Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Intramural NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program (FI2)

Activity Code

FI2 Intramural Postdoctoral Research Associate

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-15-094

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.859

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program's overarching goal is to provide high quality postdoctoral research training in the basic biomedical sciences, in NIH intramural research laboratories, to a diverse group of postdoctoral fellows to prepare them for leadership positions in biomedical careers. The research projects proposed should focus on NIGMS mission-related areas of basic biomedical science. These include cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, computational biology, technology development and bioinformatics. Studies employing model organisms are encouraged.

The PRAT Program distinguishes itself by providing, in addition to the laboratory research experience, a structured training environment with extensive career development and networking opportunities planned and supported by this program.

Key Dates
Posted Date

January 16, 2015

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 17, 2015

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

March 17, 2015; October 2, 2015; October 3, 2016; October 3, 2017, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

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.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June-July 2015; February-March 2016; February-March 2017; February-March 2018

Advisory Council Review

Not Applicable

Earliest Start Date

October 2015

Expiration Date

New Date March 11, 2016 per issuance of PA-16-130. (Original Expiration Date: October 4, 2017)

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Individual Fellowship 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 may be delayed or not accepted for review.


Table of Contents

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


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The overall goal of the Intramural NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical research needs.  More information about

the NIGMS PRAT Program can be found at the website http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/Pages/PRAT.aspx

In 1965, the first cohort of postdoctoral fellows entered the NIGMS PRAT Program to begin a period of research training in the NIH Intramural Research Program.  Since this time, numerous PRAT alumni have become leaders in their respective fields and across multiple career sectors.  Although this program grew out of a desire to train more individuals in the field of pharmacology, the program has broadened over time and now supports all research areas within the mission of NIGMS.  In 2012, the name of the program was changed to the Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program in recognition of the diversity of disciplines supported by the program, but the core features of the program remain the same.  The NIGMS PRAT Program continues to provide access to excellent research, mentoring, and career development resources in the NIH Intramural Research Program and maintains a focus on training leaders in the basic biomedical sciences.

The NIGMS PRAT Program's overarching goal is to provide high-quality research training in the basic biomedical sciences, in NIH intramural research laboratories, to a diverse group of postdoctoral fellows to prepare them for leadership positions in biomedical careers. This training includes a mentored laboratory experience as well as intensive career and leadership development activities.  Fellows selected for the NIGMS PRAT Program will receive three years of support from this mechanism. 

The NIGMS PRAT Program will support fellowship training within the NIH Intramural Research Program that is focused on NIGMS mission-related areas of basic biomedical science. These include but are not limited to cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, computational biology, technology development and bioinformatics. Studies employing model organisms are encouraged.  Fellows can conduct this work in any of the NIH Institutes or Centers with an Intramural Research Program , with mentors who have relevant experience in these areas of research.  This arrangement allows fellows from a wide array of diverse scientific disciplines to interact on a regular basis and to exchange ideas.

The NIGMS PRAT program distinguishes itself from other postdoctoral training opportunities in intramural NIH research through its approach to cultivating the next generation of leaders in the basic biomedical sciences.  Fellows selected for this program are from a wide array of basic biomedical research disciplines.  The fellows interact on a regular basis to present their research and exchange ideas during a monthly seminar series combining a research presentation from a current PRAT fellow with a presentation from an outside speaker.  This communication across disciplines fosters discussion of new research approaches and a deeper appreciation of the contributions these diverse disciplines make to the basic biomedical research enterprise.  The program further broadens the experience of participating fellows by providing intensive mentoring and defined career development activities focused on topics such as leadership skills, oral presentations, and grant-writing as part of the training curriculum.   Fellows selected for the PRAT program are required to participate in the PRAT-sponsored training activities.    The PRAT Program Director(s) oversees all activities of the NIGMS PRAT Program and provides additional mentoring to PRAT fellows.  Additional information about the NIGMS PRAT Program can be found at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/Pages/PRAT.aspx.

NIGMS PRAT fellows are encouraged to broaden their training by attending scientific seminars on the NIH campus, traveling to scientific meetings, participating actively in lab meetings, making scientific presentations and publishing the results of their research. Fellows receive formal training in the ethical conduct of research and scientific methods, including a focus on the reproducibility of data. All fellows are strongly encouraged to take courses in quantitative biology and statistics, if they have not already done so. Fellows are exposed broadly to the cutting-edge technologies for which the intramural program is noted.

It is expected that the NIGMS PRAT Program training experience will provide:

  • A strong foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques appropriate to the proposed research;
  • The enhancement of the applicant's ability to conceptualize and think through research problems with increasing independence;
  • Experience conducting research using appropriate, state-of-the-art methods, as well as presenting and publishing the research findings as first author;
  • The opportunity to interact with members of the scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops;
  • Formal training to develop the skills needed to transition to the next stage of the applicant's research career; and
  • The opportunity to enhance the applicant's understanding of the health-related sciences and the relationship of his/her research to health and disease.

The NIGMS encourages applications from individuals sufficiently early in their postdoctoral training period that they can benefit from the mentored research and training opportunities provided by the NIGMS PRAT Program.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of fellowships is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Fellowship budgets are composed of stipends and travel allowance, as described below.

Award Project Period

Postdoctoral fellows may receive up to 3 years of support from the NIGMS PRAT fellowship.

Other Award Budget Information
Stipends

NIGMS PRAT Fellows are supported by the NIH Intramural Research and Training Award (IRTA) mechanism and are provided stipends as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research and clinical training experiences.

Stipend levels are commensurate with experience and the competitive selection process for this fellowship. NIH will adjust stipends on the anniversary date of the fellowship to ensure consistency with the stipend level in effect at that time.

More information about the ITRA mechanism in general and the most recent stipend levels can be found at the following link: http://oma1.od.nih.gov/manualchapters/person/2300-320-7/.

Tuition and Fees

Not Applicable

Institutional Allowance

Not Applicable

Indirect Costs

Not Applicable

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Governments

  • Intramural Research Program of the NIH

Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must identify a sponsoring NIH Institute or Center (IC. The application will be submitted by the sponsoring IC's Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) on behalf of the fellow.  Fellows should plan for sufficient lead time in preparing the application to ensure the appropriate individual(s) for submitting the application is identified.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

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.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

Fellows applying for this fellowship will apply as the PD/PI. 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.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any applicant fellow with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her sponsor and organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

By the time of the start of the fellowship period, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status).

As this is a postdoctoral fellowship, eligible individuals must have completed a doctoral degree by the time of entrance into the program.  In accordance with NIH Office of Intramural Research policy, individuals appointed to postdoctoral training positions using the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) must be within five years of receipt of terminal degree.  In addition, individuals may only be supported on the IRTA mechanism for a maximum of five years, only three of which can be supported by the PRAT fellowship.  Individuals currently in postdoctoral IRTA appointments in the NIH Intramural Research Program should plan to submit their applications early in their appointment so that they have accumulated no more than 24 months of training on the IRTA mechanism before entrance into the PRAT Program.   

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows.  The NIH will accept submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.

Each sponsor may support only one FI2 application each cycle.  Multiple applications listing the same sponsor in the same review cycle will be withdrawn.

Duration of Support

Individuals may receive up to 3 years of support from the NIGMS PRAT fellowship.  Additional options are available to extend one's time in training in the NIH Intramural Research Program should this be needed at the completion of the PRAT program.

Level of Effort

At the time of fellowship, individuals are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.

Sponsor

Before submitting the application, the applicant must identify a sponsor(s) in the NIH Intramural Research Program who will supervise the proposed mentored training and research experience. The primary sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research training and be committed both to the applicant's research training and to the direct supervision of his/her research. The sponsor must document the availability of sufficient research support and facilities for high-quality research training. The sponsor, or a member of the team of sponsors, should have a successful track record of mentoring postdoctoral fellows. Applicants are encouraged to identify more than one sponsor, i.e., a team of sponsors, if this is deemed advantageous for providing expert advice in all aspects of the research and training program. In such cases, one individual must be identified as the primary sponsor who will coordinate the applicant's integrated research and training program. The applicant must work with his/her sponsor(s) in preparing the application.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

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.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Fellowship Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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 may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

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.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide must be followed.  

Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Training Plan

Research Strategy

Applicants must describe a well-defined research project that is well-suited to his/her stage of career development and is within NIGMS mission-related areas of basic biomedical science. The applicant should describe the background leading to the proposed research, the significance of the research, the proposed approach (design and methods) for achieving the Specific Aims, the rationale for the proposed approach, potential pitfalls, and expected/alternative outcomes of the proposed studies. It may be beneficial to include pertinent preliminary data to demonstrate feasibility.

Resource Sharing Plan

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research. 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 mentor(s) and other faculty involvement in the instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the total number of contact hours of instruction; and 5) Frequency of Instruction – instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years. Document any prior instruction during the applicant's current career stage, including the inclusive dates instruction was last completed. See also NOT-OD-10-019. Applications lacking a Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research will not be reviewed. 

Additional Information

Goals for Fellowship Training and Career

Discuss how the proposed research project, participation in the NIGMS PRAT Program activities as described in Part II, Section 1, and other career development opportunities enhance the applicant's development and relate to the applicant's career goals as a productive, independent research scientist. Discuss how the proposed research training plan will enhance his/her knowledge and technical and professional skills, and facilitate his/her transition to the next career stage.

Activities Planned During the Fellowship Period

The applicant's research training plan, i.e., the activities planned during this fellowship, should be individually tailored and well integrated with his/her research project. Describe the skills and techniques that the applicant intends to learn as well as any planned, non-research activities (e.g., those relating to professional development) during the fellowship period. The applicant should provide a timeline for the proposed research training and related activities.

Sponsor(s) and Co-Sponsor(s)

The NIGMS PRAT Program supports a program of mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors. The sponsor should describe their current research activities and how they relate to the applicant's proposed research project. The role of the sponsor in the integrated research and training plan should be described. If a team of sponsors is proposed, this plan should describe the role of each sponsor and how they will communicate and coordinate their efforts to mentor the applicant effectively.

The training plan should be individualized for the applicant, keeping in mind the applicant's strengths and any gaps in needed skills, and should be designed to enhance research training. The training plan should be coordinated with the applicant's Research Strategy. The training plan should include participation in the NIGMS PRAT Program activities as described in Part II Section 1 of this announcement.  The training plan should outline and justify new training opportunities, and professional development activities. Additional training in professional development skills, e.g., grant-writing, presentation skills, and lab management, is strongly encouraged. The training plan should have the potential to facilitate the applicant's transition to the next stage of his/her career. 

The research environment and the availability and quality of needed research facilities and research resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computing resources, subject populations) should be described.

The sponsor and any co-sponsors are expected to provide an assessment of the applicant's qualifications and potential for a career as a productive, independent researcher

Appendix

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  

 
Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Letters of Reference

Applicants must carefully follow the SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide, including the time period for when letters of reference will be accepted (letters are due by the application due date as described in the Notice). Applications lacking the appropriate required reference letters will not be reviewed. This is a separate process from submitting an application electronically. Reference letters are submitted directly through the eRA Commons Submit Reference Letter link and not through Grants.gov.

3. Submission Dates and Times

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.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  An NIGMS PRAT fellowship may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of this fellowship.

Pre-award costs are generally not allowable for Fellowships.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

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. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

Important reminders:
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 and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

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 and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

  • A fellowship application has a research project that is integrated with the training plan. The review will emphasize the applicant's potential for a productive career, the applicant's need for the proposed training, and the degree to which the research project and training plan, the sponsor(s), and the environment will satisfy those needs.
Overall Impact/Merit

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the fellowship will enhance the candidate's potential for, and commitment to, a productive independent scientific research career in a health-related field, in consideration of the scored and additional review criteria.

Scored Review Criteria

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.

Fellowship Applicant

  • Are the applicant's academic record and research experience of high quality?
  • Does the applicant have the potential to develop into an independent and productive researcher in biomedical, behavioral or clinical science?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate commitment to a career as an independent researcher in the future?

Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants

  • Are the sponsor(s') research qualifications (including recent publications) and track record of mentoring individuals at a similar stage appropriate for the needs of the applicant?
  • Is there evidence of a match between the research interests of the applicant and the sponsor(s)?  Do the sponsor(s) demonstrate an understanding of the applicant's training needs as well as the ability and commitment to assist in meeting those needs?
  • Is there evidence of adequate research funds to support the applicant's proposed research project and training for the duration of the fellowship?
  • If a team of sponsors is proposed, is the team structure well justified for the mentored training plan, and are the roles of the individual members appropriate and clearly defined?
  • Are the qualifications of any collaborator(s) and/or consultant(s), including their complementary expertise and previous experience in fostering the training of fellows, appropriate for the proposed research project?

Research Training Plan

  • Is the proposed research plan of high scientific quality, and is it well integrated with the proposed training plan?
  • Is the research project consistent with the applicant's stage of research development?
  • Is the proposed timeframe feasible to accomplish the proposed research training?
  • Based on the sponsor's description of his/her active research program, is the applicant's proposed research project sufficiently distinct from the sponsor's funded research for the applicant's career stage?

Training Potential

  • Do the proposed research project and training plan have the potential to provide the applicant with the requisite individualized and mentored experiences that will develop his/her knowledge and research and professional development skills?
  • Does the training plan take advantage of the applicant's strengths and address gaps in needed skills? Does the training plan document a clear need for, and value of, the proposed training for the applicant?
  • Does the proposed research training have the potential to serve as a sound foundation that will clearly lead the fellow to an independent and productive research career?

Institutional Environment & Commitment to Training

  • Are the research facilities, resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer resources, subject populations), and training opportunities (e.g., seminars, workshops, professional development opportunities) adequate and appropriate?
  • Is the institutional environment for the applicant's scientific development of high quality?
  • Is there appropriate institutional commitment to fostering the applicant's mentored training toward his/her research career goals?
Additional Review Criteria

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, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

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 on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is  justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

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 on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers 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.

Resubmissions

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.

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the level of experience of the applicant, including any prior instruction or participation in RCR as appropriate for the applicant's career stage, 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 sponsor(s) and other faculty involvement in the fellow's instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction (at least eight contact hours are required); and 5) Frequency of Instruction – instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years.  Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee. See also: NOT-OD-10-019.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

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)/Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by NIGMS} 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:

  • May undergo a committee process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by NIGMS.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
  • Candidates of highly rated applications will have an interview with the PRAT Program Director.  These interviews may be in person or via videoconference depending on budget.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

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 Commons

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

Selected applicants will be notified by the PRAT Program Director and will receive a formal offer of a fellowship position sponsored by NIGMS for research to be conducted within the Intramural Research Program of the NIH.  NIGMS PRAT Fellows are appointed using the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) mechanism.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Selected applicants will be appointed as NIGMS PRAT postdoctoral fellows in the NIH Intramural Research Program. PRAT fellows receive mentoring from the PRAT Director, and from Lab and Branch Chiefs in the IRP. Additional information about the policies governing intramural fellowship positions can be found at http://oma1.od.nih.gov/manualchapters/person/2300-320-7/.  More information about the design and purpose of the PRAT program can be found at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/Pages/PRAT.aspx.

Inventions and Copyrights

Fellowships funded primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required. More details, including exceptions for fellows training at NIH are provided in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Leave Policies

PRAT fellows follow the leave policies set forth by the NIH Office of Intramural Research.

3. Reporting

Fellows will be required to submit an annual progress report.  The NIGMS PRAT office maintains this form and ensures it is distributed to all fellows.  The report is due two months before the beginning date of the next budget period and must include information describing the current year's progress as well as the research and training plans for the coming year.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for receipients of Federal funding to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All fellows 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. 

Other Fellowship Reporting Requirements:
  • Individuals admitted to the United States as Permanent Residents must submit notarized evidence of legal admission prior to the award.
4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIGMS may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves.  Participants may be contacted after the completion of this fellowship for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.

Within ten years of granting fellowships under this program, NIGMS will assess the program's overall outcomes, gauge its effectiveness in enhancing diversity, and consider whether there is a continuing need for the program.  Upon the completion of this evaluation, NIH will determine whether to (a) continue the program as currently configured, (b) continue the program with modifications, or (c) discontinue the program. 

The overall evaluation of the program will be based on metrics that will include, but are not limited to, the following:

For programs involving postdoctorates and early career investigators:

  • Subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program in a STEM field
  • Subsequent participation in research or employment in a STEM field
  • Authorship of scientific publications in a STEM field
  • Subsequent independent research grant support from NIH or another source
Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

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
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-710-0267
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Jessica M. Faupel-Badger, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-3900
Email: badgerje@mail.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-2881
Email: sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tony Moore
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-4272
Email: tonym@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

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.

Authority and Regulations

NIGMS PRAT Fellowships are made under the authorization of Sections 301, 402 and 461 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241, 282(b), and 285K) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 63.

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