Economics of
Aging.)

25.  Vaccines and immune response: Preliminary clinical studies designed
to contribute to the improvement of vaccines for use in elderly
populations. These may include studies of methods to improve the immune
response in older persons including alternate immunization schedules
with existing vaccines or the use of new vaccines.  Human clinical
studies designed to characterize age-related immune dysfunction are also
appropriate as they may contribute to the identification of
potentially correctable deficiencies.

26.  Cancer and aging: Studies on the current and future magnitude of
the cancer problem for persons aged 80 years and older regarding
incidence, survival, and clinical impact. Topics include: Approaches to
overcoming the practical problems of acquiring data on this age segment
of cancer patients; tumor-related tissue studies, autopsy
investigations, characterization of cancer as it interfaces with other
chronic diseases prominent in the elderly.  Development of clinical
assessment tools(i.e., prognostic indicators for patient evaluation and
work-up) that can be used by physicians to determine the patientūs
overall physical and physiologic health status may be included in this
solicitation.

The National Institute on Aging will modify the selected topic areas
annually by reissuing the program announcement. Information on other
initiatives supported by NIA may be found at the following internet
address: http://www.nih.gov/nia.

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 are provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  All investigators proposing
research involving human subjects should read the NIH Guidelines for
Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research,
which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR
59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume
23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.

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

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398
(rev. 5/95) and prepared according to the directions in the application
packet, with the exceptions noted below.  Application kits are available
at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained
from the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources,
National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda,
MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 435-0714, FAX (301) 480-0525, Email:
ASKNIH@OD.NIH.GOV.  On the face page of the application: Item 2 Type
"NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING: PILOT RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM - PAR-98-21."
Check the "YES" box.

Abstract: The first line of the abstract must list the number and title
of the particular research topic (see RESEARCH OBJECTIVES) being
responded to and whether the principal investigator is a new or
established investigator.

Research plan: Do not exceed a total of ten pages for the following
parts (a-d): specific aims, background and significance, progress
report/preliminary studies, and experimental design and methods.  Tables
and figures are included in the ten page limitation.  Applications that
exceed the page limitation or PHS requirements for type size and margins
(Refer to PHS 398 application for details) will be returned to the
investigator.  The ten page limitation does not include parts e through
i. (Human Subjects, Vertebrate Animals, Literature Cited, Consortium
Arrangements, Consultants).

Appendix: The only items that may be included in an appendix are
original glossy photographs or color images of gels, micrographs, etc.,
provided that a photocopy (that may be reduced in size) is also included
within the 10 page limit of items a-d in the research plan. No
photographs or color images may be included in the appendix that are not
also represented in the Research Plan. Do not include publications or
preprints.

Materials submitted after the receipt date. No additional materials
pertaining to a particular application will be accepted after the
receipt date for which the application is submitted except for
certifications of Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional
Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval. As specified in the PHS
398 form, certifications of IRB or IACUC approval must be received
within 60 days after the receipt date for which the application is
submitted.

Submit a signed, original of the application, and three exact
photocopies, including the checklist, 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 courier/overnight service)

In addition, to expedite the review of the application, submit two
additional exact photocopies of the application directly to:

Dr. Mary Nekola
Scientific Review Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205

In order not to delay review, it is important that applicants comply
with this request.  Amended applications will not be accepted.

The submission, review, and award schedule for the Small Grant Program
for 1998 is:

Application Receipt Dates:   03/17/98     07/17/98    11/17/98
Institute Committee Review:  June-July    Oct-Nov     Feb-March
Earliest Funding:            Sep 1998     Jan 1999    May 1999

Only one Small Grant application may be submitted by a principal
investigator per receipt date.  Applicants may not submit other research
project grant applications on the same topic concurrent (to be
considered at the same review cycle) with the submission of a Small
Grant application.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral
guidelines. Applications that are complete will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group
convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures. As
part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a
written critique and undergo a process in which only those applications
deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of
applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score,
and receive a second level review by the appropriate national advisory
council or board.

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 review, comments on the following aspects of the
application will be made 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 the
assignment of the overall score.

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 a pilot project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential
problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

3.  Innovation.  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or
method? 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 (if
any)?

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?

The initial review group will also examine: the likelihood that the
pilot project will lead to the development of an R01 application, or
significant advancement of aging research; the appropriateness of
proposed project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include
both genders and minorities and their subgroups as appropriate for the
scientific goals of the research and plans for the recruitment and
retention of subjects; the provisions for the protection of human
and animal subjects; and the safety of the research environment.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding
decisions:

o  quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review
o  availability of funds
o  program priority

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or
questions from potential applicants is welcome.

For applications with primary emphasis on the biology of aging contact:

Dr. David B. Finkelstein
Biology of Aging Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C231, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-6402
FAX:  (301) 402-0010
Email: BAPquery@extramur.nia.nih.gov

For applications with primary emphasis on behavioral or social research
on aging contact:

Ms. Angie Chon-Lee
Behavioral and Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 5C533, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 594-5943
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
Email:  BSRquery@extramur.nia.nih.gov

For applications with primary emphasis on the neuroscience or
neuropsychology of aging contact:

Dr. Judy Finkelstein
Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3C307, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 496-9350
FAX:  (301) 496-1494
Email: NNAquery@extramur.nia.nih.gov

For applications with primary emphasis on geriatrics research contact:

Ms. Wanda Solomon
Geriatrics Program
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3E327 MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892-9205
Telephone:  (301) 435-3046
FAX:  (301) 402-1784
Email: GPquery@extramur.nia.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Mr. Joe Ellis
Grants and Contracts Management Office
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2N212, MSC 9205
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
FAX:  (301) 402-3672
Email:  ellisJ@extramur.nia.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalogue of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.866.  Awards are made under authorization of the
Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410), as
amended by Public Law 99-158, 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 and contract recipients to provide
a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.
In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits
smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a
facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care,
health care or early childhood development services are provided to
children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and
advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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