|(a) General Information. The program, as it applies to this section: (1) Name--Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program. (2) Purpose--To provide funding to eligible institutions of higher education to conduct research and educational programs on public health issues affecting one or more minority groups in Texas. (3) Authority--Texas Government Code, §§63.301 - 63.302. (4) Minority--a particular ethnic or racial group that is under-represented in one or more areas of health research or health education. (5) Eligible institutions--Public and private accredited general academic and health-related institutions, and Centers for Teacher Education, that conduct research or educational programs that address minority health issues or form partnerships with minority organizations, colleges, or universities to conduct research and educational programs that address minority health issues. Two-year institutions, including junior and community colleges, state colleges or technical colleges, and other agencies of higher education as defined by Texas Education Code, §61.003(6) are not eligible to submit an application for program funding but may receive program funding indirectly as a partner to an eligible institution. (6) Eligible programs--Research and educational initiatives, including those that expand existing research and degree programs, and develop other new or existing activities and projects, that are not funded by state appropriation during the funding period. Proposed programs shall not conflict with current judicial decisions and state interpretation on administering minority programs in higher education. (7) Application requirements--Applications shall be submitted to the Board in the format and at the time specified by the Board. (8) General Selection Criteria--Competitive. Designed to award grants that provide the best overall value to the state. Selection criteria shall be based on: (A) Program quality as determined by reviewers; (B) Impact the grant award shall have on public health issues affecting one or more minority groups in the state; (C) Cost of the proposed program; and (D) Other factors to be considered by the Board, including financial ability to perform program, state and regional needs and priorities, whether the eligible institution has been designated as an Historically Black or Hispanic Serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education, ability to continue program after grant period, and past performance. (9) Minimum award--$15,000 per award in any fiscal year. (10) Maximum award--30 percent of the estimated available funding per award in any fiscal year. (11) Maximum award length--A program is eligible to receive funding for up to three years within a grant period. Previously funded programs may reapply to receive funding for one additional grant period. (b) Review Criteria. (1) The Board shall use peer and Board staff reviewers to evaluate the quality of applications. (2) The Commissioner shall select qualified individuals to serve as reviewers. Reviewers shall demonstrate appropriate credentials to evaluate grant applications in health research and education. Reviewers shall not evaluate any applications for which they have a conflict of interest. (3) The Board staff shall provide written instructions and training for reviewers. (4) The reviewers shall score each application according to these award criteria and weights: (A) Significance of research or educational program for minority health issues. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: How relevant and timely is this topic to minority public health issues? Is the program unique and important or unique and important for a geographic area? Will the program be useful to or later replicated at other institutions in the state? Will the program provide an advancement of knowledge that may result in positive changes in patient care, education or health care policy for minorities? How many people will benefit directly from the program? Maximum points: 30 (B) Resources to perform program. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: What new personnel, equipment and facility resources are needed for the program? What existing resources can be used? Will the program draw on resources from other institutions and organizations? Do the institution's partners, if any, demonstrate financial stability and effectiveness in conducting similar research or education programs? What are the professional credentials and experience of the program's key personnel? Maximum points: 15 (C) Program design. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: Is the program well defined? Is it a discrete program which can be completed in the grant period? Are the goals and objectives realistic? How well has the proposal described the data collection or program development process and the nature of analysis to be carried out? Maximum points: 25 (D) Cost sharing. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: What level of local funding, if any, is available to share in the cost of the program? Maximum points: 5 (E) Cost effectiveness. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: How appropriate are the chosen equipment, staffing and service providers for the program given the cost of the program? Is the budget realistic? Does the proposal make effective use of the grant funds? Maximum points: 25. (F) Evaluation and expected outcomes. The reviewers shall consider issues such as: How well has the proposal described the methodology to evaluate and estimate the outcomes from the program? Is the evaluation methodology appropriate and effective? Are the outcomes realistic? Maximum points: 30 (5) Award criteria and weights may be adjusted to best fulfill the purpose of an individual grant competition, if those adjusted award criteria and weights are first included in the Request for Proposal for the grant competition. (c) Application and Review Process. (1) The Commissioner may solicit recommendations from an advisory committee or other group of qualified individuals on funding priorities for each grant period, and the administration of the application and review process. (2) The Board staff shall review applications to determine if they adhere to the grant program requirements and the funding priorities contained in the Request for Proposal. An application must meet the requirements of the Request for Proposal and be submitted with proper authorization before or on the day specified by the Board to qualify for further consideration. Qualified applications shall be forwarded to the reviewers for evaluation. Board staff shall notify applicants eliminated through the screening process within 30 days of the submission deadline. (3) Reviewers shall evaluate applications and assign scores based on award criteria. All evaluations and scores of the review committee are final. (4) Board staff shall rank each application based on points assigned by reviewers, and then may request that individuals representing the most highly-ranked applications make oral presentations on their applications to the reviewers and other Board staff. The Board staff may consider reviewer comments from the oral presentations in recommending a priority ranked list of applications to the Board for approval. (d) Funding Decisions. (1) Applications for grant funding shall be evaluated only upon the information provided in the written application. (2) The Board shall approve grants upon the recommendation of the panel of reviewers and Board staff. The Commissioner shall report approved grants to the Board for each biennial grant period. (3) Funding recommendations to the Board shall consist of the most highly ranked and recommended applications up to the limit of available funds. If available funds are insufficient to fund a proposal after the higher-ranking and recommended applications have been funded, staff shall negotiate with the applicant to determine if a lesser amount would be acceptable. If the applicant does not agree to the lesser amount, the staff shall negotiate with the next applicant on the ranked list. The process shall be continued until all grant funds are awarded to the most highly ranked and recommended applications. (e) Contract. Following approval of grant awards by the Board the successful applicants shall sign a contract issued by Board staff and based on the information contained in the application. (f) Cancellation or Suspension of Grants. The Board has the right to reject all applications and cancel a grant solicitation at any point before a contract is signed. (g) Request for Proposal. The full text of the administrative regulations and budget guidelines for this program are contained in the official Request for Proposal (RFP) available upon request from the Board.