The program emphasizes:

What will be the delta or difference

at your institution with a

MARC-U*STAR program?

Case Study Instructions

General discussion of Case Study 1

General Discussion of Case Study 2

Case Study I

Whowahr U (WU) is a moderate sized liberal arts college with a student population that is 85% underrepresented minority (43% African American, 40% Hispanic, 2% Native American, 10% Asian and 5% Caucasian). WU enrolls 1100 students that express an interest in the sciences, (Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Computer Science). The number of BA degrees awarded by the combined departments has averaged 95 per year for the past five years. On average, 2 alumni per year graduate with a PhD from prestigious universities around the country. Under a new Dean of Science, who is the PI of the application, the college plans to improve its reputation as a scholarly institution. Faculty will be judged on their scholarly productivity as well as their teaching. The faculty are interested in research but their current teaching workload limits their time for research. The Dean would like the college to become more selective, have a better graduation rate, and send more students on to post graduate training. WU proposes to use the MARC U*STAR program to motivate student interest and preparation for research careers. Having a MARC program will provide financial support that will help the college recruit stronger students.

Case Study I (continued)

The specific objectives of the proposed MARC U*STAR program are to:

  1. Support 6 juniors and 6 senior honors students with stipends and a strong research experience with college faculty who are outstanding mentors

  2. Provide the students with mentored research experiences at intramural and extramural sites

  3. Provide an enriched curriculum with an interdisciplinary strength in the neurosciences with special MARC courses developed for MARC trainees

  4. Expose the MARC Trainees to role models and provide career guidance through a seminar series

  5. Have at least 33% of the MARC graduates enroll in graduate school and go on to receive a PhD

Group Discussion of Case Study I


Group Discussion of Case Study I


Group Discussion of Case Study I



Case Study II

Whatsa Matter University (WMU) is a major research institution offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. WMU enrolls close to 15,000 students. Its student profile is 15% Hispanic, 13% African American, 10% Hawaiian and/or Samoan, 20% Asian American, 40% Caucasian non-Hispanic, and 2% foreign students with visas. The university student body includes 1% students with disabilities, 65% female and 35% males. The academic departments in science include the traditional science departments (biology, chemistry and physics) and social behavioral sciences (psychology, and anthropology) as well as a school of engineering, a law school, a school of medicine, and a school of public health. The faculty in these areas are funded by several government agencies and foundations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), Kellogg, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The institution’s portfolio of student development programs includes: STEP, Louis Strokes Alliance for Minority Participation, IGERT and GK12 Programs from the NSF, undergraduate and graduate HHMI programs, a Bridges to the Doctorate Program, an IMSD Program from MORE/NIGMS, and five T32 Research Training grants from NIGMS.

Case Study II (continued)

WMU students also have the opportunity to compete for EPA, NASA and USDA fellowships on a regular basis. Most the researchers who have R01 type funding support students on as research associates on their grants. Whatsa Matter U science students complete the undergraduate degree in approximately five years. WMU annually graduates approximately 1,800 students of which 5% are science undergraduate majors and 8% are science doctorates. WMU graduates 2% underrepresented students at the undergraduate level and 1% of them pursue or are pursuing PhD degrees in science fields. At the graduate level, Whatsa Matter U awards 0.5% doctorates in science to minorities and foreign students.

Group Discussion of Case Study II



Group Discussion of Case Study I




MARC’s “10 MUST Haves”

  1. Institutional Setting

  2. Institutional Past Training Record

  3. Institutional Commitment

  4. Program Director

  5. Research Training Environment

  6. Recruitment & Student Development Plan

  7. Skills Development Pre-MARC

  8. Skills Development MARC

  9. Responsible Conduct of Research Training

  10. Evaluation and Tracking

1. Institutional Setting (Baseline Data)

2. Institutional Past Training Record

Sample Table for Renewal Applications

3. Institutional Commitment

Documented commitment to proposed research training program’s goals and assurance that the institution intends the MARC program to be an integral part of its research and research training endeavor (financial or otherwise)

4. Program Director

5. Research Training Environment

if research intensive (RI) environment with active research faculty


partnerships w/nearby RI (T32) institutions and/or “Research Classroom” training

Community for Advanced Graduate Training (CAGT)

On-line “matching service” exclusively for MARC-U*STAR students and NIGMS predoctoral T32 Programs for the MARC students extramural summer research experience and/or graduate school (Ph.D.) training.

6. Recruitment & Student Dev. Plan

7. Skills Development Pre-MARC Program must develop the skills of pre-trainees (pre-freshmen, freshmen, sophomores) via workshops, etc.

8. Skills Development MARC trainees

Program must develop the skills of MARC trainees:

- research

- critical thinking/problem solving

- communication

- career guidance

9. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

10. Evaluation and Tracking


- Stipends (~11K/yr/trainee), partial tuition & fees

- Trainee travel (mtgs and summer research)

- Summer per diem ($931/mo. + travel)

Training Related Expenses

Preparation of a
MARC-USTAR Training Grant Application

Program Expectations


Need a Good Plan

Needs Statement


Important Steps in Preparing a Competitive Grant Application

Sequence of Proposal Topics for Reading

Sequence of Topics for Proposal Development

Specific Goals & Measurable Objectives

Objectives Achieved Through Activities

Restate each objective and describe:

Presentation of Data

Training Plan: Summary

Training Plan: Summary

Training Plan: Summary


Advisory committee:

Trainers, mentors,& other key personnel:

Other Parts of the Application



Biographical Sketches

Common Reasons for Failure

If the institution has limited or no research capacity, don’t propose to put students in research labs on your campus. Find alternatives

Reviewers need to know your starting point and what will change as a result of your proposed program

-Illustration by Sir John Tenniel, eBooks@ Adelaide, 2004

“I think you should be more explicit here in Step Two.”

By Sidney Harris, Copyright 2007, The New Yorker

Resources Activities Impact

Short term







Long term

Enter PhD Program

Faculty & Staff


Equipment & Technology

What is invested?

(Inputs) (Outputs) (Outcomes)

What is invested?

What is done?

What are the changes or benefits?

February 2009

Paper Applications

(Currently T, F, P and K12)

February 2009

February 2009

February 2009

February 2009

Enhancing Peer Review Update

February 2009

Timeframe Activity Contact*


+ 2 months Referral

+ 4 months Review

+ 5-6 months Summary Statement

+ 7 months Council

+ 8 months Funding Decisions

+ 9 months Award - or - Not

*NIH Contact: Scientific Review Officer (SRO) or Program Officer (PO)

Timeline for Application and NIH Contacts

February 2009

February 2009

Writing Tips

February 2009

Writing Tips

February 2009

Writing Tips

Grants Administration Branch, NIGMS, NIH, DHHS

** Round off fractional amounts when reporting stipend levels