Full Text OD-92-03
NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 14, April 10, 1992
RFA:  OD-92-03
P.T. 25

  Biomedical Research Training 

National Institutes of Health
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  May 10, 1992
Application Receipt Date:  June 10, 1992
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the National Center
for Research Resources (NCRR), invites grant applications for a pilot
Science Teaching Enhancement Award Program (STEAP).  The Science
Teaching Enhancement Award will prepare highly qualified
middle/junior and high school science teachers to become lead
teachers and work as liaisons with academic medical centers,
universities and other health professional schools to improve
teaching of the biomedical sciences in grades 6-12.  A primary goal
of this initiative will be to produce lead teachers who will work in
partnership with researchers to help integrate new teaching materials
for biomedical sciences into the classrooms, who can speak credibly
about specific classroom situations, who can take leadership roles in
training other colleagues, and who can work with science educators,
school administrators, and others in the local school systems.  This
Request for Applications (RFA) describes a two-year program to test
the feasibility and the effectiveness of the STEAP for improving the
quality of pre-college biomedical science education.
Because of the pilot nature of this activity, eligibility will be
limited.  First, to ensure that institutions have a minimum amount of
PHS/NIH research activity upon which to draw for this initiative,
eligible institutions must be recipients of a 1991 Biomedical
Research Support Grant (BRSG) award or a 1992 Minority High School
Student Research Apprentice Program (MHSSRAP) award.  Second, to
ensure that the quality of science teaching at the 6-12 grade levels
and the science literacy of the general public will be enhanced
nationwide, eligibility is limited to those states that historically
have been relatively less competitive in obtaining NIH grant support.
For purposes of this RFA, eligibility is thus limited to FY 1991 BRSG
or FY 1992 MHSSRAP institutions in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware,
Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South
Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming.  In addition, if an
institution has both a BRSG and a MHSSRAP program, only one STEAP
application may be submitted.  Focusing on states that have a small
research base will make it more feasible to assess and evaluate the
success of the pilot program in producing experienced, knowledgeable
lead teachers who can act as liaisons between research institutions
and the teachers, science educators, and other administrators in the
local community school system.  In addition, by broadening the
geographic areas served, the impact of NIH current science education
activities will be expanded by stimulating the scientific interests
of a new cadre of pre-college students and teachers, and thus opening
the scientific pipeline to a wider range of future biomedical
This RFA will use the grant-in-aid for education projects (R25).
Applicants will be responsible for the planning, direction, and
conduct of the proposed program.  The total project period for
applications submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed two
years.  The anticipated award date will be September 30, 1992.
This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  At the conclusion of this pilot
activity, the NIH will assess the feasibility of continuing the
program.  Thus, no unsolicited competing continuation applications
will be accepted at the conclusion of this pilot initiative.
Although NIH hopes to continue the program beyond the pilot phase,
there is neither a guarantee of continuation, nor, if the program is
continued, is there a guarantee of its future design.
Up to $500,000 will be available from the Office of the Director,
NIH, in Fiscal Year 1992 to support this initiative.  NIH staff
anticipate making 6-10 two-year awards using multi-year funding.
This level of support is dependent upon the receipt of a sufficient
number of applications of high scientific merit.  Although this
program is provided for in the financial plans of the Office of the
Director, NIH, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the
availability of funds for this purpose.  Indirect costs will be paid
at eight percent of the direct costs less appropriate exclusions.
There is growing concern among researchers and policymakers that the
pool of potential biomedical researchers is shrinking and that this
is due in part to weaknesses in the scientific education provided to
students in middle/junior and senior high school.  These concerns are
particularly acute with respect to minority, rural, and other
underserved and disadvantaged students.  The importance of early
science training has been recognized by the Federal Coordinating
Council on Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET) Committee on
Education and Human Resources in its FY 1992 Budget Planning
Priorities, which include recommendations for enhancement and
preparation of precollege science teachers.  Similar efforts are
being promoted as part of the Public Health Service Life Sciences
Education and Science Literacy Board.
Potentially effective ways to improve the quality of science
education in middle/junior and senior high schools include increasing
the knowledge of teachers about a specific research topic in the
biomedical sciences, having teachers become familiar with the
scientific method, having teachers establish mentor relationships
with a major researcher, and having teachers develop age-appropriate
activities for use in the classroom.  With these experiences the
teachers should be able to help students feel the excitement of
science by conducting experiments that formulate questions and
possible approaches to solutions that stimulate thought and learning.
Ultimately, the experience should help teachers to stimulate student
interest in biomedical research and its importance to human health.
The objective of this RFA is to increase the number of middle/junior
and high school science teachers who are motivated to (1) become
involved in active research projects to enhance their instructional
skills and their scientific knowledge so that current concepts in
health-related science can be integrated into the students'
curricula, (2) develop and test curricula for classroom settings, and
(3) provide linkages among professional scientists, teachers, and
school programs to foster mentoring and encourage the pursuit of
science by students.
The two-year program should include year round activities for a core
of three lead teachers to familiarize the educators with basic
vocabulary and concepts in selected areas of biomedical science of
contemporary interest, library use and the use of computers in
teaching; provide a hands-on laboratory experience that is an
appropriate research project; development of teaching modules and
instructional materials geared to the grades taught; and other
enrichment experiences including workshops, seminars, and other
classroom activities.  The process should ultimately yield lead
teachers who can interface with the research and educational
communities to improve the quality of pre-college science education.
The proposed program must have the flexibility to include teachers
with different levels of research experience.  The research
environment will be a critical factor and should exemplify a dynamic
two-way interchange of information and ideas between laboratory
scientists and teachers.  These programs must involve research
scientists and educators.  Programs limited to either the research or
educational profession alone will not be responsive to this
Allowable Costs
Applicants are expected to develop an estimate of the costs required
for the activity, which may include salary and fringe benefits,
supplies, and travel support for three lead teachers.  Applicants are
expected to have available all facilities and research equipment that
may be required; thus, no alterations and renovations or equipment
should be requested.
A progress report will be required at the end of the first year.  In
addition, a final progress report and financial status report will be
required 90 days following the termination date of the award.
Because this is a pilot program, there will be a special evaluation
component.  A short-term evaluation will consist primarily of
questionnaires to the teachers before and after they participate in
the program.  Long-term evaluation will include teachers, school
administrators, and students.  Applicant institutions must obtain an
assurance of participation in the evaluation component from each lead
teacher and his/her school system.
Prospective applicants are asked to submit by May 10 a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed program, the
name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator,
and the number and title of the RFA in response to which the
application may be submitted.
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does
not enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information
contained is helpful in planning for the review of applications.  It
allows NIH staff to estimate the potential review workload and to
avoid possible conflict of interest in the review.
The letter of intent is to be sent to:
Dr. Marjorie A. Tingle
Director, Biomedical Research Support Program
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 10A11
5333 Westbard Avenue
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-6743
Applications are to be submitted using form PHS 398, (rev. 9/91).
These forms are available in most institutional business and
sponsored programs offices and may be requested from the Office of
Grants Inquiries, Division of Research Grants, NIH, 5333 Westbard
Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892, telephone (301) 496-7441.
Applicants must follow the instructions provided in the PHS 398 form
and the following:
Application Face Page -
The RFA label in the PHS 398 kit must be affixed to the bottom of the
face page of the application.  Failure to use this label could result
in delayed processing of the application such that it may not reach
the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA number
and title must be typed on line 2A of the face page form, the "YES"
box must be checked, and "R25" typed in item 2B.
Item 6 - Dates of Entire Proposed Project Period.  The total proposed
project period should begin on September 30, 1992 and may not exceed
two years in length.
Items 7 and 8 - These projects will be multi-year funded; thus, the
budget and project period costs will be the same.
Form Page 4 - Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period
The budget presented should reflect the applicant's estimate of
activity costs for the entire two-year period.
Form Page 5 -
Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period - Not applicable; do not
Justification - Follow the instructions provided.
The signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and three exact photocopies of the signed application must
be submitted 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 Dr. Marjorie A. Tingle at the address noted
Applications must be submitted by June 10, 1992.  Applications
submitted after this date will be returned to the applicant.
Review of STEAP grant applications for scientific and technical merit
will be performed by an ad hoc review committee convened by the
Office of Review, NCRR.  The top two thirds of applications will
undergo a second level review for policy and programmatic issues by
the National Advisory Research Resources Council.
Applications in response to this solicitation will be reviewed using
the usual NIH peer review procedures.  The factors to be considered
in the evaluation of each application will include:  (1) the
educational and scientific merit of the proposed program; (2) the
manner in which it will improve biomedical science education at the
precollege level; (3) the criteria for selecting teachers and
mentors; (4) the mixture of laboratory and didactic exercises; (5)
the quality of the proposed research experiences; (6) the quality of
the proposed enrichment experiences and support activities; (7) the
potential for substantially enhancing pre-college education by having
teachers prepared to incorporate what they have learned into their
own teaching and to conduct continuing education for their
colleagues; (8) the proposal to develop improved materials and
methods for classroom use; (9)evidence of support from school systems
of potential teacher candidates; (10) willingness to participate in
the evaluation component of the program; (11) the quality of the
overall plan for administration of the program; and (12) the
potential for participant teachers to take leadership roles in the
in-service training of their peers in their home schools and
In making funding decisions, the Office of the Director, NIH, and the
NCRR will give consideration to ensure program balance among various
types of programs and/or geographic distribution in the United States
and its territories.
Depending on the availability of funds, NCRR expects to award
approximately 6-10 STEAP grants for the pilot phase of this project.
The start date for the awards will be no later than September 30,
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:
Dr. Marjorie A. Tingle
Director, Biomedical Research Support Program
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 10A11
5333 Westbard Avenue
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-6743
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Ms. Mary V. Niemiec
Supervisory Grants Management Specialist
Office of Grants and Contracts Management
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 849
5333 Westbard Avenue
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-9840
Awards will be made under authorization of the Public Health Service
Act, Title III, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended, 42 USC 241)
and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42
CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or
Health Systems Agency Review.

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