Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Career Development (K01, K02, K08) Grants Focused on Healthcare-Associated Infections

Notice Number: NOT-HS-11-003

Key Dates
Release Date: November 5, 2010

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans.  To further this mission, AHRQ is interested in funding career development grants that focus on the prevention and reduction of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). 

AHRQ will support individual mentored (K01 and K08) and independent (K02) career-development grants to doctorally-prepared clinicians and scientists interested in pursuing research careers related to the prevention and more effective management of HAIs.  The objective of individual career development grants is to provide support and “protected time” for an intensive, mentored or independent research career development experience (see below for funding opportunity announcements). 

Scholars applying in response to this SEN must have an interest in developing their research careers with a significant focus in the area of HAIs: Infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting. These settings include:  Acute care hospitals (Tier 1); ambulatory settings, such as ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient care clinics and offices, and hemodialysis centers/end-stage renal disease facilities (Tier 2); and long-term care settings, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.  HAIs are associated with a variety of causes, including, but not limited to, the use of medical devices, complications following a surgical procedure, transmission between patients and healthcare workers, or antibiotic use.  HAIs are among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths in 2002.  In addition to the substantial human suffering caused by HAIs, it is estimated that HAIs result in $28 to $33 billion in excess healthcare costs each year.

Research Priorities

AHRQ intends to support career development grants for research on HAIs in all settings (Tier 1, Tier 2, and long-term care) as scientifically warranted.  HAI research priority areas are set forth in a companion Special Emphasis Notice (NOT-HS-11-002): AHRQ Announces Areas of Interest for Research on Healthcare-Associated Infections [INSERT LINK to HAI research SEN].  These research priority areas include the following:

1) Determination of the clinical efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of preventive interventions.
2) Development, demonstration, and implementation of strategies for prevention and management of HAIs.
3) Characterization and assessment of relevant epidemiological aspects of HAIs, such as patient risk factors, clinical presentation, and sources of antibiotic-resistant organisms involved in the development of HAIs. 

A research focus that will receive additional emphasis in FY 2011 is HAIs in ambulatory care.  Additionally, AHRQ is interested in developing, evaluating, and demonstrating linkages between the various settings of care to improve the prevention, management, and tracking of HAIs.

Further guidance

Use of funding mechanisms: AHRQ will use its current K01, K02, and K08 mechanisms for applications directed to career development grants focused on HAIs. 

Please refer to AHRQ’s Funding Opportunities page for information about the grant application process (see http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/).  Additional specific information on preparation of a grant application, including requirements such as budget and project periods, application receipt dates, e-grants submission processes, and eligibility to apply for these grants, can be found within each Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) at:

K01: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-087.html
K02: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-086.html
K08: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-085.html

Additional information on the training and career development grant program at AHRQ can be found at: http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/training/rsrchtng.htm#MRSDA.

Application Submission:With this notice, AHRQ is providing information about one of the highest research priorities in the patient safety research portfolio for career development applications.  AHRQ will continue to provide regular updates of research priorities as research budget information becomes available.  Applications focused on areas identified in this SEN should be submitted on regular K01, K02, and K08 grant application receipt dates.  We encourage applicants to indicate in their applications that they are responding to this notice by including the Special Emphasis Notice title and number. We also encourage applicants to include a cover letter in their application package stating their interest in this SEN. Applications will be reviewed by AHRQ’s standing study sections. 


Applicants are encouraged to contact AHRQ staff early in the process of preparing applications in order to clarify questions and discuss potential research projects.  The designated contacts for this SEN are:

AHRQ HAI program inquiries:

James Cleeman, M.D.
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Phone: 301-427-1330
E-mail: james.cleeman@ahrq.hhs.gov

Kendall Hall, M.D.
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Phone: 302-427-1333
E-mail: kendall.hall@ahrq.hhs.gov

AHRQ K01, K02, and K08 inquiries:

Kay Anderson, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Phone:  301-427-1555
E-mail:  Kay.Anderson@ahrq.hhs.gov

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy

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