The Agencyfor Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announces its continued interest in thehealth services research dissertation grant program (R36). This programsupports research undertaken as part of an academic program to qualify for adoctorate. The AHRQ dissertation award supports dissertation research costs forstudents in accredited research doctoral programs in the United States (including Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Territories or possessions). Dissertation applications must focus on methodological and research topics that address the mission and research interests of AHRQ noted below.
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Unallowable Costs: Specific costs not allowed on dissertation research grants are tuition, matriculation fees, alterations/renovations, space rental, contracting or consortium costs, dissertation defense or deposit fees, membership fees and costs associated with faculty/advisor mentor supervision. This listing is not exclusive, and the applicant institutions should contact AHRQ staff regarding any other cost item being considered.
Allowable Costs:Total allowable direct costs include: stipend/salary compensation up to the current fiscal year NRSA predoctoral stipend level (in FY 2006 this is $20,772, see ), and up to $15,000 for other expenses, including travel to one scientific meeting. Total direct costs may not exceed $35,000. The additional amount may be used to cover health insurance for self and family members, as well as research costs of the dissertation. Travel costs included as part of additional expenses may not exceed $1,500. General purpose equipment items, such as personal computers, need to be separately listed and estimated under equipment costs (even if costing less than $5,000). The applicant must provide justification for each budget item requested in the detailed budget section for the total period of support being requested. Computer-related purchases need to be fully justified as not being readily available to the student for the conduct of the research.
Level of Effort: Although level of effort is reported in terms of months, it is expected that students will devote 100 percent time and effort (based on 40 hours per week) on the dissertation for a minimum of nine months beginning at the time of award. The time of award should be estimated to begin no less than five months from the submission date. Receipt of additional compensation (e.g., pay) for performance of work that is distinctly separate from the actual work involved in the conduct of the dissertation is allowable, but cannot exceed a paid level of effort greater than 20 hours per week.
All of the information included in a paper NGA is included in an E-NGA. AHRQ strongly encourages grantees to take the steps necessary to establish a generic and stable e-mail address to allow the receipt of E-NGAs. Detailed instructions to obtain E-NGAs may be found at .
If an award is to be made, a formal notification in the form of a Notice of Grant Award (NGA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The notice of grant award signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document.
AHRQ grantees may copyright, unless otherwise provided in grant awards, or seek patents, as appropriate, for final and interim products and materials including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses, which are developed in whole or in part with AHRQ funds. Such copyrights and patents are subject to a worldwide irrevocable Federal government license to use and permit others to use these products and materials for government purposes. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers; and subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents, if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits. Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products. The AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) wishes to be consulted in advance of publication in order to coordinate these issuances with other AHRQ dissemination activities. Important legal rights and requirements applicable to AHRQ grantees are set out or referenced in the AHRQ's grants regulation at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A (Available in libraries and from the GPO's website ).
Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Preaward costs are not allowable. Notification will be made electronically to the designated financial and grants management official, with a copy sent to the designated program contact, both noted below.
The awardee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds that established by the HIPAA Security Rules if applicable, (see HIPAA websites in prior paragraph) and that established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published several implementation guides for this circular. They are: An Introduction to Computer Security: The NIST Handbook; Generally Accepted Principals and Practices for Securing Information Technology Systems; and Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems. The circular and guides are available on the web at . The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.
Pursuant to section 934(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 299c- 3(c)), information obtained in the course of any AHRQ supported-study that identifies an individual or entity must be treated as confidential in accordance with any explicit or implicit promises made regarding the possible uses and disclosures of such data. There are now civil monetary penalties for violation of this confidentiality statute [42 U.S.C.299c-3(d)). In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected. The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to the information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded. Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this FOA will also be obtained and managed in accordance with 42 CFR Parts 160 and 164, a federal Privacy Rule developed by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). These regulations serve to limit the disclosure of personally identifiable patient information by covered entities and define when and how such information can be disclosed e.g., to researchers. Thus, for example, health care plans will require either patient authorization of disclosures of identifiable information to be made to researchers or waivers of such authorizations obtained from an IRB or Privacy Board (defined in the regulations) in order that any identifiable health information will be appropriately safeguarded by the investigators. The HHS Office of Civil Rights is the enforcement body for this regulation. Additional information about the regulations, their implementation, and alternative methods of permissible disclosures to researchers (limited data sets with data use agreements, de-identified data sets, data about deceased persons, and data use to develop protocols) can be obtained from: or . These regulations are in addition to those privacy protections described in human subjects protections regulations 45 CFR 46, also known as the Common Rule.