National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Funding Strategy: Fiscal Year 2004

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Introduction

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) distributes its resources among many programs and mechanisms. The Center is committed to funding the largest number of meritorious projects possible, while allowing the flexibility needed to support selected program priorities and to respond to emerging scientific opportunities.

The Center establishes general guidelines for funding based on the overall NCCAM appropriation, allowing for necessary adjustments throughout the year to reflect directives from Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as emerging program priorities. Each fiscal year, once an appropriation has been received, NCCAM develops an operating plan for funding research and training grants. Many factors that occur throughout the fiscal year can affect the operating policies, thus the policies may be subject to change.

Budget Data

Appropriated Funds: The FY 2004 Appropriation for NCCAM is $117.7 million. This figure reflects a 3.2 percent increase over the FY 2003 appropriation of $114.1 million.

Success Rate: The success rate represents the number of competing research project grant applications funded as a percentage of the total number of new applications received. NCCAM's success rate was 14 percent in FY 2003. In FY 2002 it was also 14 percent.

Research Funding Guidelines

The FY 2004 funding guidelines that follow are applicable for the entire fiscal year. Based on the availability of funds, NCCAM will use the following guidelines for funding Research Project Grants (RPG).

Non-Competing Awards (Type 5): NCCAM will follow the NIH policy to pay committed levels for non-competing continuation awards as reflected on the FY 2003 Notice of Grant Award. However, NCCAM retains the right to reduce the level when necessary and appropriate. For example, such reductions would be made to eliminate any overlapping support identified or if a change in project scope was to occur.

New and Competing Awards (Type 1): NCCAM will make competing awards using the following general priority score payline.

  • Exploratory/Development Grants (R21): Applications that receive priority scores of 160 and below will be funded at the recommended allowable direct costs.
  • Research Project Grants (R01): Applications that receive priority scores of 160 and below will be funded at 94 percent of the recommended allowable direct costs; applications that receive priority scores of 161 through 185 will be funded at 88 percent of the recommended allowable direct costs.

Future year commitments on the Notice of Grant Award will reflect the NIH standard annual 3 percent escalation on recurring costs (e.g., personnel, supplies). The annual 3 percent escalation does not apply to Modular Grants.

Research Conference Grants (R13): NCCAM will continue to support scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public health objectives. Support is contingent on NCCAM's interests and priorities as well as the level of financial investment that NCCAM determines is appropriate.

Competing Renewal Awards (Type 2): Funding levels may increase by no more than 8 percent in Direct Costs over the last non-competing Notice of Grant Award.

Duration of RPGs: NIH must maintain the overall average length of RPGs at 4 years or less. To achieve this average, NCCAM will award 4 years of support for many applications that requested and were recommended for 5 years. NCCAM may make a limited number of 5-year awards. These will be determined on a case-by-case review of scientific merit, type of research (e.g., clinical trial or prospective cohort study), and relevance to NCCAM's mission.

Applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs: Prior approval is required before submitting an application for review that requests $500,000 or more in direct costs. An applicant planning to submit a grant application with $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year is required to contact NCCAM program staff in writing or by telephone. This contact should be made during the development process of the application but no later than 6 weeks before the anticipated submission date. An application that is received with $500,000 or more in direct costs without indication of prior staff concurrence and identification of the NCCAM program staff who had been contacted will be returned to the applicant without review. Therefore, NIH strongly encourages applicants to contact Center staff at the earliest possible time. This policy does not apply to applications submitted in response to RFAs or in response to other announcements that have budgetary limits.

For additional information about this policy, contact the appropriate NCCAM program staff at nccam.nih.gov/grants/contact. The announcement regarding this policy is available at grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-004.html.

Research Career Grants (K): NCCAM has not forecasted a payline specific to Career Awards, but will continue to invest in appropriate support for commendable investigators with experience relevant to specific CAM research areas.

Research Training and Fellowship Grants (T & F): Although a designated payline for training activities has not been established, NCCAM is committed to increasing the number, quality, and diversity of CAM investigators. In pursuit of developing a cadre of CAM research investigators, NCCAM will continue to support:

  • Institutional Training Grants (T32) to establish programs for individuals to train for careers in CAM-related research
  • Individual Fellowships (F31, F32)
  • Support for trainees from under-represented populations.

Stipends and other training-related costs will be determined according to the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award guidelines.

Request for Applications

Grant applications submitted in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) will compete for, and, if successful, be paid from, a pool of money that has been set aside specifically for that RFA.

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