Diversity Program Consortium Phase II Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative and Consortium-Wide Topics

FAQs for BUILD-related topics:

FAQs for Suggested Tables

There is a stipulation in the training core guidelines stating: "Faculty salary support for the program director(s) is limited to 3.0 person months per year total." Does this mean that the 3.0 person months limit must be split between director(s) and co-director(s) if each person is requesting salary support from this core, or is each person allowed up to 3.0 person months each year?

The 3.0 months should be split between the director(s) and co-director(s).

Is 8 percent the appropriate rate for indirect cost for the Research Enrichment Core?

Yes. In accordance with the Section 7.4 NIH Grants Policy Statement, the rate is 8 percent for the RL5.

Are applicants required to use the specific percentages provided in the FOA for the yearly UL1, RL5, and TL4 ramp down?

No. Applicants are not required to use the percentages provided in the FOA. These percentages are intended to serve as examples, and it is expected that the percentages during ramp down will vary across sites.

In the Training Core, what is the difference between the "Trainee Participants" section on plans to recruit candidates and the "Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity"?

For the "Trainee Participants" section, applicants should describe the criteria they have developed for selecting applicants for their training program; for example, G.P.A. requirements, choice of major, etc.

For the "Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity" section, applicants should follow the instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. This section should include a description of efforts to recruit trainees from groups that have been identified as underrepresented (See Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity, Definition of Diversity Groups), and the program’s recruitment experiences from the previous funding period.

Is consortium-wide data expected to be included in BUILD II applications?

No, applicants can include their site-level data and use national statistics and reports on other student development programs, as available, to address FOA sections that request outcomes from the first BUILD funding cycle.

Can an awardee modify the “standard” support package given to full-time TL4 trainees with a stipend amount and/or the tuition amount lower than the support levels listed for NRSA?

All stipend levels for TL4 trainees must follow the standard NRSA stipend levels. Applicants should request full tuition and fees. Awards will be 60 percent of the requested amount, but will not exceed $16,000.

Can TL4 trainees be trained for only one year?

There is no prohibition against appointing a TL4 trainee for one year. However, a goal is for TL4 trainees to have the maximum level of participation possible. When students are appointed for more than a year, they receive more programmatic support and have the opportunity for greater program benefit.

Can awardees have a one-year training program for RL5 participants?

Yes, RL5 participants can be engaged in a one-year training program. Please keep in mind that, as for the TL4 trainees, a goal is for participants to have the maximum level of participation possible.

Are all RL5 trainees required to participate in eight weeks of faculty-mentored research?

All summer research experiences for the BUILD program are expected to be for a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in duration for both RL5 participants and TL4 trainees.

Will there be major changes to the Consortium-Wide Evaluation Plan (CWEP) timeline for BUILD Phase II?

The CWEP activities, such as the uploading of rosters and the administration of follow-up surveys, will continue as planned. The CEC anticipates that as Phase II progresses, BUILD sites will stop bringing in new cohorts. The CEC will continue to provide the CWEP timeline through the intranet calendar.

Given the CWEP workload, it has been recommended that the BUILD sites have one full-time person to support the CWEP evaluation. If the CEC has a ramp-down plan, how should the BUILD programs plan for evaluation resources?

The CWEP activities will only ramp down slightly for sites, and the impact will largely be limited to the number of trainees. For example, although the CEC will eventually stop the freshman surveys, they will continue to collaborate with sites for the follow-up surveys and roster uploads. While sites are expected to ramp down their support of trainees and activities to a sustainable level, given the importance of the data collection, analysis and dissemination, the sites should not ramp down the evaluation or data analysis activities.

Are progress reports required in the Research Strategy sections of all sections of the BUILD application?

No, a progress report section is not required in the Research Strategy section for all sections. Progress reports are required as part of the Research Strategy section of the Overall, Institutional Development Core and Research Enrichment Core.

Note: The Research Strategy Section has a 12-page limit which includes the progress report. The progress report section for the Training Core is not part of the Program Plan; it is an independent section that is submitted separately.

When they are required, are progress reports included in page limits of Research Strategy?

Yes, progress reports are included in the page limits of the Research Strategy. If “Suggested Tables B to D” are used for the Overall, they will not count against the 12-page limit, because they are included in the Facilities and Other Resources section. But if “Suggested Table A” is used, it will count as part of the 12-page limit in the Overall Research Strategy.

How many pages is the progress report section of the TL4 section?

There is no set page limit to the TL4 progress report, because the pages needed are determined in part by the number of trainees who were supported by the TL4 award in each of the years.

Are awardees allowed to split a subaward (for a research partner institution) between two or more cores? If so, how does Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs apply only to the first $25,000 total?

Yes. Because the BUILD Phase II awards will be disaggregated into three different awards, applicants’ budgets may propose to split subawards among the three awards in accordance with institutional policies. With regard to F&A: Applicants may request the applicable F&A of the first $25,000 of each disaggregated award in accordance with institutional policies and practices.

Can applicants propose project start and end dates that are not July 1 to June 30? Or, are the awards limited to those specific start and end dates each year?

Applicants could request any of the following start dates: May 1, June 1, July 1, August 1, and September 1; however, it is important to note that each institution must propose the same start date for each of their linked awards. As with all applications, NIH cannot guarantee the requested start date, as it depends on several factors, including NIH appropriations, Council date, significant pre-award issues that could cause delays, etc.

In the TL4, can an awardee have any Training-Related Expenses in year 5, given the expectation of a ramp down approach and program institutionalization?

Yes, Training Related Expenses are allowed in Year 5 of BUILD Phase II. To clarify, BUILD will not support new trainees in year 5.

How should applicants link their Specific Aims to the Hallmarks of Success?

Although Specific Aims will vary across sites, some higher-level alignment with the overall aims of the Hallmarks of Success is expected. There is no need to provide a link with all the Consortium-Wide Hallmarks of Success.

Can we offer faculty/student travel grants for conferences? If so, under which core?

Travel awards are not prohibited. However, securing funding sources outside of BUILD grants is encouraged to develop sustainability. BUILD-supported travel for student participants (RL5), trainees (TL4), and faculty must be budgeted in the core that supports the individual.

Are outreach activities allowable to high school students?

Yes. Outreach is defined as raising BUILD awareness and stimulating interest in the biomedical sciences among high school students in surrounding communities.

Are enrichment activities open to all high school students?

No, enrichment activities are open only to high school seniors who are concurrently enrolled in college bridge programs in relevant sciences at primary and partner institutions. Enrichment activities can be defined as mentored research, coursework, and/or professional development activities.

Can a bridge program be proposed in BUILD Phase II?

Applicants are encouraged to continue and refine existing interventions and continue the current data collection. Proposing new activities could be considered favorably if they are in response to lessons learned from BUILD Phase I and allow for continuous data collection.

What institutional documentation must be included in the application for students in a college bridge program?

A letter on institution letter head from the college bridge program leadership confirming enrollment is sufficient.

In which core can applicants include postbaccalaureate students?

Postbaccalaureate students may be included in the Research Enrichment Core and should be classified as staff.

May faculty be paid for their time on pilot projects in RL5?

Yes, just as in BUILD Phase I, faculty may be paid for their time on pilot projects through the RL5 mechanism.

Clarify what is meant by “participants” in this statement from the Research Enrichment Core Budget section: “Because the BUILD Research Enrichment component is not intended as a substitute for an NRSA institutional training program, costs to support full-time participants (supported for 40 hours/week for a continuous, 12-month period) are not allowable under the Research Enrichment Core”.

Here, “participants” is the term used to describe the individuals in the postbaccalaureate program.

What student activities are permitted under the Research Enrichment Core?

Student activities under the Research Enrichment Core can include but are not limited to: research design courses; pre-research student training (e.g., responsible conduct of research, ethics, safety training); collaborative learning experiences and group activities; research-based learning communities; enhancement of technical scientific reading comprehension, time management and technical writing skills, and hands-on inquiry based activities; providing information on research careers and scientific seminars; presenting research skills workshops; and providing institutional biomedical research focused conferences and symposia.

How does the ramp down affect evaluation activities with the CEC?

BUILD II sites will be expected to have at least one full-time person dedicated to evaluation activities throughout the 5-year period. The evaluation activities should reflect the need to assess the outcomes of the program and to complete consortium-wide evaluation tasks as proposed.

Will the demands on evaluation activities with CEC decrease over time in BUILD II?

CEC evaluation activity will depend on the data collected and the need to complete consortium-wide analysis.

Must ramp down also include staffing salaries?

Yes, salaries for faculty and staff should ramp down according to experimental design and need of the BUILD II program.

Is the UL1 included in ramp down?

Yes, ramp down applies to all cores. However, it is important to note that sites should have a full-time evaluator under the UL1 for the duration of the project period.

Should applicants interpret "participant costs" to include Participant Support Costs, defined as "Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects"?

In accordance with Section 7.9.1 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement, these costs are, "Only allowable when identified in specific FOAs." Note: The provided link is for the definition of “Participant Support Costs;” scroll down to section 7.9.1.

Can the BUILD trainees be listed as participants of other training and/or STEM program such as the McNair program if they receive BUILD funding?

No, trainees solely supported by the BUILD program must be solely identified as BUILD Kirschstein-NRSA trainees. In accordance with Section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement, “An individual may not receive support under a Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grant concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the Kirschstein-NRSA award.”

Do research mentors at the research partner institutions need to submit biosketches?

Yes, biosketches for research mentors at research partner institutions should be included. If a research mentor is to be included in Table 2 for the TL4, applicants should include that mentor’s biosketch in the application.

Who can apply for the BUILD Phase II awards?

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) invites applications from the current BUILD sites.

How can non-BUILD institutions participate in DPC activities?

Phase II of the DPC will include dissemination awards under the DPC Dissemination and Translation Awards (DPC DaTA, NOT-RM-18-007). These grants will allow sites that are not currently part of the DPC to implement sustainable training, mentoring, or research-capacity building interventions using DPC evaluation methods. NIH intends to release the DPC-DaTA FOAs in 2019.

What is the role of BUILD awardees in the dissemination awards?

BUILD awardees will provide the details of the exportable intervention models to be tested under the dissemination awards. NIH anticipates that BUILD awardees will serve as consultants to DPC DaTA awardees. NIH recognizes the level of engagement will be variable depending on the individual BUILD awardee and the type of intervention being tested.

What information should BUILD awardees prepare for DPC DaTA awardees?

When developing exportable interventions, BUILD awardees should include information that is vital to implementing the intervention, such as personnel needs and work-loads, lessons learned from the initial implementation, cost of implementation and sustainability, etc.

Are institutional partnerships allowed in BUILD phase II?

Yes, similar to BUILD Phase I, institutional partnerships are allowed in BUILD Phase II.

How are the dissemination awards different from BUILD’s institutional partnerships?

BUILD I institutional partnerships involve a greater level of collaboration than will be expected with the dissemination awards. The dissemination awards will not require the same level of close collaboration as BUILD institutional partnerships. Instead, BUILD awardees will serve as consultants to the recipients of the dissemination awards, and they will not be expected to develop formalized, long-term relationships.

Does the BUILD program support foreign travel?

If BUILD faculty engage in foreign travel, it must be supported by the institution or by other sources of support.

Can BUILD pilot projects support a NIH-defined clinical trial?

No. Pilot project applications to conduct a clinical trial are not allowable under BUILD II.

Which grant component (i.e., UL1, RL5 or TL4) should BUILD pilot projects be associated with during Phase II?

For Phase II, BUILD pilot projects can only be included under the RL5 linked award.

Is innovation expected in BUILD II?

During Phase II, BUILD awardees will be expected to continue to refine and enhance the initiatives developed during Phase I. Additionally, BUILD applicants will be expected to focus on innovative dissemination approaches, creative approaches to research training and/or mentoring, and unique strategies that address critical factors that contribute to student exit from biomedical research training.

Must all the BUILD interventions and activities from BUILD Phase I be sustained in BUILD Phase II? Are the awardees able to choose what elements will be sustained beyond the funding period?

All BUILD interventions and activities from BUILD Phase I do not need to be sustained. Awardees can choose which elements of their program they want to include in their sustainability plan.

Should only faculty from the primary BUILD institution be included when reporting on Research Support of Participating Faculty Members (for example, in Table 4)?

No. If faculty affiliated with a BUILD-partnership institution collaborate with a BUILD program and provide research experiences for students and/or participate in a faculty mentoring program, they should be included in reporting on Research Support of Participating Faculty Members.

When reporting on Research Support of Participating Faculty Members, the awardees should add the name of the partnership institution in parentheses after the faculty member’s name (i.e., NAME (Institution)).

If a student’s eligibility for BUILD funding is based on Pell grant eligibility, and the student’s financial status changes, can the student still receive BUILD funding?

The awardee is responsible for determining student eligibility. Many institutions have made Pell an eligibility criterion for support and/or participation in BUILD; however, this determination is made at the institution’s discretion.

Should Tables A-D be used in applications?

Tables A, B, C, and D are suggested formats for inclusion in applications. They can be used if applicants feel that they will be useful in presenting information. Suggested Format Table A may be included in the Research Plan (Overall) Progress Report section. Suggested Format Tables B-D may be included in the Facilities and Other Resources section. Do not upload tables A, B, C, and D to “Other Attachments,” the Appendix, or other sections of the proposal.

Can an appendix be used in a BUILD Phase II application?

No, appendix materials are not allowed for BUILD II.

What kind of research can be supported with pilot funding?

Pilot funds will be used to support research in an area relevant to the mission of the NIH.

Should the dissemination plans include publishing or making public a variety of discrete modules with estimated budgets that could be implemented at other institutions?

Yes, these plans should include information that would be needed to implement the interventions, such as a budget and personnel needs.

Can applying for other federal funds (e.g., for diversity-focused programs) be part of the sustainability plan?

Yes, applying for federal funds can be part of a sustainability plan.

FAQs for Consortium-wide questions:

Will Phase II be the final funding stage?

Yes, Phase II is the final funding stage. Awardees are encouraged to develop realistic sustainability plans that are suited to their institution and program to meet funding needs post-grant period.

Is a paper submission required for these FOAs?

No, a paper submission will not be accepted for these FOAs. The applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide [PDF, 4.31MB].

What is the award project period for these FOAs?

The maximum project period for these awards is 5 years.

What is a Cooperative Agreement?

The awards included in the Diversity Program Consortium are part of a Cooperative Agreement, which means that there is substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees during the performance of the project. The NIH purpose remains to support and stimulate the recipients’ activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role. The prime responsibility remains with the awardees, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH.

What is the Consortium-Wide Evaluation Plan (CWEP)?

During Phase I of the Diversity Program Consortium, the CEC facilitated the development of the Consortium-Wide Evaluation Plan (CWEP). This plan reflects the goals listed in the cooperative agreement FOAs for BUILD, NRMN, and the CEC, and is intended to ensure comparable sampling of data across the consortium. The CWEP includes logic models for each of the programs, the Hallmarks of Success and the Data Sharing Agreement. For BUILD Phase I, information was collected at three levels: 1) student/mentee; 2) faculty/mentor; and, 3) institutional/site through a variety of evaluation tools, including surveys, rosters, qualitative case studies, questionnaires, etc. Participants at BUILD institutions participated in CWEP surveys at the beginning and end of every school year. Evaluation is expected to continue in Phase II. For NRMN Phase I, participants completed pre-and post-surveys for their mentoring activities, and the CEC handled post-activity follow-up.

What is the Data Sharing Agreement?

The Data Sharing Agreement is intended to establish data collection, tracking, and storage coordination requirements for Consortium members. It also outlines data security and confidentiality, ownership of data, and rights and responsibilities. In addition, it describes the process for access to data by different parties and a provides a framework for use of DPC data.

What data elements are included in the Consortium-Wide Evaluation Plan?

Consortium-wide data elements include BUILD student and faculty follow-up surveys, Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) surveys, and NRMN student and faculty follow-up surveys. Visit Data Elements for a complete list of Consortium-wide evaluation survey instruments.

What are the Hallmarks of Success?

The DPC developed the Hallmarks of Success for use as a framework in measuring progress toward specific goals that are believed to positively influence an individual’s persistence in the biomedical research workforce. It is hypothesized that achieving more of the Hallmarks will coincide with a higher likelihood of success in the biomedical research workforce. Outcomes from DPC program participants are compared with internal comparator groups, and external, matched institutions that have not received BUILD funding.

What kinds of outcomes were examined during Phase I of the DPC?

The outcomes are being measured through a longitudinal evaluation across the three levels of interventions: student/mentee, faculty/mentor, and institutional/site.