Full Text PAR-96-004

RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IN MINORITY INSTITUTIONS

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 37, October 20, 1995

PA NUMBER:  PAR-96-004

P.T. 34, FF

Keywords: 
  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 
  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 


National Center for Research Resources
Office of Research on Minority Health

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 2, 1996
Application Receipt Date:  February 1, 1996

PURPOSE

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the Office of
Research on Minority Health (ORMH) encourage the submission of grant
applications from eligible institutions for the development of their
biomedical research infrastructure.  The purpose of these Phase II
exploratory grants, which will use the P20 mechanism, is to enable
minority baccalaureate and masters degree granting institutions to
implement their plans to significantly enhance their capacity and
competitiveness for the conduct of biomedical and/or behavioral
research.

The NCRR/ORMH announced the availability of planning grants (Phase I
of this initiative) in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol.
24, No. 12, March 31, 1995.  Applications were due June 1, 1995, with
Phase I awards scheduled for September 30, 1995.  Receipt of a Phase
I Planning Grant is not a requirement for participation in Phase II
(implementation).  It is a requirement of Phase II applications that
the eligible minority institutions have, at the time of application
submission, formal collaborative agreements with research-intensive
doctoral degree-granting institutions.

The major objectives of the Phase II Research Infrastructure in
Minority Institutions (RIMI) Initiative are to:  (1) establish a RIMI
activity that will enhance the institution's biomedical research
infrastructure, and (2) utilize collaborative agreements with
institutions granting doctoral degrees in the health sciences to
encourage and facilitate research and mentoring interactions between
the biomedical research faculty in grantee and collaborating
institutions.  Increased participation of students from the grantee
institution in these doctoral programs is expected to be an
additional benefit of these collaborations.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Program
Announcement (PA), Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions
(RIMI), is related to all priority areas.  Potential applicants may
obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock
No.017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report: Stock No.017-001-00473-1)
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Domestic academic institutions with more than 50 percent minority
enrollment that offer one or more baccalaureate and/or master's
degrees in the sciences related to health are eligible to compete for
support under this initiative.  Minority institutions that award an
M.D., D.D.S., Pharm.D., D.V.M. or other doctoral degree in the health
professions, and/or a Ph.D. in the sciences related to health are not
eligible.  However, they may serve as the collaborating
research-intensive institutions.

Eligible institutions must have formal collaborative agreements, by
February 1, 1996, with one or more research-intensive universities
offering doctoral degrees in the health-related sciences.  These
collaborations must encourage and facilitate research between faculty
in the participating institutions. They also should facilitate the
participation of students from the undergraduate institution in the
doctoral degree programs.  Applicants must provide evidence of the
existence and nature of the collaborative agreement(s) in the
application.

The receipt of a Phase I planning grant is not a prerequisite for
submission of an application for a Phase II award.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Awards under this PA will use the exploratory grant (P20) mechanism.

The applicant will be solely responsible for the planning, direction,
and execution of the grant.  The total requested project period may
not exceed five years.  Requested direct costs may not exceed
$600,000 for each 12 month period. Indirect costs will be provided.
The anticipated award date is September 30, 1996.

This PA is a one-time solicitation.

Allowable Costs

Requested allowable costs of activities should focus primarily on the
establishment of biomedical research infrastructure at the applicant
institution.  Requests for a maximum of three relevant
developmental/collaborative research projects may be included but may
not exceed 50 percent of the budget.  All requested items must be
related to the needs of the institution's RIMI implementation plan,
and must be specifically and thoroughly justified.  Research related
costs at the collaborating institutions are allowable and must be
listed in the budget as contractual costs.  These costs must be
related to the collaborative research, and should augment existing
resources.  Costs related to student training are not allowable.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

If a sufficient number of highly meritorious applications are
received, it is anticipated that up to five to seven Phase II grant
awards may be made.  Award of grants pursuant to this PA is
contingent upon the number of highly meritorious applications
received and the availability of funds.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The ORMH strongly supports the establishment of institutional
partnerships as an essential approach toward reaching its goals of
(1) extending healthy life and reducing the burden of illness among
minorities through targeted research and (2) increasing the
participation of minorities in all phases of biomedical research.
There is enormous potential for mutual growth as an outcome of
interaction between, on the one hand, Historically Black Colleges and
Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other institutions
serving primarily minority populations; and, on the other hand,
research-intensive institutions that award doctoral degrees in the
health sciences or sciences related to health.

The ORMH Fact-Finding Team (FFT) was convened in May 1991 to
recommend ways in which the ORMH could reach its goals.  Thirteen
recommendations resulted, of which four advocated directly or
indirectly the development of the institutional partnership concept.
Precedents for this partnership model have been set by several
programs within the NIH and many collaborative efforts are now in
place between minority and majority institutions.

To the minority institutions, benefits derived from these
partnerships have accrued in the areas of faculty recruitment and
retention, student development, enhanced research capacity, and
administrative acumen.  Majority institutions have broadened the
scope of their missions, heightened the diversity of their
activities, and reshaped their vision for the future of their
institutions.

The Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI)
Initiative, which will assist in the development of the biomedical
research infrastructure at eligible minority institutions, is
responsive to mutual and synergistic goals of the NCRR and the ORMH,
and is in response to the FFT's recommendations.  It will be a merger
of the ORMH institutional partnership concept and the extensive
experience of NCRR in developing the research infrastructure of
minority doctoral degree-granting institutions.  This initiative will
also address the problem of diversity in the biomedical sciences, a
major NIH concern.

Program Characteristics

The Principal Investigator (PI) should be the President of the
applicant institution or his/her designated representative for
implementation of the RIMI Program.  In addition, the governance
structure must include a Program Director (PD), and a RIMI Advisory
Committee.

The PD is nominated by and responsible to the PI; the PD must be
willing and able to devote the time and effort necessary for
effective management and implementation of the RIMI program.  He/she
should be a knowledgeable and experienced biomedical scientist, and
an effective administrator.

A RIMI Advisory Committee that is advisory to the PI and PD must be
established.  It should consist of eight to twelve members and must
include a cross-section of qualified faculty and appropriate members
external to the institution.  One or more of the external members
must be from the collaborating institution(s).  It is essential that
the Committee be knowledgeable about the institution's strengths and
weaknesses in biomedical research, capabilities and needs, and
overall goals.  It should possess, among its members, the experience
and knowledge to provide appropriate guidance for the program and
identify and recommend expert consultation from others, including
leaders in relevant scientific disciplines and other fields as
needed, to provide the critical input necessary to develop and
maintain a competitive RIMI Program. The Committee will oversee the
implementation of the plans for infrastructure development and for
collaborative relationships among institutions, faculty and students,
and will make recommendations throughout the process.  Therefore,
competing or conflicting interests must be carefully considered when
developing Committee operating procedures.

Program plans for enhancement of biomedical research capacity must be
consistent with the long-range goals of the applicant institution.

It is recognized that the nature and scope of a RIMI application may
vary widely in different institutional settings.  Each applicant must
assess and address its own needs.  The applicant must describe and
justify how existing and requested resources will be utilized to
implement the institutional plan and collaborative agreements to
create and maintain an environment and framework suitable to achieve
the objectives of the RIMI program.

Some examples of items that may be appropriate for support are a
Program Director and staff, research support personnel, a core
laboratory with multi-user research equipment, and up to three
collaborative/developmental research projects.  Resources that
facilitate networking, consultation and collaboration between the
applicant's faculty and faculty at the other participating
institution(s) are appropriate and encouraged.  Renovation of
research space and recruitment of faculty scientists are other
possibilities.

For the application to be complete, an evaluation plan must be
developed to determine the extent to which the program goals are
being achieved.  This plan may include, but should not be limited to,
the evaluation of both the short-term and long-term goals and how the
RIMI goals match and/or affect the goals of the applicant
institution.  The evaluation plan should address such issues as
availability of expertise, time allocation, and resource allocation.

The implementation of appropriate Memoranda of Understanding and
Agreements (MUAs) with one or more institutions that award doctoral
degrees in the biomedical sciences is required in Phase II.  There
must be reasonable opportunities for the faculty at the grantee
institution to serve on doctoral thesis advisory committees and to
have other faculty privileges as appropriate.  Additionally,
effective mechanisms for the participation of students from the
applicant institution in these doctoral programs should be included
in the MUAs.  The establishment of biomedical research collaborations
among the faculty at these institutions is expected.  Applicant
institutions must have these MUAs in place at the time of
application.  Signed copies must be included in the application.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN
SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  This new policy results
from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law
103-43) and supersedes and strengthens the previous policies
(Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and
Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations), which
have been in effect since 1990. The new policy contains some
provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies.
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the "NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research," which have been published in the
Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and reprinted
in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11,
March 18, 1994.

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

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by January 2, 1996, a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
RIMI Program; the name, address, and telephone number of the
Principal Investigator; the identities of other key personnel and
participating institutions; and the number and title of the PA in
response to which the application may be submitted.

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does
not enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information
that it contains is helpful in planning for the review of
applications.  It allows NCRR staff to estimate the potential review
workload and to avoid conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to:

Director, Office of Review
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 6018, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
FAX:  (301) 480-3660

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Prospective applicants are advised to communicate with program and
grants management staff of the NCRR as early as possible in the
planning phase of application development.  NCRR staff available to
assist applicants are listed under INQUIRIES.

A workshop will be held in the Washington, DC area in early to
mid-November to provide technical assistance in the preparation of
applications and to assist in the development and implementation of
such plans.  Additional information may be obtained from the program
contact listed under INQUIRIES.

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used
in applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained
Office of Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National
Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3034, MSC 7762,
Bethesda, MD 20892-7762, telephone 301/435-0714, Email:
girg@drgpo.drg.nih.gov.

Applicants should thoroughly review and follow the instructions
accompanying form PHS 398 and the following:

Face Page

Item 1.  Title of Project.  The title should reflect the overall
research emphasis of the RIMI Program.

Item 2.  Response to Specific Program Announcement. Check "YES" and
type in the number and title of this program announcement.

Items 6.  Dates of Proposed Period of Support.  Up to five years of
support may be requested.  The start date should be September 30,
1996.

Page 2 (Description, Performance Site(s) and Key Personnel)

Description of Proposed Program.  In describing the RIMI program,
outline the overall objectives and the implementation plan,
indicating how each component will contribute to the achievement of
these objectives and the goals of the RIMI Program.

Performance Sites.  Include all locations, whether at the applicant
or the collaborating institution(s).

Key Personnel.  Under key personnel, include the Principal
Investigator, the Program Director, and any other individuals with a
significant role in implementing the RIMI program.  This should
include personnel at the collaborating institutions.

Form Page 3 (Table of Contents)

Modify the table of contents to reflect the content and sequence
outlined in the modified instructions in this PA.

Form Page 4 (Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period) and Form Page
5 (Budget for Entire Period)

Use these forms to provide a Summary budget for the RIMI program (not
to exceed $600,000 direct costs per year). Salary support for
employees of the applicant institution must be listed as personnel.
Support for all other personnel should be listed under consultants
(including consulting fees and travel expenses), or under
consortium/contractual costs.

Also use both forms to provide an Administrative budget. Include the
Principal Investigator, the Program Director, administrative support
personnel and other budgetary items needed for central coordination
of the program.

The need for each budget item requested and its cost must be
thoroughly documented in the "Justification" section.

Form Page 6 (Biographical Sketch)

Include for the Principal Investigator and the Program Director in
this section.  (Biographical sketches for other key personnel,
including specific activity or project leaders, should be included in
the section describing that activity).

I.  Institutional Setting and General Plan (Limit narrative to 10
pages)

Research Plan

Do not follow the outline in form PHS 398;  Develop as follows:

Description of Applicant Institution

Provide a brief history of the institution and its mission, including
developmental milestones over the last 10 years.

Describe the institution's current status by providing:

o  a self-analysis of organizational, educational and scientific
strengths and weaknesses; and

o  a summary of major resources (physical, human, and financial) for
biomedical research.  Include numbers of faculty involved and numbers
of students in the health-related sciences.

Description of Collaborating Institution

Provide a brief summary of the principal resources (researchers, core
labs and other research facilities) at the collaborating institution
that will be used to facilitate the achievement of the RIMI
objectives.

General Plan for Expanding Biomedical Research Capacity

Briefly describe the process used to select the plan, addressing the
areas of:

o  concept development, including the identification of institutional
goals, formulation of organizational/advisory structures, and
prioritization of research development area(s); and

o  application development, including the role of the Advisory
Committee and the involvement of peer reviewers.

Describe the institutional plan developed by this process in terms
of:

o  specific aims and goals for the project period,

o  brief description of specific component activities,

o  implementation timetable, and

o  plan for institutionalization of RIMI-supported resources and
maintenance of enhanced biomedical research capacity after RIMI
support ends.

Organizational Structure and Administration

Outline the organizational structure of the institution, showing how
the RIMI PD will interface with the administrative structure.
Describe the lines of authority and indicate how the proposed
structure will allow the PD to best accomplish the goals identified
for the RIMI program.

RIMI PD

Describe the qualifications of the faculty member selected for this
role, including his/her scientific training, biomedical research
experience, administrative leadership skills, and commitment to the
RIMI initiative.

RIMI Advisory Committee

Describe the composition and function of the Committee.

List the names and titles of the members, including their
institutional affiliations.  Identify the expertise that each member
contributes to this Committee.  The PI and PD are non-voting members.

Provide a description of how the committee functions, its roles and
responsibilities, resources available to it, frequency of meetings,
and reporting requirements.

Institutional Commitment

Provide evidence of the applicant institution's commitment to
biomedical research and to enhancing its biomedical research
environment.  Examples might include the availability of research
space, cost sharing, promotion and tenure policies emphasizing the
importance of research, an institutional strategic plan that
complements the RIMI initiative, ongoing collaborations with
research-intensive institutions, participation in PHS research and
training activities, and any other activity that encourages faculty
and student involvement in biomedical research.

Evaluation plan

Describe the plan for evaluation of the RIMI Program.

Collaborative Agreement(s)

Describe the essential elements of the collaborative agreements
between the applicant institution and research-intensive doctoral
degree-granting institutions, that address the goals of this
initiative. If modifications, improvements, or expansion of these
agreements are planned, describe these in detail. Address any
anticipated or potential problems and describe proposed alternative
plans to resolve them. Include a copy of the current MUA(s) in this
section of the application.

II.  Baseline Data on Biomedical Research Capacity (Limit narrative
to 10 pages)

This section should be used to describe a) current institutional
resources and activities related to biomedical research, b) ongoing
biomedical research programs of faculty, and c) the pre and post
award management process.

Also describe, for the past five years, a) the number of student
majors and degrees awarded in the sciences related to health, b)
faculty awards, honors and involvement in professional societies, and
e) research publications, and grants and contracts awarded.

The above information should be limited to those departments/research
areas which would be impacted by the RIMI program.

III.  Detailed Plan for Each RIMI Activity or Project

The RIMI application may include several activities.  A separate plan
must be developed for each research infrastructure and collaborative
research activity. Include pages 2 and 4 through 8 from PHS 398.

Follow the PHS 398 instructions (pp 15-19) for the Research Plan for
each activity.  In addition, emphasize the important aspects noted
below in describing:

Infrastructure Components

Tailor the narrative to clearly describe the objectives, needs,
rationale for the approach selected, and implementation timetable in
the context of current resources, alternatives considered, and
overall program goals.  Describe the planning process, explain the
management structure, and outline the corporate plan to
institutionalize support over time.

Identify the user community, explaining in detail the nature and
extent of utilization by each investigator (current and/or proposed).

Collaborative Research Projects

Clearly describe the importance and relevance of the proposed
collaborative projects to the institution's RIMI program goals.

IV.  Appendix

List in the Table of Contents any items included in the Appendix.
The Appendix should be limited to letters of commitment from
consultants, collaborators, and institutional officials from the
applicant and collaborating institutions, and no more than three
relevant research publications.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and three signed, exact photocopies, and one copy of
the Appendix, in one package to:

DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, SUITE 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application,
and four copies of the appendices, are to be sent to:

OFFICE OF REVIEW
NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH RESOURCES
6705 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, SUITE 6018, MSC 7965
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7965
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

Applications must be received by February 1, 1996.  If an application
is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant
without review.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by NIH staff for
completeness and responsiveness.  Applications that are incomplete or
nonresponsive to this PA will be returned to the applicant.

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and
technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in
accordance with NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the initial
merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and
may undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have
the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of applications
under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and
receive a second level review by the National Advisory Research
Resources Council, NCRR.

Major factors to be considered in the overall evaluation of the
applications include:

o  Adequacy of the planning process, including self-assessment of
current biomedical research capabilities, concept development and
involvement of advisory resources.

o  Appropriateness of the organizational and administrative structure
established to accomplish RIMI program goals.

o  Qualifications, experience and commitment of the PD, and his/her
ability to provide effective leadership in implementing the
institutional RIMI plan.

o  Appropriateness of the RIMI Advisory Committee and other
consultative resources for guiding the implementation of Phase II.

o  Adequacy of institutional commitment to biomedical research.

o  Appropriateness of the collaborative arrangements with doctoral
degree-granting institutions for achieving RIMI program goals.

o  Appropriateness and adequacy of the institution's evaluation plan,
including availability of expertise, and time and resource
allocation.

o  Appropriateness of requested budget and proposed project period.

In addition, major factors to be considered in specific activity
areas include:

Infrastructure Components:

Assessments of infrastructure requests are not based primarily on
specific evaluations of individual scientific protocols, but rather
on a broader perception of the feasibility of achieving what is
proposed with the resources requested.  The criteria for review of
these components include:

o  Adequacy of mechanisms to enhance proficiency of grants and
contracts management.

o  Rationale and need for these resources to achieve institutional
RIMI goals, including the potential for developing high quality
research programs.  The availability of a user community is critical.

o  Adequacy and appropriateness of administrative and scientific
leadership for implementing and managing the resources, including
collaborative and consultative arrangements.

o  Appropriateness of the plan for the resource,including objectives,
implementation strategy and timetable, and involvement of the
advisory committee.

o  Reasonableness of plans to institutionalize support for this
resource over time.

Developmental and Collaborative Research Projects:

Review of developmental research projects is based not only on the
traditional considerations necessary for peer evaluation of
scientific merit, but also takes into account the preliminary nature
of the proposed studies and, in a broader sense, the extent to which
the research activity will contribute to the goals of the RIMI
Program.  The criteria for review of these developmental research
projects include:

o  Significance and relevance of proposed research problem.

o  Appropriateness of research plan, including specific aims,
experimental design, methodology, consideration of alternatives, data
analysis, scope and timetable.

o  Adequacy of resources, including background and training of the
activity leader and other personnel, appropriateness of consultants
and collaborators, and availability and suitability of specialized
facilities and equipment.

o  Relevance of proposed project to the institutional plan for
expansion of biomedical research capacity and enhanced opportunities
for collaboration.

AWARD CRITERIA

Award decisions will be based on the technical merit of the
application as determined by peer review, availability of funds, and
other programmatic priorities to ensure a balance among the various
types of programs, populations served, and/or geographic
distribution.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Dr. Robert F. Hendrickson
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 6030, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0760
Email:  roberth@ep.ncrr.nih.gov

Direct inquiries concerning fiscal matters to:

Mr. Paul Karadbil
Office of Grants and Contracts Management
National Center for Research Resources
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 6086, MSC 7965
Bethesda, MD  20892-7965
Telephone:  (301) 435-0844
Email:  paulk@ep.ncrr.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.389.  Awards will be made under authorization of
the Public Health Service Act, Title III, Part A (Public Law 78-410,
as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered
under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45
CFR, Part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental
review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency
review.

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

.

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