National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Funding Opportunity Title
Bridges to Baccalaureate Program (R25)
R25 Education Projects
Reissue of PAR-12-277
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) encourages Research Education Grant (R25) applications that propose research education programs intended to enhance the pool of community college students from diverse backgrounds nationally underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences who go on to research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and will be available to participate in NIH-funded research. Key strategies are to increase transfer and increase retention to BA/BS graduation in biomedical and behavioral sciences. 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.
August 14, 2013
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
September 18, 2013
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)
Application Due Date(s)
(Extended to November 1, 2013 per NOT-OD-14-003), Originally October 18, 2013; September 25, 2014; September 25, 2015, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
AIDS Application Due Date(s)
Scientific Merit Review
February/March 2014, February/March 2015, February/March 2016
Advisory Council Review
May 2014, May 2015, May 2016
Earliest Start Date
July 2014, July 2015, July 2016
September 26, 2015
Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (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
The mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is to conduct research and support research training to develop a highly skilled workforce. To compete successfully the United States needs a diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce that is well educated and trained. Despite gains, there remain significant gaps in the educational and research opportunities for individuals from backgrounds nationally underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences (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). A recent report from an Advisory Committee to the NIH Director on Diversity of the Biomedical Research Workforce indicates that achieving diversity in the biomedical research workforce remains an important problem that must be actively addressed (see http://acd.od.nih.gov/dbr.htm). Increased diversity in the biomedical research workforce will:
Diversity in science matters: social scientists have long observed the ability of heterogeneous groups to derive a greater number of alternatives and perspectives that led to more complete and inventive solutions, which are critical for scientific innovation and problem solving (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 15534225).
The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program provides an opportunity to develop new, or expand existing, effective institutional programs aimed at a key 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 increase the supply of biomedical and behavioral science graduates, a necessary step in enhancing the diversity of the NIH-funded biomedial workforce.
Community colleges enroll over 8 million students for credit, and this number represents 45% of all undergraduates at U.S. institutions. Futhermore, community colleges are very diverse: more than 40% of community college students are from underrepresented (UR) groups (American Association of Community Colleges Fact Sheet 2013). Thus, efforts to enhance the inclusion of community college students in biomedical and behaviorial sciences fields and increase transition to baccalaureate degree programs has the potential to reach a large number of undergraduate students, regardless of their backgrounds. 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 long-term goal of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is to enhance 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 enhance the pool 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.
In recent years, at least 70% of Bridges-supported students, upon or before graduation from the associate degree program, transfer to baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences, and at least 50% of transferring Bridges students successfully completed their baccalaureate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. NIGMS anticipates that Bridges grantees will improve on these outcomes. NIGMS also anticipates that institutional transfer rates and degree completion will improve over baseline.
Bridges applications are intended to reflect the plans and priorities of the participating institutions as well as the collective plans and priorities of the partnerships/consortia. 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 their science graduates and science programs. Collaborative agreements should be designed to fit the needs and situations of the institutions involved.
The proposed Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program must select and employ well-integrated strategies, rooted in education research, that provide students what they need to progress to the next stage of the science education pathway. For example, analysis of successful science programs by Jolly, Campbell, and Perlman entitled “Engagement, Capacity and Continuity: A Trilogy for Student Success” (GE Foundation, September 2004) concluded that three factors must be present for students to succeed in the sciences and be able to continue in the education pipeline. These factors are: 1) student engagement in the sciences, i.e., awareness, interest and motivation; 2) knowledge and skills needed to advance to increasingly more rigorous content in the sciences and quantitative disciplines; and 3) presence of a well-designed system where the skills, knowledge and information that students need to move to more advanced levels are provided at each earlier, less advanced level. These three factors are interdependent and each is necessary.
The Bridges to Baccalaureate Program recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each application must conduct a self-assessment of each participating institution 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. The four-year partner institution should demonstrate that it has the resources needed to support Bridges students upon and after transfer, to facilitate the student's successful baccalaureate degree completion.
A new requirement for this FOA is a multiple PD/PI application (See Sections III.1 and IV.2). The rationale for this change is to increase the likelihood of establishing true, equitable partnerships among institutions.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
Application Types Allowed
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (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 limited to $300,000 direct costs per year.
Award Project Period
The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project 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).
Bridges applications must designate a PD/PI from each participating institution (see Sections III.1 and IV.2). Salary support for program administration, namely, the PDs/PIs, program coordinator(s), or administrative/clerical support is limited to 20% of the total direct costs annually. 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.
Support for peer mentors or peer supplemental course instructors who are full time, third or fourth year undergraduate students at the 4-year institution or former Bridges students who have transferred to the 4-year institution, is allowed. Salary support for faculty mentors is not allowed.
Participants costs must be itemized in the proposed budget.
Applicants may request Bridges student participant 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 the institutional pay scale.
Active Bridges student participants in good standing may receive up to two years of compensation as follows:
This support in the form of salary/wages is limited to Bridges student participants who begin their post-secondary education at the associate degree-granting institution(s).
In order for the Bridges students to receive this compensation, they must meet eligibility requirements for the program and be actively participating in student-development and research education activities.
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.
Costs for collection and analysis of program data are 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).
Allowable travel includes the following: costs for faculty research mentors 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 research development; costs for Bridges student travel to domestic scientific conferences; costs for travel (mileage expenses) of Bridges students to participate in special research 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 for use at the institution where research will be conducted may be requested (not to exceed $1,500/student/year).
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), 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
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 and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))
All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account and should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate an existing account with the applicant organization’s eRA Commons account. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources
necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal
Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) 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.
Applicants must designate a PD/PI from each participating institution (grantee and partner institutions). Refer to the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
The PDs/PIs must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institutions, and should have student counseling, academic administrative and/or scientific research experience. The PDs/PIs will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:
The 2-year institutions in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program must offer programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences that either lead to an associate's degree or faciltiate transfer to a baccalaureate degree program in biomedical or behavioral sciences. The 2-year institution must have a pool, as determined by the applicant institution, of associate's or prospective transfer students from UR groups nationally underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Institutions offering both associate's and baccalaureate degrees may not form partnerships within their own institution for graduates of their own associate's degree programs to enter their own baccalaureate programs, even if a student is moving to another department, school, or college. The program seeks to promote and enhance partnerships BETWEEN institutions.
Each proposed Bridges to the Baccalareate Program must consist of a partnership/consortium composed of at least two institutions, including the lead applicant institution. One must be an institution that offers the assocate’s degree as the primary degree in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Another institution must be a college or university granting the baccalaureate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Two different scenarios are anticipated for these partnerships: a) one baccalaureate degree-granting institution as the lead applicant institution partnering with one or more associate's degree-granting institutions, or b) one associate’s degree-granting institution as the lead applicant institution partnering with one or more baccalaureate degree-granting institutions. An eligible applicant or partner institution may participate in more than one Bridges to the Baccalaureate partnership if such multiple partnerships are strongly justified by the potential to magnify the programs’ and institutions' outcomes.
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 student participants are those students who will receive support in the form of salaries/wages under this program. Student participants must be U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals or permanent residents, and be an individual from a background nationally underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
For the purpose of this FOA, underrepresented individuals include the following:
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 Americans, 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.
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.
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required 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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.
Instructions for Application Submission
The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional 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.
Preceptor/Faculty Biosketches : Biosketches for all proposed preceptors/faculty must be included in the Other Attachments sections.
Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Tables 1-4 to provide the requested information. Sample Table 5 is provided on the website but is used only for noncompeting progress reports and not for renewal applications (See section VI.3). Table contents are as follows:
Sample Table 1. Active Undergraduate Biomedical Science-Related Academic Programs. Indicate the title of each undergraduate student development/research training program in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines that is relevant to preparing and graduating underrepresented students. Provide start and end dates of award(s), funding sources, academic level targeted (first year, second year, etc.), and list which disciplines are supported by each program.
Sample Table 2. Prospective Faculty Research Mentors at Each Participating Institution. Provide information for up to 10 potential faculty mentors who have agreed to provide research experiences to Bridges students during the academic year and summer.
Sample Table 3. Institutional Baseline Data for Student Enrollment, Transfer, and Degree Completion in Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences-Related Disciplines. For each participating institution, provide the number of students enrolled in associate/undergraduate degree programs; the number of transfers from each 2-year institution, and the number of students from each 2-year institution who completed a BA/BS degree within 6 years of enrolling at the first institution. Provide percentage of UR and non-UR students in each category. Provide the average number per year based on the previous 5-year period.
Sample Table 4. Institutional and Participant Outcome Data on Enrollment, Transfer and Degree Completion in Biomedical and Behavioral-Related Disciplines. Provide the following information for each institution:
The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional modifications:
Key Personnel must include the PDs/PIs 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 additional modifications:
The 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 the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for further instruction regarding the use of the subaward budget.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
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 underrepresented 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.
The Specific Aims may include, but are not limited to the following: preparation for research participation; strengthening of alliances and articulation agreements; improvement of students’ retention rate; improvement of students’ quantitative skills and academic achievement; and an increase in the total number of students transferring to and successfully completing the baccalaureate degree in biomedical and behavioral sciences. (See also the Center for Community College Student Engagement's "A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success"  for additional information on program components.)
Research Education Program Plan
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, 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.
Proposed Research Education Program. 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.
Provide a brief description of the following to address the anticipated value-added of the Bridges program to participating institutions:
Other programmtic elements:
Describe the criteria and procedures for identification, selection and retention of students into the Bridges program and for the selection of participating faculty. Provide programmatic detail on the proposed developmental activities that address the needs and requirements (as identified by the institutional self-assessments) of 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. 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. Discuss any perceived impediments to implementing the proposed activities and alternative strategies to achieve the specific aims.
Student development activities may include essential research education such as research design workshops, and research classroom activities that form mandatory components of the program.
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.
Institutional Environment and Commitment. 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:
Program Directors/Principal Investigators. Describe arrangements for administration of the program, provide evidence that the PDs/PIs are 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 Bridges program requires a PD/PI from each participating institution, and a multi-PD/PI plan is required (see Section III.1). The PDs/PIs assume responsibility for the overall execution of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, and are typically responsible for the selection of students and the coordination and implementation of developmental research education and mentoring activities. One PD/PI should be designated as the contact PD/PI. PDs/PIs are expected to coordinate efforts to prepare and submit, in a timely manner, the required reports, e.g., annual progress reports, changes in program activities if any, etc. The PDs/PIs work with the program evaluator to monitor and evaluate the progress of individual program elements and the overall functioning of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program.
Program Faculty/Staff. 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 and research activities. Clearly delineate the roles and expectations of participating faculty and/or program coordinators from each institution. Provide a list of faculty research mentors/preceptors and describe each faculty member's research area and current research funding, using the suggested table format in Sample Table 2, if desired.
Provide biosketches of all faculty who will serve as research preceptors/mentors or instructors. Biosketches for all proposed preceptors/faculty must be included in the Other Attachments sections. These biosketches DO NOT count toward the 25-page limit.
Program Participants. 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 five year period) on the enrollment, transfer and graduation of students in biomedical and behavioral sciences-related disciplines. Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Table 3 to provide baseline data. See below for sample table contents.
Progress Report (for Renewal Application). For renewal applications, a detailed Progress Report must be included. Applications with more than one previous funding cycle must provide information on each of 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 impact of the Bridges program on the institution as a result of the program-supported activities in areas such as courses/curricular enhancements, faculty and student development, developing alliances and articulation agreements, increases in student retention rate, improvement of student academic achievement, and increases in numbers of students transferring to and successfully completing baccalaureate and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Applicants are encouraged to use Sample Table 4 to provide data on student outcomes. See below for sample table contents.
Describe in the Progress Report 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.
for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research. 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 PDs/PIs must provide a strong justification for its exclusion.
Evaluation 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.
Letters of Support
Applications must include a Consortium Agreement letter of intent or commitment (attach it at line item for 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, and all program directors (PD/PIs). The institutional business official's signature on the letter indicates that all parties agree with 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://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2012/nihgps_ch15.htm.
Resource Sharing Plans
Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies(GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications
before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application
corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.
Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies) using other electronic submission systems. 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 before the due date 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.
The following summarizes the non-allowable costs under the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program:
Other costs prohibited by OMB Circular A-21. See: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a021/a021.html
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (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 SF424(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 System for Award Management (SAM). 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 are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.
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
Reviewers will provide an overall impact 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? In what ways will the proposed program produce significant improvement in the academic preparation and competitiveness of students for successful completion of baccalaureate degrees?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers appropriately trained and well suited to the proposed research education program? Are the PDs/PIs capable of providing administrative and/or scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proprosed research 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? As a multiple PD/PI project, do the investigators, 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? Is there an adequate number of research-active faculty members at the participating institution for mentored research experiences?
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 participant pool?
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 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 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
Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).
Resource Sharing Plans
Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).
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 the NIGMS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group 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/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique)
via the eRA
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, SAM 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 or RPPR) 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 are encouraged to use Sample Table 4 and Sample Table 5 to report Institutional/Bridges Students Outcomes and Current Status of Bridges Program participants, respectively. See section IV.2 for more information.
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 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:
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons
registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system
problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions
regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
Michelle R.J. Hamlet, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
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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