This Program Announcement expires on December 31, 2005, unless reissued.

DUAL-DEGREE PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS FOR TRAINING CLINICIAN-SCIENTISTS

Release Date:  August 29, 2001

PA NUMBER:  PA-01-132

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
 (http://www.niehs.nih.gov)

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invites 
applications for individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowships 
for MD/PhD and MD/MPH students.  There is a critical need for clinician-
scientists with the medical training and research experience to investigate 
problems of environmentally relevant disease in humans.  The linking of 
exposures to chemical, physical or biologically derived toxins in the 
environment to clinical outcomes has been a consistent challenge.  The 
problems addressed are complex and of great public interest; however, for a 
number of reasons, the standard courses of study at most medical schools do 
not provide the experience necessary to approach these problems.  Therefore, 
support for NRSA MD/PhD and MD/MPH fellowships is designed to help ensure that 
highly trained clinician-scientists will be available in adequate numbers to 
conduct basic and clinical research in environmentally relevant diseases and 
disorders. 

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 (PA), DUAL-
DEGREE PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS FOR TRAINING CLINICIAN-SCIENTISTS, 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

Citizenship:  By the time of award, individuals must be citizens or non-
citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to 
the United States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid 
Alien Registration Receipt Card 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. 

Degree Requirements:  The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree and show 
evidence of both high academic performance in the sciences and substantial 
interest in research in areas of high priority to the sponsoring Institute.  
The applicant must be enrolled in an MD program at an accredited medical 
school, accepted in a related scientific PhD or MPH program, and supervised by 
a mentor in that scientific discipline when the application is submitted.  The 
typical applicant will apply during the first year of medical school for 
funding to begin in the second year; however, applications may be submitted at 
any stage of medical school.

Sponsor:  Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant 
must identify a sponsoring institution and an individual who will serve 
as a sponsor (also called mentor or supervisor) and will supervise the 
training and research experience.

The applicant's sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of 
the proposed research who will directly supervise the candidate's 
research.  The sponsor must document the availability of staff, 
research support, and facilities for high-quality research training.

The institutional setting must be domestic, and may be private (profit or 
nonprofit) or public, including the NIH Intramural Programs and other Federal 
laboratories.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

Awards made under this Program Announcement will use the F30 Individual 
Predoctoral MD/PhD or MD/MPH fellowship mechanism to provide combined medical 
school and predoctoral PhD or MPH support for a maximum of six years; no other 
NRSA support may be received during this time.  Any exception to these 
limitations requires a waiver from the sponsoring Institute based on a review 
of the justification provided by the individual awardee and his or her 
sponsor.  Continued support beyond the first year is dependent upon 
satisfactory progress toward both degrees.  Annual reports are to be provided 
by the fellow, the PhD or MPH department and sponsor, and the medical school.

Although NRSAs are not usually made for training leading to a health 
professional degree, or for training that is part of a clinical residency, 
this program is specifically designed to support training in an established, 
combined MD/PhD or MD/MPH program.

ALLOWABLE COSTS

Stipends:  The annual stipend for predoctoral individuals will remain fixed 
for the period of support, unless the stipend level is changed in the NIH 
annual appropriation.  Applicants should consult with Institute Program Staff 
for the latest stipend level.  Alternatively, applicants may obtain 
information about current stipend levels and other policy documents from the 
URL for "NIH Training Related Policy Documents": 
http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm

Tuition and Fees:  The sponsoring Institute will offset the combined cost of 
tuition and fees at the following rate: 100 percent of all costs up to $3,000 
and 60 percent of costs above $3,000.  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.  A full description 
of the tuition policy is contained within the NRSA Policy Guidelines on the 
NIH website at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm 

Research Allowance:  An allowance of up to $2,500 per predoctoral fellow per 
twelve month period will be provided to the sponsoring institution to help 
defray such expenses as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific 
meetings, and related items for the individual fellows, and to otherwise 
offset, to the extent possible, appropriate administrative costs of graduate 
research training.  The allowance is provided only upon official activation of 
the award, and the sponsoring institution is expected to administer the 
allowance and disburse the funds.  If an individual fellow is in a training 
status for less than six months of the award year, only one-half of that 
year's allowance may be charged to the grant.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Support for NRSA MD/PhD and MD/MPH fellowships under this announcement is 
intended to promote the training of physician/scientists in basic and 
clinical research in environmental medicine.  For the purposes of this award, 
environmental medicine is defined as the area of medicine concerned with the 
development and application of knowledge directed at the etiology, diagnosis, 
pathopysiological progression, treatment, and prevention of adverse effects 
from environmental exposures to toxic agents.  Adverse effects may include an 
identifiable disease, disorder or decrement in mental or physical function. 
Environmental medicine is seen as a cross-cutting issue in the medical arena 
which is problem oriented and does not focus on a particular discipline, 
specialty, disease or organ system. Futhermore, since the development of a 
disease or disorder can be viewed as resulting from the interplay of genetic 
and environmental factors over the lifespan of the individual, potent 
environmental influences may manifest at many stages of life:  gametes, 
embryonic, epigenetic, in utero, in childhood, or as an adult.  

The research training experience must provide a strong foundation in research 
design, methods and analytic techniques; the development or enhancement of the 
fellow’s ability to conceptualize and think through research problems with 
increasing independence; experience in conducting, presenting and publishing 
independent research; the opportunity to interact with members of the 
scientific community at meetings and workshops (including NIH sponsored 
meetings); and the development and documentation of a well thought-out career 
plan to increase the applicant's ability to secure federal support for his/her 
research.  The applicant’s experience should be under the guidance and 
supervision of a committed sponsor who is an active and established 
investigator in the area of the applicant's proposed research.  The research-
training program should be carried out in a research-intensive environment 
that includes appropriate human and technical resources and is demonstrably 
committed to research training in the particular program proposed by the 
applicant so that the applicant can grow as a creative scientist.

The application must include evidence that instruction in the principles of 
responsible conduct of research will be incorporated into the proposed 
research-training plan.  Applications without plans for training in 
responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and will be 
returned without review.

The NRSA legislation requires that the Nation's overall need for biomedical 
research personnel be taken into account by giving special consideration to 
training physicians who propose to become active biomedical researchers.  The 
NIEHS recognizes the critical importance of training physicians to become 
researchers as well as training clinicians to conduct patient-oriented 
research.

Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are 
encouraged to apply.

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 sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating 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.

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 a 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.
REQUIRED EDUCATION ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECT PARTICIPANTS

NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject 
participants for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for 
research involving human subjects.  This policy announcement is found 
in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 
2000, at the following website:  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Staff listed 
under INQUIRIES, for pre-application consultation and information regarding 
the application process.  All-important details should be in this PA.  The 
Individual National Research Service Award application kit PHS 416-1 must be 
used in applying for fellowships.  These forms are available at most 
institutional offices of sponsored research and maybe obtained from the 
Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes 
of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, Telephone: 
(301) 435-0714, FAX: (301) 480-0525, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.  Application 
kits are also available on the Internet at: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm 

The number and title of this program announcement must be typed in Item 3 on 
the face page of the application form and the Yes box must be marked.

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.

Application Receipt and Review Schedule:

Applications responding to this Program Announcement will be accepted and 
reviewed three times a year according to the following schedule:

Application Receipt Date: April 5, August 5, and December 5
Review Meeting: June/July, October/November, and February/March
Notification: August/September, December/January, and April/May
Earliest Possible Start Date: August/September, December/January, and 
April/May

Applications received after these receipt dates are subject to assignment to 
the next cycle, or may be returned to the applicant upon request by the 
applicant.

An original and two copies of the completed and signed application and three 
collated sets of appendix material are to be submitted to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040, MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

Applicants are advised to pay special attention to the following important 
items in PHS 416-1:

Part I (Prepared by Applicant):

Item 5. Training Under Proposed Award. Identify the PhD discipline according 
to the NIH Lexicon of NRSA disciplines on page 27 of the instructions. 

Item 22. Scholastic Performance:  In addition to the information requested in 
the application, applicants should provide scores for MCAT, GRE, and other 
exams relevant to medical and graduate school that they have taken recently.

Item 29a. Activities Under Award: Typically, an MD/PhD or MD/MPH student 
spends the first two years of the program in medical school courses with a 
limited amount of time devoted to PhD or MPH work. The third and fourth years 
of support are spent on PhD or MPH work; and the last two years are used to 
complete medical school.  Applicants should describe how they expect to divide 
their time between medical and graduate school, e.g., medical school courses, 
graduate school courses, research, research training, etc., during both the 
school year and the summer for each year of the program.  Minimums of 40 
hours/week are required for support under the NRSA program.

Item 29b. Research Proposal.  All applicants should provide a research plan, 
including a description of a research proposal in which they will be involved 
as part of their training.  The plan should include substantive detail that 
adds to the information about time allocations requested in Item 29a.

Part II (Prepared by Sponsor):

Items 32 and 33. Sponsor's Previous Fellows/Trainees, Training Plan, 
Environment, and Research Facilities.  The sponsor must currently be funded to 
conduct independent research (e.g., Principal Investigator on an R01 or 
equivalent) and must describe past experience in the guidance of other 
research trainees and fellows.  In addition, the sponsor must describe in 
detail his/her commitment to and proposed role in guiding the individual 
applicant.  The chairman of the graduate committee for the PhD or MPH program 
must also describe the department's commitment to and proposed role in guiding 
the individual applicant and any modifications to the department's usual PhD 
requirements that are necessary to facilitate this trainee's special needs.

The application must include evidence that training in the principles of 
responsible conduct of research will be incorporated in the research 
experience of each fellow.  This should be presented under Item 33.  Issues 
such as conflict of interest, data recording and retention, professional 
standards and codes of conduct, responsible authorship, and ethics in 
biological and behavioral research can provide the substantive base of such 
training.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, all F30 fellowship applications will be reviewed for 
completeness by the Center for Scientific Review.  Incomplete applications 
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral 
guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit 
by an appropriate scientific review group convened in accordance with the 
standard NIH peer review procedures for fellowship review.  As part of the 
initial merit review, all application will received a written critique score.

Review Criteria

The F30 individual MD/PhD or MD/MPH predoctoral fellowship is designed to 
train future generations of outstanding clinician-scientists committed to 
pursuing a research career in the neurological and communication sciences.  
The review of an application 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 to inform considerations of these factors, and the final priority score 
will reflect the overall evaluation of the entire application.

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  Specificity and clarity of the description of the research skills and 
knowledge to be acquired and objective evaluation of progress in each area;

o  Clarity, completeness, originality, and significance of the goals of the 
proposed research training plans;

o  Adequacy of knowledge 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 career in environmental sciences 
research;

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;

o  Adequacy of plans to receive training in the responsible scientific conduct 
of research. 

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.

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  Overall coherence and potential of the research training plan to provide 
the fellow with individualized supervised experiences that will develop 
research skills.

AWARD CRITERIA

Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the 
Research Training and Career Development website in order to obtain current 
information about program priorities, research topics of interest, and policy 
guidelines: NIEHS: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/dert/home.htm

Inquiries regarding programmatic issues may be directed to:

Carol Shreffler, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Administrator
Organs and Systems Toxicology Branch
Office of Program Development
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233 MD EC-23
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  919–541-1445
Fax:  919-541-5064
Email:  shreffl1@niehs.nih.gov 

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Jacqueline M. Russell
Grants Management Specialist
Grants Management Branch
Office of Program Operations
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233 MD EC-22 
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  919-541-0751
Fax:  919-541-2860
Email:  russell@niehs.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.894. 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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