Department of Health and Human Services


Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Bridges to the Doctorate (R25)

Activity Code

R25 Education Projects

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-12-276

Related Notices

  • June 4, 2014 - Notice NOT-14-074 supersedes instructions in Section III.3 regarding applications that are essentially the same.
  • April 25, 2014 - See Notice NOT-GM-14-118. Notice of Change to Instructions to Reporting Requirements.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-13-341

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.859 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Research Education Grant (R25) applications from institutions that propose to enhance the pool of master’s degree students from underrepresented backgrounds who are trained and available to participate in NIH-funded research. This initiative promotes partnerships/consortia between colleges or universities granting a terminal master’s degree with institutions that offer the doctorate degree. The program expects that the joint efforts of doctorate degree-granting and master’s degree-granting institutions will foster the development of a well-integrated institutional program that will provide students with the necessary academic preparation and skills to enable their transition and successful completion of the Ph.D. degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 28, 2013

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

October 1, 2013

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

November 1, 2013; September 25, 2014; September 25,  2015, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

February/March 2014, February/March 2015, February/March 2016

Advisory Council Review

May 2014, May 2015, May 2016

Earliest Start Date

July 2014, July 2015, July 2016

Expiration Date

September 26, 2015

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


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Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) continues to put forth special effort toward stimulating creative and innovative research education programs in areas pertaining to its mission. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA), under the NIH Research Education (R25) grant mechanism, encourages applications from institutions that are committed to the development of a diverse pool of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists.

The mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is to conduct and support research and research training, and a critical aspect of this is the development of a highly skilled research workforce. To compete successfully, the United States needs a diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce that is well educated and trained. Diversity in science matters: social scientists have long observed the ability of heterogeneous groups to derive a greater number of alternatives and perspectives that led to more complete and inventive solutions, which are critical for scientific innovation and problem solving (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 15534225). Although the NIH currently provides multiple opportunities to develop research careers and to improve participation for individuals from groups with low representation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, a recent report from an Advisory Committee to the NIH Director on Diversity of the Biomedical Research Workforce indicates that achieving diversity in the biomedical research workforce remains an important problem that must be actively addressed (see http://acd.od.nih.gov/dbr.htm). The NIH expects that efforts to diversify the biomedical research workforce will:

Many programs supported by the NIGMS, other Institutes and Centers of the NIH, other agencies of the federal government, and private foundations promote the matriculation of baccalaureate graduates directly into Ph.D. programs; however, studies show that students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines are more likely than majority students to enter master’s degree programs (Stassun et al., 2010. The Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program: A Model for Broadening Participation of Underrepresented Groups in the Physical Sciences through Effective Partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions. J. Geosci Educ. 58, p.135).

The NIGMS Bridges to the Doctorate Program provides the opportunity to enhance the pool of students from groups underrepresented  in biomedical and behavioral sciences who go on to research careers in these fields, and who are available to participate in NIH-funded research. The program promotes partnerships/consortia between colleges or universities granting a terminal master’s degree with institutions that grant Ph.D. degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. The Bridges to the Doctorate Program enables joint efforts of master's degree-granting and doctorate degree-granting institutions that will foster the development of a well-integrated institutional program that will provide students with the necessary academic preparation and skills to enable their transition and successful completion of the doctorate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences.

Goals and Objective

The long-term goal of the Bridges to the Doctorate Program is to enhance the pool of students from groups nationally underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences who go on to research careers in these fields. The short-term goal of the program is to increase the number of students who transition from a terminal master's degree-granting institution to a doctorate degree-granting institution, with subsequent career advancement in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. The specific objective of this program is to develop and implement an integrated plan of individual and institutional activities that will increase students’ preparation and skills as they advance academically in the pursuit of the doctorate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences.

Retrospective analysis of the Bridges to Doctorate Program showed that at least 60% of Bridges-supported students, upon or before graduation from the master's degree program, transfer to doctorate degree programs, and 60% of transferring Bridges students successfully complete their doctorate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. NIGMS anticipates that Bridges grantees will improve on these outcomes and that institutional rates of transfer and degree completion of all students will also improve over baseline.

Program Overview

Bridges applications are institutional in nature and therefore they must reflect the plans and priorities of the participating institutions as well as the collective plans and priorities of the partnerships/consortia. Collaborative agreements should be designed to fit the needs and situations of the institutions involved. The challenge for the participating institutions is to create a partnership program, or to enhance an existing program, that will focus attention and adequate resources on the institution(s) granting master’s degrees and so enhance competitiveness of its (their) science graduates and science programs.

The Bridges to Doctorate Program recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each application must provide baseline data on enrollment, transfer and subsequent graduation of its students in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Specific aims must be based on this self-assessment and must be consonant with the Bridges to the Doctorate goals and objective. The program outcome measures and impact on the participating institutions should be presented relative to baseline data.

A new requirement for this FOA is a multiple PD/PI application (See Sections III.1 and IV.2). The rationale for this change is to increase the likelihood of establishing true, equitable partnerships among institutions.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are limited to $250,000 direct costs, per year.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed budget should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 years.

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. (If mentoring interactions and other activities with students/participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then any costs associated with the mentoring and other interactions with students/participants are not allowable costs from grant funds).  

Bridges applications must designate a PD/PI from each participating institution (see Sections III.1 and IV.2). Salary support for program administration, namely, the PD/PI (or combination of multiple PDs/PIs), program coordinator(s) at the lead institution as well as at each partner institution, or administrative/clerical support is allowable up to 20% of the total budget, direct cost. The application must identify the program coordinator(s) (include their biographical sketches), and their duties and responsibilities must be well described in the budget and must include a strong justification.

Participant Costs

Participant costs must be itemized in the proposed budget.

Applicants may request Bridges student support for up to 20 hours/week during the academic year, and up to 40 hours/week during the summer at a pay rate that is consistent with the institutional pay scale.

Active Bridges student participants (referred to as "students") in good standing may receive up to two years of compensation as follows:

  • Salary and fringe benefits for their participation in academic year/summer research internships. The salary and fringe benefits must be consistent  with the institutional salaries for employees in similar positions. They are paid salary plus fringe benefits, only when such benefits are provided to other employees in similar positions.
  • Mandatory preparation for research, e.g., research design workshops, research reporting workshops, etc. However, students may not earn academic credit and salary simultaneously for participating in these activities.

The support in the form of salary/wages is limited to Bridges student participants who begin their graduate training at the master's degree-granting institution(s).

  • In order for the Bridges students to receive compensationthey must meet eligibility requirements for the program and be actively participating in student-development and research education activities.

Bridges students in the master’s degree program are allowed tuition remission as part of a compensation package. The tuition remission cost must be itemized, as appropriate, in Section F (Other Direct Costs) under Other Program-Related Expenses.

Bridges-supported students may not concurrently hold another federally sponsored stipend or fellowship, or other federal award that duplicates Bridges support. However, concurrent with Bridges support, students may make use of federal educational loan funds and assistance under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act (G.I. Bill) or may receive funds from a Pell Grant, based on financial need. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.

Other Program-Related Expenses

Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution. 

Cost for collection and analysis of program data is allowed; however, if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium, the cost must be included in the category of key personnel salary (effort listed in person months).

Support for faculty from the master’s and doctoral institutions jointly developing new/advanced courses or updating existing courses that are critical to the competitive academic preparation of students at the master’s degree institution is allowed. Applications requesting support for developing courses at the master’s institution(s) must provide a plan to institutionalize these courses within a reasonable time period, but no later than two years after the activity is initiated.

Other allowable costs include the following:

  • Support for faculty from the doctoral institution serving as visiting lecturers, offering lectures and/or laboratory courses in areas in which expertise needs strengthening at the master’s institution;
  • Support for faculty from the master’s degree-granting institution for developing or implementing special academic developmental activities; and
  • Support for faculty/consultants/role models (including Bridges alumni) to present research seminars and workshops on communication skills, grant writing, and career development plans at the master’s degree institution(s).

Allowable travel includes the following: costs for faculty research mentors to attend national scientific meetings if the faculty member is accompanying Bridges students who are presenting at the meeting; costs for the participating faculty at the master's institution to attend scientific conferences and workshops that are directly relevant to research development; costs for Bridges student travel to domestic scientific conferences; costs for travel (mileage expenses) of Bridges students to participate in special research development activities (e.g., serve as laboratory assistants) and summer research internships if the distance between the community college and the partner baccalaureate institution is more than 50 miles (round-trip).

Research supplies for Bridges students (not to exceed $3,000/student/year) may be requested. 

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees and expenditures for equipment and consortia in excess of $25,000), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information


1. Eligible Applicants


Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date.

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. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account and should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate an existing account with the applicant organization’s eRA Commons account. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Applicants must designate a PD/PI from each participating institution (grantee and partner institutions). Refer to the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (also see Section IV.2).

The PDs/PIs must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institution, and should have teaching, student counseling and/or academic administrative experience. The PDs/PIs will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility


Number of Applications

Only one application per institution (normally defined by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:

The master’s degree-granting institutions in the Bridges to the Doctorate Program must offer a terminal master’s degree with a strong focus on biomedical and behavioral sciences as their highest degree and have a large pool, as determined by the applicant institution, of master’s degree-seeking students from underrepresented groups to be eligible to apply as an applicant institution.

A college/university that has a substantial enrollment of master’s degree students in biomedical/behavioral sciences, but also offers a doctoral program in unrelated disciplines is eligible to apply as a lead applicant institution or participate as a partner institution. However, institutions offering both master’s and doctoral degrees may not form partnerships within their own institution for graduates of their own master’s degree programs to enter their own doctoral programs, even if a student is moving to another department, school, or college. The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN institutions.

Each proposed Bridges to the Doctorate program must consist of a partnership/consortium composed of at least two institutions, including the lead applicant institution. One must be an institution that offers the master’s degree as the only graduate degree in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Another institution must be a college or university granting the Ph.D. degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Two different scenarios are anticipated for these partnerships: a) one Ph.D.-granting institution as the lead applicant institution partnering with one or more master’s degree institutions, or b) one master’s degree-granting institution as the lead applicant institution partnering with one or more Ph.D.-granting institutions. An eligible applicant or partner institution may participate in more than one Bridges to the Doctorate partnership if such multiple partnerships are strongly justified by the potential to magnify the programs’ and institutions' outcomes.

Preceptors/Mentors

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.

Participants

Applications must describe the intended participants, and the eligibility and/or specific educational background characteristics that are essential for participation in the proposed research education program. Identify the career levels essential for participation in the planned program.

Bridges student participants are those students who will receive support in the form of salaries/wages under this program. Student participants must be U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals or permanent residents, and be an individual from a background nationally underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

For the purpose of this FOA, individuals underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences include 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 data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the US Pacific Islands. 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 HHS - Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. 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 (C1 and C2) 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. Under extraordinary circumstances the PHS may, at its discretion, consider an individual beyond the undergraduate level to be from a disadvantaged background. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate documentation.

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

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

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.

Other Attachments.

Data Tables: Applicants are encouraged to use the suggested table formats available at the Bridges Sample Table website, to summarize the data required in the Research Education Program. See below for sample table contents.

Sample Table 1. Active Biomedical Science-Related Academic Programs. Indicate the title of each graduate-level student development/research training program in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines that is relevant to preparing and graduating underrepresented students. Provide start and end dates of award(s), funding sources, academic level targeted (master's or doctorate), and list which disciplines are supported by each program.

Sample Table 2. Prospective Faculty Research Mentors at each Participating Institution. Provide information for up to 10 potential faculty mentors who have agreed to provide research experiences to Bridges students during the academic year and summer.

Sample Table 3. Institutional Baseline Data for Student Enrollment, Transfer, and Degree Completion in Biomedical and Behaviorial Sciences-Related Disciplines. For each participating institution, provide the number of master's students enrolled, the number who transferred, and the number of transfers who completed the doctoral degree over the previous 5-year period. Provide the percentage of UR and non-UR students in each category.

Sample Table 4. Institutional and Bridges Participant Outcomes on Enrollment, Transfer, and Degree Completion in Biomedical and Behavorial Sciences-Related Disciplines.  Provide the following information for each institution:

Sample Table 5. Current Status of Bridges Students.  Provide updated information on the status of former Bridges participants, including highest degree earned and current academic plans. NOTE: This table is only for non-competing continuation progress reports. See section VI.3.

Preceptor/Faculty Biosketches:  Biosketches for all proposed preceptors/faculty must be included in the Other Attachment section.

The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional modifications:

Key Personnel must include the PD/PIs and the program coordinator (if any) from the lead applicant institution, program coordinator(s) from the partner institution(s), program evaluator (if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium), as well as any other key persons (such as those involved in developing, implementing, directing, monitoring, evaluating, etc., who are integral to the proposed research education program) participating in the research education program.

R&R Budget

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

Bridges to the Doctorate Program involves multiple institutions. One of the participating institutions must be designated as the lead applicant institution and funding for the other institution(s) in the partnership must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the applicant institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the applicant institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component. All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Specific Aims

The Bridges to Doctorate Program recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each application must provide baseline data on enrollment, transfer and subsequent graduation of its UR students in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Specific aims must be based on this self-assessment and must be consonant with the Bridges to the Doctorate goals and objective. The program outcome measures and impact on the participating institutions should be presented relative to baseline data.

Research Education Program Plan

The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below: Proposed Research Education Program, Institutional Environment and Commitment, Program Director/Principal Investigator, Program Faculty/Staff, Program Participants, Progress Report (for renewal applications only), Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, Evaluation Plan. These components combined must be within the defined page limit of the Research Education Program Plan.

Proposed Research Education Program. While the proposed research education program may complement 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. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly describe the distinction between the intended participants in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program. The information should include a description of the education and/or career levels of the planned participants.    

Describe the criteria and procedures for identification, selection and retention of Bridges students into the program and for the selection of participating faculty. Provide a brief rationale for, and a detailed description of each activity proposed and the role of faculty/personnel involved. Describe how each activity will contribute toward realization of the specific aims. Give a brief account of the equipment, space, and other resources available to implement the activity. Briefly outline the proposed schedule.

Provide programmatic detail on the proposed developmental activities; these activities must address the needs and requirements (as identified by the institutional self-assessment) of the UR students who are enrolled full-time at the participating master’s degree institution(s) and must be designed to improve their competitiveness to transfer and complete the Ph.D. degree in biomedical/behavioral sciences. Discuss any perceived impediments to implementing the proposed activities and alternative strategies to achieve the specific aims.

Applications proposing mentored research experiences during the academic year/summer must demonstrate that participants will have meaningful research experiences in the laboratories of investigators who are actively engaged in biomedical/behavioral research and who have peer-reviewed publications. Proposed summer research experiences must be at least two consecutive months in duration.

The application should describe a system for monitoring Bridges students' progress throughout graduate school, including their retention, transfer, and successful completion of the Ph.D. degree.   

Institutional Environment and Commitment. Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support. Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.  

Provide a brief description of the following to address the Institutional Environment:

Provide a brief description of the following to address the Institutional Commitment:

Program Directors/Principal Investigators. Describe arrangements for administration of the program, provide evidence that the PDs/PIs are actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, 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 Bridges program requires a PD/PI from each participating institution, and a multi-PD/PI plan is expected. The PDs/PIs assume responsibility for the overall execution of the Bridges to the Doctorate program, and are typically responsible for the selection of students and the coordination and implementation of developmental research education and mentoring activities. One PD/PI should be designated as the contact PD/PI. PDs/PIs are expected to coordinate efforts to prepare and submit, in a timely manner, the required reports, e.g., annual progress reports, changes in program activities if any, etc. The PDs/PIs work with the program evaluator to monitor and evaluate the progress of individual program elements and the overall functioning of the Bridges to the Doctorate Program.  

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 NIH.   

Provide evidence that faculty and staff have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to conduct the proposed student development and research activities. Clearly delineate the roles and expectations of participating faculty and/or program coordinators from each institution. Provide a list of faculty research mentors/preceptors and describe each faculty member's research area and current research funding, using the suggested table format in Sample Table 2, if desired. 

Program Participants. Where the proposed program involves participants, provide details about the pool of expected participants, their qualifications, recruitment strategies and sources of applicant pool, etc.  Provide the institutional baseline data (average number over the previous three to five year period) on the enrollment, transfer and graduation of students in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines. Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Table 3 to provide baseline data.

Progress Report (for Renewal Application). For renewal applications, a detailed Progress Report must be included. Applications with more than one previous funding cycle must provide information on the past two consecutive funding cycles. In the report, state the original goals and specific aims, anticipated milestones and outcomes, as well as a summary of the specific accomplishments of the Bridges to the Doctorate program in the context of the previous application’s baseline.

Describe the impact of the Bridges program as a result of program-supported activities in areas such as courses/curricular enhancements, faculty and student development, increases in student retention rate, improvement of student academic achievement, and increases in the number of students transferring to and successfully completing the doctorate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences.

Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Table 4 to provide data on student outcomes. See below for sample table contents.

Describe in the progress report what has been learned through the program evaluation and what has been added, modified or deleted as a result of program evaluation. Evaluation reports, if available, can be included in the Appendix. Describe any previously funded Bridges activities that are now continuing (or will continue) on institutional funds. 

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Every participant supported by this Research Education grant must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. All applications must include a plan to provide such instruction. The plan must address five components (format; subject matter; faculty participation; duration of instruction; and frequency of instruction) as detailed in NOT-OD-10-019. Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans for the future that address any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.

Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be reviewed. The background, rationale and more detail about instruction in the responsible conduct of research can be found in NOT-OD-10-019. If such instruction is not appropriate for the proposed research education program, then the PD/PI must provide a strong justification for its exclusion.

Evaluation Plan. Applications must include a plan for evaluating the activities supported by the award.  The application must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants), as well as measures to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Wherever appropriate, applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for improvements. Applications lacking an evaluation plan will not be reviewed.

Letters of Support

Applications must include a Consortium Agreement letter of intent or commitment (attach at line item for Letters of Support) acknowledging each institution’s participation in the proposed Bridges to the Doctorate program. The letter must outline each institution’s respective role in administering the program, and these roles must be consistent with the goals and objectives of the proposed Bridges program. This letter is to be signed by a representative of each participating institution’s central administration, and all program directors (co-PDs/PIs). The institutional business official's signature on the letter indicates that all parties agree with the following statement:

"The appropriate programmatic and administrative personnel of each organization involved in this grant application are aware of the NIH consortium agreement policy and are prepared to establish the necessary inter-institutional agreement(s) consistent with that policy."

Resource Sharing Plans

Not Applicable

Appendix

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies) using other electronic submission systems. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

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.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The following summarizes the non-allowable costs under the Bridges to the Doctorate program:

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
Insert program-specific introductory text with the preface, “For this particular announcement, note the following:”. Do not insert review criteria, instructions to applicants, or review considerations in this text block.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Significance

Does the proposed research education program address an important problem or critical question in research education or other critical issues?  How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of the proposed program? Are the proposed goals and specific aims consonant with the recognized needs of the participating institutions? In what ways will the proposed program produce significant improvement in the academic preparation and competitiveness of students for successful completion of doctoral degrees? 

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers appropriately trained and well suited to the proposed research education program? Are the PD/PIs capable of providing administrative and/or scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proprosed research program? If Early Stage Investigator or New Investigator, or in the early stages of an independent career, does the PD/PI have appropriate experience to lead the program?  As a multi-PD/PI project, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?  Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? Is there an adequate number of research-active faculty members at the participating institution for mentored research experiences?

Innovation

Is the proposed research education program characterized by innovation and scholarship?  Does the proposed program challenge and seek to shift current research education paradigms or clinical practice, or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field?  Are the proposed concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies novel for this area?  Does this proposed 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.     

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposed research education program?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?  If the program is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?  If called for, is the proposed plan for evaluation and/or dissemination of the education program sound and likely to provide data on the effectiveness of the education program?  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?  If the proposed program will recruit participants, are the recruitment, retention, and follow-up activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified and diverse participant pool? 

If the program involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed? 

Environment

Will the scientific/educational environment in which the proposed research education program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional commitment and support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the program proposed? Will the program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of appropriate collaboration among participating programs, departments, and institutions? 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)? 

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Vertebrate Animals

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Biohazards

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, including the following:

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Not Applicable

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Taking into account the specific characteristics of the research education program, level of participant experience, and the particular circumstances of the participants, the reviewers will address the following questions.  Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures and/or real-time discussion groups?  Do plans include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety?  Do the plans adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction?  Do the plans ensure participants will receive instruction (or in the case of more senior level participants, provide instruction) for an appropriate amount of time given the length of the research education experience?  Plans and past record will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Not Applicable

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the NIGMS , in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

Applications will be assigned to NIGMS. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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 eRA Commons

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

3. Reporting

The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.Programs that involve participants should report on education in the responsible conduct of research, and are encouraged to use Sample Table 4 and Sample Table 5 to report Institutional/Bridges Students Outcomes and Current Status of Bridges Program participants, respectively.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.

Other Reporting Requirements

The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each participant appointed full time for eight weeks or more or the equivalent. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.

A final progress reportand the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

4. 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 from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.

Within ten years of making awards under this program, NIH will assess the program’s overall outcomes, gauge its effectiveness in enhancing diversity, and consider whether there is a continuing need for the program.  Upon the completion of this evaluation, NIH will determine whether to (a) continue the program as currently configured, (b) continue the program with modifications, or (c) discontinue the program.

The overall evaluation of the program will be based on metrics that will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Web ticketing system: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726

Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone 301-435-0714
TTY 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Michelle R.J. Hamlet, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Telephone: 301-594-3900
Email: hamletm@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Telephone: 301-594-2881
Email: sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Lori Burge
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Telephone: 301-451-3781
Email: burgeL@nigms.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

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.


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