LIMITED COMPETITION FOR COMPETING SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATIONS FOR COMMUNICATIONS 
TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE AT MINORITY ACCESS TO RESEARCH CAREERS (MARC) AND 
MINORITY BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH SUPPORT (MBRS) GRANTEE INSTITUTIONS

Release Date:  October 11, 2001

RFA:  RFA-GM-02-003

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 28, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       December 28, 2001

PURPOSE

The purpose of this initiative is to provide an opportunity to develop 
or upgrade an institution-wide communications infrastructure that 
includes a LAN (Local Area Network), an Intranet, and access to the 
Internet. Access to the latter provides faculty, students, and 
administrators a means of accessing remote databases, libraries, 
researching/sharing scientific information, transferring files and 
images, interacting with the NIH and communicating with colleagues 
throughout the world. The Intranet allows an efficient exchange and use 
of information within an institution or a campus. Additionally, both 
the Internet and the Intranet can be used for computer-based research 
education/training allowing students to become active learners. This 
Request for Applications (RFA) provides the information needed to 
prepare applications for grants to support the purchase and 
installation of equipment for an institutional Local Area Network 
and/or the hiring of technical personnel for institutional network 
development/improvement.

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 limited 
competition 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/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS 

Only institutions with active Minority Access to Research Careers 
(MARC) U-STAR grants, MBRS Support of Continuous Research Excellence 
(SCORE), or Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) 
grants that have at least one year of support remaining at the time of 
award may apply. The supplemental award may not extend beyond the 
parent grant. Institutions having both MARC and MBRS program grants may 
apply for only one supplement. While institutions that have received 
communications technology supplements previously may apply, 
applications from institutions that have not received these supplements 
will be given higher priority.  

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA is a one-time solicitation and awards are not renewable. 
Support will be offered for a maximum of two years through competing 
supplements to existing MARC U- STAR (T34), MBRS SCORE (S06) or MBRS 
RISE (R25) grants. Requests should not exceed $250,000 total direct 
costs for the entire two years of support. Additional negotiated 
facilities and administration costs will be provided at the current 
level approved by the Department of Health and Human Services for the 
S06 grantee institutions, and at 8% for the MARC U-STAR and RISE 
grantee institutions, minus appropriate exclusions.
 
FUNDS AVAILABLE

The amount available to support this RFA is anticipated to be $3 
million. The number of awards made will depend on institutional need, 
the number of highly meritorious applications received, and the size of 
individual awards. 
 
PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

Background

The MARC U-STAR and RISE/SCORE Programs of MORE of NIGMS provide funds 
to support initiatives to increase the number of minority scientists in 
biomedical sciences, including mathematics relevant to biomedical 
sciences. As part of its ongoing commitment to the strengthening of 
minority institutions' research infrastructure, the MARC and MBRS 
branches would like to facilitate Internet and Intranet access at these 
institutions. Because of their heterogeneity, MARC- as well as MBRS-
supported institutions vary in their needs. Some might need complete 
systems, i.e., there may be no direct Internet access on campus. Others 
might require less, such as wiring from central servers to faculty labs 
and offices, major and minor pieces of equipment such as servers and 
network software or the assistance of technical personnel for upgrading 
their Intranets and for user support. Thus NIGMS encourages the 
institutions to set their goals and objectives for the communications 
supplemental grant depending upon their specific situations.

Electronic communication is an efficient way for transmitting or 
accessing information to or from NIH, individual departments, 
laboratories (download data), libraries (literature searches of 
scientific and biomedical data bases, on line journals, or library 
holdings) or interpersonal communication via e-mail. Further, having 
Internet and Intranet links on campus will afford MBRS- and MARC-
supported institutions the ability/possibility to have an impact on 
MARC and other student research teaching/training activities. Faculty 
and students at the institutions will also have the opportunity to 
communicate broadly with NIH, each other, and scientists at other 
institutions. Wiring and linking of different campus sites with 
cable/wireless linkages, computer hardware and software can maximize 
limited resources at an institution so that faculty and students can 
obtain the latest scientific information and be more efficient in 
working with each other and collaborators. In addition, full electronic 
communication is expected to affect the way the extramural community 
does business with NIH. For example, by the middle of this decade 
organizations that wish to submit grant applications to NIH may well be 
required to do so electronically.

DEFINITIONS

The following defined items are examples for applicants to use in their 
response to this RFA.

1. Local Area Network (LAN): A LAN is a network of interconnected 
workstations sharing the resources of a single processor or server 
within a relatively small geographic area. The main LAN technologies 
are Ethernet, token ring, ARCNET and Fiber Distributed Data Interface.
 
2. Wireless LAN: A wireless LAN replaces cable connection by spectrum, 
microwave and infrared light. The latter is a relatively low-cost 
"wiring" of facilities where existing systems are not already in place.

3. Intranet: Electronic communication between personal computers (PC) 
on campus via a LAN that is generally protected from outside 
unauthorized access.

4. Wiring: Use of cables or wires to make electrical connections 
between individual computers, hubs and the LAN server. The installation 
of wiring for a multiple user computer system and that for hubs with 
network connectors and routers are included under wiring.

5. Wireless Connections: Any communications between access points that 
act like local "cells" for attaching to the LAN. May be within or 
between buildings. Generally, PCs equipped with special network cards 
that transmit via specific radio frequencies; microwave radio signals 
or radio spectrum (at varying frequencies and costs) are included under 
wireless connections. These are allowable costs.

6. Alterations and Renovations:  Alterations and renovations (A&R) are 
defined as work required to change the interior arrangements or other 
physical characteristics of an existing facility or installed equipment 
so that it may be more effectively utilized for its currently 
designated purpose or adapted to an alternative use to meet a 
programmatic requirement. A&R costs that do not constitute construction 
are allowable charges to PHS grant-supported projects and activities.

7. Construction: This involves any modification of existing structures 
that results in an exit to the exterior of a building. This would 
include passage of wire/cable to another distant structure or building. 
This is an unallowable cost. 

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS 

The sections on inclusion of women and minorities and children in 
research involving human subjects are mandatory in any NIH RFA or 
program announcement but may not be relevant to the supplemental grants 
for communications technology.

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 are provided 
indicating 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 Updated "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities 
as Subjects in Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts on August 2, 2000 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html); a 
complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm: 
The revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and 
require: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a 
description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address 
differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including 
subgroups if applicable; and b) all investigators to report accrual, 
and to conduct and report analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN 
SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age 
of 21) must be included in all human subjects’ research, conducted or 
supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons 
not to include them. This policy applies to all initial (Type 1), 
competitive renewal (Type 2) and supplemental (Type 3) applications 
submitted for receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should 
read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as 
Participants in Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in 
the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available 
at the following URL address: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

Investigators may also obtain copies of these policies from the program 
staff listed under INQUIRIES. Program staff may also provide additional 
relevant information concerning the policy.

REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS

NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject 
participants for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for 
research involving human subjects. This policy announcement is found in 
the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, 
at the following website: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.
 
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 a NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no 
obligation to view the Internet sites. Reviewers are cautioned that 
their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an 
Internet site.

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 RFA 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.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit no later than November 28, 
2001 a letter of intent to apply for these supplements. In this letter 
of intent a descriptive title of the proposed project, the name, 
address, and telephone number of the MARC U-STAR or MBRS current grant 
program director who must be the PI of the supplemental application, 
the identities of key personnel, and the number and title of the RFA 
must be included. 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 NIGMS staff to 
estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Hinda Zlotnik, Program 
Director, MORE Division, NIGMS 45 Center Dr., Room 2As-37, MSC 6200 
Bethesda, MD  20892-3900 Tel:  (301) 594-3900 Fax:  (301) 480-2753 e-mail: 
hindaz@nigms.nih.gov
 
SPECIAL REQUIREMENT

A progress report will be required as a part of subsequent applications 
for non-competing continuation of the grant (Type 5) or of the closeout 
package if a competing application is not funded. This progress report 
should describe the steps that have been implemented explain the 
overall benefits derived from institution-wide Internet connectivity 
and provide specific information on overall user utilization.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 
5/2001) available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html must be used in 
applying for these grants. This version of the PHS 398 is available in 
an interactive, searchable format. Although applicants are strongly 
encouraged to begin using the 5/2001 revision of the PHS 398 as soon as 
possible, the NIH will continue to accept applications prepared using 
the 4/1998 revision until January 9, 2002. Beginning January 10, 2002, 
however, the NIH will return applications that are not submitted on the 
5/2001 version.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone 
301/435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov. 

Modular and Just-in-Time procedures do not apply to MARC and MBRS 
communications supplement grants.

Supplemental application guidelines are listed under SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS.

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. 

Send a signed typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and three signed photocopies of the application by December 
28, 2001 to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
Suite 1040
6701 Rockledge Dr., MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710

At the time of submission to CSR, two additional copies of the 
application must be sent to:

Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 1As-13F, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200

Applications must be received by December 28, 2001. Applications 
received after that date will be returned to the applicant without 
review.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARATION OF APPLICATION

I. FACE PAGE

Item 1. The title should reflect the supplemental nature of the 
prospective funding by specifying the active MARC/MBRS grant number 
(e.g., 2S06GM12345-06).

Item 2. Response to Specific Request for Application or Program 
Announcement. Check the box marked "YES"; beside 'NUMBER' type this RFA 
number, GM-02-003; and beside 'TITLE' type in “MARC/MBRS communications 
supplement application.”

Items 3-5. Follow instructions as for PHS form 398.  The PI must be PI 
of parent grant.  

Item 6. Dates of the entire Proposed Project Period. The period of 
support is for a maximum of two years but can not exceed the duration 
of the parent grant.

Item 7-16. Follow instructions as for PHS form 398.

II. DESCRIPTION AND KEY PERSONNEL

Provide a brief description of current Internet capabilities, state the 
goals and specific measurable objectives of this supplement, briefly 
state how these will be accomplished implemented and how they will 
contribute to furthering the programmatic outcomes and goals of the 
MARC and/or MBRS Programs.

List all key professional personnel who will work on the supplemental 
project.

III. TABLE OF CONTENTS

This supplemental application should be structured using the Table of 
Contents on Page 3 of PHS form 398.

IV. DETAILED BUDGET FOR INITIAL BUDGET PERIOD (PHS Form 398-Page DD) 
and BUDGET FOR ENTIRE PROPOSED PERIOD OF SUPPORT (PHS Form 398-Page EE)

Allowable costs have been detailed below. Salary support for employees 
of the applicant institution must be listed as personnel.  Support for 
all other personnel should be listed under consultants. The need for 
each budget item requested and its cost must be documented. For 
equipment over $10,000, three price quotations must be provided. 

Support is for a maximum of two years. Plans to phase in personnel 
supported by the award and required beyond the end of the supplemental 
period of support have to be provided under budget justification.

Allowable costs

Allowable costs are the overall cost of a connection to the Internet 
which could include but is not limited to gateway and router equipment, 
associated communication hardware (CDU/DSU), the leased line (e.g., 
ISDN), and Internet service provider fees. The cost of materials and/or 
equipment (servers, for example) are allowed for Intranet development, 
if strongly justified. 

Three price quotes of the requested equipment for a LAN system or 
individual pieces of equipment or upgrades that cost over $10,000 each 
must be provided with the grant application. Applications without the 
required price quotations will be considered incomplete and will not be 
reviewed.

Technical personnel to set up and maintain facilities, equipment and/or 
for the development of MARC and/or MBRS Institutional Program websites 
are allowed on a phase-in basis with the institution assuming support 
for personnel at the end of the supplemental grant period. Support may 
be requested during competitive renewal of MARC U-STAR, MBRS RISE or 
SCORE grants (up to $40,000 per year) for continued support of 
information technology personnel beyond the supplement-funded period. 
Where the time remaining is less than needed to set up a LAN or 
ancillary systems the phase-in can be extended into the next award 
period through an approved carryover of funds.

Justifiable alterations and renovations for up to $150,000 of the 
$250,000 maximum total direct costs are allowed if they comply with NIH 
alterations and renovations policy (PHS Grants Policy Statement) and if 
they are necessary for setting up a LAN. 

Consultation with the program officer is encouraged if questions arise 
(see INQUIRIES below).

Unallowable costs

Alterations or renovations in excess of $150,000 or construction or 
exterior drilling and wiring of buildings or between buildings are not 
allowed, regardless of cost. Although costs for cable connections 
between buildings are not allowed, wireless technologies such as laser 
beams, microwave radio, and radio spectrum are allowable. If the 
proposal requires construction of wiring between buildings, the 
application should indicate the source of funds for this purpose. Funds 
for the purchase of laptops and PCs for individual use are not allowed, 
nor are funds for individual Internet accounts for single 
offices/laboratories/rooms and/or for home use.

V. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Provide a biographical sketch for each of the principal project 
participants, including consultants. Include degrees, qualifications, 
positions held, and publications.

VI. RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT

Describe the computer, communications, and networking facilities and/or 
resources currently available at the applicant institution.

VII. RESEARCH PLAN (Not to exceed 10 pages)

A. Introduction: Provide a brief description of the institution, the 
MARC and/or MBRS Program and an overview of the institution's plans for 
strengthening the institution's research training, research education 
and/or research capabilities. Explain what will be accomplished through 
support from this RFA and how it fits within the institutional plan to 
improve research training and education opportunities for minorities. 
If the institution had received a communications supplement grant 
earlier justify the need for additional funds.

B. Specific Aims: State concisely the specific objectives that could be 
accomplished with the proposed supplemental funding.

C. Background and Significance: Provide the relevant background 
information on the communications technology available to the 
departments participating in the institutional MARC U-STAR and/or MBRS 
grants or on the campus as a whole. Specifically describe the present 
state of the communications network and whether previously awarded MARC 
and/or MBRS supplemental funds have been used to develop the system.  
Describe how this technology assisted in research and research 
education activities and identify the targeted populations. Explain how 
the new additions to the communications infrastructure will improve the 
institution's research and research education activities.

D. Project Plan. Describe how the current local network (if applicable) 
will be improved or how a new network will be developed to provide 
Internet access to faculty, researchers, students, and administrators. 
Provide plans for the acquisition and installation of necessary 
equipment and the hiring of technical personnel for the provision of 
institution-wide access, user training and user support. The training 
plans should include topics to be covered and the personnel who will 
provide training and follow-up.

If technical personnel is/are to be hired, describe the institutional 
plan for their phasing-in into regular institutional appointments at 
the end of the funding period. In addition, describe the institutional 
plans for budgeting ongoing costs for Internet access maintenance and 
technical user support once this grant's funding ends.

E. Implementation Plan: Provide in a separate section a detailed 
implementation plan for the proposed project. This should include a 
timetable for the completion of each of the proposed objectives.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by NIGMS. Incomplete and/or nonresponsive 
applications will be returned to the applicant without further 
consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be 
evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer 
review group convened by NIGMS in accordance with the review criteria 
stated below. As part of the initial merit review, a process may be 
used by the initial review group in which all applications receive a 
written critique and undergo a process in which only those applications 
deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of 
the applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority 
score, and receive a second level review by the National Advisory 
General Medical Sciences Council will provide the second level of 
review.

Review Criteria:

Major factors to be considered in the evaluation of applications 
include:

1. The feasibility and appropriateness of the project plan as related 
to institutional need.

2. For institutions that have received prior support for communications 
technology supplements, the likelihood that the new proposed 
improvements will substantially enhance the infrastructure already in 
place and the teaching and research capabilities of the participating 
departments in the parent grant.

3. Suitability of the proposed equipment, communication connections and 
technical support to accomplish the proposed activities.

4. Quality of user support services and proposed research/computer 
training.

5. Evidence of institutional commitment for maintenance and future user 
support of the Internet backbone and/or of the Intranet.

6. Appropriateness of the applicant's implementation plan and the 
likelihood of a timely completion of the project. 

7. Potential impact of the project on institutional enhancement of 
research education and research activities.

AWARD CRITERIA

Award decisions will be based on 1) the technical merit of the 
application, 2) the likelihood that the applicant institution will 
fulfill the proposed project objectives and further the goals of the 
MARC/MBRS program, 3) the number of meritorious applications, 4) the 
availability of funds, and 5) geographical distribution and prior 
communications technology support. Awards will be made only to 
institutions with financial management systems and other management 
capabilities that are acceptable under PHS policy. Awards will be 
administered under the PHS Grants Policy Statement.  

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    November 28, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         December 28, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 February 2002
Council Review:                   May 2002
Earliest Anticipated Award Date:  June 1, 2002

INQUIRIES

Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged. The 
opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential 
applicants is welcomed.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Hinda Zlotnik, Ph.D.
Program Director, MORE Division 
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room Number 2As.37, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3900
FAX:  (301) 480-2753
E-mail:  hindaz@nigms.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding review process to:

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Chief, Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive, Room 1AS.13, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Tel:  (301) 594 3663
Fax:  (301) 480 0770
E-mail:  sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Antoinette Holland
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Room Number 2AN.50B
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-5132
FAX:  (301) 480-2554
E-mail:  hollanda@nigms.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATION:

This program is described in the Catalog of federal Domestic assistance 
No. 93-375. Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act, as 
amended authorize awards, and administered under PHS grants policies 
and Federal regulations 42 CFR part 52c, 45 CFR part 74, and 45 CFR 
part 92. See also Senate Appropriations Committee Report, No. 92-316, 
July 29, 1971, Executive Order 12900, Educational Excellence for 
Hispanic Americans February 22,1994, and Executive Order 12876, 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, November 1, 1993. 
Applications are 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.  This 
is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical 
and mental health of the American people.


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