NINDS INDIVIDUAL POSTDOCTORAL NRSA FELLOWHSIPS IN AIDS RESEARCH

RELEASE DATE:  March 25, 2003 

PA NUMBER:  PA-03-087  

EXPIRATION DATE:  1 November 2005, unless reissued

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
 (http://www.ninds.nih.gov)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER(S):  93.853

THIS PA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of the PA
o Program Objectives
o Mechanism of Support
o Eligibility Requirements
o Allowable Costs
o Supplementation of Stipends and Compensation
o Service Payback Requirements
o Tax Liability
o Leave Policies
o Part-Time Training
o Other Special Requirements
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Submitting an Application
o Peer Review Process
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS PA

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) 
invites applications for individual postdoctoral National Research 
Service Award fellowships (F32s) from physicians and basic scientists 
interested in pursuing research related to HIV infection of the nervous 
system.  The intent of this Program Announcement (PA) is to encourage 
research and career development for individuals with a strong 
commitment to a research career in the area of NeuroAIDS, either in one 
of the basic sciences relevant to NeuroAIDS or in clinically-oriented 
research.  Research related to the neuropathogenesis, the role of viral 
or host genetic factors, inflammatory mechanisms, peripheral 
neuropathy, or neurological dysfunction in the setting of anti-
retroviral therapy is of particular interest.

This PA follows the NRSA rules and regulations as outlined in
"RUTH L. KIRSCHSTEIN NATIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARDS FOR INDIVIDUAL
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS (F32)" PA-03-067 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-03-067.html).

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this program announcement are to encourage 
individuals to pursue research careers in the area of NeuroAIDS and to 
increase the number of trained physicians and basic scientists 
interested in pursuing research related to the elucidation of the 
pathogenesis, progression, and treatment of cognitive or motor 
dysfunction, or peripheral neuropathy associated with HIV infection in 
the nervous system.  It has become clear that neurological dysfunction 
associated with HIV infection may be caused by ongoing chronic 
inflammatory processes in the nervous system.  Training in basic 
science areas of virology, immunology, glial cell biology, or genetics, 
as they relate to NeuroAIDS, or in clinical areas of the diagnosis and 
treatment for HIV associated dementia or peripheral neuropathy are 
encouraged.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT 

This PA will use the NIH F32 award mechanism.  As an applicant, you 
will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the 
proposed project.  This PA is issued under the auspices of the 
Kirschstein-NRSA Act (see AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS).  The proposed 
NRSA training must be within the mission of the NINDS and must offer an 
opportunity for individuals to broaden their scientific background or 
to extend their potential for research in neurological sciences.  For 
those who have a health professional degree, the proposed training may 
be part of a research degree program. 

Fellowship awardees are required to pursue their research training on a 
full-time basis, devoting at least 40 hours per week to the training 
program. Research clinicians must devote full-time to their proposed 
research training and must restrict clinical duties within their full-
time research training experience to activities that are directly 
related to the research training experience.  A Kirschstein-NRSA 
fellowship (F32) may not be used to support studies leading to the 
M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other similar health-professional 
degrees.  Neither may these awards be used to support the clinical 
years of residency training. 

The Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is 
required by law, to consider the Nation's overall needs for biomedical 
personnel and to give special consideration to physicians and other 
health professionals who agree to undertake a minimum of 2 years of 
biomedical, behavioral or clinical research.  NIH recognizes the 
critical importance of training clinicians to become researchers and 
encourages them to apply.  For those who have a health professional 
degree, the proposed training may be used to satisfy a portion of the 
degree requirements for a master's degree, a doctoral degree or any 
other advanced research degree program.  Women, minorities, and 
individuals with disabilities are also encouraged to apply.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS 

Citizenship.  By the time of award, candidates for the postdoctoral 
fellowship award 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. 
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 Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowship 
award can be activated, the individual must have received a Ph.D., 
M.D., D.O., D.C., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr. 
P.H., D.N.S., N.D., Pharm.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., 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.
 
Duration of Support.  Individuals may receive up to 3 years of 
aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including 
any combination of support from institutional training grants (T32) and 
individual fellowship awards (F32). Applicants must consider any prior 
Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral research training in determining the 
duration of fellowship support requested.  Training beyond the 3-year 
aggregate limit may be possible under certain exceptional 
circumstances, but a waiver from the NIH is required. Individuals 
seeking additional Kirschstein-NRSA support beyond the third year are 
strongly advised to consult with relevant NIH staff before preparing a 
justification.  Any waiver will require a detailed justification of the 
need for additional research training. 

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 research 
support and facilities for high-quality research training. 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 
their scientific background.

Foreign Sponsorship.  Applicants requesting fellowship support for 
foreign research training must show in the application that the foreign 
institution and sponsor offer unique opportunities and clear scientific 
advantages over positions currently available in the United States.  

Institution.  The sponsoring institution may be any of the following:

o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, and laboratories 
o Units of State and local governments
o Eligible agencies and labs of the Federal government including NIH 
intramural labs  
o Domestic or foreign

ALLOWABLE COSTS

Stipend.  Kirschstein-NRSA 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 NRSA 
support is determined by the number of full years of relevant 
postdoctoral experience at the time the award is issued (not at the 
time of activation, see below).  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.  The 
stipend schedule is updated nearly every year and applicants are 
advised to check for the posting of the current stipend schedule on the 
NIH website at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm.  The NINDS will 
adjust awards on their anniversary date to ensure consistency with the 
current stipend schedule.

The stipend for each subsequent year of Kirschstein-NRSA support is the 
next level in the stipend structure and begins on the anniversary date 
of the award (does not change mid-year). No departure from the 
published NRSA stipend schedule may be negotiated between the 
institution and the fellow. 

For fellows sponsored by domestic non-federal institutions, the stipend 
will be paid through the sponsoring institution.  For fellows sponsored 
by Federal or foreign 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. 

Tuition and Fees.  The NINDS 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 section of the Grants Policy Statement at
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

Institutional Allowance.  At the time of publication, fellows receive 
an institutional allowance of $5,500 per 12-month period to nonfederal, 
nonprofit, or foreign sponsoring institutions to help defray such 
awardee expenses as research supplies, equipment, health insurance 
(either self-only or family as appropriate), and travel to scientific 
meetings.  Support for health insurance is allowable only if it is 
required for all individuals in a similar research training status 
regardless of the source of support.  This allowance is intended to 
cover training- related expenses for the individual awardee.  The 
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 Research 
Fellowship Award will be revised and the balance must be refunded to 
NINDS.  For further details on institutional allowance, see: 
http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm.

NIH will provide an institutional allowance of up to $4,400 for fellows 
sponsored by Federal laboratories or for-profit institutions for 
expenses associated with travel to scientific meetings, health 
insurance, and books. For fellows at for-profit institutions, the 
$4,400 will be paid to the institution for disbursement to the fellow. 
Funds for fellows at Federal laboratories will be disbursed from the 
NIH awarding institute.

The Institutional Allowance is adjusted from time-to-time.  Prospective 
applicants are advised to check for the current Institutional Allowance 
in the most recent documentation related to Kirschstein-NRSA stipends 
at http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm. 

Other Training Costs.  Additional funds may be requested by the 
institution when the training of a fellow involves extraordinary costs 
for travel to field sites remote from the sponsoring institution; or, 
accommodations for fellows who are disabled, as defined by the 
Americans With Disabilities Act.  The funds requested for costs of this 
nature 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. 

Awards for training at a foreign site may include a single economy or 
coach round-trip travel fare. No allowance is provided for dependents.  
U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when 
commercial air transportation is available for travel between the 
United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries.  
Funds are not provided to cover the cost of travel between the fellow's 
place of residence and a domestic training institution.  However, in 
cases of extreme need or hardship, a one-way travel allowance may be 
authorized by the sponsoring institution.  Such travel must be paid 
from the institutional allowance. 

Facilities and Administrative Costs.  F&A (indirect) costs are not 
allowed on individual fellowship awards.

SUPPLEMENTATION OF STIPENDS, COMPENSATION, AND OTHER INCOME

An institution is permitted to provide funds to a fellow in addition to 
the stipend paid by the NINDS.  Such additional amounts may be in the 
form of augmented stipends (supplementation) or compensation, such as 
salary or tuition remission for services such as teaching or serving as 
a laboratory 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 Kirschstein-NRSA 
training program.

Stipend Supplementation.  Supplementation or additional support to 
offset the cost of living may be provided by the sponsoring 
institution, but must not require any 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 the NIH 
and the other Federal Agency.    

Compensation.  An institution may provide additional funds to a fellow 
in the form of compensation (such as salary and/or tuition remission) 
for services such as teaching or research.  A fellow may receive 
compensation for services as a research assistant on a Federal research 
grant, including a PHS research grant.  However, compensated services 
must only occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal 
research training activities, which require a minimum of 40 hours per 
week.  In addition, compensation may not be paid from a research grant 
supporting research that constitutes the research training experience. 
 
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. Postdoctoral fellows may also be eligible to 
participate in the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program.  Information 
on this program is available at http://www.lrp.nih.gov/.

Concurrent Awards.  A Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship may not be held 
concurrently with another Federally sponsored fellowship or similar 
award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of 
this award. 

TAX LIABILITY

The Internal Revenue Code, Section 117, applies to the tax treatment of 
all scholarships and fellowships. 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 
reported 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 
taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship 
between Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and institutions.  Kirschstein-NRSA 
stipends are not considered salaries.  Kirschstein-NRSA fellows are not 
considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with NINDS or 
with the institution in which they are pursuing research training.  It 
is therefore inappropriate and unallowable to charge costs normally 
associated with employment (such as FICA, workman's compensation, 
unemployment insurance, etc) to the fellowship award.  It must be 
emphasized that the interpretation and implementation of the tax laws 
are the domain of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts.  
NINDS takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, and it 
does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should 
consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to 
their situations and for information on the proper steps to be taken 
regarding their tax obligations. 

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 NRSA postdoctoral support.  The 13th and 
subsequent months of 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 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 
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 the 
NINDS.  The NINDS 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 
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 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 Kirschstein-NRSA payback obligation 
are explained in the 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 
which appears on the Web at 
http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_fellowships.htm.  Other questions on 
payback should be directed to the appropriate NINDS contact.  

LEAVE POLICIES 

In general, fellows may continue to receive stipends during periods of 
vacation and holidays available to 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 continue to 
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 continue to receive stipends for up to 30 
calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth 
of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee 
or sponsoring institution have access to paid leave for this purpose 
and the use of parental leave is approved by the sponsor. 

A period of terminal leave is not permitted and payment may not be made 
from grant funds for leave not taken.  Individuals requiring extended 
periods of time away from their research training experience must seek 
approval from NINDS for an unpaid leave of absence.

PART-TIME TRAINING

Under unusual and pressing personal circumstances, a fellow may submit 
a written request to the awarding component to permit less than full-
time training.  Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case 
basis.  They must be approved by NIH 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 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 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.  

OTHER SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

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 award notice. 

Certification and Reporting Procedures. No application will be accepted 
without the applicant signing the certification block on the face page 
of the application.  Individuals admitted to the United States as 
Permanent Residents must submit notarized evidence of legal admission 
prior to the award.  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. When 
support ends, the fellow must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) 
to the NIH.  If the fellow has a payback obligation, he or she must 
notify NIH of any change in address and submit Annual Payback 
Activities Certification Forms (PHS 6031-1) until the payback service 
obligation is satisfied.  Forms will be provided to awardees by NIH.  
Forms may also be found on the NIH Website at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm. 

Inventions and Publications. 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 awardee. 

Data Sharing.  It is the policy of the DHHS that the results and 
accomplishments of all funded activities should be made available to 
the public.  This policy also applies to individuals supported by 
individual Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowships.  The sponsoring 
institution should place no restrictions on the publication of results 
in a timely manner. 

Copyrights. Except as otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of 
the award, the recipient is free to arrange for copyright without 
approval when publications, data, or other copyrightable works are 
developed in the course of work under a PHS grant-supported project or 
activity. Any such copyrighted or copyrightable works shall be subject 
to a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to the 
Government to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use them, and to 
authorize others to do so for Federal Government purposes.  

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage your inquiries concerning this PA and welcome the 
opportunity answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may 
fall into two areas: scientific/research and financial or grants 
management issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Michael Nunn, Ph.D.
Program Director
Neural Environment Cluster 
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 2118
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-1431
FAX: (301) 480-2424
Email: mn52e@nih.gov

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Jeff Domanski
Grants Management Specialist 
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 3254
Bethesda, MD 20892-9537
Telephone: (301) 496-9231
Fax: (301) 402-0219
Email: domanskj@ninds.nih.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION  

Individuals must submit the application using the Ruth L. Kirschstein 
National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship Form (PHS 416-1, 
rev. 6/02) available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.  
APPLICATIONS MUST INCLUDE AT LEAST THREE SEALED LETTERS OF REFERENCE.  
APPLICATIONS WITHOUT AT LEAST THREE LETTERS OF REFERENCE MAY BE 
RETURNED OR DELAYED IN REVIEW.  If the applicant has been lawfully 
admitted to the United States for permanent residence, the appropriate 
item should be checked on the Face Page of the application. Applicants 
who have applied for and have not yet been granted admission as a 
permanent resident should check the Permanent Resident block on the 
Face Page of the PHS 416-1 application, and also write in the word 
"pending."  A notarized statement documenting legal admission for 
permanent residence must be submitted prior to the issuance of an 
award. 

Postdoctoral fellowship applications in response to this PA should 
identify the number of the PA in Item 3. 

Instructions in the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Applications must include the candidate'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.  No award will be made if an 
application lacks this component.

Application Materials.  

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 416-1 application form and 
instructions for Individual National Research Service Award Fellowships 
(rev. 06/02).  The PHS 416-1 is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm in an interactive format.  For 
further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: 
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be mailed on or before the 
receipt dates for individual NRSA Fellowships described at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm.  The 
Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this PA that is essentially the same as one currently 
pending initial review unless the applicant withdraws the pending 
application.  The CSR will not accept any application that is 
essentially the same as one already reviewed.  This does not preclude 
the submission of a substantial revision of an application already 
reviewed, but such application must include an Introduction addressing 
the previous critique.  

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and 
funding assignment within 8 weeks.  Normally the complete review 
process takes between 5 and 8 months.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application (including the 
Checklist, Personal Data form, AT LEAST THREE SEALED REFERENCE LETTERS, 
and all other required materials) and two (2) exact, clear, single-
sided photocopies of the signed application, in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040, MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20817 (express mail)
 
All applications submitted to the Center for Scientific Review must 
come via United States Postal Service or a recognized delivery/courier 
service.  Individuals may not personally deliver packages to the 
building on Rockledge Drive.  For further information please see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-012.html. 

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

Complete applications will be assigned to the appropriate participating 
Institute and a suitable Scientific Review Group (SRG) in the Center 
for Scientific Review (CSR).  Applicants will be notified by mail of 
their application's Institute and SRG assignment.  

Applications receive two sequential levels of review. The first level 
is an assessment of the merit of the research training by an SRG, 
composed primarily of non-government scientists selected for their 
competence in research and research training in a scientific area 
related to the application.  After the SRG meeting, the Scientific 
Review Administrator (SRA), a designated Federal official, who 
coordinates the review of applications for the SRG, prepares a written 
summary of the review of each application and will forward it to NINDS.  
Staff within NINDS provide a second level of review.

REVIEW CRITERIA

The review criteria focus on four main components: 

Candidate: An assessment of the candidate's previous academic and 
research performance and the potential to become an important 
contributor to biomedical, behavioral, or clinical science. 

Sponsor and Training Environment: An assessment of the quality of the 
training environment and the qualifications of the sponsor as a mentor 
for the proposed research training experience. 

Research Proposal: The merit of the scientific proposal and its 
relationship to the candidate's career plans. 

Training Potential: An assessment of the value of the proposed 
fellowship experience as it relates to the candidate's needs in 
preparation for a career as an independent researcher. 

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, the 
following items may 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 criteria 
included in the section on Federal Citations, below).

INCLUSION OF WOMEN, MINORITIES AND CHILDREN IN RESEARCH: The adequacy 
of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic 
groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific 
goals of the research will be assessed.  Plans for the recruitment and 
retention of subjects will also be evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria 
in the sections on Federal Citations, below).

CARE AND USE OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS IN RESEARCH: If vertebrate animals 
are to be used in the project, the five items described on page 21 of 
the PHS 416-1 fellowship application instructions (rev. 6/2002) will be 
assessed (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm).  

Notification.  Shortly after the SRG meeting, each applicant will be 
notified by mail of the SRG recommendation and the name and phone 
number of the NINDS program official responsible for the application.  
When the program official receives the written summary of the review, 
prepared by the SRA after the review meeting, a copy will be forwarded 
to the applicant.  

Following the second-level review, the program official will notify 
each applicant of the final disposition of the application.  Any 
questions on SRG recommendations and funding possibilities should be 
directed to the appropriate Institute program official, not the 
Scientific Review Administrator of the SRG. 

AWARD CRITERIA 

The Program officials at NIH use the following criteria in making 
awards: (1) eligibility of the applicant; (2) the SRG recommendation of 
the overall merit of the application; (3) the relevance of the 
application to the Institute's research priorities and program balance; 
and (4) the availability of funds.

Activation. No funds may be disbursed until the fellow has started 
training under the award and an Activation Notice (PHS 416-5) and (when 
appropriate) a Payback Agreement (PHS 6031) has been submitted to the 
NIH.  An awardee has up to 6 months from the issue date on the award 
notice to activate the award. Under unusual circumstances, an NIH 
institute may grant an extension of the activation period upon receipt 
of a specific request from the fellow. 

REQUIRED FEDERAL CITATIONS 

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION:  Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that 
applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated 
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.

MONITORING PLAN AND DATA SAFETY AND MONITORING BOARD:  Research 
components involving Phase I and II clinical trials must include 
provisions for assessment of patient eligibility and status, rigorous 
data management, quality assurance, and auditing procedures.  In 
addition, it is NIH policy that all clinical trials require data and 
safety monitoring, with the method and degree of monitoring being 
commensurate with the risks (NIH Policy for Data Safety and Monitoring, 
NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, June 12, 1998: 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).  

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN CLINICAL RESEARCH: 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 clinical research 
projects unless a clear and compelling justification is 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 clinical research should read the AMENDMENT 
"NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research - Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide 
for Grants and Contracts on October 9, 2001 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_
10_2001.htm.  The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition 
of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in 
compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language 
governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the new 
PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and 
the extramural community.  The policy continues to require for all NIH-
defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or 
proposals and/or protocols must 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) 
investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 
differences.

INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN 
SUBJECTS: The NIH maintains a policy 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 is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm. 

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.  You will find this policy 
announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Announcement, 
dated June 5, 2000, at
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS (hESC): Criteria for federal funding of 
research on hESCs can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/stem_cells.htm and at  
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html.  
Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human 
Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (see 
http://escr.nih.gov).  It is the responsibility of the applicant to 
provide the official NIH identifier(s)for the hESC line(s)to be used in 
the proposed research.  Applications that do not provide this 
information will be returned without review. 

PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH DATA THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: 
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been 
revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA) under some 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.  It is important for 
applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment.  NIH has 
provided guidance at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm.

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application 
should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design 
and include information about this in the budget justification section 
of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to 
structure informed consent statements and other human subjects 
procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under 
this award.

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.   Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their 
anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

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 PA 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.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

Kirschstein-NRSA awards are made under the authority of Section 487 of 
the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288), and Title 42 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 66. All awards are subject to the 
terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations 
described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH Grants Policy 
Statement can be found at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.  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 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 PHS mission to protect and 
advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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