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​​​The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside and allocating funds to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund pursuant to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).   HERA authorized FHFA to temporarily suspend these allocations, and FHFA informed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of a temporary suspension on November 13, 2008.  In letters sent today (links below), FHFA notified Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of the agency’s decision to reverse the temporary suspension.

Separately, FHFA sent to the Federal Register an Interim Final Rule to address the statutory requirement that the allocations may not result in transferring their expense to originators or other Enterprise counterparties.  The Interim Final rule is effective upon publication and has a 30-day comment period.

The Rhode Island Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2015 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship, an annual program to stimulate solutions to the state’s challenges.

Made possible through the vision and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, the program will award two applicants up to $300,000 over three years to develop, test and implement innovative ideas that have the potential to dramatically improve any area of life in Rhode Island.

“This initiative enhances Rhode Island’s reputation as a place of innovation and ingenuity. Letitia and John Carter are to be applauded for having the vision to invest in encouraging bold thinkers to bring their ideas to life,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Preference will be given to proposals that promise the greatest good for the greatest number of Rhode Islanders, a small idea that has big potential to be built to scale or new approaches to long-standing, intractable challenges.

“Letitia and I strongly believe in the potential of creative thinking and exceptional originality to power Rhode Island’s growth. We are excited to see the proposals that this platform for change generates,” said John Carter.

Although applicants do not have to be residents of Rhode Island when they apply, they must commit to living in Rhode Island during the term of the Fellowship if selected.

The deadline to apply is Fri., Dec. 12. The one-page, initial application asks applicants to summarize their proposed innovation in no more than 150 words and to describe how it would benefit Rhode Islanders.

In February 2015, the selection panel will ask a group of semi-finalists to submit a more detailed application and a short video. The Foundation expects to announce the winners in April.

Steinberg will chair the selection committee. The other members are Patricia Flanagan, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Clinical Affairs, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Ted Nesi, Political and Economic Reporter, WPRI; Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director, Jamestown Arts Center; Dan Shedd, President, Taylor Box Company; Rosanne Somerson, Interim President, Rhode Island School of Design; and Don Stanford, Chief Innovation Officer, GTECH.

This will be the fourth round of funding. Previous rounds generated more than 900 applications. Soren Ryherd and Allan Tear received the inaugural Fellowships in 2012.

Ryherd’s “The Retail Project” has created three on-line stores to date, with the goal of opening brick and mortar stores in Rhode Island neighborhoods.

Tear's "RallyRI" initiative is building platforms to help entrepreneurs launch start-ups in sectors such as art and design, food and beverage and advanced manufacturing.

The 2013 Fellows are Adrienne Gagnon and Dr. Lynn Taylor.

Gagnon’s “Innovation by Design” proposal will help foster the next generation of Rhode Island innovators by sending out mobile design labs to school yards throughout Rhode Island in order to engage students in free, hands-on design programs that will improve our communities.

Taylor’s project, “Rhode Island Defeats Hep C,” aims to make Rhode Island the first state to eradicate the Hepatitis C virus infection using a comprehensive approach that includes increasing awareness, rapid testing, linkage to health care, building infrastructure for a sustainable model and evaluation.

The 2014 Fellows are Amy Bernhardt and David Dadekian.

Bernhardt’s project, "Colorfast," will create a state-of-the-art research and manufacturing pilot facility for the design and production of digitally printed textiles.

Dadekian’s project, the "Eat Drink Rhode Island Central Market," would house a number of food and drink related businesses, including a public market, commercial production and processing facilities, and an educational component.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2013, the Foundation made grants of more than $31 million to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $75 million to help public housing and Housing Choice Voucher residents across the country connect with local services to improve their education and employment and to put them on a path to self-sufficiency.

Funded through HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), these grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with social service agencies, community colleges, businesses, and other local partners to help public housing residents and individuals participating in HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program to increase their education or gain marketable skills that will enable them to obtain employment and advance in their current work. In 2014, Congress combined funding for the Public Housing FSS (PH FSS) and Housing Choice Voucher FSS (HCV FSS) programs into one program serving both populations.

As HUD approaches its 50th anniversary next year, HUD Secretary Julián Castro is focused on advancing policies that create opportunities for all Americans, including helping families and individuals secure quality housing by connecting housing efforts to education and job opportunities.

"HUD connects folks to opportunity," said Castro. "These grants will link people to the computer access, financial literacy, job training, childcare and other tools they need to compete and succeed in the workplace. Every American deserves access to the skills and resources necessary to become self-sufficient."

HUD's FSS Program helps local public housing authorities to hire service coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. These Service Coordinators also build relationships with the network of local service providers so as to more effectively serve the residents. The program encourages innovative strategies that link public housing and Housing Choice Voucher assistance with other resources to enable participating families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.

Participants in the program sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the FSS family is receiving cash welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term. Families in the FSS program have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family's escrow account is based on increases in the family's earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including improving credit scores, paying educational expenses, or a down-payment on a home.

The Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among participants. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research issued Evaluation of FSS Program: Prospective Study in 2011 that evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program. Conducted from 2005 to 2009, the study showed that financial benefits are substantial for participants who remain in and complete the program. An earlier study found that individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program. HUD is currently conducting a longitudinal study on the program, with the first set of results expected in 2018.

PIKEVILLE, KY.– USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O'Brien today announced the selection of 85 utilities and development organizations for loans and grants to support rural business activities that will boost economic growth in rural communities.

"These USDA investments capitalize rural small businesses, which allows the owners to expand operations, enter into new markets and increase hiring," O'Brien said. "The investments we are announcing today include financing to development organizations for microlending to very small rural businesses. Funds are also being provided to utilities to pass on to local businesses for development projects. These innovative programs increase economic opportunities in rural areas – a top priority of Secretary Vilsack and President Obama."

O'Brien announced the rural business investments while in Kentucky with Governor Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers, and the executive board of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR)This is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. to discuss investment opportunities in eastern Kentucky, including Promise Zones and regional SOAR initiatives.

Funds are being provided through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG) and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Under the REDLG program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which then, in turn, relend the funds to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The program funds business start-up or expansion, business incubators, education and training facilities and equipment, community development assistance, health care and other projects that support rural jobs.

Under RMAP, USDA provides loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) that, in turn, make microloans for business start-up or development to eligible microentrepreneurs defined as very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Grants are available for MDOs to provide technical assistance and training, particularly in rural areas experiencing persistent poverty or significant outmigration. USDA does not directly provide funds to the ultimate recipients.

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and recently reauthorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation is receiving a $500,000 RMAP loan to capitalize a revolving loan fund to provide microloans to very small businesses in 19 counties designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as distressed communities. The Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation is the lead organization carrying out the state's Promise Zone initiative. Its Promise Zone work was made possible through the financial support from USDA.

MEDI, Inc., is receiving a $400,000 RMAP loan and $100,000 RMAP grant to serve as a microlender and technical assistance provider for very small rural businesses throughout Kentucky.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, Rural Development has invested more than $4.4 billion in Kentucky. The agency is targeting assistance to persistent poverty areas in Appalachian Kentucky through the USDA StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, and will continue its work with Governor Beshear and his staff, the Kentucky Congressional Delegation, other federal agencies, SOAR officials and community leaders throughout the region to benefit rural communities in the impacted areas.

At the national level, the USDA investments are meeting a wide variety of business and manufacturing needs across rural America. For example, in South Carolina, the Santee Electric Cooperative is receiving a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan to support the local "Help My House program," which makes energy efficiency improvements in the rural areas of Williamsburg, Georgetown, Clarendon and Florence Counties. The Nodak Electric Cooperative in North Dakota is receiving a $775,000 Rural Economic Development loan to help S&S Grain, Inc. purchase and renovate a building in Walhalla, N.D., for grain drying, handling and storage.

The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program directly supports the Obama Administration'sInvesting in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative to boost the manufacturing sector and create well-paying manufacturing jobs, using economic development resources available through existing Federal programs.

Through today's announcement, USDA is providing over $59 million in loans and grants to 85 organizations in 31 states, including the District of Columbia, to strengthen rural businesses and promote economic development. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their loan or grant agreements.

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

The Shubert Foundation in New York is dedicated to sustaining and advancing live performing arts in the United States, with a particular emphasis on theater and a secondary focus on dance.  The foundation awards unrestricted grants for general operating support rather than for specific project funding.

Grants are awarded exclusively to U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.

While the foundation does not make grants to individuals, nonprofit professional resident theater companies are the primary recipients of Schubert Foundation funding emphasizing producing, rather than presenting, organizations.

Some funding is provided for dance companies and arts-related nonprofit organizations that help support the development of theater and dance, and to graduate drama departments at private universities.

Grants will be made only to organizations that have an established artistic and administrative track record as well as a pattern of fiscal responsibility.

The foundation does not provide funds for project support, audience development, direct subsidies of reduced-price admissions, media (film, TV, and radio), renovation projects, or capital or endowment campaigns. No grants are made to conduit organizations (agencies that disburse funds to individuals or other organizations). Applicants may not request a specific grant amount; if the foundation decides to fund an organization, it will also determine the amount of the grant. The foundation has two grant application timetables. Applications for the dance, arts related, and education categories must be submitted by October 15, 2014. Theater applications must be submitted by December 1, 2014.

For More Information: The Shubert Foundation

 

BURLINGTON, VT – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that USDA is investing in rural businesses and development organizations to spur economic growth in rural areas and in Tribal communities.

"These investments are part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to help rural and Tribal communities that have the greatest need for assistance," Harden said. "USDA is targeting capital and technical assistance to small businesses and development organizations to help stimulate more business activity in areas that are struggling economically. This will help revitalize these small, remote rural communities and create much-needed jobs for local residents."

Harden announced details of the investments following a tour of Intervale Community Farm in Burlington, Vt. Intervale Community Farm is a 135-acre farm incubator on Burlington's Intervale. The Intervale Community Farm contributes 60 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the Burlington economy and is part of the Intervale Food Hub, a thriving local food aggregator and distributor contributing to Burlington's regional economy. Local food hubs provide organizations, businesses and institutions orders for local food products that are sourced from a variety of local farms.

The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. Rural Business Enterprise Grants help small and emerging rural businesses. Rural Business Opportunity Grants promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs.

The grants are being awarded in areas designated as Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) zones. REAP zones are areas that are considered economically distressed due to factors such as poverty, geographic isolation, declining populations or economic upheaval (such as the closing of a major job provider). The 2014 Farm Bill extends all current REAP zones through 2018.

Grants are also being targeted, predominantly through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, to Federally recognized Native American Tribes.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $6 million in REAP zones through the RBEG program. These grants have supported businesses and community projects across the country, creating or retaining 2,200 jobs (nearly 1,000 created and 1,200 retained). Since 2009, the agency has also invested $7.8 million in RBOG assistance for REAP zones and Native American Tribes. These Rural Business Opportunity Grants have helped approximately 400 businesses, and have created or retained about 2,100 jobs.

Harden emphasized that the USDA funding includes more than $2.2 million for organizations in Vermont, New York and North Dakota. Nine organizations in Vermont are receiving RBEG and RBOG grants totaling nearly $1.2 million. They will use the money to develop businesses, help revitalize a downtown district, and create jobs across the state. Seven organizations in North Dakota are receiving more than $566,000 in RBEG and RBOG grants to provide technical assistance to rural businesses and explore ways to increase commerce in Tribal areas. In New York, two organizations are receiving more than $445,000 to support rural businesses and determine the feasibility of establishing an open-access fiber optic network.

Through today's announcement, USDA is providing nearly $3 million in grants to 28 organizations in 12 states to strengthen rural business and promote economic development. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The legislation builds on historic economic gains in rural America during the past five years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since its enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

The purpose of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) Prevention Research Branch (PRB) is to support a developmentally grounded program of research on the prevention of the initiation of drug use, progression to abuse and dependence, and transmission of drug-related HIV infection. This research involves the use of rigorous scientific methods to test theoretically derived hypotheses to advance our understanding of the science of prevention within diverse populations and settings. The program’s focus involves studies targeting the prevention of many substances (often collectively) including but not limited to nicotine, inhalants, marijuana, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, club drugs, non-medical use of prescription and over the counter drugs, or any of these drugs in combination with alcohol. Studies that support this purpose include investigations of cognitive, behavioral, and social processes as they relate to 1) the development of novel prevention approaches, 2) the efficacy and effectiveness of newly developed and/or modified (or adapted) prevention programs, 3) the processes associated with the selection, adoption, adaptation, implementation, sustainability, and cost effectiveness of science-based interventions, and 4) methodologies appropriate for studying complex aspects of prevention science. Programs of research are intended to provide pathways toward the discovery of population-level approaches for the prevention of drug abuse and dependence, drug-related problems (e.g., mental health, interpersonal violence, criminal involvement, and productivity loss), and drug-related disorders (i.e., comorbid drug and psychiatric disorders, or infections including HIV, hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV)), and co-occurring, disorders and illnesses.

Significance

Significant progress has been made in understanding effective approaches to prevention of drug abuse over the past few decades, in part because of careful attention given to understanding basic, developmental processes involved in the transition to drug use, abuse and dependence. Drug abuse and dependence are disorders that interfere with the normal, healthy functioning of persons across the lifespan, and are preventable causes of medical and psychiatric problems and disorders, injuries, lost income and productivity, and family dysfunction. While the initiation of licit and illicit drug use, a necessary precursor to abuse and dependence, grows dramatically during the adolescent years, this behavior is preceded by proximal and distal biological, psychological, social, and environmental precursors originating as early as the prenatal period. Furthermore, the misuse and illicit use of drugs extends well beyond adolescence and, for some, begins in adulthood, even in late adulthood.

The life course developmental perspective suggests that individual and environmental factors interact to increase or reduce vulnerability to drug use, abuse and dependence. Vulnerability can occur at many points along the life course but peaks at critical life transitions. Thus, prevention researchers should recognize the significance of timing interventions to coincide with important biological transitions, such as puberty; normative transitions, such as moving from elementary to middle school; social transitions, such as dating; and traumatic transitions, such as the death of a parent. In addition, because vulnerability to drug abuse involves dynamic intrapersonal (e.g., temperament), interpersonal (e.g., family and peer interactions) and environmental (e.g., school environment and neighborhood) influences, prevention intervention research must target interactions between individuals and social systems across the life span. To address this complexity, intervention research needs to test strategies designed to alter specified modifiable mediators to determine which are most related to and effective in reducing drug use initiation and escalation, with what audiences, and under what conditions. There is recognition that developmental patterns may vary by gender, gender identity, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other population-based or cultural factors, and that these need to be better understood so that they can be addressed in interventions as appropriate.  Drug use, abuse, and dependence often co-occur with delinquency and criminal behavior, interpersonal violence, mental health problems, HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and reproductive health problems. Therefore, understanding the prevention of co-occurring problems and their contribution to elevated levels of risk is important to NIDA's mission.

Successful drug abuse and drug-related HIV prevention programs have utilized a number of theoretical perspectives for predicting differential drug use trajectories and elucidating developmentally grounded mediators, or risk and protective factors, amenable to change. Notable among these theories are Problem Behavior Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, and the Social Development Model. Resulting research has focused on prevention approaches involving positive modification of various precursors of substance use, such as sensation-seeking, emotion regulation, aggressive behavior, academic problems and failure, poor social skills, misperceptions of social norms, poor parent-child attachment, and inappropriate parental expectations and responses. Because theoretical grounding of prevention programs is an essential feature for their success, further progress in prevention research relies on a stronger understanding of successful theories and their application and potentially the development of new theoretical approaches or meta-theories.

Prevention context impacts upon the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of prevention approaches. Successful programs have intervened in multiple contexts, such as schools, health care settings, community service organizations, workplaces, and within the family context. Drug abuse and related HIV prevention research is most successful when there is an existing or created delivery system for prevention interventions to be delivered (e.g., the intervention delivery contexts provide ready access to the target population). That is, the more central the delivery context is to the target audience's existing life routines, the more likely the intervention and associated research will be able to recruit and retain members of the target population and have sustainability of the intervention over time.

Audiences or targets for prevention interventions are generally classified into one of three categories depending on level of risk: universal, selective, or indicated. Universal prevention interventions are targeted to the general public or to a whole population group, such as all children in a school. Selective prevention interventions are targeted to individuals or subgroups of the population with defined risk factors for the development of substance abuse, such as children of drug abusers, children of parents in the criminal justice system, sexual minority youth, and youth in the child welfare system. Indicated prevention interventions are targeted to individuals or subgroups that are identified as having non-clinical but detectable signs or symptoms foreshadowing drug abuse, dependence, and addiction. A tiered approach to prevention interventions incorporates two or more of these levels of intervention with increasing intervention intensity for individuals at greater risk or with greater problem severity.

To advance the field, novel interventions must build on basic science findings from diverse fields. Opportunities exist to expand upon our growing knowledge by incorporating neuroscience, genetics, and physiology to better understand prevention pathways in order to improve effect sizes for successful approaches, increase the breadth of impact, develop personalized prevention approaches, and build efficiency or optimization into the processes of increasing protection or decreasing risk.  Furthermore, because of recent advances in a number of disciplines, important opportunities exist to build upon findings from drug abuse etiology and epidemiology research and the fields of human development, neuroscience, criminology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and communications. An interdisciplinary approach to prevention, with research teams comprised of scientists bringing complementary expertise and critical and innovative research paradigms, will strengthen prevention efforts. In addition, studies addressing the unique opportunities to examine the interaction between biological, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental variables in the context of the design and implementation of prevention research, need to be developed and tested.

Three underdeveloped areas of drug abuse/drug-related HIV prevention research are discussed briefly here: developmental transitions, differential effectiveness and fidelity of implementation, and emerging technologies. Characteristics and differences that contribute to drug abuse risk during late adolescence and emerging adulthood have not been well studied. This is a particularly important area of research because late adolescence is a significant transition point in human development, and the initiation of use of so-called hard drugs often takes place during this period. Other normative transitions during this life course stage, such as learning to drive, entering college, the military, or the first job; and courtship, marriage and the transition to parenthood as well as non-normative life events such as victimization have not been seriously considered as targets for drug abuse prevention interventions. Moreover, very few prevention interventions for later stages of adulthood have been developed despite the fact that individuals who have used licit and illicit drugs, and prescription drugs for non-medical use, for long periods of time without developing dependency can move toward abuse and dependence as the result of biological (e.g., lower tolerance with aging), medical (e.g., onset or ongoing chronic diseases, endocrine system changes, chronic pain; treatment of major medical conditions), normative (e.g., retirement), social (e.g., making new friends in retirement) or traumatic (e.g., loss of a spouse) transitions. Thus, greater attention to a wide variety of transitions and the risk and protective factors related to them is needed for the development and testing of innovative interventions that target high-risk periods across the life course.

Some effective prevention interventions show differential effectiveness by gender, ethnicity, and other factors. Research is needed to understand underlying biological, psychological and social processes and mechanisms that account for these differences so that interventions can be adapted as needed for specific sub-groups while maintaining the integrity of the intervention core components. Methodologies that help identify core elements, subpopulation effects, and other factors related to effective implementation are in need of further development. The importance of fidelity of implementation is well established, yet there are situations where strict adherence is not possible. Developing a better understanding of what constitutes the core content or effective ingredients of an intervention and how modification can be made while maintaining or boosting effect sizes may be a superior approach to developing a wholly new intervention. Moreover, research to elucidate under what conditions adaptation is indicated would advance our capability to understand how to optimize prevention services.

Emerging technologies, such as, social networking tools, and wireless communication (e.g., texting and cell phone applications), may have application to both intervention design and prevention methodology. While the full impact of such changes on prevention programming and research is unknown, possible improvements to intervention processes and data collection methodology should be explored. Technology-assisted interventions have the potential to be both more personalized, through the use of individualized programs, and more confidential, as they involve less face-to-face contact than more traditional methods. Technologies that are promising for their role in prevention research include hand held devices to collect data and new HIV testing technologies, particularly those that identify early infection.  Less is known about whether the integration of media or other high-tech intervention components into existing interventions boosts intervention effectiveness.  Emerging biological modalities for HIV prevention (e.g., pre-exposure prophylaxis) may have differential utilization and adherence where significant substance use is present and integrated biobehavioral interventions are needed to optimally implement these approaches.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

This FOA for R03 applications seeks to support small-scale research efforts across the spectrum of drug abuse and drug-related HIV prevention research. NIDA's drug abuse prevention research program is comprehensive in nature and fully reflects the prevention research mission, objectives, and study areas advanced by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health. The following sections address drug abuse prevention research areas of specific interest to NIDA. Under each research section, examples of topics requiring further study are given. However, many areas for future research are not addressed, and there is an ongoing emergence of new areas.  Thus, investigators should not view the examples provided as limiting the areas of research of interest to NIDA.

1. Basic Prevention Research

NIDA recognizes the need to maximize the use of existing underutilized approaches and basic science findings for the development of innovative preventive interventions targeting the initiation and escalation of drug abuse and the prevention of drug-related HIV infection. The goal of basic prevention research is to identify and test new prevention paradigms informed by basic science. Basic science discoveries utilized in basic prevention research include findings from biological (e.g. neurobiology, stress reactivity, pubertal maturation, or physical development), psychological (e.g. emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and developmental) and social (e.g., social work, criminology, sociology, urban planning, and communications) sciences that address individual and group vulnerabilities to drug use initiation and escalation from experimentation, to occasional use, to abuse. Investigators’ efforts over the past two decades have focused on the translation of basic research to produce prevention programs with proven efficacy and effectiveness in addition to science-based prevention principles. However, much existing basic science on biological, neurobiological, psychological, and social processes and mechanisms has not been fully utilized for purposes of developing and testing innovative, potentially efficacious, drug abuse prevention interventions. Moreover, recent scientific advances have provided opportunities to integrate knowledge from diverse fields such as biochemistry, biology, biomedicine, health care policy, computational science, computer science, education, economics, engineering, geography, genetics, sociology, urban planning, informatics/information science, mathematics, neurobiology, neuroscience, and physiology.

One opportunity for basic prevention research is the translation of intervention findings into further basic science study. Because preventive intervention trials include at least one non-intervention control group, they have unique contributions to make in advancing our understanding of the mechanisms through which risk and protective factors operate, including how biological, psychological, social and environmental factors interact to influence risk or how such mechanisms operate within and across different phases of development or for groups at risk for different reasons (e.g., LGBT), or at different levels of risk (i.e., accumulated risk, chronic vs. acute). Ultimately, this research will have implications for further development of new intervention paradigms or refinement/improvement of existing programs and strategies, as well as for the natural history of problem behaviors and the effect of intervention on those behaviors.

Most basic prevention science investigations are expected to be human laboratory studies or small-scale field randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies of well-defined hypotheses derived from prior research. When appropriate, researchers can propose basic research applications as stand-alone R03 applications associated with a prevention research study in its early stages.

Possible exploratory/developmental research foci include, but are not limited to:

Small-scale studies that use findings on learning styles, cognitive strategies, and neurocognitive functioning to improve or develop targeted prevention strategies.

Small-scale studies examining the interaction between emotional and cognitive responses to prevention messages to construct messages more likely to elicit appropriate responses (e.g., triggering refusal behaviors when confronted with potential drug use situations).

Secondary analyses of prevention trial data to examine understudied mediators and moderators of program effects on hypothesized primary outcome variables and on conceptually related outcomes such as sexual risk taking behaviors.

Research to discern what theoretical approaches have the greatest promise for informing intervention strategies/modalities leading to durable behavior change.

Small-scale studies using basic science research and emerging technologies to explicate under-explored mechanisms of neurobiological risk and to facilitate understanding of the biological and neurobiological effects of social, emotional, and behavioral preventive interventions.

2. Prevention Intervention Research

Research on prevention intervention programs and strategies should focus on the manipulation of presumed causal, malleable factors derived from basic prevention and other studies on the origins, pathways and mechanisms of vulnerability to drug abuse, addiction, and drug-related HIV. Even relatively modest prevention intervention research trials can address complex and varied questions on drug etiology, theory testing, mechanisms of intervention effects, process measures, fidelity measures, and implementation cost in addition to assessing short term and long term trial outcomes.

Three types of prevention intervention research that will be discussed further here include efficacy, effectiveness, and systems research.

Efficacy trials are designed to establish the impact of the intervention approach on targeted outcomes under ideal and well-monitored implementation conditions. In preparation for efficacy research, pilot studies are typically conducted to gather evidence for feasibility and acceptability, and potential efficacy in advance of proposing an efficacy trial. Mechanisms other than the R01 (e.g., R34, R21, and R03) are often more appropriate for pilot studies and other developmental work, such as the testing of methods and materials and manualization of the intervention.  Efficacy trials may be small-scale trials or more moderate in size depending on the level of current evidence for the work and other considerations regarding the design of the trial.

Efficacy trials utilize small randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or, if well justified, other highly rigorous research designs. Quasi-experimental designs are discouraged, except in cases where the research question cannot be tested using a more rigorous approach. It is essential to articulate a theoretical framework or basis for the intervention effects anticipated. The theoretical or empirical basis of the intervention defines the role of mediating factors, that is, how various programmatic components have been designed to alter these elements in order to impact upon measurable intervention outcomes. An important aspect of efficacy studies is determining the relevance and acceptability of the program for translation to real world settings.

Effectiveness trials replicate efficacious strategies and interventions in less controlled, real-world settings with larger more diverse samples, and generally employ a RCT or equivalent research design (e.g., multiple baseline, cross over, etc.). In addition to determining effectiveness, these studies usually incorporate prevention services research questions related to factors such as participant recruitment and retention, dosage, cost, fidelity of implementation, and implementer training (see below for further discussion). That is, they examine issues that affect the transportability of programs to real world settings, facilitators and barriers to implementation, and generalizability to diverse populations and geographic settings.

Systems research takes prevention programs or strategies with demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness to scale. Systems trials are implemented through existing (e.g., schools, primary care settings, workplaces) or newly created delivery systems with large samples. Random assignment to intervention and control conditions remains the ideal study design. A major emphasis of systems trials is identifying and understanding how factors that affect the sustainability of programming operate. Thus, addressing prevention services research questions is a core goal of this type of study. All three intervention study types, efficacy, effectiveness, and systems, generally incorporate a longitudinal design to allow for the examination of the role of moderators, mediators and a variety of proximal and distal outcomes over time.

An important emphasis of NIDA's prevention research program is on prevention services research questions. Prevention services research involves identifying and determining how features internal and external to interventions contribute to efficacy and effectiveness. Examples of internal features are: content, implementation strategies, fidelity, dosage, delivery setting, and implementer training. Examples of external features are: exposure to other programs, media, enforcement of regulations and laws related to substance use and community norms around substance abuse. One important area of prevention services research is replication of efficacious interventions with other population groups and in alternate contexts in an effort to develop a clear understanding of those features that are essential to program integrity (i.e., core elements) and those that can be adapted to meet the needs of specific groups and settings. Prior research suggests that features such as program duration, reinforcement of prevention messages over time, consistency of messages across settings, use of developmentally appropriate content and materials, use of interactive teaching techniques, use of intermittent reinforcement, client-facilitator fit, grouping of clients, and interactions between these features need further investigation to improve the quality of programming and increase the potential for translation into real-world settings. Questions around these and other features that concentrate on the availability, organization, management, financing and sustainability of prevention interventions fall into the broad category of prevention services research. This also includes understanding community-level decision-making regarding the selection, adoption, adaptation, implementation and sustainability of prevention programs, policies and practices.

Prevention services research is integral to intervention research and forms the link between research and practice. For that reason researchers are encouraged to include services research questions that address or inform real-world implementation issues in efficacy and effectiveness trials as appropriate.  In addition, researchers are encouraged to integrate prevention practitioners into the research process, from inception through to completion to ensure that successful interventions meet identified needs and to foster ownership and sustainability.

Examples of prevention topics appropriate for exploratory/developmental R03 research projects include:

Efficacy

Small-scale studies developing and testing strategies to strengthen existing group and environmental anti-drug norms and characteristics that have been show to be protective against drug abuse and addiction.

Small-scale studies developing and pilot testing preventive interventions designed to strategically target understudied periods in the life course, such as intervening in early childhood to alter precursors, intervening in late adolescence with youth who discontinue their education, or intervening in adulthood with individuals experiencing high stress, such as military personnel, returning veterans and their families, displaced, bereaved, or victimized persons, or sexual minorities.

Small-scale studies on the efficacy of drug abuse prevention programs and strategies that are untested but widely used such as: case management, mentoring, job training, and challenge activities.

Small-scale studies pilot testing the efficacy of drug use and/or HIV/STI screening tests for their potential effects in reducing or preventing drug abuse and dependence and/or HIV/STI infection.

Small-scale studies of the effects of environmental manipulations, such as school policies, state or local laws, and local law enforcement strategies, or the built environment on drug use and drug-related activities such as gang involvement.

Small-scale studies developing and pilot testing the efficacy of brief HIV and drug abuse prevention interventions for specific contexts such as primary care settings, federally qualified community health centers, and college or workplace health programs.

Small-scale studies testing theoretically grounded interventions with demonstrated efficacy for preventing drug use for their effects on sexual risk behaviors.

Small-scale studies for the development and pilot testing of new prevention interventions or adaptation and testing of evidence-based interventions for at-risk groups of children and youth who have been underrepresented in research efforts (e.g., military youth and families, children of parents in the criminal justice system and their families, children in foster care and their foster and biological families, adopted children and their families, lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth).

Small-scale studies of structural or environmental interventions designed to prevent drug use and abuse in communities.

Small-scale studies of tiered approaches that include screening and implementation of universal interventions and selective or indicated interventions for those who continue to experience difficulties to increase intervention impact in a setting or with a population.

Small-scale studies to identify core elements of intervention models (e.g., features/elements that need to be retained, or those that can be adapted or eliminated to streamline programming) while maintaining or boosting efficacy.

Small-scale studies of culturally congruent intervention approaches to reduce drug abuse and drug-related HIV among Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other understudied minority populations that are adversely affected by the consequences of drug use.

Small-scale studies that examine the efficacy of novel strategies for addressing the rise in prescription drug misuse and abuse that reflect the unique roles of medical and dental providers, social networks, and policy makers in prevention.

Effectiveness

Secondary analysis of prevention intervention data to better understand the impact of drug abuse prevention intervention on drug use, drug disorders, and sexual risk taking behaviors among specific subgroups of individuals such as high risk youth, females, ethnic minorities, and LGBT youth in order to elucidate the need for intervention modifications and specialized intervention approaches.

Secondary analysis of prevention intervention trial data to assess factors accounting for variation in response to drug and HIV prevention interventions such as psychiatric disorders, family function, environmental exposures, stress responsivity, and cognitive or neurocognitive functioning.

Small-scale studies on adaptation of effective drug abuse and HIV prevention approaches to understand the added value of efforts to customize prevention for specific populations such as underserved racial and ethnic minority populations.

Small-scale studies examining program effectiveness in reducing HIV sexual and drug use risks as well as risks for acquiring related infections (i.e., other sexually transmitted infections, viral hepatitis), where research takes into account emerging knowledge about HIV risks such as population-based biological vulnerability, and network patterns.

Systems

Small-scale studies examining how differences in school environments, including drug abuse rules, and their enforcement, and policies, influence mediators of drug abuse (e.g., attitudes, norms and intentions) and eventually substance abuse behaviors with particular attention to the pattern and duration of the environmental change processes.

Small-scale studies of the initiation, development, and continuity of community coalitions to prevent drug abuse, and impact on selection and implementation of effective drug abuse prevention strategies.

Small-scale studies examining access and adaptability of research-based strategies for training high-risk parents (e.g., those who abuse drugs, or in situations where abusive child-rearing practices have been documented) through existing service delivery systems.

Determination of the cost and cost-effectiveness of brief drug abuse and HIV prevention programs that have been integrated into primary care, mental health and community settings, including federally qualified community health centers.

Small-scale studies that examine community-level decision-making regarding the selection, adoption, adaptation, implementation and sustainability of prevention programs, policies and practices.

Small-scale studies of the impact of prevention policies on the prevention of drug use and abuse in communities.

Small-scale studies that examine dissemination of evidence-based prevention interventions in communities.

3. Methodological Research

Methodological research is needed in the field of drug abuse prevention on promising data collection, data management, analysis, and reporting techniques. Special attention should be given to the hierarchical and longitudinal nature of most prevention trial data, the adaptation of measures for intervention cohorts over the course of time and development, the measurement and analysis of complex theoretical process models including moderating and mediating variables, the development of adaptive designs, the problems of missing data and attrition when following intervention and control subjects over time, and the development of analytic strategies to determine important features of prevention interventions (i.e., core components). NIDA supports the adaptation and assessment of proven scientific procedures from other disciplines to determine their applicability to drug abuse prevention research such as those from systems science. Specific areas of research include:

Development, testing, and application of complex statistical models to examine differential impacts of preventive interventions across individuals, across time, and across contexts.

Designs to improve causal inference from non-experimental and quasi-experimental research and natural prevention experiments.

Research to improve the analysis of longitudinal data—in particular, the analysis of correlated data, the modeling of different sources of error, and techniques for dealing with missing data at various levels of aggregation that may occur in prevention trials, as well as refining methods for evaluating effects in small, high risk subpopulations.

Methodological research to improve the analysis of complex prevention trial data, including the statistical modeling of non-response and other survey errors.

Analytic methods that appropriately model social structures, social processes, and spatial relationships such as social networks, social influence, diffusion, and contextual effects within randomized prevention trial datasets.

Methods for the detection and analysis of non-linear or discontinuous changes in response to preventive interventions.

Methodological research examining complex interactions between qualitative (e.g., process data) and quantitative outcome data.

Applications of systems science to improve the ability of complex trials to model real world clinical operations and decision making.

Research that evaluates ethical issues in the implementation of prevention interventions in particular populations, settings, or policy contexts, including evaluation of specific intervention modalities, study designs, and data collection methods.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $15 million 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for three separate funding opportunities, including: the i6 Challenge, Science and Research Park Development grants, and cluster grants to support the development of Seed Capital Funds.

“President Obama and I are committed to strengthening American innovation, which is crucial for sustained economic growth and competitiveness,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The EDA Regional Innovation Strategies Program announced today, which builds on the highly successful i6 Challenge, will help spur innovation through the development and strengthening of regional innovation clusters. Innovation clusters strengthen communities by creating good jobs and growing regional economies nationwide.”

“EDA helps foster connected, innovation-centric economic sectors to support commercialization and entrepreneurship, including through regional innovation clusters,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “EDA’s new funding opportunity will provide more communities and regions with the resources they need to help local businesses start and grow. Specifically, EDA will help regions across the country develop regional innovation strategies, including proof of concept and commercialization centers, feasibility studies for the creation and expansion of science and research parks, and opportunities to close the funding gap for early-stage companies. This new funding opportunity is also an important component of the Administration’s commitment to build globally competitive regions.”

The 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program originally started as the Regional Innovation Program under the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act of 2010. This year’s program includes $15 million in funding for the following programs:

  • i6 Challenge ($8M): Launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, the i6 Challengeis a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. The 2014 i6 has been broadened to include growing or expanding existing centers or programs and considering funding for later-stage Commercialization Centers, which provide opportunities for fine tuning and refinement of innovations. Special consideration will be given to programs which include initiatives focusing on innovative manufacturing and exports.
  • Science and Research Park Development Grants ($5M): The Science and Research Park Development grants program provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities.
  • Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds ($2M): These cluster grants provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity. Funds must include job creation in their consideration for issuing capital. Special consideration will be given for programs focused on innovative manufacturing and exporting.

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for examples of both the i6 Challenge and Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds. There is no requirement for applicants to submit proposals for more than one of the funding opportunities under this program. Funding for all three programs is available to all communities regardless of level of distress.

The Community Foundation of Broward County announced grants up to $25,000 for projects that address critical needs and providing opportunities to improve the quality of life for those in need in Broward County.
The Community Foundation of Broward has created the new Ignite! Innovation Grant Program. Through this program, the Foundation will award grants to organizations that "lead boldly, and challenge themselves to present innovative, unique projects that address Broward’s most pressing needs."
The Foundation mentions specifically:
•Represent unique ideas, methods, and approaches to serve the community;
•Use a collaborative approach to maximize impact;
•Address one of the eight focus areas outlined below
through pilot projects that have the potential for
future expansion and /or replication or through project
expansion for greater traction and impact
•Have S.M.A.R.T. outcomes (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, & time - sensitive)
Focus Areas:
Poverty to Prosperity
Cancer
Research
Cancer Patient Care
Youth Engagement
Going Green:
Health and Wellness
LGBT
Aging with Dignity:
Justice for Animals:
Apply using PhilNet, the Foundation's website.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $73,654,300 in YouthBuild grants to support academic and occupational skills training for at-risk youth.

"YouthBuild offers thousands of young people the tools, resources and opportunities they need to punch their ticket to the middle class," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These federal grants are part of our broader effort to invest in the future of our nation's youth and help them climb the ladder of opportunity."

The grants range from approximately $700,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 71 YouthBuild programs across 31 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They will help approximately 4,800 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Along with the programs receiving funding today, the Labor Department now actively funds 322 YouthBuild programs around the country.

The YouthBuild program aligns with President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative and job-driven training agenda by promoting a "stepping stone" approach that provides a seamless progression from education to work-based training and results in good paying jobs for young adults. The community-based nature of these grants ensures that services are provided where they are needed most and are intended to reach the hardest to serve youth.

YouthBuild is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to youth ages 16 to 24 who have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational and career milestones.

The classroom training component leads to a high school diploma, general education development or other state-recognized equivalency diploma. The occupational skills training component provides YouthBuild participants with industry-recognized certifications in construction or other in-demand occupations, such as health care and information technology. Leadership development and community service are also key elements of the YouthBuild program, helping to ensure that participants maintain a connection to their communities through public service and volunteerism.
For more information about the Department of Labor's YouthBuild program, Click.