Notice of NHGRI Participation in PA-14-015 “Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (Parent T32)” and Creation of New NHGRI Postdoctoral Training Programs in Genomic Medicine Research

Notice Number: NOT-HG-14-017

Key Dates
Release Date: January 10, 2014

Related Announcements
NOT-HG-15-004
NOT-HG-14-016
PA-14-015

Issued by
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Purpose

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) announces its continued participation in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional research training program (parent T32), and the restructuring of its training programs focused on genomic medicine research for post-doctoral fellows.

In February 2011, NHGRI published its new strategic plan:  Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside .  The plan was an all-encompassing document for the field of genomics.  Based on this document, NHGRI worked towards redefining the specific goals for its research and training and career development programs.

Through a series of advisory panels and workshops (2012 Report, 2012 Presentation, April 2013 Report, September 2013 Report and Video), NHGRI has identified three main goals for the training and career development programs:

1.  Expand the base of knowledge in genomic medicine;

2.  Continue to support the foundational sciences, with emphasis on acquiring strong quantitative skills;

3.  Develop leaders in genomic medicine and genome sciences.

Other overarching principles, recurring themes and recommendations are detailed in the report. 

Operationally these goals will be achieved through re-structuring of NHGRI’s training program that will:

  • Maintain investment in genomic sciences training while expanding the statistical and informatics component; 
  • Expand training into genomic medicine; and 
  • Increase NHGRI’s training investment so that it is more on par with NIH-wide investment.

For T32 training, NHGRI will create two separate tracks through training grant applications submitted using PA-14-015, parent T32 FOA.  The first will maintain the existing program focused on genomic sciences research for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (See NOT-HG-14-016).  The second will create new programs focused on genomic medicine research for postdoctoral fellows (the subject of this Notice).

All NHGRI training programs should provide:

  • A strong foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques appropriate for the proposed genomic research area; 
  • Enhancement of the trainees’ ability to conceptualize and think through research problems with increasing independence; 
  • Experience conducting genomic research using state-of-the-art methods as well as presenting and publishing research findings; 
  • Opportunities to interact with members of the scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops; and
  • Enhancement of the trainees’ understanding of the health-related sciences and the relationship of their genomic research training to health and disease.

Additional details for the institutional training grant program in genomic sciences are outlined in a parallel NIH Guide Notice (NOT-HG-14-016).

Additional details of the newly-initiated institutional training grant program in genomic medicine are presented below.

Objectives of the Institutional Training Grant Program in Genomic Medicine

The primary objective of this program is to prepare a new generation of leaders in genomic medicine. Individuals in these programs should receive deep and broad training and experiences in the sciences underpinning genomic medicine in order to qualify them to perform independently.  This program is open to those with MD or PhD degrees, or their equivalent.  Training is accomplished through a combination of formal courses, seminars, supervised research, and training in genomic medicine.

This program will support two career paths for learning new genomic medicine skills: (1) Genomic medicine focus for basic research and/or (2) Genomic medicine focus for clinical research (not for clinical care of patients).  An application may include one or both paths.  For each path, applicants must clearly describe the goals of the program and a detailed training plan consistent with the goals.

Some of the common elements of a successful training program might include:

  • Courses that expose trainees to the basic concepts and working knowledge in the scientific areas related to genomic medicine.   Also, because ethical, legal and social issues are an integral part of genomic medicine, training in the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding research in genomics and genomic medicine is essential. 
  • A team science approach to problem solving that provides an opportunity for individuals from different domains of knowledge and skill sets to come together to solve important problems. 
  • An emphasis on the importance of reproducibility of experimental results, in the development, sharing, and analyses of large, complex and varied datasets. 
  • Rotations and external internships in basic and clinical laboratories and other settings that focus on genomic medicine as an effective means to introduce trainees to the myriad types of data sets that are a challenge in genomic medicine.   
  • Joint mentorship, to enhance training and communication among genomic sciences and genomic medicine. 
  • Exposure to genomic medicine (both clinical and basic) experiences. 
  • Forum for intellectual exchanges to enhance opportunities for trainees to interact with other trainees and faculty from other relevant areas in genomic sciences and genomic medicine.  
  • Individual Development Plans (IDP) should be encouraged for each trainee. (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-093.html). 
  • Career development and professional guidance, such as skills for writing manuscripts, fellowships or grant applications, and for delivering oral presentations for scientific presentations and interviewing for jobs, etc. should be provided. 
  • Evaluation Plan should describe the metrics that will be used to determine the success of the trainees and the program. 

Trainees should be appointed for a minimum of two years depending on the knowledge and skills that the trainee brings to the program.  It is expected that MDs will commit to a minimum of nine (9) calendar months per year to the program.  Up to three (3) months may be used to apply genomics in the clinic, while allowing a mixture of responsibilities that allow maintenance of clinical credentials.

Budget

New genomic medicine training programs are limited to six (6) training slots.  The number of awards and the number of slots approved will depend upon the quality of the proposed program as determined by peer review, programmatic considerations, and the availability of funds.  There will be annual meetings of trainees and program directors.  Funds may be requested for trainees and program directors to attend one annual networking meeting in the greater Washington, DC area.   Please contact NHGRI program staff for allowable costs. Special Note: To ensure that your application is responsive to this FOA, prior consultation with NHGRI staff is strongly encouraged.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Scientific/Research Contacts Heather A. Junkins, M.S.
Training Program Director
Email: junkinsh@mail.nih.gov

Tina Gatlin, Ph.D.
Training Program Director
Email: christine.gatlin@nih.gov  

Financial/Grants Management Contact

Susan Toy
Senior Grants Management Specialist
Email: toys@mail.nih.gov

National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH
Telephone:  301-496-7531
Website: http://www.genome.gov

 

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