Updated March 11, 2003
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) distributes its resources among many programs and mechanisms. The Center is committed to funding the largest number of meritorious projects possible, while allowing the flexibility needed to support selected program priorities and to respond to emerging scientific opportunities.
The Center establishes general guidelines for funding based on the overall NCCAM appropriation. NCCAM makes necessary adjustments throughout the year to reflect directives from Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as emerging program priorities. Each fiscal year, once an appropriation has been received, NCCAM develops an operating plan for funding research and training grants. Many factors that occur throughout the fiscal year can affect the operating policies, thus the policies may be subject to change.
Appropriated Funds: NCCAM's Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 appropriation is $113.4 million. This figure reflects an 8.4 percent increase over the FY 2002 appropriation of $104.6 million.
Success Rate: The success rate represents the number of competing research project grant applications funded as a percentage of the total number of new applications received. NCCAM's success rates were 14 percent in FY 2002 and 17 percent in FY 2001.
Research Funding Guidelines
Based on the availability of funds, NCCAM will use the following guidelines for funding Research Project Grants (RPG):
Non-Competing Awards (Type 5): NCCAM will follow the NIH policy to pay committed levels for non-competing continuation awards as reflected on the FY 2002 Notice of Grant Award. However, NCCAM retains the right to reduce the level when necessary and appropriate. For example, such reductions would be made to eliminate any overlapping support identified or if a change in project scope were to occur.
New and Competing Awards (Type 1): NCCAM will make competing awards using the following established priority score payline:
- Exploratory/Development Grants (R21): Priority scores of 140 and below will be funded at the recommended allowable direct costs.
- Research Project Grants (R01): Priority scores of 140 and below will be funded at 94 percent of the recommended allowable direct costs; priority scores at 141 through 160 will be funded at 88 percent of the recommended allowable direct costs.
Future year commitments on the Notice of Grant Award will reflect the NIH standard annual 3 percent escalation on recurring costs (e.g., personnel, supplies). The annual 3 percent escalation does not apply to Modular Grants.
NCCAM may make additional awards at the end of the fiscal year for applications whose scores fall close to, but outside of, the payline determined earlier in the year.
Research Conference Grants (R13): NCCAM will continue to support scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public health objectives. Support is contingent on NCCAM's interests and priorities as well as the level of financial investment that NCCAM determines is appropriate.
Competing Renewal Awards (Type 2): Funding levels may increase by no more than 8 percent in Direct Costs over the last non-competing Notice of Grant Award.
Duration of RPGs: NIH must maintain the overall average length of RPGs at 4 years or less. To achieve this average, NCCAM will award 4 years of support for many applications that requested and were recommended for 5 years. NCCAM may make a limited number of 5-year awards. These will be determined on a case-by-case review of scientific merit, type of research (e.g., clinical trial or prospective cohort study), and relevance to NCCAM's mission.
Research Career Grants (K): NCCAM has not forecasted a payline specific to Career Awards, but will continue to invest in appropriate support for commendable investigators with experience in specific CAM areas.
Research Training and Fellowship Grants (T & F): Although a designated payline for training activities has not been established, NCCAM is committed to increasing the number, quality, and diversity of CAM investigators. In pursuit of developing a cadre of CAM research investigators, NCCAM will continue to support Institutional Training Grants (T32) to establish programs for individuals to train for careers in CAM-related research and Individual Fellowships (F31, F32), as well as provide support for institutions or trainees from under-represented institutions or populations.
Stipends and other training-related costs will be determined according to the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award guidelines.
Request for Applications
Grant applications submitted in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) will compete for, and, if successful, be paid from, a pool of money that has been set aside specifically for that RFA.