NATIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARDS INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING GRANTS INGENOMIC SCIENCE



NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 27, July 22, 1994



PA NUMBER:  PA-94-085



P.T. 22



Keywords:

  Biomedical Research Training 

  Human Genome 



National Center for Human Genome Research



PURPOSE



[This is a reissue of a Program Announcement that appeared in the NIH

Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 20, No. 46, December 3, 1991.]



The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) announces the

availability of support for institutional training programs in genomic

sciences to train scientists with multi-disciplinary skills that will

allow them to engage in research that will accomplish the goals of the

Human Genome Program (HGP) and to take full advantage of the resulting

genomic data and resources to solve biomedical problems and increase

our understanding of human biology.  These research training

opportunities will be supported through institutional training grants,

which may support pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and short-term trainees.

The genomic sciences multidisciplinary training program is intended to

expand the research capabilities of individuals with backgrounds in

either molecular biology or a non-biological scientific discipline

relevant to genomic sciences (e.g., physical, chemical, mathematical,

computer, and/or engineering sciences).  Short-term training

opportunities are intended for students in non-biological scientific

disciplines who wish to learn more about genomic sciences.



The NCHGR wishes to expand the number of institutions capable of

training scientists in genomic sciences and strongly encourages

institutions with academically outstanding departments in molecular

biology and one or more of the non-biological scientific disciplines

relevant to genomic sciences to consider developing training programs

that would be responsive to the needs of the HGP.



ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS



Only domestic universities and medical colleges may apply for training

grants supported under the National Research Service Award (NRSA)

mechanism.  Only U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent

residents of the United States may be appointed as trainees on

NRSA-funded training grants.



MECHANISM OF SUPPORT



Support for this program will be through the National Research Service

Award (T32) Program.  Institutional training grants are made for

project periods of up to five years and are renewable.



RESEARCH OBJECTIVES



Background



The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently engaged, along

with several other federal, private, and international organizations,

in a 15-year research program designed to characterize the human genome

and the genomes of selected model organisms.  The HGP has the following

interrelated goals:  the construction of high-resolution genetic

linkage maps, the development of detailed physical maps, and the

determination of the complete nucleotide sequence of the human genome

and the genomes of selected organisms; the development of efficient

methods of identifying genes and for placement of known genes on

physical maps or sequenced DNA; the development of the capability to

collect, store, distribute and analyze the data and materials produced;

the development of new technologies to achieve these goals; and the

identification of major issues related to the ethical, legal and social

implications (ELSI) of genome research, and the development of policy

options to address them.  The products of the HGP will include

information and material resources, as well as new technologies, that

will be available to the entire research community to facilitate

further research leading to the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of

disease, as well as to further understanding of human biology.



In 1990, the NCHGR and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly published

a plan that set out specific goals to be achieved in the first

five-year phase of the U.S. human genome program.  Anticipating the

attainment of much of the initial set of goals, the NCHGR and DOE

recently extended the original goals of the Human Genome Program.

These goals are described in the article, "A New Five-Year Plan for the

U.S. Human Genome Project," (Science, Vol. 262, pp. 43-46, October 1,

1993) and cover the years 1994-1998.



The HGP is opening up new approaches to biomedical problems.  Attaining

the solutions to these problems will require that the research methods

of the biological sciences be augmented and complemented by the

approaches and methods of non-biological scientific disciplines.  There

is a critical shortage of scientists with the appropriate complementary

skills to bring such multidisciplinary approaches to genomic research.

Individuals capable of developing new technology and tools are needed,

as are molecular biologists capable of taking multi-disciplinary

approaches and using the resources provided by the HGP to address

important biomedical and biological research problems.  The intent of

the NCHGR's research training program is to fill this need.  Successful

training programs will attract individuals with backgrounds in relevant

non-biological scientific disciplines or molecular biology and should

have sufficient flexibility to provide the appropriate

interdisciplinary training to individual candidates.  It is essential

that trainees who are supported under this program receive thorough

training in multi-disciplinary approaches to modern biomedical

research.



Training Program



Genomic science represents a new scientific approach to solving

biomedical research problems.  Thus, most institutions have not, as

yet, developed graduate and post-graduate training programs in genomic

science that would enroll students or postdoctoral fellows trained in

molecular biology or one of the non-biological scientific disciplines

appropriate for genomic science and provide training that would allow

them to develop complementary expertise in another discipline.  Because

of the unique training requirements of the HGP, the NCHGR recognizes

that institutions will need to develop new training programs.

Therefore, the NCHGR strongly encourages applications from institutions

that can demonstrate academic excellence in molecular biology and one

or more of the non-biological scientific disciplines appropriate for

genomic science, have outstanding faculties that are committed and

willing to cooperate in developing a genomic sciences training program,

have access to a pool of highly qualified graduate students and

postdoctoral fellows, and have sound training plans, but have not as

yet established training programs in genomic science.  Applications

from institutions that wish to apply as a consortium are welcomed, but

must demonstrate that they can mount a well-coordinated and integrated

program.



Format.  The NCHGR is seeking to support training programs that allow

trainees access to broad research opportunities across disciplinary and

departmental lines, while not sacrificing the standards of depth and

creativity characteristic of the best doctoral and postdoctoral

programs of individual departments.  The NCHGR recognizes that there is

no one model for this type of training and encourages institutions to

develop innovative training programs that are responsive to the needs

of genomic sciences as well as to the needs of individual trainees.



Types of Training Positions Allowed.  An institutional training grant

may include all of the following types of training positions:



1.  Predoctoral positions--for students with undergraduate degrees in

chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences or engineering

sciences who wish to pursue training in molecular biology or for

individuals with undergraduate degrees in a biological science who wish

to pursue an interdisciplinary doctoral degree that incorporates one or

more of the non-biological disciplines mentioned above.  An exposure to

technology development is encouraged for all predoctoral trainees.



2.  Postdoctoral positions--for postdoctoral students trained in

chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences, or engineering

sciences who wish to pursue additional training in molecular biology or

for individuals with training in molecular biology who wish to pursue

an area of technology development as it relates to genomic science.



3.  Short-term training positions--only for undergraduate or graduate

students trained in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences

or engineering sciences who wish to spend three to six months in a

molecular biology laboratory in order to get acquainted with the field.



The number of postdoctoral positions should be limited to approximately

one-third of the total full-time training positions.  No application

that requests only postdoctoral positions will be accepted.



Stipends and Other Allowable Costs.  The stipends for predoctoral and

postdoctoral trainees are at the new level, which was announced in the

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 10, March 11, 1994.

Full tuition may be requested for full-time predoctoral trainees only.

Institutional costs of up to $1,500 per year per predoctoral trainee

and up to $2,500 per year per postdoctoral trainee may be requested to

defray the costs of other training-related expenses, such as staff

salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and travel.

The institution may receive up to $125 per month to offset the cost of

tuition, fees, travel, supplies, and other expenses for each short-term

research training position.  Indirect cost allowance based on eight

percent of total allowable direct costs exclusive of tuition, fees,

health insurance, and expenditures for equipment, or actual indirect

costs, whichever is less, may be requested.



APPLICATION PROCEDURES



Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398

(rev. 9/91).  Submission dates for new and competing applications are

January 10, May 10, and September 10, annually.  Application kits are

available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may

be obtained from the Office of Grants Information, Division of Research

Grants, National Institutes of Health, Westwood Building, Room 449,

Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone (301) 435-0714.  The title and number of

this program announcement must be typed in Item 2a on the face page of

the application.



The completed original application and five legible copies must be

delivered to:



Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**



Postdoctoral trainees and fellows supported under the National Research

Service Award Program may be subject to payback provisions.  Details

about the policies and payback provisions governing payback

requirements were published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts,

Vol. 22, No. 27, July 30, 1993.



REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS



Applications submitted in response to this program announcement will be

reviewed in accordance with the usual NIH peer review procedures.  The

following review criteria will be applied:  the research and training

experience and leadership capabilities of the program director; the

qualifications and commitment of the training faculty as measured by

research grant support, publication record, and past training record;

the quality of the applicant pool; the number of predoctoral students

currently receiving training; the design of the training program

including, for applications assigned to the NCHGR, its relevance to the

goals of the Human Genome Program; provisions for guidance and quality

control of the individual trainee's programs; and adequacy of the

resources and environment.  For institutions that are in the process of

developing a genomic science training program, greater weight will be

given to the design of the institution's training program.  For

institutions that are submitting competing renewals, greater weight

will be given to both the past performance of the training program and

the future directions of the training program.  Following assessment of

the quality of the proposed training program and assignment of priority

scores indicative of the merit, the initial review group will evaluate

each application on its (1) plans for attracting and retaining

individuals from underrepresented minority groups and (2) plans for

instructing trainees in the responsible conduct of research.  If an

application is deficient in one of these areas, it may not be funded,

regardless of scientific merit.  Site visits will not be conducted as

part of the review process, except in unusual circumstances.

Therefore, applicants must present a complete and well-justified

written application and not depend on a site visit to amplify the

application.



Subsequent to the initial review, applications will be reviewed by the

appropriate National Advisory Council.  Among the information the

Council will consider in addition to the merit of the training program

is the initial review group's comments on plans for, or experience in,

the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented

minority groups into the training program.



AWARD CRITERIA



For applications assigned to the National Center for Human Genome

Research, the following criteria will be used in making funding

decisions:  quality of the training program as determined by its

potential to meet the short- and long-term goals of the HGP; leadership

capabilities of the program director and the quality of the

participating faculty; commitment of the biology and non-biology

faculty to the training program; and availability of funds.  The NCHGR

understands that it takes time for institutions to develop cooperative

efforts across departmental and scientific discipline lines and this

factor will also be considered when funding decisions are made.



INQUIRIES



Written, telephone, and e-mail inquiries are encouraged.  The

opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential

applicants is welcome.



Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:



Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.

Mapping Technology Branch

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 610

Bethesda, MD  20892

Telephone:  (301) 496-7531

E-mail:  Bettie_Graham@occshost.nlm.nih.gov



For information about PHS grants policy, applicants may contact:



Ms. Jean Cahill

Grants and Contracts Management Branch

National Center for Human Genome Research

Building 38A, Room 613

Bethesda, MD  20892

Telephone:  (301) 402-0733

E-mail:  Jean_Cahill@occshost.nlm.nih.gov



AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS



This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

No. 93.172.  Awards are made under the authority of the Section 487,

Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and administered

under PHS Grants Policies and Title 42 of the Code of Federal

Regulations, Part 66.  This program is not subject to the

intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or

Health Systems Agency review.



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