Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Funding Opportunity Title

T32 Training Program for Institutions That Promote Diversity (T32)

Activity Code

T32 Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA)

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-HL-12-032

Related Notices

  • November 13, 2014 - This RFA has been reissued as RFA-HL-16-007.
  • November 27, 2013 (NOT-OD-14-027) - NIH to Require Use of Updated Electronic Application Forms for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2014. Forms-C applications are required for due dates on or after January 25, 2014.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-HL-13-021

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.233, 93.837, 93.838, 93.839

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to increase the participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic and sleep disorders research across the career development continuum. The NHLBI’s T32 Training Program for Institutions That Promote Diversity is a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Program intended to support training of predoctoral and health professional students and individuals in postdoctoral training at non-research intensive institutions with an institutional mission focused on serving minority and other health disparity populations not well represented in scientific research, or institutions that have been identified by federal legislation as having an institutional mission focused on these populations, with the potential to develop meritorious training programs in cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, and sleep disorders. The NHLBI’s T32 Training Program for Institutions That Promote Diversity is designed to expand the capability for biomedical research by providing grant support to institutions that have developed successful programs that promote diversity and that offer doctoral degrees in the health professions or in health-related sciences. These institutions are uniquely positioned to engage minority and other health disparity populations in research and translation of research advances that impact health outcomes, as well as provide health care for these populations.

The primary goals of the T32 Training Program for Institutions That Promote Diversity are to:  (1) contribute to the expansion of the future pool of individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in research areas of interest to the NHLBI,, (2) enable trainees to increase their competitiveness for peer-review research funding, (3) strengthen publication record of trainees, and (4) foster institutional environments conducive to professional development in the biomedical science.

Key Dates
Posted Date

May 4, 2012

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

June 9, 2012

Letter of Intent Due Date

June 9, 2012; January 7, 2013; January 7, 2014

Application Due Date(s)

July 9, 2012; February 7, 2013; February 7, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

October/November 2012, June/July 2013, June/July 2014

Advisory Council Review

January 2013, October 2013, October 2014

Earliest Start Date(s)

April 1, 2013; December 1, 2013; December 1, 2014

Expiration Date

February 8, 2014

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide including the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

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

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.  More information about NRSA programs may be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) website.

Training activities can be in basic biomedical or clinical sciences, in behavioral or social sciences, in health services research, or in any other discipline relevant to the NIH mission. Research training programs are designed to allow the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) to select the trainees and develop a curriculum of study and research experiences necessary to provide high quality research training. 

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

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

The Training PD/PI should limit appointments to individuals who are committed to a career in research and who plan to remain on the training grant or in a non-NRSA research experience for a cumulative minimum of 2 years (however, note that some Institutes and Centers have different program guidelines). The Training PD/PI should also encourage and provide training in the skills necessary for trainees to apply for subsequent support through an individual fellowship (F), mentored career development award (K) program, or independent research project grant.

Background:

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides global leadership for a research, training, and education program to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives. The NHLBI stimulates basic discoveries about the causes of disease, enables the translation of basic discoveries into clinical practice, fosters training and mentoring of emerging scientists and physicians, and communicates research advances to the public. It creates and supports a robust, collaborative research infrastructure in partnership with private and public organizations, including academic institutions, industry, and other government agencies. The Institute collaborates with patients, families, health care professionals, scientists, professional societies, patient advocacy groups, community organizations, and the media to promote the application of research results and leverage resources to address public health needs. The NHLBI also collaborates with international organizations to help reduce the burden of heart, lung, and blood diseases worldwide.

If the current US population continues to grow at its current pace, nearly 50% of the 2050 US population will be from medically underserved, vulnerable populations. Given the substantial need for physicians, physician scientists and others to care for vulnerable populations, and to study diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect these groups, more efforts are needed to increase the pipeline by exposing students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in  biomedical research and encouraging them to consider careers in research and related fields. A recent data analysis of the NHLBI training programs (diversity targeted programs were excluded) indicated that less than one-fifth of the NHLBI supported trainees came from any of these groups.  In order to meet this critical need, this NRSA T32 training program for institutions that promote diversity will provide short-term, graduate, and post-doctoral research training to promote diversity in the graduate and health professional populations to contribute to the pool of a future diverse research workforce to address cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, and sleep disorders and conditions.

Training activities can be in basic biomedical or clinical sciences, in behavioral or social sciences, in health services research, or in any other discipline relevant to the NIH mission. Research training programs are designed to allow the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) to select the trainees and develop a curriculum of study and research experiences necessary to provide high quality research training. 

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

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

The Training PD/PI should limit appointments to individuals who are committed to a career in research and who plan to remain on the training grant or in a non-NRSA research experience for a cumulative minimum of 2 years (however, note that some Institutes and Centers have different program guidelines). The Training PD/PI should also encourage and provide training in the skills necessary for trainees to apply for subsequent support through an individual fellowship (F), mentored career development award (K) program, or independent research project grant.

Program Goals and Outcomes:

The NHLBI encourages research training and career development crossing disciplinary boundaries (examples:  biophysics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, bioengineering) to develop a new interdisciplinary work force.

Dependent on the proposed training program, resident scientific resources and personnel, the institutions that promote diversity may choose to identify and collaborate with a research center (medical school or comparable institution) that has strong, well-established cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic diseases research and research training programs to help meet research training needs. This arrangement should provide each trainee with a mentor who is recognized as an accomplished investigator in cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic diseases research and who will assist the advisor at the institution that promotes diversity with the trainee's development and research plan.  Plans for summer training as well as academic year training should be developed by the student and advisor at the trainee's home institution in collaboration with the mentor at the research center.  It is expected that the mentor(s) will guide the trainee through the initial training period and continue this interaction throughout the award. The development of strong mentoring relationships is essential to the success of the trainees and the program.

If the institution that promotes diversity chooses to collaborate with an established cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases research center(s), arrangements must be completed before submitting an application.  Arrangements between the participating institutions for the recruitment of trainees and joint selection of trainers for the provision of training, and for ongoing cooperation and collaboration between the institutions in the implementation of the program should be clearly outlined in the application.

The NHLBI T32 Training Program for Institutions That Promote Diversity’s goals and objectives are to:  (1) contribute to the expansion of the future pool of individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in research areas of interest to the NHLBI in the biomedicine science enterprise, (2) enable trainees to increase their competitiveness for peer-review research funding, (3) strengthen trainees’ publication records, and (4) foster institutional environments conducive to professional development in the biomedical sciences.

Responsiveness

The research proposed must be directly responsive to the mission of the NHLBI. The NHLBI does not support projects primarily focused on malignancy-related research. Studies that address a mechanistic correlation between cancer (i.e., lung cancer) and primary pulmonary diseases may be considered within the mission of the NHLBI. Applications on vaccine development will be considered outside NHLBI’s focused intent for this FOA. Applications on respiratory pathogens will be considered within NHLBI’s intent for this FOA if studies focus on the host immune response. Other potential overlapping areas of interest shared by the NHLBI and other Institutes/Centers of the NIH include myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders, hematological malignancies resulting from disruptions in hematopoiesis, and the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and other cellular therapies. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NHLBI before submitting an application to determine the NHLBI programmatic appropriateness for this FOA and the mission of the NHLBI.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal

The OER Glossary and the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NHLBI intends to fund two new awards in FY 2013, 2014, and 2015, corresponding to a total of $250,000 for new grants per fiscal year.

Loan Repayment Program (LRP): Awardees under this program may be eligible to apply for the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program. Information regarding the eligibility requirements and benefits for the program may be obtained through the LRP website at http://www.lrp.nih.gov/.

Award Budget

NHLBI intends to fund two new awards in FY 2013, 2014, and 2015, corresponding to direct costs of $250,000 for new grants per fiscal 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 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

The total project period for an application submitted in response to this FOA may not exceed five years.

Other Award Budget Information
Stipends, Tuition, and Fees
 

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

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

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

Trainee Travel
Participant Costs

Trainee travel to attend scientific meetings may be requested up to $1,400 per trainee per year.  If institution determines that specialized off-site training is necessary for the individual’s training experience, additional funding may be requested with strong justification.

Training Related Expenses
 

NIH will provide funds to help defray other research 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 are described on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) site.  Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees 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

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

The Institution must be a domestic college or university with an institutional mission focused on serving minority and other health disparity populations underrepresented in scientific research, or institutions that have been identified by federal legislation as having specifically focused institutional missions.

These institutions can assist NIH in its efforts to train and recruit the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date.

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 a strong and high quality research program or partner with an established research center to complement research training in the area(s) proposed under this FOA.  Trainees must have access to the requisite faculty and facilities to conduct the proposed institutional program. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed program will complement other ongoing research training programs occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participating trainees may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals. 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.

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 must complete the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations.

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.

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/Principal Investigator (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 PD(s)/PI(s), 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 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.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this FOA, applicant institutions with an undergraduate student body must demonstrate that they (1) have an institutional mission focused on serving students and diverse communities that are not well represented in NHLBI-funded research, or legislation recognizing such efforts, (2) serve high concentrations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds (a college or university where 20% or more of the student population receive Pell grants will be accepted as an indicator of concentrated student disadvantage), and (3) have a demonstrated need for faculty research capacity development in cardiovascular disease (including associated conditions, e.g., obesity), lung, and blood diseases. 

To be eligible for this FOA, independent medical and graduate schools must demonstrate that they (1) provide health care-related services to disadvantaged and underserved communities, and (2) have a need for research capacity development in cardiovascular disease (including associated conditions e.g., obesity), lung, and blood diseases.  An institution where 20% or more of the institution’s graduates provide health-related care to disadvantaged and underserved communities will be accepted as an indicator of institutional disadvantage.

To demonstrate need for research capacity development in heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders, applicant institutions should not have received over $1,515,000 in NIH funding (direct costs) from the NHLBI per year in any of the previous five years for research training (e.g., T, F, K) and education (e.g., R25) grants in the above NHLBI mission areas.

Certification Letter

Applicants are required to attach a letter certifying the institution’s eligibility for this program. The certification letter must be on institutional letterhead and scanned so that an institutional official‘s signature is visible. The Certification Letter (titled: Diversity_Eligibility_Ltr,) from the institution certifying eligibility for this training program. The Certification Letter must be on institutional letterhead and scanned so that an institutional official signature is visible. Attach this letter to SF 424 (R&R) Section 4.4 “Other Project Information Component” Item 12. “Other Attachments.”

The research proposed must be directly responsive to the mission of the NHLBI. The NHLBI does not support projects primarily focused on malignancy-related research. Studies that address a mechanistic correlation between cancer (i.e., lung cancer) and primary pulmonary diseases may be considered within the mission of the NHLBI. Applications on vaccine development will be considered outside NHLBI’s focused intent for this FOA. Applications on respiratory pathogens will be considered within NHLBI’s intent for this FOA if studies focus on the host immune response. Other potential overlapping areas of interest shared by the NHLBI and other Institutes/Centers of the NIH include myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders, hematological malignancies resulting from disruptions in hematopoiesis, and the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and other cellular therapies. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NHLBI before submitting an application to determine the NHLBI programmatic appropriateness for this FOA and the mission of the NHLBI.

Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will be considered non-responsive.

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 programmatically distinct.

NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial peer review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAINING PARTNERSHIPS

Research Center:

In a scientific world that is becoming increasingly complex, one or more institutes may be needed to build a training program that incorporates a multiple-training platform. Thus, the institution that promotes diversity may choose to identify and collaborate with a research center (medical school or comparable institution) that has strong, well-established cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, or sleep disorders research and research training programs to complement their training program.

Cooperation and collaboration between institutions are needed to provide each trainee with a mentor who is recognized as an accomplished investigator in cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic or sleep disorders research and who will assist the advisor at the institution that promotes diversity with the trainee's development and research plan.  Plans for summer training as well as academic year training should be developed by the student and advisor at the trainee's home institution in collaboration with the mentor at the research center.  It is expected that the mentor(s) will guide the trainee through the initial training period and continue this interaction throughout the award. The development of strong mentoring relationships is essential to the success of the trainees and the program.

The institution that promotes diversity will identify and complete arrangements with an established cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, or sleep disorders research center(s) before submitting an application.  Arrangements between the participating institutions for the recruitment of trainees and joint selection of trainers for the provision of training, and for ongoing cooperation and collaboration between the institutions in the implementation of the program should be clearly outlined in the application.

A written commitment to the training plan signed by the intended faculty mentors at the research center, the department(s) involved and countersigned by both institutional officials, must be part of the application.  The trainee and his or her faculty advisor at the institution that promotes diversity will jointly select a faculty mentor at the research center.

Mentors

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the award. The mentors should have strong records as researchers, including successful competition for research support in the area of proposed research training program.

Trainees

Details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies, to the program and its related research activities, consonant with NRSA guidelines.  Within the 40 hours per week training period, research trainees who are also training as clinicians must devote their time to the proposed research training and must confine clinical duties to those that are an integral part of the research training experience. 

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, or when trainees are appointed to approved, short-term training positions.  The trainees may be appointed for 9-12 months at any time during the course of the budget period.  A strong interest in a cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, or sleep disorder research career must be evident.  Short-term training positions for health professional students are allowed under this program.  No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level or 3 years of support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training and fellowship awards.  Any exception to the maximum period of support requires a waiver from the NIH awarding office based on a review of the written justification from the individual trainee, and endorsed by the Program Director and the sponsoring grantee institution.

Trainees appointed to the training program must have the opportunity to carry out supervised biomedical or behavioral research with the primary objective of developing or extending their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career.

Predoctoral trainees must have received a baccalaureate degree by the beginning date of their NRSA appointment, must be training at the post-baccalaureate level, and be enrolled in a program leading to a PhD in science or in an equivalent research doctoral degree program. Health-professional students, graduate students in the quantitative sciences, or individuals in postgraduate clinical training who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in full-time research training before completing their formal training programs are also eligible.

Postdoctoral trainees must have received, as of the beginning date of the NRSA appointment, a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Eligible doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following:  DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, DPT, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research. Documentation by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution certifying all degree requirements have been met prior to the beginning date of the training appointment is acceptable.  Research training at the postdoctoral level must emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences that are with the scientific purview of the NHLBI.

Short-term health professional trainees must be medical students, dental students, students in other health-professional programs, or graduate students in the physical or quantitative sciences. To be eligible for short-term predoctoral research training positions, students must be enrolled and in good standing and must have completed at least one quarter or semester in a program leading to a clinical doctorate, or a doctorate in a quantitative science such as physics, mathematics, or engineering. Individuals already matriculated in a formal research degree program in the health sciences, or those holding a research doctorate or master’s degree or a combined health-professional/research doctorate normally are not eligible for short-term training positions. Within schools of pharmacy, only individuals who are candidates for the PharmD degree are eligible for short-term research training positions.

Training Program

A Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grant must be used to support a program of full-time research training.  Within the full-time training period, research trainees who are also training as clinicians must devote their time to the proposed research training and must confine clinical duties to those that are an integral part of the research training experience. The program may not be used to support studies leading to the MD, DDS, or other clinical, health-professional training except when those studies are part of a formal, combined research degree program, such as the MD/PhD. Similarly, trainees may not accept NRSA support for clinical training that is part of residency training leading to clinical certification in a medical or dental specialty or subspecialty. It is permissible and encouraged, however, for clinicians to engage in NRSA-supported, full-time postdoctoral research training even when that experience is creditable toward certification by a clinical specialty or subspecialty board.

Short-term training is not intended, and may not be used, to support activities that would ordinarily be part of a research degree program or for any undergraduate-level training. Short-term positions should be requested at the time of application as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Applicants for programs that include only short term research training should apply to the T35 NRSA, which can be found in the NIH Training Kiosk

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 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:

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Director, Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Research Activities
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7214, MSC 7924 
Bethesda, MD 20892-7924 (for express mail: Bethesda, MD 20817)
Telephone: 301-435-0270
Email: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory and optional.  Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Page Limitations

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

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component

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 modifications:

Project Summary /Abstract

Provide an abstract of the entire application, including the long-term goals and objectives of the program. Include the rationale and design of the program, the planned duration of the program and the projected number of trainees, including their levels (i.e., predoctoral, postdoctoral).

Advisory Committee (Uploaded via the Other Attachments section)

A plan must be provided for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to monitor progress. Composition, responsibilities, frequency of meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe the composition of the Advisory Committee, identifying the role and the desired expertise of members. A plan for Advisory Committee approval and selection of participants should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will function in providing oversight of the development, implementation, and evaluation of recruitment strategies, the recruitment and retention of candidates, and the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the program. Note that proposed Advisory Committee members should not be named in the application, particularly if they include individuals from outside the institution. However, renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include names of existing external advisors. 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.

Training Budget Component

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

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 additional instructions described below:

Particular attention must be given to the required Training Data Tables.

Program Administration (Component of Program Plan)

Describe the strengths, leadership and administrative skills, and scientific expertise of the Training PD/PI. Include the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the program. For applications with multiple PDs/PIs, address the Leadership Plan and how the combined knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PDs/PIs will enhance the likelihood of success of the program.

Program Faculty (Component of Program Plan)

Describe in general terms the complementary expertise and experiences of the proposed mentors. Provide an overview of their active research and other scholarly activities, as well as track records of mentoring and training.

Proposed Training (Component of Program Plan)

Provide an overview of the proposed program: Describe the immediate and long-term objectives of the program, including activities that will be used to ensure that the objectives of the program are met. Include information about planned courses, curricula, seminars, workshops, or tutorials that will be incorporated into the training program and mentored research experiences and activities. Institutions with existing training or career development programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, and justify that the faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs. The description should include planned strategies to be used to ensure that the objectives are met. The PD/PI should also describe past research career development activities/experiences including those of mentors, documenting the success of former trainees in establishing independent productive scientific careers. Programs should provide all trainees with additional professional development skills and career guidance including instruction and training in grant writing in order to apply successfully for future fellowships as eligible and career development and independent research support. All postdoctoral trainees should also be provided with instruction in laboratory and project management. 

Program Evaluation (Component of Program Plan)

Describe an evaluation plan to review and determine the effectiveness of the program. This should include plans to obtain feedback from current and former scholars to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements, as well as plans for assessing trainees’ career development and progression, including metrics such as degree completion (if applicable), publications, and subsequent positions. Specified evaluation metrics should be tied to the goals of the program. Evaluation results should be included in future competing continuation (renewal) applications and in the Final Progress Report.

Trainee Candidates (Component of Program Plan)

Describe in general terms the pool of potential candidates including information about the types of prior clinical and research training and the expected career level required for the program. Do not name prospective trainees. Describe plans to recruit candidates and explain how these plans will be implemented (see also section on Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity). Describe the evaluation criteria to be used in the selection of trainees. Provide brief summaries of training plans that the program will employ. The application should contain a description of how training plans will be tailored to the needs of the prospective candidates, taking into account their past experiences and competences.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program (Component of Program Plan)

The application must include a statement from the applicant institution describing the commitment to the planned program. The institution must assure that essential time will be allowed for the PD(s)/PI(s), other faculty and mentors.

Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Since this FOA is targeted to institutions that promote diversity, this section is not applicable.

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. 

Appendix

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

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications via 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 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.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF 424 (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.

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 SF 424(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 Central Contractor Registration (CCR). 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 and responsiveness by NHLBI, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the program to exert a sustained, powerful 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 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.

Training Program and Environment

Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as biomedical scientists? Do the objectives, design and direction of the proposed research program ensure effective training? Is the proposed program of training likely to ensure that trainees will be prepared for successful and productive scientific careers? Do the courses, where relevant, and research training experiences address state-of-the-art science relevant to the aims of the program? Does the program provide training in inter- or multi-disciplinary research and/or provide training in state-of-the-art or novel methodologies and techniques? Is a significant level of institutional commitment to the program evident? Are the facilities, environment, and resources for the proposed research training at the institution that promotes diversity adequate and appropriate? If a partnership arrangement is proposed, are the facilities, environment, and resources for the proposed research training, collectively at the institution that promotes diversity and collaborating research center adequate and appropriate? Is a collaborative effort in training and management evident where partnering institutions are involved? 

For applications that request short-term research training positions: Is this aspect of the program well designed and, where appropriate, integrated with other aspects of the training program? Are the numbers of short-term positions appropriate? Does the program include features to encourage short-term trainees to consider careers in health-related research?

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

Does the Training PD/PI have the scientific background, expertise, and experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program? Does the Training PD/PI plan to commit sufficient time to the program to ensure its success? Is sufficient administrative and research training support provided for the program?

For applications designating multiple PD/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 with the complementary expertise of each of the PDs/PIs?

Preceptors/Mentors

Are sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors with appropriate expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees proposed in the application? Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records as researchers, including successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed research training program? Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records of training pre- and/or postdoctorates?

Trainees

Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies to attract high quality trainees? Are there well-defined and justified selection criteria and retention strategies? Is a competitive applicant pool in sufficient numbers to warrant the proposed size and levels (predoctoral, postdoctoral and/or short-term) of the training program in evidence? 

For applications that request short-term research training positions:
Does the program have the ability to recruit high quality, short-term trainees?

Training Record

How successful are the trainees (or for new applications, other past students/fellows in similar training) in completing the program? How productive are trainees (or for new applications, other past students/fellows) in terms of research accomplishments and publications? How successful are trainees (or other past students/fellows) in obtaining further training appointments, fellowships, and career development awards? How successful are the trainees in achieving productive scientific careers, as evidenced by successful competition for research grants, receipt of honors or awards, high-impact publications, receipt of patents, promotion to scientific leadership positions, and/or other such measures of success? Does the program have a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training? Are effective mechanisms in place for obtaining feedback from current and former trainees and monitoring trainees’ subsequent career development?

For programs that provide research training to health-professional doctorates:
Is there a record of retaining health professionals in research training or other research activities for at least two years?

For applications that request short-term research training positions: 

Are plans presented to follow the careers of short-term trainees and to assess the effect of the training program on subsequent career choices? What is the success in attracting students back for multiple appointments? What is the effect of the short-term component on the overall training program?

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/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Research Center

Are the cooperative agreements between the institution that promotes diversity and the collaborating research center and the commitment of the relevant faculty at the collaborating research center to the training program adequate?

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 and the success of the program in attracting and retaining individuals from diverse populations, including populations underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral science. Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)?  Are changes proposed that would improve or strengthen the training experience?

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/priority score.

Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Since this FOA is targeted to institutions that promote diversity, this section is not applicable.

Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity for Renewal Applications

Since this FOA is targeted to institutions that promote diversity, this section is not applicable.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Taking into account the specific characteristics of the training program, level of trainee experience, and the particular circumstances of the trainees, the reviewers will address the following questions.  Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups?  Do plans include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, and laboratory safety?  Do the plans adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction?  Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., eight contact hours of instruction every four years? If this is a renewal, is there a report describing past instruction in the five components described above?  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 NHLBI in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Review assignments will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted 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 NHLB Advisory Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

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 the DUNS, CCR Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants 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 at 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.

As specified in the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, Kirschstein-NRSA recipients incur a service payback obligation for the first 12 months of postdoctoral support. Policies regarding the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA payback obligation are explained in the NIH Grants Policy Statement; and more details are in the Frequently Asked Questions. Officials at the grantee institution have the responsibility of explaining the terms of the payback requirements to all prospective trainees before appointment to the training grant. Additionally, all trainees recruited into the training program should be provided with information related to the career options that might be available when they complete the program. The suitability of such career options as methods to satisfy the NRSA service payback obligation should be discussed.

Leave Policies

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. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Trainees may also receive stipends for parental leave as described in 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 must seek approval from the NIH awarding component for an unpaid leave of absence. 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

The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted. Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, must be followed.

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 sub awards 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 sub awards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Other Reporting Requirements

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. Evaluation results should be included as part of the final Progress Report.

4. Evaluation

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

Within ten years of making awards under this program, NIH will assess the program’s overall outcomes, gauge its effectiveness in enhancing diversity, and consider whether there is a continuing need for the program.  Upon completion of this evaluation NIH will determine whether to (a) continue the program as currently configured, (b) continue the program with modifications, or (c) discontinue the program.

Listed below are key metrics to be used to help determine whether the program goals or outcomes have been met in a future evaluation:

For programs involving predoctoral or health professional degree students:

For programs involving postdoctorates:

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone 301-435-0714
TTY 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Sandra Colombini Hatch, MD
Division of Lung Diseases (responding for all NHLBI programmatic Divisions)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Two Rockledge Center, Suite 10162, MSC 7952
6701 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-7952
Telephone: 301-435-0222
Email: hatchs@nhlbi.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Director, Office of Scientific Review
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7214, MSC 7924
Bethesda, MD 20892-7924 or Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express mail)
Telephone: 301-435-0270
Email: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Beckie Chamberlin
Team Leader
Division of Extramural Research Activities
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7154
Bethesda, MD 20892-7926
Telephone: 301-435-0144
Email: chamberr@nhlbi.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 Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66.


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