Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplement for Continuity of Biomedical and Behavioral Research Among First-Time Recipients of NIH Research Project Grant Awards

Notice Number: NOT-OD-20-055

Key Dates
Release Date: January 17, 2020
First Available Due Date: March 05, 2020
Expiration Date: March 06, 2023

Related Announcements
PA-18-591

Issued by
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Insrtitute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Cormmunication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

Purpose

The overarching goal of this pilot program is to enhance the retention of investigators facing critical life events who are transitioning to the first renewal of their first independent research project grant award or to a second new NIH research project grant award. Retention at the first renewal or continuous NIH research project grant support is crucial for sustaining both the ongoing research NIH has made an investment in and for retaining diversity in the biomedical research workforce. This program supports “at-risk” investigators as identified in the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative (see https://grants.nih.gov/ngri.htm).

This retention program seeks to maintain the productivity of current first-time recipients of eligible independent NIH research project grant awards who are dealing with a critical life event(s), such that they can remain competitive for the first renewal of their award or for a second research project grant award. For retention supplements to support the transition from K award to independence, see the companion NOSI.

Background

Investigators, especially women, leave science at critical transition stages or branching points in their career which for the NIH-supported scientific workforce include transitions from post-doctoral training to faculty positions (see Heggeness et al., 2016, Acad Meddoi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000001209 and Nikaj et al., 2019, the FASEB Journal, doi:10.1096/fj.201800639) and prior to obtaining their first R01 renewal (see Hechtman et al., 2018, PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1800615115). The rate of R01/R01-equiv renewals has potential impact on the longevity of an investigator’s research career (see Pohlhaus et al., 2011, Acad Meddoi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31821836ff) and remains a gender disparity in NIH funding that should be addressed. These vulnerable career stages often parallel critical life events that commonly contribute to faculty attrition. Data from NSF demonstrates that among racial and ethnic groups of both biomedical scientists and engineers, women are far more likely than men to cite family responsibilities as a reason for leaving the work force (https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/, especially chart 6B).

Pregnancy and childbirth in particular, appear to be significant contributors to the underemployment of women scientists and engineers given that pregnancy can impact research productivity (Cech and Blair-Loy 2018, The Changing career trajectories of new parents in STEM; https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/, especially chart 6B). The demands of childbirth and subsequent primary caregiving responsibilities may necessitate changes to career goals and alter researchers career trajectories, depriving the scientific workforce of an important source of talent and undermining NIH’s investment in promising avenues of new research. Retaining investigators at this critical transition point will protect the research investment already made via the parent NIH award and enhance the diversity of the investigator pool.

Budget

To be eligible, the parent award must be able to receive funds at the time of the award. The administrative supplement budget request is limited to 1 year.

Supplement budget requests cannot exceed $50,000/year direct costs, and applicable F&A (indirect) cost can also be requested. Budgets may not exceed the total direct costs of the current parent award. Requests must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. Categorical budgets are permitted. Awards are subject to availability of funds.

Flexible use of supplemental funds is highly encouraged, which may include (not all inclusive) computational services, supplies, equipment, and supported effort of additional scientific staff to sustain the PD/PI’s research during a critical life event.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

PD/PIs of the following activity codes are eligible for the program: DP1DP2DP5R01R00 R15, R21R35RF1, and U01and who have a qualifying critical life event. PD/PIs with more than one independent research project grant award are ineligible for this supplement.

Qualifying Critical Life Events: The PD/PI must demonstrate a critical life event such as childbirth or adoption during the parent grant project period; or primary caregiving responsibilities of an ailing spouse, partner, or a member of the immediate family. In circumstances in which the critical life event is pending and is expected to occur during the project period, the supplement period may be submitted in advance of the event.

For supplements to parent awards that include multiple PDs/PIs, the supplement may be requested by any of the PDs/PIs (in accordance with the existing leadership plan and on behalf of the PD/PI who meets the eligibility criteria) and submitted by the grantee institution of the parent award. It should be noted that for the parent grant and for the administrative supplement, the grantee is the institution, not the PD/PI.

Application and Submission Information

Supplement requests must be submitted in accordance with the parent program announcement: Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional) PA-18-591or its subsequent reissued equivalent.

Supplement requests must be submitted electronically. The process for Streamlined Submissions using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative. .

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and PA-18-591 must be followed, with the following additions:

  • Application Due Date(s) – Submission dates vary by awarding IC. See Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contactsfor more details.
  • For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-OD-20-055” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4b) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4b will not be considered for this initiative.
  • The Research Strategy section of the application is limited to 6 pages.
  • R&R Other Project Information form, in the "Other Attachments" field:

    Attach Personal Statement of the applicant, including long-term research objectives and career goals, a justification for the supplemental support, and a plan to return to full productivity at the end of the supplement period.

    Attach Institutional letter of commitment that includes details of resources and mentoring to be made available to the applicant to ensure strong productivity on the parent grant. The letter should also detail the institutional commitment to the applicant’s return to full productivity and research career trajectory at the end of the supplement period.

It is strongly recommended that the applicants contact their respective program officers at the Institute supporting the parent award to confirm ahead of time that the supplement falls within scope of the parent award. Further, applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the program contact at the Institute supporting the parent award (See Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts) that a request has been submitted in response to this FOA in order to facilitate efficient processing of the request.

Administrative Review Process

Each IC will conduct administrative reviews of applications submitted to their IC. The ICs of the parent grants will support the most meritorious applications submitted for consideration, pending availability of funds.

Criteria:

  1. Is the work/activities proposed within the scope of the parent award?
  2. Has the progress of the project prior to the life event been adequate?
  3. Will the administrative supplement increase or preserve the likelihood for the project to succeed, and assist the candidate to complete their research project and submit a timely renewal or new research project grant application?
  4. Is there a plan for the PD/PI to return to full productivity at the end of the supplement period?
  5. Is there strong institutional commitment (e.g., protected time, policies, programs, and other strategies) to ensure that the PD/PI maintains his/her research project and independent research trajectory?

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Melissa Ghim, PhD
Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)
Telephone: 301-496-7853
Email: melissa.ghim@nih.gov