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Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities

Application Information: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is international research permitted? Yes, international research is permitted. Note that only domestic (U.S.) institutions are eligible to apply for this program, but collaboration with foreign organizations is permitted. So, the overall Principal Investigator of the P50 application must be affiliated with a U.S. institution, but you may have collaborating investigators from foreign institutions.

2. Can a junior investigator be the Principal Investigator of the entire P50? While this is permitted, it is strongly discouraged because PIs with significant research and management experience, particularly with large and complicated grants funded by the NIH, may be given priority in peer review. Generally only senior investigators have such extensive experience.

3. Can a junior investigator lead a Core or subproject? Yes, junior investigators may lead any of the P50 components: research projects, community-based participatory research, shared facility core resources, administrative core and pilot projects. However, credentials and experience of junior investigators will be part of the review criteria used to evaluate any and all component parts of the P50 application.

4. Is the overall Principal Investigator required to lead one of the above P50 components? No.

5. Which of the above P50 components is required? An Administrative Core and three (3) meritorious research projects are required. At least one of the research projects must be a community-based participatory research project. While pilot projects and the facility core are not required, they are encouraged.

6. Is appendix material permitted? Appendix material is limited to documentation that demonstrates collaboration with the Community-Based Participatory Project, e.g., collaborative manuscripts and preliminary data.

7. Since it is not unusual for large applications such as Centers and Program Projects to be cut in review, what are the minimum components required for funding eligibility? The Administrative Core and three (3) research projects must survive after review, and one of the research projects must be the community-based participatory research project. Note the overall Principal Investigator is not required to lead one of these projects.

8. How important is the Community-Based Participatory Research project? Applications must propose one project in which academic researchers work together with community-based organizations. Applications without a CBPR component will be considered non-responsive and be returned to the investigators without further review. Reviewers will look for documented evidence of existing collaboration. If such collaboration appears to have been established just in response to this RFA, the application will receive a less favorable score. Such collaboration may be nascent as long as it is documented. Applicants are strongly encouraged to have at least one member of the research team who has such experience.

9. Should P50 applications be designed to be responsive entirely to NIEHS, NCI or NIA, or may applications propose research of interest to more than one Institute? Yes, applications may propose research of interest to more than one Institute. Institute missions and boundaries should not dictate the science proposed, since there are internal NIH mechanisms for co-funding.

10. Is mental health research permitted? Yes, the RFA does invite research in areas such as cognition, cognitive function, cognitive disorders, personality, dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and behavioral and affective disorders.

11. No mention is made in the RFA to "access to health care." Is this research area permitted? This RFA was not intended to address access to health care issues per se and while the role of the health care system in contributing to disparities in disease outcomes is important, it will be supported by this RFA only when integrated with studies of social and physical factors.

12. Are applications permitted to come in over the budget specified in the RFA (direct costs up to $1.3 million per year)? While applications may come in over budget, this is strongly discouraged since no applications will be considered for funding above this amount. If an application does come in over the allowable budget, it will be reduced in review at least to the maximum allowable per the RFA.

13. Is there a required or recommended format for the P50 application? Yes. Applications should follow the format described in the "Supplemental Instructions for Preparation of the Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities Application " published in the NIH Guide on 5-29-02 (NOT-ES-02-010)and available at

14. The RFA states that each Center application is required to have a minimum of three research projects, one of which must be a community based participatory research (CBPR) project, but the RFA itself does not specify the required length of each project. However, the Supplemental Instructions state that "it is not necessary for all projects in the CPHHD to span the 5-year period." Please clarify this point. We apologize for this confusion. Three (3) research projects, including the CBPR project, must be concurrently active for a minimum of 3 years during the five year award period. Of the 3 required research projects, the CBPR project and a second project must each be active for the 5 year period. The third required research project may be shorter, but must run at least 3 years. Beyond the 3 required projects, other projects may be proposed to run any length of time and may start in any year. Please note that ALL research projects, even if they do not begin in Year 1, must be proposed in the original CPHHD application. This does not apply to pilot projects proposed under the Pilot Project Core, since general conceptual examples of only 2 proposed pilot studies are to be given.

15. Please clarify what is intended by "biological levels of analysis." This includes studies that examine functional responses of organ systems, cells, or molecular pathways to stressors (social/physical environmental or behavioral/psychological/cultural). This may include changes in gene and/or protein expression as well as development and validation of biomarkers as early indicators or precursors of modifications in disease pathways involved in response to social and physical environmental stressors (e.g., signal transduction, apoptosis, oxidative stress). While it may be desirable to include biological levels of analysis within projects, it is not mandatory if social/environmental levels and behavioral/psychological levels are addressed. Each project must address (in any combination) minimally two of the following levels of analysis: social/environmental, behavioral/psychological, or biological. Please note that while methodological research is discussed in this section in the RFA, this is not considered one of the required "levels of analysis. " Methodological research is encouraged as an additional research focus beyond the 2 required levels of analysis.

Last Updated: October 1, 2012

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