National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Funding Strategy: Fiscal Year 2001

Overview

NCCAM's Fiscal Year 2001 appropriation from Congress is approximately $89 million. This figure reflects a 29% increase over the Fiscal Year 2000 budget.

Research Project Grants

  • In Fiscal Year 2001, the Research Project Grant (RPG) portion of the NCCAM budget is expanding to 36% of the total budget. RPGs accounted for 24% of the Fiscal Year 1999 budget.
  • The RPG line item is expanding relative to other segments of the budget in light of more than a 12-fold growth in grant applications received since Fiscal Year 1999.
  • Most of this money is targeted to investigator-initiated research.
  • NCCAM estimates that the success rate for competing grant applications will be approximately 17% in Fiscal Year 2001. This figure reflects a substantial decrease from the Fiscal Year 2000 success rate of 29%, reflecting the large increase in applications received. [Note: The success rate is the percentage of applications that receive funding.]

Request for Applications

  • The Request for Applications (RFA) mechanism is intended to stimulate the research community in specific areas identified as high priority by the National Advisory Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  • In Fiscal Year 2001, NCCAM is allocating about $12 million of competing dollars to support RFA applications.

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Research Funding Strategy

NCCAM's strategy for spending its research funds in Fiscal Year 2001 is outlined below.

Research Project Grants (RPGs)

A. Non-Competing RPGs

  1. NCCAM will fund previously awarded, non-competing (Type 5) RPGs at the level committed on the prior Notice of Grant Award before any new or competing awards are made.
  2. Yearly increases for non-competing nonmodular grants will be capped at 3%.

B. Competing RPGs

NCCAM uses the following steps to decide which grants it will fund each fiscal year:

  1. Determine the scientific merit of each grant application and its relevance to our program objectives.

    To do this, NCCAM uses the multi-level peer-review system in place across the National Institutes of Health, including review by the National Advisory Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  2. Establish a priority score "payline" for both new and competing continuation grants.

    Each payline is based on the number and cost of RPG applications we have under consideration and our assessment of our remaining funds. NCCAM may make additional awards at the end of the fiscal year for applications whose scores fall close to, but outside, the payline determined for earlier council rounds.

C. Award Levels

  1. Current NCCAM policy is to award new grants at the level(s) recommended by the National Advisory Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, with the exception of adjustments for specific programmatic and administrative purposes.
  2. Awards will be modular for all applications recommended at less than $250,000 direct costs in any given year of support and categorical for those recommended at more than $250,000 in any year of support.
  3. For competing renewal (Type 2) awards, the budgets will be capped at 20% over the previous year's funding.

D. Duration of RPGs

  1. By law, the National Institutes of Health must maintain the overall average length of RPGs at 4 years or less.

    To achieve this average, the NCCAM will award 4 years of support for many applications that requested and were recommended for 5 years by the National Advisory Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  2. NCCAM will disburse a limited number of 5-year awards.

    These will be based on scientific merit, type of research (e.g., clinical trial or prospective cohort study), and relevance to our mission.

Request for Applications

  1. If you submit a grant application in response to a Request for Applications (RFA), you will compete for, and, if successful, be paid from, a pool of money that has been set aside specifically for that RFA.
  2. If NCCAM receives an insufficient number of meritorious applications in response to a given RFA, the unspent funds may be used to support additional investigator-initiated applications.

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