NEUROSCIENCE SCHOLARS PROGRAM RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2002 RFA: NS-03-002 (Reissued as PAR-07-456) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/) LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE: October 21, 2002 APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: November 21, 2002 THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION o Purpose of this RFA o Research Objectives o Mechanism(s) of Support o Funds Available o Eligible Institutions o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators o Where to Send Inquiries o Letter of Intent o Submitting an Application o Peer Review Process o Review Criteria o Receipt and Review Schedule o Award Criteria o Required Federal Citations PURPOSE OF THIS RFA Data from a survey from the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (2000) indicate that only 8% of tenure-track faculty are from racial/ethnic minority populations. The NIH "Program of Action to Address Health Disparities" recognizes that success in building an effective biomedical research infrastructure, and our ability to deliver research benefits to at-risk populations requires a commitment to training and supporting scientists from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) invites applications for Education Projects for Minority Neuroscience Scholars Programs. The purpose of these Education Projects is to enable the grantee organization to provide research and related experiences for undergraduate, graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows and other junior scientists from minority groups to broaden their skills and enhance their career development opportunities. Funding support for Neuroscience Scholars Programs should lead to increased recruitment, mentoring, training and retention of minorities in the scientific and technology workforce. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES This initiative seeks to support innovative education programs that provide minority neuroscientists within scientific and/or professional societies and organizations with enhanced research and training activities to strengthen their career potential. Such programs may include, but are not limited to: o Travel awards to permit attendance at relevant national meetings (e.g., Gordon conferences, FASEB meetings) and important seminars in their research area, o Travel awards for scholars to participate in brief research training and career development opportunities in the extramural neuroscience community, o Tuition and travel awards to summer workshops such as Cold Spring Harbor, Woods Hole, etc. o Development/enhancement of opportunities for students and young scientists to establish mentor relationships with prominent neuroscience investigators, o Visiting tours for graduate students from minority institutions to meet faculty at various institutions, o Leadership workshops, o Scientific retreats organized by and for students, o Rotations with journal publishers to gain insight into scientific publication processes at the editorial/review level The NIH realizes that quality mentorship is critical to the recruitment and retention of minority scientists. Therefore, this initiative welcomes programs aimed at improving the caliber of mentorship. For example, o Workshops to train mentors (e.g. summer training course or a workshop accompanying a scientific meeting in which case-based scenarios may be used to educate mentors on various relevant ethical, professional and cultural issues facing students today). o Cultural sensitivity training o Development of web-based mentoring tools In addition, applicants are encouraged to develop electronic communication networks to allow participants to communicate easily with each other and with relevant program staff at the NINDS. As a component of the overall program, electronic networks also may be used to provide information about NINDS programs of interest to the participants, to identify research funding and training opportunities for them, and to facilitate recruitment of scholars for educational and employment positions. MECHANISM OF SUPPORT This RFA will use the NIH Education Project (R25) funding mechanism. The R25 mechanism is intended to develop and/or implement programs as they relate to one or more of the areas of education, information, training, technical assistance, coordination, or evaluation. As an applicant you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project. This RFA is a one-time solicitation. The earliest anticipated award date is July 1, 2003. The NINDS may re-issue this RFA in the future if there is continued need to develop such educational programs. FUNDS AVAILABLE The NINDS intends to commit approximately $1.4M in FY 2003 to fund approximately 5 new and/or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA. An applicant may request a project period of up to 5 years and direct costs of up to $250,000 per year. Because the nature and scope of the proposed educational activities will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS You may submit (an) application(s) if your institution has any of the following characteristics: o For-profit or non-profit organizations o Scientific and/or Professional organizations that focus on basic, clinical or translational science o Domestic The advisory board of the society or organization should identify a member to serve as Principal Investigator and work with them to develop an application for support. The advisory board is also charged with oversight responsibilities during the award period. INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed educational activity is invited to work with an eligible organization to develop an application. The proposed Principal Investigator must hold a basic or health professional degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent), and have clearly demonstrated training/mentoring credentials. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for NIH programs. WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/programmatic, peer review, and financial or grants management issues: o Direct your questions about scientific/programmatic issues to: Gayathri Jeyarasasingam, Ph.D. Program Director Office of Minority Health and Research OD/NINDS/NIH Neuroscience Center, Suite 2149 Bethesda, MD 20892-9535 Telephone: (301) 496-3102 Email: gaya@nih.gov o Direct your questions about peer review issues to: Chief, Scientific Review Branch National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 6001 Executive Boulevard, Suite 3208 Bethesda, MD 20892-9529 Rockville, MD 20852 (For Express/Courier Service) Telephone: (301) 496-9223 Fax: (301) 402-0182 o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to: Ms. Dianna Jessee Grants Management Branch National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke The Neuroscience Center, Suite 3290 6001 Executive Boulevard Bethesda, MD 20892-9537 Telephone: (301) 496-9231 Fax: (301) 402-0219 Email: jesseed@ninds.nih.gov LETTER OF INTENT Prospective applicants are requested to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information: o Descriptive title of the proposed education project o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator o Names of other key personnel o Number and title of this RFA 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 IC staff to plan for a technical assistance workshop, estimate the potential review workload and plan the review. The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of this document, and should be sent to: Gayathri Jeyarasasingam, Ph.D. Program Director Office of Minority Health and Research OD/NINDS/NIH Neuroscience Center, Suite 2149 Bethesda, MD 20892-9535 Telephone: (301) 496-3102 Email: gaya@nih.gov SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001). The PHS 398 is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov. It is strongly recommended that prospective applicants contact the NINDS staff person listed under INQUIRIES early in the planning phase of application preparation to discuss areas of interest and award provisions. Such contact will help ensure that applications are responsive to the aims expressed in this announcement. The instructions below illustrate how the sections of the application should be completed for those parts of the research plan that differ in content from a traditional research grant application. Current Programs (Replaces Preliminary Studies) - o Describe any enrichment activities already initiated at the organization relevant to promoting diversity in the neuroscience research workforce. o Describe any evaluation of the success of current programs in meeting the specified goals. Education Program Design (Replaces Research Design and Methods) - o Describe the overall goals and objectives of the program and the number of participants to be supported. o Provide programmatic detail on the specific activities proposed to assist participants in developing their research careers. Applicants should justify their choice of activities by showing how they will assist in the career development of selected scholars. o Describe the relationship and responsibilities of the program to the overall mission of the sponsoring organization. o Provide evidence that the Principal Investigator is actively engaged in research, can organize and administer the enrichment program by describing the qualifications, capabilities and experiences of the Principal Investigator. o Elucidate the role of the Advisory committee to the Principal Investigator in selecting and supervising scholars, and in evaluating the enrichment program. o Provide information on the potential participant pool including GPAs, GRE scores, scientific research areas and ethnic composition, include a description of plans for recruiting as participants individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. o Provide the selection criteria for participants in the program. o Describe selection process (e.g., who will be on the selection committee, their experience evaluating such applications) o Describe the overall performance evaluation plan, including baseline data and milestones for accomplishments as well as plans for tracking and monitoring participants" progress. Describe the specific short- term and long-term outcome measures to be evaluated such as increasing the number of students participating in the program, increasing the number of scientific presentations made by trainees, increasing publishing rate, increasing the number of applications and awards from NIH and other agencies, evaluating success in the next career stage, etc. USING THE RFA LABEL: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application. Type the RFA number on the label. 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. The RFA label is also available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf. SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH: Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the Checklist, and three signed, photocopies, in one package to: Center For Scientific Review National Institutes Of Health 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710 Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service) At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be sent to: Gayathri Jeyarasasingam, Ph.D. Program Director Office of Minority Health and Research OD/NINDS/NIH Neuroscience Center, Suite 2149 Bethesda, MD 20892-9535 Telephone: (301) 496-3102 Email: gaya@nih.gov APPLICATION PROCESSING: 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 applications already reviewed, but such applications must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique. PEER REVIEW PROCESS Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the NINDS. 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 technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the NINDS in accordance with the review criteria stated below. As part of the initial merit review, all applications will: o Receive a written critique o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest merit, generally the top half of the applications under review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score o Receive a second level review by the NINDS National Advisory Council or Board. REVIEW CRITERIA The goal of these Education Projects is to provide research and related experiences for minority students, fellows and other junior scientists to broaden their skills and enhance their career development opportunities. In the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects of your application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed program will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals: o Will the proposed education program provide the opportunities necessary to strengthen the career development opportunities of minority scientists? What effect will the enrichment program have on the research skills and competence of scholars engaged in research? o Is the proposed specialized curriculum appropriate and adequate to augment the education goals outlined? o Is the Principal Investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Principal Investigator, the mentors, and the members of the Advisory Committee? Is the role of the Advisory Committee clearly defined? o Does the scientific/education environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Is there evidence of institutional support? What is the relationship of the program to the overall mission of the sponsoring organization? o Are the requirements and timetable for completing the planned activities, the plan for program advertisement, the size and caliber of the applicant pool, the mentoring capability and quality of research programs at mentor institutions, the selection criteria for trainees, meetings and workshops, the mechanisms for getting feedback from students, etc. clearly described and appropriate for ensuring that the program meets its goals? o Is there an adequate plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the program in achieving its objectives and tracking the future course of program participants? The scientific review group will address and consider each of these criteria in assigning your application"s overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Your application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major impact and thus deserve a high priority score. ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, the application will also be reviewed with respect to the following: BUDGET: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed education project. RECEIPT AND REVIEW SCHEDULE Letter of Intent Receipt Date: October 21, 2002 Application Receipt Date: November 21, 2002 Peer Review Date: February/March 2003 Council Review: May 2003 Earliest Anticipated Start Date: July 1, 2003 AWARD CRITERIA Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include: o Merit (as determined by peer review) o Availability of funds o Programmatic priorities. REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award. URLs IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES: All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site. HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010: The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This RFA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople. AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 93.853, and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies described at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke- free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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