NIH and AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for Research Training Grant, Fellowship, and Career Development Award Applications

Notice Number: NOT-OD-20-033

Key Dates
Release Date: December 3, 2019

Related Announcements
NOT-OD-20-026

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Purpose

NIH and AHRQ recently announced plans to transition to updated application forms and instructions for due dates on or after May 25, 2020 (FORMS-F; NOT-OD-20-026). This Notice provides additional information on the planned changes to forms and instructions affecting research training grant, fellowship, and career development award applications.

The planned changes encompass the following areas, and are described in more detail in the table, below:

  • Training in techniques for rigorous and reproducible research
  • Training in relevant quantitative and data science approaches
  • Progress reporting for renewal applications
  • Research training data tables
  • Extending requirements for rigor and transparency to fellowship research projects
  • Required letters for applications to diversity-related programs

Type of Application

Changes


Institutional Research Training
and
Institutional Career Development

  • The Program Plan section of the application will be expected to include a description of how the program and faculty will provide training in rigorous research design and relevant data science and quantitative approaches.
  • The requirement to include a Plan for Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility attachment will be expanded to all applicants.
  • The Progress Report attachment for renewal applications will be limited to five pages for a program overview and one page for each appointee to the grant; applications that exceed the specified page limits will be withdrawn.
  • The My Bibliography report of publications arising from work conducted by appointees while supported by the grant will be no longer be requested Just-in-time but will be collected in the Interim Final Research Performance Progress Report.
  • Minor modifications to the data elements collected in the research training data tables.

Fellowship

  • In describing their training goals and objectives in the Program Plan attachment, fellowship candidates will be expected to address, as applicable, any new research skills they plan to acquire in the areas of rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.
  • In the Research Strategy section of the Program Plan attachment, fellowship candidates will be expected to describe (a) the strengths and weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project, (b) plans to address any weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research, (c) how the experimental objectives proposed will achieve robust and unbiased results, and (d) how relevant biological variables are factored into research designs and analyses.
  • If applicable, fellowship candidates will be required to include the Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources attachment.
  • Applicants for diversity-related fellowship programs will be expected to attach a Description of Candidate’s Contribution to Program Goals, explaining how the candidate’s participation would further the goals of the program to promote diversity in health-related research.

Individual Career Development

  • In describing their career development plans in the Program Plan attachment, candidates for career development awards will be expected to address, as applicable, any new research skills they plan to acquire in the areas of rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.
  • Applicants for diversity-related career development programs will be expected to attach a Description of Candidate’s Contribution to Program Goals, explaining how the candidate’s participation would further the goals of the program to promote diversity in health-related research.

Additional guidance and details about implementation plans will be provided in early 2020.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Office of Extramural Research National Institutes of Health
E-mail: NIHTrain@mail.nih.gov