Full Text GM-95-002
INITIATIVE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS: BRIDGES TO THE DOCTORAL DEGREE
NIH GUIDE, Volume 23, Number 37, October 21, 1994
P.T. 44, FF
Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: November 18, 1994
Application Receipt Date: January 20, 1995
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the
Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), National Institutes of
Health (NIH), announce two research initiatives directed at
increasing the number of underrepresented minorities entering careers
in biomedical research. The programs target two different
underrepresented minority student populations: those in colleges and
universities offering only Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs
in biomedically-related sciences and those in two-year junior or
community colleges. These have been identified as two key transition
points for students considering careers in biomedical research. This
is the third year of this program, which seeks to encourage the
development of new and innovative programs and the expansion of
existing programs to improve the academic competitiveness of
underrepresented minority students and facilitate their transition
into the next stage towards careers in biomedical research.
This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits new applications for a
partnership program involving institutions awarding the M.S. degree
as the terminal degree and universities awarding the Ph.D. degree. A
separate RFA (GM-95-001) describes a program targeting the transition
from two-year colleges awarding the Associate's degree to
institutions awarding the Baccalaureate degree. Previous applicants
of unfunded Bridges applications are encouraged to submit revised
applications that respond to the concerns of the National Advisory
General Medical Sciences Council.
Applications may be submitted by domestic, private and 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
institution in more than one Bridges Program, but can be the
applicant institution for only one Bridges to the Baccalaureate
Degree and one Bridges to the Doctoral Degree Program. Institutions
with NIGMS Bridge Program (R25) awards made effective on September 1,
1993 may submit competing continuation applications for three years
of continued support (see RFA GM-95-003) since those initial awards
will be ending in 1995. Institutions with NIGMS Doctoral Bridges
Program (R25) grants funded on September 1, 1994 are not eligible to
apply for this RFA (GM-95-002) or RFA GM 95-003.
An institution or system of higher education may submit ONLY ONE
application for this RFA. Institutions that submit an application in
response to this RFA may also apply for support for a Bridges to the
Baccalaureate Degree program (RFA GM-95-001), if they meet the
eligibility requirements. However, a separate application for each
RFA is required. 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 unified institutional plans described in BOTH applications (see
UNIFIED PLAN under SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS). Institutions participating
in more than one application should provide a justification for each.
Programs developed or modified under this initiative must be
specifically designed to target underrepresented minority graduate
students majoring in the sciences. 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. Nationally, individuals who have been found to
be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research include, but
are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native
Americans and Pacific Islanders. The term "science" is used in this
RFA to mean the natural, physical, and behavioral sciences and
mathematics relevant to biomedical research.
Applications must include a partnership between an institution that
offers the M.S. degree ("MS Institution") as the only post-graduate
degree in the sciences within the participating departments AND has a
significant enrollment of underrepresented minorities, and one
research university providing Ph.D.-degree programs in areas relevant
to the biomedical sciences.
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. Applications must
include a description of the collaborative arrangement with all
Institutions offering both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees may not use
funds from this program for graduates of their own M.S. degree
programs to enter their own Ph.D. degree programs, even if the
student is moving from one department, school, or college to another.
The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN
For additional requirements see: SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
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 project period for applications submitted in
response to this RFA may not exceed two years. Requested direct
costs are not to exceed $300,000 for the two-year period. Indirect
costs will be paid at eight percent of the direct costs, minus
appropriate exclusions, or actual indirect costs, whichever is less.
A budget for each year should be provided.
This RFA is a one-time solicitation. Future unsolicited competing
applications will not be accepted.
If appropriate, the budget request may be divided into two phases: a
planning phase with its attendant budget for the minor adjustment
and/or refinement of the partnership program; and an implementation
phase with its attendant budget. The planning phase costs should be
minimal and not exceed a period of one year (not intended to serve as
a substitute for the complete and detailed plan required to be in the
application). Faculty release time for planning and implementation
of the program and faculty travel related to program development may
The implementation phase may include the costs of administering and
coordinating the partnership program within and between each of the
participants. Requests for equipment, supplies, travel, and other
expenses should be limited to those necessary for program development
and should be carefully and specifically justified.
Student remuneration (limited to underrepresented minorities
matriculated at the MS partner institution(s)) through salary/wages
and/or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages for
participation in research experiences may be requested. Tuition
remission (or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages)
expenditures 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
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.
In summary, allowable costs include, but are not limited to: tuition
remission, supplies, equipment, travel, other expenses, salary,
wages, and fringe benefits for students and faculty.
Stipends, housing, food, tuition (unless as stated above), and fees
are not allowable costs under this program.
An estimated total of $9 million will be available in Fiscal Year
1995 to support awards made in response to this solicitation,
GM-95-001, and applications for competing continuations, GM-95-003.
NIH staff anticipate making a combined total of 20 to 40 new and
competing continuation awards for these RFAs using multi-year
funding, depending on the receipt of a sufficient number of highly
meritorious applications and availability of appropriated funds.
This program seeks to promote the initiation and development of new
transitional programs, as well as the expansion and enhancement of
existing programs between those institutions with departments
offering only the Master's degree as the graduate academic degree in
the sciences, and that have significant enrollments of
underrepresented minority students, and research universities with
Ph.D. degree programs. The objective is to facilitate the transition
of underrepresented minority graduate students into Ph.D. programs
after obtaining their M.S. degree. Students receiving their M.S.
degree in one field of science may pursue a Ph.D. in a different area
so long as it is in a discipline related to the biomedical sciences.
Collaborative agreements should take the form that best fits the
needs and situations of the institutions involved. The challenge for
the project director, with the help of the participating partners, is
to design a new partnership program, or enhance an existing program,
that will focus attention and adequate resources to the MS
Institution(s) to enhance the academic competitiveness of their
graduate degree programs and graduates in the sciences.
The "Bridge" programs must be designed with special attention to the
needs and special requirements of the underrepresented minority
graduate students enrolled in the M.S. degree program. They may
include, but are not limited to, the following elements:
o providing research opportunities for M.S. students at the Ph.D.
institution or in private industrial laboratories (students may
receive compensation for these activities);
o establishing a mentoring program for M.S. students with faculty at
the Ph.D. institution;
o strengthening the research capability of the MS Institution (e.g.,
by faculty research collaborations, joint seminar programs, etc.);
o enhancing the curriculum of the MS Institution (special courses,
o enabling and encouraging students from either institution to take
classes at the other institution;
o guaranteeing acceptance into the participating Ph.D. program(s)
for students completing the M.S. program;
o academic counseling for M.S. students, with a particular focus on
encouraging students to pursue research careers in the biomedical
o nontraditional or other professional degree-granting institutions
should describe those modifications or additions to their programs
that would encourage and facilitate Bridge students to enter research
It is an expectation of NIGMS and ORMH that students who enter Ph.D.
programs as a result of this enhancement program will receive
support, if needed, while progressing satisfactorily in Ph.D.
research training programs. Applicants should describe the type(s)
of institutional support that would be available to such students.
Applicants should describe the proposed transition program in detail
and explain how its design will meet the goals of this initiative.
Applicants should describe the criteria to be used in the selection
and retention of the student participants for this program;
applicants should also describe the criteria for selecting
participating faculty. Applicants with an existing transition
program should describe that program and explain how it would be
altered to meet the goals of this initiative. Applicant should
describe the methods and facilities available for tracking student
participants, and criteria to be used for program evaluation.
To avoid duplication of effort each institution should develop a
unified plan (which may include the biomedically relevant physical,
natural and behavioral sciences and mathematics) to facilitate the
transfer of its students from the M.S. degree program to the Ph.D.
degree program at another institution. Applicants should describe
how this proposal fits in with the institution's overall transition
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
institution's unified plan.
Other Training Programs
Colleges with any NIH funding such as the Minority Access to Research
Careers (MARC), Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS),
National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants, and/or
project grants, or other sources of funds such as National Science
Foundation grants or Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants, should
define the relationship between those programs and this transition
program. They should delineate how this enhancement program will
influence their partnerships with the other participants and the
manner in which underrepresented minority students in the transition
program will interact with these other sources of support.
Each applicant institution should delineate appropriate agreements
and consortium arrangements with other 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, acknowledging participation in the
program are required from each participating institution.
A progress report will be required at the end of the planning phase
(if any) or at the end of the first year, whichever is shorter. A
final report will be required 90 days after the termination date of
the award and must include information for each student participant
and the benefits derived from the partnership program. For
applicants submitting competing renewals the progress report in the
competing application may satisfy this requirement.
Student Population and Career Tracking
The nature and extent of underrepresented minority student
participation must be thoroughly delineated. The applicant should
also describe the MS Institution's success in training its students
in the sciences, including information on the numbers of minority
students receiving the M.S. degree and data on subsequent careers or
education of their graduates.
The applicant should describe a system by which it would monitor and
track the students participating in this program, including their
future careers, in order to evaluate the success of the program. The
applicant should maintain data to be able to demonstrate the benefits
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 that were not in
the bridges program.
LETTER OF INTENT
Prospective applicants are requested to submit, by November 18, 1994,
a letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
plan, the name, address, and telephone number of the program
director, the identities 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 Dr. Rivera at the address
listed under INQUIRIES.
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in applying for these grants. These forms are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research; from the Office of
Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes
of Health, 5333 Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892,
telephone (301) 435-0714; and from the NIGMS program administrator
listed under INQUIRIES.
The RFA label available 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 2A of the face page form, the "YES" box must be marked, and
"R25" typed in 2B.
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and three photocopies of the signed application in one
Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
Westwood Building, Room 240
Bethesda, MD 20892**
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to Dr. Americo Rivera, Jr. at the address listed
Applications must be received by January 20, 1995. Applications
arriving after that date will be returned to the applicant without
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the
Division of Research Grants (DRG) and responsiveness by the NIGMS.
Incomplete and/or unresponsive applications will be returned to the
applicant without further consideration. Those applications that are
complete and responsive will be evaluated in accordance with the
criteria stated below for scientific and technical merit by
appropriate peer review groups. The second level of review will be
provided by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council.
o qualifications and experience of the Principal Investigator and
staff to carry out the proposed program;
o appropriateness of the plans to develop the transition program to
meet the goals of the solicitation;
o appropriateness of the existing program, if appropriate, and of
plans to modify that program;
o availability of significant numbers of underrepresented minority
students in the participating science department(s) who are
interested in studying further in biomedical and health-related
o evidence of underrepresented minority students progressing to
higher education in the sciences;
o appropriateness of the system to track future course of program
participants and monitor the effectiveness of the program;
o budget and cost-effectiveness of the project including
appropriateness to the scope of the program, benefit to the students,
number of students involved, appropriateness of the of resources
allocated to MS institution(s), and responsible and prudent senior
o evidence of institutional commitment, for each institution, and
strength of the collaborative efforts between institutions to foster
professional development of underrepresented minority faculty and to
train underrepresented minority students in the biomedical sciences;
o appropriateness of the administrative plan for managing the
proposed program, including adequacy of space and other institutional
o appropriateness of applicant's plan for the evaluation of the
impact the Bridges program has made (before and after) on the
institutions and the underrepresented minority students and faculty.
The anticipated date of award is September 30, 1995. 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 will be
made only to institutions with financial management systems and
management capabilities that are acceptable under PHS policy. Awards
will be administered under the PHS Grants Policy Statement.
Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged. The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.
Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:
Americo Rivera, Jr., Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-0533
FAX: (301) 480-2004
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Ms Annette Hanopole
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-3928
FAX: (301) 480-3423
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 Public Health Service (PHS) strongly encourages all grant
recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use
of all tobacco products. This is consistent with the PHS mission to
protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American
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