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ARCHIVED - NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/98)

Part III: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities-Part 3 of 6

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H. Reporting Procedures

The following documents are critical to the process of establishing the payment of stipends and other costs, as well as the determination of possible payback service.

1. Activation Notice

Immediately upon the initiation of training, the individual completes and signs the Activation Notice (Form PHS 416-5), obtains the signature of the designated sponsoring institution officials, and forwards the notice along with the Payback Agreement (postdoctoral fellows in their first 12 months of NRSA support only) to the NIH awarding office. An Activation Notice is enclosed with all competing awards.

For fellows paid directly by NIH, the Activation Notice is required at the start of each award year. The forms should not be submitted before he or she actually begins training. Stipend checks are issued when both the Activation Notice and the Payback Agreement (postdoctoral fellows in their first 12 months of NRSA support only) are received by the awarding office.

For fellows whose stipend is paid through the institution, the Activation Notice is required for the initial year only. The Notice may be submitted up to 30 days before the individual begins training if necessary for payroll purposes. However, the institution must not release any funds until the individual has actually started training. Furthermore, if the individual does not begin research training on the day indicated, the institution must notify the NIH awarding office immediately. Continuation awards must be activated on the day following termination of the previous award period.

2. Payback Agreement

A National Research Service Award Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031) must be signed by each person who is to receive an individual postdoctoral fellowship that covers their initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support. If the individual has already received 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support under any grant or award, this form is not required. For detail on NRSA payback, see Section IV.

3. Termination Notice

The Termination Notice (Form PHS 416-7)(along with the Activation Notice and the Notice of Research Fellowship Award) is the basis for establishing the amount of payback obligation for each NRSA fellow. For individual fellowships, a Termination Notice is sent to the fellow by the awarding office prior to the scheduled termination date. For early terminations, the forms will be issued immediately upon receipt of notification from the fellow or an authorized institutional official. This form must be completed and returned to the awarding office immediately. The lack of timely and accurate information on this form could adversely affect the payback process.

4. Consecutive Support

If a fellow switches from one NRSA grant mechanism to another, including from one awarding office to another, the requirement for payback service incurred is deferred until the total NRSA support is completed. All fellowship applications are reviewed to determine if previous NRSA support has been provided.

I. Progress Reports, Financial Status Reports, Changes in the Project

1. Progress Reports

Progress reports must be submitted with all applications for non-competing continuation support in accordance with the instructions accompanying the application forms. Inadequate or incomplete progress reports may be returned to the fellow for revision and may result in a delay of continued support. For individual awards the final progress report is required as part of the Termination Notice.

2. Financial Status Report

An annual or final Financial Status Report is not required on individual awards. In the event of early termination, the stipend will be prorated according to the amount of time spent in training and the Notice of Research Fellowship Award will be revised. The balance of any institutional allowance (at least 1/2) must be refunded if the training has been for six months or less.

3. Changes in the Project

Individual awards are made for training at a specific institution under the guidance of a particular sponsor. A transfer of the award to another institution or a change in sponsor and/or project requires the approval of the NIH awarding office. As part of that approval process, if a fellow sponsored by a domestic non-Federal institution requests a transfer to another domestic non-Federal institution before the end of the current award year, the initial institution may be requested to continue to pay the stipend until the end of the current year. Disposition of the institutional allowance is negotiable between the two sponsoring institutions.

Transfers involving Federal or foreign sponsoring institutions require unique administrative procedures and approvals. Regardless of the type of sponsoring institution involved, since each transfer varies depending upon individual circumstances, the NIH awarding office should be contacted for specific guidance.

Any proposed change in the individual's specified area of research training must be reviewed and approved in writing by the awarding office to assure that the training continues to be an area that falls within the scientific area of the original peer reviewed application.

An interim sponsor must be named by the institution and approved in writing by the awarding office when the sponsor is going to be absent for a period of more than three months.

J. Other Terms and Conditions

1. Leave

a. Vacations and Holidays

Fellows may receive the same vacations and holidays available to individuals in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution. Fellows shall continue to receive stipends during vacations and holidays. At academic institutions, the time between semesters or academic quarters is generally considered an active part of the training period.

b. Sick Leave and Other Leave

Fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the awarding office in response to a written request from the sponsor, countersigned by an authorized institutional official. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.

c. Parental Leave

Fellows may also receive stipends for up to 30 calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution have access to paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. In the case of individual fellowships, the use of parental leave requires approval by the sponsor.

A period of terminal leave is not permitted and payment may not be made from grant funds for leave not taken.

d. Unpaid Leave

Individuals requiring extended periods of time away from their research training experience, which could include more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 30 calendar days of parental leave must seek approval for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance from the awarding office. Fellows must provide a letter of support from the sponsor, countersigned by an authorized institutional official, and must advise the awarding office of the dates of the leave of absence. Upon approval of the request, the awarding office will issue a revised Notice of Research Fellowship Award extending the termination date of the current budget period by the number of months of the leave. A restriction will be included in the terms and conditions of the award precluding the expenditure of funds from the fellowship during the period of the leave of absence.

During a leave of absence, documentation to suspend the award and/or the accrual of service for calculating the payback obligation must be completed.

2. Termination

An individual award may be terminated prior to its normal expiration date at the written request of the recipient, or by the Director, NIH, if it is found that the recipient has materially failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the award or to carry out the purpose for which it was made. In the event an award is terminated for cause, the Director, NIH, shall notify the awardee in writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision.

3. Publications

Fellows are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice. Responsibility for direction of the project should not be ascribed to NIH. Awarding office support must be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: "This Investigation was supported by National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award (number) from the (awarding office)." In addition, it is now mandated that all grantees funded with Federal dollars, in whole or in part, acknowledge Federal funding when issuing statements, press releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other documents. Grantees are required to state (1) the percentage and dollar amounts of the total program or project costs financed with Federal money, and (2) the percentage and dollar amount of the total costs financed by nongovernmental sources.

4. Copyright

Except as otherwise provided in the conditions of the award, when publications or similar copyrightable materials are developed from work supported by NIH the author is free to arrange for copyright without awarding office approval. Any such copyrighted material shall be subject to royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to the Government to reproduce them, translate them, publish them, use and dispose of them, and to authorize others to do so for Government purposes.

5. Patents

No fellowship grant made by NIH primarily to an awardee for educational purposes for training other than at NIH will contain any provision giving NIH any rights to inventions made by the awardee. Fellows training at NIH are bound by all provisions of Executive Order 10096 and any orders, rules, regulations or issuances thereunder wherein NIH determines the rights of the Government and the fellow in (and to) inventions conceived or actually reduced to practice during the period of fellowship.

6. Disposition of Professional Fees

Fees resulting from clinical practice, professional consultation, or other comparable activities performed pursuant to the purpose of the award may not be retained by the fellow. Such fees will be assigned to the sponsoring institution for disposition in accordance with NIH policy on grant-related (program) income (see "Administrative Requirements     Management Systems and Procedures     Program Income" in Part II of this policy statement). The term "professional fees" does not apply to honoraria, fees for scholarly writing, delivery of occasional outside lectures, or service in an advisory capacity to public or private non-profit organizations. These fees, if within institutional policy, may be retained by the awardee.

7. Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA

a. Human Subjects

The HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects provide a systematic means, based on established, internationally recognized ethical principles, to safeguard the rights and welfare of individuals who participate as subjects in research activities supported or conducted by HHS. The regulations stipulate that the sponsoring institution, whether domestic or foreign, bears responsibility for safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects in HHS-supported research activities. The regulations require that the sponsoring institution file a written Assurance of Compliance with the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR). If a project involves nonexempt human subjects research, certification that an appropriate Institutional Review board has reviewed and approved the proposed activity is also required.

For additional information on human subjects requirements, please refer to the Individual NRSA application kit or contact the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3B01, Mail Stop Code 7507, Bethesda, MD 20892-7507, Telephone: (301) 496-7041.

b. Vertebrate Animals

The PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires that sponsoring institutions (foreign or domestic) proposing to use vertebrate animals file a written Animal Welfare Assurance with the OPRR, establishing appropriate policies and procedures to ensure the humane care and use of live vertebrate animals involved in research activities supported by NIH. Verification of the date the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved the project is also required.

For additional information on vertebrate animals, please refer to the Individual NRSA application kit or contact the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3B01, Mail Stop Code 7501, Bethesda, MD 20892-7507, Telephone: (301) 496-7163.

c. Recombinant DNA

The current NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules and announcements of modifications and changes to the Guidelines are available from the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. All research involving recombinant DNA techniques that is supported by HHS must meet the requirements of these Guidelines.

A. General

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will award National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grants (T32s, T34s, & T35s) to eligible institutions to develop or enhance research training opportunities for individuals, selected by the institution, who are training for careers in specified areas of biomedical and behavioral research. The purpose of the NRSA program is to help ensure that highly trained scientists are available in adequate numbers and in the appropriate research areas and fields to carry out the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. The NRSA program supports both predoctoral and postdoctoral research training as well as limited specialized support at the prebaccalaureate level. Note, all NIH awarding offices except the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) make institutional awards under NRSA. FIC & NLM have unique funding authorities for training grants that are not under the NRSA.

1. Eligibility

a. Applicant Eligibility

A domestic, non-profit public or private institution may apply for a grant to support a research training program in a specified area(s) of research. Support for predoctoral, postdoctoral, or a combination of trainees may be requested. (Specific program announcements should be referred to for awarding office guidelines.) Support for short-term training positions for students in health-professional degree programs may also be requested as indicated under 2.c. below. Each applicant institution must submit an application according to instructions, using the appropriate forms (see Section B).

b. Research Areas

National Research Service Awards may be made for research training in areas which fall within the mission of the NIH ICs. Applications which do not fit these areas will be returned. An increased emphasis has been placed on the research training of physicians. The Secretary, DHHS is required by law, in taking into account the overall national needs for biomedical research personnel, to give special consideration to physicians who agree to undertake a minimum of two consecutive years of biomedical and behavioral research training.

The applicant institution must have a strong research program in the area(s) proposed for research training and must have the requisite staff and facilities required to carry out the proposed program. The research training program director at the grantee institution will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees and the overall direction of the training program. In selecting trainees, the program director must make certain that individuals receiving support meet the eligibility requirements set forth in these guidelines.

Trainees appointed to the training program must have the opportunity to carry out supervised biomedical or behavioral research with the primary objective of developing or extending their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career.

c. Research Training Program

The National Research Service Award must be used to support a program of research training. The NRSA may not support studies leading to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other clinical, health professional degrees; nor to support residencies, the primary purpose of which is the attainment of a medical or nursing specialty. Research trainees in clinical areas are expected to devote full time to the proposed research training. During the 40 hours per week required for research training, any clinical duties should be confined to those which are part of the research training.

2. Degree Requirements

a. Predoctoral Training

Predoctoral research training is for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree and are enrolled in a doctoral program leading to the either the Ph.D. degree, a comparable research doctoral degree, or the combined M.Dindex.htmPh.D. Students enrolled in health-professional programs that are not part of a formal, combined program (i.e., M.Dindex.htmPh.D.) and who wish to postpone their professional studies in order to gain research experience, may also be appointed to a T32 grant. Predoctoral research training must emphasize fundamental training in areas of basic biomedical and behavioral sciences.

b. Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral research training is for individuals who have received a Ph.D., an M.D., or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Research training at the postdoctoral level must emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

Research training grants are a desirable mechanism for the postdoctoral training of physicians and other health professionals who may have had extensive clinical training but limited research experience. For such individuals, the training may be a part of a research degree program. In all cases, health-professional postdoctoral trainees should agree to engage in at least 2 years of research, research training, or comparable experiences beginning at the time of appointment since the duration of training has been shown to be strongly correlated with post-training research activity.

c. Short-Term Research Training

Students in Health Professional Schools. NIH offers two short-term training programs; those which are part of a traditional institutional training grant (T32) and those which exclusively support short-term trainees (T35). These short-term research training experiences of two to three months are available to students in health professional schools. All short-term training must be full-time. Unless otherwise stated, provisions for institutional training grants apply. Current stipend levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

(1) T32 T32 applications may include a request for short-term positions reserved specifically to train medical or other health-professional students on a full-time basis during the summer or other "off-quarter" periods. Short-term appointments are intended to provide health-professional students with opportunities to participate in biomedical and/or behavioral research in an effort to attract these individuals into research careers.

To be eligible for short-term research training positions, health-professional students must have completed at least one quarter at an accredited health-professional school leading to a clinical doctorate prior to participating in the program. Trainees need not be enrolled at the applicant institution. Individuals matriculated in a formal research degree program, or those holding an M.S., a Ph.D., an M.Dindex.htmPh.D. or an equivalent graduate level research degree are not eligible. Within schools of pharmacy, only individuals who are candidates for the Pharm. D. degree are eligible.

Short-term positions should be longer than 2 months but may not last longer than 3 months. Students should be encouraged to obtain two or more periods of short-term research training during their studies leading to a health-professional degree. Such appointments may be consecutive or may be reserved for summers or other "off-quarter" periods.

Since some NIH Institutes support short-term research training positions on a limited basis, applicants are strongly urged to contact the appropriate NIH awarding office before requesting short-term research training positions as part of a T32 application.

(2) T35 Several NIH awarding offices provide short-term research using a separate training grant mechanism (T35). The program intent and student eligibility requirements are similar to those indicated above. However, since this NRSA funding mechanism is used by only a few NIH awarding offices, interested applicants are encouraged to contact specific awarding offices for details.

d. Prebaccalaureate Training

Under the auspices of the institutional undergraduate NRSA (T34), two distinct programs for prebaccalaureate training are offered. Both programs are designed to support students from institutions with a substantial minority enrollment.

(1) The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) administers The MARC Undergraduate Student Training and Research (U*STAR) program. Formerly know as Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program (HURT), this training program is designed to support selected junior/senior undergraduate honors students at baccalaureate colleges and universities.

NIGMS recognizes that because of the heterogeneity at minority institutions there are differences in institutional missions. Therefore, the emphasis of this program will be on the specific objectives and measurable goals which the applicant institution sets for itself as being achievable. For more information on this program, contact:

Room 2AS.37D
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Phone: (301) 594-3900, Fax: (301) 480-2753

(2) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) administers The Career Opportunities in Research (COR) Education and Training Program. The intent of this program is to strengthen research and research training experiences in scientific disciplines related to mental health. An applicant institution (a four-year college or university) must propose a two-year COR Honors Undergraduate Program for which six to ten highly talented third and fourth-year undergraduate students will be selected. Students will be provided with special research training experiences designed to improve their qualifications for entry into advanced research training programs leading to the doctoral-level or M.D. research career degrees. For more information on this program contact:

COR Program
Office of Special Populations/NIMH
Parklawn Building, Room 17C14
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 443-2847

3. Citizenship

The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. A non-citizen national is a person, who, although not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the U. S. They are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g.; American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence must be in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551), or must be in possession of other legal verification of such status. For example, if an individual is in possession of the proper validation on their passport, a notarized photocopy of the passport could suffice. Since there is a six-month limitation on this validation, it is the responsibility of the grantee institution to follow-up and assure that the individual received the I-551 prior to the six month expiration date.

A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment Form (PHS Form 2271). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for support from the NRSA.

B. Applications and Receipt Dates

1. Application

The application for the institutional training grant is Form PHS 398. It contains special instructions for Institutional National Research Service Awards. Application kits containing forms, instructions, and related information may be obtained from:

The Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, OER, NIH
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910
Bethesda, MD 20892-7910
Phone: (301)-435-0714

2. Receipt Dates

Many of the NIH awarding offices receive training grant applications three times each year. Some awarding offices have only one or two receipt date(s). Information on receipt dates is available in the NIH-wide T32 Information Statement or in RFAs issued by the individual awarding offices. See Appendix 2 for a complete listing of the current receipt dates and review cycle.

Applicants are encouraged to contact appropriate NIH staff before preparing and submitting an application.

C. Review

1. Overall

Each initial and competing continuation application will be evaluated for scientific merit by a NIH peer review group. Institutional applications must also be reviewed by the appropriate Council or Board of the IC whose activities relate to the proposed research training.

Institutional applications will be evaluated using criteria such as: a) past research training record of both the program and the designated preceptors; b) objectives, design, and direction of the research training program; c) caliber of preceptors as researchers including successful competition for research support; d) recruitment and selection plans for trainees and the availability of high quality candidates; and e) the institutional training environment including the level of institutional commitment, quality of the facilities, availability of appropriate courses, and the availability of research support.

In addition, where appropriate, the record of the research training program in retaining health-professional postdoctoral trainees for at least two years in research training or other research activities; and the concomitant training of health-professional postdoctorates (e.g., individuals with the M.D., D.O., D.D.S.) with basic science postdoctorates (e.g., individuals with a Ph.D., Sc.D.) or linkages with basic science departments will receive special consideration.

While overall criteria are described above, applicants are encouraged to consult the PHS 398 application kit, the NIH T32 program announcement and/or specific awarding office program announcements for specific details.

2. Short-Term Research Training Positions

In addition to the overall program criteria described above, applications that request short­term research training positions in conjunction with full-time positions will also be assessed using specific criteria. The NIH T32 program announcement and/or specific awarding office program announcements should be consulted for details.

3. Minority Recruitment Plan

The NRSA institutional training grant program must provide for the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented minority groups including, but not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Pacific Islanders. All competing applications for institutional NRSA research training grants must include a specific plan to recruit minorities, and competing continuation applications also must include a report on the recruitment and retention record during the previous award period. If an application is received without a plan, or without a report on the previous award period, the application will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review. Additional information on this requirement is available in the NIH T32 Program Announcement.

Competing continuation applications for research training grants must include a detailed section on the outcomes of the minority recruitment plan proposed in the previous competing application. Information must be included on successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies. The report should provide information on the racial/ethnic distribution of:

  • Students and/or postdoctorates in the department(s) relevant to the training grant;
  • Individuals who applied for research training;
  • Individuals who were offered admission; and
  • Individuals who were appointed to the research training grant.

For those trainees who were appointed to the grant, the report should include information about the duration of research training and whether those trainees have finished their training in good standing.

Peer reviewers will examine and evaluate the minority recruitment plan and any record of recruitment and retention after the overall educational and technical merit of an application has been assessed so that the quality of the plan will not be a factor in determining the priority score. For competing continuation applications, the reviewers will examine and evaluate the record of the program in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority trainees during the previous award period. The panel also will consider whether the experience in recruitment during the previous award period has been incorporated into the formulation of the recruitment plan for the next award period.

The findings of the panel will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement. If the minority recruitment plan of the application is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan that addresses the deficiencies is received. Staff within the NIH awarding office, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.

Information on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority trainees appointed during the previous period must also be provided in progress reports included in all non-competing applications.

4. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Training

All competing NRSA institutional training grant applications must include a description of the formal and informal activities related to instruction on the responsible conduct of research that will be incorporated into the proposed research training program.

Every prebaccalaureate, pre and postdoctoral NRSA trainee must receive instruction on the responsible conduct of research. Applications must include a description of a program to provide formal or informal instruction in scientific integrity and/or the responsible conduct of research, as follows:

  • Although the NIH does not establish specific curricula or formal requirements, all programs are encouraged strongly to consider instruction in the following areas: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data management. Within the context of training in scientific integrity it is also beneficial to discuss the mutual responsibilities of the institution and the trainees participating in the program.
  • Plans must address the subject matter of the instruction, the format of the instruction, the degree of faculty participation, trainee attendance requirements, and the frequency of instruction. The rationale for the proposed plan of instruction must be provided.
  • Program reports on the type of instruction provided, topics covered, and other relevant information, such as attendance by trainees and faculty participation, must be included in future competing continuation and noncompeting applications.

Applications without plans for instruction in the responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.

NIH encourages institutions to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research to all individuals in a training program or department, regardless of the source of support.

NIH initial review groups will assess the applicant's plans on the basis of the appropriateness of topics, format, amount and nature of faculty participation, and the frequency and duration of instruction. The plan will be discussed after the overall determination of merit, so that the quality of the plan will not be a factor in the determination of the priority score. Plans will be judged as acceptable or unacceptable. The acceptability of the plan will be described in an administrative note on the summary statement. Regardless of the priority score, applications with unacceptable plans will not be funded until a revised, acceptable plan is provided by the applicant. The acceptability of the revised plan will be judged by staff within the NIH awarding office.

Following initial review, applications undergo a second level review by the appropriate NIH institute or center council, board, or other advisory group. These advisory groups will consider, in addition to the assessment of the scientific and educational merit of the research training grant application, the initial review group's comments on the recruitment of individuals from underrepresented minority groups into the research training program and the plan for instruction in the responsible conduct of research.

Information on the nature of the instructions in the responsible conduct of science and the extent of trainee and faculty participation must also be provided in progress reports included in all non-competing applications.

D. Notification of Action

Shortly after the initial review meeting, each applicant will be sent a mailer that includes the SRG recommendation/priority score and the name of a program official in the assigned NIH awarding office. The awarding office automatically forwards a copy of the summary statement to the applicant as soon as possible after receipt from the SRG. The applicant will be notified by letter concerning the final review recommendation. A Notice of Grant Award will be issued to applicants selected for funding. Any questions about initial review recommendations and funding possibilities should be directed to the appropriate awarding office program official, not the scientific review administrator of the SRG.

E. Period of Support

1. Institutional Grants

Grants may be made for competitive segments of up to five years and are renewable. Awards within an approved competitive segment are normally made in 12-month increments with support for additional non-competitive years dependent upon satisfactory progress and availability of funds.

2. Trainees

Trainees are customarily appointed for full-time 12-month continuous periods. An appointment or reappointment may not exceed 12 months without prior approval by the NIH awarding office. All trainees are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by the grantee institution in accordance with its own policies. The amount of the stipend, tuition and fees for each full period of appointment must be obligated from funds available at the time the individual begins training unless other instructions are furnished by the awarding office.

With the exception of specifically designated short-term research training positions, no trainee may be appointed under a regular institutional grant for a period of less than nine months except with the prior written approval of the awarding office and then usually only to complete a planned program of training. An initial appointment of less than nine months may be allowed as long as an assurance is included that the individual will be immediately reappointed in the subsequent year so that the cumulative continuous training period is at least nine months.

3. NRSA Limitations

No individual trainee may receive more than five years of aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level and three years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional and individual awards. Any exception to this requires a waiver from the Director of the awarding office or designee based on review of justification from the individual and grantee institution. The grounds for approving extensions of support are as follows:

a. Physicians/Clinicians

Individuals requiring additional time to complete training, either as a participant in a combined M.D.-Ph.D. program or as clinicians (e.g., physicians, dentists, veterinarians) who are completing postdoctoral research training, may anticipate favorable consideration of a request for waiver of the time limitation. This action is contingent upon certification of the recipient's good academic standing and justified need for the exception to policy.

b. Interruptions (Break-in-Service)

Requests for additional time will also be considered if an event unavoidably has altered the planned course of the research training; the interruption has significantly detracted from the nature or quality of the planned research training; and if a short extension would permit completion of the training as planned. Such events include sudden loss of the preceptor's services or an accident, illness, or other personal situation which prevents a trainee from pursuing research training in an effective manner for a significant period of time. Requests for extension of support will also be considered if a short additional period would provide the trainee an opportunity to use an exceptional training resource directly related to the approved research training program.

c. Other Exceptions

Requests that do not arise from circumstances considered in 3.a or 3.b above will be considered if they are accompanied by an exceptionally strong justification. Requests must be made in writing to the NIH awarding office by the trainee. The trainee's program director and an authorized institutional official, must endorse the request certifying the need for additional support. The request must include a sound justification and specify the amount of additional support for which approval is sought. Requests must be approved by the Director of the awarding office or designee.

F. Initiation of Support

A Notice of Grant Award is issued to the grantee institution, normally with a budget period of 12 months. A predoctoral or postdoctoral trainee may be appointed at any time during the course of the budget period for an appointment period of 9 to 12 months, without prior approval by the awarding office.

At the time of the initial appointment and subsequent reappointments, the training program director must submit a Statement of Appointment Form to the awarding office. Additionally, a signed Payback Agreement must be submitted for each postdoctoral trainee who is in his/her first 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support. (See Sections H.1. and 2 for specific information on required forms). The Statement of Appointment Form includes biographical data on the trainee and the stipend level for the period of appointment. The stipend is paid by the grantee institution directly to the trainee.

G. Financial Provisions

1. Stipends

A stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance for trainees and fellows to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal Government or the grantee institution. Stipends must be paid in accordance with established stipend levels. No departure from the standard stipend schedule, as provided from the grant, may be negotiated by the grantee institution with the trainee. For appointments of less than 12 months, the stipend will be prorated.

a. Levels

Stipend levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. That publication should be reviewed for any changes to stipend levels.

(1) Prebaccalaureate

Two separate levels are provided for trainees: Freshman/Sophomore or Junior/Senior.

(2) Predoctoral

One stipend level is used for all predoctoral individuals regardless of the level of experience.

(3) Postdoctoral

The stipend level for the entire first year of support is determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching assistantship, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in a health related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree. Once the appropriate stipend level has been determined, the trainee must be paid at that level for the entire period of appointment. The stipend for each additional year of NRSA support is the next level in the stipend structure and does not change mid-year.

b. Stipend Supplementation

Trainees are supported for 12-month full-time training appointments for which they receive stipends to defray living expenses. Stipends may be supplemented by an institution from non-Federal funds provided this supplementation is without obligation to the trainee. An institution can determine what amount of stipend supplementation, if any, will be provided according to its own formally established policies governing stipend support. These policies must be consistently applied to all individuals in a similar training status regardless of the source of funds. Federal funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived. An individual may make use of Federal educational loan funds or V.A. benefits when permitted by those programs as described below in paragraphs G.1.d and e. Under no circumstances may PHS funds be used for supplementation.

c. Student Compensation

It is recognized that trainees as students may seek part-time employment coincidental to their training program in order to further offset their expenses. In circumstances of actual employment, the funds provided as compensation (salary or tuition remission) for services rendered, such as teaching or laboratory assistance, are not considered stipend supplementation. Funds characterized as compensation may be paid to trainees when there is an employer-employee relationship, the payments are for services rendered, and the situation otherwise meets the conditions of the compensation of students as detailed in "Allowability of Costs/Activities     Selected Items of Cost     Salaries and Wages     Compensation of Students" in Part II of this policy statement. Under these conditions trainees may be compensated for actual employment on Federal grants, including PHS research grants. However, it is expected that compensation from research grants will occur on a limited part-time basis for employment apart from the normal full-time training activities.

Compensation may not be paid from a research grant which supports the same research that is part of the trainee's planned training experience as approved in the training grant application. Institutional training grant program directors must approve all instances of employment on research grants in order to verify that the circumstances will not detract from or prolong the approved training program.

Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainee's approved NRSA training program. Additionally, compensation must be in accordance with institutional policies applied consistently to both federally and non-federally supported activities and supported by acceptable accounting records determined by the employer-employee relationship agreement.

d. Concurrent Benefits

A National Research Service Award may not be held concurrently with another Federally-sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award which provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.

e. Educational Loans or GI Bill

An individual may accept concurrent educational remuneration from the Department of Veterans Affairs (GI Bill) and Federal educational loan funds. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation. In the case of the MARC-USTAR program, funds from a PELL grant may be accepted as well.

f. Taxability of Stipends

Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Public Law 99-514, impacts on the tax liability of all individuals supported under the NRSA program. New statutory requirements were effective as of January 1, 1987. Degree candidates may now exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Non-degree candidates are now required to report as gross income all stipends and any monies paid on their behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance.

The taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship between NRSA trainees and institutions. NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, trainees supported under the NRSA are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with the NIH or the grantee institution.

It must be emphasized that the interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the Internal Revenue Service and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.

g. Form 1099

Since stipends are not considered salaries, for the purposes of income tax reporting, stipend payments should be reported on the IRS Form 1099, Statement of Miscellaneous Income. The business office of the grantee institution will be responsible for the annual preparation and issuance of the IRS Form 1099 for trainees.

h. Employee Benefits

Since NRSA awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the grantee institution, it is inappropriate and unallowable for institutions to seek funds for or to charge institutional training grants awards for costs that would normally be associated with employee benefits (for example, FICA, workman's compensation, and unemployment insurance).

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