RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IN MINORITY INSTITUTIONS (RIMI)
 
RELEASE DATE:  February 9, 2004 

RFA Number:  RFA-MD-04-003 (This RFA has been modified, see RFA-MD-05-004)
 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

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

COMPONENT OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:  
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)   
 (http://www.ncmhd.nih.gov/)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER (S): 93.389
 
LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE:  March 22, 2004
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE:  April 19, 2004 
 
THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o  Purpose of this RFA
o  Research Objectives
o  Mechanism(s) of Support 
o  Funds Available
o  Eligible Institutions
o  Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
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 Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Program focuses 
on building research capacity in predominantly minority-serving academic 
institutions that offer one or more baccalaureate and/or master's degrees in 
the life sciences and other areas related to health.  The RIMI program seeks 
to facilitate the integration of teaching and research at predominantly 
minority-serving academic institutions with the ultimate aims of: 1) 
developing sustainable research programs, and 2) enhancing the overall 
quality of the educational experience for students in the life sciences and 
related areas. 

The intent of this RIMI research infrastructure grant program is to 
strengthen the research environment of predominantly minority-serving 
academic institutions through grant support to develop and/or expand existing 
capacities for institutional and/or individual faculty initiated basic, 
biomedical, social, and/or behavioral research programs.  Applicants have the 
flexibility to consider for example, research efforts that address areas of 
disparities in healthcare among racial and ethnic minorities and the 
medically underserved that reside in the Southwest Border States; rural 
communities, such as the Appalachia Region, Mississippi Delta, and Frontier 
States; and urban centers of the Nation.  More specifically, this RFA MD-04-
003 is intended to help non-research intensive minority-serving institutions, 
solidify and strengthen their infrastructure and capacity to conduct 
biomedical and behavioral science research.  Thus, the overarching objectives 
for this RFA are to:

o  Establish a research program, with special emphasis on eliminating health 
disparities, that will strengthen an institution's basic science, biomedical, 
social, or behavioral research infrastructure and capabilities;

o  Enhance individual faculty members’ research training so that they can 
successfully compete for independent research funding, especially funding in 
areas that address health disparities; and

o  Encourage and facilitate research and mentoring interactions between the 
biomedical research faculty of grantee and mentoring institutions by 
establishing a partnership, using a mentoring/collaborative agreement model, 
with an institution(s) that grants doctoral degrees in public health, 
clinical services and the biomedical and/or behavioral sciences.

It is expected that the use of a mentoring/collaborative agreement model will 
contribute to an increased enrollment of graduate students from the grantee 
institution into doctoral programs at the mentoring institution.  When 
employing this type of research infrastructure strengthening approach, such 
collaborations must be clearly described, with measurable objectives and 
expected outcomes, and documented in the application.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Historically, the RIMI Grant Program was developed and implemented in 
response to recommendations resulting from the proceedings of three regional 
conferences that were convened by the former NIH Office of Research on 
Minority Health (ORMH), February 1992.  This meeting produced the “Minority 
Programs Fact-Finding Teams Recommendations” publication.  These 
recommendations gave guidance for future development of policies on the 
support for minority programs and initiatives at the NIH.  One of the overall 
recommendations stated that “NIH must continue and, where possible, expand 
programs at institutions with significant or predominant enrollment of 
minorities”.  The fact-finding team further concluded that this enhancement 
will allow some of these institutions to become research intensive 
institutions that could provide quality research training in the health 
sciences field and conduct innovative faculty research.  Public Law 106-525 
also gave notice of a national need for minority scientists in the fields of 
biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health services research.  The statute 
recognized that the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women in the 
scientific, technological and engineering workforce will enable society to 
better address its diverse needs.  In addition, the NCMHD acknowledges that 
RIMI-eligible and other predominantly minority-serving academic institutions 
play an important role in the early training of minority scientists.  Thus, 
continued support for the development of sustainable research programs at 
non-research intensive institutions of higher education, is expected to have 
a three-fold impact on the discovery of new knowledge in science and 
technology, possible refinement and greater understanding of the nature of 
health disparities; and the development of a knowledge infrastructure that 
contributes to the intellectual development of researchers and health 
professionals that are trained at such institutions. History has shown also 
that many of healthcare researchers and future professionals who graduate 
from minority institutions are likely to devote their careers providing 
biomedical and behavioral services in minority communities. (Public Law 106-
525; Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology, Supplement 4, 
http://bob.nap.edu/html/fedfunds/).

Under this RFA, the NCMHD will support programs that facilitate two types of 
primary activities:(1) institutional research development to strengthen  
institutional infrastructure and enhance the capacity of individual faculty 
members to undertake basic science, biomedical, social and/or behavioral 
research; and (2) individual faculty investigator research project support in 
order to develop research scientists to conduct small grant research 
activities that can lead to successful applications for future funding under 
more traditional research grant mechanisms.  Therefore, this grant program 
will establish building blocks that support the NIH-NCMHD long-term strategy 
to create a cadre of biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social science 
researchers that possess the understanding and the competency necessary to 
engage in leading innovative research that will contribute to reducing and 
eliminating health disparities in the United States.

In order to achieve this goal, however, there are clearly defined capacity 
gaps and shortfalls that must be closed and/or removed.  Many of these areas 
of concerns have resulted from the lack of research training capacity and/or 
strong infrastructure at many of the nation’s non-research intensive academic 
training institutions, especially predominantly minority-serving academic 
institutions.  

Accordingly, the RIMI Program encourages the participation of predominantly 
minority-serving institutions in the research enterprise through the support 
of activities that build and/or expand research infrastructure, and expand 
the range of research expertise at such institutions, as well as contribute 
to strengthening the research skills of individual faculty members.  The 
areas of concentration for this RFA are captured in three major program 
areas:  1) capacity-building, 2) research, and 3) career development.  The 
programmatic objectives for these areas are the following:

o  To encourage the use of enterprising methods in building research 
infrastructure, including but not limited to: developing and implementing 
innovations for increasing time commitment to research related activities, 
developing thematic approaches to or building marketable institutional niches 
in research; developing innovations in addressing shortfalls in research 
infrastructure in minority institutions; providing technical assistance in 
research, and decreasing the digital divide with respect to computer 
technology.

o  To identify/address barriers to effective research administration. 

o  To encourage the creation of supportive research environments by emulating 
institutions that have demonstrated successful approaches to procurement 
processes, development/use/support of core resources, innovative offices of 
sponsored research, research grants administration, etc. 

o  To foster basic and applied biomedical/behavioral research, as well as 
clinical and social research investigations.

o  To promote health research, including but not limited to: 
   o  Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research 
   o  Translational Research
   o  Epidemiological Studies

o  Research that advances knowledge of the biological mechanisms by which the 
broader environment contributes to disease and disease progression.

o  To develop the capacity for identifying appropriate use of research 
methodologies and their applications.

o  To enhance research related skills, including the development of grant 
applications, writing peer-reviewed research papers for publication, 
management of research programs, etc.

o  To facilitate investigator networking through research interest or working 
groups aimed at facilitating collaborative research project development and 
raising awareness of emerging technologies and areas of emphasis in research.

A number of recommendations for consideration were provided in the Mid-Term 
Evaluation of previously established RIMI Programs.  The activities described 
below represent efforts to convert those recommendations to potential RIMI 
program components for consideration.  They are:

Institutional Role Modeling:  One possible approach to alleviating barriers 
to success in key areas is to identify a role model institution to emulate, 
particularly as related to best practices for addressing such barriers (i.e. 
release time for research, procurement challenges, grants administration and 
enhancing and developing effective offices of sponsored research, etc.).  In 
particular, RIMI institutions may benefit from developing a mentoring 
relationship between its Office of Sponsored Program and such an entity at a 
collaborating institution.  Support for institutional role modeling and 
related training activities are allowable costs.

Renovations:  This RFA will provide up to $150,000 in year one of the award 
as a one-time cost expenditure for renovations and alterations, providing the 
alterations and renovation projects are relevant to the scope of the proposed 
research and at the applicant institution.  Requested research 
equipment/instrumentation for laboratories must be justified on the basis of 
the proposed scientific projects.  This RFA will not provide support for the 
completion of shell space, or for equipment intended for teaching or non-
research related purposes.  Additional opportunities for the renovation and 
modernization of facilities will likely be made available through competitive 
supplements to funded RIMI programs.

Collaborative Intra- and Inter-Departmental Activities:  Allowable costs for 
technical support on research subprojects can be used to encourage intra- 
and/or inter-departmental collaborations.  In such cases, the total level of 
faculty support on a project may not exceed 75 percent effort.  For example, 
if the PI of a project requests 50 percent effort, a co-investigator on the 
project may request up to 25 percent effort.  In such cases, no technical 
support may be provided beyond that obtained through the potential use of 
shared resources or through student assistance on the project.

Productivity Incentives:  Pending the availability of funds, RIMI supported 
faculty members that publish papers in a peer reviewed journal (or minimally 
have manuscripts approved for publication in peer-reviewed journals) during a 
given budget period may request support for travel to a scientific meeting in 
the annual non-competing renewal application.  If there is more than one 
author, support may be requested for two authors on the publication.  For 
each new peer-reviewed research project funded by a public or private agency, 
the RIMI program may request support for attendance at a domestic scientific 
meeting for the PI and Co-PI.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
This RFA will use the NIH Exploratory Grant (P20) award mechanism.  
Applicants will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing 
the proposed project.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  The anticipated 
award date is September 30, 2004.  This RFA will not use the just-in-time 
concepts.  In addition, because it is anticipated that direct costs for each 
year will exceed $250,000, applicants are advised to follow the instructions 
for non-modular research grant applications (see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm).  This program does 
not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy 
Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2001/part_i_1.htm.  

FUNDS AVAILABLE 
 
The NCMHD intends to commit approximately $2 million in FY 2004 to fund two 
to three new and/or competitive continuation grants 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 $650,000 per year.  Because the nature and scope of 
the proposed research and related capacity building activities will vary from 
application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of 
each award will also vary.  Although the financial plans of the NCMHD provide 
support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the 
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious 
applications.  In the first year of support for the new 5-year project period 
a one-time allocation of $150,000 for renovations may be added to the 
$650,000 maximum. F&A costs will be provided.

ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS  
 
You may submit (an) application(s) if your institution has any of the 
following characteristics:

o  Domestic predominantly minority-serving academic institutions that offer 
one or more baccalaureate and/or master's degrees in the life and related 
sciences are eligible to compete for support under this initiative. Health 
professions schools that award the M.D., D.D.S., Pharm. D., D.V.M. or 
equivalent degrees and other institutions or programs that award the Ph.D. or 
other equivalent degrees are ineligible to apply.  However, such institutions 
may serve as collaborating research institutions. 
o  Public or private predominantly minority-serving institutions, such as 
universities and colleges.
o  Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply for a RIMI Grant.

An institution may no longer apply for and/or receive two RIMI Grant awards.  
An applicant institution can be awarded only one RIMI Grant.  Existing RIMI 
grantees are not eligible to apply for a new RIMI grant.  

An applicant institution can submit only one grant application in response to 
this announcement. 

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS   

The President of the applicant institution or a designated representative 
with the skills and knowledge to provide leadership and authority to make 
high-level decisions regarding faculty time commitment and research 
administration-related decisions must serve as the Principal Investigator.  
This is a special requirement of the RIMI program.  Such a policy is intended 
to ensure that the capacity building activities proposed in the application 
are consistent with the vision and mission of the applicant institution.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Program Governance

The governance structure must include a Principal Investigator (PI), Program 
Director (PD), and a RIMI Advisory Committee.

Program Director

The PD must be nominated by and be responsible to the PI.  Moreover, the PD 
must be willing and able to devote the time and effort necessary for 
effective implementation and management of the RIMI program.  He/she should 
be a knowledgeable and experienced biomedical, bio-behavioral, or social 
scientist and an effective administrator.

RIMI Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee should consist of eight to twelve members and must 
include a cross-section of qualified faculty and appropriate members external 
to the institution; its role is to advise the PI and PD.  The Committee 
should possess, among its members, the experience and knowledge to provide 
appropriate guidance for the program and identify and recommend expert 
consultation from other sources, including the Research Infrastructure in 
Minority Institutions leaders in relevant scientific disciplines and other 
fields as needed.  If applicable, one or more of the external members should 
represent the collaborating institution(s).  It is essential that the 
Committee be knowledgeable about the applicant institution's strengths and 
weaknesses in biomedical and related research, capabilities and needs, and 
overall goals.  Guidance from such a group ensures the critical input 
necessary to develop and maintain a competitive RIMI program.  The Committee 
should oversee progress toward the full implementation of the institution's 
plan for developing research infrastructure and for developing and enhancing 
collaborative relationships among institutions and faculty members.  
Competing or conflicting interests must be carefully considered when 
developing the operational procedures for the Committee.  The Committee 
should meet at least twice annually.

Institutional Research Infrastructure

The plans for enhancing research infrastructure must be consistent with the 
long-range goals of the applicant institution.  The application must describe 
how requested resources will be used to implement the institutional plan.  
When appropriate, the applicant should discuss what role the collaborative 
partnerships will play in creating and maintaining an environment and 
framework suitable to achieve the objectives of the RIMI program.  The NCMHD 
recognizes that the nature and scope of applications from the various 
institutions will vary widely, depending on individual institutional 
settings.  Note that funds may be used for faculty expansion (i.e., 
recruitment of additional faculty who complement the scope of the proposed 
program) -- up to $100,000 per year for each position.  Such funds may be 
used for salary, supplies, and equipment costs.

Developmental/Collaborative Research

The purpose of the research core is to facilitate the development of 
independent investigators and/or sustainable research programs, such as 
health disparities research activities.  Institutions may provide up to 50 
percent release time for subproject investigators, thus permitting a 
significant time commitment to the research enterprise.  The requested 
support for a developmental/collaborative research core must not exceed 50 
percent of the total direct costs of the RIMI grant award.

A plan describing the long-term goals for transitioning RIMI research support 
to competitive grant support through applications submitted by faculty 
members to relevant NIH Institutes and Centers is strongly encouraged.  The 
plan should include measurable objectives, measures of success with specific 
milestones and expected outcome(s).

Sub-project Investigators

Prospective subproject investigators must have a full-time faculty 
appointment at the applicant institution.  The proposed research plan for 
each subproject should include the following:
 
o  The name of the candidate
o  Career development plan, including plans for developing a sustainable 
research program
o  Comprehensive Description of Proposed Research plan
o  Name and brief background description of the Mentor/collaborator
o  Description of the Research environment
o  Statement of Institutional commitment
o  Description of Needed Technical Support
o  Budget

Shared Resources

A shared resource core activity or facility is intended to enhance 
opportunities for investigators at the applicant institution to take 
advantage of new technologies that could enhance and broaden their research 
initiatives.  While, research per se is not conducted as part of the shared 
resource core, quality assurance activities that evaluate the operation, 
resources, quality and utilization of the core and that are directed at 
problem identification and improvement of core functioning are appropriate.  
Some examples of support that shared resource cores typically provide are: a) 
technology that implements automation of large batch preparations; b) tissue 
and/or cell culture facilities; c) complex instrumentation, e.g., electron 
microscopy, mass spectrometry, electro-physiology; d) animal care and 
preparation; e) information processing, data management, and statistical 
services, networking activities such as the establishment of scientific 
working groups, etc.

The rationale for the establishment of shared resource cores is projected use 
by RIMI and/or non-RIMI investigators (e.g., MBRS Score (Support of 
Continuous Research Excellence)) at the grantee institution.  Accordingly, 
the minimum requirement for establishing a shared resource core is 
significant usage by two or more investigators with RIMI and/or independently 
supported, peer-reviewed projects. 

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

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

o   Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

DeLoris L-James Hunter, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Research and Training Activities
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800 MSC 5465
Bethesda, MD 20892-5465
Telephone:  (301) 402-1366
FAX:  (301) 480-4049
Email:  Hunterd1@mail.nih.gov

o   Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Lorrita Watson, Ph.D.
Review Branch
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800 MSC 5465
Bethesda, MD 20892-5465
Telephone: (301) 402-1366
FAX: (301) 480-4049
Email:  WatsonL@ncmhd.nih.gov 

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

Bryan S. Clark, MBA
Chief, Grants Management Office
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institutes of Health 
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800 MSC 5465
Bethesda, MD 20892-5465
Telephone:  301.402.1366
Email:  ClarkB@ncmhd.nih.gov 

LETTER OF INTENT
 
Each prospective applicant is asked to submit a letter of intent that 
includes the following information:

o  Descriptive title of the proposed research
o  Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o  Names of other key personnel 
o  Participating institutions
o  Number and title of this 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 the 
letter provides will allow staff to estimate the potential review workload 
and plan the review.  

The letter of intent is to be received by the date listed at the beginning of 
this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:

Lorrita Watson, Ph.D.
Review Branch 
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800 MSC 5465
Bethesda, MD 20892-5465
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 402-1366
FAX:  (301) 480-4049
Email:  WatsonL@ncmhd.nih.gov 

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  Applications 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 

Applicants should thoroughly review and follow the instructions accompanying 
the PHS 398 Form and the following:

o  Face Page

Item 1. Title of Project. The title should reflect the overall research 
emphasis of the RIMI Program.

Item 2. Response to a Specific RFA. Check "YES" and type in the number and 
title of this announcement.

Item 6. Dates of Proposed Period of Support. Up to five years of support may 
be requested. The start date should be September 30, 2004.

o  Form Page 2, Description, Performance Site(s) and Key Personnel.

Program Overview. Provide an overview of your proposed program, including the 
objectives and specific aims and areas of emphasis. Summarize your approach 
for enhancing the proposed areas of emphasis.

Performance Sites. Include all locations, whether at the applicant site or 
the collaborating institution(s)

Key Personnel. Under key personnel, include the Principal Investigator, the 
Program Director, and any other individuals with a significant role in 
carrying out the RIMI action plan. This should also include personnel at the 
collaborating institution, if applicable.

o  Form Page 3, Table of Contents.

o  Modify the table of contents to reflect the content and sequence outlined 
in the modified instructions in the RFA.

o  Form Page 4, Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period, and 

o  Form Page 5, Budget for Entire Period.

Consolidated RIMI Budget. The consolidated budget should consist of a 
compilation of the individual budgets for the administrative core and each 
area of emphasis. Except in the first year of the project, direct costs may 
not exceed $650,000 per year. (See the section on Renovations: Use form pages 
4 and 5).

Budgets for Areas of Emphasis. Use form pages 4 and 5 to develop separate 
budgets for the administrative core and each area of emphasis. For each area 
of emphasis (e.g., facility improvement, developmental/collaborative 
research, etc.), include the salary support for its director as well as the 
costs of the activities (i.e., laboratory renovation, research subprojects, 
etc.) that support that area of emphasis. Support for staff from the 
applicant institution, if applicable, should be listed as personnel and 
support for other personnel should be listed under consultants (including 
consulting fees and travel expenses, or under consortium/contractual costs). 
Include in the following in the administrative budget: the Principal 
Investigator, the Program Director, administrative support personnel and 
other budgetary items needed for central coordination of the program.  The 
need for each budget item requested and its cost must be thoroughly 
documented in the section labeled: Justification.

o  Form Page 6, Biographical Sketch.

Include for the Principal Investigator and the Program Director in this 
section. Biographical sketches for other key personnel, including specific 
activity or project leaders, should be included in the section describing 
that activity. The biographical sketch should list the most recent or 
significant publications, and overall, must not exceed four pages per person.

Page Limitations. DO NOT EXCEED 35 PAGES FOR ITEMS 1-3 OF THE CAPACITY 
BUILDING PLAN.

All tables, graphs, charts, figures and diagrams must be included in the 35-
page limit. 

Applicants are encouraged to be succinct and are reminded that there is no 
requirement to use the 35 pages allotted to items 1-3 of the Capacity 
Building Plan. In addition to the 35-page limit, applicants may use up to 10 
pages (excluding the biographical sketches, budget pages, and references) to 
describe each of the research sub-projects under item 3, Research 
Infrastructure in Minority Institutions.

Institutional Setting and Overview of General Plan -- Limit the narrative for 
items 1 and 2 to a total of 15 pages.

Capacity Building Plan -- Do not follow the outline in Form PHS 398. Develop 
according to the following format. Maximum of eight pages for items 1a-1c.

Description of Applicant Institution:

o  Provide a brief history of the institution and its mission, including 
developmental milestones over the last 10 years. 

o  Summarize the major resources (physical, human and financial) for 
biomedical and related research. Include the number of faculty involved and 
number of students in the health and related sciences. 

o  Discuss the role that research is intended to play in enabling your 
institution to accomplish its mission. 

o  Describe your institution's long-term objectives and specific aims in 
enhancing its research infrastructure. 

Description of the Collaborating Institution. Provide a brief summary of the 
resources of the collaborating institution (research, core laboratories, and 
other research facilities) and discuss how the proposed partnership 
facilitates the achievement of your institution's research agenda. In 
particular, indicate the area of emphasis to which the partnership 
contributes most significantly.

Plan for Expanding the Capacity for Biomedical and Related Research. Discuss 
briefly each area of emphasis for the current project period (e.g., faculty 
development, physical plant improvement, research administration, 
procurement, student entry into graduate programs, etc.), indicate the 
specific objectives associated with each goal area (area of emphasis), and 
describe briefly the action plan for accomplishing these objectives. For 
example, for each area of emphasis identified, provide the following:

o  Description of the area of emphasis 

o  Objectives under the area of emphasis 

o  Action plan(s) for accomplishing the objectives (i.e., describe the 
proposed activities or program components for achieving the indicated 
objectives) and a timetable for implementing the proposed activities. 

o  Measures of success for tracking progress toward accomplishing your 
institution’s objectives in the relevant area of emphasis. 

o  The percentage of your overall budget that will be allocated to achieving 
the objectives in the indicated goal area (area of emphasis). 

Progress From the Previous Project Period —- Maximum of Seven Pages 
(COMPETITIVE RENEWAL APPLICATIONS ONLY)

Describe the accomplishments during the previous project period within the 
context indicated below. Where appropriate, information may be presented in 
tabular format. 

Areas of Emphasis. For each area of emphasis supported (e.g., faculty 
recruitment, developmental/collaborative research, etc.) describe the 
objectives and the action plans for accomplishing the objectives. Indicate 
measures of success and describe the progress made in accomplishing the 
objectives in terms of the measures of success. For example, an important 
measure of success for an institution's research capacity is the amount of 
research dollars garnered by the institution during a given period. An 
important measure of faculty productivity may include the number of 
publications in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at scientific meetings, 
and/or the overall number of student contact hours per semester during a 
given period.

Note that if "student pursuit of doctoral programs" was considered as an area 
of emphasis, the following section also applies. 

Although the RIMI program provides no direct support for student 
participation in research, the RIMI program may sponsor mentoring activities 
such as: graduate school workshops, GRE preparation training, and counseling 
activities.  Such activities should be designed to facilitate the minority 
students' pursuit of enrollment in doctoral programs. One question the 
applicant may want to address is: Are there an identifiable linkages between 
the availability of RIMI support and the number of students who pursue 
doctoral programs, in particular at mentoring institutions or in the 
departments that are directly supported by RIMI funding?

o  Effectiveness of your partnership in terms of its impact on your research 
agenda. Be sure to discuss its strengths and indicate areas where 
improvements can be made.

o  Impact of RIMI support on the institution's capacity to compete 
successfully for research support. How many of the RIMI supported 
investigators have submitted grant applications for research and related 
support? Has the institution's overall funding success rate for grant 
applications changed since the onset of funding support through the RIMI 
program? Can such increases, if any, be directly linked to activities 
supported by the RIMI program?

o  Barriers to success and needed program adjustments. Please identify any 
barriers to the successful implementation of the institution's plan for 
enhancing research infrastructure. Also, identify areas of concern that the 
institution plans to address in the competitive renewal application.

o  Institutional incentives for research that may have been developed and 
implemented during the previous RIMI project period, and how research at the 
institution has impacted the academic experience of its students, in 
particular those in the RIMI supported departments.

Proposed RIMI Program -- Maximum of 20 pages.

Organizational Structure and Administrative Core Activities. (Limit narrative 
to 5 pages.)

o  Outline the organizational structure of the institution, showing how the 
RIMI PD interfaces with the administrative structure. Describe the lines of 
authority and indicate how the proposed structure will allow the PD to best 
accomplish the goals and objectives identified for the RIMI program.

o  Describe the qualifications of the faculty member selected for this PD, 
including his/her scientific training, biomedical research experience, 
administrative leadership skills, and commitment to the RIMI initiative.

o  Describe how the Advisory Committee functions, in particular its roles and 
responsibilities, available resources, its frequency of meetings and 
reporting requirements. Also describe the composition of the Committee. In a 
tabular format, list the names and titles of the members, including their 
institutional affiliations. Identify the expertise that each member 
contributes to this commit.

o  Institutional Commitment. Provide evidence of the applicant institution's 
commitment to biomedical and related research and to enhancing its research 
environment. Examples might include the availability of research space, cost 
sharing, promotion and tenure policies emphasizing the importance of 
research, an institutional strategic plan that complements the RIMI 
initiative, sponsorship of an office of sponsored programs, ongoing 
collaborations with research-intensive institutions, participation in PHS 
research and training activities, and any other activity that encourages 
faculty and student involvement in biomedical research.

o  Evaluation Plan. Describe the plan for evaluation of the RIMI Program. One 
way of evaluating the program is to develop a performance plan based on the 
strategic plan for the RIMI Program. Describe the measures of success that 
would be key in your performance plan.

o  Collaborative Agreement(s). Describe the essential elements of the 
collaborative agreements between the applicant institution and its 
partner(s). When there is only one partner, the collaborator must be a 
doctoral degree-granting institution. In cases where there is more than one 
partner, only one of the collaborators must meet the aforementioned 
criterion.

If modifications, improvements, or expansion of these agreements are planned, 
describe these in detail. Address any anticipated or potential problems and 
describe proposed alternative plans to resolve them. Include a copy of the 
current MUA(s) in this section of your application. 

Areas of Emphasis —- Limit narrative to 15 pages.

Provide a separate detailed plan for EACH AREA OF EMPHASIS. In describing 
each area of emphasis, follow the PHS 398 instructions (pp. 17 -20) for the 
Research Plan and use form page 2 and forms 4 through 8. Be sure to address 
the important items noted below:

o  Narrative. Clearly describe the objectives, needs, and rationale for the 
approach selected, implementation timetable in the context of available 
resources, alternatives considered, and overall program goals. Explain the 
management structure, and outline the corporate plan to achieve non-RIMI 
institutionalize support over time.

o  Shared resources/facilities. Shared resources/facilities may comprise an 
independent area of emphasis or activity component within an area of 
emphasis.  Identify the user community and explain in detail the nature and 
extent of utilization by each participant, current and proposed.

o  Developmental/Collaborative Research. Whether an independent area of 
emphasis or an activity component within an area of emphasis, in addition to 
the above, clearly describe the importance and relevance of the proposed 
collaborative projects to the institution's RIMI program goals. Also for each 
research subproject supported, address the following: 
Candidate
Career development plan
Research plan
Mentor/collaborator
Environment
Institutional commitment
Technical Support (up to 50% support for a technician) 
Budget (up to 50% effort for the PI and support for supplies small 
instrumentation, etc.)

Limit the description of EACH research project to be supported to 10 pages, 
excluding the biographical sketches, references, and budget pages. This is in 
addition to the 20-page maximum allotted to describing the plans for and 
management of the Areas of Emphasis.

Appendix. List in the Table of Contents any items included in the Appendix. 

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 the 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 also 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 appendices, checklist, and three signed 
photocopies, in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all 
copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Lorrita Watson, Ph.D.
Review Branch
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800 MSC 5465
Bethesda, MD 20892-5465
Telephone: (301) 402-1366
FAX: (301) 480-4049

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 (CSR) 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 as an 
investigator–initiated application, is to be 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 and improvements 
made, and the text must not be marked to indicate 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 
for responsiveness by the NCMHD.  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 scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by the NCMHD in accordance with the review criteria stated 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 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 NCMHD National Advisory Council. 

REVIEW CRITERIA

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the application in 
order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a 
substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  The scientific review 
group will address and consider each of the following criteria in assigning 
the application’s overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each 
application. 

o  Significance 
o  Approach 
o  Innovation
o  Investigator
o  Environment

Note that a research project does not need to be strong in all categories to 
be judged likely to have a major scientific impact. For example, an 
investigator may propose to carry out work that by its nature is not 
innovative, but important and is essential to advance the science in the 
specific field of study, such as areas related to the elimination of health 
disparities.

SIGNIFICANCE:  Does the proposed project address current areas of emphasis in 
the relevant field, such as health disparities research?  If the proposed 
aims of the proposed study are achieved, how will this scientific knowledge 
be advanced? 

APPROACH:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of each of 
the research components? Does the PI acknowledge potential problem areas and 
consider alternative approaches?

INNOVATION:  Does the research employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? 
Are the aims original and innovative? Do the concepts challenge existing 
paradigms or propose to develop new methodologies or technologies?

INVESTIGATORS: Is the investigator appropriately trained, well suited and/or 
mentored to carry out the proposed scientific investigation?

ENVIRONMENT: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done 
contribute to the probability of success of the project? Does the proposed 
research take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or 
employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional 
support?

APPROPRIATENESS OF THE PROPOSED BUDGET AND DURATION, including the 
justification for requested items in terms of the aims and methods of the 
proposed research studies will be evaluated.

Accordingly, the following are additional considerations for each of the 
proposed research projects.

Areas of Emphasis: Assessments of each area of emphasis will be based the 
specific evaluations of the proposed core action plans (i.e., planned core 
activities) for that area and the feasibility of Research Infrastructure in 
Minority Institutions achieving what is proposed for the overall area with 
the resources requested. Accordingly, the criteria for review of the proposed 
plan for each area of emphasis include:

o  Appropriateness of the plan for developing the area of emphasis, including 
objectives, proposed core activities or action plan, implementation strategy 
and timetable, and involvement of the advisory committee in the planning 
process.

o  Adequacy of proposed mechanisms or activities proposed for addressing the 
expressed needs in the area of emphasis.

o  Adequacy and appropriateness of administrative and/or scientific 
leadership for implementing and managing the resources, including 
collaborative and consultative arrangements.

Note that the above assessments should be made for each area of emphasis in 
the proposed continuing RIMI Program.

Also, if applicable, the review of the proposed individual research projects 
in the Developmental/Collaborative Research" area of emphasis will not be 
based entirely on the traditional considerations for peer evaluation of 
scientific merit. But, reviewers will also take into consideration the 
preliminary nature of the proposed studies and, in a broader sense, the 
extent to which the proposed research activity will contribute to the goals 
of the RIMI program. 

Overall RIMI Program

Major factors to be considered in the overall assessment of the plans for the 
proposed continuing RIMI Programs include:
 
o  Adequacy of the planning process, including the assessment of current 
biomedical research capabilities, concept development and involvement of 
advisory resources in the planning process. 

o  Appropriateness of the organization and administrative structure 
established to accomplish RIMI program goals.

o  Qualifications, experience and commitment of the PD, and his/her ability 
to provide effective leadership in implementing the institutional RIMI plan. 

o  Appropriateness of the RIMI Advisory Committee and other consultative 
resources for guiding the implementation of the institutional research 
infrastructure development plan. 

o  Adequacy of institutional commitment to biomedical research. 

o  Appropriateness and adequacy of the institution’s evaluation plan, 
including availability of expertise, and time and resource allocation. 

o  Appropriateness of requested budget and proposed project period. 

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

PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS FROM RESEARCH RISK: The involvement of human 
subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation 
in the proposed research will be assessed. (See criteria included in the 
section on Federal Citations, below).
 
INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES AND CHILDREN IN RESEARCH:  The adequacy of 
plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups 
(and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be 
evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria in the sections on Federal Citations, 
below).

CARE AND USE OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS IN RESEARCH:  If vertebrate animals are to 
be used in the project, the five items described under Section f of the PHS 
398 research grant application instructions (rev. 5/2001) will be assessed.  

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

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

RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  March 22, 2004
Application Receipt Date:  April 19, 2004
Peer Review Date:  July-August 2004
Council Review:  September 2004
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2004

AWARD CRITERIA

Award decisions will be based on:

o  Scientific Merit of the Application (as determined by peer review)
o  Availability of funds
o  Programmatic Priorities

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS:

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION:  Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that 
applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with 
reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against 
these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and 
others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained.
http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm

SHARING RESEARCH DATA:  Starting with the October 1, 2003 receipt date, 
investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in 
direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data 
sharing.  Guidelines and additional information on this requirement can be 
found at the following web location 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing.  Investigators should seek 
guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional 
policies, local IRB rules, as well as local, state and Federal laws and 
regulations, including the Privacy Rule.  Reviewers will consider the data 
sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the 
scientific merit or the priority score.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN CLINICAL RESEARCH:  It is the policy of 
the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations 
must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a 
clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is 
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of 
the research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines 
for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research - 
Amended, October, 2001,"published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts 
on October 9, 2001 at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html; 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm.
The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical 
research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB 
standards; clarification of language governing the NIH-defined Phase III 
clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and 
responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy 
continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS: 
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 
21) must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported 
by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include 
them. This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for 
receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in 
research involving human subjects that is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm.

REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS:  (if 
applicable) NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject 
participants for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research 
involving human subjects.  You will find this policy announcement in the NIH 
Guide for Grants and Contracts Announcement, dated June 5, 2000, at
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS (hESC): Criteria for federal funding of research 
on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html.  Only 
research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem 
Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (see http://escr.nih.gov).   
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide, in the project 
description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH 
identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research.  
Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without 
review. 

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.

STANDARDS FOR PRIVACY OF INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION:  The 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to 
the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information”, 
the “Privacy Rule,” on August 14, 2002.  The Privacy Rule is a federal 
regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 
(HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable 
health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for 
Civil Rights (OCR). Those who must comply with the Privacy Rule (classified 
under the Rule as “covered entities”) must do so by April 14, 2003 (with the 
exception of small health plans which have an extra year to comply).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside 
with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website 
(http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including 
a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on “Am I a covered 
entity?”  Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH 
processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, 
cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

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.health.gov/healthypeople.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  Awards are made under the authorization of the Public 
Health Service act, Title III, Part A (Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) 
and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 
and 45 CFR, Part 74.  

All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and 
other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH 
Grants Policy Statement can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm. 

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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NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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