INTERNET CONNECTION FOR HEALTH INSTITUTIONS

Release Date:  December 13, 1999

RFA:  LM-00-001

National Library of Medicine

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 20, 2000
Application Receipt Date: March 14, 2000 

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" at: 
http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/pubs/hp2000.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. public and private, non-profit institutions engaged in health 
administration, education, research, and/or clinical care are eligible to 
apply.  AHealth" 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.  Facilities and administrative (F&A) 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.

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 February 20, 2000, 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

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants. These forms are available at most institutional 
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach 
and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge 
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email: 
GrantsInfo@nih.gov., and from the program administrator listed under 
INQUIRIES.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application. 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 sample RFA label available at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf has been modified to 
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

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 
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
Email:

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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