SUPPORT FOR THE ANNUAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM FOR MARC/MBRS 
STUDENTS

RELEASE DATE:  April 5, 2004
   
RFA NUMBER: RFA-GM-05-005  

EXPIRATION DATE:  June 15, 2004

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
 (http://www.nih.gov)

COMPONENT OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
 (http://www.nigms.nih.gov)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER: 93.859

LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE: May 14, 2004
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: June 14, 2004 

THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of the RFA
o Program Objectives
o Mechanism(s) of Support 
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Special Requirements
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Submitting an Application
o Supplementary Instructions
o Peer Review Process 
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o   Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS RFA  

The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Branch of the Division 
for Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) of the National Institute 
of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) provides research and research 
training opportunities for students from minority groups 
underrepresented in the biomedical sciences or behavioral sciences, 
including mathematics.  As part of its ongoing commitment to the 
development of students, faculty, minority and/or minority serving 
institutions, and underrepresented minority researchers, the MARC 
Branch will provide support for conferences that promote the overall 
MORE objective of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities 
who participate fully in the biomedical research enterprise of the 
nation. 

The purpose of this request for applications (RFA) is to solicit 
applications from organizations with proven ability to conduct research 
conferences of the order of magnitude and complexity of the Annual 
Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), an 
undergraduate student-focused, national biomedical research symposium 
that targets students supported by MORE Division awards.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

According to Black Issues in Higher Education (1994), of the 8,183 
doctorates awarded in natural sciences, 5.2 percent went to 
underrepresented minorities and of the 5,462 doctorates awarded in 
behavioral sciences, approximately 9.4 percent went to underrepresented 
minorities.  At the same time, an even lower percentage of minority 
students received NIH fellowships – only 459 of 15,000 (about 3.1%), an 
ominous harbinger.  By contrast, according to the census of 2000, these 
underrepresented minority groups comprised 25.9% of the general 
population.  Thus, if the present low rate of entry of these minorities 
into these critically important fields persists, in several decades 
they will be the “underrepresented majority.”  This will create a 
significant deficit in the numbers of qualified American scientists.  
Although equal opportunity educational programs (diversity) have made 
some difference in the scientific workforce, the representation of 
underrepresented minorities on that scientific workforce still lags far 
behind.  If the country is to maintain and ensure a strong scientific 
workforce, a compelling interest of this nation is to develop the 
talents of the citizens of this country, including all racial and 
ethnic groups, in the sciences relevant to biomedical/behavioral 
research. 

The ABRCMS is important and significant because the NIH through its 
training and educational research support programs offer assistance to 
universities and others interested and committed to making improvements 
in their abilities to produce the next generation of scientists in the 
biomedical/behavioral/quantitative sciences for the purpose of 
improving the health of all the people of this country.  As such, 
support of a high caliber scientific conference for MARC/MBRS/Bridges 
students such as ABRCMS is of compelling interest to the country. 

The objective of this RFA is to solicit applications from organizations 
with proven track records and ability to manage and conduct the ABRCMS 
starting in Fall 2006 and every year for the succeeding four years 
focused on: 

o undergraduate research; 

o exposure to outstanding science and scientists;

o workshops that offer skills development for students emphasizing, for 
example, preparation for graduate school, how to gain acceptance to 
graduate school (e.g., how to prepare for the GRE, application 
preparation, interviewing skills, awareness of financial resources), 
academic survival skills, scientific careers, and communication skills; 

o workshops for MARC/MBRS/Bridges/PREP/IMSD Program Directors in such 
areas as advising, tutoring, education technology, time management, 
grants management, grant writing, involving student participation in 
research, and professional development; and

o booths for graduate programs’ recruiters. 

These points are only examples and are not intended to be exhaustive or 
limiting.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT 

This RFA will use the NIH T36 award mechanism. As an applicant, you 
will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the 
proposed conference.

This RFA does not use the just-in-time concepts.  It also does not use 
the modular budget format.  The facilities and administration costs 
will be provided at a rate of 8% minus exclusions.

The total project period for an application submitted in response to 
this RFA may not exceed 5 years.  Continued funding after the first 
year is contingent upon progress as determined annually by MORE 
Division and MARC Branch procedures.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NIGMS intends to commit approximately $700,000 in direct costs in 
FY 2005 to fund one application in response to this RFA.  An applicant 
may request a project period of up to five years and a budget for 
direct costs of up to $700,000 per year.  Although the financial plans 
of NIGMS provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA 
are contingent upon the availability of funds for this purpose, merit 
of the applications received, and relevance to the mission of the MORE 
Division.  

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS

You may submit an application if your institution has any of the 
following characteristics: 

o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges,             
hospitals, and laboratories 
o Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply. 

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS 

In its Symposium Plan, the applicant organization should list its 
overall goals for the symposium and the expected outcomes of the 
symposium.  The Symposium Plan section of the application should be 
used to provide a detailed description of the locales, venues, 
objectives, plans, and logistics of the meeting.  The format and agenda 
of the meeting should be described in detail, including a list of and 
the rationale for the selection of speakers to be invited, the 
principal topics to be addressed, workshops to be offered, problems to 
be clarified, and developments that the symposium might stimulate.  
Provide a detailed justification for the symposium, including a 
discussion of the need, timeliness, and usefulness of the symposium to 
the targeted community that is to be identified by the applicant 
organization. Explain the plans for insuring that all targeted 
populations are represented at the symposium. 
   
The composition and role of the organizing committee should be stated 
as well as the names and credentials of the key participants and 
presenters in the symposium, the basis for their selection, and whether 
they have committed themselves to participating in the program, in 
advance of the conference, one year at a time.  
   
The applicant organization must detail its plans for assessing the 
effectiveness of the proposed conference, by stating the goals of the 
evaluation, the questions that will be addressed by the evaluation 
design, and the methods that will be used for analyzing the data.  
Estimate the expected size and type of audience overall and the 
rationale for how it was selected.  Publicity for the symposium, 
selection of participants, and publication of proceedings should also 
be detailed and evaluated retrospectively. 
   
WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage your inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the 
opportunity to answer questions from potential applicant organizations. 
Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/programmatic, peer 
review, and financial or grants management issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/programmatic issues to:

Adolphus Toliver, Ph.D.
Chief, MARC Branch
National Institutes of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2573
Email: tolivera@nigms.nih.gov 

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Richard I. Martinez, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 3AN.12B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-2849 
Email:  rm63f@nih.gov 

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters 
to:

Ms. Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 495-5132
FAX:  (301) 480-2554
Email:  hollanda@nigms.nih.gov 
   
LETTER OF INTENT
   
Prospective applicant organizations are asked to submit a letter of 
intent that includes the following information:
   
o Descriptive title of the proposed activity
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o Names of other key personnel
o Participating institution(s)
o 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 a subsequent application, the information 
that it contains allows NIGMS staff to estimate the potential review 
workload and plan the review.
   
The letter of intent is to be sent by the receipt date listed at the 
beginning of this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:
   
Adolphus Toliver, Ph.D.
Chief, MARC Branch, MORE Division
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Building 45, Room 2AS.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
Email: tolivera@ngms.nih.gov 
   
SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant 
application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  Applicants must have 
a DUN and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) 
number as the Universal Identifier when applying for Federal Grants or 
cooperative agreements.  The DUNS number can be obtained by calling 
(866) 705-5711 or through the web site at 
http://www.dunandbradstreet.com/.  The DUNS number should be entered on 
line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.  The PHS 398 document is 
available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in 
an interactive format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, 
Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov 

SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS 
   
The NIH publication, "NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific 
Meetings" (September 24, 2003), 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/par-03-176.html) should 
be consulted because it provides important information and supplemental 
instructions for completing the application. In addition, this 
publication states NIH policy regarding the application, review, award, 
administration, and reporting requirements when funds are requested and 
awarded for the support of scientific meetings.  
   
Special Instructions
   
(See the section on Special Requirements for instructions on how to 
prepare the Symposium Plan) 
   
When completing the application, include the following items on PHS 
form 398.  For item 1 of the Face Page, provide the title of the 
meeting or conference.  For item 2 of the Face Page, enter the RFA 
number and title.  In item 6 of the Face Page enter the inclusive dates 
for the proposed period of support for the symposium.  On page 2 under 
performance sites, list the proposed sites of the symposium, which may 
vary from year to year. 
   
On page 2 list key personnel and their roles in the proposed symposium.  
Biographic sketches should be provided only for the key individuals 
responsible for the planning and conduct of the symposium.   
   
Other funds received or pending support for the symposium should be 
listed on the Other Support page.  The sources and amounts of funds 
should be identified, indicating any overlap with the present 
application.  Provide information about the disposition of funds 
expected from other sources, including any income from the symposium 
itself.  
   
The site and physical facilities for conducting the symposium should be 
detailed on the Resources and Environment page.
   
The Budget pages provided should be used to itemize and justify the 
costs listed under item 7a of the Face Page.  Any proposed per diem 
allowances and transportation fees should be itemized.  If the request 
includes participant travel or per diem, specify the number of 
travelers and the number of days per person.  Itemize conference 
services, publication costs and registration fees in the Other Expenses 
category.  Indicate the total costs of the meeting, including both the 
amounts requested from NIGMS and the support, if any, anticipated from 
other sources.
   
For applications requesting multiple years of support, the following 
additional information must be provided for each future year requested, 
in as much detail as possible: (1) meeting topic(s) and list of 
potential speakers; (2) tentative dates, locations and participants; 
(3) contingency plans for future meetings dependent on, for example, 
outcome of the first year’s meeting or developments in the field.
   
Allowable Costs

Allowable expenditures and the applicable policies are listed below.  
Any costs not listed below that are charged to a grant must be either 
approved at the time of award, or if after the award, have received 
prior written approval from the NIGMS. 

Salaries:  Funds may be used to provide salaries, including fringe 
benefits, of professional personnel, clerical assistants, editorial 
assistants, and other support staff in proportion to the time or effort 
spent directly on the meeting. 

Equipment:  Although funds may not be used for the purchase of 
equipment, they may be used for the rental of necessary equipment such 
as projection and public address systems, exhibits, or telephone. 

Supplies:  The costs of supplies, such as stationery, programs, 
notices, badges, signs, postage, distribution and mailing fees may be 
requested provided they are necessary for the symposium and are used 
during the project period.

Travel Expenses: Funds may be requested for the travel of staff and 
attendees if identified in the application and approved at the time of 
the award. Although the speakers and other participants will not be 
appointed until after the award, the costs for their participation 
should be proposed in the budget request.   

Per Diem: Per diem costs for speakers and key symposium participants 
may be requested and will be limited to the days of attendance at the 
meeting or conference, plus the actual travel time to and from the 
meeting or conference location.  Where meals and/or lodging are 
furnished without charge or at a nominal cost, such as part of the 
registration fee, an appropriate deduction must be made from the 
authorized per diem.

Conference Services: Funds may be requested for necessary stenographic, 
typewritten and photographic recording of proceedings, editorial 
service, simultaneous translation, subsequent transcriptions, and 
rental of conference rooms and office space.

Publication Costs: Funds to cover the costs of publishing the 
proceedings of a scientific symposium or of special papers presented 
may be requested. 

Registration Fees: Registration fees to support participants and 
students may be requested. 

Speaker Fees: Speakers fees for the specific services rendered at the 
meeting or conference are allowable costs.

Unallowable Costs

Grant funds may not be used for entertainment of any sort, tips, bar 
charges, personal telephone calls, or laundry charges of participants 
or guests.

Grant funds may not be used to pay per diem, travel or expenses other 
than local mileage for local participants in the meeting or conference.

Grant funds may not be used to pay for travel, subsistence or other 
expenses for Federal employees.

Dues to organizations, federations, or professional societies, 
exclusive of registration fees, are not allowed as charges to this 
ancillary training activities grant.

Grant funds may not be used to cover the costs of banquets, luncheons, 
coffee breaks, or theater.

Honoraria or other payments given for the purpose of conferring 
distinction on or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration may not 
be paid from grant funds.

USING THE RFA LABEL: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 
5/2001) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page 
of the application.  Type 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 RFA label is 
available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf. 

SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH: Submit a signed, typewritten 
original of the application, including the Checklist, five signed 
photocopies, and five collated sets of Appendix material 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)

APPLICATION PROCESSING:  Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the 
applicant without review.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and 
funding assignment within 8 weeks.

The Center for Scientific Review will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently 
pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending 
application.  However, when a previously unfunded application, 
originally submitted in response to an RFA, it is to be prepared as a 
NEW application.  That is, the application for the RFA must not include 
an Introduction describing the changes from the previous unfunded 
version of the application.
   
PEER REVIEW PROCESS
   
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by the NIGMS.  Incomplete applications will not be 
reviewed and will be returned to the applicant organization, since this 
is a one-time solicitation.  
   
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 NIGMS in accordance with the review criteria 
listed below.  As part of the initial merit review, all applications 
will:
   
o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific/technical merit, generally the top half of the 
applications under review, will be discussed and assigned a priority 
score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the NIGMS National Advisory Council
   
REVIEW CRITERIA
   
The goals of ABRCMS are to support research training activities that 
are harmonious with the overall goal of the MORE Division of increasing 
the number of underrepresented minorities who participate fully in the 
biomedical research enterprise of this country.  In the written 
comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects of 
your application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed 
activities will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of this goal:

o appropriateness/relevance to overall MORE Division objectives and the 
stated overall goals

o caliber of scientific presentations in current areas of research 

o the importance or benefits of the proposed symposium to the targeted 
scientific community

o the timeliness and need for the proposed symposium

o the appropriateness and innovativeness of the proposed format and 
agenda for achieving the stated goals of the symposium

o qualifications of the proposed Program Director and other activity 
coordinators and proposed participants such as a steering or organizing 
committee

o the adequacy of plans to disseminate the information/outcomes 
generated by the symposium

o resources and environment (adequacy of the meeting site venues)

o adequacy of the evaluation plan and pertinence to the stated goals

o past performance and degree to which meeting goals were achieved, if 
applicable

o plans for the appropriate involvement of women, racial/ethnic 
minorities and persons with disabilities in the planning and 
implementation of the proposed meeting

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, the 
following items will be considered in the determination of 
scientific/technical merit and the priority score:

BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested 
period of support in relation to the proposed ancillary training 
activity.

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  May 14, 2004
Application Receipt Date:  June 14, 2004
Peer Review Date:  October/November 2004
Council Review:  January 2005
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  March 2005

AWARD CRITERIA

Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o Scientific/technical merit (as determined by peer review)
o Availability of funds
o Programmatic priorities

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS
  
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 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.

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.   Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their 
anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet 
site.

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

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance No. 93.859, and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or 
Health Systems Agency review.  NRSA institutional awards are made under 
authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act 
as amended (42 USC 288) and Title 42 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, Part 66. NRSA institutional training awards must be 
administered under NIH grants policies described at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm and under Federal 
Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. 

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and discourage the 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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