National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic
Funding Opportunity Title
NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) (R25)
R25 Education Projects
This is a reissue of PAR-10-206
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
Companion Funding Opportunity
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)
Funding Opportunity Purpose
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The goal of the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program is to invest in educational activities that enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. To this end, this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages the development of innovative educational activities for pre-kindergarten to grade 12 (P-12), teachers and students from underserved communities with a focus on Courses for Skills Development, Research Experiences, Mentoring Activities, Curriculum or Methods Development or Informal science Education (ISE) exhibits, and Outreach activities.
Details on current ORIP SEPA projects can be found at the following links: http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/orip/ose/sepa/science_education_partnership_awards_index and http://nihsepa.org.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the SEPA Scientific/Research Contact to be advised on the appropriateness of the intended P-12 STEM or ISE project for the SEPA program objectives and Office of Science Education/SEPA priorities.
May 16, 2014
June 30, 2014
30 days before the application due date
July 30, 2014, June 22, 2015, June 22, 2016 , by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
October 2014, October 2015, October 2016
January 2015, January 2016, January 2017
April 2015, April 2016, April 2017
June 23, 2016
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.
Applications that do not comply with these instructions will not be reviewed
Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH Institutes and Centers. The over-arching goals of the NIH R25 program are to: (1) complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs; (2) enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce; (3) help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences; and (4) foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research and its implications.
The goal of the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program is to invest in educational activities that complement or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. SEPA encourages interactive partnerships between biomedical and clinical researchers and P-12 pre-service and in-service teachers (Teachers), schools and other interested organizations. SEPA supports diversity in the workforce by providing opportunities for students from underserved communities to consider careers in basic or clinical research, provides teachers with professional development in science content and teaching skills and improves community health literacy through its science centers and museum exhibits. Applications that target P-12 or ISE topics that may not be addressed by existing school, community or ISE-based activities are encouraged.
Educational activities supported under this FOA may include
one or more of the following:
Proposed projects must focus on topics related to NIH-funded research.
SEPA funding does not support large scale STEM or ISE projects where the total cost of the project will exceed the total amount of the requested SEPA award.
This FOA is aligned with the 5-year Federal CoSTEM Strategic Plan. The STEM Strategic Plan outlines national goals to drive five priority STEM education areas. The priority STEM areas related to the SEPA program include: (1) Prepare 100,000 excellent new K-12 STEM teachers by 2020; (2) 50 percent increase in the number of U.S. youth who have an authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school; (3) Increase the number of students from groups that have been underrepresented in STEM fields that graduate with STEM degrees in the next 10 years and improve women’s participation in areas of STEM where they are significantly underrepresented. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/stem_stratplan_2013.pdf ).
Research education programs may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those training and education programs currently receiving Federal support. R25 programs may augment institutional research training programs (e.g., T32, T90) but cannot be used to replace or circumvent Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) programs.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
ORIP intends to commit approximately $2,000,000 in FY 2015, 2016 and 2017. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.
Direct costs are limited to $250,000 annually. F&A will be budgeted and reimbursed at a rate of 8 percent of modified total direct costs, exclusive of tuition and fees, health insurance (when awarded as part of tuition and fees), expenditures for equipment, and consortia in excess of $25,000.
The project period may not exceed 5 years.
Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the research education program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. (If mentoring interactions and other activities with participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then any costs associated with the mentoring and other interactions with participants are not allowable costs from grant funds).
Participants may be paid if specifically required for the
proposed research education program and sufficiently justified. Participant
costs must be itemized in the proposed budget
Allowable participant costs depend on the educational level/career status of the individuals to be selected to participate in the program.
While generally not an allowable cost, with strong justification, participants in the research education program may receive per diem unless such costs are furnished as part of the registration fee. Participants may also receive funds to defray partial tuition and other education-related expenses.
Individuals supported by NIH training and career development mechanisms (K, T, or F awards) may receive, and indeed are encouraged to receive, educational experiences supported by an R25 program, as participants, but may not receive salary or stipend supplementation from a research education program.
Because the R25 program is not intended as a substitute for an NRSA institutional training program (e.g.,T32), costs to support full-time participants (supported for 40 hours/week for a continuous, 12-month period) are not allowable.
Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.
Funds must be budgeted for the Principal Investigator/Program Director (PI/PD) and, when appropriate, Key Personnel to attend the Annual SEPA PD/PI Conference.
A minimum of ten percent (10%) of the direct costs must be devoted to project evaluation
Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
Additional Eligible Organizations
The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.
Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other Federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving federal support. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are
not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.
Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))
All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account. PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons.If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources
necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal
Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to
develop an application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds,
including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with
disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Only one application per institution, normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or EIN number, is allowed.
NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed within the past thirty-seven months (as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement), except for submission:
Institutions are limited to a single SEPA award. An institution, normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number, with an active SEPA project is not eligible to submit a new SEPA application.
An organization or institution may submit only one SEPA application or be a partner with another organization or institution submitting a SEPA application.
Organizations with a contractual fee for service or consortium partnership with an active SEPA project may submit a SEPA application as long as the proposed new project is independent of the existing SEPA contractual, fee for service or consortium partnership.
An organization with an active SEPA project is eligible to submit an application for a new SEPA project as long as there will not be significant overlap between the end of the current SEPA award and the possible start date for a new SEPA award.
It is appropriate for applicants to use an existing P-12 or ISE project strategy and infrastructure as the platform for a new SEPA application. The proposed new SEPA project may complement, but cannot overlap, the ongoing P-12 or ISE project at the applicant or partner institution(s) or organization(s).
SPECIAL NOTE: SEPA projects ending their SEPA grant period are strongly encouraged to utilize their SEPA-generated infrastructure, partnerships, and evaluation tools to develop a new SEPA project as long as the proposed project has a new scope of activity or target audience.
Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.
Unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to NIH, research education programs should be used primarily for the education of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions will not be reviewed.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows ORIP staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.
By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:
The letter of intent should be sent to:
L. Tony Beck, PHD
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, required and optional. Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.
The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:
Facilities & Other Resources. Describe the educational environment, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program. List all thematically related sources of support for research training and education following the format for Current and Pending Support.
Other Attachments: It is recommended that SEPA projects have an Advisory Committee for independent feedback on content development and project management. If an Advisory Committee is intended, provide a plan for the appointment of the members. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of members, frequency of meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the proposed project. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted. Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”
The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below:
Research Education Program Plan
Proposed Research Education Program. While the proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly distinguish between the activities in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program. The description should include the educational and/or career level(s) of the planned participants. The proposed research education plan should target unserserved communities and build upon evidence-based practices from the STEM education field and include: Clear goals and anticipated outcomes; Development of critical thinking and communication skills; Cultural relevance to the target audience; Input from the teachers, community and other stakeholders; Potential to build a sustainable STEM education capacity for the community; Potential for replication.
Content of the prosed SEPA project must align with the Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas of Next Generation Science Standards. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are pre-college science standards created through a collaborative, state-led process and identifies what students need to know and be able to do to be a functional citizen, which includes being scientifically literate and an effective member of the U.S. workforce (http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards).
Program Director/Principal Investigator. Describe arrangements for administration of the program. Provide evidence that the Program Director/Principal Investigator is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program. For programs proposing multiple PDs/PIs, describe the complementary and integrated expertise of the PDs/PIs; their leadership approach, and governance appropriate for the planned project.
Program Faculty. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as program faculty. Faculty should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program and demonstrate a history of, or the potential for, their intended roles. Classroom-based P-12 SEPA projects must have a rigorous evaluation plan, either Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) or Well-Matched Case Comparison Study to quantify project effectiveness. Therefore, it is essential that at least one of the PD/PIs or Senior/Key Personnel have demonstrated expertise in evaluation of P-12 STEM Teacher professional development and STEM curriculum development. These ndividual/individuals must work with the independent evaluator in the development and implementation of the evaluation plan. SEPA encourages the inclusion of Key Personnel or project faculty who can serve as role models and mentors for Teacher and student participants.
Program Participants. Applications must describe the intended participants, and the eligibility criteria and/or specific educational background characteristics that are essential for participation in the proposed research education program. Identify the career levels for which the proposed program is planned.
Institutional Environment and Commitment. Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support (see below). Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.
Recruitment and Retention Plan. The NIH recognizes a unique and
compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical
and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify
the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from
all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment;
to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to
improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical
research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and
eliminate health disparities.
Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to enhance the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will enhance diversity on a national basis.
The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of participants:
A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.
B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:
1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS - Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have (1) qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance, (2) they have received Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) or Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or (3) they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
Recruitment and retention
plans related to a disadvantaged background (C1 and C2) are most applicable to
high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but would be more
difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement.
Under extraordinary circumstances the PHS may, at its discretion, consider an
individual beyond the undergraduate level to be from a disadvantaged background.
Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate
New applications must include a description of plans to enhance recruitment of a diverse participant pool and may wish to include data in support of past accomplishments. The plan should be appropriate and reasonable for the nature and duration of the proposed program.
For those individuals who participated in the research
education program, the report should include information about the duration of education
and aggregate information on the number of individuals finished the program in
good standing. Additional information on the required Recruitment and Retention
Plan to Enhance Diversity is available at Frequently Asked Questions:
Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity (Diversity FAQs).
Applications lacking a diversity recruitment and retention plan will not be reviewed.
for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research. All
applications must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in
the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The plan must address the five,
required instructional components outlined in the NIH policy: 1) Format - the required
format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or
real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not
acceptable); 2) Subject
Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest,
authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety,
research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty
Participation - the role of the program faculty in the instruction;
4) Duration of Instruction
- the number of contact hours of instruction, taking into consideration the
duration of the program; and 5) Frequency
of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and
at least once every four years. See also NOT-OD-10-019.
The plan should be appropriate and reasonable for the nature and duration of the
proposed program. Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe any
changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans to address
any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who
served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders
during the past project period must be named in the application.
Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be reviewed.
Evaluation Plan. Applications must include a plan for evaluating the activities supported by the award. The application must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants), as well as measures to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Wherever appropriate, applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for improvements. The evaluation plan should build upon current knowledge in the field, provide quantitative assessment of project impact and advance our understanding of STEM learning.
SEPA classroom-based P-12 projects must utilize either a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) or a Well-Matched Comparison study evaluation design to evaluate project effectiveness.
SEPA out-of-classroom or ISE projects must have a rigorous evaluation plan to measure impact. When appropriate, proposed out-of-classroom or ISE projects are encouraged to employ RCT or Well-Matched Case Comparison evaluation.
The proposed evaluation plan must include a Logic Model.
The use of an external evaluator is not mandated in this FOA. However, the evaluator must be free of real or perceived conflict of interest. The evaluator must have formal training and experience in P-12 STEM evaluation methodology and statistics as demonstrated by relevant publications or reports. Evaluator expertise in STEM education must be documented. The evaluator should provide training and technical assistance, as necessary, to key staff and project partners to ensure integrity and adequacy of data capture, analysis and reporting.
Dissemination Plan. A specific plan must be provided to disseminate nationally any findings resulting from or materials developed under the auspices of the research education program, e.g., sharing course curricula and related materials via web postings, presentations at scientific meetings, workshops. Additional dissemination methods may include reports, publications, project websites, social media and other dissemination or marketing venues.
All SEPA proposals must include a project website development plan for dissemination of resources developed as a result of SEPA funding. The website may be a new website or a SEPA-specific component added to an existing website. The SEPA website must be launched within 6 months from the initial award date.
Letters of Support
A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support (see section above:”Institutional Environment and Commitment.”
Resource Sharing Plans
Individuals are required to comply with the
instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model
Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies(GWAS)) as provided in the SF424
(R&R) Application Guide, with the following modifications:
When relevant, applications are expected to include a software dissemination plan if support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application. There is no prescribed single license for software produced. However, the software dissemination plan should address, as appropriate, the following goals:
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Part I. Overview Information
contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications
before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application
corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.
Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost
principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants
Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.
Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered
in the review process. As part of the NIH mission,
all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical, behavioral, and
clinical research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the
NIH peer review system.
The goals of the SEPA program are to: (1) provide P-12 STEM resources that will increase the interest of students from underserved communities in careers in basic and clinical medical research and (2) educate the community on the correlation between lifestyle and health through science center and museum exhibits.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to strongly advance research education by fulfilling the goal of this R25 Education Program, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria, as applicable for the project proposed.
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.
Does the proposed program address a key audience and an important aspect or important need in research education? Is there convincing evidence in the application that the proposed program will significantly advance the stated goal of the program? Does the proposed research education program address an important problem or critical question in research education or other key STEM issues? How will implementation of the proposed program encourage students from underserved communities to consider careers in health and medicine? How will implementation of the proposed program advance NIH workforce development objectives? Does the proposed project incorporate what is known about effective STEM education practices? Will this project generate resources that will increase career opportunities for underrepresented minorities and women, groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, improve Teacher effectiveness through professional development and advance the field of evidence-based STEM education practices?
Is the PD/PI capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's intended goal is accomplished? If applicable, is there evidence that the participating faculty have experience in mentoring students and teaching science? If applicable, are the faculty good role models for the participants by nature of their scientific accomplishments? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Will there be an appropriate level of effort by the program leadership to ensure the program's success? Do the PI(s)/PD(s) or key personnel have expertise in evaluation that is relevant to the proposed project? If it is appropriate for the proposed project, does the key personnel include role models or near-peer mentors of age, gender or ethnicity similar to the target audience(s)?
Taking into consideration the nature of the proposed research education program, does the applicant make a strong case for this program effectively reaching an audience in need of the program’s offerings? Where appropriate, is the proposed program developing or utilizing innovative approaches and latest best practices to improve the knowledge and/or skills of the intended audience? Is the proposed research education program characterized by innovation and scholarship? Does the proposed program challenge current research education paradigms or address an innovative hypothesis and critical barrier to progress in the STEM field? Are the proposed concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies novel for this area. Does the research plan maintain a balance between innovation and novel application of established STEM curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation metrics? Is a clear case made for the proposed innovation? Is a clear case made for using current, well-tested techniques to develop and implement the proposed project?
Does the proposed program clearly state its goals and objectives, including the educational level of the audience to be reached, the content to be conveyed, and the intended outcome? Is there evidence that the program is based on a sound rationale, as well as sound educational concepts and principles? Is the plan for evaluation sound and likely to provide information on the effectiveness of the program? If the proposed program will recruit participants, are the planned recruitment, retention, and follow-up (if applicable) activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified participant pool? Is the project design culturally relevance to the target audience? Is there input from the Teachers, parents, community and other stakeholders that will generate buy-in and ownership? If appropriate for the proposed project, is the plan for Teacher professional development in science content and pedagogical skills, both pre-service and as a continuing education process for in-service Teachers, well described? Does the content of the proposed project align with the Next Generation Science Standards? If appropriate is there a plan for a public outreach component?
Evaluation Plan: Does the evaluation staff have the appropriate training and experience in evaluation methodology to conduct the proposed evaluation plan? Is the percent effort of the external evaluator and project personnel sufficient? Is the evaluation plan based on appropriate literature and best practices in the STEM field? Does the Logic Model clearly link the proposed inputs and activities with short-, mid- and long-term outcomes? Are the evaluation benchmarks, timeline and metrics sufficient to capture, analyze and report outcome measures that would determine the success of the project in achieving its objectives? Does the evaluation plan have the flexibility to allow for shifting goals and program changes? Is there a discussion of the selection and appropriateness of control groups? If applicable, are the plans for obtaining feedback from participants adequate to measure the quality and effectiveness of the proposed preK-12 STEM project?
Dissemination Plan: Is the dissemination plan well-designed and appropriate for the materials that will be created? Is the proposed dissemination material(s) relevant to the target audience and are the target audiences likely to be aware of these resources? Does the dissemination plan include diverse underrepresented groups in science, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and individuals with disabilities? Does the dissemination plan include both genders? Does the dissemination plan take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by Limited English Proficient Persons (LEP) persons? Will the dissemination leverage and/or support collaborations with other SEPA projects, NIH-funded programs, or other agency-supported P-12 projects? Do the PI(s)/PD(s) discuss plans for posters, presentations, workshops and other dissemination practices at local, regional and national conferences? Are there plans to utilize cutting edge social media venues such as Wikis, YouTube, Facebook, etc.?
Website: Is the plan and timeline for the proposed SEPA project website development satisfactory?
Will the scientific and educational environment of the proposed program contribute to its intended goals? Is there a plan to take advantage of this environment to enhance the educational value of the program? Is there tangible evidence of institutional commitment? Is there evidence that the faculty have sufficient institutional support to create a sound educational environment for the participants? Where appropriate, is there evidence of collaboration and buy-in among participating programs, departments, and institutions?
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.
Protections for Human Subjects
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others and 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information see Human Subject Regulations Decision Charts (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/decisioncharts.htm).
Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children
The committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information, see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/VASchecklist.pdf
For projects that will include laboratory exercises the committee will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.
Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity
Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in the summary statement. Plans will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.
Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
Taking into account the specific characteristics of the proposed research education program, the level of participant experience, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the program faculty in the instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction, taking into consideration the duration of the program; and 5) Frequency of Instruction –instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years. See also: NOT-OD-10-019. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in the summary statement. Plans will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.
Applications from Foreign Organizations
Applications from Foreign Organizations are not permitted under this FOA.
Select Agent Research
Generally not applicable. Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.
Resource Sharing Plans
Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). If support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application, the reviewers will comment on the proposed software dissemination plan.
Budget and Period of Support
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s)convened by the CSR, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the DPCPSI National Advisory Council of Councils.. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
After the peer review of the application is completed, the
PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique)
via the eRA
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH
will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as
described in the NIH Grants
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
The Home Page of the SEPA project website must contain clearly visible SEPA funding credit text consistent with the following text:
This project/exhibit was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number ________, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.
The project/exhibit described is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant, Grant Number ________ from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.
SEPA science center and museum projects must be an independent exhibit. If the proposed SEPA exhibit is to be a component of a large scale exhibit, it must be clearly identifiable as a SEPA-funded component within the larger exhibit.
SEPA funding credit text for science center and museum exhibits should be consistent with the following text:
This exhibit was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number ________, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“The exhibit described is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant, Grant Number ________ from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Post-award funding from Foundations, biotechnology companies or other entities for SEPA preK-12 STEM projects is welcome and should be listed in website and media credit text or exhibit credit signage as being “additional funding from” or “follow-on funding from".
The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted. Programs that involve participants should report on education in the responsible conduct of research and complete a Training Diversity Report, in accordance with the PHS 2590 Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.
In order to: (1) better manage the SEPA program and (2) to have project participant data to provide to federal agencies when requested, the awardee institution must submit annually an actual or estimated annual report on the number of students and Teachers served in the reporting year. For science museum-based and other ISE projects, the institution should submit an annual best guess estimate of the number of students, Teachers and/or families served.
A final progress reportand the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH or its Institutes and Centers will periodically evaluate their R25 research education programs, employing the measures identified below. In assessing the effectiveness of its research education investments, NIH may request information from databases, PD/PIs, and from participants themselves. Where necessary, PD/PIs and participants may be contacted after the completion of a research education experience for periodic updates on participants’ subsequent educational or employment history and professional activities.
Upon the completion of a program evaluation, NIH and its ICs will determine whether to (a) continue a program as currently configured, (b) continue a program with modifications, or (c) discontinue a program.
A. For Courses for Skills Development:
B. For Programs Focusing on Curriculum or Methods Development:
C. For Outreach Programs:
D. For Research Experience and Mentoring Programs Involving the Following Groups:
Postdoctorates and Early Career Investigators:
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
L. Tony Beck, Ph.D.
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Jonathan A. Arias, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Ms. Shannon Oden
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.
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