NIDDK MEDICAL STUDENT RESEARCH SCHOLARS (MSRS) PROGRAM

Release Date:  July 25, 2001

RFA:  RFA-DK-02-003

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
 (http://www.niddk.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 20, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       December 11, 2001

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Medical 
Student Research Scholars Program invites applications for a National Research 
Service Award (NRSA) Program developed to address the shortage of minority 
investigators trained in biomedical research.  This NIDDK program provides the 
opportunity for members of underrepresented minority groups who have completed 
at least two years of medical school and are currently enrolled, to gain 
research experience by contributing to or completing a research project in 
conjunction with one of the NIDDK-sponsored research centers. The NIDDK 
Medical Student Scholars Program supports research training in diabetes, 
endocrinology and metabolic diseases, kidney and urologic diseases, liver and 
digestive diseases, hematologic diseases, and nutrition and obesity research 
in order to increase the trainees’ awareness of disease research and to 
encourage them to enter research careers in areas especially identified with 
racial and ethnic health disparities.  

This RFA solicits applications for T32 grants from institutions that have 
NIDDK-funded centers to increase the number of research training opportunities 
available to minority medical students. The Medical Students Research Scholars 
Program is designed to maximize the effectiveness of the research experience 
for the medical student by requiring students to pursue a research project at 
an institution where NIDDK supports one or more centers.   

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010  
  
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving health promotion and 
disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national 
activity for setting priority areas.  This Request for Applications (RFA), 
NIDDK Medical Student Research Scholars Program, addresses one or more of the 
HP2010 priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy 
People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by any domestic institution at which the NIDDK 
supports one or more P30, P50, or P60 Centers. Racial/ethnic minority 
individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as 
Program Directors and/or to be included as training faculty.

Because T32 applications in response to this RFA have special eligibility 
requirements, application formats, and review criteria, it is critical that 
prospective applicants consult with the program staff listed under INQUIRIES.

Prospective applicants should also consult the National Research Service 
Awards Guidelines 
(http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsaguidelines/nrsa_toc.htm) and the omnibus 
NIH National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grants 
Program announcement (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-103.html).

Institutional Eligibility Requirements

Applicant institutions must currently have at least one NIDDK-funded research 
Center.  A complete list of NIDDK Centers is available at 
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/fund/other/centers.htm The Program Director of the 
T32 at the applicant institution will be responsible for the recruitment, 
selection and appointment of medical students, as well as coordination of the 
program with the DK-Centers and their members.  The latter will serve as 
training faculty in most cases.  It is expected that the core facilities 
supported by NIDDK-funded Centers at the applicant institution will be made 
available to the students supported by the MSRS program. 

Trainee Eligibility Requirements

Individuals selected to participate in the training program 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) at the time of 
appointment. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

For the purposes of this RFA, underrepresented minorities are defined as 
individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group that has been 
determined by the applicant institution to be underrepresented in behavioral 
or biomedical research. The NIDDK particularly encourages institutions to 
identify and encourage individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have 
been shown to be underrepresented in health-related research nationally.  
These groups include African Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, American Indians, 
Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. 

Trainees are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, 
devoting at least 40 hours per week to the program. A minimum of 9 months of 
stipend at the current NRSA predoctoral level will be provided for each 
trainee. Students must postpone their medical school studies while appointed 
to the program.  

In most cases, trainees will be enrolled at the applicant institution. Other 
arrangements and recruitment strategies are encouraged, however.  For example, 
if a student, whose primary residence is in the city where an MSRS program 
exists, is enrolled in medical school at another location, but wishes to 
pursue training at the MSRS program site, he/she should be able to do so 
without incurring additional moving and living expenses not covered by the 
T32. These students must meet all the other criteria for support, including 
permission of their medical school Dean.

CENTERS

The NIDDK supports P30, P50, and P60 Centers at 28 locations. To ensure that 
the medical students supported by the MSRS program are exposed to the highest 
quality research using the most up-to-date equipment and cutting edge 
technologies, the NIDDK wishes to encourage the use of already funded, ongoing 
core facilities at the applicant institution.  The training faculty recruited 
for the program should have access to these core facilities and most often 
will be members of one or more NIDDK-funded Centers.  In addition, the 
trainees should be exposed to all of the enrichment activities organized and 
funded by the Center(s).

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional 
National Research Service Award (NRSA) grant (T32) mechanism.  Responsibility 
for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed training program 
will be solely that of the applicant.  The total project period for an 
application submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed 5 years.  This is 
a one-time solicitation.  NIDDK may re-issue the RFA in the future if the 
response is great and the program is well received by minority medical 
students.  

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

The NIDDK will commit approximately $270,000 in FY 2002 to fund 3 to 5 new 
training grants in response to this RFA.  Applicants may request up to 3 
predoctoral slots per year for each of 5 years.  Funds will be provided on an 
annual basis, contingent upon success as described in the annual progress 
report in the continuation application, the timely submission of required 
forms, and the availability of funds.  Although the financial plans of the 
NIDDK provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are 
contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient 
number of meritorious applications. 

RESEARCH TRAINING OBJECTIVES

Background

Available data indicate that there is a serious shortage of racial and ethnic 
minority physicians. There is an even greater shortage of health researchers 
from these groups. These physicians from racial/ethnic minority communities 
provide an invaluable service to patients who are minorities, poor, and are 
Medicaid beneficiaries. It is essential that there be adequate numbers of 
physician researchers trained to focus on problems related to health 
disparities and bring incisive research to these areas.   

The NIDDK supports research in many areas with racial and ethnic health 
disparities, including diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases, kidney 
and urologic diseases, liver and digestive diseases, hematologic diseases, and 
nutrition and obesity research.  The Medical Students Research Scholars 
Program (MSRSP) is intended to provide research training for a cadre of 
minority investigators with appropriate expertise in these important areas of 
health disparities. 

This program is designed to attract students in the early stages of their 
medical careers; provide research training and mentoring with outstanding 
investigators actively engaged in biomedical research; and encourage the 
students to continue in a research career path once their medical school and 
clinical training has been completed. It is critical for this program to be 
successful that the members of the training faculty, the administration of the 
medical school, and the training program director work together to identify, 
recruit, and encourage those minority medical students demonstrating an 
interest in a research career to participate in the program.  This will 
include outreach efforts, with the assistance of the staff of the recently 
created Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC), NIDDK, to 
interested students at minority serving institutions where currently there are 
no NIDDK-funded Centers.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Program Director of the MSRS program ideally will be a member of one of 
the NIDDK-funded Centers at the applicant institution. He/she should have a 
strong commitment to the mentoring and career development of minority 
researchers and be in a position to coordinate and facilitate the use of core 
facilities by the trainees.  The training faculty, who also will most likely 
be Center members, must provide a nurturing, supportive environment for the 
trainees and make available their expertise, time, and laboratory facilities. 
Non-center members who will be given access to Center core facilities, if 
otherwise qualified to serve as training faculty, may also be appropriate 
training faculty. 

Students should be encouraged to pursue a research project not only in an area 
of research in which they are interested, but also with a mentor with whom 
they are comfortable.  Therefore, plans for recruitment of students, 
assignment to a mentor, and developing a research project must be well 
described in the application.  In addition, clear support from both the Dean 
of the medical school at the applicant institution and from the Directors of 
the participating NIDDK-funded Centers must be evident.

Each medical student appointed to the program must be in good standing in the 
medical school and have written permission from the Dean to take a one year 
leave of absence from their medical school curriculum for the purposes of 
pursing this research training.  Both the student and the Dean must also 
provide confirmation that the student will continue with his/her medical 
school studies following the training period.

Because this program is intended to recruit only minority students, the 
numbers of enrolled medical students eligible for the program at the applicant 
institution must be provided, as well as any plans for recruiting students 
from neighboring medical schools, from minority serving medical schools, or 
nationally.  

Provisions of the Award

Stipends.  Each trainee must be appointed to the T32 for a minimum of 9 months 
and will receive the predoctoral stipend in effect at the time the award is 
issued, prorated to the months of appointment. No departure from the 
established stipend may be negotiated with the trainee, but supplementation by 
the grantee institution is allowable.

Payback.  Predoctoral trainees incur no payback obligation and therefore do 
not need to fill out or submit a payback agreement.  

Trainee Related Expenses: Institutional costs of $2,000 a year per predoctoral 
trainee may be requested to defray the costs of research training related 
expenses such as staff salaries, consultant costs, use of Core services, and 
research supplies.  

Travel.  If appropriate, and well justified, travel expenses up to $1,000 per 
trainee may be requested for participation in an appropriate scientific 
meeting.  Travel must be completed within one year following the end date of 
the trainee appointment.

Facilities and Administrative Costs.  A facilities and administrative 
allowance (indirect cost allowance) based on 8 percent of total allowable 
direct costs may be requested.

Reporting Requirements

The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS 2271) 
form for each trainee appointed to the program at the beginning of the 
training period.  Within 30 days of the end of the total support period for 
each trainee, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-
7).  Failure to submit the 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.

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 sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating 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 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm   The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require: a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans 
to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the 
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt 
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 
address: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html 

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

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been  revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project 
that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited 
publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has 
the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. 
It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this 
amendment. NIH has provided guidance at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this RFA (PA) in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the application. 
In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent 
statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider 
use of data collected under this award.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes 
the name, address, and telephone number of the Program Director (i.e., the 
Principal Investigator of the grant); the participating DK-funded Centers at 
the applicant institution; and the number and title of this RFA: DK-02-003, 
“NIDDK Medical Student Research Scholars Program.” Although a letter of intent 
is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a 
subsequent application, the information that it contains allows NIDDK staff to 
estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent or emailed to Dr. Francisco O. Calvo, 
Chief, Review Branch at the address listed under APPLICATION PROCEDURES by 
November 20, 2001.
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html  are to be used in 
applying for these grants.  Refer to the section of the PHS 398 entitled 
‘Institutional National Research Service Award’ for this particular 
application submission.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable PDF format. Although applicants are strongly 
encouraged to begin using the 5/2001 revision of the PHS 398 as soon as 
possible, the NIH will continue to accept applications prepared using the 
4/1998 revision until January 9, 2002. Beginning January 10, 2002, however, 
the NIH will return applications that are not submitted on the 5/2001 version.  
For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone 301/435-0714, Email: 
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/01) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA 
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed 
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee 
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on 
line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be 
marked.

The sample RFA label available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf has been modified to 
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

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

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040, MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two (2) additional copies of the application must 
be sent to:

Dr. Francisco O. Calvo
Chief, Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
6707 Democracy Blvd., Room 752  MSC 5452
Bethesda, MD  20892-5452
Telephone (301) 594 8885
FAX: (301) 480-3505
Email: fc15y@nih.gov

Applications must be received by December 11, 2001.  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 for completeness by the Center for 
Scientific Review (CSR) and responsiveness to this RFA by the NIDDK.  
Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration.

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

Review Criteria

The following criteria will be considered in evaluating applications received 
in response to this RFA:

o Design of the proposed training program, including the use of DK-funded 
Centers and their members, staff, facilities, and enrichment activities, and 
an indication of the type of projects in which a student could be engaged for 
a one-year period;

o Qualifications and previous training record of the Program Director and all 
participating training faculty, including participation in other ongoing 
training programs; 

o Adequacy of facilities, environment, resources, and institutional commitment 
for the training program;

o Identification of the pool of potential trainees and the adequacy of the 
plans for recruitment, selection, and mentoring of the trainees;

o Appropriateness of the methods for monitoring trainee progress, reporting on 
trainee activities, and tracking trainees once they return to their medical 
school studies;

o Development of appropriate assessment tools to evaluate success of the 
program in recruiting trainees, selecting the appropriate trainees, matching 
trainees with a mentor(s) and appropriate project, and in positively 
influencing their future career choices.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Every predoctoral and postdoctoral trainee supported by an institutional 
research training grant must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of 
research. Applications must include a description of a program to provide 
formal or informal instruction in scientific integrity or the responsible 
conduct of research.  It is anticipated that all the applicant institutions 
already have such a program in place that could be adapted for this purpose or 
in which the MSRS trainees could participate.

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    November 20, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         December 11, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 Feb/Mar 2002
Council Review:                   May 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  May 2002

AWARD CRITERIA

Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:
o the merit of the training program as determined by peer review;
o availability of funds;
o  programmatic priorities and balance;
o geographic distribution.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any 
issues or answer questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Dr. Lawrence Y. Agodoa
Director, OMHRC
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
6707 Democracy Blvd., Room 653  MSC 5454
Bethesda, MD  20892-5454
Telephone:  (301) 594-9652
FAX:  301 594 9652
Email:  la21j@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Dr. Francisco O. Calvo
Chief, Review Branch
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
6707 Democracy Blvd., Room 752 MSC 5452
Bethesda, MD  20892-5452
Telephone (301) 594 8885
FAX: (301) 480-3505
Email: fc15y@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Mr. David L. Mineo
Chief, Grants Management Officer
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
6707 Democracy Blvd., Room 731   MSC 5456
Two Democracy Plaza MSC 5456
Bethesda, MD  20892-5456
Telephone: (301) 594-8854
FAX:  301 480-3504
Email:  dm44x@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.847, 93.848 and 93.849.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 
301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) 
and administered under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 
and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.  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 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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