Release Date:  December 11, 1998

PA NUMBER:  PA-99-025


National Institutes of Health

This notice supersedes that appeared in the NIH Guide, Vol. 25, No. 31, September
20, 1996.


The Congress of the United States enacted the National Research Service Act
(NRSA) Program in 1974 to help ensure that highly trained scientists will be
available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the
Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. Under this congressional
authority, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards NRSA individual
postdoctoral fellowships (F32) to the most promising applicants to support full-
time research training related to the mission of the NIH constituent institutes
and centers.


Citizenship. By the time of award, individuals must be citizens or non-citizen
nationals of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United
States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Alien
Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
Non-citizen nationals are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the
United States (i.e., American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals on temporary
or student visas are not eligible.

Degree Requirements. Before an NRSA award can be activated, the individual must
have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D.,
Dr. P.H., D.N.S., Pharm.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from
an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Certification by an authorized
official of the degree-granting institution that all degree requirements have
been met is also acceptable.

Sponsorship. Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must
identify a sponsoring institution and an individual who will serve as a sponsor
(also called mentor or supervisor) and will supervise the training and research
experience. The sponsoring institution may be private (profit or nonprofit) or
public, including the NIH Intramural Programs and other Federal laboratories.

The applicant's sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the
proposed research who will directly supervise the candidate's research. The
sponsor must document  the availability of staff, research support, and
facilities for high-quality research training. Applicants proposing training at
their doctorate institution or at the institution where they have been training
for more than a year must document the opportunities for new training experiences
designed to broaden their scientific background.

Foreign Sponsorship. Applicants requesting foreign training must show in the
application that the foreign institution and sponsor offer unique opportunities
that are not currently available in the United States. Only if there is a clear
scientific advantage will foreign training be supported.

Period of Support

Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the
postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional
training grants and individual fellowship awards. Exceptions to the 3-year limit
require a waiver from the NIH awarding component. Individuals interested in a
waiver should consult with staff of the relevant NIH institute.  If the need for
a waiver is anticipated, the application should include a justification for
training beyond 3 years of aggregate NRSA support.

Characteristics of Programs

The proposed NRSA training must be within the scope of biomedical, behavioral,
or clinical research and must offer an opportunity for individuals to broaden
their scientific background or to extend their potential for research in health-
related areas. For those who have a health professional degree, the proposed
training may be part of a research degree program.

Individuals are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis,
devoting at least 40 hours per week to the training program. Research clinicians
must devote full-time to their proposed research training and must restrict
clinical duties within their full-time research training experience to activities
that are directly related to the research training experience.

The Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is required
by law, considering the Nation's overall needs for biomedical personnel, to give
special consideration to physicians and other health professionals who agree to
undertake a minimum of 2 years of biomedical, behavioral or clinical research.
NIH recognizes the critical importance of training clinicians to become
researchers and encourages them to apply. Women, minorities, and individuals with
disabilities are also encouraged to apply.

An NRSA fellowship (F32) may not be used to support studies leading to the M.D.,
D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other similar health-professional degrees. Neither may
these awards be used to support the clinical years of residency training.


As required by the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, postdoctoral fellows incur a
service obligation of 1 month for each month of support during the first 12
months of the NRSA postdoctoral support. The 13th and subsequent months of NRSA
support are acceptable postdoctoral payback service. Thus, individuals who
continue under the award for 2 years will have paid off their first year
obligation by the end of the second year.

Applicants accepting an award for the first 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral
support must sign a payback agreement (PHS Form 6031) in which they agree to
engage in health-related research training, research, and/or teaching for 12

Those who do not pay back their obligation through continued NRSA support may
satisfy their obligation by serving in a position in which health-related
research, research training, or teaching are the primary activities.  Such
individuals must engage in research, research training, or teaching at a rate of
20 or more hours per week averaged over a full work-year. Payback service may be
conducted in an academic, governmental, commercial, or nonacademic environment,
in the United States or in a foreign country. Examples of acceptable payback
service include research associateships/assistantships, postdoctoral research
fellowships, and college or high school science teaching positions. Examples of
unacceptable payback service include clinical practice and administrative
responsibilities not directly related to scientific research.

Payback service positions are arranged by the individual, not by the NIH. The NIH
institute supporting the fellowship will review and approve the activity at the
end of the year in which it occurs. Service to satisfy any outstanding obligation
must be initiated within 2 years after termination of NRSA support, and must be
performed on a continuous basis. For individuals who fail to fulfill their
service obligation, the United States is entitled to recover the total amount of
NRSA funds paid to the individual for the obligated period plus interest at a
rate determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Financial
payback must be completed within 3 years, beginning on the date the United States
becomes entitled to recover such amount.

Under certain conditions, the Secretary, DHHS, may extend the period for starting
service, permit breaks in service, extend the period of repayment, or otherwise
waive the payback obligation when compliance would constitute a substantial
hardship against equity and good conscience. Policies regarding the NRSA payback
obligation are explained in the NRSA Policy Guidelines which are available on the
World Wide Web at
Specific questions may appear in a list of Frequently Asked Questions which
appears on the Web at  Other
questions on payback should be directed to the appropriate NIH institute contact.


Fellows may continue to receive stipends during periods of vacation and holidays
available to individuals in comparable training positions at the sponsoring
institution. Also, fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar
days of sick leave per year. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions
related to pregnancy and childbirth pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
[42 USC 2000 e (k)]. Fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 30
calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child
when those in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring
institution have access to paid leave for this purpose and the use of parental
leave is approved by the sponsor. A period of terminal leave is not permitted and
payment may not be made from grant funds for leave not taken. Individuals
requiring extended periods of time away from their research training experience
must seek approval from the NIH awarding component for an unpaid leave of


NRSA awards provide stipends to postdoctoral researchers as a subsistence
allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience.
The awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal
government or the sponsoring institution.

The stipend level for the first year of NRSA support is determined by the number
of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time the award is
issued.  Fellows with less than one full year of postdoctoral experience at the
time of award will receive initial support at the zero level.  Relevant
experience may include research (including research in industry), teaching,
internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in full-time studies
in a health-related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree. The
stipend schedule is updated from time-to-time and applicants are advised to
search the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for the most current schedule or
to check for the posting of the current stipend schedule on the NIH website at  The awarding NIH institute or center will
adjust awards as the stipend schedule is changed.  Postdoctoral stipends for
fiscal year 1999 are as follows:

Postdoctoral Years of Experience

           0                                 $26,256
           1                                 $27,720
           2                                 $32,700
           3                                 $34,368
           4                                 $36,036
           5                                 $37,680
           6                                 $39,348
           7 or more                         $41,268

The stipend for each subsequent year of NRSA support is the next level in the
stipend structure and begins on the anniversary date of the award. No departure
from the published NRSA stipend schedule may be negotiated between the
institution and the fellow.

For fellows sponsored by domestic nonfederal institutions, the stipend will be
paid through the sponsoring institution. For fellows sponsored by Federal or
foreign institutions, the monthly stipend payment will be deposited in the
fellow's U.S. bank account or paid directly to the fellow by U. S. Department of
Treasury check.

Stipend Supplementation. Supplementation or additional support to offset the cost
of living may be provided by the sponsoring institution, but must not require any
additional effort from the fellow. Federal funds may not be used for
supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of both the
program from which such supplemental funds are to be received and the program
whose funds are to be supplemented. Under no circumstances may Public Health
Service (PHS) funds be used for supplementation.

Compensation. An institution may provide additional funds to a fellow in the form
of compensation (such as salary and/or tuition remission) for services such as
teaching or research. A fellow may receive compensation for services as a
research assistant or in some other position on a Federal research grant,
including a PHS research grant. However, compensated services must only occur on
a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal research training activities,
which require a minimum of 40 hours per week. In addition, compensation may not
be paid from a research grant supporting research that is part of the research
training experience.

Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the
services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the
fellow's approved NRSA training program. Additionally, compensation must be in
accordance with institutional policies applied consistently to both federally and
non-federally supported activities and supported by acceptable accounting records
determined by the employer-employee relationship agreement.

Educational Loans or G.I. Bill. An individual may make use of Federal educational
loan funds and assistance under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act (G.I.
Bill). Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.

Concurrent Awards. An NRSA fellowship may not be held concurrently with another
Federally sponsored fellowship or similar award that provides a stipend or
otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.

Tax Liability

The Internal Revenue Code, Section 117, applies to the tax treatment of all
scholarships and fellowships. Under that section, non-degree candidates are
required to report, as gross income, all stipends and any monies paid on their
behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance. Degree candidates may
exclude from gross income reported for tax purposes any amount used for tuition
and related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for
courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization.

The taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship between
NRSA fellows and institutions. NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. NRSA
fellows are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with NIH
or with the institution in which they are pursuing research training.

The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts. NIH takes no position on the
status of a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense
tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the
applicability of the law to their situations and for information on the proper
steps to be taken regarding their tax obligations.

The business office of the sponsoring institution is responsible for the annual
preparation and issuance of the IRS form 1099 (statement of miscellaneous income)
for fellows paid through the institution (fellows at domestic nonfederal
institutions). NIH will issue the form for all fellows training at Federal or
foreign laboratories and receiving a stipend check from the U.S. Treasury.

Other Training Costs

NIH will provide an institutional allowance of $4,000 per 12-month period to
nonfederal, nonprofit, or foreign sponsoring institutions to help defray such
awardee expenses as research supplies, equipment, self-only health insurance, and
travel to scientific meetings. This allowance is intended to cover training-
related expenses for the individual awardee. The allowance is not available until
the fellow officially activates the award.  If an individual fellow is enrolled
or engaged in training for less than 6 months of the award year, only one-half
of that year's allowance may be charged to the grant.  The Notice of Research
Fellowship Award will be revised and the balance must be refunded to NIH.  Family
medical insurance is not allowable under an NRSA fellowship.

NIH will provide up to $3,000 for fellows sponsored by Federal laboratories or
for-profit institutions for expenses associated with travel to scientific
meetings, self-only health insurance, and books. For fellows at for-profit
institutions, the $3,000 will be paid to the institution for disbursement to the
fellow. Funds for fellows at Federal laboratories will be disbursed from the NIH
awarding institute.

Additional funds may be requested by the institution when the training of a
fellow involves extraordinary costs for travel to field sites remote from the
sponsoring institution; or, accommodations for fellows who are disabled, as
defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act. The funds requested for
extraordinary costs must be reasonable in relationship to the total dollars
awarded under the fellowship and must be directly related to the approved
research training experience. Such additional funds shall be provided only in
exceptional circumstances that are fully justified and explained by the

Tuition and Fees.  The NIH will offset the combined cost of tuition and fees at
the following rate: 100 percent of all costs up to $2,000 and 60 percent of costs
above $2,000. Costs associated with tuition and fees are allowable only if they
are required for specific courses in support of the research training experience
supported by the fellowship.  A full description of the tuition policy is
contained within the NRSA Policy Guidelines on the NIH website at

Travel Expenses. Awards for training at a foreign site may include a single
economy or coach round-trip travel fare. No allowance is provided for dependents.
U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when
commercial air transportation is available for travel between the United States
and a foreign country or between foreign countries.  Funds are not provided to
cover the cost of travel between the fellow's place of residence and a domestic
training institution. However, in cases of extreme need or hardship, a one-way
travel allowance may be authorized by the sponsoring institution. Such travel
must be paid from the institutional allowance.

Indirect costs.  Indirect costs are not allowed on individual fellowship awards.

Application Procedures

Individuals must submit the application form, PHS Individual National Research
Service Award (PHS 416-1, rev. 8/95), and include at least three letters of
reference. If the applicant has been lawfully admitted to the United States for
permanent residence, the appropriate item should be checked on the Face Page of
the application. Applicants who have applied for and have not yet been granted
admission as a permanent resident should check the Permanent Resident block on
the Face Page of the PHS 416-1 application, and also write in the word "pending."
A notarized statement documenting legal admission for permanent residence must
be submitted prior to the issuance of an award.

Applicants and sponsoring institutions must comply with policies and procedures
governing the protection of human subjects, the humane care and use of live
vertebrate animals, and the inclusion of women, minorities, and children in study

If the fellowship application is submitted in response to a Program Announcement
(PA) or Request for Application (RFA) from a particular NIH institute, the
applicant should identify the number of the PA or RFA in Item 3.

Application Materials.  To obtain application kits with instructions and forms,
please contact your institutional office of sponsored research. If application
kits are not available at the institution, they may be downloaded from the NIH
website at or it may be requested from the:

Extramural Outreach and Information Resources Office
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6207
MSC 7910
Bethesda, MD 20892-7910
Telephone: (301) 710-0267.

For faster service, send Email requests to Please allow 2-4
weeks for U.S. mail requests.

Concurrent Applications. An individual may not have more than one individual NRSA
fellowship or comparable application pending review or award at the NIH or other
DHHS agencies at the same time.

Application Receipt Dates and Review Schedule

F32 applications undergo a review process that takes between 5 and 8 months. The
receipt dates and the three annual review cycles are as follows:

Application Receipt Dates:   Apr 5             Aug 5             Dec 5
Initial Review Dates:        Jun/Jul           Oct/Nov           Feb/Mar
Secondary Review Dates:      Aug/Sep           Dec/Jan           Apr/May
Range of Likey Start Dates:  Sep 1 - Dec 1     Jan 1 - Mar 1     May 1 - Jul 1

Review Considerations

Applications receive two sequential levels of review. Scientific Review Groups
(SRGs), composed primarily of non-government scientists who have been selected
for their competence in particular scientific areas, evaluate applications for
merit. A Scientific Review Administrator (SRA), a designated Federal official,
coordinates the review of applications for each SRG.

After the scientific review meeting, the SRA prepares the summary statement for
each application and forwards it to the appropriate NIH institute. There, a
second level of review is provided by institute staff members before a funding
decision is made.

Review Criteria.  The review criteria focus on four main components:

Candidate: An assessment of the candidateĆ¾s previous academic and research
performance and the potential to become an important contributor to biomedical,
behavioral, or clinical science.

Sponsor and Training Environment:   An assessment of the quality of the training
environment and the qualifications of the sponsor as a mentor for the proposed
research training experience.

Research Proposal:   The merit of the scientific proposal.

Training Potential:  An assessment of the value of the proposed fellowship
experience as it relates to the candidateĆ¾s needs in preparation for a career as
an independent researcher.


Within six weeks of the receipt of an application, applicants will receive
confirmation of receipt and notification of assignment to a Scientific Review
Group and an NIH institute or center.  In that notification, the assigned NIH SRA
will be identified.  Any communication with the NIH prior to review should be
through the identified SRA.

Shortly after the scientific review meeting, each candidate will be sent a mailer
that includes the SRG recommendation, the priority score, and the name of a
program official in one of the NIH institutes or centers. The institute
automatically forwards a copy of the summary statement to the applicant as soon
as possible after receipt from the SRG.

Following the second-level review, the institute will notify each applicant of
the final disposition of the application. Any questions about scientific review
recommendations and funding possibilities should be directed to the appropriate
institute program official, not the scientific review administrator of the SRG.

Award Criteria

The staff of the NIH institutes use the following criteria in making awards:

SRG recommendation of the overall merit of the application relevance of the
application to institute research priorities and program balance availability of

Activation. An awardee has up to 6 months from the issue date on the award notice
to activate the award. Under unusual circumstances, an NIH institute may grant
an extension of the activation period upon receipt of a specific request from the

Terms and Conditions of Support

Fellowships must be administered in accordance with the current NRSA Policy
Guidelines for Individual Awards and Institutional Grants (see the NIH Website
at ), the current NIH Grants Policy
Statement (see the NIH Website at ),
and any terms and conditions specified on the award notice. The following
policies are noted:

Certification and Reporting Procedures. No application will be accepted without
the applicant signing the certification block, which indicates, among other
things, intent to meet the payback provisions required under law. Individuals
admitted to the United States as permanent residents must submit notarized
evidence of legal admission prior to the award. No funds may be disbursed until
the fellow has started training under the award and an Activation Notice (PHS
416-5) has been received by the NIH.  The Activation Notice must be accompanied
by a Payback Agreement Form (PHS 6031) when the award is for the individual's
initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support. When support ends, the fellow
must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) to the NIH.  And, if the fellow has
a payback obligation, he or she must notify the NIH of any change in address and
submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS 6031-1) until the
payback service obligation is satisfied.  Forms will be provided to awardees by
the NIH awarding component.  Forms may also be found on the NIH Website at .

Inventions and Publications. Fellowships made primarily for educational purposes
are exempted from the PHS invention requirements. F32 awards will not contain any
provision giving PHS rights to inventions made by the awardee.

Data Sharing.  PHS policy is to make available to the public the results and
accomplishments of the activities that it funds. Therefore, it is incumbent upon
fellows to make results and accomplishments of their F32 activities available to
the public. There should be no restrictions on the publication of results in a
timely manner.

Copyrights. Except as otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of the
award, the recipient is free to arrange for copyright without approval when
publications, data, or other copyrightable works are developed in the course of
work under a PHS grant-supported project or activity. Any such copyrighted or
copyrightable works shall be subject to a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and
irrevocable license to the Government to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use
them, and to authorize others to do so for Federal Government purposes.

Nondiscrimination. The NIH research training and career development programs are
conducted in compliance with applicable laws that provide that no person shall,
on the grounds of race, color, national origin, handicap, or age, be excluded
from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program or activity (or, on the basis of sex, with
respect to any education program or activity) receiving Federal assistance.

Authority and Regulations

NRSA awards are made under the authority of Section 487 of the Public Health
Service Act as amended (42 USC 288), and Title 42 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, Part 66. The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
numbers are applicable to these awards: 93.121, 93.172, 93.173, 93.272, 93.278,
93.282, 93.306, 93.361, 93.398, 93.821, 93.837-93.839, 93.846-93.849,
93.853-93.856, 93.859, 93.862-93.867, 93.880, 93.894, and 93.929.

This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

Additional Information and NIH Institute Contacts

For further information, contact the appropriate individual listed below:

National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Dr. Robin Barr
Telephone: (301) 496-9322

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Dr. Ernestine Vanderveen
Telephone: (301) 443-2530

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Dr. Milton Hernandez
Telephone: (301) 496-3775 or (800) 380-3876

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Dr. Richard Lymn
Telephone: (301) 594-5128

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Dr. Lester Gorelic
Telephone: (301) 496-8580

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Dr. Steven Klein
Telephone: (301) 496-5541

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Dr. Daniel Sklare
Telephone: (301) 496-1804

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDR)
Dr. James Lipton
Telephone: (301) 594-2618

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases Dr. Paul Coates
Telephone: (301) 594-8805

Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
Dr. Judith Podskalny
Telephone: (301) 594-8876

Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases
Dr. Charles Rodgers
Telephone: (301) 594-7726

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Division of Basic Research
Dr. Charles Sharp
Telephone: (301) 443-1887

Division of Clinical and Services Research
Dr. Arthur Horton
Telephone: (301) 443-4060

Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
Ms. Ann Blanken
Telephone: (301) 443-6543

Medications Development Division
Dr. Jamie Biswas
Telephone: (301) 443-5280

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Dr. Carol Shreffler
Telephone: (919) 541-1445

National Eye Institute (NEI)
Dr. Maria Y. Giovanni
Telephone: (301) 496-0484

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Dr. Michael Martin
Telephone: (301) 594-3910

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Division of Lung Diseases
Ms. Mary Reilly
Telephone: (301) 435-0222

Division of Heart and Vascular Disease
Dr. Michael Commarato
Telephone:  (301) 435-0530

Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
Ms. Joyce Creamer
Telephone: (301) 435-0061

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS
Dr. Fred Altman
Telephone: (301) 443-9700

Division of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Research
Dr. Walter L. Goldschmidts
Telephone: (301) 443-3563

Division of Services and Intervention Research
Dr. Kenneth G. Lutterman
Telephone: (301) 443-3373
Dr. Enid Light
Telephone:  (301) 443-3599

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Dr. Joseph S. Drage
Telephone: (301) 496-4188

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Dr. Cara Krulewitch
Telephone:  (301) 594-2542

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Dr. Bettie Graham
Telephone: (301) 496-7531

National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Dr. Neal B. West
Telephone: (301) 435-0749

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Eugene G. Hayunga, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-594-2014

Other DHHS Organization Making F32 Awards:

Agency For Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)
Training Officer
Office of Scientific Affairs
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
2101 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 400
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Telephone: (301) 594-1449
FAX: (301) 594-0154

Other NIH Programs That Support Research Training:

For a complete description of NIH extramural and intramural programs that provide
research training support at levels from high school to the senior investigator
level at NIH facilities, research institutions, colleges, and universities around
the United States, please connect with the NIH website at

Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910
Bethesda, MD 20892-7910
Phone (301) 710-0267
FAX: (301) 480-0525

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