Notice of Intent to Publish the Reissuance of Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health Program (K12 Clinical Trial Optional)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
December 07, 2020
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
February 12, 2021
First Estimated Application Due Date:
May 27, 2021
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
June 01, 2022
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
June 01, 2022
Related Announcements

RFA-OD-21-006 - Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) (K12 Clinical Trial Optional)

RFA-OD-16-013 - Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (K12)

Issued by

Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)


The NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) and participating NIH Institutes and Centers will be publishing a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for institutional career development award applications for Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Career Development Programs. These Programs will support mentored research career development of junior faculty members, known as BIRCWH Scholars, who have recently completed clinical training or postdoctoral fellowships, and who will be engaged in interdisciplinary basic, translational, behavioral, clinical, and/or health services research relevant to women's health, and, where appropriate, the use of both sexes to better understand the influence of sex as a variable on health and disease (NOT-OD-15-102).

The FOA will allow the appointment of Scholars proposing to serve as the lead investigator of an independent clinical trial, or proposing a separate ancillary clinical trial; or proposing to gain research experience in a clinical trial led by another investigator, as part of their research and career development. The clinical trial must be an NIH-defined clinical trial. Scholars may also propose fundamental research or human subjects research that is not a clinical trial.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in February 2021 with an expected application due date in Spring 2021.

This FOA will utilize the K12 -Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA) activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

 The NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) and participating NIH Institutes and Centers plan to issue a FOA for institutional career development applications for the BIRCWH program. The BIRCWH is an ORWH signature initiative co-sponsored with multiple NIH Institutes and Centers. This initiative supports the ORWH mission and advances the 2019-2023 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for the Health of Women "Advancing Science for the Health of Women" and its goal to promote training and careers to develop a well-trained, diverse, and robust workforce to advance science for the health of women. This program sets the stage for improved health for women and their families and career opportunities and advancement for a diverse biomedical workforce. Since the program was created in 1999, ORWH has awarded over 88 grants to 44 institutions sponsoring more than 730 women and men as BIRCWH Scholars.

Within the framework of this Program's longstanding commitment to excellence and the projected need for diverse teams to advance science, attention must be given to recruiting Scholars from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences, and individuals with disabilities.

The proposed institutional research career development program may complement other, ongoing research training and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed career development experiences must be distinct from those career development programs currently receiving Federal support.

Program Objectives

The objectives of this BIRCWH initiative are to increase the number and skills of investigators through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent scientific career that will benefit the health of women; advance research on sex/gender influences on health;and encourage interdisciplinary research methodology. The BIRCWH FOA will provide opportunities for an interdisciplinary, mentored career development experience that would otherwise not be available to facilitate the transition to research independence for junior faculty researchers who are conducting interdisciplinary research relevant to the health of women.

The BIRCWH Program is built around three pillars: interdisciplinary research, mentoring, and career development. Interdisciplinary research, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2008, is a mode of research that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding, or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice. As such, interdisciplinary science teams work to advance fundamental understanding and solve problems that those from a single discipline could not.

Interdisciplinary mentoring teams are essential to the BIRCWH Program, and as such, an inter-professional, team-based approach for mentoring BIRCWH Scholars is expected. These teams should include mentors from diverse disciplines to carry out interdisciplinary projects. Team members may include individuals from medical, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, biotechnology, social sciences, anthropology, genetics, and other disciplines representing different perspectives and areas of expertise. These teams come together to collaborate as a unit, with the common goal of supporting a BIRCWH Scholar in the transition from trainee to independent researcher. In this  FOA, the interdisciplinary team approach is applied to the study of the health of women across the lifespan, bridging basic and clinical science and incorporating new models of collaboration and institutional support. Proposed Programs must ensure the integration of interdisciplinary mentoring teams.

The NIH 2009 FOA on Research on Causal Factors and Interventions (CFI) that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering findings report the importance of both mentoring teams and team science in career development. In recognition of these data, this FOA expects a team science research approach as well as the utilization of interdisciplinary mentoring teams. The report linked in the text: Two additional resources can be found in a Journal of Academic Medicine publication,, and

It is planned that each award will support a maximum of three (3) BIRCWH Scholars at any point in time. The usual period for mentored career development is usually is for two years but the applicant can provide justification for a longer time period.


Program faculty for this BIRCWH program should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed career development program. Program faculty should also have a record of career development, including successful, former junior faculty who have established productive, independent research careers relevant to the NIH mission. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Mentors from collaborating departments are expected to have the requisite research expertise relevant to the health of women and sex and gender influences. If relevant to the proposed program, mentors should also have research expertise on factors that contribute to disparities in health status or health outcomes for different populations of women.


Scholars to be supported by the institutional career development program must be at the career level for which the planned program is intended. Scholars are expected to devote a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) or at least 6 person-months for surgical specialties, during the appointment on the K12 award, except as noted in  NOT-OD-18-157.

Scholars must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship requirements are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

At the time of appointment, BIRCWH Scholars must:

  • Have a clinical doctorate or Ph.D. degree or its equivalent.
  • Have completed any postgraduate training normally expected for a faculty appointment in their field (including clinical or postdoctoral fellowship training, or residency if they have chosen not to subspecialize).
  • Have no more than six years of research of research training experience beyond their last doctoral degree.
  • Have been assigned mentors with extensive research experience relevant to the Scholars' individual research and career development goals.
  • Not be or have been a PD/PI on a Center (P50, P60, P20, P30, U54) grant or subproject of a Program Project (P01), individual career development (K-series) award, or independent research project grant awards (R01) or equivalent.

In keeping with the type of mentoring and career development being provided by the K12, a Scholar who is competitive for P01 or R01 grant support is likely to be too senior for the BIRCWH.


Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding

$5,000,000 per year will be contributed by ORWH

Expected Number of Awards


Estimated Award Ceiling

$600,000 maximum direct costs per year per award

Primary CFDA Numbers


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education

Applications are not being solicited at this time. 


Please direct all inquiries to:

Lisa Begg, Dr.P.H., RN

Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

(301) 496-3975

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