INITIATIVE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS: BRIDGES TO THE BACCALAUREATE

Release Date:  February 17, 2000

RFA:  GM-00-001

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  June 1, 2000
Application Receipt Date:       July 17, 2000

PURPOSE

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the 
Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), National Institutes of 
Health (NIH), reannounce opportunities to apply for funding for the 
Bridges to the Future Program.  The Bridges to the Future Program was 
established in 1992 to facilitate specific transitions in the career 
paths of underrepresented minority scientists.  The mission of the 
Bridges to the Future program is to make available to the biomedical 
science research enterprise and to the nation the intellectual talents 
of an increasing number of underrepresented minority group members.  It 
does so by facilitating the transition of students from associate- to 
baccalaureate-degree granting institutions and from masters to doctoral 
degree-granting institutions.  The program promotes effective inter-
institutional partnerships that lead to improvement in the quality and 
quantity of underrepresented minority students being trained as the 
next generation of scientists.  

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits new and renewal 
applications for a partnership program involving institutions awarding 
the associates degree and institutions awarding the baccalaureate 
degree.  A separate RFA describes a program targeting the transition 
from masters to doctoral programs.  Former applicants of unfunded 
Bridge proposals may submit revised applications in response to this 
announcement.  Institutions with currently active Bridges grants may 
submit renewal applications.

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 Request for 
Applications (RFA), Initiative for Minority Students:  Bridges to the 
Baccalaureate Degree, is related to one or more of the priority areas.  
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at 
http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

General

Applications may be submitted by domestic, private or public, 
educational institutions.  State or local systems of higher education 
(also hereinafter referred to as institutions) may submit applications 
as well.  An institution may be involved as a partner in more than one 
Bridge program, but can be the APPLICANT institution for only one 
Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. 

Institutions that submit applications in response to this RFA may 
submit separate applications for support for the Bridges to the 
Doctorate (RFA GM-00-002) if they meet the eligibility requirements.  
Institutions submitting their own applications may participate in 
programs with other applicant institutions so long as these 
interactions are consistent with institutional resources and their 
institutional plans. 

Each proposed Bridge program must consist of a partnership between at 
least two institutions.  One must be an institution that offers the 
associates degree as the only undergraduate degree in the sciences 
within the participating departments AND has a significant enrollment 
of underrepresented minorities.  Another partner must be a college or 
university offering the baccalaureate degree in areas relevant to the 
biomedical sciences.  Thus, all applications must involve a partnership 
of at least two colleges or universities, but may involve a consortium 
of several institutions and may include several institutions within a 
single state system.
 
One participating institution must be designated as the applicant 
institution, must name the program director, and must submit the 
application.  Each participating institution must name one individual 
to act as its program coordinator.  

Programs developed or modified under this initiative must specifically 
target underrepresented minority students majoring in the sciences, 
including the natural, physical, and behavioral sciences, information 
sciences, and mathematics. For purposes of this RFA, underrepresented 
minority students 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 African American, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and natives 
of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

Institutions offering both the associate and baccalaureate degrees may 
not use funds from this program for graduates of their own associates 
degree programs to enter their own baccalaureate programs, even if the 
student is moving from one department, school, or college to another.  
The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN 
institutions.

For additional requirements see: SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

General

Awards under this RFA will use the institutional education project 
(R25) grant.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution 
of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The 
total requested project period for applications submitted in response 
to this RFA may not exceed three years.  Requested direct costs are not 
to exceed $600,000 for the three-year period.  Facilities and 
administrative (F&A) costs will be paid at 8% of the direct costs, 
minus appropriate exclusions, or actual F&A costs, whichever is less.  
A budget for each year must be provided.

Allowable Costs

Requests for equipment, supplies, travel, and other expenses should be 
limited to those necessary for program development and must be 
individually justified.

Requests for funds for evaluation, including salaries, consultant fees, 
technical assistance, and travel, are also allowable.

The budget should include travel funds for the Program Director, a 
grants manager from the grantee institution, and the program 
coordinators from the participating institutions to travel to the 
Bridges Program Meeting each budget year.

Student remuneration is limited to underrepresented minorities 
matriculated at the associate partner institution(s) and may include 
salary/wages and/or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages 
for participation in research experiences.  Expenditures for tuition 
remission (or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages) are 
allowable provided the following conditions are met:

o  the student is performing necessary work,

o  there is an employer-employee relationship between the student and 
the institution,

o  the total compensation is reasonable for the work performed, and

o  it is the institution's practice to provide compensation for all 
students in similar circumstances, regardless of the source of support 
for the activity.

Salaries for students should be requested as an hourly rate, based on 
the prevailing scale at the institution. 

The proposed budget should include funds to defray the costs of data 
acquisition and data entry into the Electronic Student Tracking and 
Reporting system (E-STAR) each year.  E-STAR is a program developed by 
NIGMS to facilitate the administration and evaluation of this program 
by the grantees and the agency.  Access to E-STAR is through Internet 
and the World Wide Web.  Minimum computer needs for E-STAR access 
include an IBM-compatible 386 with 4 meg of RAM, with Microsoft 
Windows(tm) 3.1 and WIN32S or a Macintosh 68020 with 4 meg of RAM; a 
14.4 kb/s modem, and internet access. 

In summary, allowable costs include, but are not limited to, salary, 
wages, and fringe benefits for students and faculty; tuition remission; 
supplies; equipment (including computer hardware); travel; and other 
expenses.

UNALLOWABLE COSTS:

Stipends, housing, food, tuition (unless as stated above), and fees are 
not allowable costs under this program.  Salary support for faculty to 
support their research is also not allowable.


FUNDS AVAILABLE

An estimated total $13 million will be available for the term of awards 
made in response to this solicitation and awards in response to RFA GM-
00-002 (Bridges to the Doctorate).  NIH staff anticipate making a 
combined total of 20 to 40 new and competing continuation awards for 
these RFAs, provided NIH receives sufficient numbers of highly 
meritorious applications and sufficient funds for this purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Many underrepresented minority students enter community colleges or 
associates degree-granting institutions to gain new skills.  Recent 
data show that over half of the underrepresented minority college 
students in the United States are enrolled in associate degree-granting 
institutions.  Many of these students have the desire and potential to 
pursue careers as research scientists, and their needs should be 
addressed through improvement of skills, challenging curricula, 
outstanding mentoring, active research experiences, guidance and 
advising, and financial support.  The Bridges to the Baccalaureate 
program supports partnerships between institutions offering terminal 
associates degrees and institutions offering baccalaureate programs in 
areas related to biomedicine.  

Bridges to the Baccalaureate seeks above all to increase the number of 
underrepresented minority biomedical scientists.  To do so, it is also 
critical to improve the ability of educational institutions to train 
and graduate promising underrepresented minority students in the 
biomedical sciences, including the behavioral, physical and 
quantitative sciences.  It is the premise of the program that this can 
best be accomplished by developing partnerships that support and 
facilitate underrepresented minority students at a key point in their 
educational careers – the transition to a baccalaureate program.

Bridges grants are institutional and must reflect institutional plans 
and priorities as well as the collective plans and priorities of the 
partnership.  Collaborative agreements should take the form that best 
fits the needs and situations of the institutions involved.  The 
challenge for the participating partners is to create a partnership 
program, or enhance an existing program, that will focus attention and 
adequate resources to the associates degree-granting institution(s) and 
enhance the academic competitiveness of its graduates in the sciences.

Additional Information

Bridges to the Baccalaureate programs must address the needs and 
requirements of the underrepresented minority students enrolled in the 
partner associates degree program.  Activities which may be supported 
include, but are not limited to, the following:

o  providing laboratory research experiences at the baccalaureate 
institution, other research institutions, or industrial  laboratories 
for students enrolled in the two-year institution  (students may 
receive compensation for these activities);

o  establishing a mentoring program with faculty at the baccalaureate 
institution;

o  providing research opportunities at the baccalaureate institution 
for faculty of the two-year college;

o  enriching the curriculum at the two-year institution;

o  enabling students from the two-year institution to take courses 
and/or participate in seminar programs at the baccalaureate college;

o  developing visiting lectureships at the two-year college by science 
faculty from the baccalaureate institution;

o  developing courses at the two-year college jointly taught by faculty 
of both institutions;

o  guaranteeing acceptance as juniors into the participating 
baccalaureate program(s) for students who participated successfully in 
the enhancement program;

o  academic counseling (e.g., guidance in course selection, tracking 
and providing assistance to students who express an interest or show 
special aptitude for science);

o  additional enrichment activities, such as tutoring, to enhance the 
student's transition to the baccalaureate program.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Applicants should describe the criteria to be used in the selection and 
retention of the student participants as well as the criteria for 
selecting participating faculty.  An applicant with a different 
existing transition program should describe that program and explain 
the relationship of that program to the Bridges to the Baccalaureate 
program.  Applicants should describe the methods and facilities 
available for tracking student participants.

Support for Baccalaureate education
Students who complete the associates degree and enter the partner 
baccalaureate program should receive financial support, if needed, from 
the baccalaureate institution while they are progressing satisfactorily 
in their studies.  The Bridges to the Baccalaureate program does not 
provide funds to students in the baccalaureate program.  Applicants 
should describe the type(s) of institutional support that would be 
available to students who transfer.

Evaluation
Evaluation is a mandatory component of every Bridges to the Future 
Program.  Each applicant institution must set specific goals and 
measurable objectives that can be used to develop the program and to 
measure progress.  The NIGMS recognizes that minority and minority-
serving institutions have diverse missions, opportunities, and 
environments.  Therefore, the emphasis of the evaluation activities of 
the Bridges to the Future Program will be on improvement as defined in 
the specific goals and measurable objectives that the applicant 
institution sets.

Central to each application are (1) a clear statement of program and 
institutional goals and (2) a set of measurable objectives which track 
progress toward those goals, (3) a plan for evaluating whether or not 
those objectives have been met, and (4) a measure of the efficacy of 
specific interventions.

Unified Plan
If an institution is involved in more than one Bridge Program, the 
applicant or the institution's program coordinator must describe how 
the various Bridge Programs interact and are consistent with the 
overall goals of the program.  Institutions with active or pending NIH 
grants for the Support for Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE), 
Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), or Minority 
Access to Research Careers (MARC) programs or with other sources of 
funds, such as the National Science Foundation or the Howard Hughes 
Medical Institute, may also apply to the Bridges to the future program.  
The application must describe how the programs complement each other 
and how the students and faculty supported by each will interact.

Consortium Agreements
Each applicant institution should delineate appropriate agreements and 
consortium arrangements with the other partner institutions consistent 
with its own unified institutional plan.  The following statement, 
accompanied by signatures of the appropriate administrative officials 
from EACH of the collaborating institutions, must be included as part 
of the application:

"THE APPROPRIATE PROGRAMMATIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL OF EACH 
INSTITUTION INVOLVED IN THIS GRANT APPLICATION ARE AWARE OF THE NIH 
CONSORTIUM GRANT POLICY AND ARE PREPARED TO ESTABLISH THE NECESSARY 
INTER-INSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT(S) CONSISTENT WITH THAT POLICY."

In addition, letters signed by the appropriate institutional official 
and program coordinator and acknowledging participation in the program 
are required from each participating institution.

Information on NIH policy regarding consortium agreements can be found 
at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/part_iii_5.htm#Consortium

Reporting Requirements
A progress report will be required at the end of  each calendar year 
after the award is made.  A final report will be required 90 days after 
the termination date of the award and must include information for each 
student participant (E-STAR may be used to satisfy part of these 
requirements) and a summary of the impact of the program.

Student Population and Career Tracking
Applicants must describe the associates degree-granting institution's 
success in training students in the sciences, including information on 
the numbers of minority students receiving the associates degree and 
data on subsequent careers or education of their graduates.

Applicants should describe a system for tracking the students, 
including their future careers.  Applicants should maintain data to 
show the impact of this program on retention rates, graduation rates, 
transfer rates to the next higher degree program, and graduation rates 
from the next higher degree programs.  These data should be compared to 
those of the non-minority students and the minority students who were 
not in the Bridges program.
 
LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are requested to submit, by June 1, 2000, a 
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed 
plan, the name, address, and telephone number of the program director, 
the names of other key personnel and participating institutions, and 
the number and title of the RFA.  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 NIH 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 the program director listed under 
INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used 
in applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most 
institutional offices of sponsored research; 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: mailto:grantsinfo@nih.gov.  The forms 
are also available on at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

The RFA label in the PHS 398 application form must be affixed to the 
bottom of the face page of the application.  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 number and title must be typed on line 2 of the face page form, the 
"YES" box must be marked.  The RFA label and line 2 of the application 
should both indicate the RFA number.  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 five photocopies of the signed application in one 
package to:

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

Applications must be received by July 17, 2000.  Applications 
postmarked after that date will be returned to the applicant.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, NIH staff will administratively review applications.  
Incomplete and/or unresponsive applications will be returned to the 
applicant without further consideration. Appropriate peer review groups 
will evaluate applications that are complete and responsive for 
scientific and technical merit.  The National Advisory General Medical 
Sciences Council will provide the second level of review.

Review criteria:

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  
In the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the 
following aspects of the application in order to judge the likelihood 
that the proposed program will have a substantial impact on the pursuit 
of these goals.  Each of these criteria will be addressed and 
considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as 
appropriate for each application.  Note that the application does not 
need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major 
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, 
an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its 
nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.  New 
and competing applications will be judged for merit according to the 
following criteria:

(1) Significance: If the aims of the program are achieved, what impact 
will they have on the diversity of the scientific workforce?  Is a 
thorough evaluation plan, including specific goals and measurable 
objectives, in place?

(2) Approach:  Is the application adequately developed, well 
integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the program?  Does the 
program address the specific needs of the targeted population?  Does 
the application demonstrate knowledge of current literature and 
practice on effective intervention strategies? Does the applicant 
acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?  
Does the program make good use of the skills and resources at the 
participating institutions?

(3) Innovation: Does the project employ novel approaches or methods to 
recruiting, retaining, training, or mentoring students?  Does the 
project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or 
technologies?

(4) Investigator: Is the program director appropriately trained and 
well suited to carry out this work? Does the program director have the 
necessary leadership skills?  Do the program director and coordinators 
have the qualifications and experience to carry out the proposed 
program?

(5) Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will 
be done contribute to the probability of success? Is there evidence of 
institutional commitment at each institution?  Is the strength of the 
collaborations sufficient to foster professional training of 
underrepresented minority students?

(6) Pool Size:  Are there sufficient numbers of underrepresented 
minority students in the participating science departments who are 
interested in studying further in biomedical science?  Is there 
evidence that underrepresented minority students at the participating 
institutions progress to higher education?

(7) Administration:  Is the proposed system for tracking program 
participants adequate to monitor the effectiveness of the program?  Is 
the administrative plan, including adequacy of space and other 
resources, adequate?

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is March 1, 2001.  Award decisions will 
be based on the technical merit of the applications, the geographical 
distribution of the awardee institutions, and diversity of 
underrepresented minority student participants.  Awards can be made 
only to institutions with financial management systems and management 
capabilities that are acceptable under NIH policy.  Awards will be 
administered under the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    June 1, 2000
Application Receipt Date:         July 17, 2000
Council Review:                   January, 2001
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  March 2001

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Irene Eckstrand, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS-25K, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-5402
FAX:  (301) 480-2228
Email: EckstraI@nigms.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Specialist
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B  MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: 301-594-5132
Fax: 301-480-3423
Email: HollandA@nigms.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
No.93.960, Special Minority Initiatives Program.  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 45 
CFR Part 74  or 45 CFR Part 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 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.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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