Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov)   
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM/NIH), (http://www.nccam.nih.gov)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR/NIH), (http://www.ncrr.nih.gov)
National Eye Institute (NEI/NIH), (http://www.nei.nih.gov)
National Institute on Aging (NIA/NIH), (http://www.nia.nih.gov)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA/NIH), (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov)
National Institute on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB/NIH), (http://www.nibib.nih.gov)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD/NIH), (http://www.nichd.nih.gov)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD/NIH), (http://www.nidcd.nih.gov)
National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR/NIH), (http://www.nidcr.nih.gov)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH), (http://www.nida.nih.gov)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS/NIH), (http://www.niehs.nih.gov)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS/NIH), (http://www.nigms.nih.gov)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH/NIH), (http://www.nimh.nih.gov)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH), (http://www.ninds.nih.gov)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR/NIH), (http://www.ninr.nih.gov)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), (http://obssr.od.nih.gov)

Title: Training in Computational Neuroscience: From Biology to Model and Back Again (T90)

Announcement Type
New

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Request For Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-DA-06-010  

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.213, 93.389, 93.867, 93.866, 93.273, 93.286, 93.865, 93.173, 93.121, 93.279, 93.894, 93.859, 93.242, 93.853, 93.361

Key Dates
Release Date: December 16, 2005
Letters of Intent Receipt Date:  February 13, 2006
Application Receipt Dates: March 13, 2006
Peer Review Date(s): June/July 2006
Council Review Date(s): September 2006
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 2006
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Url Activation Date): N/A
Expiration Date: March 14, 2006  

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
  1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
  1. Mechanism(s) of Support
  2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
  1. Eligible Applicants
    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
  2.Cost Sharing or Matching
  3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
  1. Address to Request Application Information
  2. Content and Form of Application Submission
  3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Receipt and Review and Anticipated Start Dates
      1. Letter of Intent
    B. Sending an Application to the NIH
    C. Application Processing
  4. Intergovernmental Review
  5. Funding Restrictions
  6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
  1. Criteria
  2. Review and Selection Process
    A. Additional Review Criteria
    B. Additional Review Considerations
    C. Sharing Research Data
    D. Sharing Research Resources
  3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
  1. Award Notices
  2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
  3. Reporting

Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
  1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
  2. Peer Review Contact(s)
  3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

1. Objectives

Background

The Neuroscience Blueprint (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/) is a collaboration among 16 NIH institutes and centers (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/blueprint_basics/member_institutes.htm) that was established to create and support cooperative activities with broad impact in neuroscience. Scientific programs implemented under the Blueprint are intended to accomplish goals that strengthen the neuroscience enterprise and make it more effective, and that also benefit many or all of the individual disciplines within neuroscience. These goals include pooling of resources and expertise, establishing economies of scale, addressing large and complex challenges within neuroscience, and developing tools and infrastructure to serve the entire neuroscience community.

An exciting and difficult challenge in neuroscience is to understand how complex biological systems work, and particularly to understand the computational principles and mechanisms underlying brain function in both normal and diseased states. Another challenge lies in interpreting the massive amount and extremely complex experimental data obtained by today’s advanced neuroscience research, which traditional analytical approaches are not sophisticated enough to handle. Computational neuroscience provides a theoretical foundation and set of technological approaches to meet these challenges and offers significant opportunities to investigate nervous system function across a range of scales: parts of cells, networks, whole brain function, and behavior. Over the past several years, two major obstacles have been identified to the training of computational neuroscientists. The first impediment is that individuals trained in the biological and behavioral sciences often do not have adequate background in the quantitative sciences. This education needs to begin as early as possible, ideally at the undergraduate level, and continue through graduate and postdoctoral levels to ensure a good foundation in quantitative science, and the ability to adopt new computational theory and methodology as they emerge. Second, students with undergraduate degrees in the quantitative sciences often have little exposure to the exciting questions and experimental methods in the neurosciences to which their training would be highly relevant. A research education and research training program that begins early and exposes students to a wide range of neuroscience questions, methods, and experimental systems would help to overcome this second obstacle.

Program Objectives

The goals of NIH supported research training and research education programs are to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate scientific areas to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.

The purpose of this RFA is to establish new research education and research training programs in computational neuroscience for undergraduate and (optionally) predoctoral level students.  In addition, applicants may propose to develop a short course or summer courses that could be open to scientists at any stage of the career continuum, from the grantee institution as well as other institutions. It is intended that programs will provide research education and research training in both experimental neuroscience and in the theories and principles of the physical, computer, mathematical, or engineering sciences that are necessary to develop models, test them experimentally, and use experimental data to refine the models of normal or disordered neural systems or processes. Programs are further expected to stimulate interactions among training faculty from multiple disciplines and departments and to foster development of an integrated curriculum in computational neuroscience at the applicant institution.

Applications will be accepted either for programs that propose only the undergraduate research training component, or for programs that combine the undergraduate component with a short-term research education component and/or a predoctoral research training program. Applicants will submit a single unified grant application and if selected for funding, two separate awards may be issued. One will support a research education program (undergraduate research training, short courses, and non-NRSA eligible predoctoral students) as an R90 award, and the other will support a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award institutional predoctoral training program as a T90 award, based on distinct research and research training related funding authorities. 

Research Education Program (R90)

The Research Education Program should include novel methods and approaches for providing integrated and flexible undergraduate research training and research education opportunities that are broad enough in scope to educate and train those interested in careers in computational neuroscience.

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90) [required]

Training in computational neuroscience at the undergraduate level is optimal for establishing a “pipeline” of computational neuroscientists by attracting students in the quantitative sciences to apply these disciplines to neuroscience research questions early in their careers, and conversely, for undergraduates in the biological or behavioral sciences to acquire sufficient education in the quantitative sciences to pursue research using computational neuroscience methods. These programs would allow institutions, including four-year colleges without graduate programs, to establish extramurally-funded research training programs in computational neuroscience. A typical program would have six upper-level undergraduates supported as full-time trainees for a two-year program.

Short-term Research Education Component (R90) [optional]

A short-term research education component, if proposed, would develop and implement a summer/short course, workshop or other educational program in computational neuroscience and/or in the application of computational algorithms to experimental neuroscience. Such programs could be offered to a broad audience (undergraduate and predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty), with enrollment not limited to the grantee institution, or they could target undergraduate students from multiple institutions, or have a regional focus by enrolling students and faculty from non-research intensive, local-area institutions. Short-term educational programs should be designed to maximize the exposure of participants with backgrounds in neuroscience to computational principles, and/or the exposure of participants with backgrounds in the physical, mathematical, computational and engineering sciences to neuroscience research questions and methodology.

Predoctoral Research Training Program (T90/R90) [optional]

If proposed, the predoctoral research training component must include an institutional predoctoral program for full-time research training to support graduate students enrolled in a relevant doctoral degree program. The predoctoral research training component must include NRSA eligible trainees and may also include non-NRSA eligible predoctoral students (see Section III for eligibility). In years 1 and 2 of the predoctoral research training component, a maximum of one non-NRSA eligible predoctoral student may be appointed to the training program. In years 3 through 5, a maximum of two non-NRSA-eligible predoctoral students may be appointed.

Trainees must have the opportunity to carry out supervised research training in computational neuroscience. The primary objective of this program must be to develop the students’ research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career in computational neuroscience. Trainees must commit full-time effort, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies, to the program and its related research activities.

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This funding opportunity will use the T90 mechanism that includes linked research education and research training programs. Applicants will submit a single unified grant application and if selected for funding, two separate awards will be issued, an R90-Research education award and a T90-Research training award, based on distinct research education and research training-related funding authorities. 

As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This funding opportunity uses the just-in-time concepts. It also used the non-modular budget format described in the PHS 398 application instructions. (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html)  For this combined program, two separate detailed categorical budgets for the “Initial Budget Period” and three separate budgets for the “Entire Proposed Period of Support” may be required to be submitted with the application, dependent upon the composition of the requested funds.  Budgets are to be included for the:  Research Education Component which must include undergraduate training, the Predoctoral NRSA Research Training Component (if included), and a Summary Budget for all requested direct costs.

2. Funds Available  

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research education and research training program will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the IC(s) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Continuation of this pilot program beyond the initial five year period will be contingent upon the availability of funds and the Neuroscience Blueprint priorities.

Allowable Costs

Allowable costs must be consistent with NIH policy and be reasonable, allocable, well documented and fully justified for the program proposed in the application. Grant funds may not be used to supplant funds otherwise available at the applicant institution.

Allowable costs differ for the different components of programs submitted in response to this RFA. Therefore overall costs and budget categories will differ depending on which optional program components are requested.

RESEARCH EDUCATION PROGRAM (R90)

1.  Personnel

Individuals participating in the design and implementation of the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the percent of effort devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. (If mentoring interactions and other activities with students are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then mentoring and other activities with students are non-reimbursable from grant funds). Limited administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when specifically identified, reasonable and justified. All personnel costs (including the Program Director, faculty leadership team and administrative and clerical costs) associated with directing, coordinating, and administering the program should not exceed 10% of the total direct cost of the overall program budget.

2.  Other Program-Related Expenses

Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel, and other program-related expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed research education program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.

3.  Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

F&A costs for the applicant organization and consortium participants will be reimbursed at 8 percent of modified total direct costs, or at the actual F&A cost rate, whichever is less.

Allowable Costs for Specific Components of the Research Education Program

A.  Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

1.  Undergraduate Student Support Costs

Compensation to help defray expenses during the research training experience will be awarded to each full-time upper level (junior or senior) undergraduate participant. Each student may receive compensation, comparable to their experience, not exceeding $11,000 per year.  In addition, up to $1,500 per year may be requested for each undergraduate student trainee for research-related expenses, including up to $750 for travel to seminars, workshops, etc. directly related to the computational neuroscience program.

B.  Short-term Research Education Component (R90)

1. Short-term and Summer Course Costs

Up to $50,000 may be requested in year 1 for development of the course(s) and up to $150,000 for implementation thereafter, including funds to defray the cost of attendance and enrollment of course participants from outside the grantee institution (see next item) and for years 2-5, planned dissemination costs. It is expected that the grantee organization will contribute in-kind costs associated with these programs, such as classroom or laboratory space; the applicant must identify and describe planned contributions in the application; the application should include a letter from the grantee institutional official confirming availability of such resources.

2.  Participant Support Costs

Because this is an educational program, non-US citizens may participate in this program. However, unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to the objectives of this Program, the research education program component should be used primarily for the education of US citizens. Participants in the short-term education program may receive a subsistence allowance, including partial costs of meals and lodging unless such costs are furnished as part of the registration fee. Participants may also receive funds to defray partial tuition, other education-related, and travel expenses. Expenses for foreign travel must be exceptionally well justified. Funds will not be provided for fringe benefits or health insurance for participants in any research education program. Individuals supported by NIH training and career development mechanisms (K, T, or F awards) may receive, and indeed are encouraged to receive, educational experiences supported by the program, as participants, but may not receive salary or stipend supplementation from this program.

Predoctoral Research Training Program

A.  NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90)

All regulations and policies governing NRSA awards must be followed.  Detailed information regarding NRSA policies and procedures can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The NRSA component will support research training experiences for up to two full-time predoctoral trainees in years 1 and 2 of the program and up to four trainees in years 3-5. Only predoctoral NRSA positions may be requested and supported as part of this component (see Section III Eligibility). Trainees will be selected by the Program Director normally for 12-month appointment periods, with support for additional years based on satisfactory progress and the continued availability of funds.

Allowable costs for each predoctoral trainee for a 12-month appointment period include:

1. Stipend:  A stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance to help trainees defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal Government or the awardee institution. Stipends must be paid to all trainees at the levels approved by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH will provide a stipend for each predoctoral trainee position selected for the predoctoral research training component according to the appropriate fiscal year predoctoral NRSA stipend schedule. Stipend levels are adjusted periodically. The current NRSA stipend schedule can be found on the NIH Web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm. The total stipend must be based on a 12-month appointment. No departure from the established stipend schedule may be negotiated by the institution with the trainee. The grantee institution is allowed to provide funds to an individual in addition to the stipends paid. Such funds may be provided either in the form of stipend supplementation from non-federal funds, or in the form of compensation such as salary or tuition remission for services provided by the trainee such as teaching or serving as a laboratory assistant. Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainee's approved NRSA training program. 

Stipend Supplementation: Supplementation or additional support to offset the cost of living may be provided by the grantee institution. Supplementation does not require additional effort from the trainee. 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 trainee in the form of compensation (as salary and/or tuition remission) for services performed outside of the responsibilities of the full-time NRSA-supported training such as teaching or serving as a research assistant. A trainee may receive compensation for services as a research assistant or in some other position on a Federal research grant, including a DHHS research grant.  However, compensated services should occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal full-time research training activities. In addition, compensation may not be paid from a research grant that supports the same research that is part of the trainee’s planned training experience as approved in the institutional training grant application.

A full description of the NIH policy regarding NRSA supplementation and compensation can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.

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.

2.  Tuition, Fees, and Health Insurance:  The NIH will offset the combined costs of tuition, fees and health insurance (either self-only or family as appropriate) at the rate in place at the time of the award.  The rate currently in place provides 100% of all costs up to $3,000 and 60% of costs in excess of $3,000 per trainee.  Costs associated with this category are allowable only if they are required for specific courses as part of the approved research training program and are applied consistently to all persons in a similar research training status at the institution regardless of the source of support.  A full description of the NIH tuition policy is in the NIH Grants Policy Statement and at the NIH website: http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsaguidelines/nrsa_toc.htm.

3. 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.  This RFA will allow up to $750 annually for travel for each predoctoral trainee.

4. Training-Related Expenses

Institutional costs of $2,200 a year per predoctoral trainee may be requested to help defray the costs of other research training related expenses, such as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and travel expenses for the training faculty. Under exceptional circumstances, which can include providing accommodations for a trainee with disabilities, it is possible to request institutional costs above the standard rate. Requests for additional trainee costs must be explained in detail and carefully justified in the application. Training related expenses may be adjusted in future fiscal years.

5. Facilities and administrative costs

A facilities and administrative allowance (indirect cost allowance) based on 8 percent of total allowable direct costs (this excludes amounts for tuition, fees, health insurance, and equipment) may be requested. See NRSA Policy Guidelines on the NIH Web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm

B.  Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

This component will support research training experiences for up to one full-time non-NRSA predoctoral trainee in years 1 and 2 of the program, and up to two trainees in years 3-5. See Section III Eligibility to determine eligible predoctoral trainees who may be included in this component

Allowable costs for this component should follow the NIH policy on graduate student compensation. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-017.html for further guidance about compensation of graduate students on research grants. The amount provided for compensation includes salary or wages, fringe benefits, and tuition remission. Additionally, trainee-related expenses (up to $2,200) and travel to relevant scientific meetings and workshops (up to $750) may be requested annually for each non-NRSA trainee. Enter the amounts on the R90 budget pages of the application.

Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, see NOT-OD-05-004; however, for this RFA, F&A costs are limited to 8% of total modified direct costs (exclusive of amounts for tuition and fees, health insurance, and expenditures for equipment) for the applicant institution and for any participating institution/organization.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit (an) application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

A single institution may lack strengths in all areas needed to mount an integrated research training and research education program. This funding opportunity allows the participation of multiple sites. When other sites are involved, the applicant institution must be the primary site, and the application must include a “resource format page” for each site as described in the PHS 398 application.

An eligible institution (e.g. a university) may submit only a single application in response to this funding opportunity. For the purposes of this RFA, components of a large or multi-component organization that are sufficiently independent to constitute, in effect, separate organizations are considered separate institutions. For example, the multiple campuses of the University of California system are considered separate institutions. However, the medical school, engineering school, or dental school, etc., of a university, even if on different campuses, constitute a single institution. Multiple applications from different divisions, faculties, schools, centers, etc. at the same institution will not be reviewed.

Applicant institutions with a currently active federally funded research training grant (e.g., an NIH T32 or T90, or an NSF IGERT award) in computational neuroscience or one that includes a significant computational neuroscience component, or with an active research education grant (e.g., R25) that supports a short course or workshop in this area, are eligible to apply in response to this funding opportunity only if the new application significantly and substantively expands upon the current program(s). For example, applicant institutions with an existing predoctoral training program in this area would be eligible to apply for the undergraduate research training and short-term research education components of this funding opportunity, but not the predoctoral research training component. Similarly, applicant institutions with an active R25 research education grant would be eligible to apply for the undergraduate and predoctoral research training components. In the application, applicants should address any real or apparent overlap with existing sources of support for research training or research education in the area of computational neuroscience.  

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research education and training is invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH programs.

Program Director

The Program Director will be responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed research education and training program and the submission of all required forms. This individual should be an established researcher with acknowledged accomplishments in computational neuroscience or a related area, and in neuroscience training, and should be capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The Program Director will be responsible for the selection of participants in the research education program component, for the selection and appointment of trainees to the institutional training program component, and for the submission of all required forms.

A faculty leadership team may facilitate the development of the proposed program and help increase involvement of faculty with diverse expertise in this effort. The members of the faculty leadership team are together likely to provide the breadth of expertise and leadership needed to develop and implement the proposed training and education programs. For example, the leadership team might consist of a basic neuroscientist, a physical or chemical scientist, and a computer scientist who each contribute their respective expertise to the proposed interdisciplinary program. Each member of the faculty leadership team must be willing to commit a minimum of 5% of their full-time professional effort to the development and implementation of the program for the entire period of the award. Personnel costs for the faculty leadership team, including the Program Director, are limited to 10% of the total direct costs of the overall program budget.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

The most current Grants Policy Statement can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#matching_or_cost_sharing.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Applications must follow the supplementary instructions provided in Section IV.6.

Responsiveness Criteria

The intent of this funding opportunity is to foster the development of new, creative research training programs in computational neuroscience for undergraduate and (optionally) predoctoral students. In addition, through the support of short courses, this funding opportunity is intended to enhance research education in computational neuroscience across the career continuum.     

An applicant institution may submit only one application in response to this funding opportunity. Multiple applications from different divisions, faculties, schools, centers, etc. at the same institution will not be reviewed.

To be considered responsive to this RFA, applications from institutions with currently active training program (e.g., T32 or T90) or research education program (e.g. R25) in computational neuroscience, or with a significant computational neuroscience component, must significantly and substantially expand upon the existing program at the home institution, for example by adding an undergraduate component, and must address any real or apparent overlap with existing programs.

Because this funding opportunity only supports undergraduate and predoctoral students as trainees, applications requesting support for postdoctoral trainees in the training program component will be deemed unresponsive and will not be reviewed. Postdoctoral fellows are, however, eligible for summer or short-courses as part of the R90 award, if proposed.

Applications lacking a dissemination plan, an evaluation and tracking plan, plans for an external advisory committee, or a description of institutional commitment to the program will not be reviewed.

Research Education Program

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

Any full-time upper level (junior or senior) undergraduate student enrolled at the grantee institution is eligible to be appointed as a trainee in this component. The objective of this component is for students to become educated in both the neurobiological/behavioral sciences, and in one or more of the quantitative sciences, to prepare them for careers in computational neuroscience research. In addition, it is essential that students appointed as trainees in this component gain hands-on experience with both neuroscience and computational methodology; thus students appointed to this component must have the opportunity to carry out supervised research in computational neuroscience. Trainees must be able to commit full-time effort, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies, to the program and its related research activities, which can include coursework necessary to complete their major. A maximum of two-year appointments for undergraduate students in their junior and senior years will be allowed. Students may be appointed as trainees during the summer before their junior year or during the summer after their senior year.   

Short-term Research Education Component (R90)

Individuals at all stages of the career continuum (undergraduate student, medical/graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, medical resident, and/or independent scientist) may participate in the research education component of the integrated program. Because this is an educational program, non-US citizens may also participate in this program. However, unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to the objectives of the Program, the research education program component should be used primarily for the education of US citizens. Such justification would, for example, apply to the non-NRSA trainees appointed to the institution’s predoctoral research training program component.

Predoctoral Research Training Program

Trainees appointed to the predoctoral training program must have the opportunity to carry out supervised research in computational neuroscience. The primary objective should be to develop students’ research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career in computational neuroscience. Trainees must be able to commit full-time effort to the program and its related research activities.

This funding opportunity will permit the appointment of both NRSA-eligible and non-NRSA-eligible predoctoral trainees. However, due to funding authority limitations, non-NRSA trainees are included as part of the Research Education component, not subject to the NRSA policies.  In years 1 and 2 of the institutional training program, a maximum of one non-NRSA eligible individual may be appointed to the training program. In years 3 through 5, a maximum of two non-NRSA eligible individuals may be appointed.

Trainees are appointed for full-time, 12-month continuous periods. No trainee may be appointed for less than nine months during the initial period of appointment except with prior approval of the NIH program staff. All trainees are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.

NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90)

At the time of appointment to the training program, individuals selected to participate in the training program must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence and have in their possession an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551) or other legal verification of admission for permanent residence. Non-citizen nationals are persons born in lands that are not States but are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration (e.g., American Samoa). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for NRSA support. In addition, trainees must be able to commit full-time effort in the program at the time of appointment.

Predoctoral trainees must have received a baccalaureate degree by the beginning date of their NRSA appointment, and must be training at a post-baccalaureate level and enrolled in a program leading to a Ph.D. in a research doctoral degree program, or a combined clinical degree program, such as M.D./Ph.D. NRSA traineeships are not provided for study leading to a M.D., D.O., D.D.S., or other similar professional clinical degree, or master's degree.  Individuals currently supported by other Federal funds are not eligible for concurrent trainee support from this program.

An individual trainee may receive no more than five years of NRSA support in the aggregate at the predoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants and individual fellowship awards. Exceptions to this limitation require a waiver from the director of the funding Institute based on a review of the justification provided by the awardee, and must be submitted for prior written approval.

Additional information may be obtained in the NRSA Guidelines at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600187.

Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

Individuals selected as non-NRSA predoctoral trainees in this component should satisfy all of the conditions for NRSA trainees, except for those pertaining to citizenship.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the most current PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. Applications must have a D&B Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/. The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

Applications that include an NRSA predoctoral research training component must use the Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA guidelines and the specific instructions for Institutional NRSA Applications, PHS 398, Section IV, which begins on page 55, for that component. Instructions on how to include a non-NRSA predoctoral research training component within the overall application are provided in Section IV.6 of this announcement. Applications that include only R90 components (undergraduate research training and short-term research education) should use the NRSA instructions as a guide to the format of the application, even though these components are not authorized under the NRSA.  More detailed instructions about integrating all components of the application are provided in Section IV.6 of this announcement.  

See Section VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements for additional information.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

3. Submission Dates and Times
Applications must be received on or before the receipt date described below (Section IV.3.A). Submission times N/A.

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 13, 2006
Application Receipt Date(s): March 13, 2006
Peer Review Date: June/July 2006
Council Review Date: September 2006
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 2006

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

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.

The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of this document.

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Director
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH/DHHS
6101 Executive Boulevard, Suite 220, MSC 8401
Bethesda, MD  20892-8401
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538
Email: tlevitin@mail.nih.gov

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and instructions for preparing an NRSA research training grant application (as applicable), with modifications as described in Section IV.6. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

Personal deliveries of applications are no longer permitted (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-040.html).

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Director – DA-06-010
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH/DHHS
6101 Executive Boulevard, Suite 220, MSC 8401
Bethesda, MD  20892-8401
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538
Email: tlevitin@mail.nih.gov

Using the RFA Label: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application instructions must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application. Type the RFA number on the label. Failure to use this label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee in time for review. In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked. The RFA label is also available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be received on or before the application receipt date(s) described above (Section IV.3.A.). If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the CSR and responsiveness by the Blueprint Computational Neuroscience Training Project Team.  Incomplete and non-responsive applications will not be reviewed.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this funding opportunity that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to a funding opportunity, it is to be prepared as a NEW application. That is, the application for the funding opportunity must not include an Introduction describing the changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.

4. Intergovernmental Review
 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 Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

Applicant institutions with a currently active federally funded research training grant (e.g., an NIH T32 or T90, or an NSF IGERT award) in computational neuroscience or one that includes a significant computational neuroscience component, or with an active research education grant (e.g., R25) that supports a short course or workshop in this area, are eligible to apply in response to this funding opportunity only if the new application significantly and substantively expands upon the current program(s). For example, applicant institutions with an existing predoctoral program in this area would be eligible to apply for the undergraduate research training and short-term research education components of this funding opportunity, but not the predoctoral research training component. Similarly, applicant institutions with an active R25 grant would be eligible to apply for the undergraduate and predoctoral research training components. Applicants should address any real or apparent overlap with existing sources of support for research training or research education in the area of computational neuroscience.  

Research Education Program
Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

Short-term Research Education Component (R90)

Pre-Award costs are allowable for the research education program components.

A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.

Predoctoral Research Training Program

Pre-Award costs are not allowable.

NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90)

The policies of the National Research Service Award (NRSA) apply to this component of the integrated program. Awards are contingent upon availability of funds.  Furthermore, the duration of the award and the number of awarded training positions may be less than the levels recommended by the peer review group, based on programmatic and budgetary considerations. Funds for continuation support beyond the initial year are determined by the success of the integrated training program as described in the annual progress report, the timely submission of required forms, and the availability of funds.

Concurrent Awards

An NRSA may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.

Taxability of Stipends

Internal Revenue Code Section 117 applies to the tax treatment of all scholarships and fellowships. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Public Law 99-514, impacts on the tax liability of all individuals supported under the NRSA program. Under that section, non-degree candidates are now required to report as gross income all stipends and any monies paid on their behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization.

The IRS and Treasury Department released regulations in January 2005 (Revenue Procedure 2005-11) clarifying the student exception to the FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes for students employed by a school, college, or university where the student is pursuing a course of study. Our understanding is that these final regulations do not apply to or impact Kirschstein-NRSA programs or awards. An NRSA stipend is provided by the NIH as a subsistence allowance for Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and trainees to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. NRSA recipients are not considered employees of the Federal government or the grantee institution for purposes of the award. We must note that NIH takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, nor does it have the authority to dispense tax advice. The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the tax laws to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.

Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

This component will support research training experiences for up to one full-time non-NRSA predoctoral trainee in years 1 and 2 of the program, and up to two trainees in years 3-5. Non-NRSA predoctoral students may be compensated following the NIH policy on graduate student compensation. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-017.html for further guidance about compensation of graduate students on research grants.

6. Other Submission Requirements

The following information should be provided IN ADDITION to that specified in the PHS398 instructions.

Submission Requirements Applicable to All Components Proposed in the Application

All applications must include an undergraduate research training component.  If other components are also being proposed, then the application must describe how the various components will complement one another.

Applications that include an NRSA predoctoral research training component must use the Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA guidelines and the specific instructions for Institutional NRSA Applications, PHS 398, Section IV, which begin on page 55. Instructions on how to include a non-NRSA predoctoral research training component are provided below under “Submission Requirements for Specific Components of the Application.” Applications that include only R90 components (undergraduate research training and short-term research education) should use the NRSA instructions as a general guide to the format of the application, along with the instructions for specific components below.

In section A (Background) of the Research Training Program Plan, the first paragraph should describe which components of this funding opportunity are included in the application.

Form Pages

Form Page 2  The first sentence of the Description should list which components of this funding opportunity are included in the application. The remainder of this form page should follow the instructions for Kirschstein-NRSA applications.

Form Page 3  Use the Kirschstein-NRSA Substitute Table of Contents, modified as needed for the application (e.g., to include a section in the program plan for a short-term research education component).

Form Page 4  If an NRSA predoctoral research training program is proposed, then two budget pages must be submitted for year 1, the standard PHS398 Detailed Budget Page for First Year and the NRSA Substitute Form Page 4. Complete the NRSA substitute form page 4 for the NRSA-eligible trainees as instructed in the PHS 398 instructions for NRSA institutional training grant applications. Use the standard PHS Detailed Budget Page for First Year for: 1) program director salary and fringe benefits and staff salaries to coordinate and lead the research training and research education programs (together not to exceed 10% of total direct costs); 2) all categories of requested funds for participants in the undergraduate research training component; 3) all categories of requested funds for the non-NRSA eligible predoctoral students; and 4) all categories of requested funds for the short-term research education component of the program.

Form Page 5  If an NRSA predoctoral research training program is proposed, then three budget pages must be submitted for the entire proposed period of support: 1) a standard PHS398 Form Page 5 for any of the items 1-4 listed above for Form Page 4; 2) an NRSA Substitute Form Page 5 for the NRSA component; and 3) a standard PHS398 Form Page 5 showing the overall budget for the proposed program, with the totals from the NRSA Substitute Form Page 5 entered under “Other Expenses.”

Research Environment/Resources

The applicant institution must have strong, high-quality educational and research programs in neuroscience and the quantitative sciences, commensurate with the level of training to be undertaken (i.e. undergraduate only or undergraduate and predoctoral) and must have the requisite staff and facilities to carry out the proposed program.

Multi-Site Collaborative/Consortium Arrangements

A single institution may lack strengths in all areas needed to mount an integrated training and research education program. This funding opportunity allows the participation of multiple sites, however, the applicant institution must be the primary site for the T90 program. All collaborative/consortium arrangements must be clearly described and agreements included in the application. A resource format page (PHS 398) must be included in the application for each site. Each site must clearly distinguish the benefits that contribute to the program that are not available at the applicant institution/organization as well as any contributing in-kind costs that may be provided to the program consistent with the collaborative involvement. 

Program Director

The Program Director must possess the scientific background, leadership and administrative capabilities required to coordinate, supervise, and direct the proposed program. The Program Director will be responsible for the overall direction, development, implementation, management, and administration of the program, for the selection and appointment of trainees to the approved research training programs, and for the selection of participants in the short-term research education program, if one is proposed. The Program Director must provide potential trainees information associated with NRSA programs and submit all required forms in a timely manner.

Research Training Record:

The Program Director and proposed preceptors, as a training faculty, should be able to demonstrate success in research training as determined by the success of former trainees in seeking further career development and in establishing productive scientific careers. Because this funding opportunity requires an undergraduate research training component, success in the research training of undergraduate students should be emphasized. Past training success may be documented by providing evidence of further career advancement of former trainees such as receipt of fellowships, career awards, further training appointments, and similar accomplishments, and/or evidence of a productive scientific career such as success in competing for research grants, receipt of special honors or awards, a record of publications and presentations, receipt of patents, promotion to scientific positions, or other accepted measures of advancement in a scientific career.

Research Training/Education Program

The program should provide didactic training as well as laboratory experience, including plans for determining the educational experience and needs of trainees and for monitoring their progress to accomplish the desired goals of the program. The program should develop the trainees’ skills in understanding research and applying their critical abilities to identify problems, raise questions and propose solutions for resolving problems. Trainees should be prepared to take the information gleaned from the project to pursue future research or research education. For undergraduate students, the program should provide instruction and guidance in pursuing research careers in computational neuroscience.  For predoctoral students, the program should provide instruction and guidance in the process of applying for future support for training and research.

Institutional Commitment

The applicant institution should document its commitment to the proposed research training and research education programs goals, and provide assurance that the institution intends the program to be an integral part of its research, education, and research training endeavor. The application should include a description of support (financial or otherwise) to be provided to the program, e.g., space, shared laboratory facilities and equipment, funds for curriculum development, release time for the Program Director and participating faculty, support for additional trainees in the program, or any other creative ways to improve and enhance the growth of the integrated program. The applicant institution should also document a commitment to and plans for the continuation of the program at the end of the project period by, for example, assuming responsibility for continued updating of the curriculum, supporting of trainees, and continued evaluation of the training program after the end of the project period.

Evaluation and Tracking

The application must describe a strong evaluation and tracking plan for all program components for which funding is being requested. The evaluation plan should include the review of the effectiveness of all aspects of the program (including any curriculum development, training faculty, Program Directors). Program Directors are encouraged to develop plans to obtain feedback from trainees to help identify weaknesses in the program and to provide suggestions for program improvements. Research education programs involve experiments in education that require an evaluation plan in order to determine the degree of success or failure. Benchmarks should be specified, and specific plans and procedures must be described to capture, analyze and report outcome measures that would determine the success of the research education program in achieving its objectives and those of the program. The application should provide a prospective evaluation plan for process and outcome measures. Outcome measures may include relevant positions obtained, current activities related to research, publication record, and the success rate of applying for and obtaining Federal and non-Federal research grant support. This plan must include a system for tracking trainees and participants for a 5-year period following program completion to determine success or failure of the program. The follow-up tracking would include information on publications, grant applications and awards, and career trajectory of trainees who were supported by the program.  

An evaluation and tracking report must be included as part of the Annual Progress Report and as part of the Final Progress Report.

External Advisory Committee

An external advisory committee is required. It will be useful as the research education and research training program is developed, implemented, and refined during the project period and will have a reporting function. Applicants should describe the expertise of persons who will be recruited for the External Advisory Committee and give details about when it will meet and the content of meetings, but should not name its anticipated members. 

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Applications must include a description of programs designed to provide formal and informal instruction in scientific integrity or the responsible conduct of research relevant to all components of the program. Applications without plans for instruction in the responsible conduct of research for each component will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.

Although the NIH does not establish specific curricula or formal requirements, all programs are encouraged to consider instruction in the following areas: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, data management, data sharing, and policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects. Within the context of training in scientific integrity, it is also beneficial to discuss the relationship and the specific responsibilities of the institution and the undergraduate or predoctoral trainees appointed to the program. Plans must address the subject matter of the instruction, the format of the instruction, the degree of training faculty participation, trainee attendance, and the frequency of instruction. The rationale for the proposed plan of instruction must be provided.

Program reports on the type of instruction provided, topics covered, and other relevant information, such as attendance by trainees and faculty participation, must be included in progress reports. The NIH encourages institutions to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research to all undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctorates and research staff regardless of their source of support.

Please see http://www.nih.gov/sigs/bioethics/researchethics.html for additional guidance.

Submission Requirements for Specific Components of the Application
Research Education Program

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

The major goal of this funding opportunity is to foster the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary undergraduate training program in computational neuroscience that trains students from multiple disciplines (e.g. physical, chemical, and computer sciences, engineering, neuroscience, psychology) together in an integrated program. Trainees are expected to participate in a formal, integrated, multi-year curriculum that combines basic neurobiology with the principles, theories, and applications of the relevant physical, quantitative and/or computational sciences.

The program should provide didactic training, research experience and programmatic activities. The program should describe a plan for determining the experience and needs of each trainee and how progress will be monitored to accomplish the stated training goals. The program should develop skills in understanding research, applying critical abilities to the conduct of research, identifying and proposing solutions for resolving problems in the process of conducting research, and identifying new research questions. By the end of the undergraduate program, trainees should be prepared to pursue a graduate degree in computational neuroscience or a related area.

Undergraduate Trainees:  Undergraduate trainees are expected to be drawn from multiple traditional majors, such as biology, psychology, physics, chemistry, engineering, and computer science and provided with cross-disciplinary training outside their major. The application should include an estimate of the number and qualifications of undergraduate students from each possible major who might participate in the training program.  These students need to be in their junior and senior years of undergraduate study.

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 NIDA.  A maximum of two-year appointments for undergraduate students in their junior and senior years will be allowed. All trainees may be compensated, comparable to their experience, not exceeding the NRSA undergraduate stipend level, in accordance with institutional policies.

Curriculum:  The program could, but would not be required to, create a new, interdisciplinary major; however, the program should provide mechanisms, such as integrative courses in computational neuroscience, capstone courses, and senior research projects.

In addition to didactics, the undergraduate training program is expected to include:

Preceptors:  Trainees conducting research projects must be supervised by appropriate faculty mentors. Formal co-mentoring by individuals with complementary expertise may be appropriate. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of computational neuroscience, preceptors in the training program are likely to span the breadth of departments and disciplines that contribute to computational neuroscience. Preceptors should be active investigators in an appropriate research area.

Recruitment plan: Applicants must describe how they will recruit students from across the institution to the program. The application should describe any recruitment and outreach plan to increase the depth and diversity of the applicant pool, including those underrepresented in the current scientific research workforce in computational neuroscience.  

Short-term Research Education Component (R90)

The short-term research education program should be designed to take advantage of the strengths in computational neuroscience at the applicant institution and may include faculty from other institutions. However, this program should be designed so that it is also available to persons not enrolled in or employed by the applicant institution. While the proposed research education program may complement other, ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support.

Short programs may be designed to draw participants from across the career continuum, but they could be more narrowly focused, for example for undergraduate students and faculty from non-research intensive institutions. Programs should be designed to maximize the exposure of participants with backgrounds in neuroscience to computational principles, and/or the exposure of participants with backgrounds in the physical, mathematical, computational or engineering sciences to neuroscience research questions and methodology.

The duration of short-term research education programs may range from two weeks to a full summer and must be appropriately justified.  

Recruitment Plan:  Applicants must describe a recruitment plan that includes a scheme for recruiting participants for the short courses from both outside and inside their sponsoring institutions, as appropriate for the focus of the course proposed. The application should describe any recruitment and outreach plan to increase the depth and diversity of the applicant pool, including those underrepresented in the current scientific research workforce in computational neuroscience.

Dissemination Plan: A specific plan must be provided to disseminate nationally any materials developed under the auspices of the research education program, e.g., Web postings, presentations at scientific meetings, workshops, etc.

Evaluation and Tracking Plan:  If a short-term research education component is being proposed, then the program evaluation and tracking plan should include measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the course.

Predoctoral Research Training Program
NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90)

Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

A major goal of this funding opportunity is to foster the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary research training program in computational neuroscience that trains students from multiple disciplines (e.g. physical, chemical, and computer sciences, engineering, neuroscience, psychology) in an integrated program. Trainees are expected to participate in a formal, integrated, multi-year curriculum that combines basic neurobiology with the principles, theories, and applications of the physical, quantitative and/or computational sciences. The first two years of the training program may provide broad training that integrates education and research experiences in techniques and applications of different computational approaches and in neurobiology from the cellular to cognitive/behavioral levels. The next two years of the program could focus on a more specific area that is a self-identified strength of the applicant institution, e.g. theoretical approaches to nervous system function, modeling of physical processes in the nervous system at the cellular level, computational approaches to understanding neural development, or computational approaches to cognition. The product of the predoctoral research training program would be computational neuroscientists who are adept at modeling with various approaches, who are competent in one or more experimental approaches to studying the nervous system, and who understand how to develop computational approaches that can be experimentally tested.

The program should provide didactic training as well as laboratory experience. The program should describe a plan for determining the experience and needs of each trainee and how progress will be monitored to accomplish the stated training goals. The program should develop skills in understanding research, designing research projects, applying critical abilities to the conduct of research, and identifying problems in the process of conducting research and proposing solutions for resolving them. Trainees should be prepared to pursue future research in computational neuroscience and should be provided instruction and guidance in the process of pursuing research careers and applying for future research support.

In addition to didactics, the institutional research training program is expected to include:

Preceptors:  Trainees must be supervised by mentors with successful track records as mentors and researchers. Formal co-mentoring by individuals with complementary expertise may be appropriate. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of computational neuroscience, preceptors in the training program are likely to span the breadth of departments and disciplines that are involved in this area.  Preceptors should be active, funded investigators in an appropriate research area.

Trainees:  Trainees from the quantitative, engineering, and physical/chemical sciences will interact with trainees from biological/behavioral disciplines in these research training programs. It is expected that the applicant pool will include predoctoral students from multiple disciplines, including but not restricted to physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, statistics, biology, psychology, and neuroscience. Institutions should address how the applicant pool for the proposed research training program is distinct from, or relates to, that for existing federal and non-federal training grants.

The number of trainee positions requested must be justified in terms of the available pool of NRSA-eligible and non-NRSA-eligible trainees, the preceptors, the training track record of the preceptors, and the design of the training program. The number of trainees recommended by the study section is considered the ceiling and may be decreased by NIH program staff based on availability of funds and the track record for filling positions as assessed by annual progress reports and statements of appointment.

Trainee Appointments:   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 NIDA. 

No individual trainee may receive more than five years of aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training and individual fellowship awards. A five-year restriction also applies to funding via the R90 mechanism for non-NRSA eligible predoctoral students. Any exception to the maximum period of support requires a waiver from NIDA based on a review of the written justification from the individual trainee, and endorsed by the Program Director, and the sponsoring grantee institution. Trainees seeking additional support are strongly advised to consult with the NIH.

Recruitment Plan:  Applicants must submit a recruitment plan that includes a scheme for recruiting trainees from both outside and inside their sponsoring institutions. The application should describe any recruitment and outreach plan to increase the depth and diversity of the applicant pool, including those underrepresented in the current scientific research workforce in computational neuroscience. The application should also describe mechanisms to retain trainees in the program.

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan (applicable only to NRSA trainees):

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as; individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or institutional basis. The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of candidates:

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 http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/women/start.htm). In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting and individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.

B. Individuals with disabilities, which are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds which are 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 . For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such candidates have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

2. Come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.  Recruitment and retention plans related to a disadvantaged background are most applicable to high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement.

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the diversity recruitment and retention plan after the overall score has been determined.  Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement. If the diversity recruitment and retention plan is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan (and report) that addresses the deficiencies is received. Staff within the NIH awarding component, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.

Plan for Sharing Research Data
Not applicable

Sharing Research Resources

Research education programs are not generally expected to generate research resources. However, applications in response to this RFA must include a plan to disseminate curricula and teaching tools developed for the program, if such activities are planned.

In addition, applications are expected to include a software dissemination plan if support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application. There is no prescribed single license for software produced. However, the software dissemination plan should address, as appropriate, the following goals:

The initial review group will comment on the appropriateness of the proposed plan for software dissemination. Program staff and advisors will also consider the adequacy of the dissemination plan as one of the criteria for award. The proposed sharing plan, after negotiation with the applicant when necessary, will be made a condition of the award.  Evaluation of annual non-competing progress reports will include assessment of the software dissemination practice by the grantee.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria
Not Applicable

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the National Eye Institute on behalf of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.
The goals of NIH supported research training and research education programs are to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in adequate numbers and in appropriate scientific areas to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed program will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. These criteria are not listed in any order of priority.

Grant applications should be characterized by innovation, scholarship, and responsiveness to the priorities of the Neuroscience Blueprint in meeting the goal of increasing the number of interdisciplinary scientists in computational neuroscience.

Research Education Program

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

Reviewers will be asked to address and discuss the following criteria in evaluating the overall merit of the undergraduate research training component of the application, weighting each as appropriate. Reviewers will first determine the quality of the proposed training program and then consider whether the requested number of trainee positions is appropriate for the number of high-quality trainees likely to be accepted in the planned undergraduate research training program in computational neuroscience.

Undergraduate Training Program: This criterion assesses the objectives, design and direction of the training program. Does the proposed training program provide broad-based, integrated research training and research experience in computational neuroscience? Are appropriate courses available or planned to provide a broad  curriculum that spans the breadth of neuroscience and computational approaches? Are appropriate programmatic activities incorporated into the training program?

Training Program Director: Does the Program Director have the necessary scientific background, expertise, and experience to coordinate and supervise an interdisciplinary training program in computational neuroscience? Has the Program Director committed adequate time to program administration?

Preceptors: Is there appropriate scientific expertise available in the scientific community at the institution or among the participating institutions (if applicable)? What is the caliber of the preceptors as researchers, including the overall quality of their research, their publication record, and their successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed training program? What is the record of the preceptors as mentors, especially as mentors of undergraduate students? What is the record of the preceptors as educators, as evidenced, e.g., by teaching awards or previous development of innovative educational programs?

Institutional Training Environment: Does the environment in which the training program will be conducted, i.e. the quality of the participating departments and the extent of their participation, contribute to the probability of success? Is there evidence of interdepartmental interaction/collaboration?  Is there evidence of adequate institutional commitment? Is there evidence of adequate research support, equipment, and facilities?

Training Record: This criterion evaluates the past research training record of both the program and the designated preceptors. What is the success of former undergraduates who have trained at the institution in seeking further career development in scientific research? Evidence of further career development can include the number who have obtained the baccalaureate degree and gone on to obtain an academic or professional doctoral degree in the health-related sciences during the last five years, receipt of graduate fellowships, and similar accomplishments. What is the track record of the preceptors in directing undergraduate research training or the potential of those preceptors who lack a track record? What is the track record of the preceptors in directing interdisciplinary training?

Trainee Selection and Retention: What is the quality and size of the pool of potential trainees from the participating departments and programs? Are the trainee selection criteria and retention strategies appropriate and well defined? Are proposed plans for encouraging participation of a diverse cohort of trainees adequate?

Short-term Research Education Component (R90) (if proposed)

Reviewers will be asked to address and discuss each of the following criteria in evaluating the overall merit of the Short-term Research Education Component, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major impact and thus merit a high priority score. These criteria are not listed in any order of priority.

Significance: Does the proposed research education program address scientific/education areas and/or topics important for the field of computational neuroscience? The program must demonstrate how its implementation will advance the objectives of this funding opportunity.

Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of this program component? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Is there evidence that the program is based on sound research concepts and educational principles? Is the approach feasible and appropriate to achieve the stated research education goals? Are the recruitment, retention, and follow-up activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified and diverse participant pool? Is the evaluation plan and timeline adequate for assessing the effectiveness (process and outcome) of the program in achieving its goals and objectives? Is the dissemination plan of high quality?

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area? Is the research education program innovative conceptually and/or in implementation? Does this program duplicate, or overlap with, existing research education, training, and/or career development activities currently supported at the applicant institution or available elsewhere?

Program Director and Faculty Leadership Team: Are the program director and faculty leadership team members appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the program director and faculty leadership team members and other individuals involved in the program? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program director and faculty leadership team members to ensure the program's objectives?

Environment: Does the scientific/educational environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed course activities benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of appropriate collaboration among participating programs, departments, schools and universities? Is the institutional commitment to the proposed program appropriate? If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research educational experiences provided? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between multiple sites, if applicable?

Predoctoral Research Training Program (if proposed)
NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90) and

Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

Reviewers will be asked to address and discuss the following criteria in evaluating the overall merit of the predoctoral research training component(s) of the application, weighting each as appropriate. Reviewers will first determine the quality of the proposed training program and then consider whether the requested number of trainee positions is appropriate for the number of high-quality trainees likely to be accepted in the planned research training program in computational neuroscience.

Training Program: This criterion assesses the objectives, design and direction of the training program. Does the proposed training program provide broad-based, integrated training in computational neuroscience? Are the plans for research rotations (if proposed) appropriate for the expected trainee pool? Are appropriate courses available to provide a broad, early curriculum that spans the breadth of neuroscience and computational approaches? Are appropriate courses and activities available to provide a focused training experience in later years in an area of institutional strength in computational neuroscience?  Are appropriate programmatic activities incorporated into the training program?

Training Program Director: Does the Program Director have the scientific background, expertise, and experience to coordinate and supervise an interdisciplinary training program in computational neuroscience? Has the Program Director committed adequate time to program administration?

Preceptors: Is there appropriate expertise available in the scientific community at the institution or among the participating institutions (if applicable)? What is the caliber of the preceptors as researchers, including the overall quality of their research, their publication record, and their successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed training program? What is the record of the preceptors as mentors, especially as mentors of predoctoral students? What is the record of the preceptors as mentors in training programs that cross departmental boundaries?

Institutional Training Environment: Does the environment in which the training program will be conducted, i.e. the quality of the participating departments and the extent of their participation, contribute to the probability of success? Is there evidence of interdepartmental interaction/collaboration?  Is there evidence of adequate institutional commitment? Is there evidence of ongoing neurosciences research in areas relevant to the mission of one or more participating NIH Institutes? Is there evidence of adequate research support, equipment, and facilities?

Training Record: This criterion evaluates the past research training record of both the program and the designated preceptors. What is the success of former trainees in seeking further career development and in establishing productive scientific careers? Evidence of further career development can include successful completion of the PhD, receipt of fellowships or career awards, additional training appointments, and similar accomplishments. Evidence of a productive scientific career can include a record of successful competition for research grants, receipt of special honors or awards, a record of publications, receipt of patents, promotion to scientific positions, and any other measure of success consistent with the nature and duration of the training received. What is the track record of the preceptors in directing predoctoral training or the potential of those preceptors who lack a track record? What is the track record of the preceptors in directing predoctoral training that crosses departmental boundaries?

Applicant Recruitment, Selection and Retention: What is the quality and size of the applicant pool? Are the recruiting procedures, trainee selection criteria, and retention strategies appropriate and well defined? Are proposed plans for encouraging participation of a diverse cohort of trainees adequate?

All Program Components

Evaluation and Tracking

Is the plan adequate to determine progress and outcome measures for each of the research education and research training components? Does it include a system for tracking participants following program completion to determine success or failure of the program, such as program publications, grant proposals and awards, and career trajectory of supported trainees?

External Advisory Committee

Are plans for the proposed advisory committee adequate and appropriate to ensure proper monitoring of the research education and research training components? Are there means in place to modify the research education or research training components based on appropriate recommendations from the advisory committee?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

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 the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under Section F of the PHS Form 398 research grant application instructions will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Peer reviewers will assess the applicant's plans for training in the responsible conduct of research on the basis of the appropriateness of topics, format, amount and nature of faculty participation, and the frequency and duration of instruction for the research education, training and career development components.

Plans will be discussed after the overall determination of merit, and the review panel's evaluation of the plan will not be a factor in the determination of the priority score. Plans will be judged as acceptable or unacceptable. The acceptability of the plan will be described in an administrative note on the summary statement. Regardless of the priority score, applications with unacceptable plans will not be funded until the applicant provides a revised, acceptable plan. Program staff will judge the acceptability of the revised plan.

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan (applicable only to the NRSA research training component)

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce.  The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.  Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national or institutional basis.

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the diversity recruitment and retention plan after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement. If the diversity recruitment and retention plan is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan (and report) that addresses the deficiencies is received. Staff within the NIH awarding component, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable

Budget

The reasonableness of the budget for the number and levels of participants and trainees planned to be supported in the research education and research training and components of the program

2.C. Sharing Research Data
Not applicable  

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

If a software dissemination and sharing plan is included in the application, then reviewers will be asked to comment on the appropriateness of the proposed plan. However, they will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Anticipated Award Date:  September, 2006.

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. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via email notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official (designated in item 14 on the Application Face Page). If a grantee is not email enabled, a hard copy of the NoA will be mailed to the business official.

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. See Also Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Changes of Program

Awards are made to a specific institution for a specific program under the guidance of a particular Program Director. Changes in any of these parameters require prior approval by NIH Program Staff. A rationale must be provided for any proposed changes in the aims of the original peer-reviewed program. Programmatic changes will be evaluated to ensure that the program remains within the scope of the original peer-reviewed application. If the new program does not satisfy this requirement, the award will be terminated.

Change of Program Director

If change of a Program Director is necessary, support of the award is not automatic, but may be continued with NIH funding component prior approval, provided:

Transfer of Program

Neither the program as a whole nor any component of the program may be transferred to another institution.

Termination

The Program Director must consult with NIH staff when termination of the program is being considered. When a grantee institution plans to terminate an award, the Grants Management Specialist listed on the Notice of Award must be notified in writing at the earliest possible time so that appropriate instructions can be given for termination. The Director of the NIH may terminate an award upon determination that the purpose or terms of the award are not being fulfilled. In the event an award is terminated, NIH shall notify the grantee institution in writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision. 

Leave

Trainees supported by academic institutions should refer to the NIH NRSA guidelines at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-02-109.html for guidance regarding leave.  Undergraduate and non-NRSA predoctoral trainees should also follow these guidelines and institutional policies.

Carryover of Unobligated Balances

The carryover of funds from one budget period to the next requires prior written approval of NIDA.

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the Notice of Award. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm) and Part II Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

3. Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit the PHS Non-Competing Grant Progress Report, Form 2590, annually (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. 

This program is not subject to the Streamlined Non-competing Application Process (SNAP).

Progress Reports

The annual progress report should provide information about changes in the integrated program, a summary report by the Advisory Committee, and a description of the training, research and career progress of each trainee. These annual progress reports will be closely monitored by the Blueprint Training Project Team to ensure that the grant is achieving the goals of the overall Program. The NRSA instructions for the non-competing grant progress report (starting on page 19, Form 2590) should be followed, with any necessary modifications for other program components.

Note that for programs that include an NRSA predoctoral research training program, a substitute budget page and a summary of trainee page are to be included in the request for continuation support. The non-competing budget page should list the names of those trainees who are continuing in the research training program. Information on each trainee should also be included in the narrative portion of the progress report as described in the PHS Form 2590 instructions.

Reports on the Program as a Whole

Evaluation and Tracking Report: Provide information collected under the evaluation and tracking plan proposed in the initial application. Information to be provided includes the number of students in each component of the overall program, tracking information for students who have completed the program, and evaluation and tracking information for the short-term research education component, if applicable.

Report on Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research: Report the type of instruction provided, topics covered, and other relevant information, such as attendance by trainees and faculty participation. The NIH encourages institutions to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research to all undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctorates and research staff regardless of their source of support.

Advisory Committee Report: A report from the Advisory Committee should be separately attached summarizing its actions during the last year, evaluating the performance of the program in meeting its objectives and intent, evaluating the effectiveness of recruitment strategies, and providing recommendations for improving the program (e.g. new mentors, changes in core requirements, changes in recruitment strategies, etc.)

Research Education Program

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

Expand the application for continuation to contain the following information:

Short-term Research Education Component (R90)

Briefly describe any courses or workshops that were developed and offered. In addition, list the faculty involved in the course and the course participants. Provide information about how course participants were selected and whether they received support from the program to attend the course. Provide information about the number of applicants, the number offered admission, the number attending, and their career level. The report should also provide aggregated information regarding the diversity of participants, relative to the recruitment plan of the program. If any evaluations of courses or workshops were conducted, provide information about the outcomes. Describe any dissemination to the wider scientific community of any materials developed for this component.  

Predoctoral Research Training Program
NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (T90) and

Non-NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Component (R90)

The NRSA instructions for the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (Form 2590, starting on page 19) should be followed. The non-competing budget page should list the names and levels of those trainees who are continuing in the research training program. Information on each trainee should also be included in the narrative portion of the progress report as described in the PHS Form 2590 instructions.

Additional information that should be reported in concert with the PHS 2590 Progress Report instructions; this information is applicable to all trainees (NRSA and non-NRSA):

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Report (NRSA only):  A detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals from under-represented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds  during the previous funding period must be included. Information must document both successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies. The report should provide aggregated information of the racial/ethnic distribution of all applicants and those accepted and appointed. The aggregated report should also include information on individuals with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. For those who were enrolled in the program, the report should include aggregated information about the duration of research training and whether those trainees completed their training in good standing.

Trainee Reporting Requirements (NRSA):  The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS 2271) for each NRSA trainee appointed or reappointed to the training grant. This Form must be completed at the beginning of the initial appointment and annually thereafter. No funds may be provided until this document is submitted and accepted by the funding Institute. Within 30 days of the end of the total support period for each trainee, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) to the NIH. Failure to submit the 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. Forms may be found on the NIH Website at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.

Trainee Reporting Requirements (non-NRSA):  The institution should provide information about each trainee appointed to the non-NRSA predoctoral training component of the program in the form of an NIH Biosketch (PHS 398).

Additional Reporting Requirements:

Financial Status Report (FSR):  An annual FSR is required and must be submitted within 90 days of the end of each budget period. Continuation support will not be provided until the required form is submitted and reviewed.

Evaluation: In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the Blueprint may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this Program. Accordingly, recipients are hereby notified that they may be contacted during and after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contacts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the Program. 

Publication and Sharing of Research Results:  Trainees are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice. For each publication that results from a trainee’s research, NIH support should be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: “This project was supported by NIH grant number ______ which is part of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.”

Inventions:  Traineeships made primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required for institutional training grants. 

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.

Software Dissemination:  If a software dissemination plan was included in the application, information about dissemination of software should be included in the annual non-competing progress report.

Final Reports: A final Progress Report and Financial Status Report are required at the end of the grant project period or upon relinquishment of an award. Note that an evaluation and tracking report is required as part of the Final Progress Report.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):  Only approved hESC lines listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry http://stemcells.nih.gov/registry/ may be used for research training activities. The abstract of the application must provide the registry identifying numbers of the HESC lines to be used.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Susan Volman, Ph.D.
Division of Basic Neurosciences and Behavioral Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 435-1315
FAX: (301) 594-6043
Email: svolman@nida.nih.gov

Suman Rao King, Ph.D.
Deputy Coordinator of Research Training
Office of Science Policy and Communications
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Blvd.
Suite 5230, MSC 9591
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: 301-443-6071
FAX:  301-480-2485
Email: sr234c@nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Director - DA-06-010
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH/DHHS
6101 Executive Boulevard, Suite 220, MSC 8401
Bethesda, MD  20892-8401
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538
Email:  tlevitin@mail.nih.gov

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Gary Fleming, J.D.
Chief
Grants Management Branch/OPRM
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH/DHHS
6101 Executive Boulevard, Room 270
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 443-6710
FAX: (301) 594-6849
Email: gf6s@nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

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 (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local IRB rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

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 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 funding opportunity 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.

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 "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is 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 Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

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 (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 applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available 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://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp 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 (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, 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.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from 1) currently funded NIH research projects or 2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the policy or the submission process, please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools including the Authors' Manual (http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/publicaccess_Manual.htm).

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002 . The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing Policy for the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Researchers funded by NIDA who are conducting research in community outreach settings, clinical, hospital settings, or clinical laboratories and have ongoing contact with clients at risk for HIV infection, are strongly encouraged to provide HIV risk reduction education and counseling.  HIV counseling should include offering HIV testing available on-site or by referral to other HIV testing service for persons at risk for HIV infection including injecting drug users, crack cocaine users, and sexually active drug users and their sexual partners.  For more information see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-DA-01-001.html.

National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Recommended Guidelines for the Administration of Drugs to Human Subjects:  The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse recognizes the importance of research involving the administration of drugs to human subjects and has developed guidelines relevant to such research.   Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain and review these recommendations of Council before submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects.  The guidelines are available on NIDA's Home Page at www.nida.nih.gov under the Funding, or may be obtained by calling (301) 443-2755.

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:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. The National Research Service Award (T32) component is 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. 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.

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.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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