Request for Information (RFI) on Developing an Online Educational Resource for Training in the Principles of Rigorous Research
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
May 13, 2020
Response Date:
August 01, 2020

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Issued by

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit public input on the best approaches to providing accessible education on the principles of rigorous biomedical research for members of the scientific community. Rigorous research practices and transparent reporting of methods and results are vital to the process of scientific validation. One way to improve practice is to improve training in the principles of rigorous research at all career stages. For an online educational resource to be successful, it should be accessible, effective, and adaptable, which are attributes that can be implemented using a variety of approaches. We especially encourage experts in training, rigorous experimental design and implementation, mentoring, education, and technology to contribute to this RFI.


Rigorous experimental design and conduct, in conjunction with transparent reporting, are vital for appropriate validity and interpretation of scientific results. Training in the fundamental principles of rigorous research and how to implement rigorous experimental design and reporting are essential to the scientific enterprise. Such principles include, but are not limited to, consideration of experimenter biases, confounding factors, clearly defined assumptions, descriptions of uncertainty, proper interpretation, and full disclosure of how data are collected and analyzed.

For this reason, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) held a workshop on how best to instill these fundamental principles of rigorous research. The resulting publication from this workshop suggests that improved training at all career stages and better engagement from all members of the scientific community are needed to change the culture of science around the issues of rigor and transparency. As discussed in this paper, any educational resource addressing this issue will need to be freely available, easily discoverable, engaging, modular, adaptable, and upgradeable. It will also need to use the most effective teaching principles and techniques, including expressing relevance, building self-efficacy, and assessing behavioral change in the end-user.

NINDS created a website to facilitate efforts to identify current online educational resources on these topics. Participation from various sectors of the scientific enterprise will be necessary to improve training and change culture, so this website also describes an effort to bring scientists together to collaborate on such issues. Now NINDS is seeking broader input on the content and format for best conveying the principles of rigorous research to the scientific community as well as effective ways to encourage uptake and dissemination of these principles. We encourage collaboration between scientists and educational experts when responding to this RFI.

Information Requested

NINDS requests public input on best practices and innovative ideas for education in the principles of rigorous research as well as promotion of rigorous research practices. Responses are especially encouraged for the following questions:

  • What are the most important principles of rigorous research for all scientists to understand?
  • For each career stage (undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, and faculty), what are the best teaching practices to use (i.e. how to convey information in a lasting and impactful way)?
  • For each career stage, what is the ideal delivery structure and how often should these principles be reinforced?
  • If delivered as an online resource, what is the most effective balance between different educational media (e.g. text, video, interactive activities)?

How to Submit a Response

You may respond to this RFI by filling out this webform or submitting an email to by August 1, 2020. If submitting by email, please include the Notice number (NOT-NS-20-062) in the subject line. Responding to this RFI is voluntary. Responses may address any or all aspects of the information requested or other relevant topics pertinent for consideration by NINDS. NINDS staff will use discretion when considering responses submitted after the comment period has closed.

Respondents will not receive individualized feedback concerning their responses. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s), summaries, or other materials.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a policy, solicitation for applications, or an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health, or NINDS to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that NINDS does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Devon Crawford, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1917

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