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Creating an Effective Application for Federal Funding


Creating an Effective Application for Federal Funding David B. Buller, Ph.D. Mary K. Buller, M.A. Klein Buendel, Inc. October 12, 2007 Application & Review Process ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Creating an Effective Application for Federal Funding

Creating an Effective Application for Federal
  • David B. Buller, Ph.D.
  • Mary K. Buller, M.A.
  • Klein Buendel, Inc.
  • October 12, 2007

Application Review Process -Part 1
  1. Identify PA, RFA, contract solicitation, and
    funding mechanism
  2. Discuss idea with agency staff
  3. Build research team and establish partnerships
  4. Submit letter of intent (if necessary)
  5. Prepare application
  6. Submit application (electronically)

Application Review Process -Part 2
  1. Review team assignment
  2. Scientific merit review
  3. Notification of review results
  4. Revise and re-submit amended application
  5. Agency staff evaluation and approval, and just in
    time request
  6. Notice of grant award

PA, RFA, and Contract Solicitations
  • PA Program Announcement
  • RFA Request for Applications
  • Contract solicitations

Program Announcement
  • Statement of agency priorities for research
  • In force for several years
  • Can be single or multi-institutional
  • Provides contact information for program staff
  • Provides eligibility and evaluation criteria

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Request for Applications
  • Invitation to submit applications on a particular
  • Usually one-time solicitation with fixed deadline
  • Has specific requirements and eligibility and
    evaluation criteria
  • Often involves letter of intent
  • Usually has a special review team
  • Typically involves set-aside funds

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Contract Solicitation
  • Requests for proposals to conduct research
    desired by agency
  • Research is conducted in partnership with agency.
  • May propose specific research activities and/or
    state research capabilities
  • Similar to RFA in application procedures
  • Review can be internal and external.

Resources for Locating Grants
  • Listservs that are helpful for learning about
    grant opportunities
  • email alert system http//www07.grants
  • The NIH Listserv e-mail broadcast service
  • Link for subscribing to the CDC Grant Funding
    Announcements Listserv http//

Resources for Locating Grants
  • Searching for DHHS Funding
  • NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts Search for
    Grant Opportunities http//
  • Parent Announcements for unsolicited
    investigator-initiated research

Resources for Finding Contracts
  • Procurement Opportunity Listserv
  • How to search for contracts Federal Business
    Opportunities Website http//

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Funding Mechanisms
  • R01-- Research Project
  • R03 -- Small Research Grants
  • R13 -- Conference
  • R15 -- Academic Research Enhancement Awards
  • R17-- Mental Health Career Investigator Grants
  • R18 -- Research Demonstration and Dissemination
  • R21-- Exploratory/Developmental Grants
  • R24 -- Resource-Related Research Projects
  • R25-- Education Projects
  • R30 -- Preventive Health Service - Venereal
    Disease Research, Demonstration, and Public
    Information and Education Grants

Funding Mechanisms Continued
  • R33-- Exploratory/Developmental Grants Phase II
  • R34-- Clinical Trial Planning Grant
  • R36 -- Dissertation Award
  • R37 -- Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT)
  • R41 -- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
    Grants - Phase I
  • R42 -- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
    Grants - Phase II
  • R43 -- Small Business Innovation Research Grants
    (SBIR) - Phase I
  • R44 -- Small Business Innovation Research Grants
    (SBIR) - Phase II

Funding Mechanisms Continued
  • R49 -- Injury Control Research and Demonstration
    Projects and Injury Prevention Research Centers
  • R55 -- James A. Shannon Director's Award
  • R56 -- High Priority, Short Term Project Award
  • R90 -- Interdisciplinary Regular Research
    Training Award
  • RL1 -- Linked Research project Grant
  • RL2 -- Linked Exploratory/Development Grant
  • RL5 -- Linked Education Project
  • RL9 -- Linked Research Training Award
  • RS1-- Programs to Prevent the Emergence and
    Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance in the U.S.

Role of Agency Staff Persons
  • Program/project officers
  • Agency staff assigned to manage grants and
  • In their areas of expertise
  • Often are scientists and may conduct own
    intramural research

Role of Agency Staff Persons
  • Pre-application
  • Help shape idea for relevance/ significance to
    agency reviewers
  • Help identify PA, RFA, contract solicitations
  • Help select study section for application
  • Can suggest reviewers to study section

Role of Agency Staff Persons
  • During review
  • Helps manage assignment to study section
  • Attends review and listen to discussion

Role of Agency Staff Persons
  • Post-review
  • Help interpret results of review and shape
  • Shepherd applications with high scientific merit
    scores through agency review
  • Help investigators manage budget cuts
  • Monitor research progress - receive annual and
    final reports

Build Research Team
  • Rarely just the Principal Investigator any more
  • Principal Investigator (PI)
  • New Multiple PI mechanism
  • Co-investigators
  • Consultants
  • Subcontractors

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Collaborators Staff with Specialized Skill Sets
  • Statisticians and data management staff
  • Media production professionals
  • Project staff v. graduate students

  • Demonstrating partnerships with internal and
    external organizations is often necessary to
    convince reviewers that research is feasible.
  • Examples
  • Schools, school districts, teachers
  • Workplaces
  • Industry professional organizations
  • College officials
  • State local agencies

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Letters of Intent
  • Required v. Recommended
  • Usually for RFA and contract solicitation
  • For benefit of agency staff
  • Identify size and skills set needed for review
  • Insure that applications are responsive to RFA

Preparing the Application
  • Standard Application Structure
  • For unsolicited DHHS PA RFA Applications
  • SF 424 (RR)
  • For contract solicitations
  • Idiosyncratic formats

SF 424 (RR)
  • Front Sections
  • Cover Page
  • Abstract Lay Summary
  • Biographical Sketch Other Support
  • Environment
  • Budget Budget Justification

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SF 424 (RR)
  • Narrative (15-25 pages max.)
  • Specific Aims
  • Background and Significance
  • Preliminary Studies/Progress Report
  • Research Plan
  • Protection of Human Subjects

Content in Specific Aims
  • Brief introduction to problem
  • Statement of significance
  • Explicit description of project goal and specific
  • Overview of proposed research and major design
  • 1-page

Specific Aims
  • Previous studies have shown that diet and
    physical activity can be improved with workplace
    interventions targeted to individual employees.
    Recently, diet and physical activity
    interventions delivered over the Internet have
    had some success, but only a few have been
    attempted in workplaces.
  • Computer networks exist in most workplaces and
    could deliver web-based interventions that take
    advantage of the unique characteristics of this
    technology Web-based interventions can be
    available immediately, on demand, and for a lower
    per unit cost than by other delivery systems,
    tailored both by and for the user, updated
    easily, and sent over large distances and across
    social barriers.
  • Web-based communication has limitations as we and
    others have found. Use of web-based
    interventions can be suboptimal (in terms of dose
    and function), when users are given little
    incentive for using them. There is a lot of
    competition for users attentions among websites
    addressing health issues, let alone those on
    other topics. Internet users also may experience
    overload and be turning to newer technologies
    (e.g., instant and text messaging).

Specific Aims Cont.
  • The overall aim is to evaluate a high touch/high
    tech worksite intervention that combines a health
    education website through the worksite computer
    system with peer health education (WEBPEER) to
    help individuals maintain a healthy energy
    balance improved diet quality and increased
    physical activity to prevent overweight and
    obesity and manage weight gain (as indicated by
    lower increases in body mass index BMI)
    compared to WEB-only.
  • Specific aims are
  • To develop and implement a program intended to
    improve diet (to match dietary guidelines) and
    increase physical activity that involves an
    Internet website and peer health education and
  • To evaluate the WEBPEER intervention on its
    ability to improve total diet quality (DQI) and
    increase moderate to vigorous physical activity
    (MVPA) (primary outcomes), and in turn reduce the
    increase in body mass index (BMI) (secondary
    outcome) of adult employees compared with WEB

Content in Background
  • Statement of significance
  • Review of relevant literature for approach
  • Presentation of theoretical position(s)
  • Statement of hypotheses, research questions, or
    purpose of study
  • 3-4 pages

Background and Significance
  • 3.1. The Epidemic of Overweight and Obesity
  • Overweight and obesity is a growing health
    problem in the United States with an estimated
    60 increase in prevalence in the past decade.
    It is estimated that over 50 of U.S. adults are
    overweight, and 20 are obese, and their
    prevalence is increasing across all genders,
    races, ethnicities, and ages. Overweight and
    obesity are risk factors for heart disease,
    diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, stroke,
    respiratory difficulties, and psychosocial
    problems. Annual medical expenditures
    attributable to obesity in the United States are
    estimated to be 75 billion. It affects the
    economic environment of the workplace too.
    Overweight and obese employees (BMI gt 27 kg/m)
    have higher health care costs, more total medical
    claims, and more short-term disability events
    relative to non-obese employees. Poor dietary
    habits and physical inactivity appear to be the
    main lifestyle factors contributing to overweight
    and obesity, which ranked as the second leading
    causes of death in the United States in 2000.
    Only one-third of U.S. workers in the 1997-2004
    National Health Interview Surveys met Healthy
    People 2010 targets for leisure-time physical
    activity, with females, ethnic minorities, and
    those in labor and trades jobs least likely to
    meet them.

Background Continued
  • 3.5. Theoretical Models Guiding WEB and PEER
    Intervention Strategies
  • For this study we propose to use the DIT and
    social cognitive theory (SCT) as our theoretic
    framework for development of the WEB and PEER
    interventions. We previously used DIT in
    web-based and peer interventions because it
    explains how individuals and organizations or
    communities begin to adopt and implement new
    attitudes and behaviors through creating initial
    awareness of the need for changing health
    behaviors such as diet, physical activity and
    managing weight (e.g., creating awareness of the
    differences in saturated and unsaturated fats and
    their relation to development of plaque in blood
    vessels). The adoption of new health behaviors
    can then be prompted by reducing barriers to
    change (e.g., using unsaturated fats and by
    encouraging use of traditional good fats or
    substituting new unsaturated fats such as olive
    or canola oil). DIT also holds that changes in
    community culture and communication environment
    are necessary to promote adoption and
    implementation of healthy behaviors. When DIT is
    applied to health behaviors, it is similar to
    other stage-based models of individual change
    (e.g., Transtheoretical Model) however the
    principles used to create change relate to the
    characteristics of leaders and community members,
    organizational and political influences,
    availability of resources, and decision-making
    processes within the community.

Content in Preliminary Studies
  • Overview of research team experience roles
    (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Summary of relevant prior research by research
  • Findings that form basis for proposed research
  • Development and experience with methods
  • Experience working with partners target
  • 5-6 pages

Description of Research Team
  • This project will be conducted by a
    multi-disciplinary research team led by David
    Buller, PhD and Andrea Dunn, PhD, Principal
    Investigators (PIs) at Klein Buendel, Inc. (KB).
    Co-Investigators include Doug Taren, PhD, U. of
    Arizona, Gary Cutter, PhD, Pythagoras, Inc., Mary
    Buller, MA, KB, and Aimee Giese, BS, KB. Dr.
    Taren will be the project nutritionist and Dr.
    Cutter, the project biostatistician. Ms. Giese
    will oversee production and administration of the
    WEB intervention. Ms. Buller will supervise
    implementation of the PEER intervention. Glorian
    Sorenson, PhD, Harvard U. will consultant on
    culturally-appropriate worksite intervention and
    nutrition education Bess Marcus, PhD, Brown U.
    will consult on website design, incentives, and
    use (see Budget Justification and Section 15 for
    further description of research team and KB).
    The research team has conducted previous research
    in which they developed and evaluated web-based
    interventions and peer education. This project
    merges these two streams of research evaluating
    worksite health promotion 5 A Day _at_ Work
    Program in which a web-based program produced
    small dietary changes with Arizona 5 A Day Peer
    Project in which a peer education intervention
    successfully improved dietary behavior.
    Procedures also will be used from other studies
    evaluating worksite wellness programs, web-based
    health communication, and lifestyle physical
    activity programs.

Preliminary Studies Continued
  • 4.1. Previous Study on Worksite Web-based
    Nutrition Education The 5 A Day _at_ Work Project
    (CA86552 M. Buller, PI)
  • Ms. Buller and Drs. Buller and Cutter developed
    and evaluated the 5 A Day _at_ Work website in a
    Phase III SBIR (Appendix D). It contained
    features for employees promoting fruit and
    vegetable intake, some information on physical
    activity, and features for the wellness
    coordinator. The employee homepage (Appendix D)
    provided navigation for the main features of the
    website. The Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
    Tracking feature allowed employees to track their
    daily fruit and vegetable consumption and daily
    physical activity minutes, and view a graph of
    their progress over time.  Feedback was not
    provided for this logging. The Resource Room
    offered the user a place to read static health
    content articles to improve their knowledge of 5
    A Day, nutrition and physical activity. The 5 A
    Day Fun section provided a place to learn about 5
    A Day, nutrition and physical activity in a fun
    and interactive way.  Three styles of games were
    created including trivia games, crossword puzzles
    and an arcade-style game called the Grocery Grab.
    The games tailored messages based on user

Content of Research Plan
  • Overview of project and timeline
  • Target population
  • Key characteristics
  • Inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Recruitment consenting strategies
  • Description of intervention/treatment
  • Theory content
  • Production procedures
  • Implementation plan

Research Design and Methods
  • 5.1. Study Design
  • We will test the hypothesis that a website
    intervention plus peer education (WEBPEER) will
    improve diet quality (DQI) and increase moderate
    to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) compared
    with a website alone (WEB). DQI was selected
    because the intervention will target both reduced
    calories and increased quality of the diet. We
    will examine whether it ultimately prevents
    weight gain pre to post as measured by Body Mass
    Index (BMI), a biological marker of intervention
    success that will serve as a secondary outcome
    because the instrumental changes must occur for
    us to attribute BMI success to program
    effectiveness. A pair-matched group-randomized
    pretest-posttest two group design will be
    conducted in public worksites (i.e., city
    governments) in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan
    area (Figure 1). The unit of randomization will
    be work groups defined by job classifications
    (n90) with a minimum size of 10 employees.
    Employees will be pretested in Months 10-13 and
    posttested in Months 37-39 (see Section 5.6 for
    participation, sample size, and attrition), using
    in-person interviews at the workplace. See
    Figure 2 for project timeline.

Research Design Methods Cont.
Content in Research Plan
  • Implementation plan
  • Procedures
  • Schedule
  • Experimental design
  • Design
  • Measures
  • Schedule

Research Design Methods Cont.
Content in Research Plan
  • Measures
  • Primary outcomes
  • Secondary outcomes
  • Mediators moderators
  • Process (manipulation check)
  • Statistical power and sample size
  • Effect size
  • Power
  • Attrition

Research Design Methods Cont.
Content in Research Plan
  • Data collection management
  • Procedures staff
  • Quality control
  • Maintenance of confidentiality
  • Statistical analysis
  • Analysis methods by specific aims/H/RQs
  • Schedule of analyses
  • Missing data handling procedures
  • Potential Limitations

SF 424 (RR)
  • Back Sections
  • Inclusion of Women Minorities
  • Targeted Enrollment Tables
  • Inclusion of Children (under 21 years old)
  • Multiple PI Leadership Plan
  • Consortium/Contractual Arrangements
  • Commercialization Plan (SBIR/STTR)
  • Letters of Support
  • Resource Sharing Plan
  • Bibliography

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Electronic Submission
  • Most agencies now require applications to be
    submitted electronically
  • All Federal agencies use
  • Part of paperwork reduction act
  • Institution is registered with

Electronic Submission
  • Must establish PI account with ERA Commons
  • Good idea to register Co-Inv.
  • Pure Edge Forms
  • Standard forms for application
  • Institution probably completes them
  • Will require lead time of several days to
    complete them

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End of Part 1