National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Funding Opportunity Title
Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (R25)
R25 Education Projects
Reissue of PAR-11-285
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
Companion Funding Opportunity
Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)
Funding Opportunity Purpose
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), encourages Research Education Grant (R25) applications from institutions that propose research education programs to increase the pool of community college students from underrepresented backgrounds who go on to research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and will be available to participate in NIH-funded research. This initiative promotes partnerships/consortia between community colleges or other two-year post-secondary educational institutions granting the associate degree with colleges or universities that offer the baccalaureate degree. The program expects that the joint efforts of baccalaureate degree-granting and associate degree-granting institutions will foster the development of a well-integrated institutional program that will provide students with the necessary academic preparation and skills to enable their transition and successful completion of the baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
August 30, 2012
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
September 26, 2012
Letter of Intent Due Date
Application Due Date(s)
October 26, 2012, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
AIDS Application Due Date(s)
Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date(s)
October 27, 2012
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
This FOA encourages applications from institutions that propose creative and innovative research education programs in the mission area(s) of the NIH. The NIH Research Education (R25) grant mechanism is designed to support the development of creative and innovative research education programs for the development of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical researchers, or for public education and outreach on health-related research to a variety of audiences. Although research education grants are not typical research instruments, they do involve experiments in education and/or dissemination of research knowledge that require an evaluation plan in order to determine their effectiveness. As such, each application must include a plan to evaluate the activities proposed (see Section IV, Evaluation Plan).
The proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. The R25 is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and can not be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.
The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.
Although the NIH currently provides multiple opportunities to develop research careers and improve participation for individuals from groups with low representation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, reports from the National Science Foundation (NSF), (see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd) provide strong evidence that diversity remains an important problem that the entire research enterprise must actively address.
Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or institutional basis.
The NIGMS Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program provides the opportunity to increase the pool of community college students from underrepresented (UR) backgrounds who go on to research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and will be available to participate in NIH-funded research. This program promotes partnerships or consortia between community colleges or other two-year post-secondary educational institutions granting the associate degree with bachelor-degree granting colleges or universities that have a track record of enrolling, retaining and graduating students who pursue advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral research fields. The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program expects that the joint efforts of baccalaureate degree-granting and associate degree-granting institutions will foster the development of a well-integrated institutional program that will provide students with the necessary academic preparation and skills to enable their transition and successful completion of the baccalaureate and subsequently, more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Community college students represent a substantial number of the nation’s undergraduates. Nationwide, community colleges enroll over 6 million (for credit) students, and enrollment is projected to reach nearly 8 million (for credit) by 2019 (Aud et al., 2010. The Condition of Education 2010 [NCES 2010-028 http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010028.pdf]). Futhermore, community colleges are very diverse: more than 30% of community college students are from UR groups (www.aacc.nche.edu). UR student enrollment in community colleges can therefore be projected to reach 2.4 million by 2019 (0.3 x 8 million). In Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, over 40% of UR STEM baccalaureate graduates reported attending community colleges (Tsapogas, 2004. The Role of Community Colleges in the Education of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates. InfoBrief. NSF 04-315).
NIGMS recognizes that there is a significant loss of students at several critical stages of the educational pathway. For example, reports show that while a high proportion of community college students aspire to transfer to a four-year institution, only a small percentage eventually do so (Provasnik, S. and M. Planty. 2008. Community Colleges: Special Supplement to the Condition of Education 2008 [NCES 2008-033] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC; Rivas, et al., 2007. Latina/o Transfer Students: Understanding the Critical Role of the Transfer Process in California’s Postsecondary Institutions. CSRC Research Report No. 9, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press).
The Bridges to the Baccalaureate program provides an opportunity to develop new, or expand existing, effective institutional programs aimed at a critical juncture within higher education, namely the transition from a two-year community college program to baccalaureate degree completion in biomedical and behavioral sciences. NIGMS anticipates that carefully planned interventions at this key point of the educational pathway will strengthen the supply of underrepresented biomedical and behavioral science graduates, a necessary step in increasing diversity in professional personnel engaged in the NIH-funded biomedical and behavioral research enterprise.
Nationally, the long-term goal of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is to increase the pool of
community college students from groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences who go on to research careers in these fields. The short-term goal of the program is to increase the number of students who transition from a two-year institution to a four-year institution, with subsequent baccalaureate degree completion. The specific objective of this program is to develop and
implement an integrated plan of individual and institutional activities that will increase students’ preparation and skills as they advance academically in the pursuit of the baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The national program expectations over a ten-year period are as follows:
Bridges applications are institutional in nature and therefore they must reflect the plans and priorities of the participating institutions as well as the collective plans and priorities of the partnerships/consortia. Collaborative agreements should be designed to fit the needs and situations of the institutions involved. Participating institutions should create a partnership program, or enhance an existing program, that will focus attention and adequate resources on the institution(s) granting associate degrees and so enhance competitiveness of its (their) science graduates and science programs. The four-year partner institution should ensure that it has the resources needed to support Bridges students upon and after transfer, to facilitate the student's successful baccalaureate degree completion.
The Bridges to Baccalaureate Program recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each application must conduct a self-assessment that includes baseline data on enrollment, transfer, research training, and subsequent graduation of its UR students in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Specific aims must be based on this self-assessment and must be consonant with the Bridges to Baccalaureate goals and objective.
Applicants should note that all NIGMS training and career development programs periodically undergo evaluation and assessment. The evaluation of NIGMS’ overall Bridges to the Baccalaureate program is distinct from each individual award’s outcome evaluation. While both address “success”, they differ in scope (individual award vs. national program, different timelines) and metrics. The evaluation of the overall Bridges to the Baccalaureate program will be carried out ten years after the release of this FOA, and will be based on the metrics that may include, but are not limited to:
The findings of this evaluation determine whether the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program is continued as configured, continued with modifications or discontinued. Should the findings indicate that the program is no longer needed or is ineffective, then NIGMS may consider terminating the program.
Applicants must incorporate all of the following elements into the Bridges to Baccalaureate application:
Applicants are strongly advised to review the Bridges Programs Answers to Frequently Asked Questions section on the NIGMS website, and use the suggested table formats provided at the Bridges Sample Table Formats website, to summarize the required information in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate application.
Application Types Allowed
The OER Glossary and the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations, and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect actual needs of the proposed project.
Award Project Period
Scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum period is 5 years.
Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. (If mentoring interactions and other activities with students/participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then any costs associated with the mentoring and other interactions with students/participants are not allowable costs from grant funds).
Salary support for program administration, namely, the PD/PI (or combination of multiple PDs/PIs), program coordinator(s) at the lead institution as well as at each partner institution, or administrative/clerical support is limited to 20% of the total budget, direct cost. A program coordinator at the lead applicant institution is allowed as long as his/her role in the program implementation is clearly defined and significantly different from the role(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s). The application must identify the program coordinator(s) (include their biographical sketches), and their duties and responsibilities must be well described in the budget and must include a strong justification.
Support for faculty to develop community college courses, including revising/updating existing science and math courses/laboratories or developing a new course to introduce research concepts into the curriculum and/or offering a research skills course to stimulate students’ interest in science is allowed, but these costs must be reasonable, well documented, and fully justified and commensurate with the scope of the proposed program. Applications requesting support for developing community college courses must provide a plan to institutionalize these courses within a reasonable time period but no later than two years after the activity is initiated.
Support for community college faculty, not otherwise involved in program administration, to conduct biomedical research during the summer, alongside the Bridges students, at the partner four-year institution is allowed, provided the faculty member is actively involved in developing a new course to introduce research concepts into the curriculum, offering a research skills course, or conducting research at the community college. The application must provide a strong rationale and justification for this developmental activity; support is limited to up to 2.0 months of summer salary (at a rate that is commensurate with the institution’s support scale for the summer salary) for an 8-10 week research internship.
Support for peer mentors or peer supplemental course instructors who are full time, junior or senior level undergraduate students at the-4 year institution or former Bridges students who have transferred to the 4-year institution, is allowed, but the costs must be reasonable and well justified.
Participants may be paid if specifically required for the
proposed research education program and sufficiently justified. Participant
costs must be itemized in the proposed budget.
Bridges students are allowed to receive salary and fringe benefits for their participation in academic year/summer research internships. The salary and fringe benefits must be consistent with the institutional salary policies for employees in similar positions. They are paid salary plus fringe benefits, only when such benefits are provided to other employees in similar positions. Amounts for Bridges students must conform to the established, consistently applied salary and wage policies of the institution and reflect the percentage of time/effort devoted to the program.
Applications must clearly indicate the number of Bridges students from
each participating two-year institution and the total number of Bridges students who would receive support during the academic year and
This support in the form of salary/wages is limited to Bridges students from the associate degree-granting institution(s). Students may be supported on Bridges funding for up to two years provided their academic progress toward transfer to the baccalaureate degree program is on track and satisfactory. In order for the Bridges students to receive this compensation, the following conditions must be met:
Applicants may request Bridges student support for up to 15 hours per week during the academic year, and up to 40 hours/week during the summer at a pay rate that is consistent with institutional pay scale. A strong justification is required if the requested support for the Bridges students is more than $15 per hour.
Applicants should note that salary support for Bridges students is NOT allowed for participation in academic activities (classroom, studying) or non-research activities (Bridges or otherwise-supported), i.e., group learning activities, attendance at conferences, etc.
Bridges-supported students may not concurrently hold another federally sponsored stipend or fellowship, or other federal award that duplicates Bridges support. However, concurrent with Bridges support, students may make use of federal educational loan funds and assistance under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act (G.I. Bill) or may receive funds from a Pell Grant, based on financial need. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.
Other Program-Related Expenses
Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.
Support for consultants who are specialists in developing courses, curricula and programs to prepare students for careers in biomedical research may also be included.
Support for supplemental instruction in gateway courses, tutoring for excellence, workshops on study and test taking strategies and time management skills at the community college is allowed.
Costs of advising, counseling and tutoring of transfer students at the baccalaureate institution(s) are allowed, and must be commensurate with person/months effort devoted to the program.
Costs associated with the development of a Bridges Program web site at the applicant/partner institution(s) are allowed, but these costs must be reasonable, well documented, fully justified, and commensurate with the scope of the proposed program.
Applications requesting support for: a) developing a Bridges Program website, b) providing supplemental instruction at the community college, and/or c) advising, counseling and tutoring of transfer students must provide a plan to institutionalize these activities within a reasonable time period but no later than two years after the activity is initiated (see Institutional Environment and Commitment in Section IV).
Cost for collection and analysis of program data is allowed; however, if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium, the cost must be included in the category of key personnel salary (effort listed in person months).
Travel is allowable as per NIH policy with the stipulation that foreign travel requires prior approval by NIH staff. The institutional business office must send the travel request directly to NIH staff. Allowable travel includes the following: costs for faculty research mentors at the baccalaureate institution(s) to attend national scientific meetings if the faculty member is accompanying Bridges students who are presenting at the meeting; costs for the participating faculty at the community college(s) to attend scientific conferences and workshops that are directly relevant to curriculum development by the participating faculty; costs for Bridges student travel to domestic scientific conferences.
Applicants may also request support for travel (mileage expenses) of Bridges students to participate in special academic development activities (e.g., serve as laboratory assistants) and summer research internships if the distance between the community college and the partner baccalaureate institution is more than 50 miles (round-trip).
Research supplies for Bridges students (not to exceed $1,500/student/year) may be requested. Cost of renovation of teaching/research laboratory/shared instructional
facilities at the community college(s) is allowed, provided these are critical to implementing a Bridges-supported activity. Renovation costs are limited to a maximum of $30,000 per project period, and grantees must follow the NIH grant policies for alterations and renovations located at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2011/nihgps_ch10.htm.
Small pieces of equipment for the community college(s) are allowed, but these must be critical for introducing research concepts into the curriculum or to teach a research skills course. Equipment costs are limited to a maximum of $30,000 per project period.
Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees and expenditures for equipment and consortia in excess of $25,000), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their
institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing
eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant
All registrations must be completed by the application due date.
The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.
Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other Federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving NIH support. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are
not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.
Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations
as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply
for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet
Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following
All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with
their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their
existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the
All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources
necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal
Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an
application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented
racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always
encouraged to apply for NIH support.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.
The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.
The PD/PI must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institution, and should have teaching, student counseling and/or academic administrative experience.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.
NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial peer review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. Resubmission applications may be submitted, according to the NIH Policy on Resubmission Applications from the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.
Applications must describe the intended participants, and the eligibility and/or specific educational background characteristics that are essential for participation in the proposed research education program. Identify the career levels essential for participation in the planned program.
Bridges students are those students who will receive support in the form of salaries/wages under this program. These students must belong to an underrepresented group, must be U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals or permanent residents, and must be enrolled full-time in biomedical or behavioral science fields at the participating community college. (A non-citizen national is a person who, although not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the U.S. This is generally a person born in a land that is not a state but that is under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration -- for example, American Samoa.) An individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence must possess an alien registration receipt card (I-551) or other legal verification of such status prior to appointment to the Bridges grant. Individuals on temporary visas, those seeking asylum, or refugees are not eligible for support from the Bridges Program.
For the purpose of this FOA, individuals underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences include the following classes of participants:
A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americas, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the US Pacific Islands. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program
B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:
1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS - Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
Recruitment and retention plans related to a disadvantaged background (C1 and C2) are most applicable to high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement. Under extraordinary circumstances, the PHS may, at its discretion, consider an individual beyond the undergraduate level to be from a disadvantaged background. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate documentation.
It is the responsibility of the applicant institution to establish the qualifications of students prior to their appointment in the Bridges Program.
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following modifications:
Facilities & Other Resources
Describe the educational environment, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program. List all thematically related sources of support for research training and education following the format for Current and Pending Support.
Data Tables (Uploaded via the Other Attachments section)
Applicants are encouraged to use the suggested table formats available at the the Bridges Sample Table Formats website, to summarize the data required in the Research Education Program. These or other tables should be included in the Other Attachments section of the Other Project Information Form. The tables do not count toward the 25-page limit. However, any other tables that include non-required information must be included within the 25-page limit.
The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application of in eRA Commons.
Key Personnel must include the PD/PI (or multiple PDs/PIs, if applicable) and the program coordinator (if any) from the lead applicant institution, program coordinator(s) from the partner institution(s), program evaluator (if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium), as well as any other key persons (such as those involved in developing, implementing, directing, monitoring, evaluating, etc., who are integral to the proposed research education program) participating in the research education program.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following modifications:
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the additional instructions described below:
The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below: Proposed Research Education Program; Institutional Environment and Commitment which includes the subcomponents, Partnership's Vision for the Future; Proposed Student Development Activities; Program Director/Principal Investigator; Program Faculty/Staff, Program Participants; Progress Report (for renewal applications only); Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research; and Evaluation Plan. These components combined must be within the 25-page limit of the Research Education Program Plan. Attached Tables and Figures do not count toward the 25-page limit (see Section IV.2, Data Tables).
Proposed Research Education Program (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
While the proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly describe the distinction between the intended participants in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program. The information should include a description of the education and/or career levels of the planned participants.
Institutional Environment and Commitment (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support. Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.
Provide a brief description of the following to address the Institutional Environment:
Provide a brief description of the following to address the Institutional Commitment:
Partnership’s Vision for the Future and Anticipated Value of the Proposed Bridges Program to the Participating Institutions (Subcomponent of Institutional Environment and Commitment)
The applicants should describe briefly the following:
Proposed Student Development Activities (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Provide programmatic detail on the proposed developmental activities; these activities must address the needs and requirements (as identified by the institutional self-assessments) of UR students who are enrolled full-time at the participating community college(s) and must be designed to improve their competitiveness for transfer and completion of the baccalaureate degree in biomedical/behavioral sciences.
Describe the criteria and procedures for identification, selection and retention of Bridges students into the program and for the selection of participating faculty. Provide a brief rationale for, and a detailed description of, each activity proposed and the role of faculty/personnel involved. Describe how each activity will contribute toward realization of the specific aims. Give a brief account of the equipment, space, and other resources available to implement the activity. Briefly outline the proposed schedule. Discuss any perceived impediments to implementing the proposed activities and alternative strategies to achieve the specific aims.
Applications proposing mentored research experiences during the academic year/summer must demonstrate that participants will have meaningful research experiences in the laboratories or research groups of investigators who are actively engaged in biomedical/behavioral research and who have peer-reviewed publications. Proposed summer research experiences must be at least two consecutive months in duration.
The application should describe a system for monitoring Bridges student progress throughout the post-secondary experience, including their retention, transfer, and successful completion of the baccalaureate degree.
Program Director/Principal Investigator (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Describe arrangements for administration of the program, provide evidence that the PD/PI is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program, as well as evidence of institutional and community commitment and support for the proposed program.
The PD/PI assumes responsibility for the overall execution of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, and is typically responsible for the selection of students and the coordination and implementation of developmental education and mentoring activities. The PD/PI is the principal contact with NIGMS at the institution and prepares and submits, in a timely manner, the required reports, e.g., annual progress reports, changes in program activities if any, etc. The PD/PI works with the program coordinator(s) at the partner institution(s) and program evaluator to monitor and evaluate the progress of individual program elements and the overall functioning of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program.
Add Information Here as Needed.
Program Faculty/Staff (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Describe the characteristics and responsibilities of the participating faculty; provide evidence that the participating faculty and preceptors are actively engaged in research or other scholarly activities related to the mission of NIH.
Provide evidence that faculty and staff have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to conduct the proposed student development activities. If research experiences are proposed, provide a list of the participating faculty research mentors at the four-year institution(s) that includes the faculty's research area and current research funding. Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Format Table 2 to provide the necessary information.
Program Participants (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Where the proposed program involves participants, provide details about the pool of expected participants, their qualifications, recruitment strategies and sources of applicant pool, etc.
Provide the institutional baseline data (average number over the previous three to five year period) on the enrollment, transfer and graduation of students in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines. Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Format Table 3 to provide the following specific information:
Progress Report (Component of Renewal Application)
For renewal applications, a detailed Progress Report must be included. Applications with more than one previous funding cycle must provide information on the past two consecutive funding cycles. In the report, state the original goals and specific aims, anticipated milestones and outcomes, as well as a summary of the specific accomplishments of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program in the context of the previous application’s baseline.
Describe the overall institutional impact of the Bridges program as a result of program-supported activities in areas such as courses/curricular enhancements, faculty and student development, developing/strengthening of alliances and articulation agreements, increases in student retention rate, improvement of student academic achievement, and increases in the number of students transferring to and successfully completing the baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Describe what has been learned through the program evaluation and what has been added, modified or deleted as a result of program evaluation. Evaluation reports, if available, can be included in the Appendix. Describe any previously funded Bridges activities that are now continuing (or will continue) on institutional funds.
Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Every participant supported by this Research
Education grant must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of
research. All applications must include a plan to provide such instruction. The
plan must address five components (format; subject matter; faculty
participation; duration of instruction; and frequency of instruction) as
detailed in NOT-OD-10-019.
Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe changes in formal
instruction over the past project period and plans for the future that address
any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who
served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders
during the past project period must be named in the application.
Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be reviewed. The background, rationale and more detail about instruction in the responsible conduct of research can be found in NOT-OD-10-019. If such instruction is not appropriate for the proposed research education program, then the PD/PI must provide a strong justification for its exclusion.
Evaluation Plan (Component of Research Education Program Plan)
Applications must include a plan for evaluating the activities supported by the award. The application must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants), as well as measures to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Wherever appropriate, applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for improvements.
The evaluation may be done through the institution’s evaluation office, or if an evaluator is not an employee of an institution within the consortium, an external evaluator may be included as a consultant. In general, the evaluator must have formal training and experience in evaluation methodology and statistics as demonstrated by publications and/or reports in the field. His/her responsibilities usually include preparing reports and recommendations for the PD(s)/PI(s) and institutional administrators; interacting with staff from other campus-wide student training/student development programs, and institutional officials for the collection of data and exchange of information; and making recommendations for the future direction of the program.
Other Required Components
Applications Involving Multiple Institutions
Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program involves multiple institutions. One of the participating institutions must be designated as the lead applicant institution and funding for the other institution(s) in the partnership must be requested via a subcontract to be administered by the applicant institution. When submitting a detailed budget, the applicant institution should submit its budget using the Research & Related Budget component. All other institutions should have their individual budgets attached separately to the Research & Related Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form. See Section 4.8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget.
The consortium arrangements between the participating associate and baccalaureate degree-granting institutions should be designed to facilitate a seamless transition of community college students into the baccalaureate degree programs of the bachelor’s degree-granting institution(s).
Applications must include a Consortium Agreement letter of intent or commitment [attach it at line item 14 (Letters of Support)] acknowledging each institution’s participation in the proposed Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. The letter must outline each institution’s respective role in administering the program, and these roles must be consistent with the goals and objectives of the proposed Bridges program. This letter is to be signed by a representative of each participating institution’s central administration, the program director(s) from the lead applicant institution, and the program coordinator(s) from each partnering institution.
The Consortium Agreement letter must also include the following statement:
"The appropriate programmatic and administrative personnel of each organization involved in this grant application are aware of the NIH consortium agreement policy and are prepared to establish the necessary inter-institutional agreement(s) consistent with that policy." Information on the NIH Policy regarding consortium agreements is available at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/part_iii_5.htm#consortium
Resource Sharing Plans
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit in
advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application
corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.
Organizations must submit applications via Grants.gov, the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost
principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants
Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Bridges to the Baccalaureate applications must present an integrated set of student-development activities. Each item in the budget must be clearly justified. Bridges grant awards include some restrictions as to how the funds may be used. The following summarizes the non-allowable costs under the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program.
Unallowable Costs include:
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF 424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.
Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A) must contact NIH program staff at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.
Does the proposed research education program address an important problem or critical question in research education or other critical issues? How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of the proposed program? Are the proposed goals and specific aims consonant with the recognized needs of the participating institutions? If the aims of the application are achieved, will the proposed program significantly improve the institutional baseline number of UR students who transfer to four-year institutions, complete the baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees, and pursue research careers in the biomedical/behavioral sciences?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers appropriately trained and well suited to the proposed research education program? Is the PD/PI an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed research education program? If Early Stage Investigator or New Investigator, or in the early stages of an independent career, does the PD/PI have appropriate experience to lead the program? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD(s)/PI(s), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? If the application proposes mentored research experiences for student participants, is there an adequate number of appropriate, research-active faculty mentors available at the participating four-year institution(s)? Does the proposed evaluator have the appropriate background and credentials?
Is the proposed research education program characterized by innovation and scholarship? Does the proposed program challenge and seek to shift current research education paradigms or clinical practice, or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Are the proposed concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies novel for this area? Does this proposed program duplicate, or overlap with, existing research education, training and/or career development activities currently supported at the applicant institution or available elsewhere? Adaptations of existing research education programs may be considered innovative under special circumstances, e.g., the addition of unique components and/or a proposal to determine portability of an existing program.
Are the overall
strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish
the specific aims of the proposed research education program? Are
potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
If the program is in the early stages of development, will the strategy
establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? If
called for, is the proposed plan for evaluation and/or dissemination of the
education program sound and likely to provide data on the effectiveness of the
education program? Is there evidence that the program is based on sound
research concepts and educational principles? Is the approach feasible
and appropriate to achieve the stated research education goals? If the
proposed program will recruit participants, are the recruitment, retention, and
follow-up activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified and diverse
If the program involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
Will the scientific/educational environment in which the proposed research education program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional commitment and support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the program proposed? Will the program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of appropriate collaboration among participating programs, departments, and institutions? If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research education experiences provided? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between multiple sites (if appropriate)?
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.
Protections for Human Subjects
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, including the following:
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact/priority score.
Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity
Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
Taking into account the specific characteristics of the research education program, level of participant experience, and the particular circumstances of the participants, the reviewers will address the following questions. Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures and/or real-time discussion groups? Do plans include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety? Do the plans adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction? Do the plans ensure participants will receive instruction (or in the case of more senior level participants, provide instruction) for an appropriate amount of time given the length of the research education experience? Plans and past record will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.
Applications from Foreign Organizations
Select Agent Research
Resource Sharing Plans
Budget and Period of Support
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NIGMS , in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Review assignments will be shown in the eRA Commons.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council . The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
After the peer review of the application is completed, the
PD(s)/PI(s) will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written
critique) via the eRA Commons.
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH
will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as
described in the NIH Grants
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, CCR Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.Programs that involve participants should report on education in the responsible conduct of research and complete a Training Diversity Report, in accordance with the PHS 2590 Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.
The narrative part is limited to three pages, and numerical and other data may be presented in tabular form (tables and figures are not counted in the three-page limit).
Progress reports shall include the following outcome data on students in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines:
Describe what has been learned through the program evaluation and any changes made in the program as a result of the evaluation.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.
A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.
Within ten years of making awards under this program, NIH will assess the program’s overall outcomes, gauge its effectiveness in enhancing diversity, and consider whether there is a continuing need for the program. Upon the completion of this evaluation, NIH will determine whether to (a) continue the program as currently configured, (b) continue the program with modifications, or (c) discontinue the program.
The overall evaluation of the program will be based on metrics that will include, but are not limited to, the following:
See Section I., Program Components and Evaluation, for more information.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons
registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Michelle R.J. Hamlet, Ph.D.
Program Director, Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 2AS.43C, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Chief, Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 3AN.12, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Ms. Lori Burge
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH
45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.
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