Internal Deadline: Contact RII.
LOI: June 1, 2024
External Deadline: July 1, 2024
Award Type: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 3
Anticipated Award Amount: $1,000,000 in total costs
Who May Serve as PI:
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 NHGRI’s scientific mission. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.
Participants must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Also, participants must be (a) full-time matriculated students in a baccalaureate degree program at the lead applicant institutions, and (b) have completed one academic year at the lead applicant institution (rising sophomore). An exception is to continue support for a student after graduation if the student has already participated a year or more in the GREAT program. Support could be extended so they can participate through the next summer research experience, if it falls within the two-year time period individuals are allowed to participate in the program.
The PD/PI should be knowledgeable in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.
The proposed PD/PI should hold a research or clinical doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent), and have clearly demonstrated training/mentoring credentials. The PD/PI must have a regular, full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institution, and be actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area directly related to the mission of the NHGRI. Early-stage investigators are eligible to serve as PD/PIs, as long as doing so will not detract from their research program and career advancement.
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal: https://rii.usc.edu/oor-portal/.
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 1-page limit will be excluded from review.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
- Please attach in the “Letter of Support/Other” field a document listing collaborators and institutions involved in the partnership.
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs and Co-PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
The overarching goal of this NHGRI R25 program is to support educational activities that encourage undergraduates from diverse backgrounds, such as those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical workforce, to pursue further training and careers in the scientific, medical, ethical, social and/or legal areas of genomics research. To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:
- Research Experiences: Activities should provide undergraduates with exposure to research in NHGRI mission areas, to reinforce their intent to graduate with a science or social science degree, and prepare them for graduate school admissions and/or research careers that contribute to the field of genomics.
- Courses for Skills Development: Complementary didactic activities designed expressly for participants in this program are required, especially activities that have the potential to increase opportunities for success at the next career level. The field of genomics is data driven. Special courses/seminars/workshops that introduce participants to fundamental knowledge in genomic data sciences, such as bioinformatics, machine learning, statistics, etc., are especially encouraged. Didactic activities that educate students on the impact of genomics on society are also expressly encouraged.
This Genome Research Experiences to Attract Talented Undergraduates into the Genomic Field to Promote Diversity (GREAT) Program will support collaborative institutional partnerships that provide research education programs for undergraduates enrolled at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) or Institutional Development Award (IDeA)-eligible institutions. A partnership will include a MSI or IDeA-eligible institution, and one or more research-intensive institutions or organizations with a suitable research base for graduate-level training in scientific areas of interest to NHGRI.
Programmatic Approach for GREAT Program
The focus of this GREAT Program is to provide exposure to genomics research to undergraduate students enrolled at MSIs or IDeA-eligible institutions. The program will complement these research experiences with activities to reinforce the student’s intent to graduate and prepare them for graduate school admissions and/or careers in genomics research. For the purposes of this program, the term “genomics” encompasses issues and activities in the scientific, medical, computational, ethical, social and/or legal areas of genomics research that are of interest to NHGRI (see the NHGRI Strategic Vision).
The proposed GREAT Program will provide support for MSIs or institutions in IDeA-eligible states to implement collaborative approaches to genomics research education for students from diverse backgrounds. Through this program, these institutions will establish partnerships with research-intensive institutions or organizations that have a prominent genomics research training environment. Collaborating institutions will work together to design and implement an education program that includes genomics research experiences primarily at the research-intensive institutions/organizations.
Each collaborative partnership must include:
- One baccalaureate degree-granting Minority-Serving Institution or an Institution in an IDeA-eligible state to serve as the awardee institution. For specific eligibility requirements, see Section III. Eligibility Information. The Institution will have responsibility for the conduct and oversight of the award, along with the flexibility to determine the optimal configuration with its partner(s) to have the maximum impact.
- One or more partnerships supported by subaward with either a Higher Education Institution or Non-Profit/For-Profit Organization with a research-intensive genomics training environment as evidenced by a strong base of NIH or NHGRI extramurally-funded or privately-funded research in genomics. Higher Education Institutions are limited to domestic PhD-granting colleges/universities that receive greater than $7.5 million (total costs) of NIH Research Project Grant (RPG) funding per year over the past 3 fiscal years.
For other aspects of the partnership, mentoring and other educational activities are expected to be conducted at each collaborating component in order to maximize impact of the program. Collaborators should collectively consider all factors that are likely to improve exposure, knowledge, and competency in the scientific, medical, ethical, social and/or legal areas of genomics research for participating students. It is expected that long-term collaborations will be developed to allow faculty and students to have substantive and continuous interactions for the duration of the funded project period and beyond. Lastly, a plan to address any geographical constraints should be developed to ensure students can receive effective mentoring and research educational activities from all collaborating institutions.
Applicants will be expected to develop a genomics research education program where students will be supported for up to two years (part-time during the academic year and full-time in the summer) to conduct genomics research with participating faculty. The goal should be for each student to complete a full two-year research education program, where a significant portion of the research experience for each student takes place at the research-intensive institutions; however, research at the MSI or IDeA-eligible institutions is also encouraged if the research projects and environment are well aligned with NHGRI’s scientific mission. Students must have already completed one academic year of post-secondary education to be eligible; however, completion of two academic years is preferred for participation in the program. The undergraduate students will be supported for up to 15 hours/week during the academic year and 40 hours/week during the summer. While the intent of the FOA is to support enrolled college students during a two-year time period, an allowed exception is to continue support for an individual after graduation through a summer research experience if the student has already participated a year or more in the program.
In addition to research experiences, programs are expected to provide students with outstanding mentoring and education in other critical skills such as leadership, scientific writing and presentation skills, training in rigor and reproducibility and time management. There should be dedicated efforts at providing not only technical expertise, but advice, insight, and professional career skills to students in the program. It is encouraged that mentors will work with participants to design individualized development plans (IDPs) that are compatible with participants’ needs and experience. Dual mentoring is encouraged, with one faculty mentor focused more on scientific mentoring and another on career mentoring, and with mentors at each collaborating institute represented. Additionally, near-peer mentoring is encouraged (e.g. a graduate student who is working with an undergraduate student on a research project). After students complete their research education experience, follow-up mentoring should be conducted for nine months or more.
NIH realizes that quality mentorship is critical to the recruitment and retention of scientists, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, and encourages program activities to improve the caliber of mentorship. As recommended in the 2018 NASEM report on graduate education, “modules for faculty to learn how to advise and mentor students from different backgrounds and to raise awareness and accountability about their role in changing the training and mentoring environment” should be a component of a well-designed program. For example, case-based scenarios may be used to educate mentors on various relevant ethical, professional and cultural issues facing students today, effective communication and mentoring compacts, and effective tools for mentors to address cultural awareness.
Courses for skills development should be integrated across the partnering institutions and uniquely designed to increase undergraduate students’ interest in and preparation to enter Ph.D. degree programs in genomics or a genomics-related field of scientific interest to NHGRI. Depending on the strength of the applicant institution, it is expected that academic and curriculum enhancement activities may vary in how they are formalized and integrated; various strategies, rooted in education research, may be utilized. These approaches may include, but are not limited to: core genomics coursework tailored to students’ backgrounds and needs; curriculum for specialized research techniques; collaborative learning experiences and group activities to convey the excitement and relevance of genomics to students; advisement regarding the number, level, and sequence of courses that students should take to be competitive for graduate school programs in genomics; seminars emphasizing scientific reading comprehension, writing, and oral presentation skills; and research career seminars to help prepare students for the transition from undergraduate to graduate school.
The expected outcome of the GREAT program is enhanced participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds in the NHGRI research workforce who can bring their unique experiences, perspectives and innovation to addressing human disease or the ethical, legal or social implications of genomics research. Other desired program outcomes include completion of bachelor’s degrees, transition to graduate programs in research mission areas relevant to NHGRI, and achievement of subsequent research funding, such as an NHGRI individual fellowship or career development award. Throughout the program, NHGRI will actively monitor the progress towards these outcomes. NHGRI will hold regular meetings with PD/PIs, and PD/PIs and student participants are expected to attend the NHGRI Research Training and Career Development Annual Meeting. The scientific meeting is held in the Spring each year and is a venue for NHGRI-funded trainees and student participants to present their research, network, learn more about the genomics field, and participate in academic and career enhancing activities.
Research education programs may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those training and education programs currently receiving Federal support. R25 programs may augment institutional research training programs (e.g., T32, T90) but cannot be used to replace or circumvent Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) programs.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.