When the research grant program began in 1987, there was a deluge of applications, but only 8 percent were awarded funding. As the realities of funding became apparent, fewer applications were submitted. Nonetheless, the grant program remains extremely competitive, with only 13 percent of new applications having been awarded in FY 1997. The extramural grant program distributes approximately $15 million per year, about $7 million of which is awarded to 10 injury research centers.
A cooperative agreement is a mechanism for joint funding of research and demonstrations,14 and may also be used for public education and training. Cooperative agreements amounted to $19 million in FY 1997, representing 39 percent of NCIPC's budget. NCIPC employs cooperative agreements to build state and local programs for injury prevention. Areas covered by some recent cooperative agreements include bicycle head injury prevention, firearm injury surveillance, head and spinal cord injury, and playground safety.
Each year, NCIPC's cooperative agreements fund approximately 50 projects in 28 states. Most projects address either surveillance or public health interventions with annual budgets of about $120,000 to $300,000. More than half of the recipients are state and local health departments; the remainder are community-based organizations and universities. NCIPC defines the scope and purpose of cooperative agreements, solicits proposals, and then makes awards to the best proposals after a competitively reviewed process. CDC's role in a cooperative agreement, which generally accounts for about 50 percent of the total work load, is usually to advise on data collection and methodology, to devise evaluation criteria, and to disseminate findings. The partner's role is generally to tailor the project to the needs of the community it serves and to collect and analyze data.
The injury researchers at NCIPC administer cooperative agreements and provide technical assistance to states and local organizations (outside of a formal cooperative agreement). NCIPC researchers do engage in intramural research, such as analysis of injury data sets, but their own research represents a small fraction of their time. The devotion of their energies mostly to cooperative agreements and technical assistance, rather than to their own research pursuits, is a distinguishing feature of the NCIPC. NCIPC does not have a formal intramural research program of its own, like that at NIH, where institutes have dedicated intramural research budgets expressly designed to enable their researchers to conduct research full-time.