Part I Overview Information


Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.nih.gov/)

Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) (http://www.nigms.nih.gov/)
National Center for Minority Health Disparities (NCMHD) (http://www.ncmhd.nih.gov)

Title:  Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (R25)

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of PAR-07-039, which was previously released November 8, 2006

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PAR-07-411

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.859

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: July 23, 2007
Opening Date:  August 21, 2007 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not required
NOTE: On time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization). 
Application Submission/Receipt Date(s):  September 18, 2007; January 18, 2008; September 18, 2008; January 20, 2009 (New Date January 22, 2009 per NOT-GM-08-122); September 18, 2009; January 20, 2010  
Peer Review Date(s):
February-March for September submissions, and June-July for January submissions
Council Review Date(s): May for September submissions and October for January submissions
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): July 1 for September submissions  and December 1 for January submissions
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: January 21, 2010


Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicits Research Education (R25) grant applications to facilitate the transfer and graduation of students of diverse backgrounds from associate to baccalaureate degree-granting institutions. The program promotes inter-institutional partnerships to improve the quality and quantity of students from underrepresented groups and or health disparities populations being trained as the next generation of biomedical and behavioral research scientists.

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism of Support
2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants

    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
          1. Letter of Intent
    B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH
    C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
2. Review and Selection Process
    A. Additional Review Criteria
    B. Additional Review Considerations
    C. Sharing Research Data
    D. Sharing Research Resources
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)

2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


Research Objectives

The Bridges to the Future Program (Bridges to Baccalaureate and Bridges to Doctorate) was created in response to Public Law 106-525 which recognized a national need for increasing the number of well-trained minority scientists in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioral and health services research. This statute also recognized that the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women in the scientific, technological and engineering workforce will enable the nation to better improve the health of the people of the United States and eliminate health disparities in the nation. To accomplish these goals, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) (http://www.nigms.nih.gov/) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) (http://www.ncmhd.nih.gov/) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) jointly provide funding opportunities under the Bridges to the Future Program to: a) increase the transfer rates of students from targeted groups/populations from associate to baccalaureate degree-granting institutions and from master’s to doctoral degree-granting institutions; and b) increase the graduation rates of these transfer students with baccalaureate and Ph.D. degrees, respectively, in biomedical and behavioral sciences. The Bridges to the Future Program anticipates that an increase in transfer and graduation rates of students from targeted groups/populations will strengthen the supply of biomedical and behavioral science graduates at key points of the educational pathway, a necessary first step in increasing diversity in professional personnel investigating health disparities.

To facilitate the transfer and graduation of students, the Bridges to Baccalaureate Program promotes inter-institutional partnerships/consortia between community colleges or other two-year post-secondary educational institutions granting the associate degree and colleges or universities that grant baccalaureate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. The program expects that the joint efforts of baccalaureate degree-granting and associate degree-granting institutions will foster the development of a well-integrated institutional program that will provide students from targeted groups/populations with the necessary academic preparation and skills to enable their transition and successful completion of the baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Since an effective partnership/consortium requires considerable effort and resources, the proposed partnership/consortium should be composed of no more than four institutions, unless strongly justified otherwise, including the applicant institution. An eligible institution may participate in only one Bridges to the Baccalaureate partnership/consortium.

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program recognizes that students enrolled at community colleges come from diverse family educational backgrounds. It is possible that some of the students are not quite familiar with the expectations of college, including the type of thinking and learning required for success in college courses. It has been shown, however, that participation in activities designed to enhance learning and critical thinking resulted in improved student performance in reading and writing, improved student attitudes toward learning, and contributed to higher retention and GPAs (Boyland H. R., (2002) What Works: Research-Based Best Practices in Developmental Education, National Center for Developmental Education).

Bridges applications are institutional in nature and therefore they must reflect the plans and priorities of the participating institutions as well as the collective plans and priorities of the partnerships/consortia. Collaborative agreements should be designed to best fit the needs and situations of the institutions involved. The challenge for the participating partners is to create a partnership program, or to enhance an existing program, that will focus attention and adequate resources on the institution(s) granting associate degrees and enhance competitiveness of its (their) science graduates and science programs. An analysis of successful science programs by Jolly, Campbell, and Perlman entitled “Engagement, Capacity and Continuity: A Trilogy for Student Success” (GE Foundation, September 2004) concluded that three factors must be present for students to succeed in the sciences and be able to continue in the education pipeline. These factors are: 1) student engagement in the sciences, i.e., awareness, interest and motivation; 2) knowledge and skills needed to advance to increasingly more rigorous content in the sciences and quantitative disciplines; and 3) presence of a well-designed system where the skills, knowledge and information that students need to move to more advanced levels are provided at each earlier, less advanced level. These three factors are interdependent and each is necessary. No individual factor is sufficient to ensure student persistence and success. Thus, successful programs select and employ well-integrated strategies, rooted in education research, that provide students what they need to progress to the next stage of the science education pathway.

Applications must clearly describe the pool of targeted students at each associate degree-granting institution in the consortium. Applications must also indicate the number of targeted students from each two-year institution and the total number of targeted students who would participate in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program during the academic year and summer. NIH anticipates that a total of 15 -20 Bridges students will participate in the student development activities, including summer research internships, each year and that a minimum of four Bridges students from each two-year institution will participate in the program to provide a critical mass.

The Bridges to Baccalaureate Program expects that in five years: a) the overall institutional transfer rate of students from targeted groups/populations from the participating associate degree-granting institution(s) to baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical/behavioral sciences will increase by 50%; b) at least 70% of the Bridges students, upon or before graduation from the associate degree program, will transfer to baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical/behavioral sciences; and c) at least 75% of the transferring Bridges students will successfully complete their bachelor’s degrees in biomedical/behavioral sciences. Institutions/consortia that fail to demonstrate a substantial progress towards achieving these goals during the five-year grant period may not be allowed to submit a competing renewal application.

The Bridges to Baccalaureate Program recognizes the heterogeneity in institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each partnership/consortium must: 1) provide the baseline data on transfer and subsequent graduation of its students in biomedical and behavioral sciences; 2) establish its own goals and specific measurable objectives within the expectations set by the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program for institutional outcomes; 3) present an integrated plan of activities that would move the institution from baseline to the program’s expectations; and 4) provide an evaluation plan that is designed to provide information useful to the Program Director and the participating institutions for improving the program, and for institutionalizing the most effective activities supported by the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. Applications submitted without any of this information will be considered non-responsive to this funding opportunity.

The specific measurable intermediate-stage objectives (milestones) are expected to be described for the total student population (Bridges and non-Bridges students) in biomedical/behavioral sciences at the participating two-year institutions. These may include, but are not limited to: improvement of students’ retention rate; improvement in the writing and presentation skills of students; improvement of students’ quantitative skills and academic achievement, including GPA; and increase in the number of students transferring to and successfully completing the baccalaureate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences. The outcome measures of the program and its impact on the participating institutions should be presented relative to baseline data.

Bridges to the Baccalaureate is an institutional program that provides support for student, faculty and institutional development activities. The types of activities proposed to achieve the objectives of the program are left entirely to the choice of the applicant institutions but must be consonant with the goals of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. Examples of developmental activities may include, but are not limited to:

The proposed research education program may complement other, ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant and its partner institutions, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. The R25 is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and may not be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.

Applicants should also note that this funding opportunity is not designed to provide financial aid for students and those applications principally for financial aid, without a well thought-out institutional program, will be considered non-responsive to this funding opportunity.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This FOA will use the NIH Research Education Grant (R25) award mechanism. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.  

This FOA uses just-in-time concepts. It also uses the non-modular budget format.  Applicants must complete and submit budget requests using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) Budget Component found in the application package for this FOA. 

Research education grant support is renewable. It is strongly recommended that applicants contact the scientific/research contact listed in Section VII concerning the submission of a competing renewal (formerly “competing continuation”) application.  Up to two resubmissions (formerly “revisions/amendments”) of a previously reviewed research education grant application may be submitted.  See NOT-OD-07-015, November 13, 2006.  

2. Funds Available

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research education program will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the NIGMS and NCMHD provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

The total amount to be awarded is approximately $12.0 million (total costs) per year for new and renewal applications for the Bridges to the Future (Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate) Programs. The anticipated number of new and renewal Bridges to the Baccalaureate awards is six to nine per year.

The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed 5 years. The size of award will vary with the scope of the research education program proposed.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this funding opportunity announcement. 

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs requested by consortium participants, if applicable, are not included in the direct cost limitation.  See NOT-OD-05-004.  

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit an application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:  

A Tribally Controlled College/University or a community college that has a substantial enrollment of associate degree students in biomedical/behavioral sciences, but also offers a baccalaureate program in one or two unrelated disciplines, is eligible to apply as an applicant institution. However, institutions offering both associate and baccalaureate degrees may not form partnerships within their own institution for graduates of their own associate degree programs to enter their own baccalaureate programs, even if a student is moving to another department, school, or college. The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN institutions.

Each proposed Bridges to the Baccalaureate program must consist of a partnership/consortium composed of no more than four institutions (unless strongly justified otherwise), including the applicant institution. One must be an institution that offers the associate degree as the only undergraduate degree in the biomedical and behavioral sciences within the participating departments.  Another institution must be a college or university granting the baccalaureate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences. An applicant/partner institution may participate in only one Bridges to the Baccalaureate partnership.

The bachelor’s degree-granting institution(s) in the consortium must have strong science curricula, and a track record of enrolling, retaining and graduating students who pursue advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral research fields.

In the Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant application only one of the participating institutions may be designated as the APPLICANT institution. The applicant institution is responsible for financial matters in grant management and should be experienced in, and have the infrastructure for, managing NIH grants.  This institution must name the Program Director and submit the application. The other institutions in the consortium must each name one individual as the Program Coordinator.

Institutions that submit applications in response to this FOA may submit separate applications for support of a Bridges to the Doctorate Program (PAR-07-410), if they meet the eligibility requirements. 

Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply in response to this FOA.

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research education program as the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.  The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program, submitting annual reports as required. (See Section VI.3., “Reporting.”)

More than one PI, or multiple PIs, may be designated on the application. Additional information on the implementation plans and policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PI on individual research awards can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi.

The Principal Investigator, referred to as the Program Director (PD), should be a full-time faculty (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) with research, teaching, student counseling and/or academic administrative experience and an interest in promoting biomedical and behavioral science education among students from targeted groups/populations.

The PD is responsible for the administration and management of the overall institutional program and will serve as a liaison between the applicant institution and NIH.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Sponsoring Institutions: The participating institutions in the consortium must assure support for the proposed research education project. Appropriate institutional commitment to the project includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education project.

Bridges Student Participants: Research education programs developed under this initiative must target students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation and/or populations disproportionately affected by health disparities (targeted groups/populations). Nationally, the targeted groups/populations include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (including Alaska Natives), Natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and/or rural Appalachians.

Bridges students are those students who will receive support in the form of salaries/wages under this program. These students must belong to the targeted groups/populations, must be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national or permanent resident and must be matriculated full-time in associate degree programs in biomedical or behavioral science fields at the partner community college. (A non-citizen national is a person who, although not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the U.S. This is generally a person born in a land that is not a state but that is under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration -- for example, American Samoa.)  An individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence must possess an alien registration receipt card (I-551) prior to appointment to the Bridges grant. Individuals on temporary visas, those seeking asylum, or refugees are not eligible for support from the Bridges Program.

It is the responsibility of the applicant institution to establish the qualifications of students prior to their participation in the Bridges Program.

Applicants are required to include a plan for Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research, an evaluation plan, and partnership/consortium agreements (see Section IV.6.5).  Applications submitted without these sections may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PD/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant institution/organization can submit an electronic application, as follows:

1) Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Started

2) Organizational/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer-reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.

Several of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.

For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo: Telephone 301-435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF).

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. There are fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components that, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R&R) application is comprised of data arranged in separate components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY will include all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA will include the following components:

Required Components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person
Research & Related Budget
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan
PHS398 Checklist

Optional Components:
PHS398 Cover Letter File
Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

Research Education Program

While the proposed research education program may complement other, ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support.

Allowable Costs 

Allowable costs must be consistent with NIH policy and be reasonable, allocable, well documented and fully justified for the research education program proposed in the application. Grant funds may not be used to supplant funds otherwise available at the applicant institution.

Personnel: Individuals participating in the design and implementation of the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program.  These expenses must be itemized in Sections A and B, as appropriate, of the Research & Related Budget.  Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. (If mentoring interactions and other activities with students/participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then mentoring and other interactions with students/participants are non-reimbursable from grant funds). Limited administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when specifically identified and justified.  

Salary support for the PD to administer the program is limited to a maximum of 2.4 person months (i.e., 20% on a 12-month basis) and for a program coordinator at the partnering institutions should not exceed 1.8 person months (i.e., 15% on a 12-month basis).

Other Program-Related Expenses: Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed research education program and must not duplicate items generally available for educational programs at the applicant institution. These expenses must be itemized, as appropriate, in Sections C. (Equipment), D. (Travel), and F. (Other Direct Costs) of the Research & Related Budget.

The costs (academic year or summer) for the baccalaureate degree-granting institution faculty participating in the program must be reasonable, well documented, and fully justified and commensurate with the scope of the proposed program. Similarly, the costs (academic year or summer) for associate degree-granting institution faculty for developing or implementing special academic developmental activities must be reasonable, well documented, and fully justified and commensurate with the scope of the proposed program.

Cost of consultants for evaluation of the program is allowed; however, if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium, the cost must be included in the category of key personnel salary and listed as person months.

Cost of consultants to present research career seminars at the two-year institution(s) and those who are specialists in developing courses, curricula and programs to prepare students from targeted groups/populations for careers in research may also be included, but these costs should be reasonable and well justified.

Limited tuition costs of participating faculty (from the two-year institution) to take one advanced course per year at the four-year partner institution is allowed, provided the course is critical to the development of a similar course that is part of the proposed curriculum development plan at the community college.

Costs of advising, counseling and tutoring of transfer students at the baccalaureate institution are allowed if by other than institutional faculty, but these costs must be reasonable, well documented, and fully justified and commensurate with the scope of the proposed program. Furthermore, a plan should be provided to institutionalize such support by the end of the project period (See Background and Significance under Section IV.6.5).

Travel expenses are allowed for the PD and program coordinator(s) to attend NIGMS-organized Bridges PD meetings, and should be included every other year. The Bridges PD meeting is held biennially in conjunction with the MORE PD meeting. Travel costs for faculty research mentors are limited to attending national scientific meetings if the faculty member is accompanying Bridges students who are presenting at the meeting. Travel costs for the participating faculty at the community colleges are limited to attending domestic scientific conferences and workshops that are directly relevant to curriculum development by the participating faculty.

Small pieces of equipment are allowed, but these must be critical for introducing research concepts into the curriculum (see for example, http://www.nigms.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/4BE54B5B-AAD7-4856-9FDF-70E3DBE7023F/0/SnellmanReprint.pdf, and http://www.lifescied.org/cgi/content/full/5/2/175) or to teach a research skills course. Equipment costs are limited to a maximum of $25,000 per project period.

Participant Costs: Participants are those individuals who benefit from the proposed research education program.  Participant costs must be justified as specifically required for the proposed research education program.  Participant costs must be itemized in Section B (Other Personnel) of the Research & Related Budget.

Applications must clearly indicate the number of associate degree students from each participating two-year institution and the total number of associate degree students who would receive support as Bridges students during the academic year and summer. Salary support for Bridges students participating in research skills development activities (such as summer research internships, etc.) that are not part of their graduation requirements is allowed at a level comparable to that of other students employed in similar activities.

This support in the form of salary/wages is limited to Bridges students at the associate degree-granting institution(s). Students may be supported on Bridges to Baccalaureate funding for up to two years provided their progress towards the associate degree is satisfactory. In order for the Bridges students to receive this compensation, the following conditions must be met:

Salary support for Bridges students should be requested at an hourly rate based on the prevailing scale at the institution with a maximum of no more than $12/hr. Bridges students may be supported for up to 10 hours a week during the academic year for activities, such as working as research assistant in the laboratory of a researcher at the baccalaureate degree-granting partner institution and participating in training, such as a techniques or research fundamentals workshop, and 40 hours a week during summer research internship at the participating baccalaureate institution. Students may not be paid for time taken for courses in summer.

Research supplies for Bridges students (not to exceed $1,000/student/year) may be requested. Applicants may also request support for travel of Bridges students to scientific conferences to present scientific papers. Travel (mileage) expenses are also allowed for Bridges students to participate in special academic development activities (e.g., serve as laboratory assistant) if the distance between the community college and the partner baccalaureate institution is more than 50 miles (round-trip).  

Institutional Commitment: Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is strongly encouraged. The application must include a letter signed by the appropriate institutional officials agreeing to: a) provide the data on transfer and subsequent graduation of its students in biomedical and behavioral sciences; b) track Bridges students over a ten-year period as they progress through the pipeline; and c) provide the data on transfer, and bachelor’s degree completion for Bridges and non-Bridges students at the partner institutions.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs: F&A costs for the applicant organization and consortium participants will be reimbursed at 8 percent of modified total direct costs.   

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date:  August 21, 2007 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not required
Application
Submission/Receipt Date(s): September 18, 2007; January 18, 2008; September 18, 2008; January 20, 2009; September 18, 2009; January 20, 2010  
Peer Review Date(s):
February-March for September submissions, and June-July  for January submissions
Council Review Date(s): May for September submissions and October for January submissions
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s):
July 1 for Sepbember submissions  and December 1 for January submissions
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.

3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the NIH

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/Apply and follow steps 1-4. Note:  Applications must only be submitted electronically.  PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. 

3.C. Application Processing

Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application submission/receipt date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the receipt date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be transferred from Grants.gov to the NIH Electronic Research Administration process for validation. 

Once an application package has been successfully submitted through Grants.gov, any errors have been addressed, and the assembled application has been created in the eRA Commons, the PD/PI and the Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO) have two business days to view the application image.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons. 

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an “Introduction” addressing the previous critique. Note such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF424 (R&R).

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Please note that Bridges to the Baccalaureate applications must present an integrated set of student development activities, and therefore a single consolidated budget is required. Each item in the budget must be clearly justified. 

Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant awards include some restrictions as to how the funds may be used. The following account summarizes the non-allowable costs under this program.

Unallowable Costs include:

Any salary support or other costs for students who are not from target groups/populations, students who are not matriculated full-time at the partner associate degree-granting institution(s), or for non-US citizens or non-US nationals.

Salary support for students who have completed the associate degree and enter the baccalaureate program at a partner or non-partner institution.

Housing, food, books, recruitment costs, expenses to pay students to participate in a program activity (with the exception of research internship or research techniques/research fundamentals workshop), incentives to encourage or motivate students (such as laptop computers, calculators, etc.), internet subscriptions.

Student tuition.

Faculty salary/compensation for mentoring/advising.

Faculty salary to supplement the actual academic-year salary or increase the base by which the academic year salary is calculated/established.

Foreign Travel

Alterations and renovations

Other costs prohibited by OMB Circular A-21. See: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a021/a021.html.

Pre-award costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  

6. Other Submission Requirements

The NIH requires the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component. The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”  

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF) are to be followed, with the following requirements for R25 applications:

Appendix Materials

NIH has published new limitations on grant application appendix materials to encourage applications to be as concise as possible while containing the information needed for expert scientific review. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-018.html.

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan component. An application that does not observe the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.

Note: While each section of the PHS398 Research Plan component needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan component as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to monitor better formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.  

Supplementary Research Education Program Application Instructions

Applicants should use the following guidance, in addition to the instructions accompanying the SF 424 (R&R) form.  Applications that do not conform to the specific instructions detailed below will be returned.  

1. SF 424 Research & Related Project/Performance Site Location(s): Include collaborating sites, if appropriate.

2.  SF 424 Research & Related Other Project Information, Item 9 (Facilities & Other Resources):  Describe the educational environment of the applicant and partner institutions, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program.  List all thematically related sources of support for research training and education following the format for Current and Pending Support.

3.  SF 424 Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile: Key Personnel must include the PD/PI as well as any other key persons (such as those involved in the development, implementing, directing, monitoring, evaluating, etc., of the program, and who are integral to the proposed research education program) participating in the research education program. The biographical sketch for each key person, including the consultant(s), should include information on the other student development projects that the person is working on or has worked on that are relevant to the proposed research education program. The biographical sketches of faculty who are to coordinate and/or provide research experiences should also include information on their current grant support and past student training record.

4.  Research & Related Budget:  Complete for each budget period requested.

A.  Senior/Key Person: complete for all senior/key persons associated with the research education program.  The PD/PI must be included here.

B.  Other Personnel: complete for all other personnel (including clerical and administrative staff, and Bridges students) associated with the research education program. State the number of Bridges students from each partner institution and the total number of Bridges students to be supported by the proposed research education program during the academic year and summer.

C.  Equipment: self-explanatory.

D.  Travel: include here any travel funds requested for senior/key persons and other personnel (i.e., those persons identified in Sections A. and B.) associated with the research education program.

E.  Participant/Trainee Support Costs: The Bridges student costs are included under section B above (Other Personnel). Section E (Participant/Trainee Support Costs) is not applicable to Bridges to the Baccalaureate program.

F.  Other Direct Costs: itemize as appropriate and allowed for the research education program. The allowable categories of participant support costs are summarized in Section IV.2 for this FOA.

      K.  Budget Justification: provide a detailed justification for each category for which funds are requested.  For Section E, itemize each category of support costs per participant and justify.

5. PHS 398 Research Plan Attachments:

There are five parts to the Research Plan. Part 1 refers to PHS 398 section on Introduction and is required only for resubmissions.  Parts 2-5 correspond to PHS 398 sections on Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design and Methods. The page limit for Section 1 is 3 pages, and the total number of pages for Sections 2-5 must not exceed 25 pages, including small tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts. Details of the information required to be included in a Bridges to the Baccalaureate application in each of the above sections in the Research Plan are presented below.

Part 1 (Introduction) is required only for resubmissions, and should contain the applicant’s responses to comments from the previous scientific review group.

Part 2 (Specific Aims) must address the overall goals and specific measurable objectives (including anticipated milestones) that the consortium institutions expect to accomplish by the end of the project period.  The application should lay out a strategy and timeline to meet or exceed the expectations set by the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (see Section I.1 for details). These objectives must be presented as percent improvement over the current baseline and the baseline must be clearly defined.  An example of a specific measurable objective is, but not limited to: there will be a (state a specific percent) increase in the overall institutional transfer rate of students from targeted groups/populations from partner community college(s) to the baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical/behavioral sciences. Thus, the application would be expected to provide data on the current overall institutional transfer rate of targeted students in these areas now (baseline), and indicate what the anticipated transfer rate (or percent improvement over the current baseline) will be as a result of proposed activities by end of the project period.

Part 3 (Background and Significance) must provide the following specific information:

1) Institutional Setting and Current Status of the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences-Related Academic Programs at the Participating Institutions. This section should include the following:

2) Students: Provide the institutional baseline data, e.g., average data over the previous five years, in tabular and narrative forms on student enrollment, transfer and graduation from the participating institutions:

3) Vision for the Future and Anticipated Value of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. Provide the following specific information:

Part 4 of this section (Preliminary Studies/Progress Report) should contain information on steps that have led to the proposed research education program. A Progress Report must be included in renewal applications.

New applicants should briefly describe and summarize the outcomes within the last 5 years of any existing programs at the participating institutions that have helped retain and train students from targeted groups/populations.

For renewal applications, an explicitly identified, detailed progress report (in place of Preliminary Studies) must be included. The following information must be included, in narrative and/or tabular form, as part of the progress report:

Applications without a detailed progress report will be considered non-responsive to this funding opportunity.  

Part 5 of this section (Research Design and Methods) should be retitled "Research Education Program Plan" and should contain material organized under the following subheadings in a single attachment and as appropriate to the specific program.

Program Director(s): Describe arrangements for administration of the program; provide evidence that the Program Director is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of the NIGMS and/or NCMHD and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program, as well as evidence of institutional and community commitment and support for the proposed program.

The PD assumes responsibility for the overall execution of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program and is substantially involved in all operational aspects of the program. The PD is typically responsible for the selection of students and the coordination and implementation of developmental education and mentoring activities. The PD is the primary contact with the Bridges to the Future Program at NIH and is responsible for submitting the required reports, e.g., annual progress reports, changes in program activities if any, etc., in a timely manner.  Both the PD and the evaluator should work together to monitor and evaluate the progress of specific program activities and the overall functioning of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program.

The PD is also responsible for tracking and maintaining student data.

Program Faculty/Staff: Describe the characteristics and responsibilities of the participating faculty; provide evidence that the participating faculty and preceptors are actively engaged in research or other scholarly activities related to the mission of the NIGMS and NCMHD. 

Proposed Research Education Program: Provide programmatic detail on the special activities proposed (e.g., courses, curricula, seminars, workshops).

The proposed developmental activities must address the needs and requirements of the students from targeted groups/populations enrolled in the associate degree programs and must be designed to increase the number of these students transferring to the baccalaureate degree programs and completing the bachelor’s degree in biomedical/behavioral sciences.

Provide the rationale for each developmental activity and detailed description of how each activity will contribute to realization of the objectives, its overall impact on the two-year institution’s capabilities to provide competitive training to their students, role of the faculty/personnel involved, and the equipment, space, and other resources available to implement the activity. Give a brief account of the proposed schedule of the activities and whether these activities will be available to all students (Bridges and non-Bridges). Some examples of developmental activities follow:

Describe each student development activity in detail. For example, if an application proposes to develop a competitive biology curriculum or modernize/update an existing course that is critical to the competitive training of students, it should provide detailed information on the existing curriculum/course(s) and course contents, faculty expertise, new or revised course(s) proposed, and faculty responsible for the upgrade; evidence of support for the proposed change from the department chair, dean of the college, and/or other relevant personnel of the institution’s central administration must also be provided.

The summer research internship at the four-year partner institution is a critical part of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. It is expected that Bridges students will conduct their research internships in the laboratories of investigators who are actively engaged in research and publish. Thus, a list of available faculty research mentors must be provided. In addition, faculty bio-sketches and their extramural support must be provided (see SF 424 Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile under Section IV.6). Provide details on how the Bridges students will select a research laboratory or be matched with a mentor, the number of hours that the student will spend working in the laboratory per week or during the summer, what the research experience will consist of, and what the student is expected to learn or accomplish.

Applications proposing other developmental activities should likewise provide a brief rationale and a detailed description (including baseline data, personnel involved, and timeframe, etc.) of each activity. Some of these activities may include, but are not limited to: development of research skills through problem-based group research courses; team teaching of new or existing courses by the faculty from both the two-year and baccalaureate institutions; enabling associate degree students to take courses (e.g., in person or through distance learning, etc.) and/or participate in seminar programs at the baccalaureate institution; collaborative learning experiences/supplementary instruction; research careers seminars; scientific reading comprehension and writing skills; time-management skills; tutoring for excellence; attendance at scientific conferences; science fairs; and orientation classes on college expectations and how to adjust to the college environment.

Describe the pool of targeted students at each associate degree-granting institution in the consortium. Describe the criteria for selection and retention of Bridges students into the program and for the selection of participating faculty. Describe how students’ progress will be monitored while they are in the Bridges program, after the Bridges, and while in the baccalaureate degree program.

The application should describe a system for tracking the Bridges students and maintaining the data on their progression through the educational pipeline. These data should document the impact of the Bridges program on competitive preparation of Bridges students at the two-year partner institution(s), their transfer rates to the four-year institution, and their baccalaureate degree (and the next higher-degree(s), if possible) completion rates in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. These data should allow the institution to compare the transfer and degree completion rates of students from targeted groups/populations who participate in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program with all other students at the institution.

Responsible Conduct of Research: Describe plans to provide formal and informal instruction to participants on scientific integrity and ethical principles in research. The plan should be appropriate for the duration and content of the proposed research education program.  Although the NIH does not establish specific curricula or formal requirements, all programs are encouraged to consider instruction in the following areas: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, data management, data sharing, and policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects. Plans must address: 1) the subject matter of the instruction, the format of the instruction, the degree of program faculty participation, participant attendance, and the frequency of instruction; and 2) the rationale for the proposed plan of instruction.

If such training is not appropriate for the proposed research education program, then the PD/PI must provide a strong justification for its exclusion.

Evaluation Plan: Include evaluation plans for assessing the success of the program in achieving its goals and objectives. Benchmarks should be specified, and specific plans and procedures must be described to capture, analyze and report outcome measures that would determine the success of the research education program in achieving its objectives. The inclusion of evaluation instruments is encouraged. 

The evaluation plan should identify the selected evaluator and present his/her credentials. The evaluation may be done through the institution’s evaluation office, or an external evaluator may be included as a consultant. The evaluation must be used as advisory to the PD and participating institutions to determine where the program is successful and where changes are needed.

Applications that lack an evaluation plan will be returned.

Consortium Agreements:

Consortium agreements are a required part of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. These agreements between the eligible associate and baccalaureate degree-granting institutions define their respective roles in administering the program. Each consortium is limited to four institutions, unless strongly justified otherwise, including the applicant institution. The application should delineate appropriate agreements and consortium arrangements with all the participating institutions consistent with its unified plan. The partnership/consortium agreements are expected to facilitate a seamless transition of associate degree students into the baccalaureate programs of the bachelor’s degree granting institution(s).

Each partner institution must be aware of the NIH Consortium grant policy, and the application must include a letter from EACH collaborating institution signed by the appropriate institutional officials and program director/program coordinator, acknowledging participation in the program. These letters must also include the following statement:

“THE APPROPRIATE PROGRAMMATIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL OF EACH INSTITUTION INVOLVED IN THIS GRANT APPLICATION ARE AWARE OF THE NIH CONSORTIUM GRANT POLICY AND ARE PREPARED TO ESTABLISH THE NECESSARY INTER-INSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT(S) CONSISTENT WITH THAT POLICY.” Place these letters in the Appendix.

Information on the NIH Policy regarding consortium agreements is available at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/part_iii_5.htm#consortium.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing, the format of the final dataset, the documentation to be provided, whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided, whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use), and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under their own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on their institutional or personal Web site, through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy expects that grant recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part7.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria (Update: Enhanced review criteria have been issued for the evaluation of research applications received for potential FY2010 funding and thereafter - see NOT-OD-09-025).  

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review group convened by the Center for Scientific Review in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

The goals of NIH-supported research training, education, and career development programs are to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate scientific areas to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research education program will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.

Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. These criteria are not listed in any order of priority.

Research education program grant applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity announcement should be characterized by innovation, scholarship and responsiveness to the priorities and/or changing needs of the NIGMS and NCMHD in meeting its objectives.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIGMS program staff for current information about targeted priorities and policies before preparing an application (see Section VII).

Significance: Does the proposed research education program address scientific/education areas and/or topics important to the mission of the NIGMS and NCMHD? How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of this funding opportunity announcement as well as the mission of the NIGMS and NCMHD? Are the proposed developmental activities likely to achieve the objectives of improving the academic preparation of associate degree students and allowing them to transfer and complete baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences? What will be the impact of the proposed program on the increase in the number of students from the targeted groups/populations who transfer to four-year institutions and complete bachelor’s degrees and pursue scientific careers in the biomedical/behavioral sciences?

Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative approaches? Is there evidence that the program is based on sound research concepts and educational principles? If the proposed program will recruit participants, are the recruitment, retention, and follow-up activities adequate to ensure a large pool of eligible participants? Does the program provide details and rationale for the activities proposed to enhance the academic preparation, knowledge, and skills of the targeted groups/populations of students? Are the roles of the participating institutions well developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the program? Are the partnership arrangements reasonable and are they likely to facilitate the seamless transition of students from the associate degree programs to the baccalaureate degree programs at the partner institution(s)?

Innovation: Is the research education program original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms and address the critical barriers that prevent students from the targeted groups from transferring and completing a baccalaureate degree? Do the proposed academic development activities employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods to attract, retain and prepare associate degree students for more challenging academic programs at the baccalaureate degree-granting institution? Does this program duplicate, or overlap with, existing research education, training and/or career development activities currently supported at the applicant institution or available elsewhere?

Investigators: Do the investigators (the PD/PI and other researchers) have the appropriate training and experience to carry out this work? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? Do the key personnel selected to implement the program have experience in mentoring students from the targeted groups in particular?

Environment: Does the scientific/educational environment in which the program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposed research education program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of appropriate collaboration among participating programs, departments, and institutions? Is the institutional commitment to the proposed program appropriate? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between the multiple sites? Do the consortium agreements and letters from each participating institution provide adequate documentation and assurance that each will contribute to the success of the proposed Bridges to the Baccalaureate program? Does the proposed consortium involve an appropriate number of institutions?  Is there an adequate pool of students from targeted groups/populations in the participating science department(s) at the two-year colleges, and does the bachelor’s degree-granting partner institution have a track record of enrolling, retaining and graduating students who pursue advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral research fields?

Evaluation Plan: Is the evaluation plan and timeline adequate for assessing the effectiveness (process and outcome) of the program in achieving its goals and objectives? Does the application identify an individual with appropriate credentials to conduct the proposed evaluation?

For renewal applications only:Has the research education program successfully achieved its stated objectives, especially in the context of Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program’s expectations (see Section IV.6 “Specific Aims”), during the prior project period?  What is the track record of the participating institutions on transfer rates of associate-degree students to baccalaureate institutions, and the graduation rates of these students with bachelor’s degree in biomedical/behavioral sciences from the baccalaureate institution(s)?  How does this record compare to the Bridges Program goals (50% increase in the overall institutional transfer rate; and 70% transfer and 75% baccalaureate degree completion rates for Bridges students)? Has the program been innovative in the past and does it continue to demonstrate innovation? Has the program been adequately evaluated, and is the proposed approach for the next project period responsive to the results of this evaluation?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Resubmission Applications (formerly “revised/amended” applications): Are the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group adequate? Are the improvements in the resubmission application appropriate?

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed. See item 6 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research:
The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated. See item 7 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under item 11 of the Research Plan component of the SF 424 (R&R) will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, the adequacy of the proposed protection will be assessed.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget and Period of Support: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research education program will be assessed by the reviewers. The priority score should not be affected by the evaluation of the budget.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research: Peer reviewers will assess the applicant's plans for training in the responsible conduct of research on the basis of the appropriateness of topics, format, amount and nature of faculty participation, and the frequency and duration of instruction.

The plan will be discussed after the overall determination of merit, and the review panel's evaluation of the plan will not be a factor in the determination of the priority score. Plans will be judged as acceptable or unacceptable. The acceptability of the plan will be described in an administrative note on the summary statement. Regardless of the priority score, applications with unacceptable plans will not be funded until the applicant provides a revised, acceptable plan. Program staff will judge the acceptability of the revised plan.

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Not Applicable

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

Not Applicable

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Not Applicable

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the Notice of Award (NoA) are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”       

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the NIGMS to the grantee business official.  

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Termination of Award: When a grantee institution plans to terminate an award, program and grants management staff at the NIH funding component must be notified in writing as soon as possible.

Change of Institution:  The research education program may not be transferred from one institution to another.

Change of Program:  Awards are made for a specific program under the guidance and leadership of a particular PD/PI.  A change in any of these parameters requires prior approval by the responsible program officer in the NIH funding component.  A rationale must be provided for any proposed changes in the aims of the original, peer-reviewed program.  If the new program does not satisfy this requirement, the award will be terminated.

Change of PD/PI: If change of the PD/PI is necessary, support of the award is not automatic but may be continued with prior written approval by the NIH funding component, provided that the following conditions are met.  The current PD/PI or the grantee institution must submit a written request for the change, signed by the appropriate institutional business official, to the responsible program officer of the NIH funding component that describes the reasons for the change.  The Biographical Sketch of the proposed PD/PI, including a complete listing of active research grant support, must be provided.  The information in the request must establish that the Specific Aims of the original peer-reviewed research education program will remain unchanged under the direction of the new PD/PI and that the new PD/PI has the appropriate research and administrative expertise to lead the program.  This request must be submitted sufficiently in advance of the requested effective date to allow the necessary time for review. 

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities.

3. Reporting

Awards made in response to this FOA are subject to SNAP.  

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Progress Report should provide information on the development and implementation of the proposed research education program (including education in the responsible conduct of research), modifications to the research education program as originally proposed, details about the applicant pool and the participants including their career level, gender, and racial/ethnic backgrounds (if applicable), updates on the evaluation of the research education program and dissemination activities (if applicable), and a list of any publications and/or other materials arising from the research education program.

Evaluation:  In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program.  Accordingly, award recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted after completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of program development, implementation, dissemination, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of this program.

Publication and Sharing of Research Results:  Investigators are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice.  For each publication that results from this award, NIH support should be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: “This project was supported by NIH grant number ________.  Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.”

Final Reports: A final Progress Report and Financial Status Report are required when an award is terminated.

Section VII. Agency Contacts


We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Shiva P. Singh, Ph.D.
Division of Minority Opportunities in Research
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
45 Center Drive, Suite 2As.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-3900
FAX: (301) 480-2753
Email: singhs@nigms.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Cathleen Cooper, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Administrator
Center for Scientific Review, NIH
6701 Rockledge Drive, Rm. 4208 MSC 7812
Bethesda, MD 20892 (20817 for FedEx)
Telephone: (301) 435-3566
Fax: (301) 480-4042
Email: cooperc@csr.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Antoinette Holland
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-5132
FAX: (301) 480-2554
Email: hollanda@nigms.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45 CFR 46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

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 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 funding opportunity 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.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from 1) currently funded NIH research projects or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the Policy or the submission process, please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools, including the Authors' Manual.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. For publications listed in the appendix and/or Progress report, internet addresses (URLs) must be used for publicly accessible on-line journal articles. Unless otherwise specified in this solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide any other information necessary for the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

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 FOA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the 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 the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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