Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

Issuing Organization
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Participating Organizations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations (OEREP), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Title:  AHRQ Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08)

Note:  The policies, guidelines terms and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH.

Announcement Type

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a new program announcement.

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-13-039  

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four (4) weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Application and Submission Information.


A compatible version of Adobe Reader is required for download. For Assistance downloading this or any Grants.gov application package, please contact Grants.gov Customer Support at http://www07.grants.gov/contactus/contactus.jsp.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.226

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: December 12, 2012
Opening Date:  January 13, 2013
NOTE: On-time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization). 
Application Due Date(s):  Standard dates apply, please see
http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm  
Peer Review Date(s): Generally four months after receipt date 
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Generally four months after peer review date 
Additional Information to Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: February 13, 2016

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicits individual Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development (K08) grant applications from applicant organizations.  The overall goal of AHRQ-supported career development programs is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained health services researchers are available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to address the mission and priorities of AHRQ. 

These projects are being funded pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 299a, which provides that AHRQ shall conduct and support research, support demonstration projects, and disseminate information on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness, and value of health care services.

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV.  When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.

Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information
Part II Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Career Objectives


Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism of Support

2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants

    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information

2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Receipt, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
    B. Submitting an Application Electronically to AHRQ
    C. Application Processing   
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
 3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contacts
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)

2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement 


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


Purpose

The objective of the AHRQ Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) program is to provide support for a sustained period of “protected time” for intensive research career development under the guidance of an experienced mentor, or sponsor, in health services research leading to research independence.

The award may be used by candidates with different levels of prior research training and at different stages in their career development.  For example, a candidate with limited experience in health services research may use an award to support a career development experience that includes a designated period of didactic training followed by a period of closely supervised research experience. A candidate with previous health services research experience and training may not require extensive additional didactic preparation, and may use an award to support a career development experience that focuses on an intensive, supervised research experience.

Research Objectives

Applications must be responsive to AHRQ’s mission of improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.  The research sponsored and conducted by the Agency develops and presents scientific evidence regarding all aspects of health care in the United States.  It addresses issues of organization, delivery, financing, utilization, patient and provider behavior, outcomes, effectiveness and cost.  It evaluates both clinical services and the system in which these services are provided.  These scientific results improve the evidence base to enable better decisions about health care, including such areas as disease prevention, appropriate use of medical technologies, improving diagnosis and treatment in cost-effective ways, long-term care, and reducing racial and ethnic disparities. 

AHRQ has identified strategic goals as priority research areas, and the research in applications must address one of these areas.  The strategic research goals are:

Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on topical areas unique to AHRQ, demonstrating how expected results can be used or made available for use to enhance health care quality.  Results should be directly relevant to customers, such as providers and practitioners, administrators, payers, consumers, policymakers, and insurers.

AHRQ has specific research portfolio areas of interest which include comparative effectiveness/patient-centered outcomes, health information technology (health IT), value, patient safety, prevention and care management, and healthcare innovations.  To learn more about AHRQ’s focus within these portfolios of work, please visit http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/portfolio.htm.  Candidates are further encouraged to refer to any published Special Emphases Notices related to this announcement, published in the NIH Guide and also made available at AHRQ’s website under “Funding Announcements.”

Candidates are required to address health services research issues critical to AHRQ priority populations, including: individuals living in inner city and rural (including frontier) areas; low-income and minority groups; women, children, the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including those with disabilities and those who need chronic or end-of-life health care. 

Candidates must conduct projects which focus on health care and health care delivery in the United States. AHRQ will not accept international health care research projects.

This FOA describes the procedures and criteria for the AHRQ Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Development Program.  It updates and supersedes the Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) PAR-09-085, published on January 23, 2009. 

See Other Information – Required Federal Citations for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will use the Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) mechanism. The Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) (also referred to as the Applicant or Candidate) and his/her mentor will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project. 

The candidate should follow the instructions for budget information described in Application and Submission Information, Other Submission Requirements as well as in PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental form Section 7.4.6 of the R&R 424 instructions, and budget justification information.

All applicants for AHRQ individual mentored career development grants are limited to a total of five years of mentored career development support.  If the applicant has received any Federally-funded individual or institutional mentored career development support (from mechanisms including, but not limited to the following:  K01, K08, K12, K99/R00, KM1, KL2, K23, K07), the time appointments on these grants count toward the total five year AHRQ time limitation.  For example, an individual who has been appointed to an NIH or AHRQ K12 or KL2 institutional mentored career development grant for three years can request only two years of individual career development support on an AHRQ K01 or K08 grant.  Under no circumstance can a request be made for one year of support.  The minimum allowable time requested for all other applicants to AHRQ’s individual mentored career development grants remains at three years.

AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process. Applications submitted in modular format will not be reviewed.

2. Funds Available

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 AHRQ provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.  Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs requested by applicants are included in the total cost limitation.

2.A. Allowable Costs

Salary: AHRQ will provide salary and fringe benefits for the award recipient for a requested portion of the candidate’s institutional salary, of up to $90,000 annually plus associated fringe benefits. The total salary requested must be based on a full-time, 12-month staff appointment.  The K08 award requires candidates to devote a minimum of nine person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) to conducting health services research, with the following exception:

The salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned.  If full-time, 12-month salaries are not currently paid to comparable staff members, the salary proposed must be appropriately related to the existing salary structure.  Fringe benefits, based on the sponsoring institution’s rate and the percent of effort, are provided in addition to the salary.

The sponsoring institution may supplement the AHRQ salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale.  However, supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may PHS funds be used for salary supplementation.  Institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of the K08 award.  Under expanded authorities, however, institutions may re-budget funds within the total costs awarded to cover salaries consistent with the institution's salary scale. The total salary, however, may not exceed the legislatively mandated salary cap.

K08 award recipients are encouraged to obtain funding from AHRQ or other Federal sources either as a named PD/PI on a competing research grant award or cooperative agreement or as sub-project director on a competing multi-project award.  At the time the research grant is awarded, the effort required on the K08 award may be reduced, with prior AHRQ approval, to no less than six person-months (50% full-time professional effort) at the grantee organization and replaced by effort from the research award so that the total level of research commitment remains at nine person-months (75% full-time professional effort) or more for the duration of the award.  A reduction in effort will result in recalculation of salary provided by the grant. To be eligible for salary support from peer-reviewed research awards from any Federal agency:

Research Development Support: AHRQ will provide up to a total of $25,000 in direct costs per year for the following expenses:  a) tuition and fees related to career development; b) research expenses such as supplies, equipment, and technical personnel working with research data; c) travel to research meetings or training; d) statistical services including personnel and computer time.  All expenses must be directly related to the proposed research career development.

In Section F.1, Other Direct Costs/Materials and Supplies, the total amount requested for Research Development Support costs should be entered.  A budget justification is required which should include a detailed list, description and justification for the specific Research Development Support costs requested, such as those pertaining to travel, equipment, supplies, and additional personnel that will be used to help achieve the career development and research objectives of the award.  Applicants should review the supplemental “K” instructions found in Part 1.7.4 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Ancillary Personnel Support: Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistance, etc., is not allowed.

Indirect Costs: These costs will be reimbursed at eight percent of modified total direct costs, or at the actual indirect cost rate, whichever is less.

AHRQ Grants Policy: All AHRQ grant awards are subject to the requirements of the applicable requirements in the HHS grants policy statement (see http://www.hhs.gov/grantsnet/docs/HHSGPS_107.doc) which will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

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

AHRQ’s authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism, thus AHRQ will make grants only to non-profit organizations.  For-profit organizations may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only.  Because the purpose of this program is to improve health care in the United States, foreign institutions may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only.  Applications submitted by for-profit organizations or foreign institutions will not be reviewed.  Organizations described in section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.

HHS grants policy requires that the grant recipient perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned project or program activity and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties.  If consortium/contractual activities represent a significant portion of the overall project, the applicant must justify why the applicant organization, rather than the party(s) performed this portion of the overall project, should be the grantee and what substantive role the applicant organization will play.  Justification can be provided in the Specific Aims or Research Strategy section of the PHS398 Research Plan Component sections of the SF424 (R&R) application.  There is no budget allocation guideline for determining substantial involvement; determination of substantial involvement is based on a review of the primary project activities for which grant support is provided and the organization (s) that will be performing those activities.

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI): Also referred to as the Applicant or Candidate, individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research and career development activities are invited to work with their mentor and sponsoring institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support.  

Citizenship and Residency: Only U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals, or individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence who have a currently valid Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident prior to the time of award, are eligible for this award.  Non-citizen nationals, although not U.S. citizens, owe permanent allegiance to the U.S.  They are usually born in lands that are not states but are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration.  Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

Degree and Research: Candidates for this award must have a clinical doctoral degree.  Such degrees include but are not limited to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., O.D., D.C., Pharm.D., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy).  Individuals with the Ph.D. or other doctoral degree in clinical disciplines such as clinical psychology, nursing, speech-language pathology, audiology or rehabilitation are also eligible. 

Level of Effort: Except as described above under Award Information, Funds Available, Allowable Costs, candidates must be able to commit a minimum of nine person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) conducting research career development activities associated with this award.  The remaining three months (25% effort) can be divided among other research, clinical, and teaching activities only if these activities are consistent with the goals of the Award, i.e., the candidate’s development into an independent investigator.

At the time of award, the candidate must have a “full-time” appointment at the academic institution that is the applicant institution.  Candidates who have VA appointments may not consider part of the VA effort toward satisfying the “full time” requirement at the applicant institution. Candidates with VA appointments should contact the staff person at AHRQ prior to preparing an application to discuss their eligibility.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

This program does not require cost sharing for applications in response to this FOA.

While there is no cost sharing requirement included in this FOA, AHRQ welcomes applicant institutions, including any collaborating institutions, to devote resources to this effort.  An indication of institutional support from the applicant and its collaborators indicates a greater potential of success and sustainability of the project.  Examples of institutional support would include: donated equipment and space, institutional funded staff time and effort, or other resource investments.  Applicant institutions should indicate institutional support by outlining the specific contributions to the project and providing assurances that their organization and any collaborators are committed to providing these funds and resources to the project. This information can be included at the end of the budget justification section of the application, but institutional support dollars are not to be shown/included in the detailed budget request.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Number of Applications.  Applicants may only have one federal Individual Career Development Award application pending peer review at any time. 

Resubmissions.  Applicants may have one resubmission.  These resubmissions (or revised applications) must include an Introduction, limited to one page, addressing the previous peer review critique (summary statement). 

Renewals.  Renewal applications are not permitted in response to this FOA. 

Individuals are eligible for a K08 award if they have been, or currently are the PD/PI of an NIH or AHRQ R03 or R21 grant or a Federal or non-Federal award that duplicates the provisions or research goals of an R03 or R21 grant. 

Individuals are NOT eligible if they:

3.A. Special Requirements

Mentor(s): The candidate must name a primary mentor who, together with the candidate, is responsible for the planning, direction, and execution of the program. The mentor should be recognized as an accomplished investigator in the proposed research area and have a track record of success in training independent health services researchers.  The mentor should have sufficient independent research support to cover the costs of the proposed research project in excess of the allowable costs of this award.  Candidates may also nominate co-mentors as appropriate to the goals of the program.  Where feasible, women, individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities should be involved as mentors to serve as role models.  All mentors must submit statements of support.  Details on submission of these letters can be found in item 7 of Section 7.5 of the SF424 (R&R). The total number of pages for all (as opposed to each individual letter) mentor letters cannot exceed six. 

Reference Letters: A minimum of three and a maximum of five letters of reference are required.  These letters are distinct from mentor letters, and are submitted by individuals (referees) who are familiar with the candidate and his/her previous experience/research, but are not involved in the execution of the proposed K08 application.  The letters should address the qualities of the candidate as well as his/her potential for becoming an independent health services researcher.  They must be submitted directly through the eRA Commons Referee Information link and not as part of the electronic application that goes through Grants.gov.  Applications lacking the required reference letters will not be reviewed.  Please note that the specified format must be used. Details on the requirements for these letters can be found in Section 7.3 of the SF 424 (R&R).  They are due on the application receipt date.

Institutional Environment: The applicant institution must have a strong, well-established record of research and career development activities and faculty qualified in health services research to serve as mentors.  The institution must demonstrate a commitment to the development of the candidate as a productive, independent investigator and be willing to allow the protected time needed by the applicant.  The candidate, mentor, and institution must describe a research career development program that will maximize the use of this environment, including available facilities and resources.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, use the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

Registration:

Appropriate registrations with Grants.gov and eRA Commons must be completed on or before the due date in order to successfully submit an application.  Several of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered with both Grants.gov and the Commons.  All registrations must be complete by the submission deadline for the application to be considered “on-time” (see 3.C.1 for more information about on-time submission).

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PDs/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the NIH eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant can submit an electronic application, as follows:  

Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Registered

2) Organizational/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Both the PD/PI and AOR/SO need separate accounts in the NIH eRA Commons since both are authorized to view the application image.

Note: The registration process is not sequential.  Applicants should begin the registration processes for both Grants.gov and eRA Commons as soon as their organization has obtained a DUNS number.  Only one DUNS number is required and the same DUNS number must be referenced when completing Grants.gov registration, eRA Commons registration and the SF424 (R&R) forms.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.

For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo -- Telephone 301-435-0714; Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to AHRQ. Some fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components, although not marked as mandatory, are required by AHRQ (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application has several components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLYincludes all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA includes the data in the following components:

Required Components:   
PHS398 Cover Letter
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form
PHS398 Checklist
Research & Related Budget
(See Section IV.6., “Special Instructions,” regarding appropriate required budget component.) 

Optional Components:
Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS  

Applications Involving a Single Institution

When a single institution is involved, follow the instructions contained in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Applications Involving Multiple Institutions 

When multiple institutions are involved, one institution must be designated as the prime institution and funding for the other institution(s) must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the prime institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the prime institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component.  All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form.  See Section 4.8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget form. 

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Application and Submission Information, Submission Dates and Times, Receipt, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date: January 13, 2013 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Application Due Date(s):  Standard dates apply, please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm  
Peer Review Date(s): Generally four months after receipt date 
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Generally four months after peer review date 

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is not required for this funding opportunity. 

3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to AHRQ

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp  and follow Steps 1-4. Note:  Applications must only be submitted electronically.  PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. 

In order to expedite the review, applicants are requested to notify the AHRQ Referral Office by email Gerald.Calderone@ahrq.hhs.gov when the application has been submitted.  Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be received on or before the application receipt date described above (see Application and Submission Information, Submission Dates and Times, Receipt, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates for all dates).  If an application is received after that date, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Submission to Grants.gov is not the last step.  Applicants must follow their application through to the eRA Commons to check for errors and warnings and view their assembled application.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. The submitting AOR/SO receives the Grants.gov acknowledgments. The AOR/SO and the PI receive Commons acknowledgments. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons.   Information on the status of an application should be checked by the Principal Investigator in the eRA Commons at: https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by NIH’s Center for Scientific Review and AHRQ.  Incomplete or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to check periodically on the application status in the Commons.

AHRQ will not accept any application in response to this funding opportunity that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to a funding opportunity, it is to be prepared as a NEW application. That is, the application for the funding opportunity must not include an “Introduction” describing the changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of human subjects is not required prior to peer review of an application (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-00-003.html). However, initiation of IRB review, if necessary or applicable, is strongly encouraged to assure timely commencement of research.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.

Use of CMS Data

Purchase of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) public-use data, if required, should be discussed in the application narrative and included in the budget. Projects will ordinarily not use CMS (Medicare or Medicaid) data involving individual identifiers. However, for applications that propose to use Medicare or Medicaid data that are individually identifiable, applicants should state explicitly in the “Research Design and Methods” section of the Research Plan (form 398) the specific files, time periods, and cohorts proposed for the research.  The applicant should obtain an estimate for the cost of the requested data, if possible.  This estimate will be included in the estimated total cost of the grant at the time funding decisions are made.

Applicants should be aware that for individually identifiable Medicare and Medicaid data, Principal Investigators and their grantee institutions will be required to enter into a Data Use Agreement (DUA) with CMS to protect the confidentiality of data in accordance with the confidentiality provision in the AHRQ statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c); the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, if applicable; and standards set out in OMB Circular A-130, Appendix III–Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The use of the data will be restricted to the purposes and time period specified in the DUA. At the end of this time period, the grantee will be required to return the data to CMS or certify that the data have been destroyed.

The DUA will include the requirement that the data user agrees to submit to CMS, a copy of all findings within 30 days of making such findings, for the sole purpose of assuring CMS that data confidentiality is maintained. The user further agrees not to submit these findings to any third party (including but not limited to any manuscript to be submitted for publication) until receiving CMS's approval to do so.

In developing research plans, applicants should allow time for refining, obtaining approval, and processing of their CMS data requests. Requests may take six months from the time they are submitted to complete. Applications proposing to contact beneficiaries or their providers require the approval of the CMS Director and may require meeting(s) with CMS staff.

CMS data are provided on IBM mainframe tapes using the record and data formats commonly employed on these computers. Applicants should either have the capability to process these tapes and formats or plan to make arrangements to securely convert them to other media and formats.

Questions regarding CMS data should be directed to the AHRQ program official listed under Agency Contacts.

To avoid double counting, applicants should not include the cost of identifiable CMS data in the budget.  In the event the total costs of the project plus the cost of CMS data is greater than the total cost cap of this FOA, the budget for the project will be adjusted so that the total costs awarded to the recipient plus the CMS data costs do not exceed the cost cap. 

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

For efficient grant administration, AHRQ grant administration procedures will be used and conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm

Pre-award costs are allowable.  A grantee may, at its own risk and without AHRQ prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award if such costs are necessary to conduct the project and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without AHRQ prior approval.  If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain AHRQ approval before incurring the cost. AHRQ prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on AHRQ either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. AHRQ expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration. 

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders: A PD/PI must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM).  Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

PD/PI Credential (e.g., Agency Login)

AHRQ requires the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component.

Organizational DUNS

The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at SAM registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

Budget Component

Special Instructions for Modular Grant applications

AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process.   Applicants for funding from AHRQ should ignore application instructions concerning the Modular Grant Application and Award Process, and prepare applications using instructions for the Research and Related Budget Components of the SF 424 (R&R).  Applications submitted in the Modular format will not be reviewed.

Special Instructions for Career Development Grants

Use the SF424 (R&R) Detailed Budget component and review the instructions found in Part I.4.7(R&R Budget Component) of the Application Guide.  However for “K” applications only limited budget information is required; therefore, candidates will also need to follow the special instructions in Part I.7.4 of the SF 424 (R&R) [Supplemental Instructions for Career Development Awards], noting the special instructions that modify Section 4.7. 

In budget section A (Senior/Key Persons) include base salary, person months and requested salary and fringe benefit information for only the candidate.  Base salary, and requested salary and fringe benefits should reflect actual levels.  Any adjustments based on AHRQ policy limits will be made at the time of the award. 

Sections B-E should be left blank.  If a dollar amount is required, enter 0 (zero) in the appropriate box. 

The total Research Development Support amount requested for each year (not to exceed $25,000 direct costs in any given year) will be entered in Section F, Materials and Supplies.  A detailed description and budget justification is required for all Research Development Support Costs.

In Section H enter Modified Total Direct Costs under “Indirect Cost Type.”  The Indirect Cost rate is 8% of modified total direct cost.  Totals for Sections F, G, and H will be calculated automatically for each year as well as for the Cumulative Budget. 

Cover Letter: The PHS398 cover letter must include the list of referees (including name, department affiliation, and institution).

PHS398 Career Development Award Supplementation Form

All application instructions outlined in Section 7.5 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide that are not otherwise specified within this Funding Opportunity Announcement are to be followed, incorporating "Just-in-Time" information concepts, and with the following additional requirements:

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Candidate’s Background (Component of Candidate Information)

Career Goals and Objectives (Component of Candidate Information)

Career Development/Training Activities during Award Period (Component of Candidate Information)

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Statements by Mentor, Co-mentor(s), Consultants, Contributors (Component of Statements of Support)

Description of Institutional Environment

Institutional Commitment to the Candidate’s Research Career Development

Research Strategy

Appendix Materials

Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan component.  An application that does not comply with the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.

Warning: Please be sure that you observe the total cost, project period, and page number limitations specified above for this FOA.  Application processing may be delayed or the application may be rejected if it does not comply with these requirements. 

Priority Populations

The Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999, in amending the Public Health Service Act, directed AHRQ, in carrying out its mission, to conduct and support research and evaluations, and to support demonstration projects, with respect to the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas), and health care for priority populations.  Priority populations include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care.  This authority is found at 42 USC 299(c).  Women and members of minority groups are included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate, e.g. because of the lack of connection between the study and the health of women or particular minorities.  Investigators should review the February 2003 policy entitled, “AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations,” which is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html.  Applicants under this FOA should consider and discuss including priority populations in the research design as specified in this Notice.

Publication Transmittal: General AHRQ Requirements

In keeping with the Agency's efforts to translate the results of AHRQ-funded research into practice and policy, grantees are to inform the AHRQ Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when articles from their AHRQ-supported activities are accepted for publication in the professional literature.  Grantees should also discuss any ideas about other dissemination and marketing efforts with OCKT staff.  The goal is to ensure that efforts to disseminate research findings are coordinated with other Agency activities to maximize awareness and application of the research by potential users, including clinicians, patients, health care systems and purchasers and policymakers.  This is critical when outreach to the general and trade press is involved.  Accordingly, contact with the media will take place with close coordination between OCKT and the press offices of the grantee's institutions.  In cases when products are created (such as annual or final reports, Web-based tools, CD-ROMs), grantees will be asked to submit to OCKT a brief plan describing how the product will be publicized.  An OCKT staff person will be assigned to each product and will coordinate the implementation of the plan, especially issues related to printing and electronic dissemination, and outreach to the media.

Assessment of AHRQ Grant Programs

In carrying out its stewardship of research programs, AHRQ may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of Agency research programs.  Accordingly, grant recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted after the completion of awards for periodic updates on publications resulting from AHRQ grant awards, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of AHRQ-sponsored research.

AHRQ expects grant recipients to keep the Agency informed of publications, as well as the known uses and impact of their Agency-sponsored research. Applicants must agree to notify AHRQ immediately when a manuscript based on research supported by the grant is accepted for publication, and to provide the expected date of publication as soon as it is known, regardless of whether or not the grant award is still active.

HCUP & MEPS

Applicants are encouraged to make use of AHRQ’S Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) or the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).  HCUP is a family of health care databases and related software tools and products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership.  HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of State data organizations, hospital associations, private data organizations, and the Federal government to create a national information resource of patient-level health care data.  HCUP databases provide data beginning in 1988 and contain encounter-level information for all payers compiled in a uniform format with privacy protections in place.  HCUP includes three nationwide databases, the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), and the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), and three types of State databases, the State Inpatient Databases (SID), the State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD), and the State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD).  More information on HCUP can be found at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/home.jsp.

The MEPS is conducted to provide nationally representative estimates of health care use, expenditures, sources of payment, and insurance coverage for the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population.  MEPS is composed of three component surveys: the Household Component (HC), the Medical Provider Component (MPC), and the Insurance Component (IC).  The Household Component is the core survey, and it forms the basis for the MPC sample and part of the IC sample.  The MEPS IC collects data on health insurance plans obtained through employers and unions, including the number and types of private insurance plans offered, employer characteristics, premiums, and contributions by employers and employees.  More information on the MEPS is available at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov.

Applicants’ use of HCUP and/or MEPS data does not preclude the use of secondary data sources or primary data collection.

Health Literacy

AHRQ encourages applicants to write Informed Consent (IC) and HIPAA Authorization documents for research to be understandable to all potential research participants, including those with low levels of literacy and limited English proficiency.   AHRQ recommends that IC and Authorization documents be written in accordance with health literacy principles, and that IC and Authorization documents be available in multiple languages if potential research participants include individuals with limited English proficiency. AHRQ also recommends adopting a process to verify potential research participants’ understanding.

IC documents must provide information in language understandable to potential participants (45 CFR 46.116). For covered entities under the Privacy Rule, authorization documents must include core elements and required statements in 45 CFR 164.508(c) and must be written in plain language. The AHRQ Informed Consent and Authorization Toolkit for Minimal Risk Research (http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/informedconsent/) provides sample forms and guidance on adapting them, and also describes an appropriate process for obtaining informed consent and authorization.

Consumer Products

All consumer products produced under an AHRQ-funded grant should be appropriate for the target audience. This includes individuals from diverse cultural, language, and literacy backgrounds.  Audience testing should be part of the development process. AHRQ’s Talking Quality website (http://www.talkingquality.gov/) and AHRQ’s guide and checklist for developers and purchasers of health information (IT) that is designed to be accessed and used by consumers (http://healthit.ahrq.gov and select Health IT Tools) are resources applicants can use to ensure appropriateness of consumer products.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing; the format of the final dataset; the documentation to be provided; whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided; whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use); and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under its own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on its institutional or personal website or through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the 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 the priority score.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria 

Administrative Criteria:  Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by AHRQ for completeness and responsiveness.

Merit Review Criteria:  Merit Review Criteria, as described below, will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

The mission of AHRQ is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. As part of this mission, applications submitted to AHRQ to support health services research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the AHRQ peer review system. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures that are described in 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications not following instructions given in this FOA will not be reviewed. 

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following five scored review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed). 

Scored Review Criteria  

Reviewers will consider each of the five review criteria below in the determination of scientific and technical merit, and give a separate score for each.  An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.  For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Candidate

Career Development Plan/Career Goals and Objectives

Research Strategy

 Mentor(s), Co-Mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s)

Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate

2.A. Additional Review Criteria

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will be addressed and considered in the determination of scientific merit and the rating:

Degree of Responsiveness.  How well does the application address the purpose and objectives of this FOA?  How responsive is the application to the special eligibility criteria, including the project requirements, noted in the FOA?

Budget and Period of Support. Is the proposed budget reasonable and is the requested period of support appropriate in relation to the proposed research?

Inclusion. Adequacy of plans to address the needs of both genders, racial and ethnic minorities (and subgroups).  Adequacy of attention to AHRQ priority populations (see above discussion on Priority Populations in section IV.6 “Other Submission Requirements,” and inclusion criteria included in Other Information - Required Federal Citations, below.

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 the “Human Subjects Sections” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Privacy and Security Protections for Patients. The resources and processes to be used to address privacy and security issues in the development and implementation of the intervention will be assessed.

Resubmission Applications (formerly “revised/amended” applications). Are the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group adequate? Are the improvements in the resubmission application appropriate?

Selection Process

Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Not Applicable.

2.C. Resource Sharing Plan(s)

Data Confidentiality

The AHRQ confidentiality statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c), requires that information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ supported activities and that identifies individuals or establishments be used only for the purpose for which it was supplied.  Information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ-supported activities and that identifies an individual may be published or released only with the consent of the individual who supplied the information or is described in it.  There are civil monetary penalties for violation of the confidentiality provision of the AHRQ statute. 42 USC 299c-3(d).  In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected.  The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to this information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded.  Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this FOA will also be obtained and managed in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164. 

The grantee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds that established by the HIPAA Security Rules if applicable (see HIPAA website in prior paragraph) and that established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.

Sharing Research Resources:  Rights in Data

Unless otherwise provided in grant awards, AHRQ grantees may copyright, or seek patents for, as appropriate, final and interim products and materials developed in whole or in part with AHRQ support, including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses.  Such copyrights and patents are subject to a royalty-free, non-exclusive, and irrevocable AHRQ license to reproduce, publish, use or disseminate for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities and to authorize others to do so for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers.  In addition, subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits.  Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products.  AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) wishes to be consulted in advance of publication in order to coordinate announcements of new AHRQ-supported research results with other AHRQ dissemination activities.  Important legal rights and requirements applicable to AHRQ grantees are set out or referenced in AHRQ's grants regulation at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A (available in libraries and from the GPO's website at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html) which incorporates additional applicable provisions on Rights in Data, including 45 CFR Part 74 and 37 CFR Part 401. 

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Generally, applicants should anticipate eight months between the application submission date and the earliest possible start date.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his/her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons

If the application is under consideration for funding, AHRQ will request "Just-In-Time" information from the applicant.  Just-In-Time information generally consists of information on other support, any additional information necessary to address administrative issues, and certification of IRB approval of the project's proposed use of human subjects.  For details, applicants may refer to the "AHRQ Revised Policy for Institutional Review Board (IRB) Review of Human Subjects Protocols in Grant Applications" (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-hs-00-003.html). 

Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, a formal notification in the form of the Notice of Award (NOA) will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official at the applicant organization.  The NOA signed by the AHRQ grants management officer is the authorizing document.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance.  Any costs incurred before receipt of the NOA are at the recipient’s risk.  These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.  See also Application and Submission Information, Funding Restrictions.”

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the as noted on the AHRQ web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/postawrd.htm#terms.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All AHRQ grant and cooperative agreement awards are subject to AHRQ’s grants regulations at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A, the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm), and the terms and conditions set forth in the notice of grant award.   

As necessary, additional Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the Notice of Award document.

Other Income:  Awardees may retain royalties and fees for activities such as scholarly writing, service on advisory groups, honoraria from other institutions for lectures or seminars, fees resulting from clinical practice, professional consultation or other comparable activities, provided these activities remain incidental, are not required by the research and research-related activities of this award, and provided that the retention of such pay is consistent with the policies and practices of the grantee institution.

All other income and fees, not included in the preceding paragraph as retainable, may not be retained by the K08 award recipient.  Such fees must be assigned to the grantee institution for disposition by any of the following methods:

Funds budgeted in an AHRQ-supported research grant for salaries and fringe benefits, but freed as a result of a K08 award, may not be re-budgeted and must be returned to the Federal government.  AHRQ will give consideration to approval for the retention and use of released funds only under unusual circumstances.  Any proposed retention of funds released as a result of a K08 award must receive prior written approval from AHRQ.

Leave Policies:  Leave to another institution, including a foreign laboratory, may be permitted if the proposed experience is directly related to the purpose of the award.  Only local institutional approval is required if such leaves does not exceed three months.  For longer periods, prior written approval is required.  Details on the process for submission of prior approval requests can be found in the HHS Grants Policy Statement (rev. 1/07), “OPDIV Prior Approval”.

A copy of a letter or other evidence from the institution where the leave is to be taken must be submitted to assure that satisfactory arrangements have been made.  Support from the K08 award will continue during such leave.  Leave without award support may not exceed 12 months.  Such leave requires the prior written approval of AHRQ and will be granted only in unusual situations.

Support from other sources is permissible during the period of leave without award support.  Such leave does not reduce the total number of months of program support for which an individual is eligible.

Policy on Temporary Adjustments to Full-Time Appointments:  With AHRQ prior approval K08 awardees may reduce the full-time appointment required to less than full-time (but not less than three-quarter time) for a period not to exceed 12 continuous months during the K08 award project period.    Note: This option is only available once a K application has been awarded.  At the time of application, all candidates must meet the full-time appointment requirement as well as the minimum 75% annual effort requirement.

If requesting approval to change to a part-time appointment status, the awardee must continue to commit at least 75% effort of the part-time appointment to research and career development activities. 

The nature of the circumstances requiring a change in the appointment status or percent effort might include personal or family situations such as parental leave, child care, elder care, medical conditions, or a disability.  Permission to change appointment status or percent effort will not be approved to accommodate job opportunities, clinical practice, or clinical training.

The grantee institution must submit written documentation supporting the need for reduced faculty appointment status or percent effort along with assurance of a continuing commitment to the scientific and research career development of the awardee.  The K awardee should justify the request to reduce either his/her appointment to less than full-time status or to less than 75% effort and must describe the anticipated impact of the requested change on his/her career progression during the remainder of the K08 award period.  In addition, the awardee must submit assurance of his/her intention to return to a full-time faculty appointment or to at least 75% effort and provide an estimated date on which this will occur.  The mentor must provide a revised plan for mentoring and specifically describe updated milestones for the awardee’s progression to independence.  Lastly, a revised statement of institutional commitment to the awardee must ensure continued “protected time” and describe additional support that will assist the K08 grantee to continue to make progress toward his/her goals during the requested period of reduced time/effort devoted to the award.  During the period of reduced appointment status or percent effort, the salary and other costs supported by the award will be reduced accordingly.  Requests must be submitted by the grantee institution to the awarding component of AHRQ where they will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Changes in Research or Career Development Program:  Consultation with AHRQ program staff is strongly encouraged when a change in the approved career development program and/or research plan is being considered.  Individual awards are made for career development in a specific research program.  A change in the specified scientific area of the research component of the career development program requires prior approval by AHRQ.  A scientific rationale must be provided for any proposed changes in the aims of the original peer-reviewed research plan.  The new research plan will be evaluated by AHRQ staff to ensure the plan remains within the scope of the original peer-reviewed research program.  If the new plan does not satisfy this requirement, staff could recommend that the award be terminated.

In rare cases where a mentor must be replaced, the institution must submit a letter from the proposed mentor and awardee documenting the need for substitution, the new mentor’s qualifications for supervising the program, and the level of support for the PD/PI’s continued career development.  The letter must also document that the specific aims of the research program will remain within the scope of the original peer reviewed research program.  AHRQ staff will review the request and will notify the institution of the results of the evaluation.

Change of Institution or Termination:  Consultation with AHRQ staff is strongly encouraged when either change of institution or termination is being considered.

A change of grantee institution normally will be permitted only when all of the benefits attributable to the original grant can be transferred, including equipment purchased in whole or in part with grant funds.  In reviewing a request to transfer a grant, AHRQ will consider whether there is a continued need for the grant-supported project or activity and the impact of any proposed changes in the scope of the project.  A change may be made without peer review, provided the PD/PI plans no significant change in research and career development objectives and the facilities and resources at the new organization will allow for successful performance of the project.  If these conditions or other programmatic or administrative requirements are not met, AHRQ may require peer review or may disapprove the request and, if appropriate, terminate the award.  If the K08 awardee is moving to another eligible institution, career award support may be continued provided:

When a grantee institution plans to terminate an award, the Grants Management Specialist listed on the Notice of Award (NOA) must be notified in writing at the earliest possible time so that appropriate instructions can be given for termination.  AHRQ may terminate an award upon determination that the purpose or terms of the award are not being fulfilled.  In the event an award is terminated, AHRQ shall notify the grantee institution in writing of this determination, the reasons, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, grantees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually.

The annual progress reports must include Sections A through J as described in the general PHS form 2590 instructions.  For details regarding progress report submission, refer to http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/noncomp.htm.  If instructions on the AHRQ website are different from the PHS form 2590 instructions, follow the instructions on the AHRQ website.

The annual Progress Report is to include descriptive and evaluative comments on both completed activities and plans for the remainder of that year, including any changes foreseen in the future.  At a minimum, the reports will include descriptive comments on:  progress to date measured against project aims; methodological changes implemented; key preliminary findings; significant problems and resolutions; inclusion of priority populations; and project related publications, presentations, and dissemination activities.  AHRQ will provide the timetable for these progress reports.

Expenditure data is to be reported on the Federal Financial Report (FFR; SF 425). AHRQ requires annual financial expenditure reports for ALL grant programs as described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm).  AHRQ implementation of the FFR retains a financial reporting period that coincides with the budget period of a particular project.  However, the due date for annual FFRs will be 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which the budget period ends.  Note that this is a change in due dates of annual FFRs and may provide up to 60 additional days to report, depending upon when the budget period end date falls within a calendar quarter.  For example, if the budget period ends 4/30/2012, the annual FFR is due 9/30/2012 (90 days after the end of the calendar quarter of 6/30/2012).

A Final Progress Report, Final Federal Financial Report, and Final Invention Statement and Certification are required when an award ends.  For further details regarding grant closeout requirements, refer to http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/closeout.htm.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.FSRS.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the AHRQ Grants Process web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/postawrd.htm#terms for additional information on this reporting requirement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts


We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may be written or by telephone, and fall into three areas: scientific/research (program), peer review, and financial or grants management issues.

1. Scientific/Research Contact(s):

Direct your questions about general FOA issues, including information on the inclusion of priority populations to:

Kay Anderson, Ph.D
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
Division of Research Education
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1555
Fax: (301) 427-1562
E-mail address:  Kay.Anderson@ahrq.hhs.gov

2. Peer Review Contact(s):

Direct your questions about peer review issues of grant applications made in response to this FOA to:

Ali Azadegan, DVM, Ph.D
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Division of Scientific Review
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1869
Fax: (301) 427-1562
E-mail address:  Ali.Azadegan@ahrq.hhs.gov

3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s):

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to: 

Galen Gregor, CRA
Office of Performance Accountability, Resources and Technology
Grants Management
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1457
Fax: (301) 427-1462
E-mail address:  Galen.Gregor@ahrq.hhs.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Human Subjects Protection:

Federal regulations at 45 CFR Part 46 require that applications and proposals involving human subjects research must be evaluated in accordance with those regulations, 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).

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", regulation was mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 which governs the protection of individually identifiable health information.  It is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). 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 that may be used to determine whether a researcher is a staff member of a covered entity.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:

OMB Circular A-110 provides access to certain research data developed with Federal support through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, in certain 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 or administrative order) may be accessed through FOIA. If no Federal action is taken having the force and effect of law in reliance upon an AHRQ-supported research project, the underlying data are not subject to this disclosure requirement.  Furthermore, even if a Federal regulatory action is taken in reliance on AHRQ-supported research data, disclosure of such data is limited in accordance with the AHRQ Confidentiality Statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c). NIH has provided general related guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm, which does not include discussion of the exception applicable to confidential identifiable data collected under AHRQ's authorities.

Should applicants wish to place data collected under this FOA in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data (e.g., as required by confidentiality provisions of the statute applicable to AHRQ-supported projects, 42 USC 299c-3(c)) and manage the distribution of non-identifiable data for an indefinite period of time, they may. The application should include a description of any archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should consider how to structure informed consent statements or other human subject protection procedures to permit or restrict disclosures of identifiable data, as warranted.

Healthy People 2020:

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2020," a PHS-led national activity for setting health improvement priorities for the United States. AHRQ encourages applicants to submit grant applications with relevance to the specific objectives of this initiative. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2020" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

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 authority of 42 USC 299 et seq. and, 42 CFR Part 67 and in accordance with 45 CFR Parts 74 or 92 and other referenced applicable statutes and regulations.  All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The HHS Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.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 Public Health Service mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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