INITIATIVE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS:  BRIDGES TO THE DOCTORAL DEGREE

NIH Guide, Volume 26, Number 35, October 17, 1997

RFA:  GM-98-002

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 21, 1997
Application Receipt Date:  January 16, 1998

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 sixth 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.  RFA GM-98-001,
a separate solicitation, describes a program targeting the
transition from two-year colleges awarding the Associate"s degree
to institutions awarding the Baccalaureate degree.  Former
applicants of unfunded Bridge proposals 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 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 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 ending on or
before September 1998 may submit COMPETING CONTINUATION
APPLICATIONS for up to five years of continued support (see RFA
GM-98-003).

An institution or system of higher education may submit ONLY ONE
application for this RFA.  Institutions which submit applications
in response to this RFA may also apply for support for a Bridge to
the Baccalaureate Degree (RFA GM-98- 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
provided 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.  Historically, individuals who have been found
to be
uderrepresented 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. 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
which 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.  Proposals 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 applications 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 8% 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.  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 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 for the term of
the awards made in response to this solicitation, RFA GM-98-001,
and applications for competing continuations, RFA GM-98-003.  NIH
staff anticipate making a combined total of 20 to 40 new and
competing continuation awards for these RFAs, if NIH receives
sufficient numbers of highly meritorious applications and
sufficient funds for this purpose.

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 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 program 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.

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  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 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.

Unified Plan

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.

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, letters, signed by the appropriate institutional
official and program coordinator, acknowledging participation in
the program are 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 proposal).

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. E-STAR
may be used to satisfy part of these requirements.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are requested to submit, by November 21,
1997, 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 the Program Administrator
listed below under INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) must be
used in applying for these grants.  Application kits are available
at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may be
obtained 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:
asknih@od.nih.gov, and from the NIGMS program director 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:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW (formerly Division of Research Grants)
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE 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 16, 1998.  Applications
arriving after that date will be returned to the applicant.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be administratively reviewed by NIH
staff.  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 solicitation, appropriateness of the
existing program 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, 1998.  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 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) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2004
Email:  RiveraA@NIGMS.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms Annette Hanopole
Grants Management Specialist
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@NIGMS.NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

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.  This
program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No.93.960, Special Minority Initiatives Program.

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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