This Program Announcement expires on January 11, 2005, unless reissued.

MARC UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT TRAINING IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH (U-STAR) PROGRAM

Release Date:  December 6, 2001

PA NUMBER:  PAR-02-033 (Reissued as PAR-07-337)

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Application Receipt Dates:  January 10 and May 10

PURPOSE

This Program Announcement (PAR) replaces PAR-99-150, which was published in 
the NIH Guide, August 19, 1999.

The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Branch of the Division of 
Minority Opportunity in Research (MORE) of the National Institute of General 
Medical Sciences (NIGMS) seeks to increase the number of underrepresented 
minority researchers in biomedical research.  For the purposes of this 
announcement, biomedical research includes such areas as cell biology, 
biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, genetics, etc., and behavioral 
research as well as the more quantitative areas such as mathematics, physics, 
chemistry and computer sciences, necessary to analyze biological phenomena.  
The MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program 
supports institutional training grants for underrepresented minority junior 
and senior honors students in any of the above cited science areas to improve 
their preparation for graduate training in the biomedical/behavioral sciences. 
 In addition, MARC U-STAR grants provide as an allowable cost support to 
improve the research training environment for MARC trainees and pre-MARC 
students (freshmen and sophomores) and science faculty development at MARC-
supported institutions.  Currently, progress in many sub-disciplines in the 
biological sciences (e.g., structural biology, bioinformatics, modeling of 
complex systems, population genetics, and evolution) is dependent on the use 
of information and methodologies from diverse disciplines of science such as 
mathematics, biophysics, computer science and engineering.  Thus, the MARC U-
STAR program specifically encourages the development of pedagogical tools for 
incorporating quantitative concepts, computational skills, and principles of 
modeling complex biological phenomena in pre-MARC and MARC student science 
curricula.  To this end, the MARC U-STAR program will also provide funds for 
the development of needed course materials for the curricular changes 
proposed, as well as for faculty training required for introducing the use of 
such materials in the different science courses.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion 
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national 
activity for setting priority areas.  This Program Announcement, MARC 
Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) Program, is 
related to one or more of these priority areas.  Potential applicants may 
obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at 
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Institutional

Only domestic, non-profit, private or public institutions that offer the 
baccalaureate degree and in which undergraduate student enrollments are drawn 
substantially from ethnic minority groups that are underrepresented in the 
biomedical and behavioral sciences, including mathematics, may apply.  For 
purposes of this announcement, underrepresented minority students are 
individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group that has been 
determined by the grantee institution to be underrepresented in biomedical 
research.  Nationally, individuals who have been found to be underrepresented 
in biomedical research include, but are not limited to: African Americans, 
Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and citizens of the US Pacific Islands. 
 The training program director at the applicant institution will be 
responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to receive National 
Research Service Award (NRSA) support and for the overall direction of the 
program.  Only one grant per eligible institution will be awarded. 

Student

Undergraduate junior and senior honor students majoring in the sciences with 
an expressed interest in a career in biomedical research and intentions to 
pursue graduate education leading to a Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. or other combined 
professional degree/Ph.D. are eligible to participate in the MARC U-STAR 
program.

The individuals to be trained under a MARC U-STAR program must be citizens or 
non-citizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for 
permanent residence at the time of the appointment.  Students with labor 
permits are not eligible for participation in the MARC U-STAR program.

The period of appointment to the MARC U-STAR program is two years at the 
junior/senior level.  U-STAR programs should be designed for 24 months of 
student participation.  Appointments of less than nine months are discouraged 
and require prior approval from the MARC Branch staff.

Although freshmen/sophomore traineeships are not allowed, MARC U-STAR 
applications may include pre-MARC student development activities designed to 
increase student retention and improve the academic preparedness of students 
in the freshman/sophomore years, and/or to identify and prepare students for 
appointment as MARC trainees.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This PA will use the Institutional National Institutes of Health (NIH) NRSA 
T34 award mechanism.  The responsibility for planning, direction, execution 
and evaluation of the proposed project lies solely with the applicant 
institution.  The maximum initial grant period is five years, with opportunity 
for competing renewal at the end of that period assuming this PA is reissued.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Responsible Conduct of Research

Applicants must describe in detail plans for teaching responsible conduct in 
biomedical research to all trainees (mandatory attendance).  The plans must 
provide detailed information on the course format and content, credentials of 
the teaching faculty, materials and methods used for the training, trainee 
attendance, and frequency of instruction.  Applications without plans for 
instruction in the responsible conduct or research will be considered 
incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review. Although NIH 
does not establish specific curricula or formal requirements, U-STAR programs 
are encouraged strongly to consider instruction in the following areas: 
conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling 
misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data 
management.  Within the context of training in scientific integrity it is also 
beneficial to discuss the mutual responsibilities of the institution and the 
students supported by this program. 

During peer review the plans will be judged acceptable or unacceptable 
separately from the overall merit of the training program.  The judgment will 
be based on the appropriateness of the topics, format, participation of the 
faculty, and the frequency and duration of instruction to the level and type 
of training being provided.  The plan will be discussed after the overall 
determination of merit, so that the quality of the plan will not be a factor 
in the determination of the priority score.  Regardless of the priority score, 
applications with unacceptable plans will not be funded until the applicant 
provides a revised, acceptable plan.  Professional staff within the NIGMS will 
judge the acceptability of the revised plan.

The PROGRESS REPORT of competing renewals must include information on the type 
of instruction provided, dates of the training, materials used, teaching 
faculty, names of trainees who took the training, and frequency of the 
training.  This is mandatory for all U-STAR grant applicants. 

Reporting Requirements 

The Application for Continuation of a Grant (PHS 2590, 5/2001 rev.) must be 
submitted to, and be approved by, NIH to noncompetitively fund each additional 
budget period within a previously approved project period.  (Reference: NIH 
Grants Policy Statement at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2001/index.htm.)

The annual progress report must explain how the proposed program objectives 
are being fulfilled, describe the major accomplishments of the U-STAR program, 
and provide the results of the ongoing program evaluation. In addition, the 
progress report should: 1) list the trainees supported, 2) list those trainees 
who participated in extramural research experiences, 3) describe the 
enrichment and/or development activities provided and the target students who 
participated in them, 4) list the MARC trainees who graduated, 5) list 
separately former MARC trainees who are enrolled/accepted in Ph.D., 
M.D./Ph.D., M.S., M.D. programs, and 6) list former MARC trainees who are in 
post-baccalaureate programs and those who are working as teachers. 

TRAINING OBJECTIVES

The MARC U-STAR program objectives have been established to address the 
current deficiency of and the anticipated crisis regarding the paucity of 
minority students earning degrees in biomedical sciences, including 
mathematics and computer science.  These objectives are to: 

1) Increase the number of competitively trained underrepresented minority 
students who enroll in programs leading to the Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. or any other 
combined professional degree/Ph.D.

2) Strengthen the science course curriculum and research training environment 
at minority serving institutions. 

The MARC Branch recognizes that there are differences in institutional 
environments and institutional missions.  Therefore, each institution is 
encouraged to design a research training program that reflects its mission, 
physical and personnel resources, and student population and that provides 
evidence of the benefits of the U-STAR program on the recruitment, retention, 
graduation rates, and career outcomes of its science students.  In addition 
and more importantly, institutions are expected to set their own MARC program 
goals and measurable objectives and describe the procedures and baseline data 
that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed research 
training activities (see below). 

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of current biomedical and behavioral 
research, the inclusion of honors underrepresented minority students from the 
various science departments (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, 
mathematics, computer science, environmental science, etc.) is strongly 
encouraged and expected.  The MARC curriculum to be offered to the MARC U-STAR 
trainees and pre-MARC students must include contemporary knowledge in the 
different scientific fields as well as a solid foundation of the quantitative 
sciences. 

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS 

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research 
projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating 
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or 
the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization 
Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing clinical research should read the AMENDMENT "NIH 
Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical 
Research - Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts on October 9, 2001 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html), 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm.  
The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of 
clinical research, updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the 
new OMB standards, clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III 
clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398, and updated roles and 
responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy 
continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable, and 
b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects" research, conducted or supported by 
the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1), competitive renewal (Type 2) and 
supplemental (Type 3) applications submitted for receipt dates after October 
1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 
address:  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.

Investigators may also obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.

REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS

NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants 
for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at the following website: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access to an Internet site.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a 
project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited 
publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has 
the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. 
 It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this 
amendment.  NIH has provided guidance at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm.

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public archive, 
which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an 
indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should include a 
description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information 
about this in the budget justification section of the application. In 
addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent 
statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider 
use of data collected under this award.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html must be used in 
applying for these grants. This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, 
Telephone 301/435-0714, Email:  GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Modular and Just-in-Time procedures do not apply to MARC U-STAR applications.

Applicants planning to submit a new (type 1) MARC U-STAR application, 
competing continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended/revised 
version of the preceding grant application types requesting $500,000 or more 
in direct costs for any year are advised that he or she must contact NIGMS 
program staff before submitting the application, i.e. as plans for the 
training grant application are being developed.  Add 6 weeks in advance for 
greater than $500,000.  Furthermore, the applicant must obtain agreement from 
NIGMS program staff that the institute will accept the application for 
consideration for award.  Finally, the applicant must identify, in a cover 
letter sent with the application, the staff member of NIGMS who agreed to 
accept assignment of the application.  

Applicants should request additional instructions for new and competing MARC-U 
STAR applications by calling (301) 594-3900, or writing to the MARC Branch 
Office, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of 
Health, 45 Center Drive MSC-6200, Natcher Building, Room 2AS.37, Bethesda, 
Maryland 20892-6200.  The additional instructions contain information and 
suggestions on the format and content of applications.

The title, MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) 
Program, and number of this PA must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the YES box must be marked.  

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
checklist, and three photocopies of the signed application in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040-MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20872-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and 
appendix materials must be sent to:

Chief
Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 1AS.13, MSC 6200
Bethesda,  MD  20892-6200 

Application receipt dates are January 10 and May 10 for funding on June 1 of 
the following year.

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

All MARC U-STAR training grant applications are expected to present the 
institutional program"s measurable goals and objectives, criteria for trainee 
recruitment and selection, a detailed explanation of the training program and 
its anticipated benefits to minority undergraduate science students, and 
procedures for evaluation of the quality and success of the training effort.  
The application should also provide information on the qualifications of the 
proposed faculty participants, including their experience as teachers, mentors 
and/or their current research programs and support, depending of their role in 
the proposed program.  Applicants must also describe their program plans to 
provide instruction in the responsible conduct of scientific research (see 
Special Requirements above).

Allowable Costs

The requested budget may include costs for stipends, tuition, and fees for 
trainees, limited travel for trainees and faculty, and salary support for 
faculty involved in MARC/pre-MARC training activities and curriculum 
improvement activities.  In addition, funds may be provided for activities 
required to accomplish curricular improvements aimed at introducing 
quantitative concepts into biological/behavioral sciences, for the development 
of course materials for the quantitatively-oriented curriculum, for an 
information technology specialist (up to $40,000/year in direct costs), for 
program evaluation, and for the faculty training required for introducing the 
use of such materials in the different science courses.

Funds for trainee-related costs such as supplies and equipment essential for 
teaching laboratory courses and for research training or faculty costs for 
enhancing their teaching/pedagogical skills may be requested with strong 
justification.

Stipend:  The MARC U-STAR award provides an annual stipend of $9,732 to help 
defray the costs of the trainee"s living expenses. It is not provided as a 
condition of employment with either the Federal Government or the awardee 
institution.  No departure from the established NRSA stipend schedule may be 
negotiated by the institution with the trainee.

Stipend Supplementation:  An institution is permitted to provide funds to a 
MARC trainee in addition to the stipend paid by the NIH.  Such additional 
amounts may be in the form of augmented stipends (supplementation) or 
compensation for services.  Supplementation, when provided, must not obligate 
the fellow in any way.  However, no Federal funds may be used for 
supplementation.

Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation for 
services interfere with, detract from, or prolong the fellow"s approved NRSA 
training program.

Concurrent Awards:  A MARC traineeship may not be held concurrently with 
another  Federally sponsored traineeship or a similar training award that 
provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.  However, 
an individual may accept concurrent educational benefits from the Department 
of Veterans" Affairs (e.g., G.I. Bill) and Federal loans.

Tuition and Fees:  Self-only or family medical insurance, for the individual 
in training, are allowable trainee costs as well as other institutional fees 
if such charges are required of all persons in a similar training status at 
the institution, without regard to their source of support.  

Travel:  Trainee travel, including attendance at scientific meetings that the 
institution determines is necessary to the individual"s research training, is 
an allowable expense.  Faculty travel is also allowable when directly related 
to the research training of MARC students, however, a strong justification 
must be provided in the application.  In addition, support for trainee travel 
to a summer research training experience away from the applicant institution 
is permitted. No foreign travel is allowed. 

Training-Related Expenses:  Research training supplies up to $1,500 per 
student may be requested.  Funds may also be requested for small equipment if 
it is essential for the training of the pre-MARC and/or MARC students.  These 
expenses must be clearly explained and strongly justified.

Faculty-Related Costs:  MARC faculty-related costs to attend workshops or to 
take courses to enhance their pedagogical and laboratory skills may be 
requested if these activities are intended to improve the science curriculum 
or the research training environment at the institution.

Administration and Evaluation Costs:  Administration costs related to a 
program director"s percent time and effort, and costs for a program assistant 
may be requested.  Costs related to an institution"s evaluation of its MARC 
program also may be requested.

Student Development Activities:  Costs related to pre-MARC student development 
activities to aid freshmen and sophomores may be requested and should be 
strongly justified.  However, the MARC U-STAR program will NOT provide 
tuition, stipends, and student travel for freshmen and sophomores.  Funds 
provided for pre-MARC student development activities MAY NOT in any 
circumstance be used to compensate freshman and sophomore students in any 
form.

Curriculum Enhancement Activities:  Costs related to the development of 
pedagogical tools/course materials such as the incorporation of quantitative 
concepts, computational skills, and principles of modeling complex biological 
phenomena in the pre-MARC and MARC student science curriculum may be requested 
and must be clearly explained and justified.  Funds may be requested also for 
faculty training in the use of new teaching tools/development of materials to 
enhance the science curriculum (see salary support below). 

Salary Support:  Faculty members who are directly involved in on-campus 
laboratory research training experiences of MARC trainees may request percent 
effort if this responsibility is not part of their routine academic position 
duties.  Maximum allowable limits for on-campus research preceptors are 8% 
percent per MARC trainee, up to a maximum of 15% for more than one trainee.  
Percent effort for faculty training required for the proposed curricular 
improvements may also be requested with strong justification.  Salary support 
for an information technology specialist (up to $40,000/year) who will assist 
faculty with the use of new Internet based/long distance teaching technologies 
and/or with training of students in the use of these technologies may be 
requested.  All salaries requested must be strongly justified.  The MARC U-
STAR program will NOT provide research support or research salary for faculty 
research.

Facilities and Administration Allowance:  A facilities and administration 
(indirect cost) allowance based on eight percent of total allowable direct 
costs will be provided.  Total allowable direct costs exclude tuition and 
equipment.

Tax Liability  

Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of all 
scholarships and fellowships.  Under that section, non-degree candidates are 
required to report all stipends, and any monies paid on their behalf for 
course tuition and fees required for attendance as gross income.  Degree 
candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amounts used 
for tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment 
required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational institution.

The taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship between 
NRSA trainees and institutions.  NRSA stipends are not considered salaries.  
In addition, trainees supported under the NRSA are not considered to be in an 
employee-employer relationship with the NIH or the awardee institution.

It must be emphasized that the interpretation and implementation of the tax 
laws are the domain of the Internal Revenue Service and the courts.  PHS takes 
no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does 
not have the authority to dispense tax advice.  Individuals should consult 
their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situations 
and for information on the proper steps to be taken regarding their tax 
obligations.

PHS 398 Narrative

In the BACKGROUND and SIGNIFICANCE section of the narrative, applicants should 
describe the institution and define the nature and extent of underrepresented 
minority student participation in the biomedical sciences at the institution. 
Applicants should also explain the rationale for having a MARC U-STAR program 
and what that program is expected to accomplish.  This discussion should 
present the institutional vision of the program, its overall goals and 
objectives, and its value added/anticipated institutional impact on academic 
preparedness and research training of students in the sciences. Institutional 
data to be provided for the past five years as part of the institutional 
setting should include, but not be limited to: 1) total number of 
underrepresented minority students in the participating science departments, 
2) number of underrepresented minority honors students in the participating 
departments, 3) number of underrepresented minority honors junior/senior 
students, 4) number underrepresented minority students graduating per year, 5) 
number of underrepresented minority students who enroll in Ph.D. programs, 6) 
number of underrepresented students enrolled in professional degree programs, 
and 7) number of underrepresented minority students in post-baccalaureate 
programs.

If an applicant institution has had previous support for a MARC undergraduate 
training program, under a section entitled PROGRESS REPORT the applicant 
should address the coherence and success of that program in sending 
competitively trained students on to graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. or 
combined professional degree/Ph.D.  In addition, the applicant should provide 
in tabular form: 1) the current status of all past and/or current trainees, 
and 2) the number of trainees supported per year, number of trainees 
graduating per year, number of trainees enrolled in Ph.D. programs, M.D./Ph.D. 
programs, professional schools, working as teachers and in post-baccalaureate 
programs.  The progress report of applicants with U-STAR programs should also 
describe the results of the program evaluation indicating which goals and 
objectives were achieved and which activities were identified as most 
effective.

Under a separate heading, GOALS AND SPECIFIC MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES, applicants 
should clearly state the goals and specific measurable objectives of the 
institution"s proposed program and explain the rationale for their selection. 
 In addition, for each specific measurable objective, applicants should 
provide baseline data as well as anticipated indicators of success that will 
demonstrate whether the proposed program activities are achieving the expected 
results.

In a section labeled TRAINING ACTIVITIES, applicants should describe their 
proposed MARC U-STAR program in detail by explaining the choice of activities 
that will allow the fulfillment of their institutional goals and specific 
objectives.  This discussion should include, but not be limited to, an 
explanation of how their proposed pre-MARC/MARC U-STAR program activities 
will: 1) better prepare students academically for graduate school and increase 
the flow of their MARC trainee graduates to Ph.D. programs, and 2) 
significantly strengthen the institution"s capability for retaining, training, 
and graduating students with a bachelor"s degree in the sciences.  In 
addition, the applicant should provide in this section: 1) a description of 
how students will be selected, 2) credentials of faculty involved in 
teaching/curricular activities and/or on-campus research experiences, if 
applicable, and 3) a description of the specific arrangements for any 
extramural research training experiences for MARC trainees.  Letters of 
support from the extramural sites proposed should be included at the end of 
the narrative section of the application.

Applicants requesting funds for freshmen/sophomore student development or 
curriculum improvement activities should include these in sections labeled 
PRE-MARC or CURRICULUM IMPROVEMENT PLAN.  These sections should include but 
not be limited to: 1) the rationale for the specific goals and objectives for 
such activities, 2) an explanation of why such activities are appropriate for 
the overall goals of the institution"s MARC U-STAR program, 3) an explanation 
of who the participating faculty/target student population will be, 4) a 
description of the proposed curricular and/or pre-MARC activities as well as 
of the teaching materials/methods to be developed/used for those, 5) the 
rationale for the selection of faculty to be trained in the use of innovative 
curricular improvements, if applicable, and an explanation of the nature of 
the faculty training and of the impact of this training on the overall 
institutional research training environment, and 6) an explanation of how the 
effectiveness of each one of the activities will be assessed. 

Applicant institutions with other programs for supporting minority student 
development and research training, such as a Minority Biomedical Research 
Support grant, Bridges to the Future grants, NRSA training grants, National 
Science Foundation grants or Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants, should 
define the relationship between those programs and the MARC U-STAR program.  
The application should clearly delineate the manner in which MARC U-STAR 
trainees will interact with the programs supported by these other sources.

Under a separate heading, EVALUATION, the applicant should describe the 
institution"s plans for assessing its proposed program, the kind of questions 
that will be addressed by the evaluation instruments, and the methods that 
will be used for analyzing the data.  This evaluation plan should include 
metrics, with each component linked to a specific goal and measurable 
objective of the institution"s training program.  Tracking of student 
participants in the institution"s program must extend to determining the 
careers/postgraduate school outcomes of the MARC U-STAR trainees.  In this 
regard, an institution"s track record under the former MARC Honors 
Undergraduate Research Training program, while important, is to be considered 
a baseline from which the institution now proposes to grow towards its MARC U-
STAR stated specific measurable goals and objectives.

Under RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH PLAN, every MARC U-STAR application 
should explain in detail the kind of the responsible conduct of research 
training that the MARC trainees will receive.  The explanation should include 
names and credentials of the trainers, frequency of the training, list of 
topics to be covered, and format and materials to be used (see Special 
Requirements above).

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by the NIGMS.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications 
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for 
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by 
the NIGMS in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the 
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique, and 
receive a second level review by the National Institute of General Medical 
Sciences Advisory Council.

Review Criteria

o Reasonableness and merit of the program goals and measurable objectives of 
the proposed pre-MARC and MARC training activities, and/or the innovative 
curricular enhancement activities.

o Record of the MARC/pre-MARC undergraduate training program in retaining and 
graduating underrepresented minority students with bachelor degrees in the 
sciences.

o Past training record of the MARC undergraduate student training program as 
determined by the success of former trainees in being accepted/enrolled in 
Ph.D. degree-granting programs and eventually graduating with Ph.D. degrees or 
combined professional degree/Ph.D.

o Rationale for the procedures to be used to select the targeted student 
population and evidence of an adequate student pool.

o Quality of the proposed on-campus and/or off-campus research experiences.

o Quality and experience of the training faculty as teachers, mentors, and/or 
investigators, depending on their roles in the proposed program.

o Institutional training environment, including evidence of institutional 
commitment.  If on-campus research experiences are proposed, the adequacy and 
availability of research resources and the research environment.

o Quality and merit of the faculty training activities if proposed as part of 
the quantitative enhancement of the science curriculum and credentials of the 
faculty selected to participate in those activities.

o Merit and reasonableness of the proposed evaluation plan to assess the 
program"s activities.

o Credentials of the Program Director and quality of the program 
administration.

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o The adequacy and appropriateness of the plan for training in responsible 
conduct of research.

o The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed activities.

o The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by any activity 
proposed in the application.

AWARD CRITERIA

Award decisions will be based on the merit of the application, the applicant"s 
ability to meet the goals and objectives of this PA, and an acceptable plan 
for the training in responsible conduct of research.  Awards are made only to 
institutions with financial management systems and management capabilities 
that are acceptable under NIH policy.  Awards will be administered under the 
NIH Grants Policy Statement.

INQUIRIES

Written and telephone inquiries concerning this PA are encouraged.  The 
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is 
welcomed.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Adolphus P. Toliver, Ph.D.
Chief, MARC Program Branch
Division of Minority Opportunities in Research
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
Email:  tolivera@nigms.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:  

Ms. Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-5132
FAX:  (301) 480-3423
Email:  HollandA@nigms.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATION 

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, 
Medical Library Assistance, 13.879.  Grants will be awarded under the 
authority of the Public Health Service Act, Sections 472 and 487 (42 USC 286b-
3) and administered under PHS grant policies and Federal Regulations, most 
specifically at 42 CFR Parts 52 and 66 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is 
not subject to review by a Health Systems Agency nor to the requirements of 
OMB Circular A-95.  

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a 
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In 
addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking 
in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which 
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early 
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent 
with PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the 
American people.



Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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and Human Services (HHS)
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