This Notice was RESCINDED on September 29, 2020, please see NOT-HG-21-010 that replaces it.


Notice of NHGRI Participation in PA-14-015 "Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grants (Parent T32)" and Establishment of New Training Program in the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetic and Genomic Research

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Key Dates

Release Date: December 5, 2014

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National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI))


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) announces an expansion in its participation in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Program (parent T32) to accept grant applications in the research areas relevant to the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genetic and Genomic Research.

The ELSI Research Program was established in 1990 to support basic and applied research on the implications of genetic and genomic research for individuals, families, communities, and society more broadly. High priority ELSI research topics fall into four broad categories: issues that arise in the design and conduct of genomic research; issues surrounding the use of genomics in health care; the impact of genomics on broader societal norms and concepts; and the effects of genomic information and technology on research, health and social policies and laws. A more detailed description of each of these areas, along with examples of some high priority research topics, is available on the ELSI Research Priorities webpage.

With the establishment and continued growth of research centers and academic departments focused on the investigation of these and related issues, and the proliferation of large genomic research projects that include ELSI research components, there may now exist in a number of institutions the level of expertise and the level of research activity necessary to support institutional training programs dedicated to developing the next generation of ELSI researchers.

Objectives of the Institutional Training Grant Program in ELSI Research

Research that examines the ELSI of genomic research is often highly multi-disciplinary. To be successful, an ELSI investigator must couple a deep grounding in one or more relevant disciplines with experience using an array of research methodologies and conceptual frameworks, from the social, behavioral, clinical and genomic sciences, law and the humanities. The objective of the NHGRI ELSI T32 Institutional Training Program is to support training experiences that provide an opportunity for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to develop the multi-disciplinary conceptual and methodological skills necessary to pursue independent careers as ELSI researchers.

The training program should be designed to ensure that the trainees develop the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills needed for a successful ELSI research career. In most cases, this will include a strong foundation in: 1) the current state of 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. Applications will likely be more successful from institutions that have a number of ongoing ELSI and genomic research projects, or in environments where trainees will have access to larger biomedical studies that include ELSI research as an essential component, due to the opportunities that such resources will provide to trainees. It is not necessary that the projects on which the trainees will be working to develop their knowledge and skills have received funding from the NHGRI ELSI research program as long as they have substantial support for ongoing research projects addressing issues that are relevant to ELSI research topics.

For applicants proposing to provide training at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels, a detailed training plan should be provided for each level. Elements of a successful training program may include such things as:

  • Courses that expose trainees to the basic concepts and working knowledge in the appropriate scientific, methodological and conceptual areas;
  • Multi-disciplinary mentoring by ELSI and genomic researchers with experience in such mentoring to enhance training and communication among disciplines;
  • Participation in ongoing research projects on the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic research;
  • Rotations and external internships in basic research and clinical settings, or at other institutions supporting innovative ELSI and genomic research;
  • A multi-disciplinary forum for intellectual exchanges to enhance opportunities for trainees to interact with other trainees and faculty from other relevant disciplines;
  • A team science approach to problem solving that provides an opportunity for individuals with different knowledge domains and skill sets to come together to solve important problems.

Applicants are encouraged to use Individual Development Plans for each trainee ( In addition, career development and professional guidance, such as skills for writing manuscripts, fellowships or grant applications, and for delivering oral scientific presentations and interviewing for jobs should be provided.

Additional Information

It is recommended that training programs have no fewer than two and no more than five trainees at any given point during the course of the award. This can include a combination of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. It is anticipated that predoctoral training experiences will be 2 years in duration and postdoctoral experiences will be no more than 3 years in duration. However, final decisions about the number and duration of training slots will depend upon the quality of the proposed program as determined by peer review, programmatic considerations, and the availability of funds. For subsequent training, trainees are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the NRSA Individual Predoctoral (F31) or NRSA Individual Postdoctoral (F32) fellowship programs or the Mentored Career Development Award (K01) or the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) programs, as appropriate.

  • Short-term Training Positions: Not Allowed.
  • Travel Costs: For travel expenses for trainees, contact program staff. NHGRI will provide additional travel expenses of up to $2,000 each year for the primary PD/PI, and other training faculty members closely associated with the training program, to travel to NHGRI networking meetings which will be held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
  • Application Due Dates: All new T32 applications for the January 2016 council or later are due May 25. Only those renewal applications and resubmission of renewal T32 applications that were first funded in the October 2015 council or earlier are due Jan 25, May 25, or Sept 25.
  • Letter required in advance if application will request $500,000 or more in direct costs: Yes
  • Special Note: To ensure that your application is appropriate for this program, prior consultation with NHGRI ELSI program staff is strongly encouraged.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Scientific/Research Contact:

Joy Boyer
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Financial/Grants Management Contact:
Susan Toy
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Telephone: 301-496-7531