NATIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARDS GUIDELINES 

NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 21, June 20, 1997

 

P.T. 34



Keywords:

  Grants Administration/Policy+ 

 

National Institutes of Health

 

I.  General

 

A.  Background

 

Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 288), provides

authority for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award

National Research Service Awards (NRSA) to support predoctoral and

postdoctoral training.  This section states that the Secretary shall

provide National Research Service Awards for predoctoral and

postdoctoral training of individuals to undertake biomedical and

behavioral research at domestic and foreign, public and private

institutions (profit and non-profit).  Section 487 (a) (1) (B)

authorizes institutional NRSA grants limiting NRSA support to

training and research at public and nonprofit private entities.  The

National Research Service Award legislation requires recipients to

pay back to the Federal Government their initial 12 months of NRSA

postdoctoral support by engaging in health-related biomedical or

behavioral research, research training, health-related teaching, or

any combination of these activities (See Section IV). Title 42 of the

Code of Federal Regulations, Part 66, is applicable to these awards.

 

B.  Nondiscrimination

 

The NIH research training and career development programs are

conducted in compliance with applicable laws that provide that no

person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin,

handicap, or age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the

benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or

activity (or, on the basis of sex, with respect to any education

program or activity) receiving Federal assistance.  Applicant

organizations are required to have appropriate Assurance of

Compliance forms filed with the Office of Civil Rights, Office of the

Secretary, DHHS before a grant may be made to that institution.  The

NIH awarding component should be contacted if there are any questions

concerning compliance.

 

II.  Individual National Research Service Awards (Fellowships)

 

A.  General

 

The Congress of the United States enacted the National Research

Service Act Program in 1974 to help ensure that highly trained

scientists would be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate

research areas to carry out the Nation's biomedical and behavioral

research agenda.  Under this congressional authority, the National

Institutes of Health (NIH) awards NRSA individual postdoctoral

fellowships (F32) to the most promising applicants to support full-

time research training related to the mission of the NIH awarding

components.  Some specialized individual predoctoral fellowships

(F31s and F30s) and Senior Fellowships (F33s) are also provided under

the NRSA.  For individual predoctoral fellowships, NIH awarding

components have different requirements.  Thus specific program

announcements should be consulted for guidance.

 

National Research Service Awards (NRSA) are made to individual

fellowship applicants selected  for award as a result of national

competition for research training in specified health-related areas.

All NIH awarding components except the Fogarty International Center

(FIC) and the National  Library of Medicine (NLM) make individual

awards under NRSA.  FIC & NLM have unique funding authorities for

fellowships that are not under the NRSA.

 

1.  Eligibility

 

a.  Research Areas  National Research Service Awards may be made for

research training in  areas which fall within the mission of the NIH

awarding components.  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.

 

b.  Research Training Program  The NRSA fellowship must be used to

support a program of  research training.  It 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 and to confine clinical duties to

those which are part of the research training.

 

2.  Degree Requirements

 

a.  Predoctoral Individuals must have received, as of the activation

date of their NRSA award, a baccalaureate degree and must be enrolled

in and training at the post baccalaureate level in a program leading

to the award of a Doctor of Philosophy of Science (Ph.D. or Sc.D.) or

a combined clinical degree and Ph.D. degree such as M.D./Ph.D.

 

b.  Postdoctoral  Before an NRSA award can be activated, individuals

must have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M.,

Sc.D., D.Eng., D.N.S., or equivalent doctoral degree from an

accredited domestic or foreign institution.  Certification by an

authorized official of the degree granting institution that all

degree requirements have been met is also acceptable.

 

c.  Senior Fellows  As of the beginning date of their award, senior

fellows must have received a doctoral degree (as in A.2.b. above) and

must have had at least seven subsequent years of relevant research

and professional experience.  The senior fellowship is awarded to

provide opportunities for experienced scientists to make major

changes in the direction of their research careers or to broaden

their scientific background by acquiring new research capabilities.

In addition, these awards will enable individuals beyond the new

investigator stage to take time from regular professional

responsibilities for the purpose of increasing their capabilities to

engage in health-related research.  Senior fellowships are made for

full-time research training.  Health professionals may utilize some

of their time in clinical duties which are part of their research

training.

 

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  award.  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 his/her 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 sponsoring institution to follow-up

and assure that the individual received the I-551 prior to the six

month expiration date.

 

An individual expecting to be admitted as a permanent resident by the

earliest possible award date listed in the fellowship program

announcement may submit an application for an individual NRSA

fellowship.  The submission of documentation concerning permanent

residency is not required as part of the initial application.  Any

applicant selected to receive an award must provide a notarized

statement of admission for permanent residence prior to award.

 

Applicants who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

i.e., are in possession of an Alien Registration Receipt Card or

other legal verification of such status, should check the Permanent

Resident box in the citizenship section on the face page of the

fellowship application.  Applicants who have applied for and have not

yet been granted admission as a permanent resident should also check

the same box, but should write in the word "pending."

 

Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for

support from the NRSA.

 

4.  Sponsorship

 

a.  General  Before submitting a fellowship application, the

applicant must identify a sponsoring institution and an individual

who will serve as a sponsor and will supervise the training and

research experience.  The sponsoring institution may be private

(profit or nonprofit) or public, including the NIH Intramural

Programs and other Federal laboratories. The applicant's sponsor

should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research

who will directly supervise the candidate's research.  The sponsor

must document in the application the training plan for the applicant

as well as the availability of staff, research support, and

facilities for high-quality research training.  Applicants proposing

training at their doctorate institution or at the institution where

they have been training for more than a year must document thoroughly

the opportunity for new training experiences that would broaden their

scientific background.

 

b.  Foreign Sponsorship  Under exceptional circumstances an

individual may request support for training abroad.  In such cases,

the applicant is required to provide detailed justification for the

foreign training and why the facilities, the mentor, or other aspects

of the proposed experience are more appropriate than training in a

domestic setting.  The justification is evaluated in terms of the

scientific advantages of the foreign training as compared to the

training available domestically.  Only in cases where there are clear

scientific advantages will the foreign training be considered for

funding.

 

5.  NIH Employees  Both Civil Service employees and PHS Commissioned

Officers at NIH are permitted to compete for predoctoral and

postdoctoral fellowships.  The proposed training should be primarily

for career development rather than for the immediate research needs

of NIH.  The employee's supervisor must disassociate him/herself from

the review and award process.

 

Successful NIH applicants for the predoctoral or postdoctoral

fellowship awards must either resign from NIH or take leave without

pay prior to activating the award.  (There is no obligation or

commitment by the NIH or the fellow for future employment at NIH upon

termination of the fellowship.)

 

6.  Individuals on Active Military Duty  The NIH has no restriction

against career military personnel applying for research fellowship

awards while on active military duty.  At the time of application, a

letter from the applicant's branch of the military service should be

submitted endorsing his/her application and indicating willingness to

continue normal active duty pay and allowance during the period of

the requested fellowship.  If an award is made, the institutional

allowance and necessary tuition and fees permitted on a postdoctoral

program will be paid.  However, stipends, health insurance, and

travel allowances will not be reimbursed.  Payment of concurrent

benefits by NIH to active duty career military awardees is not

allowed.

 

B.  Application and Receipt Dates

 

1.  Application  Each applicant must submit an application using the

Form PHS 416-1.  At least three letters of reference on his or her

behalf must also be submitted.  The major emphasis of the application

should be the research training experience and broadening of

scientific competence.  The application must include the sponsor's

Facilities and Commitment Statement.  By signing the face page of the

application, the applicant indicates that he or she has read the

payback information and will meet any payback provisions required

under the law as a condition for accepting the National Research

Service Award.

 

Applicants and sponsoring institutions must comply with policies and

procedures governing the protection of human subjects, the humane

care and use of live vertebrate animals, and the inclusion of women

and minorities in study populations.

 

On the application face page, applicants should indicate (in the

Request for Applications section) the initials of the NIH Institute

most appropriate to the research area of the application.  If the

application is submitted in response to a Program Announcement (PA)

or Request for Application (RFA) from a particular Institute, the

applicant should identify the number of the PA or RFA on the face

page.  This information will be used as a guide in the application

assignment process.

 

2.  Concurrent Applications  An individual may not have two or more

competing NRSA applications pending review concurrently in the

National Research Service Award program.

 

3.  Application Availability  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

E-mail:  asknih@odrockm1.od.nih.gov

 

4.  Receipt Dates  Individual fellowship applications undergo a

review process that takes between five and eight months.  The annual

receipt dates and review cycle are found in Appendix 2.

 

C.  Review

 

Each initial and competing renewal application will be evaluated for

scientific merit by an NIH Scientific Review Group (SRG).  Review

criteria for this evaluation will include the applicant's past

academic and research record, the research training proposal, the

sponsor's general qualifications, the training environment,

publications, references, and the applicant's research goals.

Individual fellowship applications receive a secondary level of

review by Institute staff.

 

It is important to remember that the purpose of the fellowship

program is for research training.  Major considerations in the review

are the applicant's potential for a productive scientific career, the

applicant's need for the proposed training, and the degree to which

the research training proposal, the sponsor, and the environment will

satisfy these needs.

 

D.  Notification of Action

 

Shortly after the initial review meeting, each candidate receives a

mailer that includes the SRG recommendation/priority score and the

name of a program official in the assigned NIH awarding component.  A

copy of the summary statement is automatically forwarded to the

applicant as soon as possible.

 

The applicant will be notified by letter concerning the final review

recommendation.  Any questions about initial review recommendations

and funding possibilities should be directed to the appropriate

institute program official, not the scientific review administrator

of the SRG.  A Notice of Research Fellowship Award will be issued to

applicants selected for funding.

 

E.  Period of Support

 

All fellows are required to pursue their research training on a full-

time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by

the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.

 

No individual fellow 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

NRSA support from institutional and individual awards.  Any exception

to this requires a waiver from the Director of the NIH awarding

component or designee based on review of justification from the

individual and sponsoring institution.  The grounds for approving

extensions of support are as follows:

 

1.  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.

 

2.  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 or fellow 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 fellow an opportunity to use an

exceptional training resource directly related to the approved

research training program.

 

3.  Other Exceptions  Requests that do not arise from circumstances

considered in E.1 or E.2 above will be considered if they are

accompanied by an exceptionally strong justification.  Requests must

be made in writing to the NIH awarding component by the fellow.  The

fellow's sponsor and an authorized institutional business 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 component or designee.

 

F.  Initiation of Support

 

1.  Process  The awarding component will notify the individual of the

intention to make an award and confirm the actual plans for the start

of the fellowship support.  The Notice of Research Fellowship Award

will be issued so that the individual may begin the fellowship

immediately on or after the issue date, or permit a period of up to

six months for the individual to finalize arrangements, such as the

completion of degree requirements, final coordination with the

sponsor, and, if necessary, a move to the sponsoring institution.

The fellow must start the period of training under the award by the

latest activation date as shown on the Notice of Research Fellowship

Award; i.e., six months from the award issue date.  Extensions of the

activation period may be granted in unusual circumstances.  Written

requests for extensions should be submitted by the fellow, and

countersigned by the sponsor and authorized institutional business

official.

 

The day the fellow begins training, the Activation Notice and the

Payback Agreement (only for postdoctoral fellows in their first 12

months of NRSA postdoctoral support) must be completed and submitted

to the awarding component (see Section H.1.a.(1) and (2)).  A stipend

may not be paid until these forms are submitted and the fellow begins

training.  If necessary for payroll purposes, the Activation Notice

and Payback Agreement may be submitted up to 30 days in advance of

the start date.  However, any change in this planned activation start

date must be reported immediately to the business office of the

institution and the awarding component.  If an award is conditioned

upon the completion of degree requirements, certification of

completion by the degree granting institution must be submitted with

the Activation Notice.

 

The initial award is usually for 12 months.  Subsequent periods of

approved fellowship training are consecutive with the first year of

support and are usually in 12-month increments.  If a fellow decides

not to activate the award, or to terminate early, he or she should

notify the institutional business office, the sponsor, and the

awarding component immediately in writing.

 

2.  Payment

 

a.  Domestic:

 

(1)  Domestic, non-Federal sponsoring institutions receive an award

for the stipend, institutional allowance, and tuition and fees (when

applicable).  The domestic institution directly pays the fellow and

disburses all other awarded costs.

 

(2)  Federal Laboratories  Fellows training at Federal laboratories

are paid stipends directly by the awarding component through the

Office of Financial Management (OFM), which also reimburses the

fellow for appropriate expenditures from the institutional allowance.

 

b.  Foreign:  Fellows training at foreign sites receive stipends

directly from OFM; however, the institutional allowance is awarded to

and disbursed by the sponsoring institution.

 

G.  Financial Provisions

 

Costs are normally provided based on a 12-month budget period.

Awards for less than 12 months will be prorated accordingly.

 

1.  Stipends

A stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance for 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 sponsoring institution.  Changes in stipend levels

are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.  Stipends

must be paid in accordance with stipend levels set by this policy.

No departure from the standard stipend schedule, as provided from the

fellowship, may be negotiated by the sponsoring institution with the

fellow.

 

a.  Levels  (Current annual stipend amounts are detailed in Appendix

1)

 

(1)  Predoctoral  One stipend level is used for all predoctoral

candidates, regardless of the level of experience.

 

(2)  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 the award is issued.  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 fellow must be paid at that level for the entire

grant year.  The stipend for each additional year of NRSA support is

the next level in the stipend structure and does not change mid-year.

 

(3)  Senior Fellows  The amount of the NRSA stipend to be paid shall

be commensurate with the base salary or remuneration which the

individual receiving the award would have been paid by the

institution with which he or she has permanent affiliation on the

date of the fellowship award, but in no case shall the stipend award

exceed the current NRSA stipend limit set by NIH.  Fringe benefits

are not provided with this award.  The level of NRSA support will

take into account concurrent salary support provided by the

institution, and the policy of the sponsoring institution.

 

b.  Stipend Supplementation  Fellows 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 does not require any

additional obligation from the fellow.  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 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.  Under no circumstances may Public Health Service

(PHS) funds be used for supplementation.

 

An individual may make use of Federal educational loan funds or V.A.

benefits when permitted by those programs as described in Section

G.1.e. below.

 

c.  Compensation  It is recognized that fellows 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 fellows 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 the PHS Grants Policy Statement.  Under these

conditions fellows 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 training

activities.

 

Compensation may not be paid from a research grant which supports the

same research that is part of the fellow's planned training

experience as approved in the fellowship application.  Fellowship

sponsors 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 fellow'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 Veterans Administration (GI Bill)

and Federal educational loan funds.  Such funds are not considered

supplementation or compensation.

 

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 fellows and sponsoring institutions.  NRSA

stipends are not considered salaries.  In addition, fellows supported

under the NRSA are not considered to be in an employee-employer

relationship with the NIH or the sponsoring 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 sponsoring institution will be responsible for

the annual preparation and issuance of the IRS Form 1099 for fellows

paid through the institution. NIH will issue the subject form for all

fellows paid directly by them (e.g., fellows training at Federal or

foreign laboratories).

 

h.  Employee Benefits  Since NRSA awards are not provided as a

condition of employment with either the Federal government or the

sponsoring institution, it is inappropriate and unallowable for

institutions to seek funds for or to charge individual fellowship

awards for costs that would normally be associated with employee

benefits (for example, FICA, workman's compensation, and unemployment

insurance).

 

2.  Other Costs

 

a.  Institutional Allowance  An institutional allowance to help

support the costs of training is awarded.  Interested applicants

should consult the NIH program announcement(s) regarding the specific

level of allowance for predoctoral and postdoctoral support,

including those individuals training at Federal laboratories, for-

profit, or foreign institutions.  Allowance levels are published in

the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.  Current institutional

allowance levels are found in Appendix 1.  Beginning in FY 1997, for

postdoctoral fellowships, costs for tuition and fees, where

appropriate, will be awarded independent from the institutional

allowance.  (See Section 2.b for details on tuition reimbursement.)

 

(1)  Allowable Costs for Sponsoring Institutions  The type of

sponsoring institution dictates what allowable costs may be charged

to this category and how the funds are administered.

 

(a)  Non-Federal public and private nonprofit institutions:  The

allowance is intended to defray such expenses for the individual

fellow as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific

meetings, health insurance and to otherwise offset, insofar as

possible, appropriate administrative costs of graduate training.

Funds are paid directly to and administered by the sponsoring

institution.

 

(b)  Federal laboratories:  The allowance is intended to cover the

costs of scientific meeting travel, health insurance, or books.

Funds are administered by the awarding component and disbursed from

OFM.

 

(c)  For-profit institutions:  The allowance is intended to cover the

costs of scientific meeting travel, health insurance, or books.

Funds are paid directly to and administered by the sponsoring

institution.

 

(d)  Foreign institutions:  The allowance is intended to defray such

expenses as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific

meetings, health insurance and to otherwise offset, insofar as

possible, appropriate administrative costs of graduate training.

Funds are paid directly to and administered by the sponsoring

institution.

 

(2)  Guidelines  The following are specific guidelines for the use of

the institutional allowance:

 

(a)  Health Insurance:  A fellow's health insurance is an allowable

cost only if required of all persons in a similar training status

regardless of the source of support.  Family health insurance is not

an appropriate charge; however, the individual may elect personally

to pay the differential between self-only and family health insurance

options.

 

(b)  Travel:  1) Payment for travel to scientific meetings is

appropriate when it is necessary to the individual's training.  2)

For fellows at Federal laboratories, reimbursement of travel costs is

in accordance with current Government regulations.  3) Funds may not

be expended to cover the costs of travel between the fellow's place

of  residence and the domestic training institution, except that the

grantee institution may authorize the cost of a one-way travel

allowance in an individual case of extreme hardship.

 

(c)  Extraordinary Costs:  Additional funds may be requested by the

institution when the training of a fellow involves extraordinary

costs for:  1) travel to field sites remote from the sponsoring

institution; or 2) accommodations for fellows who are disabled, as

defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The funds requested

for extraordinary costs must be reasonable in relationship to the

total dollars awarded under a fellowship and must be directly related

to the approved research training project.  Such additional funds

shall be provided only in exceptional circumstances which are fully

justified and explained by the institution.

 

(3)  Expenditure  Except for fellows at Federal training sites, the

sponsoring institution authorizes the expenditure of the allowance on

behalf of the fellow according to the institutional policy.  The

institution is entitled to expend up to the full institutional

allowance upon official activation of the award.  However, if an

individual fellow is not in a training status for more than six

months of the award year, only one-half of that year's allowance may

be charged to the grant.  The Notice of Research Fellowship Award

will be revised and the balance must be refunded to the PHS.

 

For fellows at Federal training sites, the awarding component

authorizes the expenditure of the allowance.  Payment is made through

the OFM.

 

b.  Tuition and Fees  Tuition and fees for postdoctoral fellows are

limited to those for specific courses required by the training

program and must receive prior approval from the awarding component.

For the purposes of calculating this budget item, health insurance is

not included since it is still awarded as part of the institutional

allowance

 

For predoctoral fellows, reimbursement of tuition and fees (including

health insurance) varies depending on the policy of the NIH awarding

component.  Specific programmatic guidelines should be consulted for

reimbursement guidance.

 

Reimbursement of tuition and fees changed with awards competing in

FY97.  See Appendix 1 for details.

 

c.  Travel to Foreign Training Sites  For fellows at foreign training

sites, in addition to the institutional allowance, awards may include

a single economy or coach round-trip travel fare.  No allowance is

provided for dependents.  U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the

maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the

means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or

between foreign countries. This requirement shall not be influenced

by factors of cost, convenience, or personal travel preference.

 

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 (Form PHS 416-5, See Appendix 3)  Immediately

upon the initiation of training, the individual completes and signs

the Activation Notice, 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 component.  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 component.

 

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

component immediately.  Continuation awards must be activated on the

day following termination of the previous award period.

 

2.  Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031, See  Appendix 5)  A National

Research Service Award Payback Agreement 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 (Form PHS 416-7, See Appendix 6)  The

Termination Notice (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 component 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

component 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 component 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 component.

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

component 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

component 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 component 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 component 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 pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (42 USC 2000

e(k)).

 

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 component.  Fellows must provide a letter of support from

the sponsor, countersigned by an authorized institutional official,

and must advise the awarding component of the dates of the leave of

absence.  Upon approval of the request, the awarding component 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 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 component 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 component)."  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 component 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 PHS primarily to an awardee

for educational purposes will contain any provision giving PHS any

rights to inventions made by the awardee.

 

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 PHS policy on grant related

income.  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 nonprofit

organizations.  These fees, if within institutional policy, may be

retained by the awardee.

 

7.  Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA

 

a.  Human Subjects  The DHHS regulations for the protection of human

subjects provides 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 the DHHS.  The

regulations stipulate that the sponsoring institution, whether

domestic or foreign, bears responsibility for safeguarding the rights

and welfare of human subjects in DHHS-supported research activities.

The regulations require that the sponsoring institution file a

written Assurance of Compliance with the Office of Protection for

Research Risks (OPRR).  If a project involves nonexempt human

subjects, certification that an appropriate Institutional Review

board has reviewed and approved the proposed activity is also

required.

 

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 PHS.

Verification of the date the Institutional Animal Care and Use

Committee approved the project is also required.

 

For additional information on either Human Subjects or 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.,  Bethesda, Maryland

20892, 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, Maryland  20892.  All research involving recombinant DNA

techniques that is supported by the DHHS must meet the requirements

of these Guidelines.

 

III.   Institutional National Research Service Awards (Training

Grants)

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 components 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

component 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

awarding components.  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.D./Ph.D.  Students

enrolled in health-professional programs that are not part of a

formal, combined program (i.e., M.D./Ph.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.  See Appendix 1 for current

stipend levels.

 

(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.D./Ph.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 component before requesting

short-term research training positions as part of a T32 application.

 

(2)  T35  Several NIH awarding components 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 components, interested applicants are encouraged to

contact specific awarding components 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.

 

The 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:

 

MARC Program, NIGMS

Room 2AS.37D

45 Center Drive  MSC 6200

Bethesda, Maryland  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, Maryland  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

E-mail:  asknih@odrockm1.od.nih.gov

 

2.  Receipt Dates  Many of the NIH awarding components receive

training grant applications three times each year.  Some awarding

components 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 components. 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 awarding component 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 component program announcements

for specific details.

 

2.  Short-Term Research Training Positions  In addition to the

overall program criteria described above, applications that request

short-term 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 component 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, Hispanics 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 component, 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.  Applications without plans for

instruction in the responsible conduct of research will be considered

incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.

 

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.

 

The 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 component.

 

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 component.

The awarding component 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 component  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

 

a.  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 component.  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 component.

 

b.  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 component 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 component 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 component 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 component 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 component.

 

At the time of the initial appointment and subsequent reappointments,

the training program director must submit a Statement of Appointment

Form to the awarding component.  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.  Changes in stipend levels are published in the NIH

Guide for Grants and Contracts.  Stipends must be paid in accordance

with stipend levels set by this  policy.  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  (Current annual stipend amounts are detailed in Appendix

1)

 

(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 Section G.1.d & e.  Under no circumstances may Public Health

Service (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 the PHS Grants 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 Veterans Administration (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).

 

2.  Other Direct Costs

 

a.  Training Related Expenses  Funds are provided to defray such

training costs as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment,

research supplies, staff travel, and other expenses directly related

to the training program.  Funds are requested and awarded as a lump

sum on the basis of the predetermined amount per predoctoral and

postdoctoral trainee approved for support.  Levels are published in

the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.  Current levels are found in

Appendix 1.  Interested applicants should be advised to consult the

program announcement regarding the specific level for programs such

as the short-term training program, the MARC program, or the COR

program.

 

Under exceptional circumstances, which can include accommodating the

disabilities of a trainee, it is possible to request institutional

costs above the standard rate.  Requests for additional costs must be

explained in detail and carefully justified in the application.

Consultation with NIH program staff in advance of such requests is

strongly advised.

 

b.  Trainee Tuition and Fees  Tuition, fees, and health insurance are

allowable trainee costs only if such charges are required of all

persons in a similar training status at the institution, without

regard to their source of support.  Family health insurance is not an

appropriate charge.  However, the trainee may elect personally to pay

the differential between self and family health insurance options.

Tuition at the postdoctoral level is limited to that required for

specific courses in support of the approved training program and

requires prior approval of the awarding component.  For the purposes

of award, tuition, fees and health insurance are awarded together in

a single budget category.  Funds are awarded based on a formula

applied to the requested level.  The formula is described in Appendix

1.

 

c.  Trainee Travel Costs  If requested by the institution, the

awarding component may award grant funds to cover the costs of

trainee travel including attendance at scientific meetings which the

institution determines to be necessary to the individual's training.

Funds may not be expended to cover the costs of travel between the

trainee's place of residence and the training institution, except

that the grantee institution may authorize a one-way travel allowance

in an individual case of extreme hardship.

 

In addition, support for travel to a research training experience

away from the grantee institution may be permitted.  Research

training experiences away from the parent institution must be

justified considering the type of opportunities for training

available, how these opportunities differ from those offered at the

parent institution, and the relationship of the proposed experience

to the trainee's career stage and career goals.  This type of

research training requires prior approval from the awarding

component.  Letters requesting such training may be submitted to the

awarding component at any time during the award period.

 

d.  Short-term  The institution may receive up to $125 per month to

offset the costs of tuition, fees, travel, supplies, and other

expenses for each short-term, health-professional research training

position.

 

3.  Rebudgeting of Funds

 

a.  Trainee Related Expenses  Expenditure and rebudgeting of funds

awarded in lump sum for trainee related expenses do not require

awarding component prior approval.

 

b.  Trainee Costs  For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee costs

include stipends and tuition and fees (including health insurance).

These costs may not be used for other purposes except under unusual

circumstances and then only with the prior written approval of the

awarding component.  Rebudgeting into or within the stipends and

tuition/fees categories is allowable without awarding component prior

approval.

 

c.  Trainee Travel  For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee travel

is not considered a trainee cost and, therefore, may be rebudgeted

into any other budget category without prior approval.

 

4.  Expenditure of Funds  Policies governing expenditure of all

training grant funds are those permitted under the PHS Grants Policy

Statement and applicable cost principles, unless otherwise indicated

in the Notice of Grant Award.

 

5.  Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs  Previously referred to

as indirect costs, in FY96 NIH received a deviation from DHHS policy

regarding the reimbursement of these costs for institutional training

grants.  The institution will receive F&A costs based solely on 8% of

total direct costs exclusive of tuition and fees and health

insurance, and expenditures for equipment.  Applications from State

and local government agencies, except State universities or

hospitals, may receive full F&A cost reimbursement.

 

6.  Program Income  Policy requires applicants for PHS research

grants, including training grants, to include in their grant

applications an estimate of the amount and source of program income

expected to be generated as a result of the project for which support

is being sought.  The specific policies that govern the treatment of

program income are set forth in the PHS Grants Policy Statement.

 

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.  Failure to submit the required forms in

a timely manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay

in any continuation funding for the award.

 

1.  Statement of Appointment (Form PHS 2271, See Appendix 4)

 

a.  Grantee Submission  The institution must submit this form to the

NIH awarding component prior to or at the start of each trainee's

appointment or reappointment.  No stipend or other allowance may be

paid until the appointment form has been submitted.  If the support

covers the individual's initial 12 months of postdoctoral support, a

signed Payback Agreement must also be submitted.  It is important to

note that the information on the Statement of Appointment and the

Termination Notice is the basis for determination of the length or

amount of an individual's payback requirement.  An accurate social

security number should be included on the Statement of Appointment

and all other documents.  The program director and the institutional

financial officials should coordinate the information reported on the

Statement of Appointment.  It should be treated as a financial

document for obligating costs (stipends) which later are reflected on

the Termination Notice and as part of the total costs in the

Financial Status Report.  A supply of Statement of Appointment Forms

(PHS 2271) is provided to the program director by the awarding

component.  In FY96, NIH began piloting the electronic receipt of the

information on the PHS 2271.  A number of grantee institutions are

currently testing this system.

 

b.  Interim Revisions  Any changes or corrections involving a trainee

appointment under an institutional grant, such as, name, permanent

mailing address, period of training, stipend support, must be

reported by the training program director to the awarding component

on an amended PHS-2271 at the time of the change.

 

2.  Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031, See Appendix 5)  A National

Research Service Award Payback Agreement must be signed by each

postdoctoral individual for whom the appointment covers his/her

initial 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support.  If the individual

has already received 12 months of postdoctoral support under any NRSA

grant or award, this form is not required.  No Payback Agreement is

required for predoctoral or prebaccalaureate trainees. For detail on

NRSA payback, see Section IV.

 

3.  Termination Notice (Form PHS 416-7, See Appendix 6)  The

Termination Notice (Form 416-7) is the basis (along with the

Statement of Appointment Form) for validating the total period of

NRSA support and the amount of payback obligation (if any) for each

NRSA trainee.  For an institutional award, the awarding component

sends the program director a supply of Termination Notices on an

annual basis.  The program director is responsible for the submission

of a Termination Notice on each trainee immediately upon the

termination of his/her support.

 

4.  Consecutive Support  If a trainee switches from one NRSA grant

mechanism to another, including from one awarding component to

another, the requirement for payback service incurred is deferred

until the total NRSA support is completed.  All Statement of

Appointment forms are reviewed to determine if previous NRSA support

has been provided.

 

I.  Progress Reports, Financial Status Reports, and 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.  Incomplete

or inadequate progress reports may be returned for revision and may

result in a delay of continued support.  In addition, a final

progress report must be submitted to the awarding component within 90

days after the end of a final competing segment of a project period.

 

2.  Financial Status Report (FSR)  A FSR is required for all

institutional grants no later than 90 days after the close of each

budget period.  This report will document the financial status of the

grant according to the official accounting records of the grantee

institution. Trainee stipends and tuition are obligated for the full

12-month appointment from the budget period in which the appointment

is initiated.  Portions of stipends and tuition that extend beyond

the budget period are carried over as unliquidated obligations.

However, the report for the final budget period must have no

unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of

unobligated funds.

 

3.  Changes in the Project

 

a.  Changes in the program objectives as they relate to the area of

research training for which the grant was approved require prior

approval from the NIH awarding component.

 

b.  Where absence of the program director is expected to exceed a

continuous period of more than three months, plans for the conduct of

the program during his or her absence must be approved in writing by

the awarding component.  Any proposed change of program director must

be requested by the grantee institution and be approved in writing by

the awarding component following review of the nominee's

qualifications and re-evaluation of the project in the light of the

proposed change.

 

c.  Institutional grants are not transferred from one domestic

institution to another except under most unusual circumstances.  Such

a change will generally be approved only if all of the major benefits

attributable to the original grant can be transferred and there is no

negative impact on trainees active in the program.

 

J.  Other Terms and Conditions

 

1.  Leave

 

a.  Vacations and Holidays  Trainees may receive the same vacations

and holidays available to individuals in comparable training

positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution.  Trainees 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 Trainees 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 component in response to a written request from the training

program director or the sponsor.  Sick leave may be used for the

medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth pursuant to

the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (42 USC 2000 e(k)).

 

c.  Parental Leave  Trainees 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. For trainees,

the use of parental leave must be approved by the training program

director.

 

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 from the awarding component for an

unpaid leave of absence.  Approval for a leave of absence must be

requested in advance by the training grant program director and be

countersigned by an authorized institutional official.

 

During a leave of absence, documentation to suspend the period of

appointment must be completed by submitting an amended Statement of

Appointment Form and a Termination Notice.  These forms should be

submitted to the awarding component at the beginning of the leave.

At the resumption of NRSA support, the reappointment must be

documented on another Statement of Appointment Form.

 

2.  Termination  A training grant 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 shall notify the awardee in

writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective

date, and the right to appeal the decision.

 

3.  Publications  Trainees 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.  However, awarding component 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 component)    ."  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 component 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 training grant made by PHS primarily to an awardee

for educational purposes will contain any provision giving PHS any

rights to inventions made by the awardee.

 

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 trainee/fellow.  Such fees will be assigned to the grantee

institution for disposition in accordance with PHS policy on grant

related income.  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

nonprofit organizations.  These fees, if within institutional policy,

may be retained by the awardee.

 

7.  Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA

 

a.  Human Subjects  The DHHS regulations for the protection of human

subjects provides 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 the DHHS.  If the

applicant organization has an approved Assurance of Compliance on

file with OPRR but, at the time of application, plans for the

involvement of human subjects are so indefinite that Institutional

Review Board (IRB) review and approval are not feasible, the grantee

should check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the

application.  If an award is made, human subjects may not be involved

until a certification of IRB approval or designation of exemption has

been submitted.

 

In many instances, trainees supported by institutional training

grants will be participating in research supported by research

project grants for which the IRB review is already completed or an

exemption is already designated.  This review or exemption

designation is sufficient, providing the research would not be

substantially modified by the participation of a trainee.  The

appropriate grants must be identified along with their IRG review

dates or exemption designation.

 

b.  Vertebrate Animals  The PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of

Laboratory Animals  requires that grantee institutions (foreign or

domestic) proposing to use vertebrate animals file a written Animal

Welfare Assurance with the Office for Protection from Research Risks

(OPRR), establishing appropriate policies and procedures to ensure

the humane care and use of live vertebrate animals involved in

research activities supported by PHS.  If the applicant organization

has an approved Assurance of Compliance on file with OPRR but, at the

time of application, plans for the involvement of vertebrate animals

are so indefinite that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

(IACUC) review and approval are not feasible, the grantee should

check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the

application.  If an award is made, vertebrate animals may not be

involved until verification of the IACUC approval date has been

submitted to the NIH awarding component.

 

In many instances, trainees supported by institutional training

grants will be participating in research supported by research

project grants for which the IACUC review is already completed.  This

review is sufficient, providing the research would not be

substantially modified by the participation of a trainee.  The

appropriate grants must be identified along with their IACUC review

dates.

 

For additional information on either Human Subjects or Vertebrate

Animals please refer to the PHS 398 application kit or contact the

Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of

Health, 6100 Executive Blvd.  Bethesda, Maryland  20892, 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, Maryland  20892.  All research involving recombinant DNA

techniques that is supported by the DHHS must meet the requirements

of these Guidelines.

 

IV.  Payback Reporting Requirements for Recipients

A.  Purpose and Background

 

The National Research Service Award (NRSA) legislation requires some

recipients of support to pay back the Federal Government by engaging

in health-related biomedical or behavioral research including the

direct administration or review of health-related research, health-

related teaching, or any combination of these activities.   Recent

policy changes have significantly broadened the definition of

"health-related."  See Section C.1.a.(3)  for a complete

interpretation.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act of 1993,

signed into law on June 10, 1993, includes provisions in Section 1602

that substantially modify the service payback requirement for

individuals supported by the NRSA.  For research training grants,

these new provisions are applicable to all new appointments or

reappointments on or after June 10, 1993. For individual fellowships,

these provisions apply to all fellowship awards beginning on or after

June 10, 1993.  For competing fellowships, the award beginning date

refers to the award activation date.

 

An individual who was appointed to a research training grant or who

had a fellowship award activated before June 10, 1993 would be

governed by the service payback provisions in effect at the time of

the appointment or award until the end of that appointment or budget

period.

 

B.  Implementation

 

The incurrence of a payback obligation for an NRSA recipient is

solely dependent upon when NRSA support was received.

 

1.  Prior to August 13, 1981 (enactment of the Omnibus Reconciliation

Act), a payback obligation existed for all prebaccalaureate,

predoctoral, and postdoctoral support received.

 

2.  Effective August 13, 1981, a 12-month legislative allowance

waiving payback obligation for the first 12 months of support was

enacted for all predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees/fellows.  This

legislation provided that all trainees/fellows who were not in

delinquent status on that date received the allowance (this was

retroactive to the beginning of the NRSA program).  Individuals in

delinquent status continued to have a payback obligation for all

support received.  This legislative change also eliminated the

payback obligation for prebaccalaureate recipients.

 

Historically, short-term trainees supported by the T35 mechanism

(NRSA Short-Term Training) incurred no payback obligation.  However,

for short-term trainees supported within a T32 program, the period(s)

of support accrued and ultimately counted toward the total NRSA

support.

 

3.  Effective June 10, 1993 (NIH Revitalization Act):

 

a.  Predoctoral Recipients   For predoctoral trainees beginning

appointments and for predoctoral fellows activating awards on or

after June 10, 1993, no payback obligation is incurred. Thus a

Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) is no longer required.

 

b.  Postdoctoral Recipients   For postdoctoral recipients, a payback

obligation is incurred for the first 12 months of NRSA support with

the 13th and subsequent months of postdoctoral support serving to pay

back this obligation on a month by month basis. A Payback Agreement

Form (PHS 6031) is still required but only for the initial 12-month

postdoctoral support period.

 

The requirements established by the Revitalization Act also provide

that the 13th and subsequent months of postdoctoral NRSA supported

research training will be used to discharge any PRIOR postdoctoral

NRSA service payback obligation.  See Section IV.C.1.c Initiation of

Payback Service for detailed changes effective with the Act.

 

c.  Short-term Training  Any predoctoral short-term training would

not incur a payback obligation.  Postdoctoral short-term training

would incur a payback obligation.  Any support would accrue along

with any subsequent postdoctoral support until the first twelve

months was established.  At that point, the 13th and subsequent

months of support would serve to offset the obligation on a month-by-

month basis.  In the event that subsequent postdoctoral support was

not received, the individual would have an obligation which would

have to be paid back in the traditional manner.

 

C. Payback

 

The NIH awarding component, generally assumes responsibility for

handling payback activities once the Termination Notice has been

submitted and accepted.  For some awarding components, the NIH NRSA

Payback Service Center assumes this responsibility.  Established in

the National Institute of General Medical Sciences effective October

1, 1995, the Payback Service Center personnel represent the NIH's

experts in the NRSA Payback arena.  For those awarding components

participating in the Center, the authorities normally delegated to

the awarding component are automatically delegated to the Chief, NRSA

Payback Service Center.

 

Most NRSA recipients eventually fulfill their payback obligation by

engaging in activities which are determined to be acceptable service.

Some recipients fulfill their obligation via financial payback.  On

rare occasions waivers of the payback obligation are granted.

 

As indicated in Section IV.B above, the amount of a payback

obligation incurred is solely dependent upon when NRSA support was

received.  Timing of NRSA support is also a factor on the type of

service that qualifies as acceptable payback.

 

1.  Service Payback

 

a.  Definitions  For the purpose of fulfilling the NRSA service

payback obligation, the following definitions apply:

 

(1)  Research:  Research is defined as an activity which involves the

design of experiments, development of protocols, and collection and

interpretation of data.  In addition, review of original research or

administration of original research which includes providing

scientific direction and guidance to research may be acceptable if a

doctoral degree and relevant research experience is required for

individuals filling such positions.  Such research can be conducted

in an academic, government, commercial or other environment in either

a foreign or domestic setting.

 

In addition, when consistent with the cumulative amount, type, and

frequency of research or research training experiences, functions

which involve analytic or other technical activities conducted in

direct support of research, as defined above, will also satisfy the

service payback obligation.

 

(2)  Teaching:  Teaching is an instructional activity that takes

place in an organized educational or other instructional environment.

Activities classified as teaching are generally carried out in a

formal didactic setting but other activities will be considered if

they are consistent with the certifying institution's policy on the

definition of teaching responsibilities.  Such teaching can be

conducted at universities, professional schools, research institutes,

teaching hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools or colleges.

When calculating hours of teaching per week, it is permissible to

include three hours of preparation time for each hour of direct

instruction.   Acceptable teaching activities must have a biomedical

or health-related relevance.

 

(3)  Health-Related:  This incorporates a broad range of activities

related to the description, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of

disease from the most basic biomedical or behavioral research to the

most applied or clinical research.  In addition to fields usually

considered to be directly related to human disease, activities in

other fields such as agriculture, environmental sciences,

biotechnology, and bioengineering will also be considered health

related.

 

b.  Time Commitment   All acceptable activities must be undertaken

for periods that average at least 20 hours per week.  Total

employment in such activities averaging less than 20 hours per week

cannot be counted towards fulfilling the obligation except in cases

of disability or other pressing personal or family circumstances such

as child care or elder care responsibilities.  It is not permissible

for individuals otherwise engaged in full-time employment to engage

in service payback activities at effort levels below 20 hours per

week.

 

If less than 20 hours commitment per week is permitted, the total

period of service obligation will be prorated.  For example, an

individual who owes 12 months of service and can devote only 10 hours

per week to service payback activities due to a disability will be

required to engage in such service for 24 months. These exceptions

are rare and must receive prior approval from the awarding component.

 

c.  Initiation of Payback Service

 

(1)  Support Received Prior to NIH Revitalization Act  For NRSA

recipients who incurred a payback obligation from support received

prior June 10, 1993, payback service must be performed following

completion of NRSA support. No amount or type of activity prior to or

during the period of NRSA support will satisfy the NRSA service

payback obligation.  However, payback service may be initiated

immediately after termination from NRSA if the research or teaching

activities meet the criteria cited above.

 

(2)  Support Received Post NIH Revitalization Act   Beginning with

awards operating under the NIH Revitalization Act (appointments on or

after June 10, 1993), service payback obligations for postdoctoral

recipients may be discharged in the following ways:

 

(a)  By receiving an equal number of months of postdoctoral NRSA

support beginning in the 13th month of such postdoctoral NRSA

support;

 

(b)  By engaging in an equal number of months of health-related

research, training and/or teaching averaging more than 20 hours per

week.

 

(c)  Trainees and fellows beginning appointments for the 13th and

subsequent month of POSTDOCTORAL NRSA support on or after June 10,

1993 will be engaging in service which will also satisfy prior

postdoctoral NRSA service payback obligation.  Post-award service in

non-NRSA supported health-related research, training, and/or

teaching, is creditable toward any NRSA service payback obligation.

(d)  Individuals who have completed their predoctoral NRSA training

and have an existing NRSA service payback obligation are still

required to engage in service payback or make financial repayment.

Postdoctoral NRSA support may not be used to satisfy an existing

predoctoral payback obligation.

 

d.  Source of Funding  The source of funds supporting an individual's

service payback activity is not restricted beyond the fact that for

predoctoral payback activities it must not be supported by NRSA.  An

individual could be supported by a PHS grant or from any non-NRSA

Federal or non-Federal source.  Unpaid service is also permitted.

 

e.  Timing of Service Obligation  An individual must begin to

undertake the payback service requirement within two years after the

termination date of the individual's NRSA support unless an extension

of time to begin payback has been approved by the awarding component

(see Section IV.C.4.a).

 

2.  Alternative Service  Alternative service in lieu of research and

teaching was deleted by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of

1981.  Individuals who entered the NRSA program on or after August

13, 1981, the date the Act was signed, are not eligible for

alternative service.   Individuals who entered the NRSA before August

13, 1981 are governed by the alternative service provisions in effect

when their appointment started.  Additional information concerning

alternative payback service is available from the awarding component.

 

3.  Financial Payback

 

a.  Policy and Principal Calculation   If any individual to whom the

requirement for service is applicable fails to undertake or perform

such services, the United States Government shall be entitled to

recover from the individual the amount determined in accordance with

the following formula plus interest:

 

A = O        (t-s)

               (t)

 

Where "A" is the amount the United States is entitled to recover, "O"

is the sum of total amount paid to the individual under the National

Research Service Award support; "t" is the total number of months in

service obligation, and "s" is the number of months of such

obligation served .

 

The total paid to the individual under institutional grants and

individual awards at domestic, non-federal sponsoring institutions is

considered to be the stipend only.  The total paid an individual

under a fellowship award at a foreign sponsoring institution includes

the payment for the round trip travel costs.  The total paid an

individual under a fellowship award at a Federal sponsoring

institution includes any money expended from the institutional

allowance provided for such purposes as health insurance, travel,

tuition, and fees.

 

b.  Interest & Interest Rate Calculation   NIH computes interest on

the principal amount beginning on the date the U.S. became entitled

to recover stipends.  The interest rate is the rate fixed by the

Secretary of the Treasury after taking into consideration prevailing

consumer rates of interest.   Accordingly, interest may be accruing

on any NRSA obligation if the two-year grace period has passed, or if

deferment has expired, or if service has terminated before completion

of the payback obligation. The Department of the Treasury certifies

NRSA interest rates on a quarterly basis.  Interest is computed on a

360 day-a-year basis and is applied through the date of receipt.  Any

outstanding amount will continue to bear interest at the initial rate

set by the Secretary of the Treasury until financial payback is

complete.

 

Determination of the "date" which sets the applicable rate of

interest is dependent upon the type of NRSA account received for

collection.  If Financial Payback is Voluntary, the signature date of

the notification of voluntary payback is the "date" that determines

the interest rate as well as the initiation of the three year

repayment period.  If Financial Payback is Involuntary, the "date"

which determines the interest rate and the three-year repayment

period is the date of expiration of the two-year period following the

termination of NRSA support.  For example, if during June 1991, the

OFM received an account reflecting January 31, 1989 as the

termination date of NRSA support, the Government, lacking any

documentation to the contrary, becomes entitled to financial payback

effective February 1, 1991.  The rate of interest applicable is

determined based on the February 1, 1991 date and the total NRSA

obligation is required to be fulfilled by January 31, 1994.

 

The amount to be recovered financially, as determined from the

Termination Notice plus applicable interest, shall be paid to the

United States within the three-year period following such date.

 

4.  Extensions of Payback   The National Research Service Award

legislation and the promulgating regulation (42 CFR Part 66)

authorize the Secretary to make exceptions to certain requirements

under the Act.

 

a.  Extensions of the Two-Year Period to Initiate Payback

Frequently, an APAC is returned requesting an extension of the two-

year period to initiate payback.  Indication of valid plans to

initiate payback soon after the two-year grace period may be good

reason to grant an extension.

 

b.  Basis for Extensions  The awarding component may extend the

period for undertaking payback service or permit breaks in continuous

service.  These determinations are based on the following criteria:

 

(1)  an extension or break in service is necessary so the individual

may complete his or her research or clinical training;

 

(2)  the individual is unable to complete the requirements within the

specified  period because of a temporary disability; or

 

(3)  completion by the individual of the requirement within the

specified  period would involve substantial hardship to the

individual and that failure to extend the period would be against

equity and good conscience.

 

Reasons for an extension or break in service include such things as

completing residency training, where clinical teaching or research

are not an integral part of their training, or individuals seeking

employment that would fulfill the payback requirements.

 

Requests must be made in writing (separate letter or Annual Payback

Activities Certification (APAC)) to the awarding component,

specifying the need for additional time and the length of the

required extension.

 

c.  Extension to Complete Payback Service  The awarding component may

approve or disapprove requests to extend the period of payback

service or permit breaks in continuous service.  Decisions to permit

breaks in service are based on the criteria described in Section

IV.C.4.b above.

 

5.  Waiver

 

a.  Policy  The National Research Service Award legislation and the

promulgating regulation (42 CFR Part 66) authorize the Secretary to

make exceptions to certain requirements under the Act.  For waiver

requests, NIH may waive, in whole or in part, the payback obligation,

upon determination that compliance by the individual is impossible,

or would involve substantial hardship, and enforcement of the

obligation to that individual would be against equity and good

conscience.

 

b.  Waiver Criteria  Requests for waivers should be made in writing

to the awarding component and explain the need for the waiver

according to the following criteria:

 

(1)  Compliance by an individual will be deemed impossible if the

individual is permanently and totally disabled;

 

(2)  In determining whether compliance would involve substantial

hardship to the individual and would be against equity, the Director,

NIH shall take into consideration:

 

(a)  the individual's financial resources and obligations at the time

of request for a waiver;

 

(b)  the individual's estimated future financial resources and

obligations;

 

In rare cases, the following might also be considered:

 

(c)  the reasons for the individual's failure to complete the

requirements within the  prescribed period, such as problems of a

personal nature;

 

(d)  the extent to which the individual has engaged in payback

activities;

 

(e)  whether the individual has received sufficient training to be

qualified to perform such activities;

 

(f)  the lack of employment opportunities appropriate to the

individual's education and training; and

 

(g)  any other extenuating circumstances.

 

(3)  Any obligation of any individual toward payback will be canceled

upon death of the individual.

 

D.  Certification of Payback Activities

 

1.  Annual Payback Activities Certification (Form PHS 6031-1, See

Appendix 7)

 

a.  Annual Certification  Payback service is certified through the

use of the Annual Payback Activities Certification (APAC) form (PHS

6031-1).  Individuals with an outstanding payback obligation, must

complete an APAC annually until their payback obligation is

fulfilled.

 

The APAC is sent by NIH approximately one year after the completion

of NRSA support, if an individual has incurred a payback obligation.

Payback service may be initiated within the first 12 months of

termination even though trainees/fellows have up to 24 months to

initiate payback.  There is no penalty to those individuals who do

not initiate payback within the first 12 months; however, it is

critical that they complete an APAC form to ensure contact is

maintained and addresses are current.

 

On this form, the individual will report the activity in which he or

she was engaged for the preceding 12 months, within the specified

"reporting period".  These forms are to be returned within 30 days of

the reporting period end date to:

 

Data Management Control Section, OER

National Institutes of Health

Rockledge II, Room 1010

6701 Rockledge Drive MSC 7715

Bethesda, MD  20817

 

Forms are then forwarded to the awarding component who will then

review the activity and make a decision on its acceptability and

inform the former trainee/fellow of the decision.  This process will

continue annually until the individual's total payback obligation is

satisfied.

 

b.  Change of Address  Any change in the mailing address of a NRSA

recipient must be reported promptly to the awarding component until

the service obligation is fully discharged.

 

2.  Breaks in NRSA Support  Sometimes a trainee/fellow will have a

period of non-NRSA support between two NRSA awards.  An appropriate

activity performed during this period of time may count for payback

purposes toward the first NRSA  award. If the non-support period is

six months or longer, the individual receives an Annual Payback

Activities Certification (APAC) form through the regular  mechanism.

However, if the break is less than six months, an APAC will not be

automatically mailed.  If acceptable payback service was performed

during the break, the individual may complete an APAC, which can be

obtained from the awarding component, to document the payback

service.

 

3.  National Health Service Corp  Occasionally, an NRSA recipient

will have previously been a National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

scholar.  Legislation provides authority for holders of both awards

to pay back the obligation of the two sources of support

concurrently.  Therefore, activities which qualify as NRSA payback

will also serve as payback for the NHSC obligation.  However, no

Legislative Allowance is provided  for NHSC service; e.g., 36 months

of NRSA support (prior to June 10, 1993) and 36 months of NHSC

support would require 24 months of NRSA payback service and 36 months

of NHSC service respectively.  The awarding component monitors both

obligations until they are both satisfactorily completed.

 

.


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