Full Text LM-95-001

INTERNET CONNECTION FOR MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 2, January 20, 1995

RFA:  LM-95-001

P.T.


Keywords: 


National Library of Medicine

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  April 10, 1995
Application Receipt Date:  May 18, 1995

PURPOSE

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is encouraging the development
of a communications infrastructure to promote the rapid interchange
of medical information nationally and throughout the world.  This
infrastructure is based upon the Internet, a network of networks that
was developed with the support of the National Science Foundation.
The proposed evolution of the Internet into the National Research and
Education Network (NREN) is a key element in important federal
initiatives in High Performance Computing and Communication and a
National Information Infrastructure.  Internet access provides health
professionals engaged in education, research, clinical care, and
administration with a means of accessing remote databases, libraries,
NLM's Grateful Med, DOCLINE and Loansome Doc, transferring files and
images, and interacting with colleagues throughout the world.  To
accelerate the pace with which health-related institutions become
part of the electronic information web, NLM is offering grants to
support Internet connections.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Request
for Applications (RFA), Internet Connection for Medical Institutions,
is related to the priority area of surveillance and data systems.
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full
Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or "Healthy People 2000" (Summary
Report:  Stock No 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of
Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325
(telephone 202-783-3238).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Domestic public and private, non-profit institutions engaged in
health sciences administration, education, research, and/or clinical
care are eligible to apply.  "Health sciences" is defined as
medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, pharmacy, veterinary
medicine, and other sciences related to health.  Hospitals are
encouraged to apply.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and
those with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal
Investigators.  Domestic applications may not have international
components.

Consortia of health-related institutions are also eligible to apply.
Consortium applications must be submitted by a single, lead
institution; letters of agreement defining mutual responsibilities
must be provided in the application and signed by authorized
officials of each participating institution.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA will use the National Library of Medicine (NLM) resource
grant (G08) mechanism.  Indirect costs are not provided.
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 one year.  The anticipated award date is September 15,
1995.

For single institutions, support is available up to $30,000;
consortia may receive up to $50,000.  Additional funding may be
provided on a case-by-case basis to support development and
enhancement of multi-institution networks including extending
connectivity to outlying hospitals, or otherwise furthering NLM's
goal of expanding information outreach.  The overall cost of a campus
or local connection to the Internet includes:  gateway equipment,
associated communication hardware (CSU/DSU), the leased line and its
installation, local network user support staff, space, air
conditioning, maintenance, and mid-level network management fees.
The NLM grant is expected to support the purchase and installation of
the gateway system and associated connection hardware and to defray
the cost of installation and leasing of communication circuits to
connect to the mid-level network.  In some cases the award may also
be used to defray the cost of mid-level management fees and local
network staff.  Institutions will usually be expected to fund the
local or campus network and support other costs of the gateway
system, although in some instances, NLM will consider use of the
grant funds to expand access to the Internet in an institution that
already has a connection.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

Funds available for this RFA are approximately $600,000; however,
expenditure of this amount is conditional upon the receipt of
applications of high merit.  Number of awards to be made is estimated
to be between 10 and 16.  Although the PHS budget is expected to
permit support of these projects, funding of any applications
pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds at
the appropriate time.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The Internet currently is a collection of interconnected networks
connected by the NSFnet which was developed with the support of the
National Science Foundation (NSF).  The Internet comprises three
types of networks:  (1) a national backbone network, (2) mid-level
regional networks usually based around some geographical region of
the country, and (3) local networks at educational, research and
clinical institutions.  Individual institutions are connected to a
mid-level network in the appropriate geographical region.  The mid-
level network is in turn attached to the high-speed national backbone
network, usually at its network operation center.  The backbone is
connected to other national networks including the Defense Research
Internet, NASA Science Network, and the Energy Sciences Network;
these interconnected networks and many others worldwide comprise the
Internet.  The Internet provides electronic mail service and access
to a variety of scientific facilities including:  digital libraries,
unique databases such as MEDLINE via Grateful Med as well as a host
of federal and private sector databases, supercomputers, and remote
scientific sensing instruments.  The Internet promotes interaction
and collaboration with a single, well-integrated connection to end
users using the Defense Data Network protocols: Transmission Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol referred to as TCP/IP.

Network management and operations services as well as information
services are provided by each of the levels.  The national backbone
network provides for technical and information services to the mid-
level networks which in turn provide technical expertise and
information services, including training and documentation, to local
level network administrators.  Local network officials provide
technical and information services to the overall local network
administration and also provide consultative and liaison services to
end-users of the network.

Objectives and Scope

The purpose of this RFA is to encourage U.S. medical institutions
including medical research institutions, health science schools, and
hospitals to connect to the Internet.  Some institutions may belong
to organizations that are already connected to the Internet, for
example, medical schools adjacent to university campuses.  In such a
case, the NLM grant can be used by a health science school or
hospital to connect to an existing campus network.  In other cases,
the project will aid the institution in connecting directly to the
mid-level regional network.  In general, it is expected that
institutions will use an existing local or campus network to
distribute access to the Internet, or will build a new local or
campus network and connect it to the Internet.  A local or campus
network is connected to the Internet by installing an IP
router/gateway.  This gateway will link the campus or local network
to an appropriate mid-level network by means of leased or dial-up
communication circuits of varying speeds (9600 bits per second to 1.5
million bits per second).  The resultant connections to the Internet
provided by the gateway should be made widely available to all
appropriate health professionals, -- researchers, faculty, students,
clinicians, and administrators.  Ideally the institution will have
installed a high-speed campus or local area network and have adopted
the TCP/IP protocols as the standard communication protocol.  Where
other networking protocols are used, the institution will be
responsible for the installation of any additional network gateway
systems required to resolve the protocol conversion issues so as to
provide connectivity to the Internet gateway.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by April 10, 1995, a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
project, the name, address, and telephone number of the Principal
Investigator, the identities of other key personnel in the sponsoring
institution and in participating institutions, the identities of
consultants, and the number and title of this RFA.  It is
particularly helpful if consortia provide complete lists of key
people who will be associated with the project for all participants.
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 NLM staff to estimate the
potential review workload and avoid conflict of interest in the
review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Ms. Frances E. Johnson at the
address listed under INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

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 program administrator listed
under INQUIRIES.

Supplemental Application Guidelines

Applicants should not feel constrained by the emphasis on research in
the language used by the forms.  It may be useful for an applicant to
read "project" whenever the form refers to "research".  NLM considers
these grants to be projects, not research applications, and will
evaluate the applications in that spirit.  NLM recommends that those
writing the application keep the "project" concept in mind.  Internet
uses may support administration, education, research and/or patient
care endeavors.  Applicants are encouraged to include their health
science library in the proposed Internet connection.

"Resources and Environment," form page (HH).  Other applicable
headings may be substituted such as computers, communications, and
networking resources in place.

"Biographical Sketch," form page (FF).  Include computer,
communications, and networking skills.

In Section 4 of the "Research Plan" (read "Project Plan") also
provide:  (1) plans for user training and user support and (2) plans
for future support.  The success of an Internet connection depends
upon training users in establishing accounts and passwords and in
teaching Internet capabilities. Describe user training plans
including topics to be covered and the personnel who will provide the
training and follow-up training.  Library involvement in user
training is strongly encouraged.  In regard to future support, the
Internet Connection Grant is intended to provide seed money to
initiate an Internet connection; therefore, plans for budgeting
ongoing costs for Internet access must be described.

All applicants, particularly those relatively unfamiliar with the
application review form and with NIH procedures, are encouraged to
consult Ms. Frances Johnson (address below) for assistance as needed
in completing the application.

Additional Application Procedures

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) 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 title and number must be typed on
line 2a of the face page of the application form and the YES box must
be marked.

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

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 Ms. Frances E. Johnson at the address listed
under INQUIRIES.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the
NIH Division of Research Grants (DRG) and responsiveness by NLM.
Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the
applicant without further consideration.  Applications that are
complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for merit by an
appropriate peer review group convened by the NLM in accordance with
the review criteria stated below.

As part of the review procedure, a triage process will be used by the
initial review group in which applications will be determined to be
competitive or non-competitive based on merit relative to other
applications received in response to the RFA.  Applications
determined to be non-competitive will be withdrawn from further
consideration; the Principal Investigator and the official signing
for the applicant organization will be notified.  Applications judged
to be competitive will be discussed by the review group and assigned
a priority score.

Review Criteria

o  Significance of proposed project relative to the services,
programs and personnel expected to benefit from Internet access, and
the nature of the anticipated benefits.

o  Quality  of local infrastructure including plans to provide
institution-wide access to the Internet gateway and plans to develop
institution-wide high-speed networks.

o  Quality of user services and proposed training.

o  Technical expertise in computer networking (especially TCP/IP-
based networking) or plans to provide such expertise including
coordination with appropriate mid-level network.

o  Plans for future support of the network connection.

AWARD CRITERIA

In addition to the review criteria identified above, awards depend
upon available funds and programmatic priorities.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues, address the letter of
intent and mail two copies of the application to:

Ms. Frances E. Johnson
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Building 38A, Room 5S-520
Bethesda, MD  20894
Telephone:  (301) 496-4221
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Email:  FRANCES_JOHNSON@OCCSHOST.NLM.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Ruth Bortz
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Building 38A, Room
Telephone:  (301) 496-4253
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Email:  BORTZ@LHC.NLM.NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

The Resource Grant Program is described in the Catalog of Federal
Domestic Assistance under Medical Library Assistance, Chapter 93.879.
Grants will be awarded under the authority of the Public Health
Service Act, Section 474(42 USC 286b-5) and administered under PHS
grant policies and Federal Regulations, most specifically at 42 CFR
Part 59a and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the
inter-governmental 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
people.

.

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