Performance Improvement 2002. National Institutes of Health



To sponsor and conduct medical research that leads to better health for all Americans.

Evaluation Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) generates scientific knowledge that leads to improved health. This is done by conducting medical research in its intramural laboratories and by supporting research in universities, medical and health professional schools, and other health research organizations. NIH fosters the widespread dissemination of the results of medical research, facilitates the training of research investigators, and ensures the viability of the research infrastructure. The NIH Evaluation Program is an integral part of how NIH sponsors and conducts medical research.

Results based management is recognized as a basic principle for the sound and productive operation of government agencies and their programs. This is evidenced most notably by passage of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and by the considerable effort across the federal government to implement results based management mechanisms. With GPRA and other initiatives aimed at increasing public sector accountability (such as the Chief Financial Officers Act and the Government Management Reform Act), interest in the use of evaluation has increased steadily among NIH administrators and others, such as officials within the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Philosophy and Priorities. The NIH Evaluation Program provides information to assist the NIH Director and the NIH Institute and Center (IC) Directors in determining whether NIH goals and objectives are being achieved and to help guide policy development and program direction. Evaluations are planned and conducted from two sources of funds: 1 percent evaluation set‑aside funds used to fund trans‑NIH projects, and IC program funds used for program evaluations for use by various committees, working groups, task forces, workshops, conferences, and symposia to assist the ICs in program management and development. This approach ensures that planning and priority setting specific to the mission of each IC are fully developed and implemented and that there is central leadership for developing crosscutting initiatives and promoting collaboration among the ICs.

NIH’s major evaluation priority areas fall within three broad program areas: basic research, research training and career development, and facilities. NIH conducts evaluations in these areas to assess strategies and goals, develop performance measures and improve operations.

Policies and Operations. A distinguishing feature of the NIH Evaluation Program is the utilization of a variety of evaluation strategies that include the use of national advisory councils, boards of scientific counselors, consensus development conferences, and ad hoc committees that help to chart scientific directions and select the most promising research to support.

A two‑tier system is used to review project requests that will use 1‑percent evaluation set‑aside funding. The first tier involves a review and recommendations by the NIH Technical Merit Review Committee (TMRC) on the technical aspects of project proposals and whether a project fits within HHS guidelines for use of the set‑aside fund. The second tier involves the NIH Evaluation Policy Oversight Committee, which considers TMRC recommendations, conducts policy level reviews, and makes final funding recommendations to the NIH Director or his designee.

Completed Evaluations

NIDCD Web Site Usability Review Report

In May 2001, Human Factors International (HFI) implemented a Usability Review of the NIDCD web site. The testing was designed to identify opportunities for user-centered improvements to the site. The Usability Review process began with a briefing from the NIDCD team outlining the Institute’s goals for the web site, sections of special importance and the anticipated user goals. Based on this input, HFI developed a task-based, empirical review tool to evaluate the user experience. Using these methods, the user experience was evaluated based on direct observation of new and experienced users navigating the NIDCD web site to accomplish tasks that real users of the site frequently complete. Overall, the site evaluated well: Participants located requested information 75% of the time. During the study, interviewers noted points of common confusion or frustration. By exploring these and other user-centered strategies, the NIDCD can significantly enhance the usability of the web site.
PIC ID: 7653; CONTACT: Patricia Blessing, 301-496-9497; PERFORMER: Human Factors International, Fairfield, IA

Full Scale Evaluation of the Regional Primate Research Centers Program

The two objectives of the evaluation of the Regional Primate Research Centers (RPRC) Program were: (1) to assess the Centers’ infrastructures, particularly in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and the accessibility of RPRC-supported Center resources to outside researchers; and (2) to examine the research performance of the RPRCs (whether high quality scientific research is being performed) using a citation analysis. The final report contains detailed analyses of data collected from each of the seven original RPRCs. An Expert Panel, consisting of 11 members, developed a report based on site visits to the seven RPRCs, findings in the final report, and their own deliberations. The Expert Panel report contained the following recommendations: (1) survey the demand for nonhuman primate research resources: (2) meet needs for specially bred, well-characterized nonhuman primates; (3) change name to National Primate Research Centers (NPRC); (4) establish a standardized central data repository; (5) establish a Primate Resources Coordinating Center; (6) adopt a uniform pricing structure; (7) expand laboratory facilities to accommodate outside users; (8) enhance funding of venture-pilot studies to outside investigators; (9) increase the ceiling on R21 funding to $150,000 per year in direct costs; (10) communicate the improved availability and accessibility of these resources; (11) establish measures of productivity and performance; (12) standardize categories of data compilation across Centers; (13) promote unique Centers of Excellence; (14) strengthen host-RPRC affiliations; and (15) consider directions for future improvements.
PIC ID: 7640; CONTACT: Stephen G. Seidel, 301-435-0866; PERFORMER: James Bell Associates, Inc., Arlington, VA

Assessment of State Health Departments’ Vision Related Programs

The National Eye Institute assessed the current status of State Health Departments’ vision related policy and programmatic efforts. Specific goals for the project were to gather data on each state’s vision position; gather information about each state’s vision programs; and identify ways in which NEI can assist states. In-depth interviews were used to gain the necessary information. Key findings included: half of the health departments had goals, objectives, or laws related to eye health. Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia reported that HP2010 vision objectives will guide their states’ future eye health program. Diabetic eye disease programs are the most common. Recommendations include: 1) create an information exchange network to share eye health information and data with state health departments;

2) promote vision objectives in HP2010 and provide guidance to states in developing vision related activities; and 3) highlight state activities through the National Eye Health Education Program.
PIC ID: 7637; CONTACT: Rosemary Janiszewski, 301-496-5248; PERFORMER: ORC Macro, Calverton, MD 20705

Assessment of Vision-Related Programs and Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives

The National Eye Institute (NEI) assessed the current status of vision related programs and services for American Indians and Alaska Natives--a group that has been identified at high risk for eye diseases. Primary goals of the study were to gather information about the vision related programs and services, conduct a literature search, and identify gaps in eye health information, services, programs, and materials. Information will be used to develop and implement eye health awareness campaigns that target American Indians and Alaska Natives. In-depth interviews were used to collect the information. Major findings included: the Indian Health Service provides a variety of services in their optometry and diabetes programs, other federal agencies provide outreach to this target audience, and few non-governmental agencies provide vision-related services to this population. Recommendations include: develop culturally appropriate educational materials; involve Indian leadership at every level in program development; observe tribal protocols; work with community health representatives; and employ a multifaceted approach, including use of one-on-one patient education, print materials, videos, and translation services.; CONTACT: Rosemary Janiszewski, 301-496-5248; PIC ID: 7638; PERFORMER: ORC Macro, Calverton, MD

Blueprint for Change: Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health

The National Advisory Mental Health Council established the Child Council Workgroup on Intervention Development and Deployment, with the charge: 1) assess status of NIMH portfolio and identify research opportunities in the development, testing, and deployment of treatment, service, and preventive interventions for children and adolescents in the context of families and communities; 2) assess human resource needs in recruiting, training, and retaining child mental health researchers; 3) make recommendations for strategically targeting research opportunities and infrastructure support to stimulate intervention development, testing, and deployment of research-based interventions. The methodology consisted of NIMH staff and consultant analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. Results of this study indicate that a child’s environment, both in and out of the womb, plays a large role in shaping brain development and subsequent behavior. Studies of the caregiving environment suggest that extreme environments (such as abuse and neglect) may affect brain cell survival, neuron density and neurochemical aspects of brain development, as well as behavioral reactivity to stress in childhood and adulthood. Methods to understand the more subtle effects of the environment on synapses and circuits are likely to become available in the near future.
PIC ID: 7658; CONTACT: Kimberly Hoagwood, 301-443-3364; PERFORMER: National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville MD

Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Mental Health Research Careers: An Investment in America’s Future

This evaluation examined funding mechanisms used for training underrepresented minorities; the career life cycle (i.e., recruitment, retention, career mobility) of minority scientists; and the impact on minority research careers of undergraduate and university infrastructure development programs. The methodology consisted of an analysis of qualitative and quantitative data by a National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup. The findings indicate racial/ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the mental health research workforce. Although corrective measures have been introduced, these have not been in place long enough to assess their impact on (i.e., production of) established principal investigators. Need exists for enhanced tracking of the career status of NIMH-supported research trainees.
PIC ID: 7657; CONTACT: Robert Mays, 301-443-2847; PERFORMER: National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville MD

An Assessment of the Need for a National Clearinghouse on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Congress expressed interest in establishing a national clearinghouse to disseminate research-based information on fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). A literature review identified a number of federal, education, and private nonprofit organizations that provide information about FAS. However, a central repository synthesizing the information contained in these disparate sources and making it available nationally to all races and ethnic groups does not exist. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) commissioned a study to assess the need for a national clearinghouse on FAS. The contractor, IQ Solutions, Inc. conducted in-depth interviews and a telephone focus group with a diverse group of individuals representing organizations touched by FAS to determine whether a national clearinghouse on FAS and fetal alcohol effects (FAE) is warranted. The results of the qualitative analyses indicate clearly that a national clearinghouse on FAS would be valued and welcomed by the study participants. However, discussants also expressed the need for activities and functions that are more typically related to a national education initiative.
PIC ID: 7655; CONTACT: Diane Miller, 301-443-3860; PERFORMER: IQ Solutions, Inc., Rockville, MD

Focus Groups with Recipients of Clinical Research Career Awards/NIH K23 Program: Early Assessment

The NIH conducted a series of six focus groups with junior clinical faculty members who had either received or were eligible for NIH Mentored, Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Awards to examine the benefits of these awards to the career development of the recipients; identify barriers within their academic environment that may impede career development; and the features of the awards that might be modified to expand eligibility or the benefits for the recipients. The method of examination was focus groups. The findings indicate many recipients have difficulty setting aside the necessary time to focus on research. Surgeons find the salaries provided too small and the required commitment too onerous to participate in these awards. The recommendation is to discuss the features of these awards to see if changes need to be implemented.
PIC ID: 7663; CONTACT: Dr. Walter Schaffer, 301-435-2770; PERFORMER: Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC

The Early Career Progress of NRSA Predoctoral Trainees and Fellows

This project was undertaken to examine the career outcomes of predoctoral NRSA trainees. The methodology consisted of a career outcome evaluation. The major findings are: (1) Recipients of nine or more months of National Research Service Award (NRSA) predoctoral training support are more likely to remain in research, to apply for and receive NIH and NSF research grants, than their colleagues that graduate at the same time without NRSA support. (2) They publish more papers and those papers are more highly cited than for individuals in the identified comparison groups.
PIC ID: 6285; CONTACT: Dr. Walter Schaffer, 301-435-2770; PERFORMER: Vanderbilt University, Institute for Public Policy Studies, Nashville, TN

CSR Web Needs Assessment

This study had a two-fold purpose: (1) To examine current CSR Website design for both an intranet and public internet presence with a view to better facilitate communication, the flow of information, and, as appropriate, workgroup processes between and among Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and NIH staff; and (2) To develop recommendations for a redesign that promotes the enhanced productivity of CSR web development teams with an integrated security solution and connections to NIH legacy and prospective systems and technologies. Existing CSR Web sites were evaluated using heuristic evaluation methods, focus groups, and user surveys as inspection methods. The major findings are: The study reported several categories of usability problems with special emphasis on inconsistent page layout and design, the presence of lengthy text not optimized for Web viewing, and the failure to leverage use of accelerators, such as a persistent navigation tool or site search engine on both sites. The primary recommendations included: 1) restructuring site architecture to better group information together in a manner that is logical and intuitive; 2) automating periodic checks for expired links and new redirects; 3) providing a Web portal for users to personalize pages with features they use most frequently as their defaults; 4) improving site navigation and site appearance with the use of appropriate graphics; and 5) improving site accessibility (e.g., with the use of ALT tags).
PIC ID: 7608; CONTACT: Anne Phillips, 301-435-0601; PERFORMER: D. Appleton Company, Fairfax, VA

In-Progress Evaluations

Review of Fogarty Center’s International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Grants Program

The Fogarty International Center (FIC) has planned a “focused process review” of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) grants. The review is part of the oversight FIC employs to assure that its grants continue to be productive over the long term and are sufficiently flexible to remain at the cutting edge of science in the field. The ICBG grants are intended to advance discovery and development of therapeutic agents in the biological environments in developing countries. Work conducted under these grants also addresses biodiversity conservation and the related economic, social, cultural, and legal issues that may either advance or inhibit the identification of new drugs for treatment of human disease and disability. FIC will convene a group of independent experts who will conduct a careful review of the grants program. The experts will be charged with providing observations and recommendations regarding the entire range and scope of the ICBG program grants. The experts recommendations will be put into a report to the FIC. This report will be a critical element in the deliberations on continuing management and direction of the ICBG grants program.
PIC ID: 7624; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Karen Hofman, 301-496-2571; PERFORMER: Dan C. VanderMeer, Chapel Hill, NC

NIDDK National Information Clearinghouse

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) launched an online survey in February 2001, seeking comments from the public on the products and services provided by its three information clearinghouses: the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), and the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). The following month the survey was also made available in print and by phone to anyone who calls, writes, or emails one of the clearinghouses for health information or other assistance with a health inquiry. Patients continue to make up the largest block of clearinghouse customers at 37.7 percent. A common comment on all clearinghouses, but especially NDIC, requests additional nutrition and diet information. Comments and suggestions received via the customer satisfaction survey will continue to be reviewed individually and implemented, if feasible.
PIC ID: 7636; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2003; CONTACT: Kathy Kranzfelder, 301-496-3583; PERFORMER: Eagle Design & Management, Inc., Bethesda, MD

Cost of Clinical Trials Study

The Cost of Clinical Trials Study (CCTS) is a study of cancer patients throughout the U.S. being conducted by RAND, a private, non-profit research institution based in Santa Monica, California, with principal funding and scientific guidance from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This study will estimate the incremental costs of medical treatment provided as part of NCI-sponsored protocols. Incremental costs refers to the costs of additional medical resources, if any, provided to patients on protocols above and beyond those that would have been received in the absence of trial participation. The results from this study should be of interest to policymakers, insurers and healthcare decision makers trying to determine appropriate reimbursement for clinical trials. As secondary endpoints, patient satisfaction and health outcomes of patients in trials will be compared with those not in trials.
PIC ID: 7116; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Mary S. McCabe, 301-496-6404; PERFORMER: Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA

Evaluation of Internet-based Tools to Improve Cancer Clinical Trials

This project is an outgrowth of a comprehensive review of NCI’s clinical trials program for cancer treatment. Based on this review, NCI has decided to restructure the way in which the Cooperative Groups, the largest single trials program sponsored by NCI, carry out large, randomized clinical trials. The restructuring will occur in a set-wise manner by focusing on a series of demonstration projects, all of which depend heavily on the use of automated applications distributed via the Internet. The evaluation project will carefully compare the new Internet-based methods with the previous methods using descriptive and inferential analyses.
PIC ID: 7482; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Jeffrey Abrams, 301-496-2522; PERFORMER: Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC

Evaluation of Restructuring Efforts to Improve Cancer Clinical Trials System at NCI

This project is evaluating the ability of three pilot projects to re-structure phase III clinical treatment trials for cancer, and improve the quality of the science, the review of proposed trials and the efficiency with which the trials are performed. The projects are: 1) State of the Science Meetings, 2) Concept Evaluation Panels, 3) Cancer Trials Support Unit. These projects use internet based technologies to assist scientists in their tasks. The evaluation will focus on evaluating the utility of the Internet to aid clinicians in the conceptualization and conduct of clinical trials. The evaluation will use web-based surveys, mail surveys, and focus groups.
PIC ID: 7482.1; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2003; CONTACT: Jeffrey Abrams, 301-496-2522; PERFORMER: Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC

Full-Scale Evaluation of the Regional Primate Research Centers (RPRC) Program

The Regional Primate Research Center (RPRC) program represents a commitment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the development and support of regional and national non-human primate research resources for biomedical and behavioral studies. This evaluation is intended to determine the optimum configuration of resources for non-human primate research programs.
PIC ID: 6045.1; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Barbara Perrone, 301-435-0871; PERFORMER: James Bell Associates, Inc., Arlington, VA

Survey of NIH Investigators Who Use Non-Human Primates

The contractor will develop and implement a web-based survey to generate information on barriers to access to Regional Primate Research Centers (RPRC) resources and unmet primate resource needs.
PIC ID: 7639; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Patricia Newman, 301-435-0866; PERFORMER: Humanitas, Inc., Silver Spring, MD

Survey of Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities at Colleges and Universities

Since 1986 and every two years subsequently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have conducted the Survey of Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities. The availability and condition of biomedical research space directly affects the scope and quality of the biomedical research conducted at the nation’s colleges, universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research organizations. To address the need for information on the amount and quality of S&E research space, Congress mandated that the NSF gather this information and report it to Congress.
PIC ID: 6863; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Fred W. Taylor, 301-435-0766; PERFORMER: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA

Evaluating Quality Improvement Strategies on Pediatric Asthma Care

This study will compare the treatment and cost-effectiveness of two approaches to childhood asthma-- a disease management program and an office-based quality improvement strategy--in different practices in the same health care system. The investigators are using a disease management program for childhood asthma in a Boston-based integrated delivery system to simultaneously implement an office-based quality improvement strategy in different practices in the same system, and to assess via randomized design their relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in improving processes and outcomes of care. After each intervention has been in place for one year, they will offer the complementary intervention to the practice, to determine the marginal benefits and costs that each approach offers. Data will be derived from a parent telephone survey, a provider survey, and a computerized claims database for those asthmatic children in the integrated delivery system who are covered by one of three large managed care organizations.
PIC ID: 7646; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Dr. Virginia Taggart, 301-435-0202; PERFORMER: Children’s Hospital, Denver, CO

Evaluation of Modular Grants and Just-In-Time Experience of NIH Grant Recipients and NIH Personnel

The scope of work for this evaluation includes gathering, organizing, qualifying, and reporting comments, opinions and observations about the implementation of modular grants and Just-In-Time (JIT). Data collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting will be accomplished through employment of traditional focus group techniques.
PIC ID: 7648; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Cheryl Howard, 301-496-4937; PERFORMER: Society of Research Administrators, Int’l., Arlington, VA

Evaluation of the African American Outreach Component of the Back to Sleep Campaign to Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Since the NICHD-led “Back to Sleep” campaign was initiated in the early 1990s, the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has declined overall by approximately 40 percent. The decline, however, has been less in African American communities. In September 1999 and April 2000, the NICHD in collaboration with the National SIDS Alliance and the National Black Child Development Institute, hosted a meeting of experts to identify, discuss, and plan strategies for reaching African American communities with the “Back to Sleep” messages through a concerted public health campaign. NICHD has initiated an evaluation of the “Back to Sleep” campaign and its special African American outreach efforts. The evaluation findings will provide an opportunity to improve the outreach program and to measure its results.
PIC ID: 7628; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2004; CONTACT: John McGrath, 301-496-5135; PERFORMER: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Evaluation of the Extramural Associates Research Development Award Program

In 1994, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Extramural Associates Research Development Award (EARDA) Program to provide grant support to minority and women educational institutions seeking to increase their involvement in biomedical and behavioral research and research training. Since then, the EARDA Program has awarded grants to 44 such institutions throughout the United States. The Office of Extramural Research, Office of the Director, NIH will evaluate the EARDA Program by determining if and how EARDA grants have enabled minority and women educational institutions to increase their engagement in research and research training. This evaluation will employ a multiple, or collective, case study approach in assessing the impact of EARDA funding and provide formative and summative information to help enhance future operations of the program.
PIC ID: 7627; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2004; CONTACT: Mona Rowe, 301-496-1877; PERFORMER: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Council for Chemical Research (CCR) Contributions of Chemical Research Study

The chemical research enterprise has long maintained that sustained or enhanced investment in research is critical to industry, academia, and government in helping them meet their overall objectives, including making chemistry one of the substantial contributors to the economic well-being of the nation. Although some activities have been undertaken over the years to assess the value and impact of this research investment, innovation successes are usually described via case studies. There have been few successful attempts to develop a quantitative assessment of the impact of chemical research on and through the chemical enterprise. In assessing the value of chemical research quantitatively, the objective of the commissioned study is to develop new methodologies, assessment tools, and approaches to aid NIH in measuring contributions of chemical research both retro- and prospectively.
PIC ID: 7659; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Dr. James Onken, 301-594-2764; PERFORMER: Council for Chemical Research, Washington DC

NINR Research Outcomes Evaluation

The overall purpose of this evaluation project is to improve the tracking, evaluation, and reporting of the findings that result from NINR-funded research through the creation of a database. The database will provide an organized, accurate, and easily accessible system to determine if the intended outcomes of building depth of science have been achieved. In this first phase of the project NINR is working with CIT at NIH to create the prototype interface through identifying the requirements for the project. The methodology includes meeting with content experts and potential end users to identify the required data fields and data sources. The technical requirements for the system are being defined by learning more about the data sources and their limitations. The user interface prototype will be the final outcome of this first phase. The second phase of the evaluation will be to create and populate the database and begin to query the data to evaluate the results of NINR-funded research. The proposed database is targeted for completion in 2003. It will be designed so it can be updated on an ongoing basis, used to make decisions regarding future NINR initiatives and to evaluate the impact of research on clinical practice.
PIC ID: 7644; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Ann Knebel, 301-402-6796; PERFORMER: Center for Information Technology, Bethesda, MD

Evaluation Feasibility Study for the National Institute on Aging’s Booklet/Videotape, Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging

The overall goal of this feasibility project is to determine if it is possible to devise an evaluation that can accurately speak to the validity of this assumption--that is, are there performance measures that will reveal whether or not the goal of influencing sustained exercise is being achieved. In addition, this project will consider if there is adequate justification to conduct a large-scale outcome evaluation and if so, what is the most appropriate approach to use. Finally, this project proposes to identify the best way to proceed to implement an outcome evaluation without imposing an excessive burden on program staff or on the public. This introductory study will systematically assess whether or not creating and implementing an evaluation of the exercise book/video is viable and cost-effective. The project will look at target populations, marketing, outcome assessments, and resources required to undertake a full-scale evaluation. It will collect and analyze relevant components from the scientific literature, consider data collection instruments, and pilot tests.
PIC ID: 7642; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Freddi Karp, 301-496-1752; PERFORMER: Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC

Development of a Strategy to Estimate Expenditure Weights for the Extramural Activities Component of the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI)

This project’s purpose is to develop a plan to estimate expenditure weights for the extramural activities included in the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI). The estimation will require a survey of a representative sample of NIH awards or grantee and contract institutions to determine how expenditures are distributed over input categories such as salaries and wages, equipment, supplies, and patient care. The contractor must determine a survey design and methodology for gathering the data and for estimating the expenditure weights. An estimate of the cost of carrying out the study must also be provided.
PIC ID: 7629; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Jim Schuttinga, 301-496-2229; PERFORMER: Joel Popkin & Company, New York NY

Intramural Research Personnel Surveys-Part II-Postdoctoral Fellows Mentoring Survey

The purpose of this study is to determine the quality and quantity of the mentoring received by NIH intramural postdoctoral fellows. Issues that will be addressed are the source of primary mentoring; quality of scientific direction provided; type and extent of scientific evaluation provided; networking opportunities provided; quality and quantity of career development advice provided; expectations for mentoring experience. A questionnaire was developed in collaboration with an epidemiologist and statistician in NCI/DCEG. NCS Pearson printed and mailed the survey to a random statistically chosen sample of fellows and followed up several times.
PIC ID: 7660; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Joan Schwartz, 301-496-1248; PERFORMER: NCS Pearson, Irving, TX

Administration of Surveys to Neuroscience Study Section Applicants and Program Review Staff

Public Law 103-32 transferred most of the grant review responsibilities of former ADAMHA Institutes, including NIMH and NIDA, to CSR. To accommodate this change and improve the quality of neuroscience review, twenty-one (21) new CSR neuroscience study sections were created in 1998 to review neuroscience grant applications. To assess the impact of this transformation and help determine if additional modifications of the existing review structure are warranted, CSR is conducting a survey of neuroscience grant applicants and Institute/Center program staff. The surveys solicit opinions regarding the quality of review policies and the processing and review of neuroscience grant applications.
PIC ID: 7643; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2002; CONTACT: Janet Healy, 301-496-9291; PERFORMER: Humanitas, Inc., Silver Spring, MD

Computing Frontiers: Prospects from Biology

The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Academy of Sciences’ Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications is exploring the intersections of computer science and biomedical research, with the goal of finding interdisciplinary opportunities and new directions in which to extend information technology-related research. Through workshops and meetings of experts in the fields of computer science and biology, they will examine a wide range of research areas, describe the current research landscape (including current NIH-supported research), and provide recommendations for future planning.
PIC ID: 7626; EXPECTED COMPLETION: FY 2003; CONTACT: Dr. James Onken, 301-594-2764; PERFORMER: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC