Release Date:  March 30, 1999

RFA: TW-99-001


Fogarty International Center
Office of Research on Minority Health

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: April 9, 1999
Application Receipt Date: May 7, 1999


Since 1993 the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the Office of Research on
Minority Health (ORMH) have jointly supported scientific training programs that
offer international research training opportunities to qualified minority
undergraduates and graduate/medical students underrepresented in biomedical and
behavioral research careers.  Innovative programs that provide international
research and training are supported to:
1. Encourage under-represented minority students to pursue biomedical research
2. Broaden minority research efforts and scientific training to encompass
international health problems.
3. Stimulate novel approaches to studying health problems that disproportionately
affect underserved groups in the U.S. or in developing countries.
4. Assist minority scientists to participate in international collaborative
relationships and work effectively in the rapidly evolving global scientific

The Minority International Research Training (MIRT) program is a component in the
long-term National Institutes of Health (NIH) strategy to decrease health
disparities between minority and majority groups in the U.S.

This request for applications (RFA) to support MIRT programs at U.S. colleges and
universities contains revisions that supersede all requirements in previous MIRT
RFAs.  The most significant change is the emphasis on providing international
research training experiences for undergraduate students.  Proposed programs may
also include graduate and medical students but should restrict faculty research
to activities associated with mentorship of research trainees.  Priority will be
given to funding MIRT program proposals that emphasize research training related
to health disparities among under-served populations in the U.S. or in developing
countries.  Both new and competing renewal applications are welcome.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of  "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This Request for Applications (RFA),
Minority International Research Training (MIRT) Grants, is related to one or more
of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of  "Healthy
People 2000" at http://www.crisny.org/health/us/health7.html.


The applicant institution and its associated consortia institutions must be
colleges or universities that offer baccalaureate degrees in fields relevant to
biomedical science.  Only one application per institution will be accepted for
review.  A consortium can be formed by the applicant institution that has an
active international scientific research effort with institutions with limited
research and training activities for the purpose of recruiting eligible student
and faculty participants with priority given to including Historically Black
Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions or Tribal Colleges and

Participant students and faculty must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Applications will be accepted for programs which recruit participants from
institutions with enrollments that include substantial numbers of students and
faculty who are members of socially or economically disadvantaged groups who are
underrepresented in careers in biomedical science.  Studies show groups that are
underrepresented in biomedical careers in the U.S. include but are not limited
to African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific
Islanders, persons with disabilities and women.  Programs should recruit
participants who could most benefit from a financially supported opportunity for
international scientific research experience.   Programs should focus on
supporting students and faculty to pursue biomedical careers who will most likely
contribute to the elimination of health disparities that exist among
disadvantaged populations in the U.S.  Applicants should define the nature and
extent of the eligible students and faculty members of underrepresented groups
available for recruitment to the program at their institution and consortium

Undergraduate Participants

Proposed programs should give undergraduate research training priority by
selecting approximately 75% undergraduate participants out of at least ten
participants per year.  Undergraduate participants should have completed two
years of coursework in a major related to biomedical science, have a minimum GPA
of 3.0 and/or show other evidence of exceptional scientific interest and talent.

Graduate and Medical Student Participants

Graduate and medical student participants can be supported to pursue research
described in a proposal submitted as part of an application to the institution's
program.  Priority should be given to students who wish to perform studies
especially pertinent to health disparities among underserved groups in the U.S.
or in developing countries.  Programs should support graduate students who have
passed their Ph.D. candidacy exams and medical students who show evidence of
commitment to pursuing a career in research.  Graduate and medical students must
be involved in original data collection, not routine clinical or lab work,
coursework or solely learning scientific techniques.

U.S. Faculty Participants

The program director should be a full-time faculty member at the applicant
institution and principal investigator for the application.  The program director
will be responsible for selecting and matching student participants and faculty
mentors, screening training plans for foreign sites and coordinating the
activities of the program in which all trainees participate.  The program
director is also responsible for coordinating evaluations of program participants
and submitting annual progress reports and trainee tracking data to the Fogarty
International Center.  Therefore, program directors should show evidence of
experience at administering multifaceted international research programs
involving significant student training activity.

Other U.S. faculty participants who will serve as mentors for student
participants must have doctoral degrees and full-time appointments at the
applicant institution or at an institution in an associated consortium. U.S.
faculty mentors should show evidence of their ongoing collaboration with the
proposed foreign training site institution including sources of funding for
research conducted there and recent publications resulting from that research. 
If significant U.S. faculty mentorship is thought necessary at the foreign sites,
the applicant should explain why the foreign collaborator is unable to mentor
MIRT students at the foreign institution.  Proposed mentors should also provide
evidence of experience in successfully training undergraduate or graduate
students in international research.  Mentors should submit a proposed training
plan for two or more student participants describing the research skills to be
taught and estimating the time that will be spent mentoring these students in
research and training activities before, during and after travel to the foreign
site.  Students must be involved in original data collection, not routine
clinical or lab work.  If a minority faculty member is not available, any faculty
member who meets the eligibility criteria may serve as a mentor.

Foreign Faculty Participants

International research training should be planned at universities or research
institutions where U.S. faculty participants have ongoing collaborative research
relationships.  Foreign research collaborators with doctoral degrees and full-
time positions can serve as mentors for student training at the foreign site(s). 
Foreign collaborators should provide a letter describing their institutional
research effort and productivity in the student project research field and
documenting the sources of funding for this research.  In order to build ongoing
international collaborations, it is recommended that groups of two or more
student trainees visit the same foreign research site(s) associated with a
program each year during the life span of the award unless FIC approves a well
justified change of sites.


This RFA will use the NIH institutional training grant (T37) award mechanism. 
Responsibility for the planning, direction and execution of the proposed project
will be solely that of the applicant.  The total project period for an
application submitted in response to this RFA should not exceed four years.  This
RFA will be used to solicit applications for peer review once in FY 1999 and once
again in FY 2000.  The anticipated award date for the FY 1999 review is September
30, 1999.  Each training grant award must not exceed a total of $200,000 per
year, including direct and indirect costs.  Applicants are encouraged to propose
the most effective program with a well justified budget most appropriate to their
institutional setting.

Allowable Costs

1. During the training period at the foreign site, approximately 10-12 weeks,
stipends of $800 per month may be requested for junior or senior undergraduates
and stipends of $1225 per month may be requested for graduate and medical

2. For U.S. faculty mentors, stipends of up to $1250 per month may be requested
for the training period, approximately 10-12 weeks, if no other federal salary
support is available during the time requested to work at the foreign site.

3. Funds to support student research costs (such as lab supplies, computer
access, small equipment) at the foreign site may be requested for up to a maximum
level of $600 per month per student.  The anticipated costs should be itemized
and justification should be provided as to why these expenses cannot be covered
by funding that already supports faculty research at the foreign site.

4. Funds for tuition, fees and self-only medical insurance expenses associated
with the international research experience may be requested up to a maximum level
of $1500 per student participant. Tuition at the U.S. institution for trainees
during travel to the foreign site will be allowed only if such charges are
required of all persons in similar training status at that institution.  Bench
fees at foreign institutions are allowed in the category of tuition.  Tuition for
specific coursework related to the project, such as language courses at the U.S.
or foreign institution can be supported.  The program may provide funds to cover
fees for passports, visas, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended
vaccinations and prophylactic drugs.  Students and faculty should be required to
have medical insurance coverage while travelling to a foreign site.  If
institutional or personal medical insurance does not cover participants, self-
only medical insurance may be charged to the grant.  All expenses in the category
of tuition, fees and insurance should be itemized and justified.

5. Foreign living expenses of up to $1000 per month may be requested for
participants.  Budgets should provide a list of costs and description of living
conditions.  Additional funds (up to $2000 per month) may be requested for U.S.
faculty mentors with thorough justification of increased need.

6. Economy class round trip airfare on U.S. carriers (to the maximum extent
possible) and local ground transportation to the foreign site may be requested.

7. Travel expenses may be requested for short-term visits (less than 1 month) of
foreign faculty mentors to the U.S. applicant institution or associated consortia
institutions to participate in MIRT program associated student training and
related collaborative research activities such as planning, writing scientific
manuscripts or grants, etc.  Short-term travel expenses may include economy class
round trip airfare on U.S. carriers (to the maximum extent possible) plus per
diem at U.S. government rates.

8. Support for long-term foreign faculty visitation to the U.S. applicant
institution or associated consortia institutions or U.S. faculty participant
visitation to the foreign institution for the purpose of collaborative research
will require specific approval of the Fogarty International Center.  Approval of
funds up to $10,000 to cover the costs of travel and research will be based on
review of the merit of the proposed studies summarized in 1-2 pages submitted by
the collaborators within the application (depending on available funds).

9. The applicant institution may request up to ten percent of total direct costs
to support the principal investigator and/or other personnel for administrative
efforts related to the MIRT program.  The administrative responsibilities and
time commitment for personnel receiving salary support should be thoroughly

10. Funds may be requested for administrative expenses such as photocopying, long
distance phone/fax costs, etc. directly related to the MIRT program.

11. Funds may be requested to cover expenses related to MIRT program evaluation
requirements such as internet access, computer software and hardware needed for
Web based reporting and tracking of student trainees.

12. Funds should be requested (flight plus per diem for two days for each year
of the award) for MIRT program directors to attend an annual network meeting in
Washington D.C. sponsored by Fogarty International Center and the Office of
Research on Minority Health.

13. Funds may be requested to support MIRT students to present their research
findings at national scientific conferences.

14. Facilities and administrative expenses (indirect costs) should be included
in the budget request at a rate of eight percent of allowable direct costs.


The Fogarty International Center and the Office of Research on Minority Health
intend to commit approximately $3,300,000 to fund 20 to 25 new and/or competing
renewal awards in FY 1999.  $1,500,000 is expected to be available to fund 8 to
10 awards in FY 2000 in response to the next MIRT RFA announcement.  An applicant
may request a project period of up to four years and an annual budget of up to
$200,000 total costs.  Because the nature and scope of the projects proposed
vary, it is anticipated that the size of each award will vary.  Although the
financial plans of the Fogarty International Center and the Office of Research
on Minority Health provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA
are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient
number of meritorious applications.  At this time, it is not known if competing
renewal applications beyond FY 2000 will be accepted and/or if this RFA will be
reissued after FY 2000.


The Minority International Research Training grants are designed to offer
research training opportunities to qualified eligible students and faculty to
participate in international biomedical and behavioral research programs abroad. 
The proposed training program is expected to increase awareness of international
research issues and opportunities, acquaint students with a range of career
opportunities in biomedical research and encourage participants to pursue post-
baccalaureate degrees and careers in biomedical research especially related to
minority health problems.  The program is also expected to enhance the teaching
efforts and international collaborative research activities of the faculty

The following specific objectives have been identified based on the overall goals
for the MIRT program:

1. To support research experience for qualified eligible undergraduate students
in international laboratories under the mentorship of outstanding U.S. and
foreign scientists including:

-Training in experimental design, interpretation of data and the use of current
scientific equipment and analytical methods.

-Knowledge of the scientific literature associated with their projects,
biomedical research ethics and cultural aspects affecting scientific and medical
issues at the foreign site.

-Experience in the written and oral presentation of scientific research.

-Encouragement to complete a baccalaureate degree and enter graduate or
professional school to pursue a biomedical research career.

2. To support eligible graduate and medical student training in an international
setting that provides unique opportunities for research relevant to their
dissertation or clinical studies, contributes to the completion of advanced
biomedical degrees and results in scientific conference presentations and

3. To facilitate research collaborations between minority scientists and
scientists at centers of biomedical research abroad resulting in expanded
research capabilities, scientific conference presentations, publications and
subsequent grant applications for continuing research support.

The Fogarty International Center and Office of Minority Health Research recognize
that there will be significant differences in the institutional environments,
participants and approaches to international research collaboration among
applicant programs.  Therefore, applicants should define the goals, methods to
achieve these goals and specific measurable objectives (such as recruitment
success, scientific productivity, career outcomes, etc.) to assess their program
with reference to the overall goals described above.


Program Evaluation

The Program Director will be required to interact regularly with Fogarty
International Center staff who will closely monitor the progress of each training
grant program through in-depth reviews of annual progress reports, network
meetings and site visits.

Applications should include a description of how the program will be evaluated
by its participants and how the scientific training and research progress of all
participants will be monitored.

A progress report will be required at the end of each budget year.  Data on each
current and previous participant will be submitted via the Internet to a web
based tracking system that will be used to monitor the impact of the program on
the careers of these participants.  Therefore, applicants should describe their
capability to monitor and submit data on current participants as well as previous
participants (including those from consortium institutions) via the Internet. 
Details of the required format for the narrative progress report and instructions
for submission of data to the Web tracking system will be provided by the Fogarty
International Center when grants are awarded.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Applicants should describe plans for mandatory teaching of responsible conduct
in biomedical research to all trainees including the topics, format,
participation of faculty, instructional materials, and the frequency and duration
of the training provided.  If the plan is unacceptable to application reviewers,
the application will not be considered for an award until an acceptable plan is

Protection of Research Subjects

Applicants should be aware that provisions for the protection of human research
subjects and laboratory animals must be met in research done in both domestic and
foreign institutions including obtaining any necessary single project assurances. 
Applicants should see Title 45 CFR, Part 46 for information concerning Department
of Health and Human Services regulations for the protection of human subjects and
the PHS Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  These are
available from the office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes
of Health, 6100 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7507, Rockville, MD 20892-7507


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their
sub-populations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling
rationale and justification is 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 Guideline 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, available on the web at:

For international research, the frame of reference for inclusion of minorities
in research is whether the participants would be considered to be minorities in
the U.S. population.  Programs are encouraged to include adequate representation
of women in selecting foreign  and U.S. participants.


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:

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.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a
descriptive title of the proposed research, the name, address, email address,
telephone and fax number of the Program Director, the identities of other key
personnel and participating institutions and the number and title of the RFA in
response to which the application may be submitted.  Although a letter of intent
is not required, is not binding and does not enter into the review of a
subsequent application, the information that it contains allows the Fogarty
International staff to estimate the potential review workload and avoid conflict
of interest in the review.  The letter of intent is to be sent to the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES by the receipt date listed in the heading of this


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in applying
for these grants.  Applicants should use the additional instructions for
preparing institutional NRSA applications on pages V1-V7 in Form 398 when
preparing their applications. These forms are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and 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: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

The RFA label available 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 title and number must
be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must
be marked.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the Checklist
and four signed photocopies in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, one additional copies of the application must be sent

Barbara Sina, Ph.D.
Division of International Training and Research
Fogarty International Center
31 Center Drive, Room B2C39, MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892-2220
Telephone: (301) 496-1653
FAX: (301) 402-0779
Email: barbara_sina@nih.gov

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will be
returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The CSR
will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already
reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of substantial revisions of an
application already reviewed, but such applications must include an introduction
addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the Center for
Scientific Review and responsiveness by the Fogarty International Center. 
Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will be returned to the applicant
without further consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for
educational and scientific merit of the proposed training by an appropriate peer
review group convened by the Center for Scientific Review in accordance with the
review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, the peer
review group will discuss all applications, assign a priority score and provide
a written critique that will be sent to the applicants. Applications then receive
a second level of review by Fogarty International Center Advisory Board before
funding decisions will be made.

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 their
written and oral comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following
aspects of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed
research 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,
weighing 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
impact and thus deserve a high priority score.


1. Adequacy of the proposed program to provide international research training
experiences likely to encourage participants to pursue biomedical research

2. Adequacy of the proposed program to enhance minority scientist participation
in international collaborative research relationships

3. Adequacy of proposed program to address health disparities in populations in
the U.S. or in developing countries.


Adequacy of the student selection process including:

-A recruiting and application process that captures a pool of the best qualified
eligible undergraduates (and graduate/medical students, if included) who could
most benefit from an international research experience in terms of encouraging
their pursuit of a biomedical research career.

-If applicable, adequacy of the plans for the management and participation of the
students and faculty of the consortium institutions in the program.

-Methods and criteria for selecting student and faculty participants

-Process of matching students to mentors and research projects.

2. Adequacy of pre-travel trainee instruction in:

-Biomedical research ethics, particularly considerations associated with the
projects at the foreign site(s).

-Scientific preparation of the student participants (in lab safety, technical
writing, statistical methods, computer program training, scientific literature
related to their research, theoretical basis of techniques used, etc.).

-Cultural preparation (familiarity with foreign site scientists, foreign
language, international studies, etc.).

3. Adequacy of the proposed research at the foreign site(s) for student and
faculty participants including:

-Training schedules and research skills taught and other mentored activities.

-Qualifications of the program director (graduate degrees, areas of research,
quality and quantity of publications, expertise in training).

-Qualifications of the U.S. and foreign mentors (graduate degrees, areas of
research, quality and quantity of publications, expertise in training).

-Assistance with common student trainee problems (such as health and safety
concerns, social isolation and poor communication or lack of regular constructive
critique from mentors, etc.).

4. Adequacy of the post-travel activity including:

-Analysis of research samples or data collected.

-Summarizing scientific results of the training experience in required written
reports and oral presentations by the student and faculty participants.

-Written evaluation of quality of overseas research experience by student and
faculty participants.

5. Adequacy of the methods used by the program to monitor the impact of the
international research training experience on the careers of the student and
faculty participants including the capability to report evaluation data to NIH
via a web based tracking system (Internet computer access, appropriately trained


1. Overall creativity of overall design for providing international research
training experience.

2. Introduction of new ways to enhance minority scientist participation in
international collaborative research.

3. Novelty of approaches to encourage the study of health problems that
disproportionately affect underserved populations in the U.S. and in developing


Adequacy of the qualifications of the principal investigator, U.S. and foreign
faculty participants to direct the international research training activities of
the projects and act as effective mentors for the trainees.


Adequacy of the foreign site(s) selected for the research described including
sources of support for the research training there.

The following criteria will also apply for applications for competitive renewal:

1. Progress and accomplishments of previous undergraduate and graduate student
trainees such as completions of degrees, pursuit of biomedical research careers,
presentations at scientific meetings, co-authored peer reviewed publications,

2. Productivity of previous faculty participants including number of students
mentored, expanded research capabilities, scientific conference presentations,
peer reviewed publications derived from MIRT funding, grant applications
submitted for research support, etc.

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

1. If pertinent, the adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and
their subgroups and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be

2. If pertinent, the adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or
the environment to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project
proposed in the application.

3. Appropriateness of the budget estimates in relation to the proposed research
training plans.

4. Overall plan for assessing the impact of the program on the future careers of
the trainees.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    April 9, 1999
Application Receipt Date:         May 7, 1999
Peer Review Date:                 July 29, 1999
Council Review:                   September 1999
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 1999


The criteria that will be used to make the award decisions include the
scientific, technical and educational merit of the application as determined by
peer review, the likelihood that the proposal will contribute to the achievement
of the MIRT program's objectives and the availability of funds.


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:

Barbara Sina, Ph.D.
Division of International Training and Research
Fogarty International Center
Building 31 Room B2C39
31 Center Drive MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-1653
FAX: (301) 402-0779
Email: barbara_sina@nih.gov

Direct Inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Susan Bettendorf
Division of International Training and Research
Fogarty International Center
Building 31 Room B2C39
31 Center Drive MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-1653
FAX: (301) 402-0779
Email: susan_bettendorf@nih.gov


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.106.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act,
Title IV. Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241
and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42
CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  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 portions 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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