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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIH Blueprint Training in Computational Neuroscience: From Biology to Model and Back Again (T90/R90)

Activity Code

T90/R90 Interdisciplinary Research Training Award/Interdisciplinary Regular Research Training Award

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-DA-11-005

Related Notices
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-DA-16-009

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

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

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.279; 93.286; 93.865; 93.273; 93.113; 93.853; 93.866; 93.867; 93.242; 93.121; 93.361; 93.213   

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is an initiative of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/), a collaborative and coordinated effort across 13 Institutes and Centers that support research, research education, and research training with the goal of accelerating the pace of discovery in neuroscience research. This FOA will support integrated research education and research training programs that provide interdisciplinary training in experimental neuroscience and the theoretical and technological approaches of computational neuroscience at the undergraduate and predoctoral level.

Each application:

  • Must include a full-time undergraduate research training component that will combine coursework and hands-on laboratory research experience (R90);
  • Must include a full-time Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional predoctoral training component (T90);
  • May include a full-time non-NRSA institutional predoctoral training component (R90);
  • May include a short-term research education component (e.g., short course or workshop) that may include scientists at any stage of the career continuum as participants (R90).[Optional]
Key Dates
Posted Date

January 13, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 18, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

February 16, 2016

Application Due Date(s)

March 18, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

May 2016

Advisory Council Review

October 2016

Earliest Start Date

October 2016

Expiration Date

March 19, 2016

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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


Table of Contents

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


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

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will use the T90/R90 activity codes that include linked Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Research Training (T90) and non-NRSA Research Education (R90) programs. Both components will be referred to as the "training program."

A T90/R90 application must include both components (T90 and R90). Applicants will submit a single grant application and, if selected for funding, two separate awards will be issued: an NRSA T90 (Research Training award) and a non-NRSA R90 (Research Education award), which are based on distinct research training and education-related funding authorities. Each application:

  • Must include a full-time undergraduate research training component that will combine coursework and hands-on laboratory research experience (R90);
  • Must include a full-time Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional predoctoral training component (T90);
  • May include a full-time non-NRSA institutional predoctoral training  component (R90);
  • May include a short-term research education component (e.g., short course or workshop) that may include scientists at any stage of the career continuum as participants (R90).[Optional]

All T90 predoctoral trainees and R90 predoctoral and undergraduate participants will be referred to as “trainees” in this FOA. Participants of the optional short-term component will be referred to as "short-course participants." For more detail on NRSA and non-NRSA eligibility, please see Section III. Eligibility Information.

Purpose and Background Information The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.  In order to accomplish this goal, NRSA training programs are designed to train individuals to conduct research and to prepare for research careers. The NIH Research Education Program (R90) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH Institutes and Centers.

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

Blueprint Training in Computational Neuroscience

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blueprint for Neuroscience Research is a collaborative and coordinated effort across 13 Institutes and Centers that support research, research education, and research training with the goal of accelerating the pace of discovery in neuroscience research. By pooling resources and expertise, the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research can take advantage of economies of scale, confront challenges too large for any specific Institute or Center, and develop research tools and infrastructure that will 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 the function of the nervous system 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 and integrate information about nervous system function across a range of scales: parts of cells, networks, whole brain function, and behavior. 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 purpose of this FOA is to establish new research training programs in computational neuroscience and to support the continuation of meritorious existing programs for undergraduate and predoctoral level students. Optionally, applicants may propose to develop a short-course or summer course that could be open to scientists at any stage of the career continuum. It is intended that these training programs will provide integrated research training and education 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. The training program should provide:

  • A strong foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques appropriate for the conduct of computational neuroscience research;
  • The enhancement of the trainees’ ability to conceptualize and think through research problems with increasing independence;
  • Experience conducting research using state-of-the-art methods as well as presenting and publishing their research findings;
  • The opportunity to interact with members of the scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops; and
  • The enhancement of the trainees’ understanding of neuroscience and the relationship of their research training to health and disease.

It is critical that students obtain a strong basis in the principles of scientific rigor (https://grants.nih.gov/reproducibility/index.htm) and apply those principles in their research. Scientific rigor is the strict application of the scientific method to ensure unbiased and well-controlled experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results. Scientific rigor also includes transparency in reporting full experimental details so that others may reproduce and extend the findings. This training should be provided through formal and informal training activities, and should occur throughout the students' research training. Programs must ensure that students have a solid understanding of the following and be able to apply them to their research projects: 1) statistical tools and analysis and other quantitative approaches appropriate for neuroscience research; 2) design considerations to account for all relevant variables including sex; and 3) the importance of authenticating key biological and/or chemical resources as applicable and models. Quantitative approaches to research may include quantitative problem-solving, programming, exercises in quantitative analysis of experimental research, and/or other didactic or hands-on activities that will enhance student understanding of the value of quantitative approaches to answering scientific questions.

The proposed institutional training program may complement other ongoing research training, research education, and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed program must be clearly distinct from related programs currently receiving Federal support.


Program Considerations

Undergraduate Research Training Component (R90)

A major goal of this funding opportunity is to foster the development and implementation of an innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate training program in computational neuroscience that trains students from multiple disciplines (e.g. physical, chemical, computer sciences, biology, engineering, neuroscience, psychology) together in an integrated program. This integrated undergraduate training is optimal for establishing a “pipeline” of computational neuroscientists by attracting students in their junior and senior years 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. Undergraduate students are expected to be drawn from multiple traditional majors and provided with cross-disciplinary training outside their major. Students are expected to participate in a formal, integrated, two-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:

  • Curriculum and Didactics: The proposed program should provide mechanisms, such as integrative courses in computational neuroscience, capstone courses, and senior research projects specifically designed to apply the principles of computational neuroscience to experimental questions in neuroscience. The program could, but would not be required, to create a new, interdisciplinary major.
  • Laboratory Experience: It is essential that students will receive supervised hands-on training in neuroscience research using computational strategies during the time they are appointed as trainees of the program. This experience could involve laboratory rotations or a research project in a single laboratory. Formal co-mentoring by individuals with complementary expertise is encouraged.
  • Programmatic Activities: Such activities include formalized interactions of participating departments and programs that will foster the development of interdisciplinary scientists in computational neuroscience and that may include, but are not restricted to, journal clubs, seminar series, and an annual retreat. In addition, such activities are likely to include other activities that would prepare the students for careers in computational neuroscience such as preparation for graduate school.

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, students should be prepared to pursue a graduate degree in computational neuroscience or a related area. A typical program would have six upper-level undergraduates supported as full-time (as defined in Section III.3 Additional Information on Eligibility) participants.

Preceptors: Undergraduate 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.

Predoctoral Training Program (T90/R90)

The second 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. Students 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 using 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 predoctoral training program must provide full-time research training to support graduate students enrolled in a relevant doctoral degree program. The program should provide didactic training as well as mentored laboratory experience in computational neuroscience. 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.

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

  • Laboratory Experience: It is expected that trainees will have opportunities for hands-on training in neuroscience questions using a variety of computational strategies and become competent in one or more techniques for studying the nervous system. Laboratory rotations are not a required component of the predoctoral research training program. However, if laboratory rotations are included for predoctoral trainees in the first two years of their doctoral program, several rotations offering cross-disciplinary opportunities such as training in experimental neuroscience and the application of computational approaches at different levels of analysis are expected.
  • Programmatic Activities: Such activities include formalized interactions of participating departments and programs that will foster the development of interdisciplinary scientists in computational neuroscience and that may include, but are not restricted to, journal clubs, seminar series, and an annual retreat. In addition, such activities are likely to include instruction in grantsmanship, development of communication and leadership skills, and other professional development activities.

Trainees will normally be selected by the Program Director for 12-month appointment periods with support for additional years based on satisfactory progress and the continued availability of funds. The predoctoral training program must include NRSA eligible trainees (in the T90 award) and may also include non-NRSA eligible predoctoral trainees as part of the R90 award (see Section III for eligibility). Programs are limited to a total of six predoctoral students, with a maximum of two non-NRSA eligible predoctoral trainees. Inclusion of any non-NRSA eligible predoctoral trainees is optional. New programs may wish to gradually ramp up their number of trainees, and might propose, e.g., 2 NRSA and 1 non-NRSA students for the first and second years of the program.

The duration of training, the transition of trainees to individual support mechanisms, and their transition to the next career stage are important considerations in institutional training programs. Training PDs/PIs should limit appointments to individuals who are committed to a research career. In addition, 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 trainees. 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. Students seeking additional support are strongly advised to consult with the NIH.  Training PDs/PIs should encourage and make available appropriate skills training so that trainees are prepared to apply for subsequent independent support for their training or research program (e.g., an individual fellowship award, mentored career development award, or research project grant), as appropriate for their career stage.

The career outcomes of individuals supported by NIH training programs include both research-intensive careers in academia and industry and research-related careers in various sectors, e.g., academic institutions, government agencies, for-profit businesses, and private foundations. Training programs should employ Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for each of their predoctoral students (see NOT-OD-13-093), and make available structured, career development advising and learning opportunities (e.g., workshops and discussions). Through such opportunities, trainees would obtain a working knowledge of various potential career directions that make strong use of the knowledge and skills gained during research training and the steps required to transition successfully to the next stage of their chosen career.

Within the framework of the NRSA program’s longstanding commitment to excellence and the projected need for investigators in particular areas of research, attention must be given to recruiting and retaining trainees from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. See Section IV for background.

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.

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

A short-term research education component, if proposed, would develop and implement a short course, workshop or other educational program in computational neuroscience and/or in the application of computational algorithms to experimental neuroscience. It should be designed to take advantage of the strengths in computational neuroscience at the applicant institution and may include faculty from other institutions. 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, for example, 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. The duration of short-term research education programs may range from two weeks to a full summer and must be appropriately justified.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

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

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The participating Institutes intend to commit an estimated total of $1.5M to support this FOA in FY 2016. However, the total amount awarded and the number of awards made will depend upon the number, quality, and cost of the applications received. It is anticipated that 4-5 awards will be made.

Award Budget

Direct costs for each application are not to exceed $500,000 per year.

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

Award Project Period

An applicant may request a project period of up to five years.      

Other Award Budget Information
Stipends, Tuition, and Fees (T90) and Participant Costs (R90)
 

NRSA Predoctoral Trainees (T90):

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

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

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

Non-NRSA Trainees (R90):

Predoctoral Trainees: Non-NRSA predoctoral students may be compensated following the NIH policy of Graduate Student Compensation (NIH GPS, Section 2.3.7.9). The amount provided for compensation includes salaries or wages, fringe benefits and tuition remission.

Undergraduate Trainees: Compensation to help defray expenses during the research training experience will be provided for each full-time upper level (junior or senior) undergraduate participant. Each undergraduate trainee may receive compensation, comparable to their experience, not exceeding $12,096 (or $1,008 per month).

Short-Course Participants:

Participants in short-term education programs 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. Funds will not be provided for fringe benefits or health insurance for participants in any short-term 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.

Trainee (T90) and Participant (R90) 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 for predoctoral and undergraduate trainees.

Up to $1,000 per year may be requested for each predoctoral trainee for travel to seminars, workshops, etc. directly related to the computational neuroscience program. Trainees must be appointed to this training program at the time of actual travel for this to be an allowable cost.

For each undergraduate trainee, up to $2,000 per year may be requested for research-related expenses, of which up to $1,000 may be for travel to seminars, workshops, etc. directly related to the computational neuroscience program. 

Any expenses for foreign travel for any trainee or participant must be exceptionally well justified.

Training Related Expenses (T90) and Other Program Related Expenses (R90)

Training Related Expenses: NIH will provide funds to help defray other training expenses, such as health insurance, staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and faculty/staff travel directly related to the research training program.

The most recent levels of training related expenses for NRSA predoctoral trainees are described on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) site.  Funds are provided as a lump sum on the basis of the predetermined amount per predoctoral trainee approved for support. Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

For non-NRSA predoctoral trainees, annual amounts of up to the NRSA predoctoral Training Related Expenses (currently $4,200) may be requested for other education-related expenses.

For each undergraduate trainee, up to $2,000 per year may be requested for research-related expenses, of which up to $1,000 may be for travel to seminars, workshops, etc. directly related to the computational neuroscience program.

Under exceptional circumstances, requests for additional student support costs must be explained in detail and strongly justified in the application. Consultation with NIH program staff in advance of such requests is strongly advised.

Personnel Costs (R90): 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 R90 budget.

Short-Term or Summer-Course Costs: For new programs, up to $50,000 may be requested in year 1 for development of the course(s) and up to $150,000 for implementation in each year thereafter, including funds to defray the cost of attendance and enrollment of course participants from outside the grantee institution. 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 institutional contributions in the application and include a letter from the grantee institutional official confirming availability of such resources.

Indirect Costs

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

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

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

Governments

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

Other

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

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 multiple sites are involved, the applicant institution must be the primary site for the program. The need for multiple sites must be justified, and the application must include the Facilities and Other Resources information for each site.  

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

The applicant institution must have strong research and graduate training programs in the neurosciences. Applicant institutions applying to establish a new program with a currently active federally funded research training grant (e.g., an NIH T32 or T90/R90, or an NSF IGERT award) in computational neuroscience or one that includes a significant computational neuroscience component, or with an active research education (R25) grant 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).

Foreign Institutions

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

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research training program as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

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

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

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 contributes their respective expertise to the proposed interdisciplinary program. Each member of the faculty leadership team must be willing to commit a minimum of 1.2 person months  of his/her full-time professional effort to the development and implementation of the program for the entire period of the award.   

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed. For the purposes of this FOA, 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.

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

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

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program.  Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.  Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Trainees

Full-Time Predoctoral NRSA Trainees:

The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Full-Time Predoctoral non-NRSA Trainees:

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

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

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

Undergraduate Trainees:

Any upper level (junior or senior) undergraduate student enrolled full-time at the grantee institution is eligible to be appointed as a participant in this component. Students must be able to commit 20 hours per week to the program and its related research activities, which can include coursework necessary to complete their major; for the purpose of this FOA, this level of commitment/participation in the training program is considered full-time. Students are expected to participate for two years and are not required to be US citizens or permanent residents. Students may be appointed as early as the summer before their junior year and training may extend through  the summer after their senior year, provided they continue to be compensated at the undergraduate level.

Short-Course Participants:

The short-term research education component may be proposed to include participants at any stage of the career continuum (undergraduate student, medical/graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, medical resident, and/or independent scientist). 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 the Funding Opportunity Announcement, the research education program component should be used primarily for the education of US citizens.

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

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to: NIDALetterofIntent@mail.nih.gov.

Applicants are encouraged to send the letter of intent by email to the email address above but as an alternative the letter may also be sent to:

Office of Extramural Policy and Review
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH/DHHS
6001 Executive Boulevard, Suite 4243, MSC 9550
Bethesda, MD 20892-9550

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

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

Project Summary/Abstract. Provide an abstract of the entire application. Include the objectives, rationale and design of the research training program, as well as key activities in the training plan. Indicate the planned duration of appointments, the projected number of trainees and short-course participants (if applicable) including their levels (i.e., undergraduate, predoctoral, ,etc. ), and intended trainee and participant outcomes.

Other Attachments. An Advisory Committee is required. Provide a plan for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to monitor progress of the training program. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members, frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted. Renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include the names of all committee members during the past project period.  Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf.”

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

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

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

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

Training and Research & Related (R&R) Budget

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

  • Both the Training Budget Component (for the T90 component) and the R&R Budget Component (for the R90 component) are required for a complete application.
  • Include all personnel other than the Training PD(s)/PI(s) in the Other Personnel section, including clerical and administrative staff.
  • Use the section on Participant/Trainee Support Costs to include all allowable categories of funds requested to support participants in the program.
PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

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

Background

Describe which R90 and T90 components of this FOA are included in the application. Provide the rationale for the proposed program, relevant background history, and the need for the program proposed.

Program Plan

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

Institutions with existing programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how their programs will synergize with one another, if applicable, and make it clear that the pool of faculty, potential trainees, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs. Further, institutions with existing programs in computational neuroscience or with a significant computational neuroscience component must significantly and substantially expand upon and address any real or apparent overlap with existing programs. When a program administrator position is planned, a description of the scientific expertise, leadership, and administrative capabilities essential to coordinate a program for developing investigators must be included in the application.

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

The proposed Program 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.

Proposed Training. Provide an overview of the proposed program. Describe how the trainees will be provided opportunities to acquire state-of-the art scientific knowledge and innovative methods, and to participate in significant research projects that are relevant to the goals of the training program. Outline the objectives of the program and the program activities that will be used to meet these objectives. Describe for whom the training program is intended, including the training level(s) of the trainees, the academic and research background needed to pursue the proposed training, and, as appropriate, plans to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees. Include information about planned courses, mentored research experiences, and any activities designed to develop specific technical skills or other quantitative skills essential for the conduct of cutting-edge computational neuroscience research. Describe how trainees will be educated in the human health- and disease-related aspects of their research training.

Describe a program plan that includes didactic training, supervised laboratory experience, and programmatic activities that may include, but are not restricted to, journal clubs, seminar series, and an annual retreat. Also include plans for determining the educational experience and needs of trainees and for monitoring their progress to accomplish the desired goals. Describe programmatic activities that will ensure that students have a thorough understanding of experimental design, fundamentals of conducting rigorous research studies, formulating research questions, interpreting results, statistical tools, and the use of, and value of, quantitative principles and approaches for computational neuroscience research. Clearly describe the format of the training in the principles of scientific rigor (e.g., whether this includes face-to-face discussions, didactics, or a combination), as well as the specific subject matter to be taught, level of faculty participation, and duration and frequency of instruction.

For undergraduate and predoctoral trainees, the program should provide career-stage appropriate professional development skills training, career guidance, and the use of IDPs to ensure that trainees obtain a working knowledge of various potential career directions that make strong use of the knowledge and skills gained during research training and the steps required to transition successfully to the next stage of their chosen career. If appropriate for a student's chosen career, the program should encourage and provide time and guidance for predoctoral trainees to compete for individual fellowships or other independent predoctoral and/or postdoctoral research training support.

For programs that propose a short-term research education component, any didactic training must be well structured and appropriately justified for the duration of the research education experience. The short-term component should address a key audience and scientific/education areas and/or topics of significant importance for the field of computational neuroscience. The program should describe innovative approaches and the latest best practices to improve the knowledge and skills of the intended audience. Short-course participants may include scientists at any stage of the career continuum.

For renewal applications, highlight how the training program has evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, educational practices, and to evaluation of the training program.          

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

Trainee Candidates. Describe, in general terms, the size and qualifications of the pool of trainee candidates including information about the types of prior course work and research training and career level required for the program. Do not name prospective Trainees. Describe specific plans to recruit candidates and explain how these plans will be implemented (see also section on Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity). Describe the nomination and selection process to be used to select candidates who would be offered admission to the program and criteria for trainees’ reappointment to the program.  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.

Undergraduate Trainee Recruitment plan: Applicants must describe how they will recruit students to the program from a wide variety of departments and majors.

Short-Course Participant Recruitment Plan: Applicants should describe how short-course participants will be recruited from both outside and inside the sponsoring institution(s), as appropriate for the focus of the course proposed.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program.

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

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

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

Data Tables

The training data tables must be completed for all predoctoral and undergraduate trainees. The predoctoral program data, for both NRSA and non-NRSA components, can be included together in one set of tables with the non-NRSA trainees clearly indicated. A duplicate set of tables should be prepared for the undergraduate training program data. Consultation with Scientific/Research staff is recommended.

Appendix

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Part I. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirements for obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and for completing and maintaining an active System for Award Management (SAM) registration. Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

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

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

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

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Note, however, that pre-award costs are not allowable charges for stipends or tuition/fees on institutional training grants because these costs may not be charged to the grant until a trainee has actually been appointed and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the NIH awarding component. Pre-Award Costs are allowable only for the R90 portion of the program.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-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.

The number of positions requested must be justified in terms of the available pool of NRSA-eligible and non-NRSA-eligible participants, the preceptors, the training track record of the preceptors, and the design of the training program. The number of students 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. The number of positions awarded will be reflected on the NoA. 

Funds awarded for the T90 and R90 awards must be kept separate; therefore, rebudgeting between the T90 and R90 award is not allowable during a single award year. Future year funding for both the T90 and R90 awards may be adjusted, up or down, based upon the submitted Grant Progress Report budget pages. Future year funding adjustments will only be made within the approved total cost commitments for each year of the T90 and R90 awards and will not exceed the combined total costs for these awards. 

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

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

Important reminders:

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

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

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

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

To be considered responsive to this FOA, new applications from institutions with a 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 and 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 to participate in summer or short-courses as part of the R90 award, if proposed.

Post Submission Materials

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

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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

Training Program and Environment

  • Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as biomedical research scientists?
  • Are the objectives, design and direction of the proposed research training program likely to ensure effective training?
  • Do the courses and research experiences provide opportunities for trainees to acquire state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and innovative methods, and to participate in significant research projects that are relevant to the goals of the training program?
  • Is the proposed training program likely to ensure trainees will be well prepared for research-intensive and research-related careers? 
  • Is the level of institutional commitment to the training program, including administrative and research training support, sufficient to ensure the success of the program?
  • If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research experiences provided?
  • Is it clear how the proposed training program is distinguished from other externally funded training programs at the institution?
  • Are the responsibilities and structure of the advisory committee with regard to the provision of input, guidance and oversight of the program likely to be effective? Are there means in place to modify any portions of the program based on recommendations from the advisory committee?
  • Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training: Does the proposed training program provide broad-based, integrated research training and research experience in significant research questions in computational neuroscience? Are appropriate courses available or planned to provide a broad curriculum that spans the breadth of neuroscience and computational approaches? Does the training program provide a strong foundation in experimental design, including principles that promote scientific rigor?  Are appropriate programmatic activities incorporated into the training program? Does the approach for educating undergraduate students ensure that that they will have adequate support to successfully complete the cross-disciplinary training proposed?
  • Short-term Research Education: If a short course or workshop component is proposed, does the proposed program clearly state its goals and objectives, including the educational level of the audience to be reached, the content to be conveyed, and the intended outcome? Does the program address a key audience and scientific/education areas and/or topics of significant importance for the field of computational neuroscience? Is the proposed course or workshop developing or utilizing innovative approaches and the latest best practices to improve the knowledge and skills of the intended audience? Does the program demonstrate how its implementation will advance the objectives of this funding opportunity, and is the approach feasible?

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

  • Does the PD/PI have the scientific background, expertise, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program?
  • Does the leadership team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure program objectives?
  • Does the PD/PI plan to commit sufficient effort to ensure the program’s success?
  • For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:
  • Is a strong justification provided that the multiple PD/PI leadership approach will benefit the training program and the trainees?
  • Is a strong and compelling leadership approach evident, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the aims of the training program and the complementary expertise of the PDs/PIs?

Preceptors/Mentors

  • Are sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors with appropriate expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees (including short-course participants, if applicable) proposed in the application?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records as investigators, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed research training program?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records of training undergraduate students?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records of training predoctoral students?

Trainees

  • Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies likely to attract well-qualified candidates for the training program from diverse disciplines?
  • Is there a competitive applicant pool of sufficient size and quality, at each of the proposed levels (predoctoral, undergraduate, or short-course participants if applicable) and from the participating departments and programs, to ensure a successful training program?
  • Are there well-defined and justified selection and re-appointment criteria as well as retention strategies?
  • If a short-term research education component is proposed, does the program have access to and the ability to recruit high quality, short-course participants from the applicant institution or other institutions?
  • Undergraduate Trainees: Are there adequate plans to encourage participation of students with diverse educational backgrounds (specifically, the quantitative, biological, and behavioral sciences)?

Training Record

  • How successful are the trainees (or, for new applications, other past students in similar training) in completing the program?
  • Has the training program ensured that trainees are productive (or, for new applications, other past students in similar training) in terms of research accomplishments, publication of research conducted during the training period, and subsequent training appointments and fellowship or career development awards?
  • How successful are the trainees in achieving productive scientific careers as evidenced by successful competition for research science positions in industry, academia, government or other research venues; grants; receipt of honors, awards, or patents; high-impact publications; promotion to scientific leadership positions; and/or other such measures of success?
  • To what extent do trainees’ (or, for new applications, other past students' in similar training) subsequent positions in industrial, academic, government, non-profit, or other sectors benefit from their research training and directly benefit the broader biomedical research enterprise?
  • Does the program propose a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training?  Are effective mechanisms in place for obtaining feedback from current and former trainees?
  • Undergraduate Training: Is there evidence that undergraduates that participate in this program (or, for new applications, other past students in similar training) are likely to pursue a research career in computational neuroscience?
Additional Review Criteria

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

Protections for Human Subjects

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, including on the Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)? Is the program achieving its training objectives? Has the program evaluated the quality and effectiveness of the training experience (and when applicable, short-course research education experience), and is there evidence that the evaluation outcomes and feedback from trainees have been acted upon? Are changes proposed that are likely to improve or strengthen the research training experience during the next project period (may not be applicable to short-term research education)? Does the program continue to evolve and reflect changes in the research area in which the training occurs?

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

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

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

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

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

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

Select Agent Research

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

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by the National Institute on Drug Abuse on behalf of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the Advisory Councils of the participating Blueprint Institutes. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

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

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

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

Leave Policies

Note: The leave durations stated below apply to full-time trainees. Short-course participant leave must be proportionally adjusted based on the duration of appointment.

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

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

Inventions and Copyrights

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

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

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

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

Other Reporting Requirements
  • The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each trainee and short course participant appointed or reappointed full time for eight weeks or more or the equivalent. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.
  • A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for non-citizen trainees appointed to the T90 NRSA component of the program. Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status must first meet full (non-conditional) Permanent Residency requirements before receiving support.
  • Termination Notice: Within 30 days of the end of the total support period, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-7) via xTrain for each trainee appointed for eight weeks or more. Trainees with service payback requirements must notify the NIH of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS Form 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied.

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

4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH or its Institutes and Centers will periodically evaluate their R90 research education programs.  In assessing the effectiveness of its research education investments, NIH may request information from databases, PD/PIs, and from participants themselves.  Where necessary, PD/PIs and participants may be contacted after the completion of a research education experience for periodic updates on participants’ subsequent educational or employment history and professional activities.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Susan Volman, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-435-1315
Email: svolman@nida.nih.gov

Mimi Ghim, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-402-1918
Email: ghimm@nida.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Mark Swieter, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-435-1389
Email: mswieter@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Pam Fleming
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-253-8729
Email: pfleming@nida.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

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

Authority and Regulations

T90 awards are made under the authorization of Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66. R90 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.

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