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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Superfund Research Program Occupational and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies (R25)

Activity Code

R25 Education Projects

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-ES-13-004

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-ES-15-014

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.143 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The over-arching goal of this Superfund Research Program (SRP) Occupational and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.  To accomplish the stated goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Courses for Skill Development and Curriculum or Methods Development.  The intent is to provide Higher Education Institutions the opportunity to develop continuing education and academic curricula on the occupational health and safety management practices in the areas of emerging technologies (e.g., emerging hazardous waste products, green chemistry, sustainable remediation, and detection technologies) to industrial hygienists and graduate students involved in the research, evaluation, management, and handling of hazardous substances.  The SRP also expects that such programs will provide a unique educational opportunity to those professionals involved in the training of other personnel for careers in these new industries.  These programs are also meant to expand and complement existing educational programs in occupational and safety and health  and industrial hygiene.

Key Dates
Posted Date

June 15, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

September 20, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

September 20, 2015

Application Due Date(s)

October 20, 2015, 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.

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

March 2016

Advisory Council Review

May 2016

Earliest Start Date

July 2016

Expiration Date

October 21, 2015

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 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 will not be reviewed


Table of Contents

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


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

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH Institutes and Centers. The over-arching goals of the NIH R25 program are to: (1) complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs; (2) enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce; (3) help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences; and (4) foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research and its implications.

The over-arching goal of this  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.  These edicational activities are described in the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 (see Section VIII. Other Information "Authority and Regulations"). This legislation authorizes the NIEHS to support research education actvities which includes: (1) short courses and continuing education for State and local health and environment agency personnel engaged in handling hazardous substances and other professionals involved in evaluating, managing and handling hazardous substances; and (2) advanced educational opportunities  in environmental and occupational health and safety and in the public health and engineering aspects of hazardous waste control. 

The SRP recognizes that many Higher Education Institutions offer programs in the area of occupational and safety health to provide direction and resources for industrial hygienists, graduate students, and other professionals.  The SRP also invests substantial resources in basic and translational research and recognizes the need to educate the next generation of industrial hygienists and scientists.

Through the R25 mechanism, the Superfund Research Program (SRP) is offering Higher Education Institutions the opportunity to develop and implement the use of educational programs on the occupational health and safety management practices for emerging technologies (e.g., emerging hazardous waste products, green chemistry, sustainable remediation, and detection technologies).  The education programs are designed to provide a unique educational opportunity to graduate students, industrial hygeniests, other professionals, and those involved in the training of other personnel using these technologies and associated hazardous substances (e.g., Train-the-trainer).

To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:

  • Courses for Skills Development: Applicant institutions should propose a comprehensive description of courses for skills development for their educational program on the occupational health and safety management practices for emerging technologies (e.g., emerging hazardous waste products, green chemistry, sustainable remediation, and detection technologies).  Descriptions should include course objectives, course descriptions, course content, any field experiences, a timeline for implementation, accreditation by recognized accrediting organizations, and a plan to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the education program.  Courses may include web-based modules, short courses, continuing education, and full academic graduate courses. Other activities may include workshops, symposia, or a seminar series in health and safety management practices for emerging technologies.  The format of the courses may involve a traditional in-person approach, online activities, or a hybrid of both approaches.  
  • Curriculum or Methods Development: Proposed curriculum or methods development activities on the occupational health and safety management practices for emerging technologies should include providing a foundation for new courses or be integrated into the existing curricula in the grantee institution and the development of novel instructional approaches (e.g. computer-based tools).  It is also expected that the curriculum or methods developed be readily adaptable by researchers and professionals in the field of occupational and safety and health and industrial hygiene.  

The above listed educational activities are intended to: 1) ensure that individuals become highly skilled in the research, handling and detection of hazardous substances used in emerging technologies to support the needs of these developing fields; 2) create an infrastructure that supports education in handling of hazardous substances used in emerging technologies; and 3) ensure the dissemination of these educational courses, curricula, and materials to increase the number of well-trained industrial hygienists, graduate students, and other professionals with the interdisciplinary skills required in these developing fields. These programs are also meant to expand and complement existing educational programs in occupational and safety and health and industrial hygiene.

Under this FOA, the applicant should collaborate with at least two other Higher Education Institutions to establish curricula in emerging technologies.  For example, an applicant may choose to collaborate with institutes that have extensive research expertise in an emerging technology, knowledge in developing web-based course curricula, or capability in educational program evaluation.  Such partnerships will involve the establishment of a consortium to enhance the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience for the participants.  For this FOA, a participant is defined as an individual (i.e., industrial hygienist, graduate student, or professional involved in training other personnel) enrolled in one of these courses.  In order to assist with the NIEHS SRP's Evaluation Plan (see Section VI. 3. Evaluation), applicants are also expected to delineate a plan and timeline for submitting materials to the SRP Data Collection Form. The SRP Data Collection Form allows grantees to inform SRP staff of Research Education Program activities such as courses, webinars, meetings, symposia, interactions with stakeholders, trainee/investigator awards, news articles, and publications: https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/srp/rtc/index.cfm.

Following completion of the curricula, participants are expected to have acquired knowledge, professional skills, and experience in handling hazardous substances associated with emerging technologies that can be applied to their profession, research projects, or training of other personnel in these technologies.  The SRP also expects that funded programs will provide a unique educational opportunity in emerging issues and will expand and complement existing educational and training programs in occupational safety and health and industrial hygiene. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact SRP Scientific/Research staff before preparing an application (see Section VII).

Research education programs may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those training and education programs currently receiving Federal support. R25 programs may augment institutional research training programs (e.g., T32, T90) but cannot be used to replace or circumvent Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) programs.

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

Awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. The Superfund Research Program intends to commit approximately $1,000,000 for FY16.  The total number of awards is anticipated to be 4-6.

Award Budget

Although the size of award may vary with the scope of the Education Program proposed, budgets cannot exceed $200,000 direct costs per year.

Award Project Period

The total project period may not exceed 5 years.

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months 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 participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then any costs associated with the mentoring and other interactions with participants are not allowable costs from grant funds).  

Participant Costs

While generally not an allowable cost, with strong justification, participants in the research education program may receive travel per diem. Participants may also receive funds to defray partial tuition and other education-related expenses.

Expenses for foreign travel must be exceptionally well justified.

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 an R25 program, as participants, but may not receive salary or stipend supplementation from a research education program.

Because the R25 program is not intended as a substitute for an NRSA institutional training program (e.g.,T32), costs to support full-time participants (supported for 40 hours/week for a continuous, 12-month period) are not allowable.

Other Program-Related Expenses

Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.   

The budgets for applications to this FOA may include support for, but are not limited to, the following items:

  • Purchase of necessary instructional aids
  • Support for technical staff to oversee and assist instruction
  • Support for guest lecturers from academia and industry
  • Support for web based programs that will be used to assist instruction
  • Advertising to attract the best possible candidates to attend the courses

Note: PD(s)/PI(s) of grants funded by this FOA will be expected to attend and incorporate their travel costs to attend the Superfund Research Program annual meeting in their annual budgets. 

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 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)

Although multiple sites will be involved in the research education program, the applicant institution must be the primary site for the program.

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.

Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other Federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving federal support. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution.

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 as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women 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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The 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 PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

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).

Note: This FOA is not administered by the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) and does not overlap the mission of the WETP, which includes providing support to organizations for training to workers who are involved in handling hazardous waste or in responding to emergency releases of hazardous materials.  However, applicants supported by WETP grants are eligible and are encouraged to apply to this FOA.  For more information about the WETP, please see http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/dert/wet/index.cfm

Program Faculty

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program.

Participants

Unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to NIH, research education programs should be used primarily for the education of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

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 will not be reviewed.

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:

Linda Bass, PhD
Scientific Review Officer
Scientific Review Branch
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences  (NIEHS)
P.O. Box 12233; Mail drop K3-03
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

For Courier delivery:
530 Davis Drive, Room 3074
Research Triangle Park, NC 27713
Telephone: 919-541-1307
Fax: 301-451-5715
Email: bass@niehs.nih.gov

Please note that submission of the letter of intent by email is preferred.

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.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component

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

Facilities & Other Resources. Describe the educational environment, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program. List all thematically related sources of support for research training and education following the format for Current and Pending Support.   

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

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

R&R Budget

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

  • Include all personnel other than the 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 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Strategy

The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following described below:

  • Proposed Research Education Program
  • Program Director/Principal Investigator
  • Program Faculty
  • Program Participants
  • Institutional Environment and Commitment
  • Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Evaluation Plan
  • Dissemination Plan

Research Education Program Plan

Proposed Research Education Program. While the proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly distinguish between the activities in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program. 

For Renewal Applications. Renewal applications must include a general progress report that describes achievements under the grant since the last competitive review.  This is the section where the benefits of the Research Education Program can be expressed/demonstrated.  Items to be included are:

  • Brief summary of major accomplishments that can be attributed to the Research Education Program grant.
  • Brief explanation of how the accomplishments of the Research Education Program have contributed to the Superfund Researhc Program and the National Superfund Program.          

Program Director/Principal Investigator. Describe arrangements for administration of the program.  Provide evidence that the Program Director/Principal Investigator is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program. For programs proposing multiple PDs/PIs, describe the complementary and integrated expertise of the PDs/PIs; their leadership approach, and governance appropriate for the planned project.           

Program Faculty. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as program faculty. Faculty should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program and demonstrate a history of, or the potential for, their intended roles.         

Program Participants. Applications must describe the intended participants, and the eligibility criteria and/or specific educational background characteristics that are essential for participation in the proposed research education program. Identify the career levels  for which the proposed program is planned.        

Institutional Environment and Commitment. Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support (see below). Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.       

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, 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 to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates.

Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., Inside the Double Bind, A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics http://her.hepg.org/content/t022245n7x4752v2/fulltext.pdf).

New applications must include a description of plans to enhance recruitment of a diverse participant pool and may wish to include data in support of past accomplishments. The plan should be appropriate and reasonable for the nature and duration of the proposed program.

Renewal applications must include a detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups during the previous funding period. Information must be included on successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies including aggregate information on the distribution of:

  • Individuals who applied for admission to the research education program,
  • Individuals who were offered admission to the research education program,
  • Individuals who participated in the research education program.

For those individuals who participated in the research education program, the report should include information about the duration of education and aggregate information on the number of individuals finished the program in good standing.

Additional information on the required Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity is available at Frequently Asked Questions: Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity (Diversity FAQs).

Applications lacking a diversity recruitment and retention plan will not be reviewed.

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

Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be reviewed.

Evaluation Plan. Applications must include a plan for evaluating the activities supported by the award.  The application must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants), as well as measures to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Wherever appropriate, applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for improvements.

Applicants are encouraged to view the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Evaluation Metrics Manual which provides approaches to measure and document program success and to build a common evaluation language that grantees and program staff can use when discussing programs.  For more information about the PEPH Metrics Manual, please see: www.niehs.nih.gov/pephmetrics.   

Dissemination Plan. A specific plan must be provided to disseminate nationally any findings resulting from or materials developed under the auspices of the research education program, e.g., sharing course curricula and related materials via web postings, presentations at scientific meetings, workshops. 

Resource Sharing Plans

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans  as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following Guide, with the following modification:

Generally, Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and GWAS Sharing Plan) are expected, but they are not applicable for this FOA.

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

  • Software source code should be freely available to biomedical researchers and educators in the non-profit sector, such as institutions of education, research institutions, and government laboratories. Users should be permitted to modify the code and share their modifications with others.
  • The terms of software availability should permit the commercialization of enhanced or customized versions of the software, or incorporation of the software or pieces of it into other software packages.
  • To preserve utility to the community, the software should be transferable such that another individual or team can continue development in the event that the original investigators are unwilling or unable to do so.

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 .

Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

 
3. Submission Dates and Times

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

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

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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 by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH, and responsiveness by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences . Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

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, behavioral, and clinical 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 for the project to strongly advance research education by fulfilling the goal of this R25 Education Program, 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 scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Significance

Does the proposed program address a key audience and an important aspect or important need in research education? Is there convincing evidence in the application that the proposed program will significantly advance the stated goal of the program? If the aims of the education program are achieved, will they prepare industrial hygienists, graduate students, and other occupational safety and health professionals involved in the training of other personnel to be competent and proficient in the field of emerging technologies? Will participants in this education program acquire knowledge, professional skills, and experience in handling hazardous substances associated with emerging technologies that can be applied to their profession, research projects, or of other personnel in these technologies (i.e., Train-the-trainer)?  Will the unique educational opportunity in emerging issues expand and complement existing educational programs in occupational safety and health and industrial hygiene?     

Investigator(s)

Is the PD/PI capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's intended goal is accomplished? If applicable, is there evidence that the participating faculty have experience in mentoring students and teaching science? If applicable, are the faculty good role models for the participants by nature of their scientific accomplishments? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? Is the PD/PI an established expert in conducting training in the handling, managing, or evaluation of hazardous substances associated with emerging technologies?  Is the PD/PI an established investigator in the area of occupational and safety health in which the application is targeted?     

Innovation

Taking into consideration the nature of the proposed research education program, does the applicant make a strong case for this program effectively reaching an audience in need of the program’s offerings? Where appropriate, is the proposed program developing or utilizing innovative approaches and latest best practices to improve the knowledge and/or skills of the intended audience? Is the proposed research education program characterized by innovation and scholarship?  Does the proposed program challenge and seek to shift current research education paradigms, or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field of hazardous substances associated with emerging technologies?  Are the proposed concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies novel for this area?  Does this proposed program duplicate, or overlap with, existing research education, training and/or career development activities in the area of occupational safety and health and industrial hygiene currently supported at the applicant institution or available elsewhere?  Adaptations of existing research education programs may be considered innovative under special circumstances, e.g., the addition of unique components and/or a proposal to determine portability of an existing program.  

Approach

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?  Is there evidence that the program is based on a sound rationale, as well as sound educational concepts and principles? Is the plan for evaluation sound and likely to provide information on the effectiveness of the program?  If the proposed program will recruit participants, are the planned recruitment, retention, and follow-up (if applicable) activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified participant pool? Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposed research education program?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?  If the program is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?  Does the applicant provide a comprehensive description of the skills development, course objectives, course descriptions, course content, any field experiences, a timeline for implementation, and accreditation by recognized accrediting organizations, and a plan to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the education program?  Does the applicant demontrate significant collaboration with at least two other Higher Education Institutions to establish curricula in emerging technologies and establishment of a consortium to enhance the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience for the participants?      

Environment

Will the scientific and educational environment of the proposed program contribute to its intended goals? Is there a plan to take advantage of this environment to enhance the educational value of the program? Is there tangible evidence of institutional commitment? Is there evidence that the faculty have sufficient institutional support to create a sound educational environment for the participants?  Where appropriate, is there evidence of collaboration and buy-in among participating programs, departments, and institutions?  If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research education experiences provided? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between multiple sites (if appropriate)? 

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

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: (1) risk to subjects, (2) adequacy of protection against risks, (3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, (4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and (5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: (1) the justification for the exemption, (2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and (3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is  justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: (1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; (3) adequacy of veterinary care; (4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and (5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period and the success of the program in attracting and retaining individuals from diverse populations, including populations underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral and clinical research. Has the program been adequately evaluated and has the level of success been satisfactory? Do the results of the evaluation document a continued need for support for this program? Is the approach for the next project period responsive to the results of the program’s evaluation? Has the research education program successfully achieved its stated objectives during the prior project period? Has the research education program successfully recruited a diverse pool of participants (if applicable)? Has the PD/PI effectively shaped the recruitment plan in response to recruitment outcomes? Has the program been innovative in the past and does it continue to demonstrate innovation?

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.

Evaluation Plan

Is the evaluation plan adequate for assessing the effectiveness (process and outcome) of the program in achieving its goals and objectives?  Does the plan adequately describe how both short- and long-term program outcomes will be determined and evaluated? Is the planned evaluation consonant with the specific aims, measurable objectives, and goals of the proposed program and the institutional setting? Does the plan include the names of staff that will conduct the evaluation and state the extent of their expertise in program evaluation?  

Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in the summary statement. Plans will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Taking into account the specific characteristics of the proposed research education program, the level of participant experience, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the program faculty in the instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction, taking into consideration the duration of the program; and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years.  See also: NOT-OD-10-019. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in the summary statement. Plans will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.  If this is a renewal, is there a report describing past instruction in the five components described above? Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe any changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans to address any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.  

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

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 of Environmental Health Sciences, 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  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  National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council. 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.

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. Programs that involve participants should report on education in the responsible conduct of research and complete a Training Diversity Report, in accordance with the RPPR Instruction Guide.  

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. 

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.

A final progress report and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report 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 R25 research education programs, employing the measures identified below.  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.

Upon the completion of a program evaluation, NIH and its ICs will determine whether to (a) continue a program as currently configured, (b) continue a program with modifications, or (c) discontinue a program.

 In evaluating this research education program the NIEHS and SRP expect to use the following evaluation measures:

For Curriculum or Methods Development:

  • Aggregate number and demographic characteristics of participants exposed to the new curricula or methods
  • General educational level of participants
  • Dissemination and/or adoption of the new curricula or methods
  • Effectiveness of the new curricula or methods assessed by skills/competencies gained compared to existing curricula or methods

For Courses for Skills Development:

  • Aggregate number and demographic characteristics of participants
  • Educational level of participants
  • Content of the course
  • Participants’ feedback on the course(s)
  • New knowledge or skills acquired
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 Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)

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

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

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., DABT
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-1409
Email: danielle.carlin@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Linda Bass, PhD
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-1307
Email: bass@niehs.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Michelle Victalino
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-316-4666
Email: victalinom@niehs.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

Awards are made under the authorization of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, Title I, Section III, and Title II, Section 209, Public Law 99- 499, as amended; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, Section 311(a), Public Law 96-510; Public Health Service Act, Section 301, Public Law 78-410, as amended; Public Law 99-500. In addition, 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 Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.

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