NINDS MEDICAL STUDENT SCHOLARS PROGRAM

Release Date:  May 23, 2001

PA NUMBER:  PA-01-099

National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

PURPOSE

The National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) will award 
individual fellowships (F31) to eligible individuals to provide research 
training opportunities for medical students who are preparing for careers in 
basic or clinical neurological sciences research.  The purpose of this program 
is to help ensure that a highly trained workforce is available to assume 
leadership roles related to the Nation's neurological sciences research agenda.  
The goals of the program are to encourage the interest of potential clinician 
scientists early in their education, and accelerate entry to 
independent research.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Applicants are encouraged consult with NINDS staff listed below 
(see Inquiries), as well as the following program announcement: National 
Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-125.html)

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 priority areas.  This Program Announcement is related to 
one or more of \the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of 
"Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants for NINDS Medical Student Scholars Program individual F31 fellowships 
must be enrolled in a program leading to the M.D. or other health professional 
degree at a domestic medical school.  These awards support research training 
that may be applied toward preparation of a dissertation, but do not support 
study leading to the M.D. or other health professional degrees (for combined 
MD/PhD or MD/MPH programs, please see the NINDS training website 
(http://www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/research_training.htm).  The institutional 
research setting must be a domestic, and may be private (profit or non-profit) 
or public institution, including the NIH intramural programs and other Federal 
laboratories.  The applicant must identify a sponsor with strong research 
credentials, and who is willing to devote significant time and effort to 
mentoring the student.  The sponsoring institution must have staff and 
facilities available on site to provide a suitable environment for performing 
high-quality research.

Citizenship: trainees must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United 
States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent 
residence and have in their possession an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-
151 or I-551) at the time of award.  Individuals on temporary or student 
visas are not eligible for support from the NRSA.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

This program uses the National Research Service ward (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral 
Fellowships mechanism (F31).  Awards may be for a period of 1-2 years of research 
training (maximum aggregate NRSA predoctoral eligibility is 5 years).  NINDS intends 
to award up to 25 Medical scholar positions per year.

Allowable Costs:  Stipends, institutional allowance, tuition and fees, and 
health insurance will be provided according to NRSA Guidelines.  See full 
program announcement:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-125.html

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The program is intended to encourage interest in basic or clinical neuroscience, 
and to foster early and intensive research training.  Support of research during 
medical school will include 1-2 years of mentored research, beginning after 2 
years of medical school.  Training may occur at different sites in order to 
provide support for students who may be attending medical schools with 
comparatively less strength in basic or clinical neuroscience research.  Strong 
mentoring is critical to the success of this program.  The training is designed 
to provide extensive research experience during medical school to individuals 
who are likely to pursue residency training in neurology or neurological surgery.  
The program will also support a national annual meeting to foster interactions 
and interest.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Awards must be activated within six months of receipt of award notice (see below 
for application receipt, review, and start dates).  No funds may be disbursed 
until the individual has started training under the award and an Activation 
Notice (PHS 416-5) has been submitted to and accepted by the 
sponsoring Institute.

Individuals are required to pursue their MD/PhD or MD/MPH training program on a 
full-time basis, devoting at least 40 hours per week to the training program.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their 
subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral 
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling 
rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate with 
respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.  This 
policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public 
Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for 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 are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm.  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require:  a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans to 
conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or 
racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

NIH POLICY AND GUIDELINES ON THE INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN 
RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the 
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  This 
policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt dates 
after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for Grants 
and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL address:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html 

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, 
Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to 
the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites.  
Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may be compromised when they 
directly access an Internet site.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Prospective individual NRSA F31 fellowship applicants are encouraged to contact 
the Institute Program Staff listed under Inquiries, and must use and follow the 
instructions accompanying the individual NRSA application kit PHS 416-1 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/416/phs416.htm).  Applications are due on 
April 5, August 5, and December 5 of each year.  At least three completed 
letters of reference in sealed envelopes must be attached to the application.  
Applications without the required number of reference letters will be returned 
without review.

A signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and 
one signed photocopy of the application must be sent to:

Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040 - MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

In addition, one copy of the completed and signed application is to be 
submitted to:

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3201
Bethesda, MD  20892
(For courier mail:  Rockville, MD  20852)
Phone:  (301) 496-5324
FAX:  (301) 402-0182

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications in response to this program announcement will be evaluated for 
merit by an appropriate review committee convened by the NINDS.  The review of 
F31 applications will focus on the following: the applicant, the research 
training plan, the sponsor, and the institutional environment/commitment.  
Information from the letters of reference will be used by the review committee 
in their consideration of these factors, and the final priority score will 
reflect the overall evaluation of the entire application.

Review Criteria

Applicant:

o the applicant's potential for, and commitment to, a productive scientific 
career.  The reviewers may take into account the applicant's history as a 
student, as well as past and current involvement in research activities.

Research Training Plan:

o objectives, design, and direction of the proposed research program

o soundness and feasibility of the experimental approach and methodology 
proposed to carry out the research

o specificity and clarity of the description of the research skills and 
knowledge to be acquired

o clarity, completeness, originality, and significance of the goals of the 
proposed research training plan

o adequacy of knowledge and presentation of relevant literature and current 
methods in the proposed research area

o potential of proposed research training to serve as a sound foundation that 
will lead the applicant to a productive research career in scientific areas 
related to the mission of NINDS

o adequacy of plans for the protection of human subjects, animals, or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the research 
proposed

o adequacy of plans to include women, children and minorities as subjects in 
research, if applicable

Sponsor:

o caliber of the sponsor as a researcher, including successful competition 
for research support

o evidence of the proposed sponsor's understanding of and commitment to 
fulfilling the role of sponsor and mentor

o evidence of an understanding of the applicant's research training needs and 
a demonstrated ability, on the part of the sponsor, to assist in meeting 
those needs

o past research training record of the sponsor in terms of the rate at which 
former predoctoral trainees obtain their doctoral degree and go on to 
postdoctoral or other scientific careers

o plans to provide the fellow with individualized supervised experiences that 
will develop his/her research skills

Institutional Environment/Commitment:

o training environment, including the institutional commitment to research 
training and career development, the quality of the facilities and related 
resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer time, subject 
populations) and the availability of research support

o adequacy of plans to provide training in the responsible scientific conduct 
of research

AWARD CRITERIA

The responsibility for the NRSA individual predoctoral F31 fellowships award 
decisions resides solely with authorized program staff of the NINDS.  The 
following criteria will be used in making award decisions: (1) overall merit of 
the application; (2) relevance of the application to the research priorities and 
mission of the awarding institute  and programs; and (3) availability of funds.

INQUIRIES

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NINDS Program staff in advance 
of preparing an application, for additional information concerning the areas of 
research, receipt dates, and other types of pre-application instructions.

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues may be directed to:

NINDS Training and Career Development Officer
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2154, MSC 9531
Bethesda, MD  20892
Phone:  (301) 496-4188
FAX:  (301) 594-5929
Email:  NINDSTrainingOffice@ninds.nih.gov 

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Sheila Simmons
Senior Grants Management Specialist
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Blvd, Room 3250
Bethesda, MD  20892-9537
Phone:  301-496-9231
FAX:  301-402-0219
Email:  simmonss@ninds.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.853.  Awards are made under authorization of sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under 
NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 
92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of 
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a 
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-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, and 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 PHS 
mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the 
American people.


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