Network of the National Library of Medicine
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Technology Improvement Award

Description of Award

To support infrastructure that improves access to biomedical and health information.


The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region (NNLM PNR), under cooperative agreement with the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), announces the availability of funding through Technology Improvement Awards to support infrastructure that improves access to biomedical and health information.

Specifically, the Technology Improvement Award seeks to address Aims 1-5 in the Support Access to Biomedical and Health Information Core, to ensure that the variety of users, such as affiliated and unaffiliated health professionals, researchers, librarians and the public, will have equal access to biomedical and health information.


Applicants must be members of the NNLM PNR. Network membership is free and open to institutions interested in providing health information. To apply for membership, submit an online membership application. Applicants who have not previously received NNLM funding for a Technology Improvement project, or have only received funding once, are especially encouraged to apply.

Awards should focus on upgrading, replacing or adopting hardware or software technologies that will increase access to health information, and/or strengthen communications and connectivity for health, i.e. infrastructure.

Potential Projects: 

Potential projects may include the following (other creative ideas are encouraged):

  • Installing high speed or broadband access to the Internet in areas where Internet is not presently available
  • Upgrading a slow Internet connection to a higher speed connection, or adding WiFi, mobile broadband or similar services
  • Upgrading equipment in a computer lab or learning center to facilitate virtual reality instruction or hands-on computer-based instruction
  • Establishing a mobile workstation (i.e. with laptop, printer, and projector on a rolling cart) to be used when providing information services outside of the library
  • Using mobile devices to support access to health information at the point of need, such as for emergency responders or patient care teams on bedside rounds
  • Creating unique Web-based health information literacy tutorials, learning modules, mobile applications or data mashups
  • Installing adaptive hardware and software to better enable individuals with disabilities to access computer-based health information
  • Implementing or improving Web-based document delivery service, such as purchasing interlibrary loan (ILL) management software, scanner, etc.
  • Setting up a checkout program for hot spots or other technology for internet access.


Funding Period: 
Friday, May 1, 2020 to Friday, April 30, 2021
up to $5000
Number of Awards Available: 
Minimum of 6
Additional Funding Information: 

Successful awardees must spend and invoice their full award amount by April 30, 2021.

Application deadline: applications submitted by July 15, 2020 will receive first consideration.

Period of Performance
The project should be completed by April 30, 2021.


Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 3:00pm
Application Instructions: 

Applicants should inform NNLM PNR of their intent to apply at least three weeks before submitting the application, by emailing
Applications will only be accepted via the NNLM Online Applications System. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the Improvement award application template before entering information into the online system.

When the RML is accepting applications, you can scroll to the bottom of the browser window to access the online application. You must be logged in with your NNLM account to begin the submission process.

Resources to assist applicants in writing proposals, can be found here:

Required Attachments

  • Budget spreadsheet
  • Curriculum vitae of key personnel
  • Letters of support from applicant’s institution

The PNR staff will acknowledge your application when received, and notification of awards will be given within four to six weeks.

Budget Guidelines

  • Maximum award is up to $5,000. 
  • Proposals must include the budget spreadsheet for the costs in each category. Include a narrative justification for budget items, explaining the purpose of each item in the project.
  • Allowable expenses Personnel, equipment, supplies, travel and other costs such as reproduction of materials, software, Internet service provider fees. These are examples only and are not meant to be all-inclusive.
  • Expenses are also allowed to publicize a health information event or resource, including NLM or NNLM resources or services, but the allowable costs are limited to educational materials or publicity, such as posters, displays, flyers, bookmarks, or brochures. Please consult the HHS Policy on the Use of Appropriated Funds for Promotional Items.​
  • Non-allowable expenses:  Furniture is not allowed and food is not allowed.
  • Indirect Costs (IDC) or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs: Indirect cost (IDC)/F&A can be included based on your institution's federally approved IDC agreement (non-research rates apply). A 10% MTDC rate may be used if no IDC agreement exists.

Evaluation of Proposal

Applications will be reviewed by: PNR staff and Network member volunteers.
Reviewers will score applications based on the following categories and criteria.


Preference will be given to organizations that have not previously received NNLM funding for an outreach project, or have only received funding once.

2. SIGNIFICANCE (30 points)

  1. Information provided supports the need for the project, such as information about the target population (worksheet provided in the Award Application), information resources or services available, information resources or services which are needed, and relevant barriers to be addressed.  Estimation of the program’s potential impact on future information services to this group or population is discussed.


  1. Suitability of methods, tools, or approaches to demonstrate skill and value of the library or librarians.
  2. Ability to execute the milestones and overall project within the timeframe specified.
  3. Clear evaluation plan to measure indicators of desired outcomes.

4. KEY PERSONNEL (10 points)

  1. Qualifications and time commitments of key personnel to initiate new services and partnerships,
  2. If applicable, do project partners bring experience to the team?

5. BUDGET (10 points)

  1. Is the budget reasonable and within funding limits?
  2. Is the budget justification sound? 

6. IMPACT SCORE (10 points)

  1. Application does not fit in the NNLM mission.
  2. The project will not sufficiently advance the goals of NNLM.
  3. Limited impact or there are concerns about the proposed plan or quality.
  4. Has strong potential.
  5. Excellent application. Will have major impact on NNLM goals.

Additional Information

508 Compliance: 

If web-based resources are developed using NNLM funding, developers are asked to ensure accessibility for the greatest possible number of people by adhering to standards described in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. For information on Section 508-compliant website development, see National Library of Medicine Web Pages & Accessibility and HHS Section 508 policy.

Reporting Requirements: 
  1. A Technology Improvement report must be submitted within 30 calendar days upon completion of the project with a minimum type of data to describe activities and measure results.
  2. If an organized training session, presentation, or exhibit on NLM resources takes place as part of the project, an Activity Report may be submitted within 14 days of the session. Instructions on reporting requirements are available in the Project Reporting Toolkit.
  3. Proposals to obtain NNLM funding will need to include plans for how and when this information will be collected, and any additional (optional) evaluation planned for the project.
  4. Sharing results and lessons learned from the project with other members of the NNLM will be requested, such as a brief article about the project for the NNLM PNR blog, the Dragonfly, or information about the project can be presented as part of the NNLM national webinar series.
NIH Public Access Policy: 

Final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts resulting from funded projects must be submitted to the digital archive PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication. For more information, see NOT-OD-08-033 and the Public Access website.

Data Sharing and Development of Training Materials: 

In order to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and information associated with the NNLM Cooperative Agreement Award, all awardees are required to share any data or training material resulting from funding. This information must be submitted to the following collection sites as applicable:

In addition, award recipients are expected to use or adapt existing training materials before developing new materials. Consult with the PNR prior to developing materials.

Publication and Copyrighting: 

NIH must be given a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license for the Federal government to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the material and to authorize others to do so for Federal purposes, i.e. the ongoing development of the NNLM.

NIH Acknowledgement: 

Any resource developed with project funds must include an acknowledgment of NIH grant support and a disclaimer stating the following:

“Developed resources reported in this [publications, press releases, internet sites] are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health."

Need Assistance: 

Cathy Burroughs, Associate Director, NNLM PNR, Telephone: (206) 543-9261.

For assistance with writing proposals, please see Grants and Proposal Writing course materials.

See also previous projects funded.

Organization Type: 
Academic Institution
Clinic/Other Health Care
Community Based
Community College
Data Management
Government Agency
Health Sciences Library
HIV/AIDS Services
Public Library
Public Health Organization