Full Text RR-94-001

NCRR MINORITY INITIATIVE:  K-12 TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 45, December 17, 1993

RFA:  RR-94-001

P.T. 44, FF

Keywords: 
  Biomedical Research Training 


National Center for Research Resources

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  January 24, 1994
Application Receipt Date:  February 23, 1994

PURPOSE

As part of its continuing commitment to strengthen the quality of
precollege health science education and to improve the scientific
literacy of the public as a whole, the National Center for Research
Resources (NCRR) solicits applications for a program aimed at
increasing the pool of underrepresented minority high school students
who are interested and academically prepared to pursue careers in
biomedical/behavioral research and the health professions.  The
program will include both K-12 inservice and preservice teachers and
minority high school students.  This new competitive program,
intended to replace the (S03) Minority High School Student Research
Apprentice Program (MHSSRAP), will be phased in over the next few
years.  Accordingly, the S03 mechanism will be phased down over that
period.

The main component of this program is to provide structured summer
science research experiences under the direction of active
biomedical/behavioral researchers for both teachers and minority
students.  The individualized research experiences and other
activities are intended to:  (1) allow teachers to keep pace with the
explosive growth of scientific knowledge in health related areas such
as genetics, molecular biology, and the neurosciences, enable them to
develop new discovery-oriented educational strategies, and transfer
this new knowledge to their students; (2) provide students with a
personalized, hands-on exposure to health related research that
stimulates their research interest and encourages decisions towards
careers in the health sciences; and (3) allow practicing research
scientists, who serve as mentors and ensure the scientific accuracy
of the program, to play a greater role in developing the content of
precollege education.  Another component of the program is to provide
follow-up activities during the academic year for both teachers and
students.  A long range goal of the program is to establish and/or
strengthen partnerships between research intensive institutions and
K-12 schools by developing mentoring ties among teachers, minority
students, and biomedical/behavioral researchers that will result in
creating more pathways for minority students to enter the health
sciences pipeline.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic, for-profit and non- profit
organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges,
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and
eligible agencies of the Federal government. High schools may not
apply.  Applicants who have submitted an application in response to
PAR-94-001, "Minority High School Student Research Apprentice
Program," may submit an application in response to this Request for
Applications (RFA).

Underrepresented minorities are defined as 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.  Individuals who have been found to be
underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research nationally
include, but are not limited to, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans,
Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Students are defined as those who are enrolled in high school during
the current academic year, or who have just graduated from high
school.  Participants must be U.S. citizens or have a permanent visa.

Inservice teachers include elementary, middle, junior, and senior
high school science teachers.  In order to maximize the program's
impact on minority students, teachers must be members of a minority
group or teach a significant number of minority students.  Preservice
teachers are those teachers in training and enrolled in preservice
education programs and who have an expressed interest in teaching
life sciences at the K-12 level especially with a focus on minority
students.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Awards under the RFA will use the education project (R25) grant
mechanism.  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 three years.  Because of the wide range in
the size and type of institutions that may apply, it is anticipated
that the sizes of the awards may vary also.  However, it is
anticipated that the average direct cost award will be approximately
$30,000.  The anticipated award date is September 1, 1994.

Applications must request both students and teachers, with a minimum
of eight students.

Indirect costs other than those awarded to State or local government
agencies will be reimbursed at eight percent of total allowable
direct costs.  State and local government agencies will receive
reimbursement at their full indirect cost rate.

Allowable costs

Funds may be requested for students and teachers and must be paid as
salaries and wages; stipends are not allowable costs under this
program.  While grantee institutions must establish the rate of
compensation to be paid to teachers, it is expected that the amounts
will be based on their actual monthly salary and fringe benefits and
prorated accordingly.  Students' salaries should be based on the
prevailing scale for comparable type work, but should not be less
than the Federal minimum hourly wage.  Funds to defray other costs,
such as equipment and research supplies can be requested as a lump
sum of up to $250 per participant per year.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

Approximately $2,500,000 will be available from the NCRR in Fiscal
Year 1994 to support this initiative.  Subject to receipt of a
sufficient number of meritorious applications, it is anticipated that
approximately 75 awards will be made. Future awards will be
contingent upon the availability of funds for this purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Relative to their representation in the general population, minority
Americans are severely underrepresented in scientific and health
fields at every level, from the professional work force - physicians,
dentists, research scientists - through all levels of the educational
system.  Although there are a number of factors for this
underrepresentation, it is generally agreed that the long term
resolution of this problem centers at improving science education of
minority youths at the early stages of the educational process.

With the rapid pace of technological innovations and the increasing
number of occupations that require a knowledge of scientific
principles, as well as the predicted increase in the minority
population, it is imperative that precollege education further
enhance the capacity and capability of minority youth to become more
productive and competitive in tomorrow's work force.  The primary
objectives of this program are to improve the quality of precollege
science education and to increase the pool of minorities interested
and prepared to enter college and pursue a career in the
biomedical/behavioral sciences.

Program Characteristics

The program director will be responsible for the selection and
recruitment of students, teachers, and mentors, as well as for the
overall direction of the program.  The program director must be a
biomedical/behavioral scientist or a science educator employed by the
applicant organization.

The program has two major activities.  The first is for minority high
school students; the second is for K-12 inservice and preservice
teachers.  While the proposed program should be best suited to an
institution's own strength and characteristics, at a minimum, each
program should include:

o  a description of the proposed overall program plan (specific
research projects should not be described);

o  a description of the research environment (ongoing research
activity, availability of equipment, facilities, resources);

o  methods of student, teacher, and mentor recruitment and selection;

o  methods to assign students and teachers to mentors;

o  the length of the research experiences;

o  other special enrichment activities available to students and
teachers;

o  plans to evaluate the success of the program;

o  prior accomplishments of the institution in precollege education;

o  the level of institutional commitment to precollege programs and
partnerships; and

o  the impact of other precollege programs, if any, on this activity.

Special enrichment activities should be made available to all
participants such as special seminar programs on research
opportunities in the health sciences.  All teachers and students
should be exposed to bioethical issues in biomedical/behavioral
research.  An array of topics may be included -- for example, the use
of animals in research, implications of the human genome efforts, and
environmental issues.  Annual seminar forums should be held where
students and teachers present their research results.  Such
activities may include parents or other family members.

Criteria for selection of mentors should include:  commitment to
improving the quality of precollege science education, the ability
and time to work with high school students and teachers to instill an
understanding of research, the technical skill needed, and their area
of specialization.  Preceptors should have some active biomedical or
behavioral research support and a publication history in
biomedical/behavioral research. Research support can include NIH or
other Federal agency support or private or institutional grants.

In addition, the program director and the awardee institution will be
expected to assess the program's progress.  Methods, formative in
nature, should be devised to measure the extent to which the teachers
have integrated new scientific skills and new concepts in
biomedical/behavioral sciences into the classroom.  Student
participants should be assessed as to the extent to which they have
developed positive attitudes towards science and science research.  A
system must be instituted to trace the career paths of the students
to determine if they attended and graduated from college and their
major academic area.

Specific characteristics regarding the student and teachers
activities are as follows.

Student Activities

This aspect of the program provides matching up high school students
for six to eight weeks in the summer, on a ratio of not more than two
students to one mentor, in an active research laboratory.  This
research experience should expose the student to some of the latest
concepts in biomedicine such as cellular and molecular biology, human
genetics, neurosciences, or the behavioral aspects of diseases.
Students should also be encouraged to return as often as possible
during the academic year for follow-up activities such as seminars,
workshops, or Saturday morning study groups on current topics in the
biomedical/behavioral sciences.  These experiences should prompt the
students' understanding of basic scientific concepts far beyond that
achievable through a textbook experience.  The exposure should also
stir their curiosity to take more courses in science and heighten
their awareness of health sciences as a potential career choice.

To achieve this goal, it is expected that the applicant will describe
a program that will provide:

o  an independent, hands-on, mentored laboratory experience with
attainable goals;

o  mentoring and career guidance by biomedical/behavioral scientists;

o  an opportunity for students to integrate into the various
activities of the laboratory and acquaint them with the environment
and resources of the institution; and

o  an increased awareness of the importance of biomedical/behavioral
research and helps the students to evaluate research or other health
sciences as career possibilities.

While it is expected that students will be able to complete their
research experience during the course of the summer, students may
return for successive summer experiences.  In addition, mentors
should try to visit the students' schools to meet with the students'
teachers, recruit future candidates for the program, and help build
effective partnerships between research institutions and secondary
schools.  These efforts will help increase the quality of precollege
science education.

Recruitment and selection criteria for students should include: the
student's motivation, ability, scholastic aptitude, and
accomplishments.  In addition, consideration should be given to
science teachers' recommendations.

Teacher Activities

Although K-12 teachers are the key individuals in increasing the pool
of scientifically skilled minority high school students: (1) most
preservice teaching programs do not require a hands-on laboratory
experience; (2) most elementary school teachers have had no
opportunity for training in science; and (3) most middle, junior, and
senior high school teachers need retraining in the latest scientific
concepts.

To address these deficiencies, it is expected that the applicant will
describe a program that will provide inservice and preservice
teachers with an intensive, hands-on mentored laboratory research
experience that:

o  exposes them to contemporary concepts in the health sciences;

o  updates their computer-based skills and modern laboratory
techniques;

o  enables them, in collaboration with their research mentor, to
prepare new discovery based lesson plans; and

o  helps them to excite students' interest in health sciences and
stimulate the students to take more science courses, consider college
programs and pursue careers in biomedical/behavioral research or
other health related professions.

Teacher programs should include follow-up components in which
participants discuss some of the experiences they had in implementing
new scientific activities in the classroom.  Teachers should be
encouraged to communicate with each other as well as their research
mentors to continue the partnership relationships.

Recruitment and selection criteria for inservice teachers should
include: experience and teaching responsibilities, level of interest
in participating in a research program, expected impact on their
teaching programs, ability to stimulate minority students to pursue
scientific careers, and future plans for continued interaction with
the research institution.

Recruitment and selection criteria for preservice teachers should
include: commitment to participating in a research program and
expressed interest in teaching life sciences at the K-12 level
especially with a focus on minority students.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by January 24, 1994, a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
program, the name, address, and telephone number of the Program
Director, 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 NCRR 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
Biomedical Research Support Program
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 10A11
Bethesda, MD  20892

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted using form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91).
These forms are available in most institutional offices of sponsored
research and may be requested 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.

Applications must follow the instructions provided in the PHS 398
form except for the following:

Form Page 1

Item 2a. - Identify the number and title of this RFA and check the
box marked "YES."

Item 2b. - Type "R25" in 2b.

Item 4.  Human Subjects - Not relevant (no project description).

Item 5.  Vertebrate Animals - Not relevant (no project description).

Item 6.  The project period begin date should be 09-01-94.  The
length of the project period may not exceed three years.

Form Page 4 - Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period.

Personnel Category - Follow the instructions provided in the PHS 398
regarding the Principal Investigator/Program Director.  Using
successive lines in the Personnel Category, indicate the number of
positions being requested for students, preservice, and inservice
teachers.  For each of these classifications, provide requested
information regarding type of appointment/months, percent of effort
on project, and institutional base salary, as well as the dollar
amounts being requested.  Salary and fringe benefit support may be
requested only for the students and teachers; no salary will be
provided for the Program Director.

Other Expenses - Up to $250 per student and teacher participant may
be requested to defray costs such as minor equipment and supplies
required for their research experiences.

Form Page 5 - Budget for the Entire Proposed Project Period - Follow
instructions provided on page 19 of the PHS 398 kit.

Justification - Applicants should provide sufficient information
regarding the support requested for students, preservice, and
inservice teachers to permit the reviewers to evaluate the requested
costs compared to the proposed length of the research experience.  If
the proposed program includes academic year as well as summer
involvement, provide separate budgetary justification regarding each.

Applicants should also explain any increases or decreases over the
initial budget period, e.g., if students and/or teachers are expected
to return for a portion of a succeeding period and will require
salary and other support during this period.

Additional Form Pages

Biographical Sketch Page - Provide a biographical sketch for the
Program Director and each proposed mentor, strictly adhering to the 2
page limitation for each.

Other Support Page - Provide the information requested for the
Program Director and each proposed mentor.

Resources and Environment Page - Follow the PHS 398 instructions.

Specific Instructions - Research Plan

The following instructions should be used in lieu of the PHS 398
instructions for this section of the application.  The Research Plan
section of the application must strictly adhere to a limit of 15
pages, including a maximum of three letters of institutional support.
Include sufficient information to facilitate an effective review; be
specific, informative, and avoid redundancies.  The outline suggested
below should be followed in describing the program.

A.  Background

Provide a brief description of past, current, and pending similar
programs of precollege education and their relation, if any, to the
proposed program.  The information may be provided in tabular form.

B.  Proposed Program

At a minimum, provide information regarding:

1.  A description of the proposed program;
2.  A description of the research environment and how it relates to
the proposed program (e.g., ongoing research activity, availability
of equipment, facilities, and resources);
3.  Methods of student, teacher, and mentor recruitment and
selection;
4.  Methods to assign students and teachers to mentors (specific
research projects should not be described);
5.  The length of the student, preservice, and inservice teacher
programs;
6.  Other special enrichment activities available to the students and
teachers;
7.  Plans to evaluate the success of the program; and
8.  Prior accomplishments of the institution in precollege education.

C.  Institutional Supporting Data

Include a minimum of one and a maximum of three letters of
institutional support.  The letter(s) should be from a highly placed
institutional official, at the level of Dean or above, who is in a
position to commit the institutional resources necessary to assure
effective conduct of the project.  In addition, describe any relevant
resources and/or opportunities available to the institution.
Describe the level of institutional commitment and support for other
research related activities.  Use this section for other pertinent
material which does not fall naturally into any other previous
categories.

Appendix - No appendix material will be allowed.

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.

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 time of submission, two additional copies of the application must
also be sent to:

Dr. Mary Ann Sestili
Office of Review
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 10A-16
Bethesda, MD  20892

Applications must be submitted by February 23, 1994.  Applications
submitted after this date will be returned to the applicant.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be reviewed by DRG staff for completeness and by
NCRR staff to determine administrative and programmatic
responsiveness to this RFA.  Those applications judged to be
incomplete or nonresponsive will be returned to the applicant without
review.  Those applications considered complete and responsive may be
subjected to a triage review by an NCRR peer review group to
determine their scientific merit relative to the other applications
submitted in response to this RFA.

The NIH will withdraw from competition those applications judged by
the triage peer review group to be noncompetitive for award and will
so notify the applicant investigator and the institutional business
official.  Those applications judged to be competitive for award will
be reviewed for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate ad
hoc review committee(s) to be convened by the Office of Review, NCRR.
The second level of review will be provided by the National Advisory
Research Resources Council in June 1994.

Criteria for review of applications include the following:

o  the overall scientific quality and educational content of the
proposed program;
o  appropriateness of the plans considering the size, strengths, and
characteristics of the institution;
o  the qualifications of the Program Director and the proposed
mentors;
o  the method of recruitment, selection and assignment of students,
teachers, and mentors;
o  the institution's plans for evaluating the overall program;
o  the institutional commitment to providing a quality research
experience and to precollege education partnerships;
o  prior accomplishments in precollege education;
o  impact of the proposal in meeting overall program goals.

AWARD CRITERIA

The following will be considered when making funding decisions: the
quality of the proposed application as determined by peer review,
availability of funds, program balance among the types of
institutions and geographic distribution of the awards.

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:

Dr. Marjorie A. Tingle or Dr. Abraham Levy
Biomedical Research Support Program
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 10A11
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 594-7947

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Mary V. Niemiec
Office of Grants and Contracts Management
National Center for Research Resources
Westwood Building, Room 849
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 594-7955

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

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 for Executive Order 12372 or
Health Systems Agency review.

.

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