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Working with and Developing Proposals for the Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health Presentation for Troy State University February 24-25, 2005 Grants Resource Center American Association of State Colleges and Universities Mimi Tangum, Director

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Working with and Developing Proposals for the Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health

Presentation for

Troy State University

February 24-25, 2005

Grants Resource Center

American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Mimi Tangum, Director

Ariel Herman, Program Advisor


Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

  • Supports education & training programs that promote a health care workforce with competencies & skills needed to deliver cost-effective quality care; education programs to meet the needs of vulnerable populations;
  • Seeks to improve cultural diversity in the health professions, & to monitor relevant systems of health professions education in response to changing demands of the marketplace.
  • Five Bureaus at HRSA (Health Professions (includes Division of Nursing); Maternal and Child Health; Primary Health Care; HIV/AIDS; and Special Programs)

HRSA Bureaus Most Likely to Fund Universities

Bureau of Health Professions (BHP)

  • Mission: Improve the health status of the population by providing national leadership in the development, distribution and retention of a diverse, culturally competent health workforce that provides the highest quality care for all.
  • Improve access to a diverse and culturally competent and sensitive health professions workforce.

Maternal and Child Health Bureau MCH)

  • Supports programs to improve access to comprehensive, culturally sensitive, quality health care for all women, infants, children, adolescents and their families, including fathers and their children with special health care needs.

BHP Funding Opportunities (Nursing)

Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Grants

    • Supports projects that strengthen & enhance the capacity for nurse education, practice & retention to address the nursing shortage. Preference given to projects that will substantially benefit rural or underserved populations, or help meet public health nursing needs in state or local health departments. In FY 05, up to $16.72 million is available to fund an estimated 66 awards. Last deadline: 12/3/04—usually same each year

Nursing Workforce Diversity Grants

    • Grants awarded to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing student scholarships or stipends, pre-entry preparation, & retention activities. Eligiblity; schools of nursing, nursing centers, academic health centers, & other public or private non-profits. In FY 05, 33 grants will be awarded, averaging $273,000. Last deadline: 12/3/04

BHP Funding Opportunities (cont’d)

Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)

  • Supports public & private non-profit health professions schools & training programs that provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to develop the skills needed to become professionals.
  • Projects can include: identification, recruitment, & selection efforts; facilitation of entry into training; counseling, mentoring & other services; pre-entry training; financial aid outreach, scholarships & stipends; & work/study with community-based primary care providers (last deadline: 2/21/05—usually same time each year).

BHP Funding Opportunities, cont’d

Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program

  • Supports continuing education/training for practicing health care providers and enhancement of curricula in health professions schools to equip a healthcare workforce to deal with bioterrorism events. Special consideration given for using distance learning methodologies/telehealth. In FY 05, 35 awards expected.
  • Deadline: 4/5/05
  • For More Information: Lynn Wegman, 301-443-1648,

BHP Funding Opportunities, cont’d

Allied Health Project Grants

  • Supports health professions schools, academic health centers, & other public or private non-profit entities to establish or expand allied health training programs.
  • Projects focus on disciplines in short supply or high demand for elderly people; rapid transition training for people with bachelor’s degrees in health sciences; career advancement for allied health professionals, and student training in community-based settings in rural or other underserved areas.
  • In FY 05, $2.3 million available to make about 18 awards averaging $125,000.
  • deadline: 1/25/05—deadline usually around same time each year


MCH Funding Opportunity

Maternal and Child Health ResearchProgram

  • Supports maternal & child health research relating to services which show promise of contributing to new knowledge & will result in health status & service improvements in states & local communities. Funds applied research projects, not basic research, that are intended to improve health care delivery systems for mothers & children. In FY 05, $2.8 million is available to make about 10 awards.
  • Contact:Hae Young Park, 301-443-2207, 
  • Two deadlines a year: 3/1/05 and 7/29/05

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Comprised of 27 institutes/centers that fund basic biomedical and behavioral research in specific disease-related areas, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and infectious diseases.
  • Institutes and centers also support research relating to a particular focus, such as aging, child health, mental health, nursing, environmental health, or drug abuse/alcohol abuse prevention.
  • While all institutes/centers support research in the social and behavioral sciences, some do more than others, such as the Institutes on Aging, Child Health and Human Development, Mental Health, Drug Abuse and Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
national institute of nursing research
National Institute of Nursing Research
  • Individuals encouraged to contact NINR extramural program staff to discuss proposed areas of investigation.
  • Current Research Areas of interest:
    • Chronic Illness and Long Term Care
    • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
    • Cardiopulmonary health and critical care
national institute of nursing research cont d
National Institute of Nursing Research, cont’d
  • Current Research Areas of interest:
    • Neurofunction and Sensory Conditions
    • Immune Responses and Oncology
    • Reproductive Health and Child Health Promotion
    • End of Life and Environmental Contexts
important fact 1 to get funded you must know your funding source nih inside out
Important Fact #1: To Get Funded, You Must Know your Funding Source (NIH) Inside Out
  • NIH says, “To write a successful NIH grant application, you'll need to understand the NIH granting philosophy”.
  • NIH funding derives from Congress, so it is important to understand NIH’s current budget priorities
high priorities
High Priorities
  • Health Disparities
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Child Health
how research priorities are set at nih
How Research Priorities are Set at NIH
  • Often explored through workshops at NIH.
  • If the consensus is to further explore an existing area of science, then a program announcement (PA) for research applications is developed. It will be published in the NIH Guide, stay open for three years, and usually will have the standard NIH deadlines (Feb 1, June 1 and Oct 1)
  • Alternatively, funds may be set aside for “hot topic” research areas. A request for one-time only applications (RFA) will be published in the NIH Guide with specific deadlines.
  • However, most research applications submitted to NIH are investigator initiated, and do not reference any PA or RFA.
important fact 2 nih says it will fund any area of biomedical behavioral science but
Important Fact #2: NIH Says It Will Fund Any Area of Biomedical/Behavioral Science, But…
  • Since NIH is open to new ideas in all areas of biomedical and behavioral science, a good idea is always worth talking to NIH about
    • Can be submitted for funding as an “unsolicited” application.
  • However, NIH institutes and centers identify priority research areas as either:
    • Program Announcements
      • “suggests” applications in ongoing research interest for next 3 years, or
    • Requests for Applications
      • “solicits” applications for one-time only “hot” topics, has specific deadlines, which are then published in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts

Before You Contact NIH…

  • Check out what NIH has already funded in your area(s) of interest:
    • CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects), a searchable database of abstracts of all research funded by NIH (
  • Talk to recent awardees.
    • Usually generous with their time and ideas;
    • Can share their respective funded proposals.
  • GRC can facilitate those connections.

Important Fact #3:

Always Contact NIH

  • Check NIH institute or center web pages ( for the full range of program areas and program contacts.
  • Pay attention to National Advisory Council information--future research agenda often discussed.
  • Establish a dialogue with NIH program staff—
    • They want to talk with you.
before you contact nih
BEFORE You Contact NIH:
  • What is an NIH grant mechanism?
    • F-Fellowships; K-Career Development; N-Research Contracts; P-Program Project & Research Center Grants;R-Research Project Grants (good proportion of NIH’s budget); S-Research-Related Programs; T-Training Grants; U-Cooperative Agreements; and Y-Interagency Agreements.
  • Good descriptions of these mechanisms:

New Investigators at NIH

  • Encouraged to submit traditional research project grant (R01) applications, identifying themselves on the application face page as a new investigator—and also in biosketch.
  • Reviewers will specifically be asked to consider:
    • Approach: reviewers will place more emphasis on how applicant demonstrates that techniques/approaches are feasible
    • Investigator: reviewers will place more emphasis on applicant’s training and research potential, rather than track record and number of publications
    • Environment: reviewers will look for evidence of institutional commitment (space and time) to perform the research

AREA: Academic Research Enhancement Program(R15)

  • For institutions receiving less than $3 million per year (over last 7 years) from NIH
  • Recognizes role of teaching institutions in education of future researchers and practitioners
  • Seeks to strengthen undergraduate experience
  • Supports meritorious research for new knowledge and teaching vitality
  • Small award--$150,000 total for up to three years
  • Applications due 1/25; 5/25; and 9/25
area review criteria
AREA Review Criteria
  • AREA uses same review criteria and two-stage peer review process as other NIH programs.
  • Special considerations regarding the investigator and environment are unique to AREA.
  • PI’s experiencemust be appropriate for supervising students who are conducting research.
  • Applicant’s school or academic component must be suitable for an award in terms of likelihood for strengthening the research environment and exposing more students to research.
  • Collaboration acceptable if majority of research is conducted at an AREA eligible institution
area review criteria cont
AREA Review Criteria (cont.)
  • Reviewers will consider two factors to determine if a fitting researchenvironment is evident:
  • Documentation of the availability of well-qualified students to assist with the proposed research project.
  • Evidence that students have pursued, orare likely to pursue, meaningful careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
nih small grant program r03
NIH Small Grant Program (R03)
  • Faculty from all types of institutions are eligible to apply.
  • Call before submitting: some NIH institutes/centers do NOT accept R03 applications.
  • Provides limited funding (usually not more than $50,000) for a short period of time.
  • Examples of the types of projects:
  • Pilot or feasibility studies
    • Secondary analysis of existing data
    • Small, self-contained research projects
    • Development of research methodology
    • Development of new research technology
exploratory developmental research grant award r21
Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21)
  • Intended to encourage new, exploratory and developmental research projects by providing support for the early stages of development:
    • Such as projects to assess the feasibility of a novel area of investigation
    • Or an experimental system with potential to enhance health-related research.
  • Combined budget for direct costs for 2-year project: $275,000 max.

Career Development Awards

(K Awards)

  • Research training grants for:
    • Scientists with a research doctorate, or
    • Those with a health profession doctorate
  • Opportunities from postdoctoral to independent scientist
  • Career Award Wizard is designed to help identify an Individual NIH Career Award that might be right for the applicant
what is a modular budget
What is a Modular Budget?
  • The Modular Grant format replaces the regular research application format for requests up to $250,000 direct costs per year.
    • NOT a grant program. It is a revised application and award process for R01, R15 and other kinds of awards.
    • Applicants request total direct costs in modules of $25,000, reflecting appropriate support for projects
  • Typical modular grant application will request the same number of modules in each year.
  • Categorical dollar information should NOT be provided in the application; however, the responsibilities for the Principal Investigator and all key personnel must be specifically described.
  • Use PHS-398 (modular budget instructions on p. 13)
phs 398
  • NIH’s application form used for all research project grants and career awards (K awards)
  • If responding to a specific request for applications (RFA) or program announcement (PA), contact NIH for additional instructions.
  • The instructions in the RFA or PA may differ from the general instructions in PHS-398; if so, they will supersede the general.
  • Additional Questions?

E-mail: or 301/435-0174


What Happens to Your Application?

  • Important to understand the two-step peer review process at NIH—very different from other federal agencies
  • Step One: Peer review study sections are managed by Institute or Center administrators--list of 140 standing study sections appears at
  • Each study section has between 12-24 members who are primarily from academia
  • 60-100 applications reviewed at each study section meeting
  • Important: Always submit a cover letter with your application:
    • Suggest the Integrated Review Group (IRG) study section(s) best able to assess your proposal’s merit,
    • State Institute or Center most likely to fund it;
    • Cite whom at NIH you have been talking to.


  • Peer review is the “essence” of what NIH is all about

  • New video on peer review at NIH

  • After initial review, a second level of peer review is done by NIH Institute or Center (National Advisory Councils)
  • Final decisions depend on Institute’s or Center’s total research portfolio, type of grant, grant size, and grantee (newer investigator, minority, woman, etc.).

NIH Review Criteria

  • Significance: Does the study address an important problem? How will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventionsthat drive this field?
  • Approach:Are the conceptual or clinicalframework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated,well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  • Innovation:Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

NIH Review Criteria (ctd)

  • Investigators:Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the proposed work appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?
  • Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

Other Helpful NIH Web sites

  • NIH Grants Policy Statement
  • Success Rates by Institute and Award
  • Forms and Applications
  • Electronic Applications (not quite there yet!)

Contact Us:

Grants Resource Center

of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

1307 New York Avenue, NW, Fifth Floor

Washington, DC 20005-4701

202 293 7070


Judy Enfinger

Assistant Director

Office of Sponsored Programs