NIGMS MARC PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP AWARDS

Release Date:  August 16, 1999 (see replacement PAR-03-114)

PA NUMBER:  PAR-99-142

Application Receipt Dates:  April 5 and December 5

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

PURPOSE

This program announcement (PA) replaces the National Institute of General
Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for National Research Service Award (NRSA) MARC
Predoctoral Fellowships.  The original announcement was published in the NIH
Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 2, 1981.  MARC
Predoctoral Fellowships will provide up to five years of support for research
training leading to the Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. or other combined professional
degree/Ph.D. in the biomedical or behavioral sciences, including mathematics. 
These Fellowships are for selected students who are graduates of the MARC
Honors Undergraduate Research Training (HURT) or MARC Undergraduate Student
Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) programs.  Support is not available for
individuals enrolled in medical or other professional degree schools unless
they are enrolled in a combined professional degree/Ph.D. program in the
biomedical or behavioral sciences.

The intent of the MARC Predoctoral Fellowship Program is to encourage students
from minority groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral
sciences to seek graduate degrees, thus furthering the goal of the NIGMS MARC
Branch of increasing the number of underrepresented minority scientists who
are competitively trained to pursue careers in biomedical or behavioral
research.  It is expected that training will be conducted in graduate degree
programs of the highest quality.

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 PA, MARC Predoctoral Fellowship
Awards, is related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants
may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at
http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.

ELIGIBILITY

Citizenship

At the time of application, individuals must be citizens or non-citizen
nationals of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United
States for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien
Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status). 
Non-citizen nationals are persons born in outlying possessions of the United
States (i.e., American Samoa and Swains Island).  Individuals on temporary or
student visas are not eligible.

MARC Status

Applicants must be graduates of either the MARC HURT or the MARC U*STAR
Programs.  In addition, applicants must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or
equivalent research degree program, a combined M.D./Ph.D. program or other
combined professional degree/Ph.D. program in the biomedical or behavioral
sciences, including mathematics, or have been accepted and agree to enroll in
such a graduate program in the academic year in which support is sought.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This PA for individual MARC Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) is issued under the
auspices of the NRSA Act.  An applicant must work with his/her research
advisor or graduate program director in preparing the application.  Awards
will be administered under the NIH Grants Policy Statement and the NRSA
Guidelines for Individual Awards and Institutional Grants.

Period of Support

The period of fellowship support requested in response to this PA may not
exceed five years.  The total period of predoctoral training support under the
NRSA authorization is limited to five years except in unusual circumstances
where a waiver has been requested from and granted by the funding component. 
Continuation of the fellowship award for each subsequent year beyond the first
is based upon evidence of satisfactory progress in the graduate program.

Award Provisions

The fellowship award provides an annual stipend of $14,688, a tuition and fee
allowance in accordance with NIH policy (see Other Training Costs), and an
annual institutional allowance of $2,000, which may be used for travel to
scientific meetings and for laboratory and other training expenses.

Stipend Supplementation

An institution is permitted to provide funds to a fellow in addition to the
stipend paid by the NIH.  Such additional amounts may be in the form of
augmented stipends (supplementation) or compensation for services.

Supplementation:  Supplementation, when provided, must not obligate the fellow
in any way.  Additionally, no Federal funds may be used for supplementation
unless specifically authorized under the terms of both the program from which
supplemental funds are to be received and the program whose funds are to be
supplemented.  Under no circumstances may PHS grant funds be used for
supplementation.

Compensation:  An institution may provide additional funds to a fellow in the
form of compensation (as salary and/or tuition remission) for services, such
as teaching or serving as a laboratory assistant.  Compensation for services
is not considered stipend supplementation.  A fellow may receive compensations
for services as a research assistant or in some other capacity on a Federal
research grant, including a PHS research grant.  However, compensation
services must occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal
training activities, which require a minimum of 40 hours per week. 
Compensation may not be paid from a research grant that supports the same
research that is part of the F31 training experience.

Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or
services interfere with, detract from, or prolong the fellow's approved NRSA
training program.

Concurrent Awards

An F31 may not be held concurrently with another Federally sponsored
fellowship or a similar fellowship award that provides a stipend or otherwise
duplicates provisions of the NRSA.  However, an individual may accept
concurrent educational benefits from the Department of Veteran's Affairs
(e.g., G.I. Bill) and Federal loans.

Tax Liability

Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of all
scholarships and fellowships.  Degree candidates may exclude from gross income
reported for tax purposes any amount used for tuition and related expenses,
such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment, required for courses of
instruction at a qualified educational organization.

The taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship between
NRSA fellows and institutions.  NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. 
NRSA fellows are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship
with the NIH or with the institution in which they are pursuing their degree.

The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts.  The NIH takes no position on
what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the
authority to dispense tax advice.  Individuals should consult their local IRS
office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for
information on the proper steps to be taken regarding their tax obligation.

The business office of the sponsoring institution is responsible for the
annual preparation and issuance of IRS form 1099 (Statement of Miscellaneous
Income) for fellows paid through the institution.

Other Training Costs

Tuition and fees, in accordance with NIH policy, will be provided for the
fellow.  According to the NRSA Guidelines, when tuition, fees and health
insurance is awarded as a separate cost, this cost will be reimbursed at the
following rate: 100% of all costs up to $2,000 and 60% of costs above $2,000,
with no escalation provided in future years.  In addition, an institutional
allowance of $2,000 per 12 month period will be provided to non-Federal,
nonprofit sponsoring institutions to help defray such awardee expenses as
research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific meetings, and related
items.  This allowance is intended to cover training-related expenses for the
individual awardee.  The allowance is not available until the fellow
officially activates the award.  If the fellow is not enrolled or not engaged
in training for 6 months or more of the award year, only one-half of that
year's allowance may be charged to the grant.  The Notice of Research
Fellowship Award will be revised, and the balance must be refunded to NIH.

Additional funds may be requested by the institution if the training of a
fellow involves extraordinary costs for: (1) travel to field sites remote from
the sponsoring institution; or (2) accommodations for fellows who are
disabled, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The funds
requested for extraordinary costs must be reasonable in relationship to the
total dollars awarded under the fellowship.  Such additional funds shall be
provided only in exceptional circumstances that are fully justified and
explained by the institution.

Funds are not available to cover the cost of travel between the fellow's place
of residence and a training institution.  However, in cases of extreme need or
hardship, a one-way travel allowance may be authorized by the sponsoring
institution.  Such travel must be paid from the institutional allowance.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The fellowship application kit, PHS 416-1 (rev. 12/98), is to be used in
applying for these awards.  These kits are available at most university
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach and
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive,
MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone 301-435-0714, email
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the MARC staff
listed under INQUIRIES prior to submitting an application.

The applicant must follow all general instructions in the application kit and
the supplemental instructions in the Appendix of this program announcement.

Applicants and sponsoring institutions must comply with policies and
procedures governing the protection of human subjects, the humane care and use
of live vertebrate animals, the inclusion of children in research, and the
inclusion of women and minorities in study populations.

An individual may not have more than one competing NRSA individual application
pending concurrently with the NIH or PHS.  Furthermore, an application cannot
be submitted in response to this PA that is essentially identical to one that
has already been reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of
substantial revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications
must include an INTRODUCTION addressing the previous critique.  If a candidate
submits an application in response to this PA that is substantially similar to
one already submitted to NIH for review, but which has not yet been reviewed,
the applicant will be asked to withdraw one of them.

The following MUST be included with the application at the time of submission.

At least three reference letters in sealed envelopes affixed to the face of
the original application.  APPLICATIONS WITHOUT THREE REFERENCE LETTERS WILL
BE RETURNED WITHOUT REVIEW.

A copy of the results of either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the
Medical College Admission Tests (MCAT) for M.D./Ph.D. applicants must be
included at the end of the application.

A clear and legible copy of the applicant's transcript(s) from all
undergraduate and graduate institutions in which the applicant is/has been
enrolled must be included at the end of the application.

A description of the graduate or combined degree program in which the
applicant is either enrolled or has been admitted and agreed to enroll must be
included as Item 33 of the application.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED AND WILL BE RETURNED TO THE
APPLICANT.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application (including the
checklist, Personal Data form, at least three sealed referenced letters, and
all other required material) and one exact, clear single-spaced photocopy of
the signed application, in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 þ 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20872-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, one additional copy of the application must be sent
to:

Helen Sunshine, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 1AS.13, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892 þ 6200

Schedule

Application Receipt Date:      Apr 5     Dec 5
Initial Review Date:           Jun/Jul   Feb/Mar
Secondary Review Date:         Aug/Sep   Apr/May
Earliest Possible Start Date:  Sep 15    May 15

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned to NIGMS.  Applications will be evaluated for
the merit of the overall research training by the MARC review subcommittee
composed primarily of non-government scientists selected for their competence
in research and research training, and which is convened in accordance with
the standard NIH peer review procedures.  All applications will be discussed,
assigned a priority score, receive a written critique, and will receive a
second level of review by the NIGMS Fellowship Overview Group.

Review Criteria

The review criteria include:

o  The quality of the academic record and the prior research experience of the
applicant;

o  The quality of the graduate program in which the applicant is already
enrolled or plans to enroll;

o  The qualifications and the research/research training experience of the
applicant's sponsor or research advisor;

o  The match between the research interests of the student and the research
advisor/sponsor; and

o  For advanced graduate students, the scientific significance, originality,
and feasibility of the proposed research and for beginning students, the
quality and clarity of their stated research interest.

AWARD CRITERIA

The staff of the MARC Branch uses the following criteria in making funding
decisions:

o  The eligibility of the applicant;

o  The recommendations of the MARC review subcommittee of the overall merit of
the application;

o  The relevance of the application to the MARC Branch's research training
priorities and program balance; and

o  The availability of funds.

Activation

No funds may be disbursed until the fellow has started training under the
award and an Activation Notice (PHS 416-5) has been submitted to the NIGMS.

An awardee has up to six months from the issue date on the Notice of Research
Fellowship Award to activate the award.  Under unusual circumstances, NIGMS
may grant an extension of the activation period upon receipt of a specific
request from the fellow.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Adolphus P. Toliver, Ph.D.
Minority Access to Research Careers Branch
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
Email:  tolivera@nigms.nih.gov

Hinda Zlotnik, Ph.D.
Minority Access to Research Careers Branch
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
Email:  hzlotnik@nigms.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20982-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-5132
FAX:  (301) 480-3423
Email:  HollandA@nigms.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

NRSAs are made under the authority of Section 487 of the Public Health Service
Act as amended (42 USC 288), and Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations,
Part 66.  Fellowships must be administered in accordance with the current NRSA
Guidelines for Individual Awards and Institutional Grants, the current NIH
Grants Policy Statement, and any terms and conditions specified on the Notice
of Research Fellowship Award.  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 recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 102-227, 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.

APPENDIX

This NIGMS MARC predoctoral fellowship program should not be confused with the
Minority Predoctoral Fellowship Program, a trans-NIH supported program, which
has different eligibility and program requirements, and different application
receipt dates.

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS

All instructions in the application kit (PHS Form 416-1, Revised 12/98) must
be followed except for those which are modified by the supplemental
instructions below.

A.  Section 1/Part 1 - Information about the Student Applicant

APPLICANTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLETING THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS OF THE
FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION KIT:

Face Page: Items 1-8, 15
Form Page 2: Items 16-18; 22 (if appropriate)
Form Page 3: Table of Contents
Form Page 4: All
Form Page 5: All
Form Page 6: All
Personal Data Page: All
Form Page 9 (checklist): Section I only

Clarifying Instructions for Selected Items

Face Page

Item 2 (Face Page, Level of Fellowship): Type in the space provided
"Predoctoral-MARC".

Item 3 (Request for Applications): Type "MARC" in the space.

Item 6 (Prior and/or Current NRSA Support): Check "yes" and complete Item 24,
Form page 5.
(Items 9 -14 should be completed by your sponsor or research advisor).

Form Page 2

Item 17 (Form Page 2, Employment) - Your employment history during college
should also be included if it involved a significant time commitment.

Items 19, 20, and 21 should be completed by your sponsor or research advisor.

Item 22 (Research Proposal Description):

o  If you have selected a thesis topic complete this section following the
instructions in the kit (instruction pg. 8).

o  If you have NOT selected a thesis topic, provide a concise description of
the area(s) of research that interests you most and your rationale.

Form Page 4

Item 23 (Form Page 4, Scholastic Performance): Be sure to include your scores
from the GRE or MCAT at the bottom of the page.

Form Page 5

Item 24 (Form Page 5, Prior and/or Current NRSA Support): List the institution
where you were a MARC Trainee and give the dates. If you have received any
other support from a National Research Service Award grant, such as a
predoctoral training grant, list the grant number, institution, and dates.  If
you are not sure, check with the director of your graduate program. Generally,
only students already enrolled in a graduate program will have had such
support.

Item 25b (Title of Thesis/Dissertation): If you have a Master's Degree, give
the title of your thesis and indicate that it is your MS thesis; otherwise
leave blank.

Item 26 (Name of Thesis Advisor): If you have selected your research thesis
advisor, give the name, title, department, and institution.

Form Page 6

Item 28 (Form page 6, Research Experience): Provide a thorough description of
your relevant work and research experiences, including time, place, research
director, the research projects, and your role in the research.

Include a list of publications, abstracts, and poster presentations, if
available. If you have them, submit three collated sets of copies of
publications and abstracts as part of Section 3 (Appendix).

Do not complete Item 28b.

Item 29 (Revised Application) need not be completed unless THIS application is
a revision of one submitted earlier.

Item 30 (Research Training Plan)

o  Item 30a (Approximate Percentageþ) Fill out the Table

o  Item 30b and 30c (Research Proposal and Respective Contributions)

o  If you have selected a thesis topic complete these items according to the
instructions in the application kit (instruction page 9 & 10). You should work
closely with your research advisor to complete this section.

o  If you have NOT selected a thesis topic describe the area of research you
are most interested in and give your reasons for selecting this area.

o  Item 30d (Selection of a Sponsor and Institution): You should explain your
reasons for selecting the degree program and school in which you have
enrolled/decided to enroll.

o  If you have chosen your thesis research advisor, provide a rationale for
choosing that particular individual as your mentor.

o  If you have NOT selected your thesis research advisor, list up to five
individuals you are considering and the reasons for your interest.

B.  Information about the Faculty Sponsor and Graduate Program (Section 2/Part
II)

If you have selected your thesis research advisor that individual should
complete these items.

If you have not selected your thesis research advisor, the director of the
graduate program in which you are enrolled or plan to enroll should select
someone to serve as your sponsor for this application.

Clarifying Instructions for Selected Items

Items 9 -14 (Face Page), Items 19, 20, and 21 (page 2), and all of Section
2/Part II  (Form Page 7) should be completed by the faculty sponsor.

Item 32 and Item 33 (Form page 8) should be completed ONLY if the sponsor is
the applicant's thesis research advisor.

Item 34 (Training Plan, Environment, Research Facilities, Form Page 8): In
addition to the Information requested in the application kit (instruction page
17), provide a full description of the graduate or combined degree program in
which the applicant is/is to be enrolled.  This description should also
outline the normal course of study (both didactic and laboratory) for students
enrolled in the program.

For example, the description of a degree program would commonly sketch the
program's administrative organization and responsibilities. The following
questions include the kind of information that the review group finds useful
in assessing a graduate program. (The specific features described should be
tailored to the local program being presented and need not necessarily include
all, or be limited to, the suggested questions.)

o  How does a student become aware of the laboratories/mentors available for
thesis research?

o  Who advises a student concerning course and research mentor selection?

o  What are the qualifications required of a faculty member if he/she is to be
eligible to serve as a Ph.D. mentor?

o  Who is responsible for monitoring a student's overall progress?

o  Describe any special program features (courses, seminars, retreats,
teaching requirements, etc.)

o  What is the current student enrollment of the program, how many students
have entered and how many have completed the program in each of the last five
years?

o  What have these graduates done since graduation?

o  What proportion of the program's entering students complete their Ph.D. or
M.D./Ph.D. degree studies?

o  What has the program's experience been in recruiting and training
underrepresented minorities?

o  In the case of M.D./Ph.D. programs, how is the medical and graduate
portions of a student's program integrated and how is the transition between
the two assisted?

If the applicant is already enrolled in the graduate program, describe his/her
course of study up to the time of submission of the application and plans for
further study.

C.  Section 3 - Reference Reports/Letters

At least three faculty reference reports must be submitted with your
application. You should complete the top part of the reference form (Name of
Applicant, Proposed Sponsoring Institution) and give one form to each person
writing a reference letter for you.

o  One reference report must be from the MARC program director or a MARC
faculty member who knows you well.

o  We strongly advise that at least one letter be from an individual who was
your supervisor/advisor for one of your major research experiences, preferably
a research experience outside of your home institution.

o  APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED WITHOUT THE THREE REQUIRED REFERENCE REPORTS/LETTERS
WILL BE RETURNED WITHOUT REVIEW. The reference letters must be in sealed
envelopes and attached with a clip to the original copy of your applications.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

The selection of MARC predoctoral fellows is highly competitive. Prospective
student applicants are strongly advised to seek the assistance of their MARC
Program Director, graduate program director and/or research advisor in
preparing his/her application.

Items included in the evaluation of an application:

o  academic record, research experience and career goals of the applicant;
quality of the graduate program in which the applicant has enrolled or agreed
to enroll;

o  the proposed course of study and research plan as they relate to the
applicant's proposed training and career goals;

o  qualifications and research/research training experience of the faculty
mentor (if chosen); and

o  scientific significance and originality of the proposed research (if thesis
topic chosen).


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