INTERNET CONNECTION FOR HEALTH INSTITUTIONS

Release Date:  April 15, 1999

RFA:  LM-99-001

P.T.

National Library of Medicine

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: June 14, 1999
Application Receipt Date: July 12, 1999 

PURPOSE

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is encouraging the development of a
communications infrastructure to promote the rapid interchange of medical
information nationally and throughout the world.  This infrastructure is based
upon the Internet, a network of networks, that is a key element in important
Federal initiatives in High Performance Computing and Communication (HPCC) and
the National Information Infrastructure (NII).  Internet access provides health
professionals engaged in education, research, clinical care, and administration
with a means of accessing remote databases, libraries, NLM's PubMed and Internet
Grateful Med, DOCLINE, and Loansome Doc, of transferring files and images, and
of interacting with colleagues throughout the world.  The Internet may also be
used by patients and consumers to access health resources.  To accelerate the
pace with which health-related institutions become part of the electronic
information web, NLM is offering grants to support institution-wide
Internet connections.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This Request for Applications (RFA),
Internet Connection for Health Institutions, is related to the priority area of
surveillance and data systems. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy
People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock
No: 017 001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402-0325 (telephone 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. public and private, non-profit institutions engaged in health
administration, education, research, and/or clinical care are eligible to apply. 
"Health" includes medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, pharmacy,
veterinary medicine, and other sciences related to health.  Hospitals are
encouraged to apply.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and those with
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.  Domestic
applications may not have international components.  Groups (or cooperatives) of
health-related institutions are also eligible to apply.  A single, lead
institution must apply on behalf of the group. 

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This RFA uses the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Resource Grant (G08)
mechanism.  Indirect costs are not provided.  Responsibility for the planning,
direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the
applicant.  The total  project period for an application submitted in response
to this RFA may not exceed one year.

For a single institution, support is available up to $30,000; a group of
institutions may receive up to $50,000 to support development of a
multi-institution network including extending extant connectivity to outlying
sites, or otherwise furthering NLM's goal of expanding information outreach.  The
overall cost of a connection to the Internet includes:  gateway or router
equipment, associated communication hardware (CSU/DSU), the leased line and its
installation, local area network user support staff, and Internet Service
Provider fees.  The NLM grant is expected to support the purchase and
installation of the gateway system and associated connection hardware, the cost
of installation and leasing of communication circuits to connect to the Internet
Service Provider, and the cost of Internet Service Provider fees. Institutions
are expected to fund personnel, personal computers, and local area network costs. 
The emphasis of the Internet project should be towards initiating
institution-wide Internet access; therefore, costs for website development are
discouraged.  Grant funds may be used to extend Internet access to other sites
from an institution with an existing connection.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

Funds available for this RFA are approximately $600,000; however, expenditure of
this amount is conditional upon the receipt of applications of high merit.  The
number of awards to be made is estimated to be between 10 and 16.  Although the
NLM budget is expected to permit support of these projects, funding of any
applications pursuant to this RFA is contingent upon the availability of funds
at the appropriate time.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

The Internet currently is a collection of interconnected networks and comprises
three types of networks:  (1) national backbone networks, (2) regional and state
networks, and (3) local networks at education, research, government and
commercial institutions. Individual institutions are connected to a regional
network in the appropriate geographical area.  The regional network is in turn
attached to the high-speed national backbone network. The Internet provides
electronic mail service and access to a variety of scientific resources
including:  digital libraries, unique databases such as MEDLINE via PubMed and
Internet Grateful Med as well as a host of federal and private sector databases,
supercomputers, and remote scientific sensing instruments. The Internet promotes
interaction and collaboration with a single, well-integrated connection to end
users using the Defense Data Network protocols: Transmission Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol referred to as TCP/IP.  Network management and
operations services as well as
information services may or may not be provided by each of the levels.

The Internet has become an essential infrastructure in the health environment and
is used extensively to facilitate communications and collaboration and to provide
access to information and computing resources.  NLM is encouraging all kinds and
types of health institutions to gain access to these vast and rich resources.

Objectives and Scope

The purpose of this RFA is to encourage U.S. health institutions to connect to
the Internet. Some institutions may belong to organizations that are already
connected to the Internet; in such a case, the NLM grant can be used to link a
health entity to an existing Internet connection.  In other cases, the project
will aid the institution in initiating a direct connection to the Internet
Service Provider.  In general, it is expected that institutions will use an
existing local area network to distribute wide access to the Internet, or will
build a new local area network and connect it to the Internet.  A local area
network is connected to the Internet by installing an IP router/gateway.  This
gateway will link the local area network to an appropriate Internet Service
Provider by means of leased or dial-up communication circuits of varying speeds. 
The resultant connections to the Internet provided by the gateway should be made
widely available to all appropriate personnel.  Ideally the institution will have
installed a high-speed local area network and have adopted the TCP/IP protocols
as the standard communication protocol.  Where other networking protocols are
used, the institution will be responsible for the installation of any additional
network gateway systems required to resolve the protocol conversion issues so as
to provide connectivity to the Internet gateway.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by June 14, 1999, a letter of intent
that includes the name, address and telephone number of the Project Director and
the number and title of this RFA.  Although the letter of intent is not required,
is not binding, does not commit the sender to submit an application, and does not
enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information that it
contains allows NLM staff to estimate the potential review workload and to avoid
conflict of interest in the review.  The letter of intent is to be sent to Ms.
Frances E. Johnson at the address listed under inquiries.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98).  Application forms and instructions are available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html, may be ordered from
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm, or may be obtained from the:

Extramural Outreach/Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701
Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, Telephone: 301/435-0714, FAX:
301/480-0525, Email: grantsinfo@nih.gov; and from the program administrator
listed under INQUIRIES.

Supplemental Application Guidelines

Applicants should not feel constrained by the emphasis on research in the
language used in the forms and narrative instructions.  It may be useful for an
applicant to read "project" whenever the form and instructions refer to
"research".  NLM considers these grants to be projects, not research
applications, and will evaluate the applications in that spirit.  NLM recommends
that those writing the application keep the "project" concept in mind.  Internet
uses may support administration, education, research and/or patient care
endeavors. Applicants are encouraged to include their library in the proposed
Internet connection.

All applicants, particularly those relatively unfamiliar with the application
review form and with NIH procedures, are encouraged to consult Ms. Frances
Johnson (address below) for assistance as needed in completing the application.

Suggested Outline for "Project Plan" (Pages 15 - 19 of Application Instructions):

a.  Specific Aims
Clearly state and relate them to the purpose of NLM's Internet Connection Grant
Program as published in this RFA.  Make sure to include among the stated
objectives the training of users. 

b.  Background and Significance
Cite potential Internet uses for targeted population(s) and describe the
potential impact of the Internet in terms of types and numbers of users who would
benefit from Internet access.  Provide this information for each site if a
multiple site application.

c.  Progress Report
Describe the status of the existing local area network (intranet) to indicate
Internet "readiness" and the extent of the internal network's current and future
availability to all users.

d.  Methodology
Relate to "Specific Aims" so that each aim has an equivalent methodology.  Detail
how Internet access will be implemented, that is, what tasks (such as obtaining
name domain, assigning passwords, converting to TCP/IP) will be performed, who
will perform them.  ALSO include a timetable and describe the following:
-  Library Staff Involvement
Describe how library staff will be involved in Internet training and in assisting
users in locating and retrieving Internet resources.
-  User Training and Support
Describe topics to be covered, who will provide the Internet training, how often,
what format, and plans for follow-up training and help desk support.

e. And f. Not applicable

g.  Literature Cited
Include references for Internet use.

h.  Consortium/Contractual Arrangements
Memorandum of Understanding is acceptable to define responsibilities of
institutions participating in the Internet connection project.

I.  Consultants
Refer to instructions.

j.  Future Support
Describe plans for financing Internet connection costs following NLM grant
support.  Include commitment letter from administrator(s).

Additional Suggestions

Form Page DD
Even though salaries for project personnel are not requested, include their names
and percentage of effort towards the Internet Connection project.  Across the
budget columns type Contributed".

Form Page EE
For "Justification" describe role of all project personnel and consultants (if
requested).  Also describe proposed use of equipment requested.

Form Page FF
In addition to the information requested in the instructions, ALSO include
relevant skills of project personnel, such as Internet training, TCP/IP skills,
networking expertise.

Form Page HH
Duplicate this form page for each participating site.  Delete left margin
headings.  Provide a description of the institution including numbers and types
of potential users.  Under "Major Equipment" describe the local area network (or
Intranet) and indicate the number of personal computers that are connected. 
Attach a network diagram.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and five legible, single-sided copies in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, MSC 7710, SUITE 1040
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817-7710 (for express/courier service)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the NIH Center
for Scientific Review and responsiveness by NLM.  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 merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the NLM in
accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit
review, all applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process
in which only those applications deemed to have the highest merit, generally the
top half of applications under review, will be discussed and assigned a priority
score.

Review Criteria

- Significance of proposed project relative to the services, programs and
personnel expected to benefit from Internet access, and the nature of the
anticipated benefits.
- Quality of local infrastructure including plans to provide broad institutional
access to the Internet gateway and plans to develop institution-wide high-speed
networks.
- Quality of user services and proposed training.
- Technical expertise in computer networking (especially TCP/IP based networking)
or plans to provide such expertise including coordination with appropriate
Internet service provider.
- Plans for future support of the network connection.

AWARD CRITERIA

In addition to the review criteria identified above, awards depend upon available
funds and programmatic priorities.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Ms. Frances E. Johnson
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge One Building, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 594-4882
FAX:  (301) 402-2952
Email:  FJOHNSON@NLM.NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Shelley Carow
Grants Management Specialist
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge One Building, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-4221
FAX:  (301) 402-0421

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

The Resource Grant Program is described in the "Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance" under Medical Library Assistance, Chapter 93.879. Grants will be
awarded under the authority of the Public Health Service Act, Section 474(42 USC
286b-5) and administered under PHS grant policies and Federal Regulations, most
specifically at 42 CFR Part 59a and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject
to the inter-governmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health
Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products. In
addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in
certain facilities (or in some cases, any 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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