NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 25, July 16, 1993

P.T. 22, 44, FF


  Biomedical Research Training 

National Institutes of Health

The purpose of this notice is to clarify the policy and to update

previous notices about the recruitment of underrepresented minorities

into institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) (T32)

supported research training programs.  Previous notices related to

this requirement have appeared in the NIH Guide for Grants and

Contracts (Vol. 18, No. 20, June 9, 1989 and Vol. 15, No. 4, March

28, 1986).  Those notices announced current NIH policy which requires

all competing applications for NRSA institutional research training

grants to contain a plan for recruitment of individuals from

underrepresented minority groups into the research training program.

In most respects the policy articulated in this notice remains as

described in 1989.  All competing applications for institutional

research training grants must continue to include a plan to recruit

individuals from underrepresented minority groups and competing

renewal applications must continue to report accomplishments in

recruiting and retaining individuals from underrepresented groups

during the previous award period.  In addition, all applications will

continue to be examined for these components during initial review.

The only substantive difference is that review procedures have been

updated to permit evaluation of recruitment strategies that have been

in place for five or more years in compliance with the NIH

requirement.  As a consequence, beginning with research training

grant applications received for the September 10, 1993 receipt date,

the adequacy of the recruitment and retention efforts and the success

in identifying and appointing minority trainees during the previous

award period will be considered by a peer review panel.

In all respects, the NIH remains strongly committed to increasing the

participation of individuals from underrepresented minority groups in

biomedical and behavioral research.  Since the NRSA research training

grant program currently supports approximately 14,000 predoctoral and

postdoctoral trainees in biomedical and behavioral research, this

program is considered an ideal mechanism to accomplish these goals.

At the present, time minority groups considered to be

underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences include:

Alaskan Natives, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific


This policy is implemented at the NIH as described below:

Administrative Procedures

As announced in 1989, all competing applications for institutional

NRSA research training grants must include a plan to recruit

minorities and renewal applications must also include a report on the

recruitment and retention record during the previous award period.

If an application is received without a plan, or without a report on

the previous award period, the application will be considered

incomplete and will not be reviewed until this information is


During initial review, reviewers will first assign a priority score

for the overall technical and educational merit of the application.

Then, one or more assigned reviewers will discuss the minority

recruitment plan and any record of recruitment and retention for

evaluation by the review panel.  The recruitment components of each

application will be judged to be either acceptable or unacceptable.

The findings of the review panel will appear in an administrative

note in the summary statement for each reviewed application.  The

administrative note will include a description of the minority

recruitment strategies used in the previous award period, the plans

for the next award period, and the achievements of the training

program in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority

trainees.  If the minority recruitment section of the application is

judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised

plan that addresses the deficiencies is received.  Staff within the

awarding component, with guidance from the appropriate national

advisory board or council, will determine whether or not amended

plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.

Acceptable Plans

The notice that appeared in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

(Vol. 18, No. 20, June 9, 1989) contained a list of strategies that

might be used to facilitate minority recruitment.  For example,

advertisements, posters, flyers, visits to minority institutions, the

development of cooperative programs with minority institutions,

interactions with scientific and professional societies, appointment

of minority faculty and a variety of other suggestions were offered.

The minority recruitment efforts that seem to be most successful are

those that combine a number of different strategies tailored to the

needs of the particular training program.  Reviewers will judge the

acceptability of the plan, considering the size of the training

program, the geographic location, and the availability of minority

applicants.  For example, more aggressive recruitment efforts may be

required in programs where there has traditionally been a shortage of

minority applicants.  Although institutional efforts to increase the

ethnic diversity are important and commendable, they will not be

accepted as substitutes for the active involvement of the program

director and the participating faculty in recruiting underrepresented

minorities into specific training programs.

To help locate future minority trainees, the NIH has recently

published a booklet that lists the names, addresses, and telephone

numbers for all NRSA research training program directors, including

directors of Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors

Undergraduate Research Training Grants.  The booklet also contains

information on Principal Investigators of Minority Biomedical

Research Support (MBRS) research grants.  This resource booklet will

permit training program directors to make contact with individuals

who may have knowledge of minorities interested in appointment to a

research training grant.  Booklets can be obtained by writing to Dr.

Walter Schaffer, NIH Research Training and Research Resources Office,

Building 31, Room 5B44, Bethesda, MD 20892.  Underrepresented

minority students should, of course, be recruited from all


Reports of Accomplishments

Competing renewal applications for research training grants must

include a detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals

from underrepresented groups during the previous award period

including information on the types of recruitment strategies used and

which types have been successful or unsuccessful.  Also, the report

should provide information on the racial/ethnic distribution of:  (a)

students and or postdoctorates in the department(s) relevant to the

training grant, (b) individuals who applied for training, (c)

individuals who were offered admission, and (d) individuals who were

appointed to the research training grant.  For those trainees who

were appointed to the grant, the report should include information

about the duration of training and whether or not those trainees have

finished training in good standing.

Peer reviewers will carefully examine and evaluate the record of the

program in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority

trainees during the previous award period.  They will also consider

whether or not the experience in recruitment during the previous

award period has been incorporated into the formulation of the

recruitment plan for the next award period.

Information on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented

minority trainees appointed during the previous budget period must

also be provided in progress reports included in non-competing

applications for all institutional research training grants.


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