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This fiscal year there were 46 nominations to the GA Seminar Series.
Because of the continued reduction in numbers of both GAs and Management
Interns, extra slots could be used by seminar participants. Hence, 26 of the
46 ncminees (56.5%) were selected. Over 40 seminars (more than 160 hours)
involving more than 60 speakers for a 10-month period were offered on various
topics, NIH offices^ and other PHS agencies. Included, also, were seminars on
the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Technology Assessment,
National Acaderty of Sciences, National Science Foundation, Office of
Management and Budget, and the National Institute of Handicapped Research.
The group became so cohesive and enthusiastic that they met informally, on
their own initiative, to discuss the seminars in greater depth and how the
issues related to their positions.

Although the series is primarily designed to cortplement the GAs'
assignments, it was obvious that the selectees far exceeded the number of
Associates. Hence, the series was changed to include seminars that would
benefit the larger group. Many of these changes were the result of sugges-
tions iron this active group, some of whcm prepared, planned, and chaired
sessions (e.g., the National Institute of Handicapped Research - its mission,
function and overlap with NIH programs, especially low vision research) .

During this year, GAs were evaluated under the Employee Performance
Management System. This produced two mechanical difficulties. First, the
evaluations aire due at the end of each calendar year; but due to the staggered
entry on duty of the GAs, most are on the Program for some months of two
calendar years, even though their term is only a total of 12 months. This
required two cortpletely new performance appraisals for most GAs. The timing
problem was fiirther cortpounded by a second difficulty. The Executive
Secretary of the GA Board is the GAs' supervisor of record; yet GAs are
evaluated by several assignrrent supervisors through their preceptors, who in
fact do the evaluating. All these reports are then foirwarded to the DRG
Personnel Office, resulting in a thick packet of evaluative materials for a
one year position.



12



The resignation of one of the support staff at the beginning of this
fiscal year resulted in an extraordinary amount of work for the remaining
person, the GA Office Manager. Even though the number of GAs has been
reduced, the volume of work relative to the GA. Seminar Series, the GA Board
and its several subcommittees. Program reports, materials requested by the GA
Program Evaluation Committee, and other activities is the same if not greater
than in previous years.

This year, the Executive Secretary of the GA Board was appointed to the
Staff Training in Extramural Programs (STEP) Committee. VJith a co-director
(Dr. Catherine Henley, Review and Special Project Officer, Extramural and
Collaborative Program, National Eye Institute) , he produced a 2-day STEP
Module, "Introduction to the NIH Extramural Programs." In addition, he
presented two other forums: "NIH Staff Interaction with the Potential Grantees
and the NSF Rotator" and "The Active Researcher as Scientist Administrator."
The GA Office also prepared a special seminar on NIH extramural programs and
procedures for the National Science Foundation rotators to facilitate their
understanding of and interactions with the NIH. This proved extremely suc-
cessful, has been requested on an annual basis by the National Science
Foundation, and is being requested by the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental
Health Actoinistration (ADATMA) .



13



OFFICE OF GRANTS INQUIRIES



The Office of Grants Inquiries continued to respond to the information
needs and concerns of the biomedical research constituency and of the lay
public by providing information on a wide variety of subjects: support
mechanisms, peer review process, extramural program areas, assurance and
corpliance forms, and policy issues. For exaitple, in May the staff answered
some 1,498 phone calls, an average of 370 per week. In April, written
requests n\Jiribered 273 per week.

The PHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program was also
heavily supported by staff. The Office of Grants Inquiries served as the
central information source for the small business cattnunity, providing them
with information about receipt dates and application procedures, as well as
furnishing them with SBIR application materials. On the first round (May 2
receipt date), the staff coordinated sotie 20,000 inquiries and mailed 10,000
SBIR Omnibus solicitations and 4,000 PHS 398 applications. The staff then
entered requestors' names into a database to be used for statistical piirposes
and for mailing a notice of availability for the next SBIR cortpetition receipt
date. Using the database, seme 4,500 copies of a new SBIR application (PHS
6246-1) were mailed around August 1 to potential applicants for the October 3
receipt date.

The Office of Grants Inquiries received pi±)lication lists from several
iteetings held around the country by NIH and furnished the requested publica-
tions and applications. Thus, the 1983 FASEB meeting, held in Chicago,
generated 200 requests for mailouts. Office staff also cooperated with the
NIH Division of Public Information in providing informational materials for
use at the FASEB exhibit. An additional 270 orders were sent in response to
other meetings.

Office staff wrote and produced a panphlet, NIH Grants and Awards , for
use as an information aid in responding to requests for mechanisms of NIH
support. Staff also redesigned and updated the DRG Organization and Functions
brochure. Another publication. Federal Programs for Minorities, Women, and
the Handicapped , is also being revised.

Staff were involved in several other cortimmication projects during the
year. They initiated and worked with the Grants Associates program staff and
others to revise the Grants Associates Program , a panphlet used as a recruit-
itent aid for the program, and assisted Dr. George Eaves in updating his
article, "Who reads your project-grant application to the NIH?" Two staff
members participated in the Corbined Federal Campaign by providing publicity
to the NIH Record .

Other Office of Grants Inquiries accorplishments include the following:

• Provided special data monitoring reports on for-profit organiza-
tions applying for grant support and the SBIR initiative to DPG,
CDERT, NIH, PHS staff. Congress, and other interested parties.

15



• Expanded the Office's collection of informational materials avail-
able to the research camiunity on the NIH extramural process.

• Provided assistance to DRG, other NIH and PHS staff for the
following publications: Research Awards Index (publicity) ; NIH New
Grants and Awards (printing and distribution) ; NIH Research Grants,
FY 1982 Funds (publicity and distribution) ; NIH Research and
Development Contracts, FY 1982 Funds (publicity and distribution) ;
NIH Research Training, Construction, Cancer Control, and Medical
Libraries, FY 1982 Funds (publicity and distribution) ; Analysis of
the Initial Review of NIH Grant Applications to Conduct Clinical
Research (clearance, printing, and distribution); PHS Grants Policy
Statement (distribution) ; PHS Profiles of Financial Assistance
Programs (distribution) ; and NIH Extramural Programs, Funding for
Research and Research Training (distribution) .

• Served as a resoiorce for information on the NIH extramural programs
and policies, peer review process, application procedures, grantee
support data, and pxablications , and provided statistical informa-
tion concerning NIH extramural support to a nxjinber of Congressional
and news media sources. Approximately 700 requests required manual
or cotputer searches pertaining to research areas, disease
entities, grantee institutions, principal investigators, or NIH
support of this year's Nobel Laiireates and Lasker Award winners.

• Utilized new word processor technology to capture data on SBIR pro-
gram and publications inventory.

• Responded to 40 Freedom of Information requests during the year.

• Wrote and sT±(mitted to the NIH Record 20 articles on DRG staff and
other publicity needs of the Division.

• Provided assistance to more than 200 visitors to the Division.

GRAPHIC ARTS

The Visual Information Specialist prepared or revised approximately 2,000
graphs, charts, slides, certificates, publication covers, posters, and flyers.
He assisted in the development of the DRG Administrative Report , Workshop on
Ion Translocating ATPases , EEO Report on Minorities , Clinical Investigator and
Academic Teacher Investigator Awards , Analysis of the Initial Review of NIH
Grant Applications to Conduct Clinical Research , Arthritis Centers Personnel
Directory , and many other publications. In addition, he took approximately
700 photographs of staff functions and study section meetings, and arranged
to have over 3,500 slides duplicated at the NIH photography laboratory.
Finally, the Visual Information Specialist coordinated work on over 1,300
slides, prints, and other artwork with one contracter, and was influential in
setting up a contract with another caipany, whereby DRG staff can directly
generate slides on a cost-effective basis.



16



ADMINISTRATIVE BRANCH



The Ac3ininistrative Branch continued to provide the Division with admin-
istrative and financial management, including the budget and the Scientific
Review and Evaluation Awards, property and supply control, and space planning
and assignment; to maintain supplies of publications and application forms
used in the PHS extramural programs; to be responsible for the efficient
running of the cortponents for effective coordination of procedures and
services; and to maintain procedures for centralized distribution of applica-
tion forms to the grantee institutions. Vhe Branch also conducted or directed
a number of studies involving several management activities, which may result
in a reorganization with the application of new technology within the
Division.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SECTION

This Section assisted in administering about $22 million for the
Division's operations (of which $17 million was from the NIH Management Fund
and reinnbursement agreements with other agencies) supplatiented by $5 million
from the BIDs for the support of the Scientific Review and Evaluation Awards
awarded to study section chairpersons. The Section monitored expenditxires
from these funds through a cotiputer database system that also provides NIH
management with monthly cost-analysis progress reports. Consultant costs were
again paid almost entirely from the Scientific Review and Evalxoation Awards,
with consequent savings in both tiirie and effort. The Section continued to
report approximately 9,000 individual payments made to 3,800 consultants who
submitted 7,700 vouchers to the NIH-wide cortputer-based system for reporting
consultants' incomes. In addition to the audit of the 7,700 consultants'
vouchers, about 500 vouchers were audited by this Section for Division
ertployees and others.

A major change involved the Scientific Review and Evaluation Awards. All
the DRG accounts are now managed by one financial institution, the NIH Federal
Credit Union. This will allow greater control of records, expedite payments
to the accounts, and release the chairpersons from some of the administrative
burden of managing the accounts.

The Section prepared the Preliminary Estimate to HHS, the 0MB Submission,
and the rianpower Submission for the Fiscal Year 1983 President's Budget, and
also furnished information for the Fiscal Year 1983 Mid-Year Review. Work has
been started on the Fiscal Year 1985 Forward Plan. The Section continues to
monitor the orderly flow of obligations and other aspects of budget execution
as well as to respond to requests from the Division of Financial Ifenagement.



17



OFFICE SERVICES SECTION

This Section continued to review and approve requests for supplies and
equipment needed by the Division, to provide property and supply control, and
to participate in space planning and assignirent. The Section acccropiished a
number of physical moves and planned several others, including the accarnioda-
tion of the needs of new study sections and the installation of additional IBM
Dispiaywriters and laser printers, which is the second phase of upgrading the
quality of study section paperflow in the Referral and Review Branch. The
Section has also maintained the Division's mail room, and has been responsible
for wide distribution of PHS and NIH extramural forms and publications. The
Section continued to maintain liaison with other NIH service cortponents for
effective coordination of procedures and services, and to be responsible for
supplying the control offices of the grantee institutions with application
kits.

The Branch has continued its efforts to convert all program application
kits to a self-contained booklet format. As has previously been indicated,
this reformatting has not only inproved the appearance of the application
kits, but has facilitated their processing by DRG staff, their distribution to
applicants, and the cotpletion of the forms by applicants. To date four
application kits have been converted: the PHS-398, PHS-416-1, PHS-416-9 and
PHS-2590 kits. The institutional training grant application forms are
currently being revised.

The number of grant application kits assembled and handled averaged
around 10,000 a month, and about 9,500 miscellaneous packages were mailed each
month. The Mail Unit received and processed approxirrately 35,000 grant
applications of all types, as well as a large volume of supporting documents,
letters, and publications.

Extensive technical contributions were made by staff in the development
of several new and revised forms.

Reference materials continue to be decentralized into two basic loca-
tions, one housing subject reference texts and the other major reference books
such as Index Medicus and American Men and Women of Science . The Reference
Committee continues to ensure the adequate provision of appropriate medical
reference materials, and the Section remains extremely active in support of
this activity.



18



REFERRAL AND REVIEW BRANCH



On July 8, 1983, the Division was reorganized. Under this reorganiza-
tion, which was approved by the Director of NIH, the Scientific Review Branch,
Referral Branch, and Office of Research Manpower were consolidated into the
Referral and Review Branch. The Office of Research Manpower was transferred
to the Branch's Manpower Review Section. In a second change, the Committee
Management function was transferred from the Scientific Review Branch to the
irtmediate Office of the Director.

REFERRAL ACTIVITIES

The Referral and Review Branch is responsible for receiving and
processing grant applications submitted to the PHS as well as for assigning
such applications to an initial review group tor scientific merit review and
to an awarding organization for second level review and possible funding.

The Branch processed and assigned to the PHS 25,407 applications
(Table I) , v^ich is an increase of 8 percent fron that of Fiscal Year 1982.
Approximately 85 percent of this total was assigned to awarding \anits of NIH.
Most of the increase reflects applications submitted for the May National
Advisory Council and Board rounds. The historical workload profile is pre-
sented in Figure 1. In addition, the Branch will have processed 19,956
non-cotpetitive applications, 17 percent above that of last year.

Despite the increasing workload, staffing tor the processing of applica-
tions has remained relatively constant for the past 10 years. This has been
possible only by introducing major modifications in the handling of applica-
tions and by taking advantage of newer technologies. During the past year,
additional ccsrputer terminals have been provided to enable direct access into
the data system. Ultimately, this will substitute for two systems now in use:
a central card file reflecting each application processed, and a multipage
form for typing and distribution of changes made in the data bank tor each
application. Planned are additional carputer terminals to eliminate the time-
consuming use of microfiche equipment for providing critical information
essential for the assignment of applications. Past changes have made it
possible not only to handle increasing workloads but also to provide more
timely and effective connunication channels.

The most recent change is a good exartple of developing more timely and
effective conmunication. Effective for the June-July receipt date (Jan. '84
Council ro\and) , the cortputer teimninals and printers were used to provide
assignment labels, which were attached to investigator cards for notification
to investigators of their assignments. These cards were forwarded to each
investigator immediately upon assignment. Previously, such cards were for-
warded to the office of the initial review group for addressing and forwarding
to investigators. Delays in handling at this point were inevitable because



19



TABLE I



APPLICATIONS PROCESSED BY THE REFERRAL BRANCH IN FISCAL YEAR 1983



Council



May 1983



October 1983 January 1984



Receipt Date



Oct-Nov 1982 Feb-March 1983 Jun-July 1983 *









COMPETING


Number of


New


7651


6489


Applications


Renewal


2310


1684




Supplement


129


144




TOTAL


10090


8317


Activities


R


7773


6579




T


269


112




F


1077


851




K


226


205




Other


745


570


Distribution


NIH


86.4


84.9


(percent)


ADAMHA


9.4


12.6




Other


4.1


2.5



7000



NON-COMPETING **



Type 5


5982


Interim (administrative)


317


TOTAL


6299



7735
_J65
8100



5107

450 ***
5557



**



Estimated numbers since report prepared prior to end of FY year.
Non-competing applications are received each month. Figures for
Type 5 applications reflect the Interval from one Council round
to the next.
*** Figures reflect activity through July only.



20



8/10/83



NUMBER
12,000



10,000



8,000-



6,000



4,000



2,000



0-1



REFERRAL AND REVIEW BRANCH
COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS PROCESSED




12,000



10,00c



-8,000



6,000



-4,000



2,000



l-o



MR JU NV MR JU NV MR JU NV MR JU OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA MY OT JA
73 73 73 74 74 74 75 75 75 76 76 76 77 77 77 78 78 78 79 79 79 80 80 80 81 81 81 82 82 82 83 83 83 84*

COUNCIL REVIEW CYCLES



INCLUDES WITHDRAWALS PRIOR TO REVIEW. DEFERRALS ARE COUNTED TWICE. ..^^^ ,..^ ., «r«,,rr..Ai r-r»iiijr-ii •PRELIMINARY.
JUNE 76 SPECIAL COUNCIL. MAY 77 INCLUDES AUG 77 SPECIAL COUNCIL. OCT 83 INCLUDES AUG 83 SPECIAL COUNCIL. •PRELIMIN akt .
SOURCE: NIH/DRG/SAB (IRG HISTORY TAPES)



21



the entire resources of the initial review group office were directed to
meeting the pendiiig Council and the referral activity was directed to the next
Council. The change in tiitdng of receipt of these cards by investigators has
reduced by inore than 50 percent the large nuinbers of telephone calls received
formerly by Referral staff in regard to assignments. In addition, earlier
communication from investigators expressing concerns over assigmrents has
permitted Referral staff and Executive Secretaries to be more responsive to
such concerns.

Referral staff representatives are on the NIH Wotien's Advisory Cortnittee
(Ms. Vemita Dawkins) and the NIH Handicapped Cormdttee (Ms. Marcia
Farahpour) . A continued training program has been maintained for clerical
staff to provide opportunities for irtprovement and promotions.

REVIEW ACTIVITIES

Through its initial review groups, generally called study sections, the
Referral and Review Branch provides the scientific merit review of itost grant
applications to the NIH. In Fiscal Year 1983, the Branch faced another year
of heavy workloads~18,881 ccmpeting applications to be reviewed. Despite
this burden as well as various manpower and space constraints, the Branch
managed this workload while maintaining the quality of peer review by the
study sections.

As part of its efforts to manage the workload, the Branch was able to
receive a charter for one new study section, the Hearing Research Study
Section, and two others were enlarged into flexible study sections — General
Medicine A and Cellular Biology and Physiology (formerly Cell Biology) . The
Cctnmunicative Sciences Study Section also changed its naite to the Sensory
Disorders and Langriage Study Section so as to reflect itore accurately its
review responsibilities.

Instructional materials for consultants and staff were revised and
updated. Most noteworthy was the catpletion and distribution of the Handbook
for Executive Secretaries . In addition, the booklet used with the Branch's
extensive slide collection on peer review was updated, and the Handbook for
Grants Assistants is in the process of being extensively revised.

The Branch's word processing capabilities continued to be expanded, with
74 lEM Displaywr iters now in place, 16 of vAiich are equipped with modems to
allow the word processors to interact with the NIH conputer systems. Staff
were trained in how to use these word processors and the Division's other
cortputer capabilities.

As in previous years, the Branch took a lead role in preparing for the
meetings between the Chairpersons of the NIH scientific review groups and key
representatives of the NIH administration. Preliminary plans have been
completed, and the meetings are scheduled to take place towards the end of the
calendar year.

Staff evaluation procedures continued to involve considerable tiite and
effort on the part of all personnel. During the fiscal year, the merit pay
plan was evaluated by a ccmnittee, and was then successfully impleitented with
minor modifications.

23



During this fiscal year, the Branch actively participated in the SBIR
Program. Staff assisted in preparing the SBIR solicitation document and a
special SBIR application kit. In addition, in July and August of 1983, the
Executive Secretaries and Grants Assistants of several study sections held an
extra ro\md of special review meetings to review approximately 525 SBIR
applications to the NIH so that awards could be made during Fiscal Year 1983.

• Office of Research Manpower

The Office of Research Manpower continued its involvement in the develop-
ment and distribution of training program applications, policy brochures,
and related material through: (1) announcement and distribution of the new
Individual Fellowship application forms; (2) distribution of the
Activation/ Stipend Increase policy change flier; (3) aide in the Office of
Management and Budget (CMB) clearance of the institutional training grant
forms (PHS 6025) . Subsequently, a policy change (nonitemization of above-
the-iine institutional costs) required further revision and clearance. The
form is now at the printers and should be in use early next year; (4)
irevision and distribution of the information statements on Individual
Postdoctoral and Senior Fellowships. A revision of the regular institu-
tional grant (T32) information statement was drafted and is now being
reviewed by the individual awarding conponents; and (5) revision of supple-
mental application instructions for the Research Career Development Award,
v^ich were developed and siabmitted for clearance to CMB.

The Office also served in a staff capacity to the Assistant Chief for
Manpower Review, DRG, to improve the quality of fellowship review and
inprove the ccttrnunication between the BIDs and study sections. Such
activities included: administratively reviewing fellowship sunmary
statements; coordinating staff attendance at BID secondary review meetings
and notifying BIDs of study section meetings; revising review material such
as the reviewers' guides and animal welfare fliers; and attending study
section review meetings.

Dviring this past fiscal year, the Office assisted the Office of the
Director, Extramural Research and Training, NIH, in the development of the
following training policy and procedures: the nonitemization of institu-
tional costs on the training grant applications (announced in the NIH Guide
on July 15, 1983); modifications to the short- term training program for
health professional students (draft annoimcement under review) ; and an
internal operating procedure for implementing the NRSA payback provision
(draft NIH Manual nearly final) .

The Office of Research Manpower continued to serve as a central information


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Online LibraryNational Institutes of Health (U.S.) Division of RAnnual report : National Institutes of Health. Division of Research Grants (Volume 1983) → online text (page 2 of 5)