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

Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) (R25)

Activity Code

R25 Education Projects

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-14-076

Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-17-051

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.859 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The over-arching goal of this NIGMS R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce.  

To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Research Experiences and Courses for Skills Development. Applications are encouraged from research-intensive institutions that propose to equip recent baccalaureate science graduates from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical sciences with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue Ph.D. degrees in these fields. The program provides support for extensive research experiences and well-designed courses for skills development aimed at preparing individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to complete doctoral degrees.  

Key Dates
Posted Date

November 7, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 24, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

January 24, 2017; January 24, 2018; January 24, 2019, 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, 2017; June-July, 2018; June-July 2019

Advisory Council Review

October 2017; October 2018; October 2019

Earliest Start Date

December 2017; December 2018; December 2019  

Expiration Date

January 25, 2019

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research Instructions for 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


There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.

  3. Go to Grants.gov to download an application package to complete the application forms offline or create a Workspace to complete the forms online; submit your application to Grants.gov; and track your application in eRA Commons.
Learn more about the various submission options.

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 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 over-arching goal of this  NIGMS  R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.   Applications are encouraged from research-intensive institutions that propose to develop recent baccalaureate science graduates from underrepresented backgrounds so that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences. To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:

  • Research Experiences: For example, for postbaccalaureates: to provide hands-on exposure to research, to prepare them for graduate school admissions, successful completion of the Ph.D., and careers in research.   
  • Courses for Skills Development: For example, for postbaccalaureates: to provide advanced courses in a specific discipline or research area, courses or workshops to develop scholarly potential, and/or specialized research techniques, to prepare them for graduate school admissions, successful completion of the Ph.D., and careers in research.

Purpose and Background

Every facet of the United States scientific research enterprise—from basic laboratory research to clinical and translational research to policy formation–requires superior intellect, creativity and a wide range of skill sets and viewpoints. Research shows that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. Scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse NIH-supported scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the researchers, advancing the likelihood that underserved or health disparity populations participate in and benefit from health research, and enhancing public trust. The NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student populations and thus to enhance the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise, as described in NOT-OD-15-053.

The mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is to support research that increases our understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. To ensure the vitality and continued productivity of the research enterprise NIGMS provides leadership in the areas of training the next generation of biomedical scientists, enhancing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and developing research capacities throughout the country.

NIGMS seeks to enhance the pool of individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical workforce by providing training opportunities during multiple training and career stages at varied institutions and educational settings across the country. By enhancing the pool of students from underrepresented groups pursuing advanced training in the biomedical sciences, NIGMS strives to ensure that the future generation of researchers draws from the entire pool of talented individuals, bringing different aptitudes, perspectives, creativity, and experiences to address complex scientific problems.

Need for the Program

NIH’s ability to help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission. However, in spite of advancements in scientific research, some populations have not had access to cutting-edge research and training opportunities, and do not participate fully in the biomedical sciences research workforce. These underrepresented groups include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (at the undergraduate level and below), as described in NOT-OD-15-053.

Currently these groups are not only underrepresented in science, technology and engineering (NSF, 2016), their underrepresentation in these fields also increases throughout the training stages. For example, students from certain racial and ethnic groups, including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders currently comprise ~39 percent of the college age population (Census Bureau), but earn only ~17 percent of bachelor’s degrees and ~11 percent of the Ph.D.s in the biological sciences (NSF, 2016).

Similarly, a report from the Census Bureau shows that in 2010, nearly 20 percent of the U. S. population had a disability. In 2012, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 11 percent of college students had a disability, and 34 percent of undergraduates with disabilities are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. According to the Council of Graduate Schools and statistics from NCES, in 2008 about 7 percent of all doctoral students and about 6 percent of doctoral students in health or life science programs had a disability.

Students from underrepresented groups face a number of challenges that influence their success in obtaining a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences. Some of these challenges include lack of adequate knowledge of academic development activities designed to improve scientific critical thinking and quantitative skills, limited access to independent bench research skills, limited/poor mentoring, and limited professional networking to successfully bridge to the next career level.

The creation of a diverse biomedical workforce requires active interventions aimed at addressing this persistent underrepresentation, as well as preventing the loss of talent at each level of educational advancement. Accordingly, several reports (see for example, PCAST Report, 2012; From College to Careers: Fostering Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in STEM, 2014; and Increasing College Opportunity for Low Income Students, 2014) recommended supporting programs that strive to recruit, retain, and train students from underrepresented groups who have an interest in science, technology, engineering and math as a means to effectively build a diverse and competitive scientific workforce.

The PREP program provides support for institutions to develop and implement effective program interventions to address the challenges students from underrepresented groups face. The program also encourages institutions to diversify their student population. In doing so, the PREP program is expected to enhance the pool of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical sciences research enterprise, and ultimately contribute to NIH’s ability to ensure that it remains a leader in scientific discovery and innovation.

Programmatic Approach

NIGMS provides leadership in supporting interventions at important stages throughout the educational process, including the longstanding PREP program. The PREP program provides institutions the resources to support and provide research experiences to underrepresented, STEM-oriented postbaccalaureates, who upon completion of a one-year research education program are likely to successfully enter and complete a Ph.D. program in a biomedical science field relevant to the NIGMS.

The PCAST report provided evidence that financial concerns and a deficit of peers from similar backgrounds can erode self-confidence and the will to remain in STEM majors (PCAST Report, 2012). Supported students in the PREP programs form a cohort of research-oriented students and are provided with programmatic activities, including authentic research experiences, academic enhancements, skills development, and mentoring - activities proven to increase persistence in STEM fields (cited in PCAST Report, 2012).

PREP applications are institutional in nature and should reflect the plans and priorities of the applicant institutions. PREPs should generate carefully designed, individualized student development plans (IDPs) that are compatible with the participants’ curricular needs and experience, combined with research projects mentored by faculty members with active extramurally funded research programs. The development plans will typically be designed within the context of a one-year research education program to provide the necessary skills to prepare the participants for rigorous doctoral training programs. Participants should not be appointed for less than a year. NIGMS recognizes that each participant has individual needs and that a one-year program may not be sufficient for some to fully prepare to be competitive for graduate school. A second-year of support is allowable at the discretion of the PREP Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) if within the awarded costs of a particular program. This does not require NIGMS pre-approval, but should be used selectively for those participants who would benefit from a second year in the program. The second-year experience must enhance participants’ competitiveness to enter a rigorous doctoral program and not simply allow participants more time to decide if they wish to obtain a graduate degree or to explore other career options. This program will not support individuals earning Master's degrees. Applications may request between five and ten postbaccalaureate positions for each year of the grant for individuals to engage in mentored research experiences and courses for skills development.

As postbaccalaureate scientists, the participants will be involved in independent research projects that will allow them to experience the fulfillment of discovery as scientists. They are expected to learn to develop their own hypotheses and design experiments to test them. The research environment should be supportive and favorable to learning and include opportunities for the participants to interact with graduate student peers, postdoctoral researchers, and other investigators who could contribute to their growth and will allow them to thrive in rigorous doctoral programs. PREP participants will be required to work as research postbaccalaureates at 9 person-months (75% full-time effort) and the other 3 person-months (25% full-time effort) will be for further skills development.

The academic preparations may include courses, workshops, seminars, supplemental instruction, or lectures that will enrich the quantitative and analytical skills of the participants.  The courses to be taken should be appropriate to the requirements for admission to and successful completion of rigorous doctoral programs.

PREPs should include group activities that will complement or augment the IDPs and allow for interactions among participants. These activities should enrich the participants’ verbal, analytical and critical thinking abilities and build their academic credentials to support their completion of Ph.D. degrees. While constructed and conducted with PREP support, these activities may include non-PREP participants and thereby convey benefit more broadly throughout the institution. Existing activities within the institution should not be duplicated. Rather, efforts should be made to integrate the PREP participants into the institutional activities. Plans to connect the PREP with other institutional student training programs, such as NIH-funded training grants, should be provided.

Goals and Outcomes

The overarching goal of the program is to enhance the pool of students from underrepresented groups who successfully complete Ph.D. biomedical degrees.

It is expected that upon completion of the program, PREP participants will apply to high-caliber doctoral training programs. It is also anticipated that institutional PREPs will help awardee institutions in achieving greater diversity in their doctoral programs, either through institutional change fostered by experience with the PREP program and/or through recruitment of successful PREP participants into those programs.

Since PREP participants should have an interest in obtaining a Ph.D. degree as a condition of enrollment in the program, NIGMS expects that a successful PREP will provide the knowledge and skills such that at least 75% of its participants enter Ph.D. or dual-doctoral (such as M.D./Ph.D.) degree programs. Furthermore, with this expertise and experience, NIGMS expects that at least 75% of the participants who enter Ph.D. programs will complete the degree. Thus, applicant institutions should design the strategies and interventions, as well as set the goals and measurable objectives for their PREPs, within the context of the NIGMS’s expectations and in line with their institutional settings and missions.

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.

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

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
Renewal
Resubmission

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

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

Award Budget

The total direct costs for each award are limited to $400,000 annually.

Award Project Period

The total project period may not exceed 5 years.

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

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).

Salary support for the PD(s)/PI(s) [or combination of multiple PD(s)/PI(s)] is limited to up to a total of 1.2 person-months (10% full-time) effort per year depending on the number of participants in the program and the person-months devoted to administration of the program. Salary for a program coordinator to assist the PD(s)/PI(s) is limited to up to 6 person-months (50% full time) depending on the number of participants in the program and the person-months devoted to administration of the program. The duties and responsibilities of the program coordinator should be clearly defined in the application.

Participant Costs

Remuneration for PREP participants is through salary and wages. The total compensation package, which includes fringe benefits and tuition remission and fees (if applicable) for a PREP participant must not exceed $40,000/year from the grant. Institutions can supplement PREP participant salary and benefits with non-federal funds if needed and if they follow applicant institution guidelines for wages for employees in similar positions at the institution. PREP participants will be required to work as research postbaccalaureates devoting a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort), and the remaining 3 person-months (25% effort) will be for further academic development. In order for the participant to receive this compensation, the following conditions must be met:

  • The PREP participant must be performing necessary work relevant to the proposed research experience.
  • There must be an employee-employer relationship between the participant and the university.
  • The total compensation must be reasonable for the work performed.
  • It is the institution's practice to provide commensurate compensation for all individuals in similar circumstances, regardless of the source of support for the activity.

TUITION REMISSION: The applicant institution may request tuition remission for a course it deems necessary to enhance the preparedness of a PREP scholar for graduate studies; tuition remission must be specifically justified.  However, tuition remission may not exceed the in-state tuition cost at institutions that also have out-of-state tuition charges.

TRAVEL: Applicants may request support for travel of PREP scholars to attend or present scientific papers at domestic scientific conferences. Requests for travel support must be carefully justified in the application.

Other Program-Related Expenses

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. Limited program evaluation costs are allowed up to a maximum of $3,000 for the 5 year project period. This includes salaries for evaluation consultants, if any.

A single consolidated budget for PREP is required, with each item clearly justified. The following items are unallowable costs for the PREP:

  • Housing, food, or recruitment expenses of any kind
  • Support for faculty research (all faculty preceptors are expected to have their own research support)
  • Student support in the form of a “stipend” (note: “stipend” differs from “salary/wages,” which is allowable)
  • Faculty mentors’ time or effort compensation
  • Cost of workshops or courses with a limited focus of preparation for a specific test (e.g., GRE, MCAT)
  • Foreign travel by PD(s)/PI(s), faculty, coordinators, research mentors, or PREP participants
  • Equipment
  • Alterations and renovations
  • Consortium/contractual arrangements
  • Other prohibited costs See 45 CFR §75, Subpart E “Cost Principles": http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75#sp45.1.75.e
Indirect Costs

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.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

The applicant institution must be a research-intensive institution that has a significant number of faculty mentors with active and extramurally funded (such as R01 or equivalent) research programs to support excellent research and academic training of the participants. It must be an institution with strong Ph.D. degree programs in biomedical sciences that could provide excellent, challenging, and supportive peer groups for the PREP participants to interact and network with and also serve as peer mentors.

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.

Foreign Institutions

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.

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.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • 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))

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 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.

The PD(s)/PI(s) must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institution. The PD(s)/PI(s) is responsible for ensuring that the PREP participants are placed in highly productive laboratories with faculty mentors who will provide the proper guidance and instruction for the participants. In consultation with the advisory committee, if one is included, the PD(s)/PI(s) should oversee the preparation and development of an IDP for each participant, as well as design program activities that will further enhance the academic preparation and research skills of the participants. The PD(s)/PI(s) should ensure that other institutional programs will complement the PREP activities, and allow sufficient occasion for the participants to interact with Ph.D. candidates as peers.

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

Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

Program Faculty

Researchers from underrepresented 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.

The PREP faculty mentors are expected to have strong research programs supported by NIH or other extramural funds. They are expected to have previous experience in training students and be committed to supporting a diverse scientific workforce. They should provide a positive learning and working environment, which will foster productive interactions between the PREP participants, their own development as mentors, and excellent peer and mentoring groups. 

Participants

The applicant institution will select the PREP participants who will receive salary support. It is the responsibility of the institution to establish the qualifications of the participants before they are supported by the program. In order to receive salary support, participants must be considered underrepresented in biomedical research, have a baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant science from an accredited U.S. college or university awarded no more than 36 months prior to applying to a PREP, and must not be currently enrolled in a degree program. All individuals selected as participants should intend to apply for a Ph.D. and/or a dual-doctoral (such as an M.D.-Ph.D.) degree program in the biomedical sciences during or immediately following completion of the research education program.

In spite of tremendous advancements in scientific research, information, educational and research opportunities are not equally available to all. NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as:

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 report 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: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/tab7-5_updated_2014_10.pdf.

C. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, 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 http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml.

2. Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

The disadvantaged background category (C1 and C2) is applicable to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates.

Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., Inside the Double Bind, A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics http://her.hepg.org/content/t022245n7x4752v2/fulltext.pdf).

For the purposes of this program, the disadvantaged background category (C1 and C2) is not applicable, since PREP participants are not undergraduates or high school level.

PREP participants must be U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

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

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research Instructions for the SF424 (R&R) 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 will not be reviewed.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) 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

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component

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. An Advisory Committee is not a required component of a Research Education program. However, if an Advisory Committee is intended, provide a plan for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to monitor progress of the research education program. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members, frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application only if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted. Renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include the names of all committee members during the past project period.  Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”.

Biosketches of faculty mentors should be included.  Please name your file "Faculty Mentor Biosketches".

Tables:

NRSA Training Table 4, Research Support of Participating Faculty Members, is a required component. Please follow the Instructions to the Data Tables [All Training Tables (Undergraduate Programs)]at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/datatables.htm. Please name your file "Table 4 Research Support.pdf".

NRSA Training Table 8D (parts I and II, as applicable), Program Outcomes: Undergrad, is a required component to provide data on PREP postbaccalaureate participant outcomes. Please follow the Instructions to the Data Tables [All Training Tables (Undergraduate Programs)] at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/datatables.htm. Please name your file "Table 8D Participant Outcomes.pdf".

The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.

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

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Provide biographical sketches for proposed PREP faculty who would be research mentors, emphasizing their research achievements, extramural research support, and their record in training and mentoring students, particularly those who belong to underrepresented groups.

R&R Budget

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:

  • Include all personnel other than the PD(s)/PI(s) in the Other Personnel section, including clerical and administrative staff.
  • Use the section on Participant/Trainee Support Costs to include all allowable categories of funds requested to support participants in the program.
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

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

Research Strategy

The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below:

  • Proposed Research Education Program
  • Program Director/Principal Investigator
  • Program Faculty
  • Program Participants
  • Institutional Environment and Commitment
  • Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Evaluation Plan

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. 

It is anticipated that several departments will be involved in the institutional PREP. Hence, the Proposed Research Education Plan section of the PREP application should be organized to reflect the institutional scope of the proposed program. The Plan should describe an integrated set of activities that include individualized student development plans (IDPs) and group activities that would enhance academic excellence and promote the timely progression of participants to the next academic/career step. Applicants are encouraged to summarize what they view as especially important results contained in the data tables within the Research Education Program Plan of the application. This summary does not replace the data tables, and applicants are urged to ensure consistency between the summary and the relevant table information.

Applicants should also describe how the proposed activities could contribute to faculty awareness and commitment to a diverse workforce and student body within the institution. Any benefits to the community because of PREP activities should be addressed. Include the following items in this section:

1) Institutional Setting and Current Status of the Graduate Biomedical Science Academic Programs: Provide a brief description of the mission of the institution and its academic components. Describe the current academic programs and support services, as well as the size of the graduate student body (Ph.D. level) in the biomedically relevant sciences. Describe aspects of the institutional environment likely to foster the success of the PREP program. Describe and summarize institutional and externally sponsored programs that have encouraged and helped train underrepresented students at the participating institution within the last 5 years.

2) Student Enrollment, Graduation, and Career Paths: Provide institutional data on Ph.D. student enrollment from the last five years, and indicate the percentage of individuals from underrepresented groups. Provide the number of Ph.D. students (overall and underrepresented groups) from the participating departments or programs and their graduation rates for the last 5 years. Present this data in table format.

3) Progress Report: For renewal applications, include a detailed Progress Report. State the original and specific measurable objectives, anticipated milestones, and outcomes.  Applications must provide PREP postbaccalaureate participant outcomes for all previous funding cycles up to 15 years by submitting NRSA Training Table 8D. Program Outcomes: Undergraduate, Part I (see Other Attachments Section). Blank data tables, along with instructions and sample data tables, can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/datatables.htm.
List any grant applications or publications written or co-authored by the participants. Describe any significant honors and awards given to these participants (provide specific dates) that were related to, or resulted from, involvement in activities supported by the PREP.

In addition, provide a summary of the accomplishments of the PREP during the previous project period, with reference to participant research and/or other PREP-supported development activities, e.g., workshops, scientific meetings, or lectures. Describe what has been learned through program assessment and any changes made in the program because of the assessment.

4) Student Development Activities: Describe the strategy that will be used to develop the appropriate IDP for each participant in order to meet his/her specific needs and improve his/her academic credentials for pursuing the doctoral degree. Describe the type of activities for the IDPs that the participants will be engaged in (e.g., enrollment in specific courses, research, and research-related activities), the rationale for these activities, and measurement of outcomes as a result of participating in these activities.

Describe plans for recruitment of PREP participants, including plans to develop the applicant pool. Describe how participant progress will be monitored. Provide information on the contribution of the faculty mentors or other personnel in the development of the participants. A plan for monitoring the previous PREP participants’ progress in predoctoral and postdoctoral programs as well as their subsequent employment should be included. This should also include descriptions on how the previous participants can continue to contribute to the PREP, how communications between the PREP and previous participants can be maintained, and how feedback can be obtained as they progress in their doctoral studies.

Describe the proposed research activities of the PREP participants.

Describe the proposed group activities in which the PREP cohort will participate. Describe how other institutional programs will be made available and utilized by the PREP participants. Describe strategies that will be employed to enhance the PREP participants’ verbal abilities, writing and communication skills, as well as critical and analytical thinking. Describe how these activities will further increase the PREP participants’ competitiveness in completing doctoral degrees. Describe how the PREP participants will be integrated into the institution’s graduate programs. Describe how the proposed PREP will be associated with other institutional student training programs, such as the NIH training grants. Describe the expected outcomes of these efforts.

Describe the type of peer group that the PREP participants will have in the institution and how this group will help prepare the PREP participants for the rigors of doctoral program requirements.

Describe the selection criteria and strategy for faculty mentors. Provide a general faculty-mentoring plan to ensure that all PREP participants are given high-quality mentorship. The plan should include the mentors’ (1) research plan for the PREP participants, (2) availability for consultation and discussion of research project results, and (3) role in participants’ application process to graduate schools.          

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. 

Describe the administrative structure, including leadership succession plans for critical positions (e.g., PD/PI).       

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.  

Provide relevant information on the proposed faculty members who would be research mentors, including research achievements, extramural research support, and record of training and mentoring.  In addition, describe the qualifications of those faculty and/or staff who would conduct the courses for skills development activities.      

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.

Provide the criteria and strategy for PREP participant selection. Institutions with PREPs may request from five to ten postbaccalaureate positions per year. Explain the criteria and strategy that will be used for matching PREP participants with faculty mentors.      

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. 

Plan 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.

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  as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following Guide. Describe how the research results will be disseminated or presented.

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 .

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. 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. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

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. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

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.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

7. 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. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

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 our Post Submission Application Materials policy.   For the purpose of this FOA, follow the post-submission instructions for institutional training and training-related (e.g. T32 and T34) grants.     

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

For this particular announcement, note the following: The goal of this R25 program is to support educational activities that prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical sciences who have recently obtained their baccalaureate degrees for successful completion of Ph.D. training programs. An additional objective is to increase the diversity of awardee institutions' doctoral training programs.

Overall Impact

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.

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.

Significance

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?

Is there convincing evidence that the proposed academic enhancements and research experiences will increase the competitiveness of the participants to enter and complete a doctoral degree? Will achievement of the aims/objectives of the program improve the research education and career preparation of diverse students in the participating department (s), college (s), and institution?

Investigator(s)

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 the proposed administrative structure and succession planning contribute to successful management of the program?

Innovation

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?   

Approach

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?   

Do the proposed research activities have a high likelihood of enabling the participant to gain admission to and complete a rigorous doctoral program? Is there an adequate pool of research mentors who are extramurally funded and experienced in educating students in research? Is the faculty mentoring plan clearly described and sufficient? Does the strategy to be used for determining the IDPs adequately consider the academic and research backgrounds of the participants? Is there sufficient evidence that the courses for skills development designed to increase analytical and critical thinking, verbal reasoning, and communication skills will enable the participants’ admission and retention in rigorous doctoral training programs? Are the group activities adequately integrated with the institution’s graduate students’ activities and other institutional training programs? Are the proposed mechanisms for monitoring participants’ progress during and after they leave the program sufficient?

Environment

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?  

Are the proposed activities consistent with the resources of the institution? Are the proposed research experiences well supported by a strong pool of faculty mentors with active and extramurally funded research programs?  Will the doctoral degree programs at the institution provide excellent, challenging, and supportive peer groups for the PREP participants?

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

Generally not applicable.  Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer. 

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

Generally not applicable.  Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Vertebrate Animals

Generally not applicable.  Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

Biohazards

Generally not applicable.  Reviewers should bring any concerns to the attention of the Scientific Review Officer.

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

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last three consecutive funding cycles, if applicable. In addition, the committee will consider the following:

  • Has the research education program successfully achieved its stated objectives during the prior project period(s), especially in the context of institutional baseline and NIGMS’s expectations (see Section I for details)? Has there been an improvement in baseline data?
  • Has the research education program successfully recruited the expected number of PREP participants during the prior project period? Has the PD(s)/PI(s) effectively shaped the recruitment plan in response to recruitment outcomes?
  • Has the program had a strong success rate of having its participants enroll in rigorous doctoral training programs? Were the retention and completion rates in doctoral programs of past PREP participants adequately monitored? Do past participants who have enrolled in doctoral programs have strong retention and completion rates?
  • Has the program made well-informed decisions regarding the need for a second year of training for some participants? Are procedures for making such decisions well-supported? Has such use been successful in terms of participant outcomes?
  • Has the program had a strong impact and provided added value to the institution?

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.

Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity

Not Applicable

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

Not Applicable

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 Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable.

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.

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 selection 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 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 National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. 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.  
  • For renewal applications:  Performance of the PREP program in achieving its stated goals and objectives during the prior project period(s).
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. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date. 

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

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 terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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.

Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.

In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award.  An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS.  The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”  This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) 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 RPPR Instruction Guide.  Additionally, applicants should submit the NRSA Training Table 8D: Undergraduate Program Outcomes in Section G1 of the RPPR.  Sample and table descriptions can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/data-tables/forms-d.htm.

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 accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Other Reporting Requirements
  • The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each participant appointed full time for eight weeks or more or the equivalent. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). An appointment or reappointment may begin any time during the budget period, but not before the budget period start date of the grant year.
  • Participant Termination Notice: Within 30 days of the end of the total support period for each participant, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-7) via xTrain for each participant appointed full time for eight weeks or more, or the equivalent.

A final progress report and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

4. Evaluation

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.

In evaluating this research education program NIGMS expects to use the following evaluation measures:

  • Aggregate number and demographic characteristics of participants
  • Subsequent educational/career progress, including:
  • Enrollment in a doctoral or dual-doctoral (such as M.D./Ph.D) degree program in a STEM field
  • Successful completion of a doctoral or dual-doctoral degree STEM graduate program
  • Subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program in a STEM field
  • Subsequent participation in research
  • Subsequent employment in a research or research-related field
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)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

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)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Michael Bender, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-0943
Email: mbender@nigms.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Brian Pike, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-2281
Email: pikbr@nigms.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Lori Burge
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-451-3781
Email: burgel@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

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 Part 75.

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