The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) supports a wide range of biomedical and behavioral research imperatives, and its Web site offers valuable program details to readers. One area of the site is devoted to the Division of Minority Opportunities in Research ( MORE), a NIGMS initiative to increase the number of underrepresented minority scientists by disseminating information about a variety of biomedical research training programs.
MORE is composed of three branches: Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS), and Special Initiatives. All three programs support research training for educational institutions with a substantial population of underrepresented minority students, and their Web pages each contain a policy statement, supplemental instructions, frequently asked questions, and a list of participating institutions. These three, along with other subsections, are described under Minority Programs. Brief summaries are presented below.
The MARC program focuses on student development and strives to increase research training opportunities for faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students. MARC programs include the Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research Awards, the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program, Faculty Predoctoral Fellowships, Faculty Senior Fellowships, and Visiting Scientist Fellowships.
The MBRS program emphasizes institutional support. MBRS grants fund faculty-initiated research, reinforce the biomedical research capabilities of the institution, and provide research work for students. MBRS programs include the Support of Continuous Research Excellence, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, and Initiative for Minority Student Development programs.
Special Initiatives programs are co-sponsored by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (another component of the National Institutes of Health). Special Initiatives programs include Bridges to the Baccalaureate Degree, Bridges to the Doctoral Degree, MORE Faculty Development Awards, Fellowship Awards for Minority Students, MORE Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards, and Research Supplements for Underrepresented Minorities.
The News, Events, & Publications subsection contains information about NIGMS-sponsored meetings, news releases, publications, and other reports related to minority programs. In addition to the NIGMS online newsletter, Minority Programs Update, a report entitled Scientists for the 21st Century: Biomedical Research and Training Opportunities for Minorities may be downloaded. Minority Recruitment & Retention Strategies is a separate site that includes workshop details and resources for recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities.
Grant Application & Review provides an explanation of the review process, tips on writing grant proposals, study section information, forms and instructions, and other links designed to aid those applying for NIH grants. Funding Opportunities contains information about grants for individuals as well as programs. There are also program announcements, requests for applications, notices and policies, and research supplements. All of these forms contain information on the program's purpose, training objectives, mechanism of support, eligibility specifications, application instructions, and contact information.
The MORE home page design, with highly visible sections, is practical and generally user-friendly; however, the language within the sections is not always clearly defined. Although the MORE Web site is effective in accomplishing its goals, more prominent distinctions are necessary to differentiate the MARC, MBRS, and Special Initiatives programs. Despite its simple, no-frills design, MORE is an excellent resource for students, faculty, and administrators interested in minority NIGMS grants and furthering minority involvement in biomedical research.
Clinton Parks is a contributing writer for MiSciNet and can reached at CRParks3@aol.com.