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Grants and Funding
Training for a New Interdisciplinary Research Workforce (T90)

Note: For the most recent T90/R90 funding opportunity announcements, please see the T-Kiosk:


The purpose of this RFA is to encourage and enable the development of an interdisciplinary workforce by ensuring that undergraduate, pre-doctoral, and postdoctoral students receive the didactic and research experiences necessary to lead and/or engage in integrative and team approaches to solve complex biomedical and health problems. To accomplish this aim, the National Institutes of Health invites applications for implementing novel training programs focused on new interdisciplinary science. These programs will support a variety of new and innovative didactic and research activities designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge and research experience to apply interdisciplinary solutions to complex biomedical and health problems. Applicants are encouraged to build these new training programs around existing institutional research programs, whether formal (e.g., research programs supported by program project, center, or cooperative agreement mechanisms) or informal (e.g., loose networks of collaborating R01 grantees).

Links are provided to the following information on this website:


As a result of over a year of receiving input from recognized leaders in academia, industry, government, and the public, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap was announced in a Press Release on September 30, 2003 ( One of the three themes of the NIH Roadmap is “Research Teams of the Future”. It is becoming more obvious that, as research problems become more complex, it is often times necessary to amalgamate a research team with many disciplines (multidisciplinary) in order to effectively tackle the research problem. However, the traditional divisions within biomedical research in some instances may impede the pace of scientific discovery. The purpose of the Interdisciplinary Research initiative is to develop innovative approaches of combining skills and disciplines in order to accelerate discovery of fundamental knowledge and advance our existing knowledge.

The Interdisciplinary Research Implementation Group was charged with the task of developing specific RFAs to fill the needs of the research community. One RFA, called “Training for a New Interdisciplinary Research Workforce” ( encourages existing disciplines to merge and provide training opportunities for future generations of interdisciplinary scientists. Undergraduate, predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees may receive didactic and research experiences necessary provide them with the skills and knowledge to lead or participate in integrative and team approaches. Applicants are encouraged to build new Interdisciplinary Training programs around existing institutional research or training programs, such as Centers, Program Programs or collaborative R01 projects.

Mechanism of Support

The T90 grant mechanism will be utilized for this RFA. This was patterned according to the existing T32 mechanism for Institutional Training Grants. Therefore, the applications should be prepared with particular attention to the PHS398 instructions in Section V. Institutional National Research Service Award. A comparison of the T32 and T90 grant mechanisms is provided in the next table.

Comparison between T32 (NRSA Program) and T90 Program



Trainee eligibility

NRSA requirements

Open to NRSA plus college students and non-USA citizens, at any stage of career

Allowance for personnel salary

Not allowable cost

10% of salary allowed for mentor

Training approach

Standard NRSA courses, multidisciplinary

Team approach, interdisciplinary, institutional commitment

Evaluation of program

Success based on peer review and progress reports

Self-evaluation, annual meeting in Bethesda, MD

Payback requirements

2271s for all trainees

2271s for all trainees, but no payback requirement for college student trainees and non-USA citizen trainees

Unfilled trainee positions based on application

Some flexibility between pre-docs and post-docs, based on language provided in the Notice of Grant Award

The ratio between trainees approved under NRSA guidelines and trainees approved under non-NRSA guidelines will be fixed at time of award. Unfilled positions will remain unfilled.

Features Unique to the T90 Program
  • PHS 398 Application Instructions and Forms - The PHS-398 application form ( ) is to be completed by an organization seeking T90 support. Refer to section V. Institutional National Research Service Award for training grant instructions and use the forms linked to these instructions.
    • In addition, you may use the NIDDK Supplemental Instructions for Preparing an Application to assist you, especially with regard to the Table Recommendations and Samples
    • Refer to RFA-RM-04-015 for specific instructions pertinent to the T90 application. Separate budget pages are required for trainees eligible under NRSA requirements and trainees not eligible under NRSA requirements (college students, students who are not USA citizens.
  • Receipt and Review Schedule -
    • Letter of Intent Receipt Date:   February 10, 2004
    • Application Receipt Date:        March 10, 2004
    • Interdisciplinary Research Working Group (IRWG; determines whether an application is responsive to the RFA or not late March, 2004
    • Peer Review Date:                   June/July 2004
    • IRWG develops funding plan for the most meritorious applications
    • Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 30, 2004

  • Inclusion Guidelines - Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in NIH-Sponsored and/or-Supported Intramural and Extramural Meetings and Conferences. "Appropriate representation" is that based on the availability of scientists from these groups known to be working in a particular field of biomedical or behavioral research. If appropriate representation is not apparent, NIH will not make an award until the applicant has submitted acceptable documentation regarding compliance.
Review Process and Criteria
The goal of this RFA is to advance our understanding of biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health. In the written comments, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. The scientific review group will address and consider each of the following criteria in assigning the application's overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.
  1. Program direction
  2. Participating faculty members
  3. Training program
  4. Student pool
  5. Research and training environment
  6. Minority recruitment and retention plan
Additional details are given in the RFA.

Answers to FAQs

  1. Can both a PI and a co-PI request 10% salary support for the development of courses or curricula for the training program?
    The 10% salary support was intended for the PI. If an application has a co-PI, then the PI could request 5% salary support and the co-PI could request 5% support.
  2. Does the term “graduate student” include students enrolled in an MPH or other M.S. program?
    No. A graduate student is a predoctoral student enrolled in a program that, upon completion, will obtain a doctorate degree. If an individual obtains a doctorate and subsequently enrolls in a Master's degree program, that trainee would be considered a “postdoctoral trainee”.
  3. Please explain why there are two categories called “Training Related Expenses”.
    There are two categories of Training related expenses in the supplemental instructions to reflect the allowable costs for NRSA-qualified individuals or non-NRSA-qualified individuals. The first mention discusses, “Faculty release time and Travel, supplies.” A total of $2000 may be requested per undergraduate and is divided between Supplies and Travel. For each pre-doctoral candidate, $3000 may be requested and for each postdoctoral candidate, $5000 may be requested. Travel funds may be used to attend the annual meeting to be held in Bethesda, MD. The second mention discusses, “Institutional costs of $2,200 a year per predoctoral trainee, …” This instruction is for NRSA-qualified trainees. The requested amount should be listed on the NRSA Substitute form page 4 under Trainee Related Expenses. Any travel request plus Training Related Expenses should not exceed the amounts listed above.
Contact information:

For Scientific and Research Training issues:
Terry Rogers Bishop, Ph.D.
T90 Project Leader
Training and Hematology Program Director
Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases
6707 Democracy Blvd., Rm. 619
Bethesda, MD 20892-5458
301-594-7726 (direct line)
FAX: 301-480-3510

For Grants Management issues:
Ms. Denise Payne
Senior Grants Management Specialist
6707 Democracy Blvd., Rm. 733
Bethesda, MD 20892-5456
301-594-8845 (direct line)
FAX: 301-480-3504

For Peer Review issues:
Francisco Calvo, Ph.D., Chief
Review Branch, NIDDK/NIH
6707 Democracy Blvd., Rm. 752
Bethesda, MD 20892-5456
301-594-8897 (direct line)
FAX: 301-480-3505

This page last updated on December 21, 2004
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