Full Text GM-97-002
NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 34, October 11, 1996
RFA:  GM-97-002
P.T. 44, FF

  Biomedical Research Training 

National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November  15, 1996
Application Receipt Date:  January 17, 1997
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the
Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), National Institutes of
Health (NIH), re-announce two research initiatives directed at
increasing the number of underrepresented minorities entering careers
in biomedical research.  The programs target two different
underrepresented minority student populations: those in colleges and
universities offering only Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs
in biomedically-related sciences and those in two-year junior or
community colleges.  These have been identified as two key transition
points for students considering careers in biomedical research.  This
is the fifth year of this program which seeks to encourage the
development of new and innovative programs and the expansion of
existing programs to improve the academic competitiveness of
underrepresented minority students and facilitate their transition
into the next stage towards careers in biomedical research.
This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits new applications for a
partnership program involving institutions awarding the M.S. degree
and universities awarding the Ph.D. degree.  RFA GM-97-001, a
separate solicitation, describes a program targeting the transition
from two-year colleges awarding the Associate"s degree to
institutions awarding the Baccalaureate degree.  Former applicants of
unfunded Bridge proposals are encouraged to submit revised
applications that respond to the prior concerns of the National
Advisory General Medical Sciences Council.
Applications may be submitted by domestic, private and 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
institution in more than one Bridge Program, but can be the APPLICANT
institution for only one Bridges to the Baccalaureate Degree and one
Bridges to the Doctoral Degree Program. Institutions with NIGMS
Bridge Program (R25) awards ending on or before September 1997 may
submit COMPETING CONTINUATION APPLICATIONS for three to five years of
continued support (see RFA GM-97-003).
An institution or system of higher education may submit ONLY ONE
application for this RFA.  Institutions which submit applications in
response to this RFA may also apply for support for a Bridge to the
Baccalaureate Degree (RFA GM-97- 001) if they meet the eligibility
requirements.  However, a separate application for each RFA is
required.  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 unified institutional plans described in BOTH applications (see
UNIFIED PLAN under SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS). Institutions participating
in more than one application should provided a justification for
Programs developed or modified under this initiative must be
specifically designed to target underrepresented minority graduate
students majoring in the sciences.  For purposes of this
announcement, underrepresented minority students are citizens or
non-citizen nationals of the United States belonging to a particular
ethnic or racial group that has been determined by the grantee
institution to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral
research. Nationally, individuals who have been found to be
underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research include, but
are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native
Americans and Pacific Islanders.  The term "science" is used in this
RFA to mean the natural, physical, and behavioral sciences and
mathematics relevant to biomedical research.
Applications must include a partnership between an institution which
offers the M.S. degree ("MS Institution") as the only post-graduate
degree in the sciences within the participating departments AND has a
significant enrollment of underrepresented minorities, and one
research university providing Ph.D. degree programs in areas relevant
to the biomedical sciences.
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.  Proposals must include
a description of the collaborative arrangement with all participating
Institutions offering both the  M.S. and Ph.D. degrees may not use
funds from this program for graduates of their own M.S. degree
programs to enter their own Ph.D. degree programs, even if the
student is moving from one department, school, or college to another.
The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN
For additional requirements see: SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
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 project period for applications submitted in
response to this RFA may not exceed two years.  Requested direct
costs are not to exceed $320,000 for the two-year period.  Indirect
costs will be paid at eight percent of the direct costs, minus
appropriate exclusions, or actual indirect costs, whichever is less.
A budget for each year should be provided.
This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited competing
applications will not be accepted.
Allowable Costs
If appropriate, the budget request may be divided into two phases: a
planning phase with its attendant budget for the minor adjustment
and/or refinement of the partnership program (not intended to serve
as an opportunity to make major changes to the plan approved by peer
review), and an implementation phase with its attendant budget.  The
planning phase costs should be minimal and not exceed a period of six
months.  Faculty release time for planning and implementation of the
program and faculty travel related to program development may be
The implementation phase may include the costs of administering and
coordinating the partnership program within and between each of the
participants.  Requests for equipment, supplies, travel, and other
expenses should be limited to those necessary for program development
and should be carefully and specifically justified.
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
Bethesda, Maryland for the BRIDGES Program Directors and Coordinators
Meeting each budget year.
Each participating institution is responsible for data acquisition
and data entry into E-STAR each year.  E-STAR (Electronic Student
Tracking and Reporting) is a program developed by NIGMS to facilitate
the administration and evaluation of this program by the grantees and
the agency. The budget should also include funds to defray the costs
of data entry.
Access to E-STAR will be through Internet and the World Wide Web
(minimum computer needs for E-STAR: 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. Any
computer with Netscape will work).
Student remuneration (limited to underrepresented minorities
matriculated at the MS partner institution(s)) through salary/wages
and/or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages for
participation in research experiences may be requested.  Tuition
remission (or other forms of compensation paid in lieu of wages)
expenditures 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.
In summary, allowable costs include, but are not limited to: tuition
remission, supplies, equipment, travel, other expenses, salary,
wages, and fringe benefits for students and faculty.
Stipends, housing, food, tuition (unless as stated above), and fees
are not allowable costs under this program.
An estimated total of $9 million will be available in Fiscal Year
1997 for supporting awards made in response to this solicitation, RFA
GM-97-001, and applications for competing continuations, RFA
GM-97-003.  NIH staff anticipate making a combined total of 20 to 40
new and competing continuation awards for these RFAs using multi-year
funding, if NIH receives sufficient numbers of highly meritorious
applications and sufficient funds for this purpose.
This program seeks to promote the initiation and development of new
transitional programs, as well as the expansion and enhancement of
existing programs between those institutions with departments
offering only the Master"s degree as the graduate academic degree in
the sciences, and that have significant enrollments of
underrepresented minority students, and research universities with
Ph.D. degree programs.  The objective is to facilitate the transition
of underrepresented minority graduate students into Ph.D. programs
after obtaining their M.S. degree.  Students receiving their M.S.
degree in one field of science may pursue a Ph.D. in a different area
so long as it is in a discipline related to the biomedical sciences.
Collaborative agreements should take the form that best fits the
needs and situations of the institutions involved.  The challenge for
the program director, with the help of the participating partners, is
to design a new partnership program, or enhance an existing program,
Additional Information
The "Bridge" programs must be designed with special attention to the
needs and special requirements of the underrepresented minority
graduate students enrolled in the M.S. degree program.  They may
include, but are not limited to, the following elements:
o  providing research opportunities for M.S. students at the Ph.D.
institution or in private industrial laboratories (students may
receive compensation for these activities),
o  establishing a mentoring program for M.S. students with faculty at
the Ph.D. institution,
o  strengthening the research capability of the MS Institution (e.g.,
by faculty research collaborations, joint seminar programs, etc.),
o  enhancing the curriculum of the MS Institution (special courses,
seminars, etc.),
o  enabling and encouraging students from either institution to take
classes at the other institution,
o  guaranteeing acceptance into the participating Ph.D. program(s)
for students completing the M.S. program,
o  academic counseling for M.S. students, with a particular focus on
encouraging students to pursue research careers in the biomedical
o  nontraditional or other professional degree-granting institutions
should describe those modifications or additions to their programs
that would encourage and facilitate Bridge students to enter research
It is an expectation of NIGMS and ORMH that students who enter Ph.D.
programs as a result of this enhancement program will receive
support, if needed, while progressing satisfactorily in Ph.D.
research training programs. Applicants should describe the type(s) of
institutional support that would be available to such students.
Applicants should describe the proposed transition program in detail
and explain how its design will meet the goals of this initiative.
Applicants should describe the criteria to be used in the selection
and retention of the student participants for this program,
applicants should also describe the criteria for selecting
participating faculty. Applicants with an existing transition program
should describe that program and explain how it would be altered to
meet the goals of this initiative.  Applicant should describe the
methods and facilities available for tracking student participants,
and criteria to be used for program evaluation.
Unified Plan
To avoid duplication of effort each institution should develop a
unified plan (which may include the biomedically relevant physical,
natural and behavioral sciences and mathematics) to facilitate the
transfer of its students from the M.S. degree program to the Ph.D.
degree program at another institution.  Applicants should describe
how this proposal fits in with the institution"s overall transition
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
institution"s unified plan.
Other Training Programs
Colleges with any NIH funding such as the Minority Access to Research
Careers (MARC), Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS),
National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants, and/or
project grants, or other sources of funds such as National Science
Foundation grants or Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants, should
define the relationship between those programs and this transition
program.  They should delineate how this enhancement program will
influence their partnerships with the other participants and the
manner in which underrepresented minority students in the transition
program will interact with these other sources of support.
Consortium Agreements
Each applicant institution should delineate appropriate agreements
and consortium arrangements with other 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:
In addition, letters, signed by the appropriate institutional
official and program coordinator, acknowledging participation in the
program are required from each participating institution.
Reporting Requirements
A progress report will be required at the end of the planning phase
(if any) or at the end of the first year, whichever is shorter.  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 the
benefits derived from the partnership program.  For applicants
submitting competing renewals the progress report in the competing
application may satisfy this requirement (E-STAR database will not be
available to the peer review committees, a printout or other format
of this data will be necessary for a competing proposal).
Student Population and Career Tracking
The nature and extent of underrepresented minority student
participation must be thoroughly delineated.  The applicant should
also describe the MS Institution"s success in training its students
in the sciences, including information on the numbers of minority
students receiving the M.S. degree and data on subsequent careers or
education of their graduates.
The applicant should describe a system by which it would monitor and
track the students participating in this program, including their
future careers, in order to evaluate the success of the program.  The
applicant should maintain data to be able to demonstrate the benefits
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 that were not in
the bridges program.  E-STAR may be used to satisfy part of these
Prospective applicants are requested to submit by November 15, 1996 a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
plan, the name, address, and telephone number of the program
director, the identities 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 Dr. Rivera at the address
listed under INQUIRIES.
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) must
be used in applying for these grants.  Applications kits are
available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may
be obtained from the Grants Information Office, Office of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health,
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone
301/710-0267, email:  ASKNIH@odrockm1.od.nih.gov, and from the NIGMS
program administrator listed under INQUIRIES.
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.
Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the Checklist, and three photocopies of the signed application in one
package to:
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to Dr. Americo Rivera, Jr. at the address given
Applications must be received by January 17, 1997. Applications
arriving after that date will be returned to the applicant.
Upon receipt, applications will be administratively reviewed
by NIH staff.  Incomplete and/or unresponsive applications
will be returned to the applicant without further
consideration.  Those applications that are complete and
responsive will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria
stated below for scientific and technical merit by
appropriate peer review groups.  The second level of review
will be provided by the National Advisory General Medical
Sciences Council.
Review criteria:
o  qualifications and experience of the Principal
Investigator and staff to carry out the proposed program,
o  appropriateness of the plans to develop the transition
program to meet the goals of the solicitation,
appropriateness of the existing program and of plans to
modify that program,
o  availability of significant numbers of underrepresented
minority students in the participating science department(s)
who are interested in studying further in biomedical and
health-related fields,
o  evidence of underrepresented minority students
progressing to higher education in the sciences,
o  appropriateness of the system to track future course of
program participants and monitor the effectiveness of the
o  budget and cost-effectiveness of the project including
appropriateness to the scope of the program, benefit to the
students, number of students involved, appropriateness of
the of resources allocated to MS institution(s), and
responsible and prudent senior personnel costs,
o  evidence of institutional commitment, for each
institution, and strength of the collaborative efforts
between institutions to foster professional development of
underrepresented minority faculty and to train
underrepresented minority students in the biomedical
o  appropriateness of the administrative plan for managing
the proposed program, including adequacy of space and other
institutional resources.
o  appropriateness of applicant"s plan for the evaluation of
the impact the Bridges program has made (before and after)
on the institutions and the underrepresented minor students
and faculty.
The anticipated date of award is September 30, 1997.  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 PHS
policy.  Awards will be administered under the PHS Grants
Policy Statement.
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 the
program administrator:
Americo Rivera, Jr., Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Room Number 2AS-13H
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
telephone (301) 594-0533
FAX (301) 480-2004
Internet:  RiveraA@GM1.NIGMS.NIH.GOV
Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:
Ms Annette Hanopole
Grants Management Specialist
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Room Number 2AN-50J
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
telephone (301) 594-3928
FAX: (301) 480-3423
Internet:  HanopolA@GM1.NIGMS.NIH.GOV
Awards are authorized by sections 301 and 405 of the Public
Health Service Act, as amended, and administered under PHS
grants policies and Federal Regulations 45 CFR Part 74 or 45
CFR Part 92.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order
12372 or Health Systems Agency review.  This program is
described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.960, Special Minority Initiatives Program.

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