Archive Version - Used for Applications Intended for Due Dates before January 25, 2010 Only.
(See Updated Announcement for Applications Intended for Due Dates January 25, 2010 and Beyond)
Department of Health and Human Services
Components of Participating Organizations
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations, (OEREP), (http://www.ahrq.gov)
Title: AHRQ Individual Awards for Postdoctoral Fellows (F32) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA)
Note: The policies, guidelines, terms, and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH.
This Funding Opportunity Announcement updates and supersedes PAR-06-409 released on May 12, 2006.
Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:
NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF 424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF 424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for use by NIH and AHRQ applications.
APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.
This FOA must be read in conjunction with the individual fellowship application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).
A registration process is necessary before submission, and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four (4) weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.
Applying for Grant Electronically:
A compatible version of Adobe Reader is required for download. For Assistance downloading this or any Grants. Gov application package, please contact Grants.gov Customer Support at http://grants.gov/Customer Support.
Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-09-229
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
Release Date: July 2, 2009
Opening Date: July 8, 2009 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Application Receipt Date(s): Standard dates for Individual Kirschstein-NRSA awards apply: see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details.
Peer Review Date(s): Generally two months after receipt date
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Generally two months after peer review date
Expiration Date: September 8, 2012
Dates for E.O. 12372
Additional Overview Content
Table of Contents
Section I. Funding Opportunity
1. Research Training Objectives
Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism(s) of Support
2. Funds Available
Section III. Eligibility
1. Eligible Applicants
A. Eligible Institutions
B. Eligible Individuals
2.Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria
Section IV. Application and
1. Address to Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
A. Receipt and Review and Anticipated Start Dates
1. Letter of Intent
B. Sending an Application Electronically to the NIH
C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements
Section V. Application Review
2. Review and Selection Process
A. Additional Review Criteria
B. Additional Review Considerations
C. Resource Sharing Plan(s)
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Section VI. Award Administration
1. Award Notices
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
2. Peer Review Contact(s)
3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)
1. Research Training Objectives
The purpose of the postdoctoral fellowship (F32) award is to provide support to promising postdoctoral applicants who have the potential to become productive and successful independent research investigators. The proposed postdoctoral training must offer an opportunity to enhance the applicant’s understanding of health services research and must be responsive to AHRQ’s mission, which is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The research sponsored and conducted by AHRQ develops and presents scientific evidence regarding all aspects of health care. It addresses issues of organization, delivery, financing, utilization, patient and provider behavior, outcomes, effectiveness and cost. It evaluates both clinical services and the system in which these services are provided. These scientific results improve the evidence base to enable better decisions about health care, including such areas as disease prevention, appropriate use of medical technologies, improving diagnosis and treatment utilizing comparative effectiveness research, and reducing racial and ethnic disparities. In addition, AHRQ is interested in the application of health information technology (health IT), as well as reducing medical errors and improving patient safety.
AHRQ has identified strategic goals as priority research areas. Research applications must address one of these areas. Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on topical areas unique to AHRQ, demonstrating how expected results can be used or made available for use to improve healthcare quality. Results should be directly relevant to customers, such as providers and practitioners, administrators, payers, consumers, policymakers, and insurers. The strategic research goals are:
AHRQ has particular interest in supporting postdoctoral fellows whose research relates to the following portfolios of work: comparative effectiveness, health IT, patient safety, prevention and care management, value, and healthcare innovations. To learn more about AHRQ’s focus within these portfolios of work, please visit http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/portfolio.htm
In addition, particular opportunities emphasizing special research areas of interest within AHRQ’s priorities are occasionally posted on AHRQ’s web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/ragendix.htm. Applicants are encouraged to access AHRQ’s website for updates.
Applicants are further encouraged to address health services research issues critical to AHRQ priority populations, including: individuals living in inner city and rural (including frontier) areas; low-income and minority groups; women, children, the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including those with disabilities and those who need chronic or end-of-life health care.
Applicants with a health professional doctoral degree may use the proposed postdoctoral training to satisfy a portion of the degree requirements for a master's degree, a research doctoral degree or any other advanced research degree program.
Individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups and individuals with disabilities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support.
See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.
1. Mechanism of Support
This funding opportunity will use the Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA individual postdoctoral fellowship award mechanism (F32). As a Fellowship Applicant, the individual together with his/her sponsor and institution, are jointly responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed research training program.
This mechanism is intended for candidates who will have received a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), PharmD, DSW, PsyD, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution prior to activation of the award.
Additional information and detailed requirements for this NRSA award mechanism can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm.
2. Funds Available
Although the financial plans AHRQ provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications, the AHRQ program priorities and availability of funds.
2.A. Allowable Costs
Stipends: Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA F32 awards provide stipends to postdoctoral fellows as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. The awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the sponsoring institution. The stipend level for the first year of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support is determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time the award is issued. Fellows with less than one full year of postdoctoral experience at the time of award will receive initial support at the zero level. Relevant experience may include research (including research in industry), teaching, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in full-time studies in a health-related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree. No departure from the published Kirschstein-NRSA stipend schedule may be negotiated between the institution and the fellow. The stipend for each subsequent year of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support is the next level of experience using the stipend schedule in effect at that time.
For fellows sponsored by domestic non-federal institutions, the stipend will be paid through the sponsoring institution. For fellows sponsored by Federal institutions, the monthly stipend payment will be deposited in the fellow's U.S. bank account or paid directly to the fellow by U. S. Department of Treasury check.
For information and stipend schedule, see NIH Notice NOT-OD-09-075.
Tuition and Fees: AHRQ will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of the initial award. Currently, AHRQ will provide an amount per individual fellow equal to 60% of the level requested by the applicant institution, up to $4,500 per year. If the program supports postdoctoral individuals in a formal degree-granting training program, the amount provided per fellow enrolled in a degree-granting program will be up to $16,000 per year. Costs associated with tuition and fees are allowable only if they are required for specific courses in support of the research training experience supported by the fellowship. For additional information, see: NOT-OD-06-093.
Institutional Allowance: Postdoctoral fellows sponsored by nonfederal or nonprofit institutions (domestic or foreign) will receive an institutional allowance of $7,850 per 12-month period to help defray expenses for the individual fellow such as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific meetings, and health insurance. Self-only health insurance (available to fellows without families) or family health insurance is an allowable cost for fellows at the sponsoring institution only if such self or family health insurance is applied consistently to all persons in a similar training status regardless of the source of support. This allowance is not available until the fellow officially activates the award. If an individual fellow is enrolled or engaged in training for less than 6 months of the award year, only one-half of that year's allowance may be charged to the grant. The Notice of Award will be revised and the balance must be returned to AHRQ.
Funds are not available to cover the costs of travel between the fellow’s place of residence and a training institution. However, in an individual case of extreme hardship, a one-way travel allowance may be authorized by the sponsoring institution. Such travel must be paid from the institutional allowance.
Prospective applicants are advised to check for the current Institutional Allowance in the most recent documentation related to Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA stipends at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm.
Other Training Costs: As part of this award, additional funds may be requested for reasonable accommodations and/or off-site research training as described below. In all cases, the additional funds requested must be reasonable in relationship to the total dollars awarded under the fellowship and must be directly related to the approved research training experience. Such additional funds shall be provided only in exceptional circumstances that are fully justified and explained by the sponsoring institution in the application.
Reasonable accommodations: Additional funds may be requested by the sponsoring institution to make changes or adjustments in the academic or research environment that will make it possible for an otherwise qualified individual with disabilities to perform the work necessary to meet the requirements of the degree program in which he/she is enrolled. Individuals with disabilities are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (see: Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page). The accommodations requested under this program must be directly related to the work required to meet the requirements as regards to both course work and laboratory experience, and must be appropriate to the special needs of the applicant. Some types of accommodations that might be provided under this award include, but are not limited to: specialized equipment, assistive devices, and personnel such as readers, interpreters, or assistants. This award is not meant to relieve the sponsoring institution of its obligation to provide reasonable accommodations as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. AHRQ will not provide funds for infrastructure alterations such as lowering countertops, widening doorways, etc.
Off-site research training: Additional funds may be requested by the sponsoring institution if the research training of a fellow involves extraordinary costs for travel to field sites remote from the sponsoring institution.
Awards for fellowship training may only be made to domestic institutions. However, limited travel to a foreign site may be permitted with sufficient justification and prior approval by AHRQ. Such travel must be paid from the institutional allowance.
Indirect Costs: These costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, are not allowed on individual fellowship awards.
Supplementation of Stipends, Compensation, and Other Income: The sponsoring institution is allowed to provide funds to the fellow in addition to the stipends paid by AHRQ in accordance with 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. Such additional amounts may either be in the form of augmented stipends (supplementation) or in the form of compensation, such as salary or tuition remission for services such as teaching or serving as a research assistant, provided the conditions described below are met. 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 Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA training program. See also: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part10.htm#_Toc54600200.
Stipend Supplementation: Supplementation or additional support to offset the cost of living may be provided by the sponsoring institution. Supplementation does not require additional effort from the fellow. DHHS funds may not be used for supplementation under any circumstances. Additionally, no funds from other Federal agencies may be used for supplementation unless specifically authorized by AHRQ and the other Federal Agency.
Compensation: The sponsoring institution may provide additional funds to a fellow in the form of compensation (as salary and/or tuition remission) for services such as teaching or serving as a research assistant. A fellow may receive compensation for services as a research assistant or in some other position on a Federal research grant, including a DHHS research grant. However, compensated services should occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal full time research training activities. In addition, compensation may not be paid from a research grant supporting the fellow's research training experience. Compensation for service is not considered stipend supplementation.
Educational Loans or G.I. Bill: An individual may make use of Federal educational loan funds and assistance under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act (G.I. Bill). Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.
You may submit an application(s) if your institution/organization has any of the following characteristics:
Awards for fellowship training may only be made to domestic institutions.
AHRQ’s authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism, thus for the purpose of this FOA, AHRQ will make grants only to domestic non-profit organizations. For-profit organizations may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only. Because the purpose of this program is to improve healthcare in the United States, foreign institutions may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only. Applications submitted by for-profit organizations or foreign institutions will not be reviewed. Organizations described in section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.
1.B. Eligible Individuals
Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research training is invited to work with his/her sponsor and institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support.
Citizenship: By the time of award, the individual applicant must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status). Non-citizen nationals are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (i.e., American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. Individuals may apply for the F32 in advance of admission to the United States as a Permanent Resident recognizing that no award will be made until legal verification of Permanent Resident status is provided.
Degree Requirements: Before a Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowship award can be activated, the individual must have received a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), PharmD, DSW, PsyD, 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. A Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship may not be used to support studies leading to the MD, DO, DDS, DVM, or other similar health-professional degrees. Neither may these awards be used to support the clinical years of residency training. However, these awards are appropriate for the research fellowship years of a research-track residency program. Research clinicians must devote full-time to their proposed research training and confine clinical duties to those activities that are part of the research training program.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
This program does not require cost sharing for applications in response to this FOA.3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria
Number of Applications: AHRQ will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an “Introduction” addressing the previous critique. Note such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF 424 (R&R).
Resubmission(s): Applicants may submit one resubmission application, but such application must include an Introduction addressing issues raised in the previous critique (Summary Statement).
Renewals: Awards are not renewable and are not transferable from one PD/PI to another.
Duration of Support: Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (T32) and individual fellowship awards (F32). However, it is not allowable to have concurrent Kirschstein-NRSA support from two different sources (e.g., F32 and T32). Applicants must consider any prior Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral research training in determining the duration of fellowship support requested. Accurate information regarding previous Kirschstein-NRSA support must be included in the application and will be considered at the time of award. Applications not providing this information or showing a combined prior and proposed duration of NRSA postdoctoral support exceeding 3 years by the time of an award are not eligible for this FOA.
Training beyond the 3-year aggregate limit may be possible under certain exceptional circumstances, but a waiver from AHRQ is required. Individuals seeking additional Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support beyond the third year are strongly advised to consult with relevant AHRQ staff before preparing a justification. Any waiver will require a detailed justification of the need for additional research training. A waiver request should be made to the program official at AHRQ at least six months prior to the termination date of the fellowship award. A request for a waiver cannot be made prior to the issuance of the initial award.
Fellowship awardees 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. Support for subsequent years of the fellowship award beyond the first budget period is based upon evidence of satisfactory progress in the postdoctoral research training program which is determined by the AHRQ Program staff review of information documented in the progress report.
3.A. Special Requirements
Sponsor: Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must identify an individual who will serve as a sponsor (also referred to as mentor or supervisor). The sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research who is committed to the research training of the individual and will directly supervise the Fellowship Applicant's research and training experience. The sponsor must document the availability of sufficient research support, facilities, and didactic coursework if appropriate, for a high-quality research training experience. Opportunities for the fellow to obtain additional guidance from other subject matter experts during the research training experience are encouraged. In some instances, it may be advisable for a co-sponsor to complement the primary sponsor’s expertise.
Sponsoring Institution: Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must also identify a sponsoring institution. The sponsoring institution must have appropriate faculty and facilities available on site to provide a suitable environment for high-quality research training and be demonstrably committed to research training in the particular program proposed by the applicant. In most cases, the F32 supports research training experiences in new settings in order to maximize the acquisition of new skills and knowledge. However, in unusual circumstances, applicants may propose postdoctoral training experiences at their doctorate institution or at the institution where they have been training for more than a year. In such cases, the applicant must carefully document the opportunities for new research training experiences specifically designed to broaden his/her scientific background.
1. Address to Request Application Information
download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R)
Individual Fellowship Application Guide for
completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, use the “Apply for Grant
Electronically” button in this FOA or link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and
follow the directions provided on that Web site.
A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both: (see 2.2 Registration Process in the Application Guide)
The PD/PI (Fellowship Applicant) should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the NIH eRA Commons.
Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant can submit an electronic application, as follows:
1) Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Registered
3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.
The PD/PI and AOR/SO need separate accounts in the NIH eRA Commons since both are authorized to view the application image.
Several of the steps of the registration process could take four weeks or more. Therefore, the Fellowship Applicant should immediately check with his/her business official to determine whether their organization/institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The AHRQ/NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.
NOTE: Fellowship Applicants who are submitting an Individual Fellowship application with a different sponsoring organization should refer to NIH Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-003 “Guidance to Applicant Organizations about Registering Research Fellows in the eRA Commons”; see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-07-003.html. Additional instructional information is in the SF-424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and other PHS Agencies, 2.2 Registration Process.
1. Request Application Information
Fellowship Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.
Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.
For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo -- Telephone 301-435-0714,
Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply. Note the PHS Supplemental Form Pages that must be included in the application.
The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to AHRQ. Some fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components, although not marked as mandatory, are required by AHRQ (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”
The SF424 (R&R) application has several components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY includes all applicable components, required and optional. In addition to these components, NIH and AHRQ Fellowship applicants must also complete supplemental components listed as PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form in the table below: A completed application in response to this FOA includes the data in the following components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information
Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile(s)
PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
PHS 398 Cover Letter
Specific instructions related to each of the components are included in the Individual Fellowship Application Guide located at Grants.gov/APPLY.
3. Submission Dates and Times
See Section IV for details.
3.A. Submission, Review, and
Anticipated Start Dates
Opening Date: July 8, 2009 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Application Due Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Peer Review Date(s): Generally two months after receipt date
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): Generally two months after peer review date
3.A.1. Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is not required for this funding opportunity.
3.B. Submitting an Application Electronically to the AHRQ
To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp and follow Steps 1-4. Note: Applications must only be submitted electronically. PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
3.C. Application Processing
Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application due date(s). (See above for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the due date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.
Once an application package has been successfully submitted through Grants.gov, any errors have been addressed, and the assembled application has been created in the eRA Commons, the PD/PI and the Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official (AOR/SO) have two weekdays (Monday – Friday, excluding Federal holidays) to view the application image to determine if any further action is necessary.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the
Center for Scientific Review, NIH and AHRQ. Incomplete or non-responsive
applications will not be reviewed.
There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. The submitting AOR/SO receives the Grants.gov acknowledgments. The AOR/SO and the PD/PI receive Commons acknowledgments. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons.
Note: Since email can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to check periodically on their application status in the Commons.
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of human subjects is not required prior to peer review of an application (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-00-003.html). However, initiation of IRB review, if necessary or applicable, is strongly encouraged to assure timely commencement of research. IRB approval is required prior to award.
Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.
Use of CMS Data
Purchase of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) public-use data, if required, must be discussed in the application narrative and included in the budget. Projects will ordinarily not use CMS (Medicare or Medicaid) data involving individual identifiers. However, for applications that propose to use Medicare or Medicaid data that are individually identifiable, applicants must state explicitly in the “Research Design and Methods” section of the Research Plan (form 398) the specific files, time periods, and cohorts proposed for the research. In consultation with CMS, AHRQ will use this information to develop a cost estimate for obtaining the data. This estimate will be included in the estimated total cost of the grant at the time funding decisions are made.
Applicants should be aware that for individually identifiable Medicare and Medicaid data, Principal Investigators and their grantee institutions will be required to enter into a Data Use Agreement (DUA) with CMS to protect the confidentiality of data in accordance with the confidentiality provision in the AHRQ statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c); the Privacy rules at 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, if applicable; and standards set out in OMB Circular A-130, Appendix III–Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The use of the data will be restricted to the purposes and time period specified in the DUA. At the end of this time period, the grantee will be required to return the data to CMS or certify that the data have been destroyed.
Unless AHRQ is able to negotiate exceptional arrangements, the DUA will include the requirement that the data user agrees to submit to CMS, a copy of all findings within 30 days of making such findings, for the sole purpose of assuring CMS that data confidentiality is maintained. The user further agrees not to submit these findings to any third party (including but not limited to any manuscript to be submitted for publication) until receiving CMS's approval to do so.
In developing research plans, applicants must allow time for refining, obtaining approval, and processing of their CMS data requests. Requests may take six months from the time they are submitted to complete. Applications proposing to contact beneficiaries or their providers require the approval of the CMS Director and may require meeting(s) with CMS staff.
CMS data are provided on IBM mainframe tapes using the record and data formats commonly employed on these computers. Applicants should either have the capability to process these tapes and formats or plan to make arrangements to securely convert them to other media and formats.
Questions regarding CMS data should be directed to the AHRQ program official listed under Agency Contacts (see Section VII).
To avoid double counting, applicants must not include the cost of identifiable CMS data in the budget. In the event the total costs of the project plus the cost of CMS data is greater than the total cost cap of this FOA, the budget for the project will be adjusted so that the total costs awarded to the recipient plus the CMS data costs do not exceed the cost cap.
4. Intergovernmental Review
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
For efficient grant administration, AHRQ grant administration procedures will be used and conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm
These awards are also subject to the NRSA Policies. For more information see: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part10.htm.
Citizenship: Fellowship Applicants must meet the citizenship/residency requirements as described in the Eligibility section of this announcement (see Section III) at the time of award.
Concurrent Awards: A Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of this award.
Tax Liability: Internal Revenue Code Section 117 applies to the tax treatment of all 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. Under that section, non-degree candidates are required to report as gross income all stipends and any monies paid on their behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization.
The IRS and Treasury Department released regulations in January 2005 (Revenue Procedure 2005-11) clarifying the student exception to the FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes for students employed by a school, college, or university where the student is pursuing a course of study. Our understanding is that these final regulations do not apply to or impact Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA programs or awards. An NRSA stipend is provided by the NIH as a subsistence allowance for Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and trainees to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. NRSA recipients are not considered employees of the Federal government or the grantee institution for purposes of the award. Note that the AHRQ takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, nor does it have the authority to dispense tax advice. The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the tax laws to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.
Future Year Support: Funds for continuation beyond the initial year are determined by the progress described in the continuation application (PHS 416-9), the timely submission of all required forms, and the availability of funds.
Service Payback: As required by the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, postdoctoral fellows incur a service obligation of 1 month for each month of support during the first 12 months of the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral support. The 13th and subsequent months of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support are acceptable postdoctoral payback service. Thus, individuals who continue under the award for 2 years will have paid off their first year obligation by the end of the second year.
Applicants accepting an award for the first 12 months of a Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral support must sign a payback agreement (PHS Form 6031) in which they agree to engage in health-related research training, research, and/or teaching for 12 months.
Those who do not pay back their obligation through continued Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA supported training may satisfy their obligation by serving in a position in which health- related research, research training, or teaching are the primary activities. Such individuals must engage in research, research training, or teaching at a rate of 20 or more hours per week averaged over a full work-year. Payback service may be conducted in an academic, governmental, commercial, or nonacademic environment, in the United States or in a foreign country. Examples of acceptable payback service include research associateships/assistantships, postdoctoral research fellowships, and college or high school science teaching positions. Examples of unacceptable payback service include clinical practice and administrative responsibilities not directly related to scientific research.
Payback service positions are arranged by the individual, not by AHRQ or NIH. The NIH/AHRQ will review and approve the activity at the end of the year in which it occurs. Service to satisfy any outstanding obligation must be initiated within 2 years after termination of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA support, and must be performed on a continuous basis. For individuals who fail to fulfill their service obligation, the United States is entitled to recover the total amount of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA funds paid to the individual for the obligated period plus interest at a rate determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Financial payback must be completed within 3 years, beginning on the date the United States becomes entitled to recover such amount.
Under certain conditions, the Secretary, DHHS, may extend the period for starting service, permit breaks in service, extend the period of repayment, or otherwise waive the payback obligation when compliance would constitute a substantial hardship against equity and good conscience.
Policies regarding the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA payback obligation are explained in the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA Section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.
Specific questions may appear in a list of Frequently Asked Questions that appears on the Web at http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_fellowships.htm. Other questions on payback should be directed to the NRSA payback service center http://grants1.nih.gov/training/payback.htm
PD/PI Credential (e.g., Agency Login): AHRQ/NIH require the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component.
Organizational DUNS: The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”
6.A. Fellowship Applicant Information and Research Training Plan
The following information must be included in the application, in accordance with the Application Guide Instructions for Individual Fellowships in the SF424(R&R).
Sponsor(s): The sponsor(s), who will directly supervise the applicant’s research, should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research and meet the eligibility requirements in Section III. The sponsor must describe in detail his/her research support, prior experience training postdoctoral individuals, and commitment to and proposed role in guiding the individual applicant during the research training experience. The sponsor should describe the research training plan for the applicant (coordinated with the applicant’s own research training plan; see below). The sponsor and any co-sponsors are also expected to provide an assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and potential for a research career. The research environment and the availability and quality of needed research facilities and research resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer time, available research support, etc.) must also be described. The description should include items such as classes, seminars, and opportunities for interaction with other groups and scientists.
AHRQ strongly encourages NRSA postdoctoral fellows to obtain instruction and training in grant writing in order to apply successfully for future career development and research support.
Note: The Sponsor(s) section must be attached as part of Other Attachments under Other Project Information Component.
Research Training Plan: The fellowship applicant must describe a tailored research training plan (preferably hypothesis-driven) well-suited to the stage of his/her career development to date. The plan must list experiences that are specifically planned for the period of training including classes, seminars, and opportunities for interaction with other groups and scientists, and how these will assist the applicant in achieving his/her research goals. Describe the skills and techniques that the candidate will learn as they relate to the candidate's career goals. Indicate the relationship of the proposed research training to the applicant’s career goals. Describe the new skills and techniques that the Fellowship Applicant will acquire; and how these skills and techniques relate to the applicant’s career goals and relate these to his/her career aspirations. The applicant’s plan should be coordinated with the sponsor’s plan (see above), and should include substantive detail that adds to the information about time allocations requested. The applicant must describe concisely the Specific Aims, the background leading to the proposed research, the significance of the research, the research design and methods for achieving the Specific Aims, the rationale, and expected/alternative outcomes of the proposed studies.
Note: Items 2-5 of the Research Training Plan is limited to 10 pages
Training Potential: The application must include statements addressing the planned value of the proposed fellowship experience and research training program, and how these relate to the applicant’s needs in preparation for a career as an independent researcher. Applicants should provide evidence of their potential for a productive and successful research career based upon the quality of their previous research training and academic record.
Note: Training Potential section must be attached as part of Other Attachments under Project Information Component.
Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training: The application should describe the quality and appropriateness of the training environment for the applicant’s development including the strength of the institutional commitment to fostering the fellow’s training. Describe the quality and availability of facilities and resources (e.g. equipment, laboratory space, computer time, subject populations, available research support, etc.) for the proposed training.
Note: Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training section must be attached as part of the Other Attachments under Other Project Information Component.
Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research: Applications must include the sponsoring institution’s plan to provide and the potential fellow’s plans for obtaining instruction in the responsible conduct of research. The rationale, subject matter, appropriateness, format, frequency and duration of instruction must be described. The amount and nature of faculty participation must be described. Although AHRQ has not established specific curriculum or format requirements for this training, it is suggested that the following topics be covered: conflict of interest, data sharing, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human subjects, and data management. Applications without plans for training in responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be returned without review. No award will be made if an application lacks this component.
Human Subjects Research: If the proposed research involves human subjects, the applicant must be responsive to the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide. The adequacy of plans to include appropriate human subjects is included in the fellowship evaluation (see Additional Review Criteria below).
Letters of Agreement (if applicable): Letters of agreement for participating collaborators who are providing access to data or study populations should be attached as part of the Other Attachments under Other Project Information component.
6.B. Letters of Reference
Electronic submission of reference letters is a separate process from submitting an application electronically. Reference letters are submitted directly through the eRA Commons and do not use Grants.gov. Therefore, candidates must follow the Supplemental Instructions in the SF424 R&R Individual Fellowship Application Guide for specific instructions (Part 5.4). Letters of reference are an important component of the application for fellowship support. Applicants for this fellowship must arrange to have at least three (but no more than five) letters of reference submitted on their behalf to the NIH eRA Commons Web site at https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/reference/submitRefereeInformation.jspThe letters should be from well-established scientists (referees) addressing the qualities of the Fellowship Applicant as well as his/her potential to develop research skills needed in preparation for a productive research career in scientific areas related to the mission of AHRQ. These letters should be from individuals not directly involved in the application, but who are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, training, and interests, including advisory committee members (if applicable).
Applications that are missing the required letters of reference may be delayed in the review process or not accepted.
6.C. Citizenship and Certification Procedures
If the applicant has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, the appropriate item should be checked on the PHS Fellowship Supplemental form. Applicants who have applied for and have not yet been granted admission as a permanent resident should check the Permanent Resident of U.S. Pending block. A notarized statement documenting legal admission for permanent residence must be submitted prior to the issuance of an award.
Individuals admitted to the United States as Permanent Residents will be required to submit notarized evidence of legal admission prior to the award.
All application instructions outlined in the SF 424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide are to be followed.
6.D. Other Submission Information
Applicants must follow the specific instructions on Appendix materials as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm).
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Training Plan. An application that does not comply with the required page limitations may be delayed in the review process.
The Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999, in amending the Public Health Act, directed AHRQ, in carrying out its mission, to conduct and support research and evaluations, and to support demonstration projects, with respect to the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas), and health care for priority populations. Priority populations include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care. This authority is found at 42 USC 299(c). To implement this statutory mandate, AHRQ published a Notice in the NIH Guide on February 28, 2003, establishing a new Agency policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in health services research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html). Applicants under this FOA should consider and discuss including priority populations in the research design as specified in this Notice.
Publication Transmittal: General AHRQ Requirements
In keeping with the Agency's efforts to translate the results of AHRQ-funded research into practice and policy, grantees are to inform the AHRQ Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when articles from their AHRQ-supported activities are accepted for publication in the professional literature. Grantees should also discuss any ideas about other dissemination and marketing efforts with OCKT staff. The goal is to ensure that efforts to disseminate research findings are coordinated with other Agency activities to maximize awareness and application of the research by potential users, including clinicians, patients, health care systems and purchasers and policymakers. This is critical when outreach to the general and trade press is involved. Accordingly, contact with the media will take place with close coordination between OCKT and the press offices of the grantee's institutions. In cases when products are created (such as annual or final reports, Web-based tools, CD-ROMs), grantees will be asked to submit to OCKT a brief plan describing how the product will be publicized. An OCKT staff person will be assigned to each product and will coordinate the implementation of the plan, especially issues related to printing and electronic dissemination, and outreach to the media.
Assessment of AHRQ Grant Programs
In carrying out its stewardship of research programs, AHRQ may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of Agency research programs. Accordingly, grant recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted after the completion of awards for periodic updates on publications resulting from AHRQ grant awards, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of AHRQ-sponsored research.
AHRQ expects grant recipients to keep the Agency informed of publications, as well as the known uses and impact of their Agency-sponsored research. Applicants must agree to notify AHRQ immediately when a manuscript based on research supported by the grant is accepted for publication, and to provide the expected date of publication as soon as it is known, regardless of whether or not the grant award is still active.
HCUP & MEPS
Applicants are encouraged to make use of AHRQ’S Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) or the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). HCUP is a family of health care databases and related software tools and products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership. HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of State data organizations, hospital associations, private data organizations, and the Federal government to create a national information resource of patient-level health care data. HCUP databases provide data beginning in 1988 and contain encounter-level information for all payers compiled in a uniform format with privacy protections in place. HCUP includes three nationwide databases, the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS),the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), and the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) and three types of State databases, the State Inpatient Databases (SID), the State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD), and the State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD). The NEDS, the newest addition to the HCUP databases, is the largest all-payer ED database in the United States and contains over 25 million (unweighted) records for ED visits at about 1,000 hospitals. More information on HCUP can be found at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/home.jsp.
The MEPS is conducted to provide nationally representative estimates of health care use, expenditures, sources of payment, and insurance coverage for the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population. MEPS is composed of three component surveys: the Household Component (HC), the Medical Provider Component (MPC), and the Insurance Component (IC). The Household Component is the core survey, and it forms the basis for the MPC sample and part of the IC sample. The MEPS IC collects data on health insurance plans obtained through employers and unions, including the number and types of private insurance plans offered employer characteristics, premiums, and contributions by employers and employees. More information on the MEPS is available at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov.
Applicants’ use of HCUP and/or MEPS data does not preclude the use of secondary data sources or primary data collection.
Plan for Sharing Research Data
Data sharing is not required for this FOA.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.
2. Review and Selection Process
Administrative Criteria: Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by AHRQ for completeness and responsiveness.
Merit Review Criteria are described below.
The review criteria described below will be considered in the review
2. Review and Selection Process
Applications that are complete and responsive to the FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures that are described in 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications, or applications not following instructions given in this FOA, will not be reviewed.
As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:
The purpose of the AHRQ NRSA F32 program is to provide support to promising applicants with the potential to become productive and successful independent research investigators in scientific health-related fields relevant to the mission of AHRQ. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research training will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of this goal. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score. The scientific review group will use information in the letters of reference in consideration of the review criteria. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to merit a favorable overall score. The overall score will reflect the overall evaluation of the entire application.
2.A. Individual Fellowship Review Criteria
Reviewers will provide an overall priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the fellowship will enhance the candidate’s potential for, and commitment to, a productive independent scientific research career in health services research, in consideration of the following five core review criteria, and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Core Review Criteria: Reviewers will consider each of the five criteria below in determining scientific and technical merit. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major impact.
Sponsor(s), Collaborator(s), and Consultant(s):
Research Training Plan:
Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training:
2.B. Additional Review Criteria:
In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to
be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:
Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed. See the “Human Subjects Sections” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).
Inclusion: Adequacy of plans to address the needs of genders, racial and ethnic minorities (and subgroups). Adequacy of attention to AHRQ priority populations (see above discussion on Priority Populations in section IV.6 “Other Submission Requirements,” and inclusion criteria included in section VIII of Required Federal Citations, below.)
Resubmission Applications (formerly
“revised/amended” applications): Are the responses to comments from the
previous scientific review group adequate? Are the improvements in the
resubmission application appropriate?
Privacy and Security Protections for Patients: The resources and processes to be used to address privacy and security issues in the development and implementation of the intervention will be assessed.
2.C. Additional Review Considerations
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will address each of the following items, but should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.
Responsible Conduct of Research: Every NRSA fellow must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not92-236.html). Applications must include the sponsoring institution’s plans to provide and the fellow's plans for obtaining instruction in the responsible conduct of research, including the rationale, subject matter, appropriateness, format, frequency and duration of instruction. The amount and nature of faculty participation must be described. The plan will be discussed after the overall determination of merit, so that the review panel's evaluation of this plan will not be a factor in the determination of the overall impact score. The plan will be judged as acceptable or unacceptable. The acceptability of the plan will be described in an administrative note in the summary statement. Regardless of the overall impact score, an application with an unacceptable plan will not be funded until the applicant provides an acceptable plan. AHRQ staff will judge the acceptability of the revised plan.
Budget and Period of Support: Reviewers will assess the appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed fellowship training.
The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
2.D. Resource Sharing Plan(s)
Pursuant to 42 USC 299c-3(c), information obtained in the course of any AHRQ supported-study that identifies an individual or entity must be treated as confidential in accordance with any explicit or implicit promises made regarding the possible uses and disclosures of such data. There are civil monetary penalties for violation of the confidentiality provision of the AHRQ statute 42 USC 299c-3(d). In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected. The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to this information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded. Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this FOA will also be obtained and managed in accordance with 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, the Federal Privacy Rule developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). These regulations serve to limit the disclosure of personally identifiable patient information by covered entities and define when and how such information can be disclosed e.g., to researchers. Thus, health care plans ordinarily will require either patient authorization for disclosures of identifiable information to be made to researchers or waivers of such authorizations obtained from an IRB or Privacy Board (defined in the regulations), which will involve review to ensure that identifiable health information will be appropriately safeguarded by the investigators. The DHHS Office of Civil Rights is the enforcement body for this regulation. Additional information about the regulations, their implementation, and alternative methods of permissible disclosures to researchers (limited data sets with data use agreements, de-identified data sets, data about deceased persons, and data use to develop protocols) can be obtained from: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/
The grantee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds that established by the HIPAA Security Rules if applicable (see HIPAA website in prior paragraph) and that established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published several implementation guides for this circular. They are: An Introduction to Computer Security: The NIST Handbook; Generally Accepted Principals and Practices for Securing Information Technology Systems; and Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems. The circular and guides are available on the web at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-12/. The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.
Sharing Research Resources: Rights in Data
AHRQ grantees may copyright, unless otherwise provided in grant awards, or seek patents for, as appropriate, final and interim products and materials developed in whole or in part with AHRQ funds, including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses. Such copyrights and patents are subject to a worldwide irrevocable AHRQ license to use and permit others to use these products and materials for government purposes. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers. In addition, subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits. Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products. AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) wishes to be consulted in advance of publication in order to coordinate announcements of new AHRQ-supported research results with other AHRQ dissemination activities. Important legal rights and requirements applicable to AHRQ grantees are set out or referenced in AHRQ's grants regulation at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A (available in libraries and from the GPO's website at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html).
Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Generally, applicants must anticipate a minimum of four months between the application submission date and the earliest possible start date.
1. Award Notices
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons.
If the application is under consideration for funding, AHRQ will request
"Just-In-Time" information from the applicant. Just-In-Time
information generally consists of information on other support and
certification of IRB approval of the project's proposed use of human
subjects. For details, applicants may refer to the "AHRQ Revised
Policy for Institutional Review Board (IRB) Review of Human Subjects Protocols
in Grant Applications" (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-hs-00-003.html).
Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, a formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NOA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The Notice of Award will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official. The NOA signed by the grants management office is the authorizing document.
Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient’s risk. See also Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”
A fellow has up to six months from the issue date on the NoA to activate the award.
Activation: No funds may be disbursed until the fellow has started training under the award and an Activation Notice (PHS 416-5) and a Payback Agreement (PHS 6031) has been submitted to AHRQ. A fellow has up to six months from the issue date on the award notice to activate the award. Under unusual circumstances, AHRQ may grant an extension of the activation period upon receipt of a specific request from the fellow.
Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowships require a payback agreement. For more information see Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part10.htm.
All AHRQ grant and cooperative agreement awards are subject to AHRQ’s grants regulations at 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A, and are subject to the requirements of the HHS Grants Policy Statement that are applicable based on the recipient type and the purpose of this award (see http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm).
As necessary, Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the award statement.
Fellowships must be administered in accordance with the current NRSA section of the Grants Policy Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm), and any terms and conditions specified on the Notice of Award.
Leave Policies: In general, fellows may receive stipends during the normal periods of vacation and holidays observed by individuals in comparable training positions at the sponsoring institution. For the purpose of these awards, however, the period between the spring and fall semesters is considered to be an active time of research and research training and is not considered to be a vacation or holiday. Fellows may receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Fellows may also receive stipends for up to 60 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 institution have access to the same paid leave for this purpose and the use of parental leave is approved by the program director (see NOT-OD-08-064).
A period of terminal leave is not permitted and payment may not be made from fellowship funds for leave not taken. Fellows requiring periods of time away from their research training experience longer than specified here must seek approval from the NIH awarding component for an unpaid leave of absence.
Part-time training: While Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA awardees are required to pursue research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies, under unusual and pressing personal circumstances, a fellow may submit a written request to AHRQ to permit less than full-time training. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. They must be approved by AHRQ in advance for each budget period. The nature of the circumstances requiring the part-time training might include medical conditions, disability, or pressing personal or family situations such as child or elder care. Permission for part-time training will not be approved to accommodate other sources of funding, job opportunities, clinical practice, clinical training, or for other responsibilities associated with the fellow's position at the institution. In each case, the fellow must submit a written request countersigned by the sponsor and an appropriate institutional business official that includes documentation supporting the need for part-time training. The written request also must include an estimate of the expected duration of the period of part-time training, an assurance that the fellow intends to return to full-time training when that becomes possible, and an assurance that the trainee intends to complete the proposed research training program. In no case will it be permissible for the fellow to be engaged in Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA supported research training for less than 50 percent effort. Individuals who must reduce their commitment to less than 50 percent effort must take a leave-of-absence from Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship support. The fellowship notice of award will be reissued and the stipend will be pro-rated during the period of any approved part-time training. Part-time training may affect the rate of accrual or repayment of the service obligation for postdoctoral fellows.
Certification Requirements: Individuals admitted to the United States as Permanent Residents must submit notarized evidence of legal admission prior to the award.
Payback Requirement: A Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) must accompany the Activation Notice for any award that occurs during the individual's initial 12 months of Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral support. When support ends, the fellow must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) to the AHRQ. If the fellow has a payback obligation, he or she must notify the AHRQ of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied. Forms may be found on the NIH Website at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm
Inventions: Fellowships made primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements. F32 awards will not contain any provision giving PHS rights to inventions made by the fellow.
All forms may be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm
Activation Notice: The fellowship award recipient has up to six months from the issue date on the Notice of Research Fellowship Award to activate the award using the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship Activation Notice (PHS 416-5). Under unusual circumstances, AHRQ may grant an extension of the activation period upon receipt of a specific request from the fellow. Such a request must be countersigned by the Sponsor and an authorized institutional official.
Payback Agreement: A Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) must accompany the Activation Notice for any award that occurs during the individual’s initial 12 months of Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral support.
Application for Continued Support: The fellow will be required to annually submit the form PHS 416-9, Continuation of an Individual National Research Service Award, (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/416-9/phs416-9.htm as required in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The report must describe the current year’s progress as well as the plans for the coming year. The application is due before the beginning date of the next budget period (the terms and conditions of the fellowship award will indicate the actual date the report is due). Note that the instructions request that a listing of all courses and publications completed during the past year be included in the application for continued support.
Termination Notice: When support ends, the fellow must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) to AHRQ within 30 days following termination. If the fellow has a payback obligation, he or she must notify AHRQ of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied. Forms may be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.
We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:
1. Scientific/Research Contacts
Direct inquiries about general FOA issues to:
Shelley M. Benjamin,
Division of Research Education
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1528
FAX: (301) 427-1562
2. Peer Review Contacts
Division of Scientific Review
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1689
Fax: (301) 427-1562
E-mail address: Ali.Azadegan@ahrq.hhs.gov
3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts
Division of Grants Management
Office of Performance Accountability, Resources and Technology
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
Telephone: (301) 427-1806
Fax: (301) 427- 1462
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Required Federal Citations
Inclusion of Women and Minorities in Research Study Populations:
Women and members of minority groups are included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate, e.g., because of the lack of connection between the study and the health of women or particular minorities.
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the UPDATED "NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on August 2, 2000 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-00-048.html). A complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm. To the extent possible, AHRQ requires adherence to these NIH Guidelines.
Investigators may obtain copies from the above sources or from the NIH Guide Web site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html. AHRQ Program staff may also provide additional information concerning these policies (see Section VII, Agency Contacts).
Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations at 45 CFR Part 46 require that applications and
proposals involving human subjects research must be evaluated in accordance
with those regulations, with reference to the risks to the subjects, the
adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the
research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the
knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).
Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", regulation was mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 which governs the protection of individually identifiable health information. It is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools that may be used to determine whether a researcher is a staff member of a covered entity. Compliance with the Privacy Rule for those classified under the Rule as "covered entities" is mandatory. Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with covered entities. Project Officers will assist grantees in resolving questions about the applicability of HIPAA requirements.
Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The OMB Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data developed with Federal support through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in certain circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. If no Federal action is taken having the force and effect of law in reliance upon an AHRQ-supported research project, the underlying data are not subject to this disclosure requirement. Furthermore, even if a Federal regulatory action is taken in reliance on AHRQ-supported research data under FOIA, 5 USC 552(b), disclosure of confidential identifiable data from such study is statutorily protected under 42 USC 299c-3(c), and thus is exempted from disclosure under "the (b)(3) exemption” in FOIA, 5 USC 552(b)(3). It is important for applicants to understand the scope of this requirement and its limited potential impact on data collected with AHRQ support. Proprietary data might also be exempted from FOIA disclosure requirements under "the (b) (4) exemption", 5 USC 552(b) (4) for example, if it constitutes trade secrets or commercial information. NIH has provided general related guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm which does not include discussion of the exception applicable to confidential identifiable data collected under AHRQ's authorities.
Should applicants wish to place data collected under this FOA in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data (e.g., as required by confidentiality provisions of the statute applicable to AHRQ-supported projects, 42 USC 299c-3(c) and manage the distribution of non-identifiable data for an indefinite period of time, they may. The application should include a description of any archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should consider how to structure informed consent statements or other human subject protection procedures to permit or restrict disclosures of identifiable data, as warranted.
Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting health improvement priorities for the United States. AHRQ encourages applicants to submit grant applications with relevance to the specific objectives of this initiative. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.
Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 487 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The HHS Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm.
The Public Health Service strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the Public Health Service mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.
Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
Office of Extramural
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
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