Notice of NHGRI Participation in PA-14-044 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01)

Notice Number: NOT-HG-14-018

Key Dates
Release Date: February 3, 2014

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) announces its continued participation in the Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01) (PA-14-044). NHGRI’s participation will be focused in two areas of mentored research: (1) Ethical, Legal and Social Implications and (2) a restructured program in genomic sciences research.

In February 2011, NHGRI published Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside. The paper was an all-encompassing document for the field of genomics. Based on this document, NHGRI has redefined the goals for its research and training and career development programs. For the K01, the two redefined focus areas are described below.

Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) (K01)
Research that examines the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic research is usually highly multi-disciplinary. To be successful, an ELSI scholar must have a deep grounding in one or more relevant disciplines, coupled with familiarity with an array of research methodologies and conceptual frameworks. Individuals who plan ELSI research careers will have degrees in medicine, nursing, genetics, law, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, bioethics, history, political science or another related discipline.

The objective of the NHGRI ELSI K01 Program is to support supervised career development experiences that provide investigators in relevant fields with the opportunity to acquire additional, multi-disciplinary conceptual and methodological expertise to enable them to become independent ELSI researchers. Applications from new and early stage investigators are particularly encouraged.

The mentoring program should be tailored to the needs of the applicant, and should ensure that the awardee develops a knowledge base with the necessary breadth and depth to become a successful ELSI researcher. In most cases, this will include a strong foundation in: 1) current developments in genomic science and medicine; 2) core principles and conceptual frameworks in bioethics; 3) qualitative and quantitative behavioral and social science research methodologies; 4) conceptual and analytic research approaches; and 5) the design and implementation of inter- or trans-disciplinary research projects.

Some key elements of the career development application might include:

  • A defined curriculum in the appropriate scientific, methodological and conceptual areas;
  • Multi-disciplinary mentoring by experienced ELSI and genomic researchers;
  • Participation in ongoing research projects that involve the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic research;
  • A multi-disciplinary forum for intellectual exchanges;
  • Career development and professional guidance, such as skills for writing manuscripts and grant applications;
  • A team science approach to problem solving.

Prospective ELSI applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the ELSI Research Program homepage ( for more information on current program priorities.

Genomic Sciences (K01)
Through a series of advisory panels and workshops (2012 Report, 2012 Presentation, April 2013 Report, September 2013 Report and Video), NHGRI has identified three main goals for its training and career development programs:

1. Expand the number of individuals with a base of knowledge in genomic medicine;

2. Continue to support individual development of investigators working in the foundational sciences, with emphasis on acquiring strong quantitative skills; and

3. Develop leaders of research in genomic medicine and genome sciences.

Other overarching principles, recurring themes and recommendations are detailed in the reports. Specifically for NHGRI’s K01 program, a key recommendation was to include PhDs in the biological disciplines (in addition to previously-eligible PhDs in the quantitative and physical sciences and engineering) and to emphasize training in the quantitative and informatics sciences. There was also strong support for the continued inclusion of those interested in technology development because this type of knowledge and skill set will continue to be critical in genomics.

The program objective is to develop research leaders in genomic sciences. Applicants should come to the program trained in one of three scientific areas with the intention of being cross-trained in another of the scientific areas. These areas of discipline include: 1) the biomedical sciences (includes the biological sciences, engineering, technology development, clinical research); 2) the quantitative sciences (includes mathematics and statistics); and (3) informatics (bioinformatics and computational biology). Again, an emphasis should be placed on comprehensive training in a quantitative or informatics science specifically to enable awardees to conduct research in all areas of genomic science.

Some of the key elements of the career development application in genomic science might include:

  • A statement addressing the general approach the applicant is trying to develop or the general problem to be solved, and how that could be applicable across diseases (research focusing on a few diseases will not be considered responsive);
  • A defined curriculum in the scientific area to be cross-trained and a plan to take the appropriate courses and laboratory rotations;
  • A plan to obtain comprehensive knowledge in the quantitative and informational sciences;
  • A description of the applicant’s prior training and how it relates to the immediate objectives and long-term career goals;
  • A description of the roles of dual mentors and how the mentoring will be accomplished to encompass the complementary areas of expertise;
  • An environment rich in a diverse menu of genomic research;
  • Access to raw data;
  • Access to critical resources, such as large, complex and varied datasets;
  • An emphasis on the importance of reproducibility of experimental results, given the development,
  • sharing, and analyses of large, complex and varied datasets;
  • A forum for intellectual exchanges;
  • Guidance in career development and professional activities, such as skills for writing manuscripts and grant applications;
  • Opportunities to participate in team science approaches to problem solving, if consistent with training activities.

The salary for K awards is capped at Executive Level II (FY2015 published amount) plus fringe benefits per year. The salary must be commensurate with the applicant institution's salary structure for persons of equivalent qualifications, experience, and rank. Up to $40,000 per year may be requested for research support, if justified. Awardees and their mentors are required to attend one annual networking meeting in the DC Metropolitan Area. Travel for the mentor as well as for the candidate may be requested. See more at:

Special Note
To make sure that your application is responsive to this FOA, prior consultation with NHGRI staff is strongly encouraged.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Scientific/Research Contacts:

Ethical, Legal and Social Implications:
Joy Boyer
ELSI Program Officer

Genomic Sciences:
Tina Gatlin, Ph.D.
Training Program Director

Heather A. Junkins, M.S.
Training Program Director

Financial/Grants Management Contact:

Susan Toy
Senior Grants Management Specialist

National Human Genome Research Institute
Telephone: 301-496-7531