INITIATIVE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS: BRIDGES TO THE BACCALAUREATE Release Date: June 1, 2000 RFA: GM-00-004 National Institute of General Medical Sciences Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 1, 2000 Application Receipt Dates: November 14, 2000 PURPOSE The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), reannounce opportunities to apply for funding for the Bridges to the Future Program. The Bridges to the Future Program was established in 1992 to facilitate specific transitions in the career paths of underrepresented minority scientists. The mission of the Bridges to the Future Program is to make available to the biomedical science research enterprise and to the nation the intellectual talents of an increasing number of underrepresented minority group members. It does so by facilitating the transition of students from associate- to baccalaureate-degree granting institutions and from masters to doctoral degree-granting institutions. The program promotes effective inter-institutional partnerships that lead to improvement in the quality and quantity of underrepresented minority students being trained as the next generation of scientists. This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits new and renewal applications for a partnership program involving institutions awarding the associates degree and institutions awarding the baccalaureate degree. A separate RFA describes a program targeting the transition from masters to doctoral programs. Former applicants of unfunded Bridge proposals may submit revised applications in response to this announcement. Institutions with currently active Bridges grants may submit renewal applications. HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010 The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS- led national activity for setting priority areas. This Request for Applications (RFA), Title of RFA, is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS General Applications may be submitted by domestic, private or public, educational institutions. State or local systems of higher education (also hereinafter referred to as institutions) may submit applications as well. An institution may be involved as a partner in more than one Bridge program, but can be the APPLICANT institution for only one Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. Institutions that submit applications in response to this RFA may submit separate applications for support for the Bridges to the Doctorate (RFA GM- 00-005) if they meet the eligibility requirements. Institutions submitting their own applications may participate in programs with other applicant institutions so long as these interactions are consistent with institutional resources and their institutional plans. Each proposed Bridge program must consist of a partnership between at least two institutions. One must be an institution that offers the associates degree as the only undergraduate degree in the sciences within the participating departments AND has a significant enrollment of underrepresented minorities. Another partner must be a college or university offering the baccalaureate degree in areas relevant to the biomedical sciences. Thus, all applications must involve a partnership of at least two colleges or universities, but may involve a consortium of several institutions and may include several institutions within a single state system. One participating institution must be designated as the applicant institution, must name the program director, and must submit the application. Each participating institution must name one individual to act as its program coordinator. Programs developed or modified under this initiative must specifically target underrepresented minority students majoring in the sciences, including the natural, physical, and behavioral sciences, information sciences, and mathematics. For purposes of this RFA, underrepresented minority students are 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. Historically, individuals who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research include, but are not limited to, U.S. citizens who are African American, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands. Institutions offering both the associate and baccalaureate degrees may not use funds from this program for graduates of their own associates degree programs to enter their own baccalaureate programs, even if the student is moving from one department, school, or college to another. The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN institutions. For additional requirements see: SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS MECHANISM OF SUPPORT General Awards under this RFA will use the institutional education project (R25) grant. Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant. The total requested project period for applications submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed three years. Requested direct costs are not to exceed $600,000 for the three-year period. Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs will be paid at 8% of the direct costs, minus appropriate exclusions, or actual F&A costs, whichever is less. A budget for each year must be provided. Allowable Costs Requests for equipment, supplies, travel, and other expenses should be limited to those necessary for program development and must be individually justified. Requests for funds for evaluation, including salaries, consultant fees, technical assistance, and travel, are also allowable. The budget should include travel funds for the Program Director, a grants manager from the grantee institution, and the program coordinators from the participating institutions to travel to the Bridges Program Meeting each budget year. Student remuneration is limited to underrepresented minorities matriculated at the associate partner institution(s) and may include salary/wages and/or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages for participation in research experiences. Expenditures for tuition remission (or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages) are allowable provided the following conditions are met: o the student is performing necessary work, o there is an employer-employee relationship between the student and the institution, o the total compensation is reasonable for the work performed, and o it is the institution's practice to provide compensation for all students in similar circumstances, regardless of the source of support for the activity. Salaries for students should be requested as an hourly rate, based on the prevailing scale at the institution. The proposed budget should include funds to defray the costs of data acquisition and data entry into the Electronic Student Tracking and Reporting system (E-STAR) each year. E-STAR is a program developed by NIGMS to facilitate the administration and evaluation of this program by the grantees and the agency. Access to E-STAR is through Internet and the World Wide Web. Minimum computer needs for E-STAR access include an IBM-compatible 386 with 4 meg of RAM, with Microsoft Windows(tm) 3.1 and WIN32S or a Macintosh 68020 with 4 meg of RAM; a 14.4 kb/s modem, and internet access. In summary, allowable costs include, but are not limited to, salary, wages, and fringe benefits for students and faculty; tuition remission; supplies; equipment (including computer hardware); travel; and other expenses. UNALLOWABLE COSTS: Stipends, housing, food, tuition (unless as stated above), and fees are not allowable costs under this program. Salary support for faculty to support their research is also not allowable. FUNDS AVAILABLE An estimated total $13 million will be available for the term of awards made in response to this solicitation and awards in response to RFA GM-00-005 (Bridges to the Doctorate). NIH staff anticipate making a combined total of 20 to 40 new and competing continuation awards for these RFAs, provided NIH receives sufficient numbers of highly meritorious applications and sufficient funds for this purpose. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Background Many underrepresented minority students enter community colleges or associates degree-granting institutions to gain new skills. Recent data show that over half of the underrepresented minority college students in the United States are enrolled in associate degree-granting institutions. Many of these students have the desire and potential to pursue careers as research scientists, and their needs should be addressed through improvement of skills, challenging curricula, outstanding mentoring, active research experiences, guidance and advising, and financial support. The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program supports partnerships between institutions offering terminal associates degrees and institutions offering baccalaureate programs in areas related to biomedicine. Bridges to the Baccalaureate seeks above all to increase the number of underrepresented minority biomedical scientists. To do so, it is also critical to improve the ability of educational institutions to train and graduate promising underrepresented minority students in the biomedical sciences, including the behavioral, physical and quantitative sciences. It is the premise of the program that this can best be accomplished by developing partnerships that support and facilitate underrepresented minority students at a key point in their educational careers the transition to a baccalaureate program. Bridges grants are institutional and must reflect institutional plans and priorities as well as the collective plans and priorities of the partnership. Collaborative agreements should take the form that best fits the needs and situations of the institutions involved. The challenge for the participating partners is to create a partnership program, or enhance an existing program, that will focus attention and adequate resources to the associates degree- granting institution(s) and enhance the academic competitiveness of its graduates in the sciences. Additional Information Bridges to the Baccalaureate programs must address the needs and requirements of the underrepresented minority students enrolled in the partner associates degree program. Activities which may be supported include, but are not limited to, the following: o providing laboratory research experiences at the baccalaureate institution, other research institutions, or industrial laboratories for students enrolled in the two-year institution (students may receive compensation for these activities); o establishing a mentoring program with faculty at the baccalaureate institution; o providing research opportunities at the baccalaureate institution for faculty of the two-year college; o enriching the curriculum at the two-year institution; o enabling students from the two-year institution to take courses and/or participate in seminar programs at the baccalaureate college; o developing visiting lectureships at the two-year college by science faculty from the baccalaureate institution; o developing courses at the two-year college jointly taught by faculty of both institutions; o guaranteeing acceptance as juniors into the participating baccalaureate program(s) for students who participated successfully in the enhancement program; o academic counseling (e.g., guidance in course selection, tracking and providing assistance to students who express an interest or show special aptitude for science); o additional enrichment activities, such as tutoring, to enhance the student's transition to the baccalaureate program. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS Applicants should describe the criteria to be used in the selection and retention of the student participants as well as the criteria for selecting participating faculty. An applicant with a different existing transition program should describe that program and explain the relationship of that program to the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. Applicants should describe the methods and facilities available for tracking student participants. Support for Baccalaureate education Students who complete the associates degree and enter the partner baccalaureate program should receive financial support, if needed, from the baccalaureate institution while they are progressing satisfactorily in their studies. The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program does not provide funds to students in the baccalaureate program. Applicants should describe the type(s) of institutional support that would be available to students who transfer. Evaluation Evaluation is a mandatory component of every Bridges to the Future program. Each applicant institution must set specific goals and measurable objectives that can be used to develop the program and to measure progress. The NIGMS recognizes that minority and minority-serving institutions have diverse missions, opportunities, and environments. Therefore, the emphasis of the evaluation activities of the Bridges to the Future Program will be on improvement as defined in the specific goals and measurable objectives that the applicant institution sets. Central to each application are (1) a clear statement of program and institutional goals and (2) a set of measurable objectives which track progress toward those goals, (3) a plan for evaluating whether or not those objectives have been met, and (4) a measure of the efficacy of specific interventions. Unified Plan If an institution is involved in more than one Bridge program, the applicant or the institution's program coordinator must describe how the various Bridge programs interact and are consistent with the overall goals of the program. Institutions with active or pending NIH grants for the Support for Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE), Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), or Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) programs or with other sources of funds, such as the National Science Foundation or the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, may also apply to the Bridges to the Future Program. The application must describe how the programs complement each other and how the students and faculty supported by each will interact. Consortium Agreements Each applicant institution should delineate appropriate agreements and consortium arrangements with the other partner institutions consistent with its own unified institutional plan. The following statement, accompanied by signatures of the appropriate administrative officials from EACH of the collaborating institutions, must be included as part of the application: "THE APPROPRIATE PROGRAMMATIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL OF EACH INSTITUTION INVOLVED IN THIS GRANT APPLICATION ARE AWARE OF THE NIH CONSORTIUM GRANT POLICY AND ARE PREPARED TO ESTABLISH THE NECESSARY INTER-INSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT(S) CONSISTENT WITH THAT POLICY." In addition, letters signed by the appropriate institutional official and program coordinator acknowledging participation in the program are required from each participating institution. Information on NIH policy regarding consortium agreements can be found at Reporting Requirements A progress report will be required at the end of each calendar year after the award is made. A final report will be required 90 days after the termination date of the award and must include information for each student participant (E-STAR may be used to satisfy part of these requirements) and a summary of the impact of the program. Student Population and Career Tracking Applicants must describe the associates degree-granting institution's success in training students in the sciences, including information on the numbers of minority students receiving the associates degree and data on subsequent careers or education of their graduates. Applicants should describe a system for tracking the students, including their future careers. Applicants should maintain data to show the impact of this program on retention rates, graduation rates, transfer rates to the next higher degree program, and graduation rates from the next higher degree programs. These data should be compared to those of the non-minority students and the minority students who were not in the Bridges program. INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research," which was published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No. 11, March 18, 1994, and is available on the web at: INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt dates after October 1, 1998. All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL address: Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff listed under INQUIRIES. Program staff may also provide additional relevant information concerning the policy. URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site. LETTER OF INTENT Prospective applicants are requested to submit, by September 1, 2000, a letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed plan, the name, address, and telephone number of the program director, the names of other key personnel and participating institutions, and the number and title of the RFA. Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information that it contains is helpful in planning for the review of applications. It allows NIH staff to estimate the potential review workload and to avoid conflict of interest in the review. The letter of intent is to be sent to the program director listed under INQUIRIES. APPLICATION PROCEDURES The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in applying for these grants. These forms are available at most institutional offices of sponsored research; from the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 710-0267; email: The forms are also available on at: The RFA label in the PHS 398 application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application. Failure to use this label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee in time for review. In addition, the RFA number and title must be typed on line 2 of the face page form, the "YES" box must be marked. The RFA label and line 2 of the application should both indicate the RFA number. The sample RFA label available at: has been modified to allow for this change. Please note this is in pdf format. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the Checklist, and five photocopies of the signed application in one package to: CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH 6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, SUITE 1040, MSC 7710 BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710 BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for express/courier service) Applications must be received by November 14, 2000. Applications postmarked after that date will be returned to the applicant. REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS Upon receipt, NIH staff will administratively review applications. Incomplete and/or unresponsive applications will be returned to the applicant without further consideration. Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the CSR in accordance with the review criteria stated below. As part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a second level review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. Review criteria: The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health. In the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed program will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that the application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward. New and competing applications will be judged for merit according to the following criteria: (1) Significance: If the aims of the program are achieved, what impact will they have on the diversity of the scientific workforce? Is a thorough evaluation plan, including specific goals and measurable objectives, in place? (2) Approach: Is the application adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the program? Does the program address the specific needs of the targeted population? Does the application demonstrate knowledge of current literature and practice on effective intervention strategies? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Does the program make good use of the skills and resources at the participating institutions? (3) Innovation: Does the project employ novel approaches or methods to recruiting, retaining, training, or mentoring students? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies? (4) Investigator: Is the program director appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Does the program director have the necessary leadership skills? Do the program director and coordinators have the qualifications and experience to carry out the proposed program? (5) Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Is there evidence of institutional commitment at each institution? Is the strength of the collaborations sufficient to foster professional training of underrepresented minority students? (6) Pool Size: Are there sufficient numbers of underrepresented minority students in the participating science departments who are interested in studying further in biomedical science? Is there evidence that underrepresented minority students at the participating institutions progress to higher education? (7) Administration: Is the proposed system for tracking program participants adequate to monitor the effectiveness of the program? Is the administrative plan, including adequacy of space and other resources, adequate? AWARD CRITERIA The anticipated date of award is July 1, 2001. Award decisions will be based on the technical merit of the applications, the geographical distribution of the awardee institutions, and diversity of underrepresented minority student participants. Awards can be made only to institutions with financial management systems and management capabilities that are acceptable under NIH policy. Awards will be administered under the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Schedule Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 1, 2000 Application Receipt Date: November 14, 2000 Council Review: May 2001 Earliest Anticipated Start Date: July 2001 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: Irene Eckstrand, Ph.D. National Institute of General Medical Sciences 45 Center Drive, Room 2AS-25K, MSC 6200 Bethesda, MD 20892-6200 Telephone: (301) 594-5402 FAX: (301) 480-2228 Email: Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to: Antoinette Holland Grants Management Specialist National Institute of General Medical Sciences 45 Center Drive, Room 2AN.50B MSC 6200 Bethesda, MD 20892-6200 Telephone: 301-594-2554 Fax: 301-480-3423 Email: AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.93.960, Special Minority Initiatives Program. Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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