Administrative Supplements for CAM Practitioner Research Experiences

Notice Number: NOT-AT-07-005

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

  • July 18, 2012 - See Notice NOT-AT-12-005. Notice to Update Submission and Review Dates of NCCAM's Administrative Supplements.
  • November 12, 2008 - See Notice (NOT-AT-09-001) NCCAM is amending its procedures for Administrative Research Supplements.
  • April 30, 2008 - See Notice (NOT-AT-08-004) This Notice is to inform the scientific community that the NCCAM is amending its procedures for Administrative Research Supplements.

Key Dates
Release Date: September 6, 2007

Issued by
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announces the availability of administrative supplements to NCCAM-funded researchers who are principal investigators of NCCAM R01, P01, U19, U01 or P50 grants to support a CAM practitioner trainee as a research assistant or other appropriate research-related position. The NCCAM grant to be supplemented must have at least one more year of funding remaining at the time of the award. The goal is to provide CAM practitioners with hands-on research experience under the direction of an experienced researcher. The supplement may also support relevant course work if it enhances the research experience.


A relatively small number of CAM practitioners have been successful in obtaining NIH/NCCAM research training fellowships and career development awards compared to conventional researchers and allopathic medical practitioners, such as those who hold Ph.D. and M.D. degrees. However, NCCAM receives many inquiries from CAM practitioners, including licensed acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic medicine practitioners, and massage therapists requesting information on how they can gain experience in CAM research. In many cases these practitioners do not qualify for NIH training/fellowship awards because they are not enrolled in research doctoral programs, required for predoctoral awards; or do not have clinical or research doctoral degrees, which are required for postdoctoral and career development awards. More importantly, they may not have sufficient early research experiences to help them plan a research career path. Finally, in many cases, candidates who do quality for NIH fellowship and career development awards, such as those with D.C. and N.D. degrees, are not competitive for these awards because of their lack of research experience.

The goal of this initiative is to provide sufficient hands-on research experience to CAM practitioners so they can make more informed decisions about planning their research careers. In addition, for those who are eligible for NIH/NCCAM fellowship and career awards, the research experience and skills acquired through this supplement should make them more competitive for such awards. Providing a vehicle for CAM practitioners to obtain entry level research skills will benefit the whole CAM research community, since these individuals bring to the research enterprise their in depth knowledge of the CAM therapies that are being in investigated.

Description of the Program

In the context of this announcement, a CAM practitioner is defined as an individual who holds a clinical degree from an accredited institution, in a designated CAM practice that is licensed or certified at the state level.

CAM practitioners who currently or were previously supported by NIH Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowships, NRSA institutional training grants, NIH research career development awards (K awards), or NIH research grants are not eligible to be supported by this administrative supplement. An individual CAM practitioner may only be supported one time by the administrative supplement described in this announcement.

The CAM practitioner candidate must devote at a minimum of 50% effort to research related activities supported by this administrative supplement. Depending on the level of experience, a candidate may have their own research project within the scope of the principal investigator’s (PI) grant that is being supplemented, or at minimum, should be sufficiently immersed in an ongoing research project(s) to provide the candidate with an in depth research experience. In addition, the PI whose grant is being supplemented is expected to provide a full research experience for the candidate that may include, but is not limited to, inclusion in regular research group meetings, encouragement to attend appropriate seminars and journal clubs, course work (if it enhances the research experience), and regular meetings with the PI to discuss progress towards the candidate’s goals. The PI of a grant may not nominate a CAM practitioner for this supplement who is already being supported on his/her grant.

Normally the duration of the award will be for one year, but it can be extended for a second year if evidence is provided to show that the CAM practitioner is actively pursuing the next step in his/her research career. The principal investigator (PI) of the grant being supplemented can request up to $100,000 per year in direct cost for support of one CAM practitioner candidate. These funds may be used for salary and fringe benefits for the CAM practitioner, research supplies, travel, and/or tuition for courses if they enhance the research experience. Salary and fringe benefits for the candidate should be consistent with the institution’s salary structure. No funds may be requested to supplement the salaries of the PI or other personnel, or to purchase equipment. This initiative is focused on providing a research experience for CAM practitioners and is not intended to support clinical residency training or other clinical practitioner training. Upon completion of the supplemental support, those CAM practitioners who chose to pursue a research career will be expected to compete for research training, career development, or research grant funds appropriate for their stage of career.

As stated above, eligible applicants for this administrative supplement are funded NCCAM grantees who hold an NCCAM R01, P01, U19, U01 or P50 grant. CAM practitioners may be interested in seeking out eligible grantees for potential support through this administrative supplement announcement. With this in mind, NCCAM has indicated on its website ( those grantees who hold eligible grants and who have indicated that they are willing to consider applying for this administrative supplement to provide a research experience to a CAM practitioner as part of this initiative. The eligible NCCAM-funded grantees have the final authority to accept or reject CAM practitioner inquiries.

Application procedure

The principal investigator (PI) of the grant to be supplemented should provide the following:

  1. A one to two page cover letter summarizing the request and support of the CAM practitioner candidate. This letter should be signed by the PI and countersigned by the institution’s business office;
  2. A brief description of research activities proposed for the CAM practitioner: This description should be no more than 3 pages, single-spaced.
  3. A biographical sketch in the current NIH format described here:;
  4. An itemized budget signed by the PI and countersigned by the institution’s business office;
  5. Information about grant support: For each funded grant, the PI should list the grant title, grant number, funding agency, month & year of start and end of funding, dollar amount (direct costs) and his/her role. In this section indicate which grant is being supplemented to support the trainee.

The CAM practitioner candidate should submit the following:

  1. A summary describing future research goals in CAM research and how this research experience will help in achieving those goals. This should be no more than 2 pages, single-spaced and should be signed.
  2. A Curriculum vitae limited to 3 pages.


The PI and the CAM practitioner candidate should submit the original copy of the information described above in hard copy with the signatures requested as one package and an electronic version of the same package to:

Alberto L. Rivera-Rentas, Ph.D.
Program Director
HIV/AIDS, Training, and Special Populations Portfolios
Division of Extramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Tel: (301) 443-8372
Fax: 301-480-3621

Review and Award Procedure

Requests for these administrative supplements will be reviewed by NCCAM program staff on a rolling basis. The goal is to award successful administrative supplements within 4 months of the receipt of their application. Awards will be determined on the basis of:

  • Overall merit of the research experience for the candidate.
  • Evidence of an interest in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical CAM research by the candidate based on the information provided.
  • The need for this specific research experience to reach the stated future research goals of the candidate in CAM research.
  • Availability of funds.