Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Funding Opportunity Title

Jointly Sponsored Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences (T32)

Activity Code

T32 Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA)

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-12-084

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-15-178

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in  Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)
Funding Opportunity Purpose

The Jointly Sponsored NIH Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences (JSPTPN) supports broad and fundamental research training in the neurosciences via institutional NRSA research training grants (T32) at domestic institutions of higher education. Trainees appointed to this training grant are financially supported for either one or two years, during the first 2 years of their graduate research training. The primary objective is to prepare individuals for careers in neuroscience that have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the Nation.

Key Dates
Posted Date

April 7, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

May 10, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

June 10, 2015; May 25, 2016; May 25, 2017, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

October 2015; October 2016; October 2017

Advisory Council Review

January 2016; January 2017; January 2018

Earliest Start Date

April 2016; April 2017; April 2018

Expiration Date

New Date February 9, 2016 per issuance of NOT-NS-16-008. (Original Expiration Date: May 26, 2017)

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide including the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.  In order to accomplish this goal, NRSA training programs are designed to train individuals to conduct research and to prepare for research careers. More information about NRSA programs may be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) website. This jointly sponsored funding opportunity is designed to support outstanding neuroscience programs that will provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary for successful pursuit of careers as independent scientists.

Purpose and Background Information

The NRSA program has been the primary means of supporting predoctoral and postdoctoral research training programs since enactment of the NRSA legislation in 1974.  Research training activities can be in basic biomedical or clinical sciences, in behavioral or social sciences, in health services research, or in any other discipline relevant to the NIH mission.

Institutional NRSA programs allow the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) to select the trainees and develop a program of coursework, research experiences, and technical and/or professional skills development appropriate for the selected trainees. Each program should provide high-quality research training and offer opportunities in addition to conducting mentored research. The grant offsets the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH support levels.

Program Objective

Broad-based research training. In keeping with the goals of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are continuing this Jointly Sponsored Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences (JSPTPN). The aim of this program is to encourage and support broad training in the neurosciences that will prepare students for research in the mission of any of the participating institutes.

The JSPTPN financially supports a program of broad-based education and research experience during the first two years of graduate training. As such, training programs supported by a JSPTPN training grant must have a comprehensive, two year training plan. Individual programs may choose, however, to use funds from this award to support students for either two years or just a single year. Trainees are expected to participate in a predoctoral curriculum that provides broad and fundamental training in the neurosciences. This curriculum should include education in multiple levels of analysis (which may include, for example, genetic, molecular, cellular, systems, behavior and/or computational; note that not all programs will necessarily cover all levels of analysis, but there must be enough coverage to be considered adequate for an broad understanding of neurobiological function and the technologies used for neuroscience research ). In addition, programs are encouraged to expose students to basic, clinical and translational research approaches, and should provide significant exposure to the neuroscience of disease and disorders. It is critical that students obtain a thorough understanding of experimental design, including the principles of experimental rigor (see http://www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/transparency_in_reporting_guidance.pdf, http://www.nature.com/news/policy-nih-plans-to-enhance-reproducibility-1.14586, http://www.nih.gov/about/reporting-preclinical-research.htm), through formal training activities (note that, although some of these examples focus on preclinical and clinical research, the principles are important, and applicable training is necessary, for all research). Programs should ensure that students have a solid understanding of statistics appropriate for neuroscience research, and should provide students with broad exposure to experimental methodologies, as success in future neuroscience research is likely to depend upon a working knowledge of multiple methodological approaches to answering scientific questions. Programs are strongly encouraged to engage students in quantitative approaches to research, which may include quantitative problem-solving, an introduction to programming, exercises in quantitative analysis of experimental research, and/or other didactic or hands-on activities that will enhance student understanding of the value of quantitative approaches to answering scientific questions.

There are many ways to achieve breadth of expertise, and the format of the training program is up to the PD/PI. For example, breadth may be achieved through any combination of formal courses, significant laboratory rotations, workshops and other programmatic activities. Programs may provide specially tailored curricula based on individual trainee background and needs, but in these cases, the core knowledge, breadth of knowledge, minimum expertise and research experience expected of all trainees, should be carefully described. Programs should also provide students with outstanding mentoringand training in scientific skills such as written and oral presentation, as well as quantitative skills needed for the conduct of cutting-edge neuroscience research. Programs should provide an environment that encourages students to apply for individual support, such as fellowships, career development awards and other individual awards from federal and non-federal sources. Further, programs should provide training in the skills necessary for such applications, such as grant writing, understanding the grant submission and review process and understanding and responding to critiques. It is expected that these institutional training programs will contribute to fundamental and disease-related neuroscience research that is relevant to the participating NIH Institutes. Moreover, it is expected that the JSPTPN will undergo regular evaluation, in order to promote innovation and evolution, as well as to bring attention to any deficiencies that arise.

Oversight of trainee mentoring and progression. In addition to outstanding scientific training, solid mentoring and regular career guidance are critical for advancement and success in science. Students who successfully obtain a Ph.D. degree should do so in a timely manner, and with 1) a publication record that would allow them to progress to outstanding postdoctoral opportunities, 2) oral and written skills that will facilitate their ability to publish their results as first author and submit competitive grant applications and 3) an understanding of the many career opportunities available to them as PhD scientists and what is required to successfully compete for these different opportunities. This wide range of skills and knowledge needed for success in a scientific endeavor cannot be gained by students merely within the first two or three years of graduate school, but are met by a continuous training and mentoring environment throughout their graduate school career. Consequently, an important factor for applicants to consider is the oversight process by which the overall institutional graduate program supported by this award monitors and ensures appropriate student progress, mentoring and career guidance, throughout the student's graduate career, not just in the first two years that this grant supports. This process should promote the highest possible level of trainee success. Although it is not required that this oversight process be directly administered by this JSPTPN, the oversight process used to ensure appropriate student training and progress throughout their graduate school careers is considered as an element of the environment within which the proposed JSPTPN operates (if students supported by this JSPTPN award are housed in multiple departments, the oversight of student progress in each participating department contributes to this environmental element). Proposed JSPTPN are encouraged to include programmatic activities to help accomplish this goal. Such activities might include, but are not limited to, 1) providing guidance regarding what is necessary to succeed as independent scientists, 2) discussing milestones, achievements and activities that promote success as independent scientists, 3) providing programs to improve and/or complement the mentorship provided by the preceptors/mentors and 4) providing formal educational activities or events that inform students of the variety of research-related career opportunities for which their PHD training would be beneficial.

Although students may eventually decide that their interest lies in a non-research or research-related career, the Training PD/PI should limit appointments to individuals who, at this stage, are committed to a career in research as well as who are committed to obtaining a Ph.D. degree. Moreover, to the extent possible, and in the context of supporting the best students in the program, appointments should be consistent with student interest in the mission of one or more of the participating NIH Institutes.

The proposed institutional research training program may complement other ongoing research training and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed research training experiences must be distinct from those research training programs currently receiving Federal support. For those institutions that also have MSTP programs, and who intend to support MD/PHD students with this funding opportunity, the PI/PD should explain the plan by which MD/PHD students will be selected for support and how he/she will ensure that the program supports primarily PHD students. The PI/PD should also explain the role of this program in the training of students not financially supported by this grant.

Enhancing workforce diversity. Within the framework of this program’s longstanding commitment to excellence, recruitment and retention of diverse individuals is an important goal of these programs. See Section IV for instructions. Faculty associated with the training program supported by this FOA are expected to be actively involved in the recruitment and retention of students from diverse backgrounds into the institutional program supported by this FOA, and their success towards finishing the program with the credentials to transition to an outstanding future position.

Training activities

The career outcomes of individuals supported by NRSA training programs include both research-intensive careers in academia and industry and research-related careers in various sectors, e.g., academic institutions, government agencies, for-profit businesses, and private foundations. Training programs should provide students access to structured, career development advising and learning opportunities (e.g., workshops, discussions, Individual Development Plans). Through such opportunities, trainees would obtain a working knowledge of various potential career directions that make strong use of the knowledge and skills gained during research training and the steps required to transition successfully to the next stage of their chosen career.  

Institutional research training grants must be used to support a program of full-time research training. The program may not be used to support studies leading to the M.D., D.D.S., or other clinical, health-professional training.

Special Note: Consultation with the Chair of the JSPTPN steering committee prior to application preparation (see JSPTPN homepage) is encouraged

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Grantees are expected to be familiar with and comply with applicable cost policies and the NRSA Guidelines (NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants). Funds may be used only for those expenses that are directly related to and necessary for the research training and must be expended in conformance with OMB Cost Principles, the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and the NRSA regulations, policies, guidelines, and conditions set forth in this document.

Award Project Period

Up to 5 years

Other Award Budget Information
Stipends, Tuition, and Fees

Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide stipends as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience.

NIH will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of award.

The most recent stipend, tuition, and fee levels are described on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) site. Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

Trainee Travel

Trainee travel to attend scientific meetings and workshops that the institution determines to be necessary for the individual’s research training experience is an allowable trainee expense. Up to $750 travel allowance per year per trainee will be awarded, to be used exclusively for trainee travel. 

Training Related Expenses

NIH will provide funds to help defray other research training expenses, such as health insurance, research and training costs for activities that directly benefit the supported students. For these relatively small training programs, training related expenses should not be used for administrative costs or faculty salary. The most recent levels of training related expenses are described on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) site.  Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

    • Hispanic-serving Institutions
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
    • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
    • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

Governments

  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.

The applicant institution must have strong, high-quality research ongoing in the area(s) proposed under this FOA and must have the requisite faculty, staff, students and postdoctorates (as applicable), and facilities on site to conduct the proposed institutional program. It is anticipated that program faculty will have active, funded research projects in which participating trainees may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed program will complement other ongoing research training programs occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participating trainees may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons.If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research training program as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization 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 NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The Training PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The Training PD/PI will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to the approved research training program, and for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the program. The Training PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.      

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number of NIH IPF number) is allowed.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).
Preceptors/Mentors

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program.  Program faculty should also have an outstanding record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission. However, inclusion of outstanding junior faculty with little training record is encouraged so long as all students have at least one, scientifically appropriate faculty mentor with significant training experience. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Trainees

The JSPTPN financially supports a program of broad-based education and research experience during the first two years of graduate training. The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies. Appointments are normally made in 12-month increments, and no trainee may be appointed for less than 9 months during the initial period of appointment, except with prior approval of the NIH awarding unit.

Predoctoral trainees must have received a baccalaureate degree by the beginning date of their NRSA appointment, and must be enrolled in a program leading to a Ph.D. in science or in an equivalent research doctoral degree program.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Stephen Korn, Ph.D.
Director, NINDS Office of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity
Email: korns@ninds.nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). 

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following additional modifications:

Project Summary/Abstract. Provide an abstract of the entire application. Include the objectives, rationale and design of the research training program, as well as key activities in the training plan. Indicate the planned duration of appointments, the projected number of predoctoral trainees and the graduate school years during which support from this award will be provided (i.e. year 1, year 2 or years 1-2).

Other Attachments. An external advisory Committee is not a required component of a training program.  However, if an Advisory Committee is intended, provide a plan for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to evaluate the training program. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members, frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted.  Renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include the names of all committee members during the past project period.  Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”.

The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following additional modifications:

Training Budget

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

  • Include all personnel other than the Training PD(s)/PI(s) in the Other Personnel section.
  • Do not use the Research and Related (R&R) Budget Component
PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

All Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Particular attention must be given to the required Training Data Tables. Applicants are encouraged to summarize what they view as especially important results contained in the Data Tables (may include, but is not limited to, for example, a summary of trainee publication and grant records, faculty training records, outcome data, etc.) within the text of the application. This summary does not replace the Training Data Tables, and applicants are urged to ensure consistency between the summary and Table information.

Program Plan

Program Administration. Describe the strengths, leadership and administrative skills, training experience, scientific expertise, and active research of the PD/PI. Relate these strengths to the proposed management of the training program. Describe the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the program. If there are multiple PDs/PIs, then the plan for Program Administration is expected to synergize with the “Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan” section of the application.

Institutions with existing training programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how their programs will synergize with one another, if applicable, and make it clear that the pool of faculty, potential scholars, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs.

Describe the oversight process by which the overall institutional graduate program supported by this award monitors and ensures appropriate student progress, mentoring and career guidance, throughout the student's graduate career, not just in the first two years that this grant supports. This process should be designed to promote the highest possible level of trainee success. Although it is not required that this oversight process be directly administered by this JSPTPN, the oversight process used to ensure appropriate student training and progress throughout their graduate school careers is considered as a component of the environment within which the proposed JSPTPN operates (if students supported by this JSPTPN award are housed in multiple departments, the oversight of student progress in each participating department contributes to this environmental component).

Program Faculty. The application must include information about the program faculty who will be available to serve as preceptors/mentors and provide guidance and expertise appropriate to the level of trainees proposed in the application. Describe the complementary expertise and experiences of the proposed Program Faculty, including active research and other scholarly activities in which the faculty are engaged, as well as experience mentoring and training individuals at the proposed career stage(s). For any proposed Program Faculty lacking research training experience, describe a plan to ensure successful trainee guidance by these individuals. Describe the criteria used to appoint and remove faculty as Program Faculty and to evaluate their participation.

Proposed Training. Provide an overview of the proposed program. Outline the objectives of the program and the program activities that will be used to meet these objectives. Describe for whom the training program is intended, including the training level(s) of the trainees, the academic and research background needed to pursue the proposed training, and, as appropriate, plans to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees. Include information about planned courses, mentored research experiences, and any activities designed to develop specific technical skills or other skills essential for the proposed research training. Describe how trainees will be educated in the human health- and disease-related aspects of their research training.

Describe the breadth and depth of the program. What defines the core breadth of levels of analysis (e.g. molecular, cellular, systems, computational, behavioral, genetics, etc.) that all students will obtain? If trainees will have individualized programs, what process will ensure a solid understanding in all of the expected core levels of analysis? How will students obtain an understanding of a broad range of relevant technologies and methods? What is the extent of exposure trainees will obtain to basic, clinical and translational approaches? If students will do rotations through different laboratories, describe the number and duration of rotations, how they will be selected and the expected outcome or benefit derived from the rotations. Describe programmatic activities that will ensure that students have a thorough understanding of experimental design, fundamentals of conducting rigorous research studies, statistics appropriate for neuroscience research, and the use of, and value of, quantitative principles and approaches for neuroscience research.

Describe the mentoring and oversight that will take place during the program, and by whom. Describe the oversight/mentoring process for the trainees provided by each of the participating departments that is designed to ensure that students obtain a degree in a timely manner, obtain the credentials appropriate for transition to an outstanding, more advanced research position, and have the opportunity to understand career options and pursue a career of their choice that draws upon their PHD training.

Describe policies and expectations related to trainee submission of individual funding awards (e.g. fellowships, foundation awards, etc.). Describe required and optional program activities intended to develop skills in oral and written presentation and in skills needed to apply for individual fellowship or grant support.

For renewal applications, highlight how the training program has evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, educational practices, and to evaluation of the training program. Describe evaluation processes, by internal and or external evaluators, that were conducted during the last funding cycle, and any changes that were made in response to these processes. 

Program Evaluation. Describe a plan to review and determine the quality and effectiveness of the training program. This plan should include the metrics to be evaluated (including program activities completed, degree completion (if applicable), publications, fellowships/honors, and subsequent positions) as well as plans to obtain feedback from current and former trainees to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements. Specified evaluation metrics should be tied to the goals of the program.

Trainee Candidates. Describe, in general terms, the size and qualifications of the pool of trainees. For programs that draw students from a larger umbrella program, describe the anticipated number and qualifications of students relative to the JSPTPN and how this is determined. Describe the selection process for admitting students into the program. If the institution has an MSTP program, describe the basis for determining the allocation of appointments between PhD candidates and MD/PhD candidates. Describe the process by which trainees are assigned to specific mentors. Do not name prospective Trainees. Describe specific plans to recruit candidates and explain how these plans will be implemented (see also section on Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity). Describe the nomination and selection process to be used to select candidates who would be offered admission to the program and criteria for trainees’ reappointment to the program.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program.

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program including assurance that sufficient time will be allowed for the PDs/PIs and other Program Faculty to contribute to the proposed program.,  The application must include a signed letter from the PD/PI's Chair, and when appropriate, Dean, that describes the applicant institution’s specific commitments to the planned program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program. This commitment may also include features such as PD/PI salary, stipend or tuition support for individuals involved in the proposed training program, or other commitments essential to a successful training program. Institutions with ongoing research training, student development, or career development programs that receive external funding should explain what distinguishes the proposed program from existing ones at the same trainee level, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, whether trainees are expected to transition from one support program to another, and how the training faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are sufficiently robust to support the proposed program in addition to existing ones.

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

Fostering diversity in the scientific research workforce is a key component of the NIH strategy to identify, develop, support and maintain the quality of our scientific human capital (NOT-OD-15-053).

Every facet of the United States scientific research enterprise—from basic laboratory research to clinical and translational research to policy formation–requires superior intellect, creativity and a wide range of skill sets and viewpoints. NIH’s ability to help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission.

Research shows that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogenous teams. Scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse NIH-supported scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the researchers, advancing the likelihood that underserved or health disparity populations participate in, and benefit from health research, and enhancing public trust.

In spite of tremendous advancements in scientific research, information, educational and research opportunities are not equally available to all. NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as:

A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27) and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.  See NSF data at, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/tab7-5_updated_2014_10.pdf.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:

1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml.

2. Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

The disadvantaged background category (C1 and C2) is applicable only to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates.  Note: this group is generally NOT part of the recruitment plan for predoctoral trainees on institutional training grants (e.g., T32).

New applications must include a description of plans to enhance recruitment, including the strategies that will be used to enhance the recruitment of trainees from underrepresented backgrounds and may wish to include data in support of past accomplishments. Renewal applications must include a detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups during the previous funding period. Information should be included on both successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies.

History and Achievements. Describe efforts to recruit trainees from Diversity groups A and B, as well as group C (when applicable), into the existing training program. For competing continuation/renewal applications, also describe past efforts to recruit underrepresented minority students and individuals with disabilities into training grant funded positions. If required by the FOA, refer to the data presented in Tables 6 and 7, as applicable. 

Use these data to document the success of the program in recruiting trainees who are under-represented and provide information on their support.

Proposed plans. Describe steps to be taken during the proposed award period regarding the identification, recruitment of graduate students from Diversity groups A and B, as well as group C (when applicable). Consider the success and/or failures of recruitment strategies used in the past. In particular, describe the specific efforts to be undertaken by the training program and how these might relate to the recruitment efforts of the medical school, graduate school, and/or the university at large. In most cases, institutional efforts alone will not satisfy the requirement to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups.

Applications without a Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity  will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

All applications must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The plan must address the five, required instructional components outlined in the NIH policy: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the program faculty in the instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction, taking into consideration the duration of the program; and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years. See also NOT-OD-10-019. The plan should be appropriate and reasonable for the nature and duration of the proposed program. Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe any changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans to address any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.

Applications lacking a Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research will not be reviewed.

Appendix

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The National Research Service Award (NRSA) policies apply to this program. An NRSA appointment may not be held concurrently with another Federally sponsored fellowship, traineeship, or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Note, however, that pre-award costs are not allowable charges for stipends or tuition/fees on institutional training grants because these costs may not be charged to the grant until a trainee has actually been appointed and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the NIH awarding component. Any additional costs associated with the decision to allow research elective credit for short-term research training are not allowable charges on an institutional training grant.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Requests of $500,000 or more for direct costs in any year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A) must contact a Scientific/ Research Contact at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Applicants are advised to refer to Agency Contacts for exceptions.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed training program will prepare individuals for successful, productive scientific research careers and thereby exert a sustained influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of the merit of the training program, and give a separate score for each. When applicable, the reviewers will consider relevant questions in the context of proposed short-term training. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Training Program and Environment

  • Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as biomedical scientists?
  • Do the objectives, design and direction of the proposed research program ensure outstanding, broad-based neuroscience training?
  • Is the proposed training program designed to prepare students for successful and productive scientific careers?
  • Do the program, and the individual, experienced mentors involved in the program, have a record of providing the skills, education and publication record necessary for trainees to successfully compete for outstanding postdoctoral positions?
  • Is the training focused on research areas compatible with the missions of the jointly sponsoring NIH institutions?
  • Do the courses and research training experiences promote participation by all students in highly significant, high quality science relevant to the aims of the program?
  • To ensure outstanding, broad based neuroscience training, does the program provide 1) broad training in state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques, 2) adequate training in multiple levels of analysis (e.g. genetic, molecular, systems, etc.) and 3) adequate training in the neurobiology of disease, 4) strong, formal training in experimental design and statistics, including principles that promote scientific rigor?
  • Does the environment include a formal mechanism to provide oversight of mentoring, trainee progress and career guidance for the entire duration of the trainees' graduate career, which is designed to promote the highest possible level of trainee success?
  • Does the program provide appropriate training in career skills such as oral and written presentation, and grant writing?
  • Does the program provide adequate education and/or training in quantitative approaches to research, which may include quantitative problem-solving, an introduction to programming, exercises in quantitative analysis of experimental research, and/or didactic or hands-on activities that enhance student understanding of the value of quantitative approaches to answering scientific questions?
  • Does the graduate program supported by this award encourage trainees to submit individual grant applications, when feasible and appropriate? Are the trainees provided the skills to be successful in their grant applications?
  • Do trainees have appropriate and adequate opportunities to network with senior scientists from outside of the institution?
  • Is there a well thought out evaluation process to determine whether the program is effective, and an approach to making appropriate and timely changes in response to the evaluation?
  • Do trainees have access to appropriate role models, both within the institution and through activities such as invited seminars? Is there evidence, from its practices, that the program devotes appropriate attention to issues of gender and diversity?
  • Are students in the program provided with adequate and appropriate information regarding the wide variety of careers for which their training may be useful? Is there evidence that the program faculty actively encourage students to understand and pursue their career goals and options?
  • Is there evidence, through institutional activities and program faculty involvement, that the training program actively seeks to facilitate the recruitment and success of diverse individuals within the program?
  • Is a significant level of financial and/or non-financial institutional commitment to the program evident?

Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s))

  • Does the PD/PI have the scientific background, expertise, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program?
  • Does the PD/PI plan to commit sufficient effort to ensure the program’s success?
  • Does the Training PD/PI have a strong track record in successfully training and mentoring students?
  • For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:
    • Is a strong justification provided that the multiple PD/PI leadership approach will benefit the training program and the trainees?
    • Is a strong and compelling leadership approach evident, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the aims of the training program and the complementary expertise of the PDs/PIs?

Preceptors/Mentors

  • Are sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors, with appropriate expertise and funding, available to support the number and level of trainees proposed in the application?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records as researchers, including successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed research training program?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records of training pre- and/or postdoctorates?
  • Do the preceptor/mentors have a successful record of training students who go on to outstanding postdoctoral positions?
  • Is there evidence of dedication of all preceptors/mentors to outstanding mentoring of trainees, and to fulfilling the need for trainees to obtain their degree in an appropriate period of time with the credentials required to transition to an outstanding postdoctoral research position?
  • Is there evidence that preceptors/mentors will contribute to the programmatic oversight of student progress and career development?
  • Is there evidence that program faculty and/or program leaders engage in conversations with students about their career goals and career options that make use of their training?
  • Does a significant percentage of the program mentors have research programs that fit within the mission of the jointly sponsoring institutes?
  • Is there an appropriate mixture of junior and established preceptors/mentors, and is there a mechanism by which junior preceptors/mentors will obtain guidance from the program to ensure their successful training and mentoring of trainees

Trainees

  • Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies likely to attract well-qualified candidates for the training program?
  • Is there a competitive predoctoral applicant pool in sufficient numbers to warrant the proposed size of the training program?
  • Does the application present a well-defined and justified process, and set of criteria, for trainee selection?
  • Is there a process to maximize selection of trainees that will contribute to the missions of the jointly sponsoring institutes, without compromising trainee quality?
  •  
  • Do trainees have an adequate opportunity, through programmatic activities, to identify and choose a mentor consistent with their interests and long term goals?
  • Is there a sufficient strategy to monitor the progress of every trainee to ensure the highest possible level of success for each trainee?
  • Does the graduate program supported by this award have an adequate oversight mechanism to ensure appropriate student progress, mentoring and career guidance, throughout the student's graduate career?

Training Record

  • How successful is the program (or for new applications, the neuroscience environment that houses the program) in producing students who obtain a PhD and transition to an excellent position that makes use of their training?
  • How productive are trainees (or for new applications, other past students) in terms of research accomplishments and publications? Do all students who obtain degrees have a publication record appropriate for an outstanding neuroscience training environment?
  • Do trainees who obtain PHD degrees have publication records, with respect to number, journal quality and authorship placement, that would 1) be expected of outstanding neuroscience programs and 2) promote continuation towards successful independent scientific careers?
  • Do appropriate numbers of trainees (or other past students) obtain outstanding further training appointments or excellent opportunities to use their training skills in post-graduate positions?
  • How successful are trainees from the environment supported by the training grant in obtaining fellowships and career development awards?
  • How successful are the trainees from the environment supported by the training grant in achieving productive scientific careers, as evidenced by successful competition for research grants, receipt of honors or awards, high-impact publications, receipt of patents, promotion to scientific leadership positions, and/or other such measures of success?
  • Do virtually all students who obtain degrees do so within an appropriate timeframe?
  • Does the program have a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training?
  • Are effective mechanisms in place for obtaining feedback from current and former trainees and monitoring trainees’ subsequent career development?
  • Does the program have an appropriate training record with regard to gender and diversity?
Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items. 

Protections for Human Subjects

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.  

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Vertebrate Animals

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Biohazards

Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, including on the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)? Is the program achieving its training objectives? Has the program evaluated the quality and effectiveness of the training experience and is there evidence that the evaluation outcomes and feedback from trainees have been acted upon? Are changes proposed that are likely to improve or strengthen the research training experience during the next project period? Does the program continue to evolve and reflect changes in the research area in which the training occurs?

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score. 

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment of individuals from underrepresented groups. The plan will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the consensus of the review committee will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the specific characteristics of the training program, the level of trainee experience, and the particular circumstances of the trainees, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g. lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups, including face-to-face interaction?  (A plan involving only on-line instruction is not acceptable.); 2) Subject Matter – Does the plan include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics? 3) Faculty Participation - Does the plan adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction?  For renewal applications, are all training faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period named in the application?  4) Duration of Instruction - Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least eight contact hours of instruction? 5) Frequency of Instruction – Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least once during each career stage (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels) and at a frequency of no less than once every four years? 

For renewal applications, does the progress report document acceptable RCR instruction in the five components described above? Does the plan describe how participation in RCR instruction is being monitored? Are appropriate changes in the plan for RCR instruction proposed in response to feedback and in response to evolving issues related to responsible conduct of research?

Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including (1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, (2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, (3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and (4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by the NINDS in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelinesto the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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 eRA Commons

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. 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. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Institutional NRSA training grants must be administered in accordance with the current NRSA section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants.

The taxability of stipends is described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Policies regarding the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA payback obligation are explained in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Leave Policies

Note: The leave durations stated below apply to full-time trainees.

In general, trainees 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. Trainees may receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the NIH awarding IC in response to a written request from an AOR. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Trainees may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when individuals in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to this level of paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. The use of parental leave must be approved by the PD/PI (see also: NOT-OD-08-064).

A period of terminal leave is not permitted, and payment may not be made from traineeship funds for leave not taken. Trainees requiring periods of time away from their research training experience longer than specified here, i.e., more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 60 calendar days of parental leave, must seek approval from the NIH awarding component for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance by an AOR on behalf of the trainee. Trainees supported by academic institutions should refer to the NIH Institutional NRSA training grant guidelines in the NIH Grants Policy Statement for further guidance regarding vacations and requested leave. 

Inventions and Copyrights

Awards made primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.

Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Other Reporting Requirements
  • The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each trainee appointed or reappointed to the training grant. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.
  • A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271). Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status must first meet full (non-conditional) Permanent Residency requirements before receiving support.
  • Termination Notice: Within 30 days of the end of the total support period, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-7) via xTrain for each trainee appointed for eight weeks or more. Trainees with service payback requirements must notify the NIH of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS Form 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied.

A final Progress Report, the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report, and Termination Notices for all Trainees, are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Prior consultation with the Chair of the JSPTPN steering committee (see JSPTPN website) is strongly encouraged.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)

Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Applicants should refer to the (Table of Institute and Center Contacts) for each IC’s scientific/research contact for this NRSA T32 program

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9223
Email: nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Applicants should refer to the (JSPTPN website) for the list of NIH grants management contacts for this NRSA T32.

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66.

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