Maternal and Child Health Research Program

Advancing Applied MCH Research

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What types of institutions can apply?

Public or nonprofit institutions of higher learning and public or private nonprofit agencies engaged in research or in programs relating to maternal and child health and/or services for children with special health care needs are eligible.

Do we need a letter of intent?

While letters of intent are not required, we encourage you to submit one so that we can contact you regarding any changes in the program guidance and to better plan for grant review panels. In addition, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have prior to submission.

Where do I find application materials?

All application materials are available through once an announcement has been posted.

Can I get a copy of the "Program Guidance" from last year?

Past year guidance is not published to avoid confusion among grantees, a well-documented problem.

Are there any page limitations to the narrative?

The most recent MCH Research guidance (HRSA-11-016) dictated:

  • For the R40 Multiyear grant, a 12-page limit for the research strategy section of the narrative.
  • For the R40 SDAS, a 6-page limit for the research strategy section for the R40 SDAS grant.
  • The research strategy includes: Significance, Innovation, Approach.
  • Preliminary studies can be included in the Approach section of the Research Strategy if applicable and would be included in the 12 or 6 page limit as described above.
  • The other parts of the program narrative, that include Sections A to B and D to G, do not have page limits. However, the entire application is limited to 80 pages total, excluding the SF 424 RR form pages. It is important that grantees consult the guidance they are responding to for any changes to these guidelines. If an application exceeds required page limitations, it will not be considered for funding.
How often does the MCH Research Program have competitions?

The MCH R40 Maternal and Child Health Research program is competed annually.

Are there font/margin requirements to MCH Research applications?

Specifications regarding fonts and margins can be found in the guidance, but typically follow HRSA guidelines, which call for 1" margins and 12-point font. Please consult the guidance and/or the HRSA User Manual for more specific information.

How do I know if my topic is appropriate for the MCH Research program?

Please refer to the MCH Research Program's Strategic Goals. You can also contact the MCH Research Program officers named in the current application guidance for feedback regarding fit of your research interest with the R40 funding opportunity.

Where do I include the staffing plan?

The staffing plan information is included in the budget narrative attachment that should be uploaded into the budget form Box K.

How do I know whether to apply to the R40 Multiyear grant or the R40 SDAS grant?
  • The SDAS grant is a one-year grant for the purpose of analyzing large, national pre-existing data sets. This pre-existing data is typically from a large, nationally representative database (e.g., the National Survey of Children's Health, the National Survey of Adoptive Parents, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, etc.), or it might consist of state or local administrative records, which would typically represent some kind of universal participation within a program among a particular population (e.g., state Medicaid records for the population of children within a state who receive Medicaid, etc.). A proposal to the SDAS program would typically identify such a large, pre-existing dataset, and then identify particular research questions that can be answered through analyzing the data, such as, What factors will predict which outcomes among x population?
  • The Multiyear grant usually involves the collection of original data, whereas the SDAS grant does not. This data may involve such activities as: developing and testing the efficacy of specific interventions; developing and testing products such as measurement tools, screening instruments, or specific kinds of service delivery mechanisms; or examining factors that predict certain kinds of outcomes among particular populations. For example, a researcher might decide to see whether a particular kind of intervention is effective at producing certain outcomes, and so he/she plans an efficacy study that will allow causal inferences to be made regarding the program's impact.
The guidance excludes 'longitudinal follow-up studies.' Can you clarify what this means?

By this, the MCH Research program means that a grantee who currently has or in the past has had an R40 is excluded from applying for a grant to follow longitudinally the population used in their just-ending or previous R40 grant. Not excluded are: Applications which include a longitudinal design within the proposed three-year project period; applications which involve analyzing pre-existing longitudinal data through the SDAS mechanism; and applications which involve collecting follow-up data on a population targeted in a grant funded by another agency.

Who should I talk to if I have further questions?

Please contact your project officer via email. We would like to share answers to questions with everyone via the web site and listserv.

What is is the web site that the government is using to inform citizens of grant opportunities and provide a portal for submitting applications to government agencies.

Is there anything that we need to do immediately, to better prepare for our new grant application or our noncompeting continuation grant application?

Yes, make sure that the Authorized Organization Representative at your university has registered the university and himself/herself in In order to submit your application (new or continuation), your university and your Authorized Organization Representative MUST be registered in When your Authorized Organization Representative registers in, he/she will receive a Credential User Name and Password which will allow that individual to submit application forms in

What are the take home messages about
  1. Make sure that the Authorized Organization Representative from your university is registered in NOW. This process can take up to 1 month and it is better to have it out of the way before starting any grant application.
  2. Read the instructions on carefully and allow time for corrections. Enter information in fields even if it is 0 or the form will remain incomplete. Required fields are highlighted in yellow.
  3. There are resources available on the web site to help you navigate this new system. Please visit to access these resources.
  4. Some business practices will change with the introduction of the new SF 424 R and R Form.
    • With the SF 424 you will be reporting faculty and staff time in calendar month equivalents.
    • Budget details about subcontracts will now be described in a section of the SF 424 Form called subawards.
    • New applications will now fill out detailed budgets for each of the years in the project period. For example grants with 3 year project periods will submit detailed budgets for each of the 3 years.

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