Full Text GM-96-002

INITIATIVE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS:  BRIDGES TO THE DOCTORAL DEGREE

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 36, October 13, 1995

RFA:  GM-96-002

P.T. 34, FF

Keywords: 
  Biomedical Research, Multidiscipl 
  Biomedical Research Training 


National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 17, 1995
Application Receipt Date:  January 19, 1996

PURPOSE

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the
Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), National Institutes of
Health (NIH), re-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 fifth 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
and universities awarding the Ph.D. degree.  A separate RFA,
GM-96-001, describes a program targeting the transition from two-year
colleges awarding the Associate degree to institutions awarding the
Baccalaureate degree.  Previously unsuccessful applicants for Bridges
awards are encouraged to submit revised applications that respond to
the prior concerns of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences
Council.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

General

Applications may be submitted by domestic, private and public,
educational institutions.  State and 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 Bridge 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 or before September 30,
1994 may submit competing continuation applications for three years
of continued support (see RFA GM-96-003) since those initial awards
will be ending on or before September 1996.  Institutions with NIGMS
Doctoral Bridge Program (R25) grants funded on September 15, 1995 are
not eligible to apply for this RFA or RFA GM-96-003.

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 Bridge to the
Baccalaureate Degree, RFA GM-96-001, 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 citizens or non-citizen
nationals of the United States 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, behavioral, and mathematical sciences 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
participating institutions.

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
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 project period for an application submitted in
response to this RFA may not exceed two years.  Requested direct
costs are not to exceed $320,000 for the two-year period.  Indirect
costs will be paid at the rate of 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.

Allowable Costs

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 (not intended to serve
as an opportunity to make major changes to the plan approved by peer
review); and an implementation phase with its attendant budget.  The
planning phase costs should be minimal and not exceed a period of six
months.  Faculty release time for planning and implementation of the
program and faculty travel related to program development may be
requested.

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.

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
Bethesda, Maryland for the BRIDGES Program Directors and Coordinators
Meeting each budget year.

Each participating institution is responsible for data acquisition
and data entry into E-STAR each year.  E-STAR (Electronic Student
Tracking and Reporting) is a program developed by NIGMS to facilitate
the administration and evaluation of this program by the grantees and
the agency. The budget should also include funds to defray the costs
of data entry.

Access to E-STAR will be through Internet and the World Wide Web
(minimum computer needs for E-STAR: 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.  Any
computer with Netscape will work).

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.  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.

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.

Unallowable Costs

Stipends, housing, food, tuition (unless as stated above), and fees
are not allowable costs under this program.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

An estimated total of $9 million will be available in Fiscal Year
1996 to support awards made in response to this RFA, RFA GM-96-001,
and for competing continuations applications in response to RFA
GM-96-003.  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.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

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
as long as the new area 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 the attention and adequate resources of the ms
institution(s) on enhancing the academic competitiveness of their
graduate degree programs and graduates in the sciences.

Additional Information

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,
seminars, etc.);

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  providing academic counseling for M.S. students, with a particular
focus on encouraging students to pursue research careers in the
biomedical sciences.

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
careers.

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.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must describe the proposed transition program in detail
and explain how its design will meet the goals of this initiative.
Applicants must describe the criteria to be used in the selection and
retention of the student participants for this program; applicants
must also describe the criteria for selecting participating faculty.
Applicants with an existing transition program must describe that
program and explain how it would be altered to meet the goals of this
initiative.  Applicants must describe the methods and facilities
available for tracking student participants, and criteria to be used
for program evaluation.

Unified Plan

To avoid duplication of effort, each institution must 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.

Consortium Agreements

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, a letter, signed by the appropriate institutional
official and program coordinator, acknowledging participation in the
program is required from each participating institution.

Reporting Requirements

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
(E-STAR may be used to satisfy part of these requirements). and the
benefits derived from the partnership program.  For applicants
submitting competing renewals, the progress report in the competing
application may satisfy this requirement (E-STAR database will not be
available to the peer review committees, a printout or other format
of this data will be necessary for a competing application).

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 must describe a system by which it would monitor and
track the students participating in this program, including their
future careers, to evaluate the success of the program.  The
applicant must 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.  E- STAR may be used to satisfy part of these
requirements.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are requested to submit, by November 17, 1995,
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 NIGMS 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.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) 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, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Suite 3034, MSC 7762, Bethesda, MD
20892-7762, telephone (301) 435-0714, email: dirg@drgpo.drg.nih.gov;
and from the NIGMS program administrator listed under INQUIRIES.

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.

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

DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, SUITE 1040, MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to Dr. Americo Rivera, Jr. at the address listed
under INQUIRIES.

Applications must be received by January 19, 1996.  Applications
arriving after that date will be returned to the applicant without
review.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

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.

Review Criteria

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 Bridges Program;

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
fields;

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
personnel costs;

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
resources.

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 minor students and faculty.

AWARD CRITERIA

The anticipated date of award is September 30, 1996.  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

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 the program
administrator:

Americo Rivera, Jr., Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS-13H, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-0533
FAX:  (301) 480-2004
Email:  RiveraA@GM1.NIGMS.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms Annette Hanopole
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN-50J, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3928
FAX:  (301) 480-3423
Email:  HanopolA@GM1.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.

.


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