It is helpful to be proactive, talk to program staff and talk to successful applicants. In addition, many NIH Institutes publish guides and tips on their Web sites, some of which are listed here http://grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_tips.htm.
While one of the goals of the AREA Program is to expose students to research, an AREA grant is a research award, not a training or fellowship award. Applications should not include training plans that describe coursework, seminars, and workshops. The application should focus on plans to expose students to hands-on meritorious research and the role of students in conducting hand-on meritorious research.
If you do not have the appropriate expertise for your proposed Research Plan or access to needed equipment, facilities, reagents, or other resources, adding a collaborator or consultant can help you fill these gaps.
The application should focus on plans to expose students to hands-on meritorious research and what activities undergraduate and/or graduate students will participate in. The application should also convey how the project will stimulate students’ interest in biomedical or behavioral science.
Since the R15 is a research grant, not a training or fellowship award, it should not include training or mentoring plans like professional development activities, coursework, seminars, etc.
If it is not possible to name specific students in the application, then in the budget justification, an applicant should identify the number and level (for example, sophomore) of students. The applicant can describe the criteria that will be used to select students. For example, applicants might propose to choose from among those students who have completed particular classes or who are pursuing specific majors.
The AREA program aims to involve students in research in a way that is intellectually stimulating, experience-driven, and significant to the research. Students may be involved in participation in the design of experiments and controls, collection and analysis of data, execution and troubleshooting of experiments, presentation at meetings, drafting journal articles, collaborative interactions, participation in lab meetings to discuss results and future experiments, etc.
This type of student involvement should be described in the Research Strategy attachment of the Research Plan form. This could include descriptions of how past students have participated in research activities like experimental planning, execution and analysis, how past students have contributed to data generation, and how future students will be involved in similar activities. The Biographical Sketch should specify if peer-reviewed publications or other research products have involved undergraduate and/or graduate students.
It depends upon the total amount of direct costs requested for all years of the award. Because AREA grants are multi-year funded (MYF) awards, the entire budget, for all years of the award, must be requested in the first budget year.
If you are requesting $250,000 or less in direct costs for the entire (1, 2, or 3-year) budget period, use the PHS398 Modular Budget format. If you are requesting $250,001 - $300,000 in direct costs for the entire budget period, use the R&R Budget format. Please note that the budget amounts used to determine whether the PHS398 Modular Budget form or R&R Budget form should be used exclude the indirect costs on subcontracts (consortium F&A).
It is acceptable to have an ineligible collaborator, consultant, or subcontractor from the perspective of eligibility. However, as the role of that ineligible collaborator is developed, it is important from the perspective of merit to keep the goals and unique review criteria of the R15 in mind. These include providing research opportunities to students, having a substantial effect on the institution/academic component in terms of strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research, the PI’s experience supervising students in research, evidence the project can stimulate the interests of students so they consider a career in biomedical/behavioral science, availability of well-qualified students and evidence students have or are likely to pursue biomedical careers. For a Multiple PI structure, all PIs must be eligible.
While the R15 is intended to support small scale projects, an individual could serve as a collaborator, consultant, or subcontractor on an NIH grant at the time they are awarded an R15 as a PI. However, at the time the R15 is awarded, an individual could not be a Multiple PI on another research-related grant.
R15s may be reviewed either in a standing study section (http://public.csr.nih.gov/StudySections/Standing/Pages/default.aspx) that also reviews other mechanisms like R01, R21, and R03 or in a Special Emphasis Panel assembled for one review meeting. If the former, they are clustered separately from other mechanisms; i.e., R15 are considered relative only to other R15s for streamlining and R15s are discussed one after another. For each review cycle, CSR scientific review officers and Integrated Review Group chiefs decide which option will provide the most appropriate expertise for the current group of R15 applications.
You can request up to 3 study sections in your Assignment Request Form. You should also describe the expertise needed to review the application. You can list up to five types of expertise using 40 characters for each type. Scientific Review Officers and their Integrated Review Group chiefs decide whether review in a study section or a Special Emphasis Panel will bring the most appropriate expertise for R15s reviewed each cycle. However, the expertise terms and study section request are still helpful in referring applications to the appropriate Integrated Review Group.
An AREA grantee may be eligible for an administrative supplement to improve the diversity of the research workforce by supporting and recruiting students from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented. Because policies may vary among NIH Institute and Centers (IC), the grantee must check with the awarding IC before submitting an application for a supplement. There must be at least one year remaining on the AREA grant at the time the supplement is awarded and only one supplement at a time is allowed.
A Progress Report is required and is due annually on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award. NIH will send an email notification to the PD/PI two months before the anniversary of the award requesting that the progress report be submitted electronically. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/myf.htm or NOT-OD-11-010 for more information.
AREA grants can only be transferred to another AREA eligible institution. However, there are many other factors that must be considered in the geographic relocation of a grant. If you are considering such a transfer, please contact your Program Officer early in the relocation process.