Request for Information (RFI): Strategies for Modernizing Biomedical Graduate Education

Notice Number: NOT-GM-16-109

Key Dates
Release Date: June 8, 2016
Response Date: August 5, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) seeks input on how to catalyze the modernization of biomedical graduate education through NIGMS’s institutional predoctoral training grants program. This Request for Information (RFI) will assist NIGMS in identifying, developing and potentially implementing strategies that will catalyze the modernization of graduate education at the national level to ensure that trainees gain the skills, abilities and knowledge required to be successful in the biomedical research workforce.


NIGMS supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The Institute also has a longstanding commitment to and provides leadership in training the next generation of biomedical scientists through support of a wide array of programs including Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Research Training Grants (T32) in multiple  scientific areas and the Medical Scientist (M.D.-Ph.D.) Training Program (MSTP). The overall goal of these programs is to promote fundamental, interdisciplinary and innovative research training relevant to the NIGMS mission.

NIGMS has taken steps in its continuing efforts to catalyze the modernization of graduate education including offering administrative supplements to support innovative approaches in the areas of rigor and reproducibility, career outcomes and graduate education. Additionally, NIGMS held a meeting covering these topics in the spring of 2016. This Request for Information (RFI) is designed to obtain feedback, comments, novel ideas and strategies to inform NIGMS on how best to catalyze the modernization of graduate education through its institutional predoctoral training grants program.

Information Requested

NIGMS invites all interested parties, including the general public, to provide input on the modernization of biomedical graduate education. Topics that could be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Current strengths, weaknesses and challenges in graduate biomedical education.
  • Changes that could enhance graduate education to ensure that scientists of tomorrow have the skills, abilities and knowledge they need to advance biomedical research as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  • The major barriers to achieving these changes and potential strategies to overcome those barriers.
  • The key skills that graduate students should develop in order to become outstanding biomedical scientists, and the best approaches for developing those skills. These could include but not be limited to: a) essential skills applicable to all fields that ensure ability to design meaningful experiments and critically analyze data, b) ability to adapt new and emerging technologies or approaches and c) other skills such as team science
  • Potential approaches to modernizing graduate education through the existing NIGMS institutional predoctoral training grants program to ensure that trainees have the skills and knowledge they need to be prepared to enter the biomedical research workforce.
  • Anything else you feel is important for us to consider.

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through August 5, 2016. All comments will be anonymous and must be submitted via a web form at  

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. The Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and respondents will not receive individualized feedback. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the United States Government. NIGMS will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. NIGMS does not intend to make any type of award based on responses to this RFI or to pay for either the preparation of information submitted or the United States Government's use of such information.

The information submitted will be analyzed and may be shared internally, appear in reports or be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government's discretion. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s) or other activities. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government's use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Shiva P. Singh, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-3900