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-13-021

Related Notices

  • January 27, 2015 - Adjustments to NIH and AHRQ Grant Application Due Dates Between February 13 and February 18, 2015. See Notice NOT-OD-15-057.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-HL-16-007

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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 enhance 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 institutions with an institutional mission focused on serving 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 serve health disparity populations 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, translation, and implementation 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 records of trainees, and (4) foster institutional environments conducive to professional development in the biomedical sciences.

Key Dates

Posted Date

November 13, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

January 18, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

New Date February 19, 2015 per issuance of NOT-OD-15-057. (Original Expiration Date: Feburary 13, 2015); September 18, 2015 (resubmissions only); February 18, 2016; September 19, 2016 (resubmissions only); February 18, 2017; September 18, 2017 (resubmissions only),, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

July 2015; November 2015; July 2016; November 2016; July 2017; November 2017

Advisory Council Review

October 2015, January 2016, October 2016, January 2017, October 2017, January 2018

Earliest Start Date

December 2015

Expiration Date

September 19, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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

There are several options to submit your application to the agency through Grants.gov. You can use the ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online. You can download an application package from Grants.gov, complete the forms offline, submit the completed forms to Grants.gov and track your application in eRA Commons. Or, you can use other institutional system-to-system solutions to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and track your application in eRA Commons. Learn more.

Problems accessing or using ASSIST should be directed to the eRA Service Desk.
Problems downloading forms should be directed to Grants.gov Customer Support.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information

Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Section II. Award Information

Section III. Eligibility Information

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

Section V. Application Review Information

Section VI. Award Administration Information

Section VII. Agency Contacts

Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

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

Purpose and Background Information

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

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

Program Objective

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 sleep disorders 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, disseminates and implements evidence-based interventions into communities, 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.

Current population trends predict that by the year 2050 nearly 50 percent of the US population will include medically underserved, vulnerable populations. Given the substantial need for physicians, physician scientists and others to care for vulnerable populations, and to contribute to the study of diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect these groups, more efforts are needed to enhance the pipeline of well-trained biomedical researchers from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds. An analysis of NHLBI supported trainees (independent of individuals supported by diversity targeted programs) indicates that less than one-fifth of NHLBI trainees are from underrepresented backgrounds. In order to address 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.

The NHLBI encourages research training and career development crossing disciplinary boundaries (examples: biophysics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, bioengineering, systems science, and big data science) to develop a new interdisciplinary workforce. Also of interest to NHLBI are training and career development efforts that focus on implementation research which recognize the numerous knowledge and practice gaps that impede evidence-based interventions. Novel strategies are needed to disseminate and implement "real world" interventions that produce optimal health outcomes, particularly in underserved populations.

Dependent on the proposed training program, resident scientific resources and personnel, applicant institutions 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 and sleep disorders research and who will assist the research advisor at the applicant institution 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 applicant chooses to collaborate with an established cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases and sleep disorders research center(s), arrangements must be completed before submitting an application.

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

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

Program Considerations

The duration of training, the transition of trainees to individual support mechanisms, and their transition to the next career stage are important considerations in institutional training programs. Training PDs/PIs should limit appointments to individuals who are committed to a research career and who plan to remain in training for no less than two years (not applicable to short-term trainees), whether that support comes from a training grant or some combination of NRSA and non-NRSA support programs. Training PDs/PIs should encourage and make available appropriate skills training so that trainees are prepared to apply for subsequent independent support for their training or research program (e.g., an individual fellowship award, mentored career development award, or research project grant), as appropriate for their career stage. In addition, past studies (Lenfant, C. Review of the National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Training Programs, 1989) have shown that health professional trainees who train in programs with postdoctoral researchers who have intensive research backgrounds are more likely to apply for and receive subsequent research grant support. Programs that emphasize research training for individuals with the M.D. or other health-professional degrees are therefore encouraged to develop ties to basic science departments and include trainees with research doctorates when this approach is consistent with the goals of the proposed training program.

Biomedical research and the resulting scientific knowledge are increasingly complex and multidisciplinary in nature. Training PDs/PIs are encouraged to develop institutional training programs that will expose trainees to a diversity of scientific approaches, systems for study, research approaches, and tools and technologies. Consideration of team-based research approaches may also be warranted depending upon the goals of the proposed training program.

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

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

Institutional research training grants must be used to support a program of full-time research training. 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 M.D., D.D.S., or other clinical, health-professional training except when those studies are part of a formal combined research degree program, such as the M.D./Ph.D. 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, nor for any undergraduate-level training. Short-term positions should be requested at the time of application as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Research training programs solely for short-term research training should not apply to this announcement, but rather the T35 NRSA FOA, which can be found in the NIH Training Kiosk.

Responsiveness

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

Application Types Allowed

New

Renewal

Resubmission

Revision

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NHLBI intends fund two new awards in FY 2016, FY 2017, and FY 2018, corresponding to a total of $500,000 per fiscal year.

Award Budget

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

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

Award Project Period

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

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

For short-term trainees, the NIH awarding component may provide grant funds to cover the costs of trainee travel, including attendance at scientific meetings, which the organization determines is necessary to the individual’s training. Trainees must be appointed to the training grant at the time of the actual travel for this to be an allowable cost.

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.

Awardee Meeting. Upon initiation of the program, the NHLBI will hold one 2-day meeting during the project period to encourage the exchange of information among the PD(s)/PI(s) that lead diversity focused training and career development programs. Therefore, in the preparation of the budget for the grant application, the PD(s)/PI(s) should allocate staff travel supporting one 2-day meeting during the third project year only to be held in or near Bethesda, MD. The NIH ceiling for training related expenses may be exceeded for this purpose and these additional funds will be restricted solely for this travel and will not be available for re-budgeting. At these meetings, PD(s)/PI(s) will present their research program, share progress, and discuss next career steps for trainees. The meeting may also include other Training Directors who are preparing trainees for independent research careers.

Indirect Costs

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

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

The Institution must be a domestic college or university with an institutional mission focused on serving health disparity populations, 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.

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.

To be eligible for this FOA, applicant institutions must (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 research capacity development in cardiovascular disease (including associated conditions, e.g., obesity), lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

To be eligible for this FOA, independent medical and graduate schools must (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 service to these communities.

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.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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

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

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

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

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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

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

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

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.

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).

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows. The NIH will accept submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.

Preceptors/Mentors

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program. Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors. In addition, if applicable, to complement expertise or broaden training experience, PD(s)/PI(s) are encouraged to leverage mentors/co-mentors from other institutional programs (e.g., Clinical and Translational Science Awards, CTSA). 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.

Trainees

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

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

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 must be enrolled in a program leading to a Ph.D. in science or in an equivalent research doctoral degree program. Health-professional students 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 Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Comparable doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following: D.M.D., D.C., D.O., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr. P.H., D.N.Sc., D.P.T., Pharm.D., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), D.S.W., Psy.D, 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. 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.

Trainees selected for short-term training are required to pursue research training for 2-3 months on a full-time basis devoting at least 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies. Within the full-time training period, trainees 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. Successful trainees may be appointed for additional periods of short-term training or, if appropriate to their career level, they should be encouraged to apply for an extended period of full-time training supported by an NRSA training grant or fellowship, or an NIH career development award.

Short-term training is not intended, and may not be used, to support activities that would ordinarily be part of a research degree program, nor 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.

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 have received a baccalaureate degree by the beginning date of their NRSA appointment. In addition, students must be enrolled, 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 physical or quantitative science such as physics, mathematics, or engineering before participating in the training program. Individuals already matriculated in a formal research degree program in the health sciences, or those holding a research doctorate, a 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 Pharm.D. 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.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

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

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

Letter of Intent

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

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

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: 301-435-027
Email: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

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

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

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

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

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

If applicable, the NHLBI encourages the inclusion on an Advisory Committee of an individual(s) with a history of obtaining and managing NIH-institutional training programs (e.g., T32 pre-/postdoctoral trainees).

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. Name the PDF formatted letter "Diversity_Eligibility_Ltr.pdf".

Training Plan Letter: If a collaborating institution is involved, written commitment to the training plan signed by the collaborating site PD/PI, and countersigned by the site signing official, must be part of the application. Name the PDF formatted letter "Training_Plan_Ltr.pdf".

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

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

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

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

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

Training Budget

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

  • Include all personnel other than the Training PD(s)/PI(s) in the Other Personnel section, including clerical and administrative staff.
  • Do not use the Research and Related (R&R) Budget Component

PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

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

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

Program Plan

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

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

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

The PD/PI should describe program activities intended to develop the working knowledge needed for trainees to select among and prepare for the next step in varied research career options available in the biomedical workforce. For example, programs should provide all trainees with instruction and training in oral and written presentation and in skills needed to apply for individual fellowship or grant support. All postdoctoral trainees should also be provided with instruction in laboratory and project management. The PD/PI should describe how trainees appointed to the training program will have the opportunity to carry out state-of-the-art supervised biomedical or behavioral research with the primary objective of developing or extending their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career. Also if providing research training at the postdoctoral level, PD/PI must describe plans to emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences that are with the scientific purview of the NHLBI.

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 and sleep disorders research and who will assist the research advisor at the applicant institution 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 applicant institution chooses to collaborate with an established cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases and sleep disorders 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.

For programs that propose short-term training, any didactic training must be well structured and appropriately justified for the duration of the training experience. Short-term trainees that are recruited must have the opportunity to carry out supervised biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research with the primary objective of developing or enhancing their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a health-related research career.

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

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

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

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program.

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

Applicant institutions with an undergraduate student body must provide information that demonstrates that they:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • have a demonstrated need for research capacity development in cardiovascular disease (including associated conditions, e.g., obesity), lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Applicants that are independent medical and graduate schools must provide information that demonstrates that they:

  • provide health care-related services to disadvantaged and underserved communities
  • 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 service to these communities 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.

Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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 applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

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

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

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

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

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

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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

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

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

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 and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, 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-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

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

Overall Impact

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

Scored Review Criteria

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

Training Program and Environment

  • Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as biomedical research scientists?
  • Are the objectives, design and direction of the proposed research training program likely to ensure effective training?
  • Do the courses, where relevant, and research experiences provide opportunities for trainees to acquire state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, methods, and tools that are relevant to the goals of the training program?
  • Does the program provide appropriate inter- or multidisciplinary research training opportunities?
  • Is the proposed training program likely to ensure trainees will be well prepared for research-intensive and research-related careers?
  • Is the level of institutional commitment to the training program, including administrative and research training support, sufficient to ensure the success of the program?
  • Is it clear how the proposed training program is distinguished from other externally funded training programs at the institution?
  • 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 PD/PI have the scientific background, expertise, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program?
  • Does the PD/PI plan to commit sufficient effort to ensure the program’s success?
  • Is sufficient administrative and research training support provided for the program?
  • For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:
    • Is a strong justification provided that the multiple PD/PI leadership approach will benefit the training program and the trainees?
    • Is a strong and compelling leadership approach evident, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the aims of the training program and the complementary expertise of the PDs/PIs?

Preceptors/Mentors

  • Are sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors with appropriate expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees (including short-term trainees, if applicable) proposed in the application?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed research training program?
  • Do the preceptors/mentors have strong records of training individuals at the level of trainees (including short-term trainees, if applicable) proposed in the program? Are appropriate plans in place to ensure that preceptors lacking sufficient research training experience are likely to provide strong and successful mentoring?

Trainees

  • Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies likely to attract well-qualified candidates for the training program?
  • Is there a competitive applicant pool of sufficient size and quality, at each of the proposed levels (predoctoral, postdoctoral and/or short-term), to ensure a successful training program?
  • Are there well-defined and justified selection and re-appointment criteria as well as retention strategies?
  • 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/postdoctorates in similar training) in completing the program?
  • Has the training program ensured that trainees are productive (or, for new applications, other past students/postdoctorates in similar training) in terms of research accomplishments, publication of research conducted during the training period, and subsequent training appointments and fellowship or career development awards?
  • How successful are the trainees (or, for new applications, other past students/postdoctorates in similar training) in achieving productive scientific careers as evidenced by successful competition for research science positions in industry, academia, government or other research venues; grants; receipt of honors, awards, or patents; high-impact publications; promotion to scientific leadership positions; and/or other such measures of success?
  • To what extent do trainees’ subsequent positions in industrial, academic, government, non-profit, or other sectors benefit from their NRSA-supported research training and directly benefit the broader biomedical research enterprise?
  • Does the program propose a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training? Are effective mechanisms in place for obtaining feedback from current and former trainees and monitoring trainees' subsequent career development?
  • For applications that request short-term research training positions, is there a record of retaining health professional trainees in research training or other research activities for at least two years? 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?
  • 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?

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.

Research Center

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

Protections for Human Subjects

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

Resubmissions

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

Renewals

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

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

Additional Review Considerations

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

Recruitment & 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 plan will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the consensus of the review committee will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Taking into account the specific characteristics of the training program, the level of trainee experience, and the particular circumstances of the trainees, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g. lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups, including face-to-face interaction? (A plan involving only on-line instruction is not acceptable.); 2) Subject Matter – Does the plan include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics? 3) Faculty Participation - Does the plan adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction? For renewal applications, are all training faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period named in the application? 4) Duration of Instruction - Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least eight contact hours of instruction? 5) Frequency of Instruction – Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least once during each career stage (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels) and at a frequency of no less than once every four years? See also NOT-OD-10-019.

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

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

Select Agent Research

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

Budget and Period of Support

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

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by NHLBI 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 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:

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

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

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

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

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

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

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventions and Copyrights

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

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) 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 subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

Other Reporting Requirements

  • The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each trainee appointed or reappointed to the training grant. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.
  • Additionally, a completed Payback Agreement Form (PHS Form 6031) must be submitted for each postdoctoral trainee in his or her first 12 months of support.
  • A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271). Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status must first meet full (non-conditional) Permanent Residency requirements before receiving support.
  • Termination Notice: Within 30 days of the end of the total support period, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-7) via xTrain for each trainee appointed for eight weeks or more. Trainees with service payback requirements must notify the NIH of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS Form 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied.

A final Progress Report 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, NHLBI 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 the completion of this evaluation, NHLBI will determine whether to (a) continue the program as currently configured, (b) continue the program with modifications, or (c) discontinue the program.

Evaluation Measures:

For programs involving predoctoral or health professional degree students:

  • Subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program in a STEM field.
  • Subsequent participation in research or employment in a STEM field.
  • The number of students/trainees who have received initial research training at the institution and who have presented their research projects at national meetings.
  • The percentage of predoctoral students who complete the program and graduate with a doctoral degree.
  • Authorship of scientific publications in a STEM field.
  • Evidence of academic advancement and promotion based on research and related accomplishments.
  • Subsequent success in obtaining peer-reviewed research funding.

For programs involving post-doctorates:

  • Subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program in a STEM field.
  • Subsequent participation in research or employment in a STEM field.
  • The number of trainees who have received initial research training at the institution and who have presented their research projects at national meetings.
  • Authorship of scientific publications in a STEM field.
  • Evidence of academic advancement and promotion based on research and related accomplishments.
  • Subsequent success in obtaining peer-reviewed research funding.

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)
Telephone: 301-710-0267
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Sandra Colombini Hatch, MD
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
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)
Telephone: 301-435-0270
Email: nhlbichiefreviewbranch@nhlbi.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Reggie Brown
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-0166
Email: brownreg@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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