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Program Requirements

What are the requirements for institutions applying to this program?

The applicant institution must:

  • be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate degrees in engineering or the physical/computational sciences.
  • have either a bioengineering or biomedical engineering department (or concentration/track) or a critical mass of faculty with background in above areas and experience in the application of engineering and the physical/computational sciences in medicine and/or biology.
  • have, at the time of application, an honors program promoting graduate studies and open to students in their junior and senior years.

Do applicants need to have an existing ESTEEMED-like program at their institution?

No. New programs are welcome to apply.

What are the required elements of the program?

The ESTEEMED program relies on a preparatory summer program for incoming freshmen; strong mentoring by faculty and peers; and early exposure to biomedical research. Three elements are required:

  1. Summer Bridge Program: A 5-week (minimum) bootcamp for incoming freshmen, to prepare participants for their first year of college, introducing them to the ESTEEMED program and providing a review of basic topics and skills necessary for success.
  2. Academic year activities: Activities that emphasize basic sciences, computation, and science communication and help participants maximize their academic performance as well as prepare for summer research experiences and advanced honors programs.
  3. Summer research experiences: An 8-week (minimum) on- or off-campus research experience which should conclude in an oral presentation and written report of the work.

When should these activities take place?

  • Summer Bridge Program: The summer before freshman year.
  • Academic year activities: The freshman and sophomore years.
  • Summer research experiences: The summer between sophomore and junior years.

Does each program need to have all three elements?

Yes. Each ESTEEMED program must have all three elements.

What other components are important in the ESTEEMED Program?

Mentoring and an Honors program are the other components that the ESTEEMED program emphasizes. 

Who should provide mentoring?

Mentoring by the PI and program faculty is required. Mentors must have appropriate expertise in bioengineering or the application of engineering and the physical/computational sciences in medicine and/or biology. The program should ideally include mentoring by peers, alumni, and doctoral students (if any), and encourage family engagement.

What characteristics must the Honors Program have?

The only requirements for the Honors program are that it prepare students for graduate studies and is open to ESTEEMED scholars in their junior and senior years.

Must the Honors Program be federally funded?

No. Any internally or externally funded honors program that meets the above criteria is acceptable.

Can institutions which do not have an honors program but are planning to implement one apply?

No. The honors program must be in place and described in the application.

What is the path expected for an ESTEEMED scholar?

Timeline showing the path through ESTEEMThe above graphic explains the path an ESTEEMED scholar is expected to take. /The ESTEEMED program (green blocks—incoming summer through rising junior summer) will support the students starting with the summer before their freshman year through the summer between their sophomore and junior years. At the end of the ESTEEMED program, the ideal path will take an ESTEEMED scholar to an Honors program (yellow blocks—junior and senior years), at the institution, that prepares high-achieving STEM students for doctoral programs in biomedical research fields. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, ESTEEMED scholars are expected to enroll in doctoral studies in a related field, most likely at a different institution (orange block).

What else is an important component of the ESTEEMED program?

Evaluation of the program is an important component of the ESTEEMED program so that best practices can be shared with the scientific community. See the Application Requirements section for developing a strong evaluation plan.

Application Requirements

Are letters of intent required before application submission?

No. However, they are strongly encouraged and should be submitted by June 24th by email to Dr. Zeynep Erim

Do Training Tables need to be submitted in the application?

Yes. Undergraduate Training Tables 2, 3, and 4 need to be filled out for the faculty mentors in the program. For existing programs, Undergraduate Training Tables 5C and 8D need to be filled out for graduates of the program, if any.

Where can complete instructions for filling out Training Tables be found?

Instructions for filling out undergraduate Training Tables and sample tables can be found here.

Where can blank Training Tables be found?

Blank undergraduate Training Tables to be filled out can be found here.

Which students should Undergraduate Training Tables consider?

Table 5C: For each faculty member, list all publications of representative, previous undergraduate students from the last 10 years and all current undergraduate students. Only include students who would have been eligible for appointment to the proposed ESTEEMED program whose training in the research mentor’s lab resulted in a research publication or poster. Exclude individuals undertaking short-term (12 week or less) training experiences with a faculty member.

Table 5C: Since all applications to this FOA will be new applications, fill out only Part II. List sequentially all students graduating in a field or from a program similar to the proposed undergraduate program in the last five years who would have been eligible for the proposed program.

What is a New Program versus New Application?

A New Program is a program that has not been existence at the applicant institution and is proposed to be newly established.  Alternatively, some institutions have ongoing programs with similar goals to ESTEEMED which may form the basis of the ESTEEMED program in their application.  We refer to the latter as existing programs. 

A New Application is an application that has not received funding under this FOA (or its earlier issuances) as opposed to Renewal applications which request support for an additional period for programs that have already received funding under the FOA.  Since ESTEEMED FOAs have not been existence for 5 years yet, no funded grant is at the point of renewal and all applications submitted this year will be New Applications.

What letters of support need to be submitted in the application?

We require a letter of support indicating institutional commitment to the program and letters from the directors of any existing Summer Bridge and honors programs. Any outside individual or entity involved in the program must provide a letter of support stating their willingness to collaborate and describing how their background relates to the program and the specific responsibilities they will assume. If you are partnering with other institutions, for instance for summer research opportunities, they should also provide a letter of support.

Are partnerships with other institutions required for this program?

No, they are not required but smaller institutions or those without active research labs are strongly encouraged to have such partnerships to maximize research opportunities for participants.

What should be included in the Evaluation Plan?

The Evaluation Plan must describe how the success of the program will be evaluated. It must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants and any comparator groups), as well as metrics to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the hallmarks of success in assessing the impact of the program. Applications must describe a comparator group (a similar group not in the program), and the timepoints when data will be acquired from the participant and comparator groups (e.g., baseline, after freshman year, after sophomore year, at graduation, etc.), along with the methods used to collect the data. Applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and provide suggestions for improvements, as well as to identify the strengths of the program to expand on and share with the education community.

Is the data collection performed to evaluate the program considered Human Subjects Research?

Yes, most likely. Your institution or its designee would make this determination. It is likely that human subjects work in ESTEEMED programs falls under Exemption 1 and/or 2. If your institution or its designee has determined that human subject research is involved, your institution’s IRB would determine whether any/which Exemptions apply.

What is a good strategy for preparing a strong application?

Read the FOA carefully.  Clearly describe the required elements and important components/features of your proposed program.  Make sure your description provides sufficient detail to address the review criteria listed in Section V. Application Review Information of the FOA.

How else can I make sure my application fits ESTEEMED and I prepare a strong application?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their application with Dr. Zeynep Erim before starting to prepare their application.

Award Information

How many programs will be funded?

This will depend on the availability of funds and the number of meritorious applications.

How many students can be funded per program?

Depending on the size and resources of the institution, we envision a program will recruit 4 to 8 new participants per year, with a total of 8 to 16 participants supported in any grant year.

Does ESTEEMED provide salaries or stipends for program participants?

Salaries. These must be itemized and justified in the budget.

What are the caps for participant salaries during various phases of the program?

During the Summer Bridge program, participants may receive up to $4,000.

During the academic year, participants may be compensated for part-time work related to research education, up to $10,000 in the freshman year and $12,000 in the sophomore year.

During the summer research experience in the summer between the sophomore and junior years, participants may be compensated for work in the research labs, up to $4,000.

What are examples of work related to research education?

Assistance with work in research labs; data entry, processing and analysis; peer-mentoring; tutoring; producing supplementary materials, such as detailed notes and illustrations or videos for use in program evaluation, to be used in future offerings of a course, and/or for dissemination to other students; leading discussion sessions; and moderating or posting answers to questions on online class bulletin boards.

Are faculty salaries allowed?

Yes, salaries may be requested for faculty members involved in the design, implementation and management of the program. The total faculty salary may not exceed $30,000 per year, per program.

Are administrator salaries allowed?

Yes, salaries may be requested for non-faculty administrators who manage the day-to-day activities of the program. The total administrator salary may not exceed $30,000 per year, per program.

Are costs for an external evaluator(s) allowed?

Yes, funds can be requested for an external evaluator(s). The total external evaluator salary may not exceed $5,000 per year, per program.

Are other program-related expenses allowed?

Yes, other program-related costs may be requested. Annual program-related expenses may be requested up to $20,000 for general program expenses plus $1,000 per participant to cover costs associated with each participant.

What items can be requested under Other Program-Related Expenses?

Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution. Items such as supplies and equipment (such as printing paper or computers) generally available at the applicant institution must not be requested.

Are mentoring and tutoring allowable under Program-Related Expenses?

When program participants provide the tutoring or mentoring, this should be covered under the salary they receive. If individuals who are not participants of the ESTEEMED program provide the tutoring or mentoring, they can be paid under Program-Related Expenses

Is housing an allowable cost for program participants or tutors?

No. Program participants and tutors received salaries for the research-related work that they carry out. They are expected to pay for housing using these funds. Only during the Summer Bridge (when students have not started the academic year and are required to be at the institution only for the Summer Bridge) lodging costs may be covered in the per diem paid to the participants.

Are Fringe Benefits allowable?

Yes, Fringe Benefits are allowable when requested.

What is the $1,000 per student allowance supposed to cover?

This allowance is expected to cover costs for materials, supplies or services that are needed for each participant, for instance in class/workshop demonstrations or as needed in any research project individual participant will engage in.

What is the maximum amount that can be requested per year?

This will be based on the number of students to be funded by the program and the specific funding model used. We do not expect to fund budgets larger than $353,000 per year in direct costs.

What is a reasonable amount to allocate for travel of speakers, workshop presenters, etc.?

The recommended cap for travel for speakers, workshop presenters, etc. is $500 per local speaker and $1,500 per non-local speaker, although this can be adjusted if strong justification is provided based on the uniqueness of speaker expertise, number of days, and flight locations. However, please note that exceptionally strong justification must be provided for travel of a speaker where similar expertise could be identified locally.

What is a reasonable amount to allocate for travel for PIs?

Travel for PI is allowed only to attend meetings specifically with the goal of disseminating outcomes of the ESTEEMED program and learn about similar educational programs’ best practices. The recommended cap for travel is $5,000/year for each PI, not to exceed $10,000/year for PI/multi-PI travel for the whole program.

Whom can I contact if I have other questions?

You can contact Dr. Zeynep Erim with any questions or to make sure your proposal fits the ESTEEMED program.