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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.
The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.
USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service's Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.
Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.
"In just four months since disaster assistance enrollments began, we've processed 240,000 applications to help farmers and ranchers who suffered losses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Eligible producers who have not yet contacted their local FSA office should stop by or call their local FSA office, or sign up online before Oct. 1 when congressionally mandated payment reductions take effect. This will ensure they receive as much financial assistance as possible."
The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also be cut by 7.3 percent on Oct. 1, 2014. Unlike the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, applications for these programs must be fully completed by Sept. 30. FSA offices will prioritize these applications, but as the full application process can take several days or more to complete, producers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland. Producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible for program benefits.
Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the risk management purchase requirement. Livestock producers are no longer required to purchase coverage under the federal crop insurance program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program assistance.
To learn more about USDA disaster relief program, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill fact sheet atwww.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill, the LFP program fact sheet, http://go.usa.gov/5JTk, or contact their local FSA office.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since 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 quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to certain private, nonprofit organizations (PNPs) in Washington, following President Obama’s federal disaster declaration for Public Assistance (PA) as a result of the wildfires that occurred July 9 – August 5, 2014, announced Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). PNPs that provide essential services of a governmental nature are eligible for assistance.
SBA disaster assistance is now available in the county of Okanogan and the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation.
“PNP organizations should contact Gary Urbas with the Washington State Public Assistance program at (253) 512-7402 to obtain information about local briefings. At the briefings, PNP representatives will need to provide information about their organization,” said Tanya N. Garfield, Director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West. FEMA will use that information to determine if the PNP provides an “essential governmental service” and is a “critical facility” as defined by law. If so, FEMA may provide the PNP with a Public Assistance grant for their eligible costs. If not, FEMA may refer the PNP to SBA for disaster loan assistance.
SBA may lend PNPs up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
For certain private, nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDLs may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the nonprofit suffered any property damage.
The interest rate is 2.625 percent with terms up to 30 years. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is October 10, 2014. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 11, 2015.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing email@example.com(link sends e-mail). Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.
SBA Field Operations Center - West, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841
•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 belowthrough pilot projects that have the potential forfuture expansion and /or replication or through projectexpansion for greater traction and impact•Have S.M.A.R.T. outcomes (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, & time - sensitive)Focus Areas:
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.
WASHINGTON, DC– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants that will be awarded to organizations to provide critical financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop and strengthen their capacity to carry out housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects.
"Many rural nonprofits often need capital and technical assistance to carry out their missions," Vilsack said. "These grants will provide both of these components through local and regional organizations that are experts at delivering such services."
USDA is making nearly $6 million available to qualified organizations under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI).
Recipients must be non-profit organizations, low-income rural communities, or federally recognized tribes. Intermediary organizations are required to provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. The grants do not go directly to business recipients but rather through qualified intermediaries.
The deadline for submitting RCDI applications is November 12, 2014. Applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development state office where the applicant's headquarters are located. More information about the program and how to apply is available on page 47427 of the August 13, 2014 Federal Register.
Here is an example of how the RCDI program is helping rural communities. The Western Maine Community Action Program (WMCAP) has received several RCDI grants in recent years to help low-and very-low-income seniors maintain their independence and remain in their homes through the Keeping Seniors Home Program. Started in 2004, this program has served nearly 3,000 low-income senior homeowners in Maine. WMCAP is also working on a regional job creation plan to train energy auditors, private contractors, and other community partners to provide additional support services to Maine's elderly rural citizens.
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.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced $7 million to 24 local public housing agencies across the country to help nearly 1,000 homeless Veterans find permanent housing. The supportive housing assistance announced today is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA (see chart below).
Later this year, HUD anticipates awarding approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers to build upon significant progress toward ending Veteran homelessness. Since 2008, more than 59,000 vouchers have been awarded and 43,371 formerly homeless Veterans are currently in homes of their own because of HUD-VASH. Rental assistance and support services provided through HUD-VASH are a critical resource for local communities in ending homelessness among our nation’s Veterans.
“We have made great progress, reducing homelessness among Veterans by 24 percent in just three years,” said HUD SecretaryJulián Castro. “These vouchers will help communities build on these gains, providing targeted assistance to reach those in need. Ending homelessness is a top priority for me, and HUD looks forward to working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that every Veteran has a place to call home in the country they risked everything to protect.”
“VA, HUD and our federal, state and local partners should take pride in the progress made to reduce Veterans’ homelessness by 24 percent since 2010, but so long as there remains a Veteran that lives on our streets, we have more work to do,” said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Interim Under Secretary for Health. “These HUD-VASH vouchers are a vital tool in our effort to provide our Veterans with the earned care and benefits that help them live productive, meaningful lives.”
HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end Veteran homelessness by 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women.
As the former mayor of San Antonio, Secretary Castro was among the growing ranks of more than 180 mayors who joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015 by using federal, local, and nonprofit resources. Since 2010, the Obama Administration has reduced veteran homelessness by 24 percent. And while ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 is within reach, continued use of tools like HUD-VASH are central to reaching that goal.
In the HUD-VASH program, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) work closely with homeless veterans before referring them to local housing agencies for these vouchers. Decisions are based on a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of the homelessness and the need for longer term, more intensive support in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff offers.
Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. VA offers eligible homeless Veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.
FY 2013 Project-based HUD-VASH voucher awards
Public Housing Authority
Partnering VA Medical Facility
# of Vouchers
|Alabama||Tuscaloosa Housing Authority||Tuscaloosa||Tuscaloosa DVAMC|
|California||San Francisco||San Francisco||San Francisco VAMC|
|Housing Authority County Of Los Angeles||Alhambra||DVA Los Angeles|
|Housing Authority City Of Los Angeles||Los Angeles||DVA Los Angeles|
|City Of San Buenaventura||Ventura||DVA Los Angeles|
|Alameda County||Hayward||Palo Alto HCS|
|City Of Long Beach||Long Beach||DVA Long Beach|
|Florida||Jacksonville Housing Authority||Jacksonville||N FL/S GA VAMC|
|Pinellas County||Largo||Bay Pines VA HCS|
|Georgia||NW Georgia Housing Authority||Rome||Duluth DVA|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Public Housing Authority||Honolulu||Pacific Islands HCS|
|Illinois||Chicago Housing Authority||Chicago||Jesse Brown VAMC|
|Cook County||Chicago||Edward Hines DVA|
|Massachusetts||Northamptom Housing Authority||Northampton||VA Central Western MA|
|Minnesota||Metropolitan Council Hra||St. Paul||Minneapolis DVAMC|
|Missouri||City Of Columbia||Columbia||Harry S. Truman DVA|
|Montana||Montana DOC Public Housing Authority||Helena||Montana HCS|
|North Carolina||Chatham County||Siler City||Durham VAMC|
|New York||NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development||New York City||James J. Peters VAMC|
|Ohio||Chillicothe Metro Housing Authority||Chillicothe||Chicolte DVAMC|
|Fairfield Metro Housing Authority||Lancaster||Chicolte DVAMC|
|Oregon||Douglas County||Roseburg||Roseburg VAMC|
|Tennessee||Metropolitan Development||Nashville||Tennessee Valley DVA|
|Texas||Houston Housing Authority||Houston||Michael E. DeBakey VAMC|
WASHINGTON — Today, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced the availability of over $9 million in outreach and technical assistance for minority farmers and ranchers and military veterans that are new to farming and ranching. The funding, provided through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program, will enable community-based organizations and other partners to work directly with these groups to successfully acquire, own and operate farms and ranches and equitably participate in all USDA programs.
"The future face of agriculture needs to be varied in experience, background and knowledge to meet the demand of the 21st century," said Deputy Secretary Harden. "The 2501 Program enables USDA to bring more farmers and ranchers into American agriculture by partnering with the institutions, land-grant universities and other organizations that work directly with these diverse communities. Through these critical partnerships, we will build a stronger agricultural future for our country and for the world."
Deputy Secretary Harden made this announcement at the White House during the Future of American Agriculture Champions of Change event celebrating the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers.
Through the 2501 Program, support is distributed to entities that work with minority or veteran farmers and ranchers -- 1890 Land Grant Institutions, 1994 Land Grant Institutions, American Indian Tribal community colleges and Alaska Native cooperative colleges, Hispanic-serving and other institutions of higher education, Tribal governments and organizations, or community-based organizations. The 2501 Program, administered by the USDA's Office of Advocacy and Outreach, has distributed over $57 million to 188 partners since 2010. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded targeted communities to include military veterans. Applications for 2501 Program funding will be accepted through August 25, 2014, and must be submitted through www.grants.gov. More information about the 2501 Program is available at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/grants/index.htm
America's farmers and ranchers continue to become more diverse. According to the 2012 Agricultural Census, minority and historically under-represented communities are part of the continued growth among new and beginning farmers and ranchers. According to the Census, 22 percent of all farmers were beginning farmers in 2012. That means 1 out of every 5 farmers operated a farm for less than 10 years.
Today's funding announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since 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 quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
From time to time, Government Deal Funding will highlight programs that are not well known and could benefit you or someone you know. Keep in mind that eligibility requirements vary constantly and Congressional action may halt programs with little notice.
USDA Rural Repair and Rehab Grants
Purpose: The Very Low-Income Housing Repair program provides loans and grants to very low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their dwellings or to remove health and safety hazards.
Eligibility: To obtain a loan, homeowner-occupants must be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere and must have very low incomes, defined as below 50 percent of the area median income. They must need to make repairs and improvements to make the dwelling more safe and sanitary or to remove health and safety hazards. Grants are only available to homeowners who are 62 years old or older and cannot repay a Section 504 loan. For Income and Property Eligibility please see the USDA RD Eligibility Site.
Terms: Loans of up to $20,000 and grants of up to $7,500 are available. Loans are for up to 20 years at 1 percent interest. A real estate mortgage and full title services are required for loans of $7,500 or more. Grants may be recaptured if the property is sold in less than 3 years. Grant funds may be used only to pay for repairs and improvements resulting in the removal of health and safety hazards. A grant/loan combination is made if the applicant can repay part of the cost. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.
Standards: Repaired properties do not need to meet other HCFP code requirements, but the installation of water and waste systems and related fixtures must meet local health department requirements. Water supply and sewage disposal systems should normally meet HCFP requirements. Not all the health and safety hazards in a home must be removed with Section 504 funds, provided that major health and safety hazards are removed. All work must meet local codes and standards.