Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Program (NRCDP) (K12)  

Activity Code

K12 Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA)

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-NS-12-008

Companion FOA

None

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.853  

FOA Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by NINDS is to solicit applications to support a national program of mentored advanced research career development for junior neurosurgeon faculty at institutions nationwide that support neurosurgical research. The goal of the program is to expand the cadre of neurosurgeon-researchers who will combine their clinical and research expertise to conduct research into neurological disorders that neurosurgeons are uniquely qualified to conduct.

Key Dates
Posted Date

September 1, 2011

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

October 17, 2011

Letter of Intent Due Date

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

November 17, 2011, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

February-March, 2012

Advisory Council Review

May 2012

Earliest Start Date(s)

July 2012

Expiration Date

November 18, 2011

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 especially the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, except where 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 Research Career Development programs 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 needs.  More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.

Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by NINDS is to solicit applications for a Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Program (NRCDP). The NRCDP will support a national effort for mentored career development and training of junior neurosurgeon faculty at institutions nationwide that support neurosurgical research. The goal of this program is to increase the cadre of neurosurgeon investigators trained to conduct research into neurological disorders, making use of their neurosurgical training. This research career development program should promote high quality, novel, creative research and innovative investigation by this cohort of individuals who possess unique clinical and research skills. As a result of training in this program, highly skilled neurosurgeons should be prepared to develop a successful, independent, well-funded research program, which they will combine with their clinical neurosurgery career to advance the understanding and treatment of neurological disorders. This FOA will fund, up to a maximum of 5 years, the administration and infrastructure of one NRCDP. It uses the K12 Career Development mechanism, to be overseen by a national cohort of renowned basic and clinical investigators, to support the career development of neurosurgeon-researchers at institutions around the country.

The involvement of neurosurgeons in cutting edge scientific research is critical, due to their unique ability to conduct human research with neurosurgical techniques. Moreover, neurosurgeons have a unique perspective on neurological disorders based on their clinical experience in neurosurgery. Research into, for example, hydrocephalus, vascular disease, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, brain tumors and many other neurological disorders, can benefit greatly from the involvement of neurosurgeons. However, the cohort of neurosurgeons conducting NIH-funded research is small, due to several obstacles. Among the most important obstacles is the ability to devote the time necessary towards research career development to become a successful research scientist. Neurosurgery residencies are long and involve a heavy clinical load, which can preclude the ability to obtain individual support from NIH career development awards during residency. When neurosurgeons subsequently obtain a first faculty position at an institution different from their residency institution, clinical duties often prevent them from obtaining the protected time required to get a mentored research project to a stage where they can successfully compete for individual research funding. The goals of the NRCDP program are to provide support for a prolonged period of mentored research career development following residency, to build networking and collaborative infrastructure, and to facilitate the transition of neurosurgeons from mentored to independent research positions. Neurosurgeons in their last year of residency, or in their first year of an independent clinical faculty position, who change institutions between residency and faculty positions, can apply to the NRCDP program for support, which is intended to start during their first year following residency. The NRCDP will provide the selected neurosurgeons with the experience, research support and funding necessary to initiate a vigorous, sustainable research program. In addition, the NRCDP will create a support and mentoring network whereby scholars will have the opportunity to interact with both junior and senior neurosurgeon researchers. 

The NRCDP Program:

The NRCDP K12 award provides five years of funding to the applicant organization to support a national research career development program. Although this K12 award is housed at the PD/PI's institution, it is not intended to support scholars solely at that institution. The PD/PI will recruit applications from eligible candidates at institutions from across the country, and selected scholars will proceed with their career development and research plan at their home institution, with a local mentor. The institution that houses this K12 is just one of these institutions at which research career development activities can occur. The NRCDP PD/PI, together with the Advisory Committee, will define the application process, review candidates, make appointments to qualified individuals, monitor progress of each scholar, and ensure that program policies and requirements are followed.

The program is intended to fund up to two new scholars per year. For each scholar, a five year career development program consists of two phases. In Phase I, the scholar receives up to two years of financial support directly from the K12 award (a third year is possible in unusual circumstances, at the discretion of the PD/PI and the advisory committee). During this phase, the scholar will embark on a focused career development program that will include research, skills development and any necessary education, under the auspices of a mentor who has an outstanding record of research productivity and training. In conjunction with the mentor, the scholar develops a research and career development plan suitable to launch an independent research career to investigate a clinically significant research topic. This plan, and scholar progress, will be reviewed annually by the NRCDP PD/PI and advisory committee.

In Phase II, the scholar begins to transition to independence. The scholar remains associated with the NRCDP program, but must obtain funds from sources other than the K12. It is intended that the scholar will secure funds from an individual, mentored career development award, such as an NIH K08, K23 or equivalent. However, some scholars may be ready to obtain a large independent research grant, such as an NIH R01 or equivalent, or an independent career development award such as an NINDS K02. Scholars apply for individual awards during the second year of Phase I, so that funding may be in place for the third year of the program. It is important that the scholar's research and career development plan be tailored to ensure that the candidate will be in a position to submit a competitive individual award during the second year of the program. To this end, it is important that the scholar receive strong guidance and support from the mentor, the NRCDP PD/PI and advisory committee and the Chair of the scholar's department, to provide the best possible opportunity for success. In the event that the candidate is making good progress during Phase I, makes appropriate efforts to obtain individual funding for the start of Phase II, but fails to do so by the start of the third year of the program, an ability to continue to devote 50% effort to research is critical to the scholar’s continued progress towards success.  Thus, the Chair of the scholar’s home department should provide 50% protected time to the scholar during the entire Phase II period, even in the event of a gap in grant funding. The Chair’s commitment to the candidate’s research effort should be included as part of the the scholar’s application to the NRCDP.  The NRCDP will generally not provide financial support during the third year of the scholar's program. However, limited financial help may be provided at the discretion of the PD/PI, in consultation with the advisory committee.

The scholars supported by this program may conduct basic, clinical and/or translational research. It is expected that this research will integrate with their clinical activities and that their clinical and research activities will inform each other. Applications responsive to this solicitation should address the following:

The components and activities to be included in proposed NRCDP programs are described in more detail in Section IV below.

Special Note: The PD/PI is strongly encouraged to work closely with the designated NINDS staff to maximize the success of the program in achieving the goals of this FOA. Potential applicants should contact the NINDS Director of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity with any questions about this program, program planning or application for this award.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant 

Application Types Allowed

New

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NINDS intends to fund up to 1 award in response to this solicitation with a maximum of $800,000 direct cost for fiscal year 2012. Future support will depend on annual appropriations and program needs.

Award Budget

Application budgets must reflect actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

The maximum period is 5 years

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

The PD/PI may request salary for up to 1.2 person-months (10%) effort and fringe benefits.

This award will provide support for up to 2.4 person-months (20%) effort for an administrative assistant to the PD/PI for work directly performed for the NRCDP program. Funds may also be requested for honoraria for Advisory Committee Members.

Note: Program-related administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when they are in accordance with applicable cost principles.  For institutions covered by OMB Circular A-21, this type of career development program may qualify as a “major project” where administrative salaries are allowable as a direct cost.  When specifically identified and justified, these expenses must be itemized in Sections A and B, as appropriate, of the R&R Budget.   

Scholars are those individuals who benefit from the proposed activities and experiences involved in the career development program. It is intended that up to two new scholars per year will be funded by this program. Funds may be used to support scholar salary and fringe benefits. This support should be consistent with NINDS support provided by individual mentored K awards. Scholar costs must be justified as specifically required for the proposed career development program, and must be itemized in the proposed budget.

 Other Program Related Expenses

This award will provide support for research and career development expenses, and support for scholars to attend scientific meetings deemed appropriate for their research career development. It is also anticipated that funds will be used to support travel of scholars to an annual meeting organized by the PD/PI for participants in the NRCDP program. Expenses, such as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and travel directly related to the research career development program are allowed. The amount of these funds should be consistent with support provided by NINDS for individual mentored K awards, but may be supplemented, at the discretion of the PD/PI, for unusual, well-justified expenses. Funds may also be used for an annual meeting of scholars, advisory committee members and appropriate faculty. Funding of mentor salary is not allowed.

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:

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

Governments

Other

Eligible institutions must be affiliated with a medical school with a neurosurgery (or equivalent) department that supports both clinical and funded research activities. 

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/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.

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/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. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least four (4) 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 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 PD/PI of the NRCDP should possess the scientific expertise, demonstrated leadership capabilities, stature and administrative capabilities required to coordinate and supervise a national, multidisciplinary research career development program for neurosurgeons. The PD/PI should be nationally recognized as a leading neurosurgeon-researcher. The PD/PI should have a strong record in research training of neurosurgeons, and perhaps other clinician-scientists, who have gone on to successful research careers. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

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

Participants (Scholars)

Details on citizenship requirements are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Briefly, scholars must be U.S citizens or non-citizen nationals lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possessing an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151 or I-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.

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

Not Applicable.

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 SF 424 (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:

Substitute all references to “trainees” in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide with “scholars” and all references to “training” in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide with “career development”.

Project Summary /Abstract

Provide an abstract of the entire application, including the long-term goals and objectives of the program, key elements of the career development plan, and brief descriptions of planned research training program. Include the rationale and design of the program, the planned duration and projected number of scholars, including their levels (i.e., post-residency, first year faculty).

Advisory Committee (Uploaded via the Other Attachments section)

NRCDP Advisory Committee:

The Advisory Committee, chaired by the PD/PI, is a select group of scientists who, predominantly, have established records of research and research training of clinician-scientists. The committee should be composed of approximately 9-11 members. This committee must be diverse in nature, with respect to scientific interests, geographic location and prior training affiliations. The advisory committee should also have appropriate representation of women and underrepresented minorities. Whereas it is appropriate that most members of the advisory committee be neurosurgeon-researchers, the inclusion of leading physician-scientists from other disciplines (e.g. neurology) and nationally renowned PhD scientists with an established record of training physician-scientists, is desirable. It is also highly recommended that at least two members of the advisory committee be more junior neurosurgeon-scientists (i.e. those in the latter stages of an individual career development award or who have received their first R01). The advisory committee evaluates all applicants to the program (which will include the evaluation of written applications and conducting interviews), monitors progress of current scholars and provides feedback to individuals as appropriate. Advisory committee members may be asked to perform site visits at scholar institutions, and should have the appropriate stature within the community to discuss program principles and policies with scholars, mentors and chairs. Advisory committee members are expected to attend and participate in all annual meetings of the NRCDP program. The duration of service of individual advisory committee members to the NRCDP program will be negotiated between individual members and the PD/PI, and should generally be a minimum of 3 years. Advisory Committee members may be primary mentors or secondary mentors, but must avoid any conflict-of-interest in the scholar selection process.

The advisory committee members should be proposed in the application, as the appropriateness of the committee will be evaluated by the peer review committee. Potential PD/PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss the specific composition of the proposed advisory committee with the NINDS Director of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity well in advance of application submission. 

NRCDP Application Instructions:

A plan must be provided for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to aid in the running of the program and to monitor progress. Composition, including name, expertise, affiliation and prior training affiliations, as well as their roles and responsibilities, frequency of meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will function in providing oversight of the development, implementation, and evaluation of recruitment strategies, the recruitment, selection and retention of candidates, and the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the program. 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.

Research and Related (R&R) 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:

Program Administration (Component of Program Plan)

NRCDP Program Administration:

The PD/PI has responsibility for day-to-day administration of the NRCDP program, and must be a neurosurgeon-scientist with a strong research program, a strong record of successful training and national recognition as a leader in the field. The PD/PI should also have the administrative experience to direct a national program, which will involve coordination of scholars, mentors, department chairs from many different institutions and an advisory committee composed of nationally recognized physician- and PhD scientists.

The PD/PI will be responsible for:

NRCDP Application Instructions:

Describe the strengths, leadership and administrative skills, scientific expertise and training experience of the Training PD/PI. Particular attention should be paid to the qualifications of the PD/PI to lead and oversee this national training program, and include discussion of leadership activities at a national level. Include a discussion of active research and the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the program. For applications with multiple PDs/PI(s), 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)

NRCDP Program Faculty:

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 mentee’s participation in this award.

Primary mentors must be tenured faculty (or equivalent), who have an established record of research productivity, grant support and successful training of clinician scientists. A primary mentor should have a strong research program in an area relevant to the NINDS mission. The primary mentor need not be a neurosurgeon. However, in such cases, all scholars should have a secondary mentor who is an accomplished neurosurgeon-researcher. Members of the advisory committee may serve as secondary mentors to scholars, where an appropriate, local neurosurgeon-scientist is not available. Linkages of scholars to other departments, potentially through choice of mentors, should be encouraged, as they enhance career development and facilitate collaborative efforts. It is particularly encouraged that scholars develop interactions with neurologists and other non-neurosurgeons who conduct research within the NINDS mission, as this can foster multidisciplinary research and the development of novel ideas and approaches. Although mentors must demonstrate a commitment to the NRCDC program and scholars, they cannot receive salary, fringe benefits or research support for this role on the K12 grant.

NRCDP Application Instructions:

Describe the expertise and experiences expected of mentors for the scholars. . Because the identity of individual mentors cannot be known in advance, describe the plan for ensuring proper, successful mentorship of scholars.

Proposed Training (Component of Program Plan)

NRCDP Application Instructions:

Provide an overview of the proposed program. Describe the immediate and long-term objectives of the program, including training or career development 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 proposal from the others, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, and make it clear that the faculty, 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 Training PD/PI should also describe past research career development activities/experiences including those of mentors, documenting the success of former scholars in establishing independent productive scientific careers. Describe how the NRCDP will provide scholars with both oral and written presentation skills, including instruction in grant writing, that will allow them to apply successfully for future career development and research support. Describe any other instruction that scholars will receive, such as in laboratory, project and time-management skills, and how this will be achieved under the auspices of the NRCDP.

Program Evaluation (Component of Program Plan)

NRCDP Application Instructions:

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 scholars’ 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 as part of the Final Progress Report.

Trainee Candidates (Component of Program Plan)

NRCDP Candidate Scholars:

NRCDP Scholars are associated with the K12 program for 5 years, but are directly supported by the K12 award for a maximum of 2 years (up to 3 years under rare and unusual circumstances, at the discretion of the PD/PI). Scholars must devote a minimum of 6 person-months (50% of full-time professional effort) to research activities while financially supported by the K12, and should continue to devote 50% effort during Phase II of this process. Scholars funded by the NRCDP K12 must be conducting research that falls within the NINDS mission.

Scholars to be supported by the NRCDP must be clinically practicing neurosurgeons. Eligible candidates for application to the program include those finishing residency training and those who are within one year of completing their residency training. It is intended that scholar support from this program will begin during the first year of a faculty appointment. An individual who has served as a PD/PI on an NIH research grant (R01, R03, R21, P01, etc.), an individual career development award (K01, K02, K08, K23, K99, etc.), other non-training NIH grant (e.g. U-type or P-type grant, etc.), a subproject of a program project (P01) or contract (N01) may not be considered for support by the NRCDP.

As part of the recruitment effort, the NRCDP program should make every effort to broadly advertise the program. The program must seek out qualified women and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Support from this program is intended only for individuals who move to a new institution following their residency. Neurosurgeons who remain in a faculty position at their residency institution may be invited to participate in NRCDP activities, but they are not eligible for scholar funding from the NRCDP K12. These individuals should apply for individual mentored career development awards (K08, K23, K99), or research grants, if appropriate.

The program should strive to support career development of those individuals who might have the greatest effect on patients with neurological disorders. All types of research, including basic, clinical and translational, are equally appropriate, but regardless of research type, it should be disease-relevant and potentially applicable to clinical practice. Scholar selection should consider the likelihood that the candidate will be competitive for individual funding by the third year of the program.

Applicants to the program must make a commitment to both Phase I and Phase II support stages (see below). Scholars should develop, in conjunction with their primary (and if appropriate, secondary) mentor, a long-range research and career development plan, which includes the necessary progress to obtain individual funding by the third year of the program. The NRCDP program is intended to support candidates who will make a commitment to 50% effort to research for at least a 5 year period, which covers phases I and II. Provided they make appropriate progress during the first year, as judged by the PD/PI and Advisory Committee, scholars are renewed for a second year of NRCDP support. Under rare and unusual circumstances, limited support during a third year is possible, at the discretion of the PD/PI and advisory committee. Starting in the second year, scholars should be strongly encouraged to seek outside grant support as they transition to a more independent research position. Ideally, scholars will have obtained individual career development support by the beginning of their third year.

Phase I:

During each year of Phase I, in addition to conducting research an pursuing their research career development at their home institution, scholars will submit an annual progress report to the NRCDP PD/PI, will attend the NRCDP annual meeting, and will present their research in a public forum at the meeting. Scholars may engage in brief research activities at another institution if it is directly related to the purpose of the award. For research activities lasting longer than one month, scholars must obtain prior written approval from the K12 PD/PI. In addition, periods of leave from the program for greater than three months, for either professional or personal reasons, require prior written approval from the K12 PD/PI and the NINDS program official.

Phase II:

Phase II scholars are encouraged to remain associated with the NRCDP program for an additional 3 years (up to a maximum of 5 years). With their acceptance of support during the phase I period, they are expected  to submit annual progress reports to the NRCDP program, attend NRCDP meetings and present their research findings in a public forum at NRCDP meetings during the phase II period.

Phase II Scholars should continue to devote 6 person months (50% of total professional effort) to research activities, and are expected to obtain individual funding. However, should Phase II scholars be making solid progress in their research, and making appropriate efforts to obtain individual funding, including seeking advice from all appropriate sources, the scholar's department should continue to provide 50% protected time for research and adequate funds to keep the scholar's research efforts going until individual funding is obtained, through the Phase II period.

Any scholar who permanently withdraws from the NRCDP program before the end of the 5 year period will be asked to submit a summary of events leading up to that decision, and a statement of how he/she will or will not incorporate research into his/her future career, to the K12 PD/PI and NINDS.

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NINDS or the NIH may request information from the scholar essential to assessment of the effectiveness of the program. Accordingly, scholar institutions are hereby notified that NRCDP scholars may be contacted after the completion of their career development experiences 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 and success of the program.

NRCDP Application Instructions:

Describe in general terms the pool of potential candidates including information about the types of prior clinical and research training and career level required for the program. Do not name prospective Scholars. 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 criteria to be used for candidate evaluation in the selection of Scholars, and the planned overall selection process. Provide brief summaries of career development plans that the program will employ. The application should contain a description of how career development plans will be tailored to the needs of the prospective candidates, taking into account their past experiences and competences, and should distinguish the plan from fellowship training.

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

NRCDP Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program:

The Chair of the scholar's home department plays a critical role in the success of the NRCDP. The goal of the program is to increase the number of highly successful neurosurgeon-scientists conducting critically important research in areas within the NINDS mission. The organization of the program is such that few scholars will be directly supported by the program, with the intent that all of those supported will go on to successful, dual careers as clinical neurosurgeons and productive, well-funded researchers. In order to launch such a career, scholars need a period of outstanding training and mentoring as well as adequate protected time to successfully conduct high quality research and obtain independent funding. Consequently, for a successful application to the NRCDP program, Chairs should commit to allowing the scholar to spend a minimum of 50% of full time professional effort on research activities for the period of support by the NRCDP. In addition, Chairs should make every effort to provide appropriate resources and support, in whatever form is needed, to ensure success of the scholar.

Whereas it is intended that the scholars will have some salary support from grants for the entire 5 year period, it is possible that, in some cases, a gap in funding will occur during the Phase II period of the program. The scholar's Chair is asked to commit to the scholar's protected time for research even if a gap in funding occurs. In the event that a scholar wishes to leave the program, or is making what is deemed unsatisfactory progress on the research project (e.g. is not collecting appropriate data or does not apply for individual support in a timely manner), the Chair will be released from this commitment.

It should be anticipated that the NRCDP program will make at least one site visit to each scholar's home department to discuss with the scholar, mentor(s), Chair and others involved in the scholar's activities the scholar's progress, needs and any other relevant issues.

Annual NRCDP Meeting:

The PD/PI will organize an annual meeting for scholars, the advisory committee, and appropriate faculty. The purpose of this meeting will be to provide a forum for mentoring, evaluation of scholar progress, career development, development of scientific networks among scholars and other researchers and other purposes at the PD/PI's discretion. This meeting should include junior neurosurgeon researchers not affiliated with the NRCDP program, in order to broaden the scope of career development and networking within the neurosurgical research community.

NRCDP Application Instructions:

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 PDs/PIs, other faculty and mentors. The application should also describe plans for monitoring and ensuring appropriate scholar commitments, and a broad outline of plans for the annual meeting.

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, with the following modifications:

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.

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

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the 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/PIs 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 the NINDS. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.  

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NINDS Referral Office by email at nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

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.

Career Development Program and Environment

Do the objectives, design and direction of the proposed career development program ensure effective training of neurosurgeons from multiple institutions around the country? Is the proposed program likely to ensure that scholars will be prepared for successful and productive scientific careers? Does the proposed program clearly outline a plan to recruit and develop well-qualified junior investigators for successful careers as biomedical or clinical researchers? Is there evidence of an adequate pool of potential scholars who could benefit from receiving career development support? Is there evidence that the PD/PI will be able to coordinate career development activities at the multiple sites that will be the scholar home institutions? Is there sufficient assurance that the required effort of the PD/PI, mentors, advisory committee and scholars will be devoted to their respective activities within the program?

Does the program describe a plan for an annual meeting that will serve to foster career development and success among neurosurgeon scholars and other junior neurosurgeon investigators? Is there an appropriate plan for inclusion of an appropriate number and type of attendees at this annual meeting? Does the program describe a rigorous scholar selection plan, designed to select the very best applicants from a national pool of candidates? Does the scholar selection process provide a rigorous means for evaluation of the proposed research project, mentorship plan, career development plan and institutional commitment? Does the program have a sound and equitable process for evaluating candidates, monitoring scholar progress and enforcing program policies?

Advisory Committee: Is the constitution of the advisory committee appropriate, with regard to scientific expertise, training record, stature, gender distribution and diversity? Are the members of the advisory committee diverse with respect to geographic distribution, prior training affiliations and subject matter expertise? Are the advisory committee members well qualified to serve as primary and secondary mentors? Do most members of the advisory committee have the necessary status within the community to enforce the policies of the NRCDP? Does the advisory committee include junior neurosurgeon-scientists who could provide insight and helpful advice to scholars? Is there evidence that each member of the advisory committee has agreed to devote the time necessary to ensure success of the program as designed? Is there adequate documentation describing the responsibilities of the advisory committee with regard to the provision of input, guidance and oversight of the program?  

Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PDs/PIs)

Does the PD/PI have the scientific qualifications, expertise, stature, mentoring experience and leadership experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration to the proposed career development program? Does the PD/PI plan to commit sufficient time to the program to ensure its success? Is sufficient administrative support provided for the program?  Does the leadership team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure program objectives? Are the PD(s)/PI(s) currently engaged in research relevant to the scientific area of the proposed 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 PD/PIs?

Mentors

Are there plans for ongoing evaluation of mentors chosen by the scholars? Will this evaluation process ensure high quality mentorship and successful research career development of the scholars? Is there evidence that the NRCDP PD/PI and advisory committee will be able to ensure appropriate and successful mentorship of the scholars?

Candidates/Scholars

What is the quality of plans to identify, recruit, and select candidates who have a commitment to research relevant to the mission of NINDS and the potential to develop as independent researchers? Is there an appropriate plan for the content, the phasing, and the proposed duration of the career development plan for achieving scientific independence for the prospective candidates? What is the likelihood that the career development plan will contribute significantly to the scientific development of the scholars? Does the plan for selection of the scholars include all of the eligibility criteria stated in this announcement? Does the plan for selection address the need to recruit from a national pool of candidates to enable selection of the best applicants from across the country? Does the selection plan adequately address the need for fairness and diversity in selection of scholars, with respect to departmental affiliations and research areas? Is there an appropriate and adequate plan to recruit scholars that will enhance gender and racial/ethnic diversity?

Training Record

Does the program have an appropriate evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the NRCDP? Does the program provide a description of how it will ensure success of the program in fostering the development of successful, independently funded neurosurgeon researchers? For future potential Renewals, the NIH peer review committee will consider, among other things, the impact made on the neurosurgeon-researcher workforce, whether neurosurgeons supported by the program successfully obtained individual research funding and transitioned to independent research positions, and whether adequate efforts were made to enhance gender and racial/ethnic diversity.

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.

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

Not Applicable.

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

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Taking into account the specific characteristics of the career development program, level of scholar experience, and the particular circumstances of the scholars, 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, 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?  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 NINDS , 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:

·         Will receive a written critique.

Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) 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.

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. Accordingly,scholars are hereby notified that they 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.

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 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

A final progress report, invention statement, 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.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

 Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NINDS Director of Training and Career Development with questions about the proposed program or application.

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)

Stephen Korn, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Training, Career Development and Workforce Diversity
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone:  (301) 496-4188
E-mail:  korns@ninds.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone:  (301) 496-9223
E-mail:  nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tijuanna DeCoster, MPA
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: (301) 496-9231
Email:  decostert@ninds.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 Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy


Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.