Full Text PAR-97-068
 
MBRS SUPPORT OF CONTINUOUS RESEARCH EXCELLENCE (SCORE)
 
NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 20, June 13, 1997
 
PA NUMBER:  PAR-97-068
 
P.T. 34, FF

Keywords: 
  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 

 
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
 
Application Receipt Dates:  February 1, June 1, October 1
 
PURPOSE
 
The purpose of the Minority Biomedical Research Support  (MBRS)
Support of Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE) program is to
provide financial assistance to competitive research programs in all
areas of biomedical and behavioral research at institutions with
significant underrepresented minority student enrollment. The intent
of this announcement is to provide grants to support research by
faculty members at minority serving institutions.  The SCORE program
replaces the research component of the traditional MBRS (S06) program
and the pilot research projects of the S14 program.  By eliminating
or modifying some of the restrictions of the traditional S06 and S14
programs, the SCORE program allows enhanced flexibility in the
development of research projects.  In addition, the MBRS Branch
recognizes that minority and minority-serving institutions are
diverse in institutional environment and mission.  Therefore, with
respect to evaluation activities, this program requires that the
institution set its own specific goals and measurable objectives.
 
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
 
To be eligible for a grant under this program, an applicant must be
located in a State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin
Islands, the Canal Zone, Guam, American Samoa, or the successor
States of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (the Federated
States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the
Republic of Palau), and be one of the following:
 
a.   a public or private nonprofit university, two-year or four-year
college, or other institution offering undergraduate, graduate, or
health-professional degrees, with a traditionally high (more than 50
percent) underrepresented minority  student enrollment;
 
b.   a public or private nonprofit university, two-year or four-year
college, or other institution offering undergraduate, graduate, or
health-professional degrees with a student enrollment, a significant
proportion of which (but not necessarily more than fifty percent) is
derived from underrepresented minorities, provided the Secretary of
the Department of Health and Human Services determines that said
institution has a demonstrated commitment to the special
encouragement of, and assistance to, underrepresented minority
faculty, students, and investigators; or
 
c.   an Indian tribe that has a recognized governing body and that
performs substantial governmental functions, or an Alaska Regional
Corporation (ARC), as defined in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement
Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).
 
For the purposes of this announcement, underrepresented minorities
are individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group that
has been determined by the grantee institution to be underrepresented
in biomedical or behavioral research.  Historically, individuals who
have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral
research include, but are not limited to, U.S. citizens who are
Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans (including
Alaskan natives) and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands
 
A written statement containing the following information is required
in order to establish eligibility:
 
a.   the total student enrollment at the institution and percentages
of various underrepresented minorities in the total student
population (i.e., Native American, African American, Hispanic
American, natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands);
 
b.   number of underrepresented minority students in science
departments;
 
c.   evidence of the institution's commitment to the advancement of
underrepresented minority faculty and investigators, including
numbers of minority faculty in science departments; and
 
d.   evidence of efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented
minority students and faculty in the participating departments.
 
The SCORE program replaces the faculty research category of the
traditional MBRS program (S06) and the pilot research projects of the
MBRS Program for Undergraduate Colleges (S14).  An institution may
hold only one active SCORE award.  Institutions currently funded for
the traditional S06 or S14 programs are encouraged to apply for the
SCORE program, with a start date to coincide with the end of their
current project period.  In general, existing policies and provisions
will remain in effect for current S06 and S14 recipients until
completion of the non-competing years of their current project
period.  June 1, 1998 will be the final date for submission of new
and competitive renewals of traditional MBRS (S06) and S14 grant
applications.
 
Institutions supported by the Initiative for Minority Student
Development (NIH Guide, Vol. 25, No. 4, 1996) are not eligible for
the SCORE Program.  Institutions may have only one active SCORE
program.
 
MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
Awards under this program will be administered using the S06 grant
mechanism. The responsibility for planning, direction, execution,
data acquisition, and the institutional evaluation activities of the
proposed program lies solely with the applicant institution.  The
maximum grant period may not exceed four years, with the opportunity
for competing renewal at the end of that period.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
 
As of 1992, underrepresented minorities constituted only 4.5 percent
of the postdoctoral fellows in the life sciences and less than 2.7
percent of the principal investigators of NIH research grants. In
addition, the number of underrepresented minority applicants for
research grants and training positions is very low.  In the NIH
Revitalization Act of 1993, NIH was encouraged to increase the number
of underrepresented minorities participating in biomedical and
behavioral research.  In response to the Act, the objective of this
initiative is to significantly improve the research capabilities of
minority and minority-serving institutions.
 
The MBRS SCORE program offers research opportunities for faculty of
eligible institutions through support of faculty-initiated,
scientifically meritorious, biomedically relevant research projects,
including pilot research projects.  Support for faculty participating
in pilot projects is preparatory to seeking more substantial funding
from NIH research grant programs (e.g. MBRS SCORE (S06) research
program, Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA), K awards, R29
(FIRST Awards), and R01 awards) as well as funding from other
agencies and private sources.  Funds intended to support pilot
projects may not be used to supplement ongoing research projects.
 
Applicants should note that evaluation is a necessary component of
every MBRS program; this program requires that each institution set
its own specific goals and measurable objectives.
 
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 policy results from
the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103
43).
 
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 in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11, March 18, 1994.
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES
 
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) and
supplemental MBRS SCORE program instructions should be used in
applying for these grants.  Applications kits are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from
the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources,
National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910,
Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email:
ASKNIH@odrockm1.od.nih.gov; and from the MBRS program office listed
under INQUIRIES.
 
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and three photocopies of the signed application in one
package to:
 
DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20872-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
 
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to the Chief, Office of Scientific Review listed
under INQUIRIES.
 
Applicants are urged to contact MBRS program staff at an early stage
for assistance and guidance in developing an application.
 
ALLOWABLE COSTS
 
Applicants may apply for support for from one to as many as twenty
(20) research projects and one to eight (8) pilot projects per
program.  An institution need not apply for both research and pilot
projects; they may apply for support of pilot projects only or
research projects only.  Individual investigators may apply for
either a research project or a pilot research project, but not both.
Grant funds may be used for payment of any allowable and necessary
direct cost (i.e., salaries, consultant fees, equipment, travel,
renovations (up to $40,000), supplies, etc.) for biomedical research
under the MBRS program.
 
Certain costs for managing a complex program are allowable and may
vary, depending upon the size and complexity of the program's
activities.  The costs budgeted for MBRS grants may not duplicate
cost items already budgeted in other cost centers of the institution
for example, accounts which make up the Facilities and Administration
(F&A) cost pool.  The grantee institution must be prepared to provide
documentation showing the direct relationship of these costs to the
program and that costs of this type are charged in a uniform manner
to all other work at the institution.
 
Salary (up to 25 percent) for the Program Director for that portion
of time or effort specifically employed in directing the MBRS program
is allowable.  Salaries for secretarial or clerical help are
allowable only when in direct support of the MBRS program.  Costs for
evaluation activities are allowable, as are costs for an External
Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC).
 
Direct costs associated with research and pilot projects are
allowable when adequate justification is provided.  These include
faculty salaries, reimbursed according to percent effort, salaries
for technicians, post-doctoral research associates, research
associates, and research assistants, and costs for consultants.
Costs of equipment and supplies, including costs for animals,
necessary to carry out the proposed research may be included.  Travel
costs are permitted when direct benefits are provided to the program,
and when adequate justification is provided.  Alterations and
Renovations costs (up to $40,000) are allowable and includes repairs,
painting, removal or installation of partitions, shielding, etc..
Other costs might include animal maintenance (unit care costs and
number of care days), donor fees, publication costs, computer
charges, rentals and leases, equipment maintenance, service
contracts, and tuition remission in lieu of salary.
 
Consortium arrangements may involve personnel costs, supplies, and
other allowable costs, including indirect costs. Contractual costs
for support services, such as the laboratory testing of biological
materials, clinical services, or data processing, are allowable
expenses.
 
Faculty Pilot Research Projects
 
The faculty pilot research project is developmental and is intended
for faculty without current research support.  Therefore,
investigators with funded or pending support from other mechanisms
such as the S06, AREA, FIRST, R01, or funding from another agency,
are not eligible.
 
For faculty pilot projects, applicants may request support for up to
$25,000 in direct costs per project per year, up to a total of
$75,000 for a period not to exceed four years, and this support is
non-renewable.
 
EVALUATION
 
The MBRS Branch recognizes that minority and minority-serving
institutions are diverse in institutional environment and mission.
Therefore, the emphasis of the evaluation activities of the MBRS
SCORE program will be on the improvement, as defined by specific
goals and measurable objectives, which the applicant institution sets
for itself.
 
The applicant institution should evaluate the benefits of the SCORE
program's activities on specific, measurable outcomes identified by
the applicant.  Those outcomes will include, but are not limited to,
measures of the faculty research projects' success.  Since the intent
of this program is to support institutions with competitive research
programs, measurable outcomes might include progress in completing
the specific aims of each research project outlined in the
application, numbers of faculty publications in peer-reviewed
journals or book chapters, numbers of faculty presentations at
national scientific organization/society meetings, unexpected (but
important) research findings, etc.
 
At each competitive and non-competitive renewal, in the progress
report, the investigators will evaluate what difference the award has
made.  A central aspect of each grant application (that distinguishes
it from previous programs) is that each successful application has
specific, MEASURABLE objectives and a plan to evaluate whether those
objectives have been met.
 
REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS
 
Upon receipt, NIH staff will administratively review applications.
Incomplete and/or unresponsive applications will be returned to the
applicant without further consideration.  Those applications that are
complete and responsive will be evaluated in accordance with the
criteria stated below for scientific and technical merit by
appropriate peer review groups.  The National Advisory General
Medical Sciences Council will provide the second level of review.
 
The review of an MBRS SCORE application involves a review of the
individual research projects, pilot research projects and of the
overall program
 
Review Criteria for Individual Research Projects
 
In carrying out the scientific and technical merit review of
individual faculty research project applications, the initial review
group will take into account:
 
o  the appropriateness of, and rationale for, the hypothesis driven
research plan;
o  the appropriateness/adequacy of the methodology proposed to carry
out the research;
o  the quality of the literature review in terms of being complete
and current, and containing a critical analysis of the literature,
including identification of gaps in the knowledge;
o  the availability of, or plans to acquire, the necessary resources
to conduct the research;
o  the qualifications and experience of the principal investigator(s)
to conduct the work;
o  the biomedical relevance of the research problem;
o  the reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period
of support in relation to the proposed research;
o  in renewal applications, the scientific productivity of
investigators currently supported by the MBRS SCORE or traditional
S06 program, as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals
(chapters or articles), presentations at national or international
scientific meetings, and attempts to secure other research funding.
(The reviewers will evaluate the investigator's progress report.);
and
o  the adequacy of the proposed means for protecting against or
minimizing any adverse effects upon humans, animals, or the
environment, where an application involves such activities.
 
Review Criteria for Faculty Pilot Projects
 
In carrying out the scientific and technical merit review of pilot
research project applications, the initial review group will take
into account:
 
o  the clarity and focus of the proposed research goal;
o  the appropriateness/adequacy of the methodology proposed to carry
out the research;
o  the quality of the literature review in terms of being complete
and current, and containing a critical analysis of the literature,
including identification of gaps in the knowledge;
o  the availability of, or plans to acquire, the necessary resources
to conduct the research;
o  the qualifications and experience of the principal investigator(s)
to conduct the work;
o  the biomedical relevance of the research problem;
o  the reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period
of support in relation to the proposed research;
o  the adequacy of the proposed means for protecting against or
minimizing any adverse effects upon humans, animals, or the
environment, where an application involves such activities.
 
Review of the Overall Program
 
In carrying out the review of the overall program, the initial review
group will examine evidence of the institutional commitment to the
goal of fostering the participation of underrepresented minorities in
biomedical research.  This includes:
 
o  an assessment of attempts to increase the numbers of
underrepresented minority faculty participating in the research
projects;
o  the commitment, responsibility, and leadership of the Program
Director and institutional officials, as reflected by completeness,
accuracy, and organization of the application according to
application instructions and MBRS guidelines;
o  adequacy and availability of the institution's research resources
such as facilities and fiscal management;
o  the commitment of the institution to faculty research development
and sustaining faculty research efforts as reflected by an adequate
plan to assure that the NIH approved and funded percent effort will
be applied to research;
o  the overall scientific merit of the application based on the
quality of the individual research projects submitted; and
o  the adequacy of the evaluation plan.
 
AWARD CRITERIA
 
The MBRS program's mission is to increase significantly the number of
underrepresented minorities conducting biomedical research.  Towards
this end, one of the goals of the MBRS program is to strengthen the
biomedical research capability of institutions with significant
underrepresented minority enrollments.  Priorities for funding will
be based on the scientific and technical merit of the application,
and the likelihood that the applicant institution can further the
goals of the MBRS program.  Awards will be made only to institutions
with financial management systems and management capabilities that
are acceptable under PHS policy.  Awards will be administered under
the PHS Grants Policy Statement.
 
INQUIRIES
 
Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.
Questions on the program and its policies should be directed to:
 
Ernest D. Marquez, Ph.D.
MBRS Branch
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Suite 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
Email:  marqueze@gm1.nigms.nih.gov
 
Questions on the review of applications should be directed to:
 
Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 1 AS.13, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-2881
FAX:  (301) 480-8506
Email:  sunshinh@gm1.nigms.nih.gov
 
Questions on grants management and fiscal matters should be directed
to:
 
Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-5132
FAX:  (301) 480-2554
Email:  hollanda@gm1.nigms.nih.gov
 
AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS
 
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93-375.  Awards are authorized by sections 301 and 405
of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, and administered under
PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR part 52c, 45 CFR
part 74, and 45 CFR part 92.  See also Senate Appropriations
Committee Report, No. 92-316, July 29, 1971, Executive Order 12900 ,
Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans February 22, 1994, and
Executive Order 12876, Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
November 1, 1993.  Applications are 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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