Research Related to Deafness and Communication Disorders

To investigate solutions to problems directly relevant to individuals with deafness or disorders of human communication in the areas of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) supports research including

credit: Flickr Andylangager
investigation into the etiology, pathology, detection, treatment, and prevention of disorders of hearing and other communication processes, primarily through the support of basic and applied research in anatomy, audiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, epidemiology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, the neurosciences, otolaryngology, psychology, pharmacology, physiology, psychophysics, speech-language pathology, and other scientific disciplines.

The NIDCD supports: (1) Research into the evaluation of techniques and devices used in diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of disorders of hearing and other communication processes; (2) research into prevention and early detection and diagnosis of hearing loss and speech, voice, and language disturbances and research into preventing the effects of such disorders on language and learning by means of appropriate referral and rehabilitation; (3) research into the detection, treatment, and prevention of disorders of hearing and other communication processes in the elderly population and its rehabilitation to ensure continued effective communication skills; and (4) research to expand knowledge of the effects of environmental agents that influence hearing or other communication processes.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program: To increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; to encourage small business participation in Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program: To stimulate and foster scientific and technological innovation through cooperative research and development carried out between small business concerns and research institutions; to foster technology transfer between small business concerns and research institutions; to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.
Examples of Funded Projects

Spatial processing in auditory cortex; electrophysiology of olfactory discrimination; threshold determination with auditory brainstem response; molecular approaches for developmental and infectious aspects of hearing; encoding of vocal signals in the auditory system; taste transduction; physiology of the vestibular system; objective assessment of vocal hyperfunction; developmental trends of early childhood stuttering; structure and acquisition of American Sign Language; treatment for adult aphasia; and characterization of Specific Language Impairment.


Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.




Program Accomplishments

For fiscal year 2007, 1,849 applications were submitted and 1,168 were funded. For fiscal year 2008, an estimated 1,904 applications are expected to be submitted and an estimated 1,149 are expected to be funded. For fiscal year 2009, an estimated 1,961 applications are expected to be submitted and an estimated 1,142 are expected to be funded. The Institute now supports a wide variety of basic and applied research studies concerning balance control, hearing, the senses of smell and taste, as well as speech, voice, and language. Encouraging progress has been made in each of these areas and is expected to continue. Clinical topics under investigation include vertigo; mild, moderate and profound hearing impairment; the design and efficacy of hearing aids and cochlear implants; aphasia; specific language impairment; disorders of taste and smell; stuttering, and voice disorders.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Project Grants and Centers Grants may be used to provide salaries, equipment, supplies, travel, and other expenses for research.

The grantee institution is obliged to expend grant funds prudently for the purposes as stated in the application and award document.

Some National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) are made directly to individuals for research training in specified biomedical and behavioral research areas.

Other training grants are made to institutions to enable them to make NRSAs to individuals selected by them.

Each postdoctoral individual who receives an NRSA may be obligated, upon termination of the award, to comply with certain service and payback provisions.

Mentored and unmentored career development awards are made to enhance the independent research capability of highly promising individuals during the formative stages of their careers.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: Phase I grants (of approximately 6 months duration) are to establish the technical merit and feasibility of a proposed research effort that may lead to a commercial product or process.

SBIR Phase II grants are for the continuation of the research efforts initiated in Phase I and that are likely to result in commercial products or processes.

Only Phase I awardees are eligible to apply for Phase II support.

STTR Phase I grant (normally of 1-year duration) are to determine the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed cooperative effort that has potential for commercial application.

Phase II funding is based on results of research initiated in Phase I and scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of Phase II application.

Grant funds may be expended only for the purpose stated in the application and award document.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Project Grants and Centers Grants: Any public, private, nonprofit, or for-profit institution is eligible to apply.

For-profit institutions are not eligible for institutional National Research Service Awards.

All proposals are reviewed for scientific merit, for evaluation of the qualifications of the investigators, for adequacy of the research and/or research training environment and for significance of the problem.

Approved proposals compete for available funds.

Awardees of almost all Research Career Development Programs must be citizens or have been admitted to the United States for permanent residence.

Candidates must be nominated for the program by a nonfederal public or private nonprofit institution located in the United States, its possessions or Territories.

To be eligible, postdoctoral NRSA trainees and fellows must have a professional or scientific doctoral degree (M.D., Ph.D., D.D.S., D.O., D.V.M., Sc.D., D.Eng., or equivalent domestic or foreign degree).

SBIR grants can be awarded only to domestic small businesses (entities that are independently owned and operated for profit, are not dominant in the field in which research is proposed, and have no more than 500 employees).

Primary employment (more than one-half time) of the principal investigator must be with the small business at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project.

In both Phase I and Phase II, the research must be performed in the United States or its possessions.

To be eligible for funding, an SBIR grant application must be approved for scientific merit and program relevance by a scientific review group and a national advisory council.

STTR grants can be awarded only to domestic small business concerns which "partner" with a research institution in cooperative research and development.

At least 40 percent of the project is to be performed by the small business concern and at least 30 percent by the research institution.

In both Phase I and Phase II, the research must be performed in the U.S.

and its possessions.

To be eligible for funding, a grant application must be approved for scientific merit and program relevance by a scientific review group and a national advisory council.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Health professionals, graduate students, health professional students, scientists, physicians, and other health and allied health professionals.

Credentials/Documentation

Project Grants are awarded to an institution in the name of an individual investigator. Centers Grants are also awarded to an institution in the name of an investigator designated as the Program Director. Persons qualified to carry out research related to the NIDCD grant programs described above may apply for funds through their institution to support their investigations. Career Program training must be conducted under the direction of a competent sponsor. A candidate for a Career Award must have an earned M.D., Ph.D. or equivalent degree and have had prior postdoctoral training or research experience. National Research Service Awards: (1) Individual NRSA Fellowship Awards for predoctoral and postdoctoral training: The candidate's academic record, research experience, citizenship, institutional sponsorship, and the proposed area and plan of training must be included in the application. (2) Institutional Training Grants for predoctoral and postdoctoral training: The applicant institution must show the objectives, design and resources for the research training program; the qualifications and experience of directing staff; the criteria to be used in selecting individuals for stipend support; and a detailed budget and justification for the amount of grant funds requested. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. For-profit organizations' costs are determined in accordance with 48 CFR, Subpart 31.2 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. For other grantees, costs will be determined in accordance with HHS Regulations 45 CFR, Part 74, Subpart Q. For SBIR and STTR grants, the applicant organization (small business concern) must present in a research plan an idea that has potential for commercialization and furnish evidence that scientific competence, experimental methods, facilities, equipment, and funds requested are appropriate to carry out the plan. Grant form SF 424 (R&R) is used to apply for SBIR Phase I and Phase II.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Not applicable.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

Applications must have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the Universal Identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The DUNS number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at: http://www.dunandbradstreet.com. The NIH is converting to SF424 (R&R) Research and Related forms and electronic submission through Grants.gov for the submission of all grant applications. Visit http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt for information and updates on this new process and www.nidcd.nih.gov/funding/foa to identify funding opportunity announcements relevant to NIDCD. Research Fellowships: Prior to formal application, a candidate must be accepted at an institution as a doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow and have a sponsor who will supervise the training. Fellows may be sponsored by a (domestic or foreign) nonprofit institution. Application forms and information concerning current areas being supported under the Research Fellowship Award Program should be obtained from the Office of Research Manpower, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. Application forms for Individual or Institutional NRSAs and information concerning the areas of science being supported may be obtained from the Office of Research Manpower, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, and should be submitted to the same address. This program is subject to the provisions of 45 CFR, Part 92 for State and local governments, and OMB Circular No. A-110 for nonprofit organizations. SBIR and STTR Grant Solicitations and SBIR Contract Solicitation may be obtained electronically through the NIH's "Small Business Funding Opportunities" home page http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm. For further assistance in all above areas, contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Award Procedures

Research Grant and Training Program applications are reviewed initially by technical panels composed of scientific authorities, and by the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council composed of 18 leaders in medicine, science, education, and public affairs. Approved applications will compete on a merit basis for available funds. Formal award notices are transmitted to the grantee or awardee. All accepted SBIR/STTR applications are evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate scientific peer review panel and by a national advisory council. All applications receiving a priority score compete for available SBIR/STTR set-aside funds on the basis of scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the proposed research, program relevance, and program balance among the areas of research.

Deadlines

NIH has revised its standard receipt dates as follows. Applications for Requests for Applications (RFAs) and Program Announcements (PAs, PARs, PASs) with special receipt dates continue to be due on the specified dates listed in the FOA. For an application to be considered on time it must be received by Grants.gov by 5 p.m. local time for the applicant institution. For more information and standard dates, see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-053.html.

Authorization

Public Health Service Act, Sections 301, 464 A-F, and 487, as amended; 42 U.S.C. 241, 285m, 285m-3, and 288; Public Law 100-553; 102 Stat. 2769; Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992, Public Law 102-564.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Research Grants and Centers Grants: Approximately 6 to 9 months. Career Program: From 6 to 9 months. SBIR/STTR applications: About 7-1/2 months. Institutional Training Grants: From 10 to 12 months. Individual Fellowships: From 4 to 6 months.

Appeals

A principal investigator (P.I.) may question the substantive or procedural aspects of the review of his/her application by communicating with the staff of the Institute. A description of the NIH Peer Review Appeal procedures is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not97-232.htm. Final decisions on unresolved appeals are made with the advice of the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council.

Renewals

By application and review in the same manner as new applications. Research career awards are not renewable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

None.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Research Grant awards are made for a 12-month period with recommendation of up to 4 years of additional support. Center Grant awards support may be for a period not to exceed 5 years. Career development awards provide support for up to 5 years. NRSA fellowship and traineeship awards are usually for a 12-month period, with recommendation of additional support of no more than 5 years for predoctoral training and no more than 3 years for postdoctoral training. SBIR Phase I awards are generally for 6 months; Phase II awards normally may not exceed 2 years. STTR Phase I awards are generally for 1 year; Phase II awards normally may not exceed 2 years.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Research Grants, Centers Grants, and Career Development Awards: Annual and final progress reports, including a description of results, positive and negative, and a list of any publications.

A financial status report must be submitted within 90 days after the close of each project period for Research and Career Development Grants for which an award has been issued.

NRSA Ruth L.

Kirschstein Fellowships Awards and Institutional Training Grant Awards: Awardee submits annual progress report.

Termination notice, Form PHS 416-7, must be submitted upon completion of training for each trainee.

Reports are required after termination of National Research Service Awards to ascertain compliance with the service and payback provisions.

A financial status report must be submitted within 90 days after the close of each budget period for Centers Grants and for Institutional Training Grants.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 24, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal Awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for the year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. For nongovernmental grant recipients, audits are to be carried out in accordance with the provisions set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. In addition, grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspection and audits by DHHS and other Federal officials.

Records

Expenditures and other financial records must be retained for 3 years from the day on which the grantee submits the last financial status report for the report period.

Financial Information

Account Identification

75-0890-0-1-552.

Obigations

FY 07 est $392,937,000; FY 08 est $394,138,000; FY 09 est $395,047,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$75,000 to $1,750,000; $313,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Project Grants and Centers Grants: 42 CFR 52 or 52a; 42 CFR 66; 45 CFR 74; 45 CFR 92; Grants will be available under the authority of and administered in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement and Federal regulations at 42 CFR 52 and 42 USC 241; Omnibus Solicitation of the Public Health Service for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant and Cooperative Agreement Applications. Omnibus Solicitation of the National Institutes of Health for Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant Applications.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Program Contact: Dr. Judith A. Cooper, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Executive Plaza South, Room 400-C, Bethesda, MD 20892-7180. Telephone: (301) 496-5061. Grants Management Contact: Mr. Christopher Myers, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Executive Plaza South, Room 400-B, Bethesda, MD 20892; Telephone: (301) 402-0909.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The major elements in evaluating applications include assessments of: (1) The scientific merit and general significance of the proposed study and its objectives; (2) the technical adequacy of the experimental design and approach; (3) the competency of the proposed investigator or group to successfully pursue the project; (4) the adequacy of the available and proposed project; (5) the necessity of budget components requested in relation to the proposed project; (6) the relevance and importance to announced program objectives; (7) innovation; (8) risk to human subjects, including inclusion of minorities and children, and animal protection. The following criteria will be used in considering the scientific and technical merit of SBIR/STTR Phase I grant applications: (1) The soundness and technical merit of the proposed approach; (2) the qualifications of the proposed principal investigator, supporting staff, and consultants; (3) the technological innovation of the proposed research; (4) the potential of the proposed research for commercial application; (5) the appropriateness of the budget requested; (6) the adequacy and suitability of the facilities and research environment; and (7) where applicable, the adequacy of assurances detailing the proposed means for (a) safeguarding human or animal subjects, and/or (b) protecting against or minimizing any adverse effect on the environment. Phase II grant applications will be reviewed based upon the following criteria: (1) The degree to which the Phase I objectives were met and feasibility demonstrated; (2) the scientific and technical merit of the proposed approach for achieving the Phase II objectives; (3) the qualifications of the proposed principal investigator, supporting staff, and consultants; (4) the technological innovation, originality, or societal importance of the proposed research; (5) the potential of the proposed research for commercial application; (6) the reasonableness of the budget requested for the work proposed; (7) the adequacy and suitability of the facilities and research environment; and (8) where applicable, the adequacy of assurances detailing the proposed means for (a) safeguarding human or animal subjects, and/or (b) protecting against or minimizing any adverse effect on the environment.



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