Request for Information (RFI) on NIGMS Programs to Enhance Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce

Notice Number: NOT-GM-15-108

Key Dates
Release Date:  February 24, 2015
Response Date: April 15, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)


This is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) designed to obtain feedback, comments, and novel ideas that might bolster the effectiveness of NIGMS-supported undergraduate student development programs designed to diversify the biomedical research workforce.


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has a long-standing commitment to fostering a highly trained, diverse biomedical research workforce ( As part of this commitment, the Institute, through its Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD), supports multiple institutional undergraduate student development programs including, but not limited to, Bridges to the Baccalaureate (, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) (, Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) U-STAR (, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (, and Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) (

NIGMS has launched a process of review to ensure that these initiatives continue to contribute most effectively to building a highly trained and diverse biomedical workforce. In particular, the Institute has focused on undergraduate programs leading to the scientific baccalaureates that prepare scholars for subsequent successful research doctoral Ph.D. completion and contributions to the biomedical research workforce.

Research on undergraduate student development suggests that programmatic activities (including enhancing academic performance, providing academic and personal advising, conferring professional and scientific skills, demonstrating a pathway for successful graduate study and career and providing student financial support for research education) can increase the number of interested and high-achieving baccalaureates who are fully prepared for doctoral study (Kuh et al., 2006, Maton et al., 2012, McGee et al., 2012, Graham et al., 2013, May and Chubin 2003, Villarejo et al., 2008, Chen and Soldner 2013). NIGMS believes these interventions, combined with mentored contemporary research experiences, are critical components in the preparation of undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds for entry and completion of research doctorates and contributions to the biomedical workforce.  These activities are variously addressed by multiple NIGMS programs at undergraduate campuses now, and the Institute is interested in the possible benefits of developing one longitudinal program of activities at any particular institution.

NIGMS is also interested in how best to align with the mission, available resources and infrastructure of the institutions it supports. For example, some undergraduate institutions can demonstrate that they are consistently effective in preparing substantial numbers of students from underrepresented backgrounds to complete the baccalaureate and enter and successfully complete research doctorates, and NIGMS is interested in how to increase Ph.D. output at these schools.  Other institutions produce a few baccalaureates who successfully complete a Ph.D. each year, and for these institutions NIGMS looking for potential approaches to build academic, administrative and research capabilities.

While the majority of the programmatic activities to enhance the baccalaureate experience will occur at undergraduate institutions, full realization of successful transition to graduate programs and successful doctorate completion may involve institutional networks that promote supportive collaborations or exchanges among institutions.

NIGMS is seeking input from key extramural community stakeholders, including students, undergraduate faculty, biomedical graduate faculty, scientific societies, and academic institutions, as well as from the general public, on TWD undergraduate student development programs. Information is sought for each of the areas identified below and any other topics that may inform the potential issue/reissue of new and/or existing Funding Opportunity Announcements.

Information Requested

NIGMS invites comments on the topics below; however, comments are not limited to these topics.

  • The advantages (or disadvantages) to a single program per institution that begins after matriculation and provides college experiences through graduation, to develop students for biomedical research careers.
  • Approaches to leverage institutional experiences that successfully prepare baccalaureates for subsequent biomedical Ph.D. completion to increase the number of students influenced by undergraduate training programs at those schools.
  • Strategies that could be used to build institutional capabilities and effective institutional networks that promote undergraduate training programs leading to successful Ph.D. completion.

If applicable, you are encouraged to share specific experiences you have had with any of the NIGMS-supported student development programs and their success (or lack thereof) in preparing students for biomedical research careers.

Please identify and explain which of the issues that you have identified are, in your opinion, the most important for the NIGMS staff to address and state why.

Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all of the above items.

Submitting a Response

All responses must be submitted to by April 15, 2015.  Responses are limited to 250 words per topic.

This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government’s use of that information.

The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may appear in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

Alison K. Hall, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-3900