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)

Title:   NIGMS’ Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) [R25]

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of PAR-03-140, which was previously released on June 17, 2003.

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-07-432

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.859

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: August 16, 2007
Opening Date:  December 22, 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):  January 22, 2008, 2009, and 2010
Peer Review Date(s): June-July, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Council Review Date(s): October, 2008, 2009, 2010
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): December 2008, 2009, and 2010
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable
Expiration Date: January 23, 2010

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) provides updated guidelines for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). The PREP will support the research training and education of recent baccalaureate graduates from groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research areas, who plan to pursue Ph.D. degrees. This research apprenticeship serves as an educational transition for recent baccalaureate graduates who will acquire essential academic credentials and research skills to make them more competitive for Ph.D. programs at highly selective institutions.

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


1. Research Objectives

In order to effectively promote a strong and diverse 21st century scientific workforce, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) actively supports programs that would increase the number of scientists who are members of groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, hereafter referred to as “targeted groups.” The Division of Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) oversees several programs that promote the educational transition of these targeted groups from one level to the next. In 2006, a Working Group of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council urged the MORE Division to find ways to increase the number of researchers from the targeted groups who attain the Ph.D. degree by 10% per year. In response to this call, the MORE Division has revised the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), to provide institutions with demonstrated experience in training Ph.D. candidates in the biomedical sciences an opportunity to target talented and promising underrepresented baccalaureate graduates who did not enter Ph.D. programs but plan to pursue this degree.

The objective of the PREP is to encourage individuals from underrepresented groups, who have recently obtained their baccalaureate degrees, to complete Ph.D. degrees in biomedically relevant sciences through extensive academic enhancements and research experience. For the purposes of this program announcement, recent baccalaureate graduates are those who have graduated from an accredited U.S. college or university no more than 36 months prior to applying to a PREP and are not currently enrolled in a degree program. It is anticipated that this program would lead to a steady supply of exceptional Ph.D.-bound students from underrepresented groups. An added benefit of the PREP is that some of the participants might eventually become the scientists who conduct research on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, respiratory diseases, HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, substance abuse, and other areas that address reducing health disparities. In order to increase their acceptance into highly selective graduate programs, PREP participants will receive extensive research training and academic preparation through a one-year apprenticeship, to further develop their scholarly potential and improve their research skills.

Institutional PREPs must generate carefully designed, individualized student development plans (IDP) that are compatible with the students’ curricular needs and experience, combined with research projects mentored by faculty preceptors who have active and well-funded research programs. The development plans must be designed within the context of a one-year apprenticeship to provide the necessary skills to prepare the students for beginning a Ph.D. program. If more than one year of apprenticeship will be provided to a participant, a discussion of the specific skills that will be further enhanced by a second year in the program must be provided. Moreover, the need for a second year term must be justified, activities different from those carried out during the first year must be implemented, and the expected accomplishments should be defined. Support for the second-year apprenticeship is allowable but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Eligible institutions may request from five to ten postbaccalaureate positions with a maximum of no more than 10 per year for each year of the grant (i.e., 40 participants for a four-year grant period), for individuals to engage in student development activities and mentored research studies.

The academic preparations should enrich the computational and analytical skills of the participants and should not replicate classes that have already been taken at the undergraduate level. The courses to be taken must be appropriate to the requirements for highly selective Ph.D. programs.

As apprentice scientists, the participants must have independent research projects that will allow them to experience the fulfillment of discovery as scientists. They must be able to develop their own hypotheses and design experiments to test these hypotheses. The research environment should be supportive and favorable to learning and include opportunities for the participants to interact with their peers, postdoctoral researchers, and other investigators who could contribute to their growth and will allow them to thrive in a highly rigorous Ph.D. program.

In addition to the IDP, group activities that will complement or augment the individualized plans and allow for interactions among the PREP participants should be included. The group activities should be appropriate to the resources of the institution and integrated well with the overall program plan. These activities should enrich the participants’ verbal skills, analytical and critical thinking abilities, and build their academic credentials to support their completion of a Ph.D. degree. While constructed and conducted with PREP support, these activities may include non-PREP participants and thereby convey benefit more broadly throughout the institution (examples are provided in section IV.6.5 “Proposed Research Education Program”). Existing activities within the institution should not be duplicated. Rather, efforts should be made to integrate the PREP participants into the institutional activities. Plans to connect the PREP with other institutional student training programs, such as NIH-funded training grants, must be provided. 

It is expected that upon completion of apprenticeship, PREP participants will enroll directly in high-caliber Ph.D. programs. It is anticipated that a PREP will assist an institution in achieving greater diversity in its Ph.D. programs. 

Since PREP students should have the interest in obtaining a Ph.D. degree as a condition of enrollment in the program, the MORE Division expects that a successful PREP will provide the skills such that at least 75% of its participants go onto highly selective Ph.D. programs. Furthermore, with this expertise and experience, the MORE Division expects that at least 80% of the students who enter Ph.D. programs will obtain the degree. Thus, eligible applicant institutions must design the strategies and interventions, as well as set the goals and measurable objectives for their PREPs, within the context of the MORE Division’s expectations and in line with their institutional settings and missions.   

Applicant institutions can utilize various strategies to attain the objective of increasing the number of individuals from targeted groups who complete competitive Ph.D. degrees. Whatever the strategies employed, each program must be able to assess their effectiveness. It is important to determine the efficacy of a given intervention by assessing program (1) implementation, (2) impact, and (3) outcomes. The impact of the program may be measured or described as benefits to the institution, faculty members in both participating and non-participating departments, non-PREP students, and PREP participants, as well as the rest of the community. Program outcomes are based on the specific measurable objectives set by the program. In order to assess the value of this program, an assessment component that includes specific goals and measurable objectives, indicators to measure successes, and measurement of the short- and long-term benefits and/or impacts of the PREP to the participants, faculty mentors, students within the institution, and the institution as a whole. In order to be maximally informative, an assessment plan must include baseline data and post-PREP follow up of participants.

The main purpose of the assessment of the program is to provide useful information to the institutional program directors and the institutions for improving their PREPs. The resulting assessment should help inform the institutional leadership in deciding which elements of the PREP could be institutionalized. 

The proposed research education program may complement other, ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, 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 cannot be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.

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 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-03-041, May 7, 2003.  

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 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 project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed four years. Although the size of award may vary with the scope of the research education program proposed, the total direct costs are limited to $350,000 annually.

The total amount of funding that NIGMS expects to award through this announcement is approximately $2.0 million (total costs) per year for new and renewal applications.   

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. 

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:  

Applicants' failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of an application deadline will result in the return of the application without review, or even though the application may be reviewed, will preclude the agency from making an award.

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

Applications for renewal compete with applications for new awards.

In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement other ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participants may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals. Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving NIH support.  Moreover, the R25 mechanism is not intended to support long-term training by NRSA-eligible individuals and may not be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA research training mechanisms. 

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.”)

The PD/PI should have the research and teaching experiences as well as leadership and administrative skills required to develop and implement the proposed research education program. The PD/PI will be responsible for overseeing the selection and appointment of eligible participants to the PREP grant, for the overall direction, management, and administration of the research training program, program assessment, and the submission of all required forms in a timely manner.

More than one PD/PI, or multiple PDs/PIs, may be designated on the application for projects that require a “team science” approach that clearly does not fit the single-PD/PI model. Additional information on the implementation plans and policies and procedures to formally allow more than one PD/PI on individual research projects is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi.

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 Institution: The sponsoring institution 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. The applicant institution must be a research institution that has a significant number of faculty mentors with NIH or other extramural research support in the biomedical and behavioral science fields. It must be an institution with strong Ph.D. programs and demonstrated experience of training Ph.D. candidates.

Supporting information about the institution’s research program, training experience, and funding of the faculty mentors must be provided at the time of application.

Participants:  The applicant institution will select the PREP participants and it is the responsibility of the institution to establish the qualifications of the students before they are allowed to participate in the program. Eligible individuals are those who are considered underrepresented in the fields of biomedical or behavioral research and have graduated with a baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant science, from an accredited U.S. college or university, no more than 36 months prior to applying to a PREP, and are not currently enrolled in a degree program. Such candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (socially, culturally, economically, or educationally; for additional information see Section IV.6. Other Submission Requirements section on “Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan”). Nationally, racial and ethnic groups who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical/behavioral research include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians, and citizens of the U.S. Pacific Islands. PREP participants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.     

Institutions are required to develop selection plans and criteria to identify eligible students who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedical or behavioral research. All individuals selected as participants must intend to apply for a Ph.D. program in the biomedical or behavioral sciences, immediately following completion of apprenticeship.

Applicants are required to include a plan for Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (see Section IV.6).

Applications must contain an evaluation or assessment plan. Applications submitted without these sections may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed. In addition, a mechanism to continue following the progress of the past participants (e.g., application to Ph.D. or enrollment/expected date to receive Ph.D.) should be described. Applications submitted without these sections will be considered noncompliant and will not be reviewed.

Applicants may not submit, or have pending, more than one PREP grant application. Eligible institutions may hold only one PREP award.

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

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.

If multiple sites are involved in the research education program, the applicant institution must be the primary site for the program.  The need for and use of multiple sites must be justified.   

Although research education grants are not typical research instruments, they do involve experiments in education and/or dissemination of research knowledge that require an evaluation plan in order to determine the degree of success or failure. A plan must be provided for program evaluation. 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.   

Assessment may be done through the institution’s evaluation office or an external evaluator may be included as a consultant. There should be an assessment of program implementation, impacts, and outcomes. The result of the assessment must be used as advisory to the PD/PI to determine where the program is successful and where changes are needed. It should inform the PD/PI what the challenges are and what actions could be taken to overcome these challenges. It should not strictly focus on success or failure of students, but rather on the proposed activities to show whether these are producing the results needed. In addition to assessing the program implementation, outcomes, and impacts, information about the past participants and their career trajectory to Ph.D. degrees should be provided. Programs that have gone through two funding cycles should provide information on the Ph.D. retention and graduation rates of past participants. Applications lacking this information will not be reviewed. 

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. Mentoring interactions are considered a regular part of a faculty member's academic duties and will not be supported by 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/PI is up to 1.35 person months (i.e., 15% effort of a 9-month academic year) during the academic year and 0.45 person months (i.e., 15% of a 3-month summer term) in the summer. Salary for a program coordinator may be requested to assist the PD/PI in the day-to-day administration of the program. The salary of the coordinator is limited to 50% time.

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.

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

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. (Participant/Trainee Support Costs) of the Research & Related Budget, since the participants are considered employees. 

Remuneration for PREP participants is through salary and wages, but salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions. PREP participants will be paid a salary of $21,000/year. The total compensation package, which includes fringe benefits and tuition and fees (if applicable) a PREP participant may be paid must not exceed $30,000/year. PREP participants will be required to work as research apprentices at 75% of time, and the other 25% will be for further academic development. n order for the participant to receive this compensation, the following conditions must be met:

TUITION REMISSION:  The applicant institution may request tuition remission for a course it deems necessary to enhance the preparedness of a PREP scholar for graduate studies; tuition remission must be specifically justified. However, tuition remission may not exceed the in-state tuition cost at institutions that also have out-of-state tuition charges.

TRAVEL:  Applicants may request support for travel of PREP scholars to attend or present scientific papers at domestic scientific conferences. Requests for PREP scholars travel to scientific meetings or workshops must be justified carefully and specifically.

Institutional Commitment: Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is strongly encouraged. This may include but is not limited to increasing efforts to have a more diverse faculty members and student body, which may help in providing role models to the PREP participants. Methods such as workshops or retreats for faculty mentors, to increase their awareness and commitment to increasing diversity in the science workforce, and rewarding faculty members who have been involved in the training and mentoring of underrepresented groups to insure diversity in the workforce, could also be employed. Another example could be the participation of institutional officials in various activities that support increasing the number of underrepresented groups in the sciences.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs: F&A costs for the applicant organization 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: December 22, 2007 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not Required
Application Submission/Receipt Date(s):  January 22, 2008, 2009, and 2010
Peer Review Date(s): June-July, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Council Review Date(s): October, 2008, 2009, 2010
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): December 2008, 2009, and 2010

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.

A single consolidated budget for PREP is required, with each item clearly justified. The following items are non-allowable costs for the PREP.

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.

Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).

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

Note: While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor 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, 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., who are integral to the proposed research education program) participating in the research education program. The biographical sketch for each key personnel, including the consultant(s) and potential research mentors, should include information on his/her teaching and/or research achievements, current grant support, and the past student training record for the last five years. Provide only the number of students and their academic levels; do not include names of students.

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) associated with the research education program.

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: include here all allowable categories of funds requested to support participants in the research education program.  If categories in addition to those listed in this section of the 424R&R form are needed, describe in Other. State the number of Participants/Trainees to be supported by the proposed research education program.  The allowable categories of participant support costs are summarized in Section IV.2 for this FOA.

F.  Other Direct Costs: itemize as appropriate and allowed for the research education program.

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 (previously known as revisions). Parts 2-5 correspond to PHS 398 sections on Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design and Methods.

It is anticipated that several departments, e.g., Biological Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Sciences, etc., will be involved in the institutional PREP. Hence, the Research Plan component of the PREP application should be organized to reflect the institutional scope of the proposed program. The Research Plan should describe an integrated set of activities that include individualized student development plans (IDP) and group activities that would enhance academic excellence and promote the timely progression of scholars to the next academic/career step. It should also describe how these activities could contribute to faculty awareness and commitment to a diverse workforce and student body within the institution. Any benefits to the community because of PREP activities should be addressed.

The page limit for the Research Plan (corresponding to PHS 398 sections on Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design and Methods) is 25 pages, including tables, figures, diagrams, and charts.

Details of the information required to be included in a PREP grant application in each of these sections in the Research Plan are presented below.

Specific Aims (Part 2):  In this section, the application must address the overall goals and specific measurable objectives (including anticipated milestones) that the institution expects to accomplish, and how these are relevant to the preparation of the PREP participants to complete a first-rate Ph.D. degree in biomedical and/or behavioral science research. The MORE Division expects that during the four-year funding cycle at least 75% of the PREP participants enroll in a Ph.D. program at highly competitive and research intensive institutions. It is also expected that at least 80% of the students pursuing Ph.D. will complete the degree. Thus, the objectives of the institutional PREP must be presented to reflect these expectations

Background and Significance (Part 3):  Include the following items in this section: 

1) Institutional Setting and Current Status of the Graduate Biomedical Science-Related Academic Programs: Provide a brief description of the mission of the institution and its academic components. Provide evidence of the institution's commitment to diversity, particularly in the hiring of faculty from targeted groups, especially in the participating science departments. Describe the current academic programs and counseling/mentoring services, as well as the size of the graduate student body (Ph.D. level) in the biomedically relevant sciences. Discuss any perceived impediments at your institution to the success of students in biomedical and/or behavioral sciences in general, and of underrepresented groups in particular, with reference to completion of Ph.D. degrees. Provide institutional data, which shows the current numbers and graduation rate of Ph.D. students in the relevant biomedical and/or behavioral sciences, particularly those belonging to underrepresented groups. Cite literature on which you base your rationale for incorporating particular features into your program.

2) Student Enrollment, Graduation, and Career Paths: Provide the institutional data on the Ph.D. student enrollment from the last four years, and indicate the percentage of targeted groups. Provide the number of Ph.D. students in tabular form (overall and underrepresented groups) majoring in the participating departments, their graduation rates, and the subsequent career paths of the students for the last four years.

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.

For new applications, briefly describe and summarize any significant achievements within the last four years of any programs at the institution that have encouraged and helped retain underrepresented students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty in the PREP-participating departments. 

For renewal applications, an explicitly identified, detailed progress report (in place of Preliminary Studies) must be included. State the original and specific measurable objectives, anticipated milestones, and outcomes. Provide participant information such as the: 1) number of participant slots awarded, 2) number of participants appointed, 3) number of students who applied to and obtained pre-doctoral training support, fellowships, and research supplements, and 4) number of those who went on to enroll or complete a Ph.D. degree (as applicable) during the last 4-year funding period. A suggested format can be found in the MARC U*STAR FOA sample table (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-07-337.html).

In another table, list the names of the participants during the last four-year funding period that applied to, enrolled in, or completed (as applicable) the Ph.D. degree in biomedical and/or behavioral research fields. An example of how the information can be organized is found in the following sample table.

Sample Table

PREP Cumulative Report

Student Participants and Outcomes During the 4-year Funding Period

Participants (Year of participation in the program)

Current status (include contact information of graduate programs if applicable)

Ph.D. programs applied to (include the names of the institutions)

Ph.D. Programs accepted in

(include the names of the institutions)

Ph.D. Program enrolled in

(include the name of the institution and expected date of graduation)

1 Jane Doe (2006)

Ph.D. student (Molecular Biology, Department of…, University of… biology@univ.edu)

Molecular Biology

University of…

University of…

University of...

Molecular Biology, University of…,

University of

Molecular Biology, University of…

Expected graduation date: Spring 2011

2 Joe Smith (2006)

Research Scientist, Applied Sciences Inc.

chem@asi.com

Molecular Biology, University of…

Molecular Biology, University of…

Not Applicable

3  Eve Adam (2006-2007)

Ph. D. candidate (Dept. of Biology, University of.. biology@univ.edu)

Developmental  Biology

University of…

Developmental  Biology

University of

Developmental  Biology

University of… Spring 2012

4 Another Name (2007)

Applying to Ph.D. program

Univ…

Not applicable

Not applicable

5 O. Person (2007)

Did not finish apprenticeship

unknown

unknown

unknown

6. S. Student (2008-2009)

PREP participant (second year apprenticeship)

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

List any grant applications or publications written or co-authored by the participants. Describe any significant honors and awards given to these students (provide specific dates) that were related to, or resulted from, involvement in activities supported by the PREP.

In addition, provide in narrative and/or tabular form, a summary of the accomplishments of the PREP program during the previous four-year project period, with reference to student participation in research and/or other PREP-supported development activities, e.g., workshops, scientific meetings, or lectures. Describe the effect of the PREP program activities on the enrollments, academic environment, and graduation rates of underrepresented students and other related aspects of the institution. Describe what has been learned through the program assessment and any changes made in the program because of the assessment.

Provide the results of monitoring of the past participants’ career path. In a tabular or narrative form, state the names of individuals supported by the PREP during the previous eight-year project period (as applicable). The information should also include the 1) current institution/department affiliation, 2) current status (i.e., predoctoral student, postdoctoral researcher, research scientist, faculty member, etc.), and 3) type and year of degree earned (e.g., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., professional degree/Ph.D., etc., as applicable).

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)/Principal Investigator(s) (PDs/PIs): 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 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/PI is the principal contact with MORE/NIGMS at the institution and is responsible for the administration and management of the institutional PREP. The PD/PI is responsible for insuring that the PREP participants are placed in highly productive laboratories with faculty mentors who will provide the proper guidance and instruction for the students. In consultation with the advisory committee (see below), the PD/PI must oversee the preparation and development of an IDP for each student participant, as well as design program activities that will further enhance the academic preparation and research skills of the participants. The PD/PI must insure that other institutional programs will complement the PREP activities, and allow sufficient occasion for the participants to interact with Ph.D. candidates as peers. The PD/PI is also responsible for the preparation and submission of required reports (e.g., annual progress reports, changes in the program, etc.) in a timely manner.

An Institutional Advisory Committee for the PREP is strongly recommended. This committee may provide counsel and assistance to the PD/PI and institutional officials in meeting the goals of the PREP. Representatives from various institutional offices, including those involved in graduate education, student advisement, business office, and central administration, may make up this committee. Student representatives among the PREP participants or graduate students as well as faculty members from one or two participating departments are also appropriate. Other committee members may include individuals or faculty members from other institutions who may be able to provide insights to further the goals and specific measurable objectives of the program. Provide a list of names and titles of the members of the Advisory Committee including their institutional affiliations.

The following are some typical functions of an advisory committee: (1) advise and assist the PD/PI in the development and implementation of program procedures and practices, (2) assist the PD/PI in establishing criteria and procedures for the admittance/retention of students and selection of faculty mentors, (3) help monitor progress of program activities and student participants, (4) assist the PD/PI in designing IDPs, (5) advise on rebudgeting of funds, (6) help expand the present effort by identifying internal and external funding sources, (7) assist in monitoring compliance with NIH policies and regulations, and, if necessary, (8) address faculty and student grievances related to the PREP, and assist in selecting a new PD/PI.

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.

The PREP faculty mentors are expected to have strong research programs supported by NIH or other extramural funds. They are also expected to have previous experience in training students, and be committed to supporting a diverse scientific workforce. They should provide a positive learning and working environment, which will foster productive interactions between the PREP participants and excellent peer and mentoring groups.

Provide relevant information on the proposed faculty members who would be research mentors and, in addition, those faculty and/or staff who would conduct the student development activities. Provide their biographical sketches (see Section IV.6, SF424 Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile, above), emphasizing their teaching and/or research achievements, extramural research support, and their record in training and mentoring students.

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

Describe the strategy that will be used to determine the appropriate IDP for each participant in order to meet his/her specific needs and improve his/her academic credentials for pursuing Ph.D. degrees. Describe the type of activities for the IDPs that the participants will be engaged in (e.g., enrollment in specific courses, research, and research-related activities), the rationale for these activities, and measurement of outcomes as a result of participating in these activities. This program should not be equated with or converted into a Master’s degree equivalent since students may have different academic backgrounds and their needs would not fit into a single course curriculum.

Describe how student progress will be monitored while they are in the PREP, after participating in the PREP, and while in Ph.D. programs. Provide information on the contribution of the faculty mentors or other personnel in the development of the students.

Describe the proposed research activities of the PREP participants, how the research results will be disseminated or presented.

Describe the proposed group activities (e.g., grant writing exercises, institutional visits, application to graduate schools, journal club, service learning, social activities, etc.) in which the PREP cohort will participate. If these differ from programs currently offered by the institution to their predoctoral students, describe how other institutional programs will be made available and utilized by the PREP participants. Describe what strategies will be employed to enhance the PREP participants’ verbal abilities, writing and communication skills, as well as critical and analytical thinking. Describe how these activities will further increase the PREP participants’ competitiveness in completing Ph.D. degrees. Describe how the PREP students will be integrated into the institution’s graduate programs. Describe how the proposed PREP will be associated with other institutional student training programs, such as the NIH training grants. Describe the expected outcomes.  

Describe the type of peer group that the PREP participants will have in the institution and how this group will help prepare the PREP participants for the rigors of Ph.D. program requirements. 

A plan for monitoring the previous PREP participants’ progress in predoctoral and postdoctoral programs as well as their subsequent employment should be included. This should also include descriptions on how the previous participants can continue to contribute to the PREP, how communications between the PREP and previous participants can be maintained, and how feedback can be obtained as they progress in their Ph.D. studies.

The selection strategy and criteria for appropriate faculty mentors should be explained. A general faculty-mentoring plan should be provided to insure that all PREP participants are given high-quality mentorship. The plan should include the mentors’ (1) research plan or outline for the PREP participants, (2) availability for consultation and discussion of research project results, (3) role in students’ application process to graduate schools, (4) plan to introduce the students to their professional networks, and (5) assistance in other non-academic issues. It is expected that the faculty mentors will serve as points of contact after the students leave the lab for graduate studies.

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.

Program Participants: Provide details about the pool of proposed participants, their qualifications, recruitment strategies, and sources of applicant pool, etc. 

Provide the criteria and strategy as to the how the PREP participants will be selected. The selection of participants should be in line with the objectives of the PREP, which include providing extensive research training to baccalaureate graduates from underrepresented groups who have received little or no previous research training. Institutions with PREPs may request from five to ten postbaccalaureate positions. This number should not exceed ten per year for each year of the grant, or 40 participants for a four-year grant period. Explain what criteria and strategy will be used for matching PREP participants with faculty mentors.

Student participants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. They must also belong to groups considered to be underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research fields. These include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (see Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan below). Nationally, racial and ethnic groups who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical/behavioral research include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians, and citizens of the U.S. Pacific Islands.  

Appointment of PREP participants will be for one year with a possibility of a second year extension. If a second year extension is requested, the PD/PI must explain or justify the need for this extension. All selected participants must intend to apply to a Ph.D. program in the biomedical or behavioral researches, following completion of apprenticeship.

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan:  Provide a detailed diversity recruitment and retention plan for the research education program.  Renewal applications must detail experiences in recruiting and retaining individuals from underrepresented groups during the previous award period.  Include, in a table, the total numbers of individuals who applied, were interviewed, admitted, and participated in the research education program as well as the total number of individuals from the three classes defined below.  For those programs where individuals are not participating, e.g., a program requesting support to develop a curriculum, the PD/PI must explain why this information is not appropriate. 

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or institutional basis. The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of participants:

A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/women/start.htm). In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.

B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.  Recruitment and retention plans related to a disadvantaged background are most applicable to high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement.

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the diversity recruitment and retention plan after the overall score has been determined.  Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.  The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.  If the diversity recruitment and retention plan is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan (and report) that addresses the deficiencies is received.  Staff within the NIGMS, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.

Evaluation Plan: Include assessment plans for appraising 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.  Applications that lack an assessment plan will be considered non-compliant and will not be reviewed. The main purpose of the assessment is to provide useful information to the PD/PI and the institution for the improvement or enhancement of the PREP. The assessment plan must include appraisal of program implementation, outcomes, and impacts .The emphasis of the assessment of activities should be on overall program improvement and on informing the senior leadership in deciding which elements of the PREP should be institutionalized.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

Not applicable

Sharing Research Resources

Not Applicable

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 NIGMS 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 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? How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of this funding opportunity announcement as well as the mission of the NIGMS? How will the proposed academic enhancements and research training increase the competitiveness of the participants to enter and complete a Ph.D. degree? How will the proposed program provide the participants with excellent peer and mentoring group that will help them thrive in rigorous Ph.D. programs? Will achievement of the aims/objectives of the program have an impact on the education, research training and career preparation of underrepresented students in the participating department(s), college(s), and institution?

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical 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 tactics?  Is there evidence that the program is based on sound research concepts and educational principles?  Is the approach feasible and appropriate to achieve the stated research education goals?  Are the recruitment, retention, and follow-up activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified and diverse participant pool? Does the strategy to be used for determining the IDPs take into consideration the academic and research backgrounds of the participants? Is there evidence that the group activities designed to increase analytical and critical thinking, verbal reasoning, and communication skills will enable the participants’ admission and retention in highly selective Ph.D. programs? Are the group activities designed to enhance interactions with other peers, faculty members, other students, as well as scientists outside of the institution? How are the group activities integrated with the institutions graduate students’ activities and other institutional training programs? Are the PREP participants provided with independent research projects? Is the faculty mentoring plan clearly described and sufficient? Are the proposed mechanisms for monitoring participants’ progress during and after they leave the program sufficient?  

For renewal applications only: Has the research education program successfully achieved its stated objectives during the prior project period? Have the program implementation, outcomes, and impacts been adequately assessed and has the level of success been satisfactory? Do the results of the assessment document a continued need for support for this program? Is the approach for the next project period responsive to the results of the program's assessment? Is the program’s rate of getting its students enrolled in highly selective Ph.D. programs within the expectations of the MORE Division? Has the program had an impact on the institutions’ Ph.D. students and faculty? Is there an improvement in the baseline data? Were the retention and completion rate in the Ph.D. programs of the past PREP participants monitored?  

Innovation: Is the research education program original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?  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? Adaptations of existing research education programs may be considered innovative under special circumstances, e.g., the addition of unique components and/or a proposal to determine portability of an existing program.

For renewal applications only:  Has the program been innovative in the past and does it continue to demonstrate innovation?

Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the proposed program appropriate to the experience level of the PD/PI and other researchers? Is the PD/PI supported by key personnel that have the appropriate background for student development and training? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? Is the composition of the advisory committee (if one is proposed) appropriate and consistent with the scope of the proposed research education program? Is there an adequate pool of research mentors who are extramurally funded and experienced in training students in research?

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? If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research education experiences provided? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between multiple sites (if appropriate)? Are the proposed activities consistent with the resources of the institution?

Is the evaluation plan and timeline adequate for assessing the effectiveness (process and outcome) of the program in achieving its goals and objectives? Has an individual with appropriate credentials and experience been identified to evaluate the program? Is the proposed plan sufficient to assess program implementation, outcomes, and impacts? Are there plans to monitor the progress of previous PREP participants?

For renewal application, has the program been adequately evaluated and has the level of success been satisfactory? Do the results of the evaluation document a continued need for support for this program? Is the approach for the next project period responsive to the results of the program's 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.

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan: The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce.  The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.  Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or institutional basis.

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the diversity recruitment and retention plan after the overall score has been determined.  Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.  The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.  If the diversity recruitment and retention plan is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan (and report) that addresses the deficiencies is received.  Staff within the NIGMS, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.

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.

Financial Status Report: A Financial Status Report is due annually, within 90 days following the end of the budget period.

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:

Jermelina Tupas, Ph.D.
Division of Minority Opportunities in Research
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.43C, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-3900
FAX: (301) 480-2753
Email: tupasjer@nigms.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Chief, Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 3AN.12, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-2881
FAX: (301) 480-8506
E-mail: sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Ms. Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Officer
CBCB/MORE Team
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
E-mail: 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 PA 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.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy


Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.