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Patient-Centered Outcomes Research—Dissemination by Health Professionals Associations (PCOR-DHPA) (R18)

Frequently Asked Questions

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The following set of questions and answers features responses from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to questions from the public submitted about the Agency's Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for RFA-HS-12-006: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research—Dissemination by Health Professionals Associations (PCOR-DHPA) (R18).


The following questions are derived from individual questions submitted to NewMediaGrants@ahrq.hhs.gov about the Request for Applications (RFA) HS-12-006: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research—Dissemination by Health Professionals Associations (PCOR-DHPA) (R18) and are shared here for all potential applicants. We encourage applicants to review all replies and to monitor this site for newly added questions and answers.

A. Eligibility/Who Can Apply
B. Partnerships
C. Investigator Qualifications, Titles, and Other Designations
D. Determining Suitability of the Theme, Projects, or Research Ideas for Submission
E. Formatting, Organization, and Page Limits of Submissions
F. Letters of Intent

A. Eligibility/Who Can Apply

Question A1: What organizations are eligible to apply?

Answer A1: Eligible Institutions: You may submit an application(s) if your institution/organization has any of the following characteristics, as described in the RFA:

In selected circumstances where applicant institutions may not be the type of health professionals association identified in the above list but appear to exhibit similar characteristics, the eligibility determination will be based on the study section's deliberation and review of the application.

Other sponsoring organizations are not eligible to apply under this FOA. For example, universities and colleges, hospitals and hospital chains, health care providers, health insurance plans, health service delivery organizations, community-based organizations, State and local governments, Indian/Native American Tribal Governments, medical schools, teaching hospitals, and networks generally do not have the required characteristics for eligibility. AHRQ's authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism. Institutions not eligible to apply under this FOA may participate as subcontractors to an eligible institution.

Question A2: Are there limitations to subcontracting?

Answer A2: Department of Health and Human Services (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) performing 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.

Question A3: Can multiple Principal Investigators (PIs) within an institution submit separate applications with different fields of study?

Answer A3: Eligible institutions (as described in Section III.1.A of the RFA) may submit more than one application to RFA-HS-12-006, provided each application is scientifically distinct. However, AHRQ will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization.

Question A4: Can applicants submit an application for this FOA if they have a current "K" (career award) application pending review with the Federal Government?

Answer A4: It is recommended that applicants carefully review the policies and requirements stated in the K FOA, along with the requirements of this FOA. Investigators can have a research project grant application submitted to (or award obtained from) AHRQ concurrent with a K application; however, this and other requirements should be verified. Investigators may also need to consult their institution and professional association's sponsored projects office. Among the questions that would need to be answered is whether investigators can receive a salary from other federal sources if they also receive a K award (the total salary received and committed effort cannot exceed 100%). Investigators should also check whether they are able to reduce their effort on the K award, if that is their intention. Further, investigators cannot obtain funds from multiple federal sources for the same research activities. There may also be other issues that need to be considered to avoid any potential conflict.

Question A5: Does the applicant's organization need to be identified by the American Medical Association (AMA) (see the links provided in Answer A1) to be eligible to apply?

Answer A5: No. Organizations not specifically identified by the AMA may be able to meet the requirements for an eligible institution, if they have the following characteristics:

  • Health professionals associations, organizations, and societies.
  • Health professionals education accrediting agencies.
  • Health professionals licensing, certification, or disciplinary boards.
  • Health professionals specialty and multispecialty associations, organizations, and societies.

In selected circumstances where applicant institutions may not be the type of health professionals association identified in the above list but appear to exhibit similar characteristics, the eligibility determination will be based on the study section's deliberation and review of the application.

Question A6: Are for-profit organizations eligible to apply for this FOA?

Answer A6: AHRQ's authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism. Thus, for the purpose of this FOA, 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) performing 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.

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B. Partnerships

Question B1: Should applicants partner with other government organizations to submit an application?

Answer B1: Applicants are not required to engage in partnerships. Applications will be reviewed on their scientific merits alone, based on the evaluation criteria stated in Section V of the FOA.

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C. Investigator Qualifications, Titles, and Other Designations

Question C1: What qualifies a senior investigator to be a PI? Is it years of experience, academic rank, number of publications, or prior research grant experience, such as grant leadership?

Answer C1: There are no specific guidelines of what qualifies a senior investigator to be a PI; this determination is made upon review by the Special Emphasis Panel. Applicants should make the best case for their abilities within the application. The RFA clearly describes what the PI must be able to provide in terms of leading these initiatives.

Question C2: Can the investigator who is designated to act and make decisions in the absence of the PI be named a co-PI?

Answer C2: No. AHRQ does not recognize multiple PIs, so the term "co-PI" should not be used. For space considerations and/or convenience, an applicant may designate some other shorthand or abbreviation to refer to the designated co-investigator; applicants should make sure this and any other abbreviations are explicit and clear.

Question C3: Can an individual serve as Project Director (PD)/PI if the individual is not employed by the organization applying for the grant?

Answer C3: The applicant organization must have a relationship with the PD/PI that permits the institution to take responsibility for the PD/PI's activities. Directly employing the PD/PI constitutes one such relationship.

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D. Determining Suitability of the Theme, Projects, or Research Ideas for Submission

Question D1: What are the expectations for using AHRQ-funded research versus other federally-funded patient-centered outcomes research?

Answer D1: This FOA supports dissemination of existing knowledge about what health care options (including diagnoses, treatments, interventions, health services systems, and models of health care delivery) work best for patients, rather than generation of new knowledge. Examples of existing research appear on AHRQ-related Web sites and publications (http://www.ahrq.gov, http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/, http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm). The professional literature provides additional sources of patient-centered outcome research. Applications may propose dissemination of the results of AHRQ-related research, findings published by PCORI, and/or other government-funded research relevant to comparative clinical effectiveness research. In the latter case, the disseminated research should have validity, generalizability, accuracy, reliability, precision, usability, etc., comparable or superior to AHRQ-related results.

Question D2: How can applicants determine if their planned approach is a good fit for this RFA?

Answer D2: Applicants should read the RFA closely, including its review criteria; this is the best available guidance to potential applicants about the responsiveness of their planned research. Applicants should be aware that the determination of suitability and responsiveness of applications is the task of the Special Emphasis Panel, not AHRQ.

Question D3: Can applicants discuss the scientific and research aspects of their proposals with AHRQ?

Answer D3: AHRQ appreciates all expressions of interest from prospective applicants. Applicants should read the RFA closely, including its review criteria; this is the best available guidance to potential applicants about the responsiveness of their planned research.

If applicants have specific questions after reviewing the RFA, they can Email these questions to NewMediaGrants@ahrq.hhs.gov. For reasons of equity and consistency, AHRQ scientific staff responds in writing to all inquiries. Wherever it is possible and appropriate, AHRQ will clarify common areas of uncertainty in a written and generalized format that is applicable for dissemination to other potential applicants, such as frequently asked questions.

Telephone counseling on potential study ideas is discouraged in order to be equitable and avoid potential misdirection of applicants. Applicants should be aware that the determination of suitability and responsiveness of applications is the task of the Special Emphasis Panel, not AHRQ.

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E. Formatting, Organization, and Page Limits of Submissions

Question E1: Are applications allowed to have appendices?

Answer E1: An application may include an appendix, but applicants should not use the appendix to circumvent the specific page limit for the Research Strategy component. Applicants should observe the page number limits specified in the RFA. An application will be rejected if it does not comply with these requirements.

Question E2: Can letters of support from stakeholders or partners be included in the appendix?

Answer E2: Yes. Page I-184 of the SF424 instructions reflects that letters of support can be included in the application appendix.

Question E3: Does the 10-page limit for the Research Strategy section of the application include the Specific Aims?

Answer E3: No. The Specific Aims are limited to one page, and that page is separate from the Research Strategy. It does not count toward the 10-page limit.

Question E4: Can the tables and figures be in a smaller font size?

Answer E4: Yes. A font size smaller than 11 point font may be used for figures, graphs, diagrams, charts, tables, figure legends, and footnotes; however, the font type must follow the font typeface requirement (Palatino, Georgia, Arial, or Helvetica) and be readily legible.

Question E5: Is there a page limit for the appendix?

Answer E5: The FOA does not restrict the number of pages in the appendix, stating only that applicants should not use the appendix to circumvent the page limit of the Research Plan component and warning that an application that does not observe the required page limit may be delayed in the review process. Applicants should note the special instructions in Section IV.6 of the FOA for submitting appendices to the National Institutes of Health and AHRQ.

Question E6: The PHS 398 Research Plan Component Section does not allow an Introduction to Application attachment for new application submissions, so where should the Introduction to Applications be included in the application?

Answer E6: The Introduction to Application should be included as the first page of the Research Strategy. This one-page introduction will not count toward the total 10-page limit. The Research Strategy section is still limited to 10 pages; however, the attachment can be a total of 11 pages to allow for an introduction.

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F. Letters of Intent

Question F1: What specific information should be in the letter of intent? Is there a particular format or length?

Answer F1: As stated in the RFA, the letter of intent allows AHRQ staff to estimate the potential peer review workload and plan the review accordingly (that is, anticipate the nature of reviewer expertise that will be required). Prospective applicants may submit a letter of intent that includes an acknowledgement of interest in this funding opportunity (referring to the number and title of the funding opportunity), a few comments on the subject of the proposed research, background expertise of key personnel, the nature and role of participating institutions, and the name and Email address of the PI. This letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and is not considered in the review of a subsequent application. AHRQ requests that letters of intent for this FOA be Emailed to NewMediaGrants@ahrq.hhs.gov by April 2, 2012.

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Current as of April 2012

 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

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