NIH - NIMHD Science Education Initiative

Summary of Opportunity
NIH - NIMHD Science Education Initiative
OSP Deadline 04/15/11
Funding Agency Deadline


Funding or Award Criteria

Although the NIH currently provides multiple opportunities to develop research careers and improve participation for individuals from groups with low representation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, reports from the National Science Foundation (NSF), (see provide strong evidence that diversity remains an important problem that the entire research enterprise must actively address.

The intent of the FOA is to support educational, mentoring, and/or career development programs for individuals from health disparity populations that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences to facilitate the development of a nationwide cohort of scientists and a multi-disciplinary national pool of health disparities investigators with necessary skills to conduct health disparities research in a diverse range of settings. Fundamental to achieving the goal of this R25 program are targeted research education programs that provide research career awareness opportunities, mentoring experiences and information dissemination to increase the number of highly trained scientists in various scientific areas to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs that are relevant to the mission of the NIMHD.  Expanding curriculum driven educational opportunities and developing capacity are essential to assure success in alleviating health disparities.  Public education and outreach efforts are also appropriate science education activities to achieve the goals of this FOA.  An applicant's submission must focus on only one of the following research education program core areas listed below:

a) K-12 Science Education Initiative. This initiative is designed to provide: 1) K-12 curriculum that will increase and /or advance student understanding and interest in science and the scientific method; 2) professional development and/or research internship opportunities for K-12 teachers that deliver scientific content, foster an understanding of the scientific research process or improving teaching skills; 3) public outreach activities that will educate students, teachers, and the community on health-related research topics; or 4) science teachers with the tools needed to enable them to more effectively communicate the nature of the scientific process to their students and contribute to enhancing overall science literacy of students in grades K-12. The Program also seeks to build productive capacity in traditionally underrepresented groups that lack significant enrollments in science; technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional career areas. The ultimate goals of this effort are to improve the knowledge and experience of STEM K-12 teachers, the quality, appropriateness and availability of STEM instruction and teaching tools, and the number of STEM teachers who work with young people in K-12 programs.  STEM educators are key contributors to advancing the frontiers of health disparities research and education in STEM career fields. Applicants should include a discussion of their use of the scientific enterprise, including Federal and non-Federal government partners, college faculties and/or private industry to advance the goals of their proposed K-12 program.

b) National High School Youth Summer Initiative.  This initiative is designed to: 1) increase awareness and readiness of high school students from health disparity populations that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences; 2) increase awareness of the personal and academic skills required for admission to college/universities / health profession schools; 3) foster leadership and strengthening of academic skills in STEM disciplines; 4) introduce youth to the national health and scientific professional organizations and to the role of these organizations/alliances in promoting health career development role-modeling; and 5) establish  student access to role models and mentors in science and health careers fields.

The applicant’s plan must show past evidence of building productive capacity and output in working with at least one health disparity population that is underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences to foster academic skills  of high school students who upon graduation are able to successfully gain admissions and pursue undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The applicant must have an established alliance that shows evidence of previous success in working with a scientific and health professional organization to carry out similar program goals. Applicants should a discussion of their association with the health and scientific enterprise, including Federal and non-Federal government partners, foundations, college faculties and/or private industry to advance the goals of their proposed project.  Specifically, the alliance should be a partnership that is drawn from one or more professional associations and role models that come from backgrounds and communities that are similar to those of the students in the program.  In all cases, the applicant must demonstrate that the partnership between the applicant and its partner organization has been well established based on prior projects of similar mission and program goals.

c) Mentoring and Career Development Initiative.  This initiative is designed to provide: 1) educational and academic enhancement opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences; 2) faculty mentors from a variety of academic programs that attract post-baccalaureate and pre-doctoral  and medical students that are interesting in health disparities research and biomedical science; 3) opportunities for college students to gain valuable research experience to help prepare them for graduate school admission and graduate student to compete for post-doctoral research opportunities, and 4)  multidisciplinary mentoring approaches that incorporate thematic concentrations such as disparities, research methods and design, statistics and data analysis, etc.  This may include academic enrichment programs, seminar series, symposia, internships, or other appropriate educational practices. 

The applicant must provide a brief rationale for each proposed activity (e.g., courses, curricula, seminars, workshops) and concise information on the selection and retention process for the participants in the program, including the criteria related to the students’ academic status, participants research education and training progress, and role of the faculty/personnel. A description of the overall goals and objectives of the program and the number of participants to be supported must be included for each program activity. Applicants should justify their choice of activities by showing how they will assist in the career development of selected participants and lead to the milestones (i.e., anticipated intermediate steps toward the objectives).

d) Health Professions Research Capacity-Building Initiative.  This initiative is designed to support the development and implementation of effective programs to advance professional development, education, and research training for post-doctoral professionals, non-tenured Early Stage Investigator (ESI) clinical researchers, and junior faculty in health disparities research areas.  This may include academic enrichment programs, mentoring, faculty research development activities, role-modeling and networking, distance learning initiatives, and research training in career fields that promote behavioral, clinical and biomedical science and health disparities issues.

A critical mass of faculty/research mentors with ongoing funded research projects is necessary to implement the proposed specialized, intensive academic and research education program aspects of this component. The applicant should describe the following three tasks: (i) the process for matching seasoned research mentors with post-doctoral, ESI and/or and junior faculty participants based on the quality and success the mentor has had in mentoring junior research professionals from traditionally identified health disparities populations; (ii) the education and training timeline proposed as well as the standardization of program activities; and (iii) the regularly occurring workshops/meetings whose purpose is to pair mentor(s) with mentees so that they may work together on future research education activities, and career planning opportunities. If collaborations or partnerships exist, provide detailed information of an integrated plan across the partnership to improve academic and research competitiveness of the participants to pursue either independent or ESI dedicated research experience in health disparities related disciplines. 

This component must be structured to address two interrelated requirements. They are: 1) the capacity-building design must be cost-effective and based on a sound understanding of programmatic approaches known to be successful in meeting well-defined educational needs of post-doctoral professionals, ESIs and junior faculty member from postsecondary institutions that serve predominantly students who are from populations that are traditionally underrepresented in science and biomedical research; and 2) the proposed plan must be comprehensive and longitudinal, since fragmentary and isolated efforts are inevitably inadequate responses to address the scope and mission of  NIMHD program.

e) Outreach and Information Dissemination Initiative.  This initiative is designed as an alternative means of communicating health and research information to communities that tend to encounter communications barriers due to the lack of culturally appropriate information dissemination approaches.  Communities who suffer from significantly high numbers of health disparity conditions often have great difficulty understanding and/or accepting health messages and information that lack basic cultural sensitivity and awareness. Applicants should present a plan for targeting health communication challenges such as language appropriateness, health/science literacy and cultural relativism and competence among population groups that fall significantly below the health status benchmarks in the seven leading disease categories of Healthy People 2020.  These activities may include the use of bioinformatics, web-based communication and health information technology to broaden the reach of information into communities with high incidences of health disparities. E-learning technologies comprised of all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching methods and the development of web-based platforms is one approach to creating a clearinghouse or dissemination modalities of health information that can be easily, effectively and efficiently communicated.

The proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support.  The R25 is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and cannot be used to circumvent or supplement funds provided to individuals supported by Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.  It is anticipated that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participants may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals. However, the R25 mechanism is not intended to support long-term research training.  These R25 awards do not support training workshops or other efforts to teach community-based individuals fund raising or grant application writing skills.

Please see the solicitation for complete information.

Applicable Field(s)  
Number of Nominees Allowed  
Required Internal Review Documents




Nominee(s) Selected to Advance School of Nursing
Posting Date 3/08/11