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
Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (T32)
Activity Code

T32 Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA)

Announcement Type
Reissue of PAR-21-025
Related Notices
  • November 28, 2023 - Notice of Informational Webinar on the NIGMS G-RISE and IMSD Programs. See Notice NOT-GM-24-016
  • August 31, 2022 - Implementation Changes for Genomic Data Sharing Plans Included with Applications Due on or after January 25, 2023. See Notice NOT-OD-22-198.
  • August 5, 2022 - Implementation Details for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. See Notice NOT-OD-22-189.
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Number
PAR-24-031
Companion Funding Opportunity
PAR-24-032 , T32 Institutional National Research Service Award
Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Assistance Listing Number(s)
93.859
Funding Opportunity Purpose

The goal of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program is to strengthen research training environments and promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce by expanding the pool of well-trained scientists earning a Ph.D., for example, encouraging the inclusion of individuals from underrepresented groups (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity).

Specifically, this funding announcement provides support to eligible, domestic organizations to develop and implement effective, evidence-informed approaches to biomedical graduate training and mentoring that will keep pace with the rapid evolution of the biomedical research enterprise. NIGMS expects that the proposed research training programs will incorporate didactic, research, and career development elements to prepare trainees for careers that will have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the nation.

This program is limited to applications from training programs at research-intensive institutions (that is, those with NIH Research Project Grant (RPG) funding averaging greater than or equal to $7.5 million in total costs (direct and F&A/indirect) per year over the last three fiscal years (FY)).

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) does not allow appointed Trainees to lead an independent clinical trial, but does allow them to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor.

Key Dates

Posted Date
November 14, 2023
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
December 29, 2023
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS - New/Renewal/Resubmission/Revision, as allowed Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
January 29, 2024 January 29, 2024 Not Applicable July 2024 October 2024 February 2025
January 29, 2025 January 29, 2025 Not Applicable July 2025 October 2025 February 2026
January 29, 2026 January 29, 2026 Not Applicable July 2026 October 2026 February 2027

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

Expiration Date
January 30, 2026
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Training (T) Instructions in the How to Apply - Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this NOFO or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the NOFO) 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.

There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.

  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. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.


  4. Table of Contents

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose and Background Information

The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) 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, behavioral, and clinical research needs. More information about NRSA programs can be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award website. The NRSA program has been the primary means of supporting predoctoral and postdoctoral research training programs since enactment of the NRSA legislation in 1974.

Each NIGMS funded NRSA program is expected to provide a rigorous, well-designed research training program that includes mentored research experiences, courses, seminars, and additional training opportunities to equip trainees with the following skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce:

  • Technical (for example, appropriate methods, technologies, and quantitative/computational approaches).
  • Operational (for example, independent knowledge acquisition, rigorous experimental design, interpretation of data, and conducting research in the safest manner possible).
  • Professional (for example, management, leadership, communication, and teamwork).

Need for the Program

Advances in biomedical research depend upon a workforce composed of people trained in multiple disciplines and from different backgrounds who can provide the breadth of creativity, and individual interests, perspectives and experiences needed to identify and address important and complex scientific problems. Research shows that teams with members from different backgrounds that utilize their members' unique experiences and perspectives better capitalize on innovative ideas and outperform homogenous teams. There are many benefits that flow from an NIH-supported scientific workforce that leverages the talents of rigorous researchers from all backgrounds: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of research, enhancing public trust, and increasing the likelihood that health disparities and the needs of underserved populations are addressed in biomedical research (for more information, see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes the need to promote broader participation in the scientific workforce, including by encouraging institutions to enhance the participation of individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce through means consistent with applicable law. NIGMS strives to ensure that future researchers will be drawn from the entire pool of potential contributors and seeks to expand opportunities to contribute to the biomedical research workforce by supporting individuals from a variety of backgrounds at multiple training and career stages in a variety of organizational settings across the country.

At the same time, individuals from certain groups and backgrounds often face organizational and environmental barriers that restrict their potential to advance their training and careers, and are underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce. For example:

  • Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, including Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander comprise ~38 percent of the college age population, but earn only ~23 percent of bachelor’s degrees and ~16 percent of Ph.D. degrees in the life sciences (as per data from the Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics). Additionally, increases in the numbers of biomedical Ph.Ds. awarded to scientists from these groups are not reflected at the faculty level (Gibbs, et al., eLife 2016) or in NIH funded K awardees or Research Project Grant investigators (Lauer and Bernard, 2023a, 2023b).
  • The representation of scientists with disabilities decreases from 19% for undergraduate students to 9% of doctoral students and fewer than 2% of NIH and NSF-funded principal investigators (NIH ACD WGD Subgroup on Individuals with Disabilities Report, 2022).
  • Individuals from certain disadvantaged backgrounds, for example those from families from the lowest socioeconomic quintile, were 50% less likely than those from the highest socioeconomic quintile to enroll in post-secondary education, limiting subsequent access to doctoral education (see National Center for Education Statistics).

Graduate education is often challenging for trainees from all backgrounds, and can be accompanied by significant changes in career interests (Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, 2018). There are also often additional challenges faced by individuals from underrepresented groups. For example, graduate students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, especially women from these groups, report lower levels of belonging in their research groups and departments, less confidence in their abilities as an independent researcher, and distinct career interest profiles when compared to their counterparts from well represented racial and ethnic groups. Importantly, these differences were not explained by objective factors such as the students research productivity, pointing to the impact of the institutional research training environment on their experiences and subsequent career choices (The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through, 2018; Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Opening Doors 2020). First generation students who pursue doctoral education often encounter challenges in navigating the hidden curriculum that includes many informal forms of professional development that are key to success (such as networking and building a scholarly identity), and face financial challenges that can impede their ability to continue in doctoral education as they are significantly more likely to hold undergraduate student loans (Council of Graduate Schools).

Importantly, access to financial support, high quality mentoring, robust peer and professional networks, and opportunities for skills development through structured formalized programs have been linked to higher levels of persistence in graduate training programs, as well as enhanced trainee productivity, increased self-efficacy, and strengthening an individual’s science identity and commitment to a research career (Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, 2018; The Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM, 2019). Therefore, there remains a strong need to develop additional opportunities to address these challenges and ensure graduate research training programs effectively support the skills and career development of graduate students from all backgrounds.

Program Objective

The Overarching Objective of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (T32) program is to strengthen research training environments and promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce by expanding the pool of well-trained scientists earning Ph.D. degrees, for example, encouraging the inclusion of individuals from underrepresented groups (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity). The program should provide trainees with the following:

  • A broad understanding across biomedical disciplines.
  • The skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their chosen fields and careers.
  • The ability to think critically and identify important biomedical research questions and approaches that push forward the boundaries of their areas of study.
  • A strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative and computational approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.
  • The skills to conduct research in the safest manner possible, and a commitment to approaching and conducting biomedical research responsibly, ethically, and with integrity.
  • Experience initiating, conducting, interpreting, and presenting rigorous and reproducible biomedical research with increasing self-direction.
  • The ability to work effectively in teams with colleagues from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds, and to promote inclusive and supportive scientific research environments.
  • The skills to teach and communicate scientific methodologies and findings to a wide variety of audiences (for example, discipline-specific, across disciplines, and for the public).
  • The knowledge, professional skills and experiences required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce (for example, the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).

Program Considerations

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read information about the IMSD program found on the NIGMS website and to contact program staff before preparing or submitting an application to verify that the proposed program is eligible and in alignment with NIGMS funding priorities.

General Considerations. NIGMS intends to fund applications that propose feasible, rigorous, well-designed research training programs that will build on the most effective elements of successful programs, while promoting broader participation in the biomedical research workforce. For the purpose of this announcement, organizations are encouraged to recruit prospective candidates from groups underrepresented on the national basis. In addition, because underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting, organizations should design a recruitment strategy to broaden participation based on their local context as well as on national needs.

Programs are expected to be tailored to the organizational context using data to identify specific training opportunities and developing strategies to address those opportunities that leverage organizational strengths. Programs should not simply layer additional activities onto existing structures, but instead should use creative and transformational approaches to biomedical graduate training, mentoring practices, and enhancing departmental and organizational capacity to create and sustain inclusive research training environments.

NIGMS training programs that aim to promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce are intended to provide research training opportunities to students from the breadth of biomedical disciplines at the organization. NIGMS recognizes the heterogeneity of biomedical Ph.D. training opportunities at applicant organizations. For example, some organizations have multiple departments that grant Ph.Ds. relevant to the NIH mission, while others have a single biomedically-relevant Ph.D. program. Organizations with multiple biomedical Ph.D. granting departments are expected to come together to provide research training opportunities in the breadth of biomedical research disciplines available at the organization. Organizations with a single biomedical Ph.D. granting department relevant to the NIGMS mission are also encouraged to apply.

Funded programs are expected to:

  • Be well integrated within one or more graduate department(s)/program(s) and should exert a strong, positive influence at the organizational level on research training and mentoring practices.
  • Have clearly defined training objectives that take into account the applicant organization's specific context, resources, and strengths, and show evidence of meeting the objectives in progress reports and in renewal applications.
  • Implement evidence-informed training and mentoring activities (for example, approaches that are grounded in the literature and evaluations of existing relevant research training programs). Programs are expected to be responsive to evaluations, particularly with respect to trainee feedback.
  • Provide rigorous, well-designed mentored research experiences, and additional opportunities that will build a strong cohort of research-oriented individuals. Training grant funds may not be used solely as a vehicle to provide financial aid for trainees to conduct research.
  • Demonstrate effective oversight of trainee development and promote retention for the entire time the trainee is in the graduate program. Retention efforts are activities designed to sustain the scientific interests and participation of trainees from all backgrounds. Retention and oversight activities might include monitoring academic and research progress, building strong trainee cohorts, as well as increasing science identity, self-efficacy, and a sense of belonging within research training environments. Programs are expected to make efforts to identify individuals who may need additional academic and social supports to successfully complete the program, and ensure they receive the needed support.
  • Promote inclusive, safe, accessible, and supportive research training environments to maximize success for all individuals in the training program. Specifically, funded programs should have organizational and departmental environments where individuals from all backgrounds are welcomed, feel integrated into, and supported by the biomedical research community. Safety in research training should encompass (1) environments free from harassment, discrimination, and intimidation, in which all are treated in a respectful and supportive manner, (2) laboratory and clinical settings where individuals exercise the highest standards of practice for chemical, biological and physical safety, and (3) practices at the organizational leadership and research community levels that demonstrate core values and behaviors to emphasize safety over competing goals.

Trainee Support. The training grant defrays the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training-related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH NRSA support levels. Students are typically provided full-time support for 2-3 years of graduate studies. Use of training grant support in the early years of graduate research training is strongly encouraged to provide maximum benefits in the participation in courses, laboratory rotations, and professional development activities. Programs typically appoint students in cohorts, such that students at a similar stage of their Ph.D. studies are appointed at a similar time, for a similar duration, and complete a comparable set of research training activities. New trainee cohorts are typically appointed in each year of the proposed program. Given the context of the applicant organization, deviations from this structure should be well described in the application.

Synergies of Federally Funded Training Programs. Funded research training programs are encouraged to complement and synergize with other ongoing federally supported predoctoral research training programs at the applicant organization (for example, in the development of skills needed for careers in the biomedical research workforce that are not discipline-specific); however, the research training goals must be distinct from related programs at the same organization currently receiving federal support. In cases where an organization has multiple NIGMS predoctoral training grants, it is expected that these programs will work together to create administrative and training efficiencies to reduce costs and improve trainee services and outcomes.

Type of Application Submissions. Please note the following before applying:

  • Applications will be considered a RENEWAL application only if the program described in the application was funded through PAR-19-037 or PAR-21-025.
  • RESUBMISSION applications are only accepted for RENEWAL applications.
    • Renewal applications that are not funded on the initial attempt may be revised and resubmitted as a Resubmission application (i.e., -A1).
    • New applications that are not funded are not allowed to submit a Resubmission application. Instead, New applications that are not successful are encouraged to apply again by submitting another New application that utilizes constructive feedback from the previous review while following the instructions for New applications (that is, do not refer to the prior application or critiques).

Clinical Trials. This notice of funding opportunity does not allow appointed trainees to lead an independent clinical trial but does allow them to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor. NIH strongly supports training towards a career in clinically relevant research; gaining experience in clinical trials under the guidance of a mentor or co-mentor is encouraged.

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 - Renewal of applications submitted to PAR-19-037 or PAR-21-025
Resubmission - Resubmissions are only allowed for Renewal applications

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this NOFO.

Clinical Trial?

Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials.

Note: Appointed Trainees are permitted to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the number of meritorious applications submitted.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited but must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Recipients are expected to be familiar with and comply with applicable cost policies and the NRSA Guidelines (NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants). Funds may be used only for those expenses that are directly related to and necessary for the research training and must be expended in conformance with OMB Cost Principles, the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and the NRSA regulations, policies, guidelines, and conditions set forth in this document.

Award Project Period

Awards may be for project periods up to five years in duration and are renewable.

Other Award Budget Information

Stipends, Tuition, and Fees

Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide stipends as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience.

NIH will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of award.

Stipend levels, as well as funding amounts for tuition and fees and the institutional allowance are announced annually in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, and are also posted on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) webpage.

Trainee Travel

Travel for trainees to attend scientific meetings and workshops that the organization determines to be necessary for the individual’s research training experience is an allowable expense. Trainees must be appointed to the training grant at the time of the actual travel for this to be an allowable cost. NIGMS will provide up to $1,000 per trainee to travel. Plans for trainee travel should be well justified. For programs supported at organizations outside the continental United States, $1,250 for travel per trainee per year will be provided. Trainees must be appointed to the training grant at the time of the actual travel for this to be an allowable cost.

Training Related Expenses

NIGMS will provide funds to help defray other research training expenses, such as health insurance, staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, and faculty/staff travel directly related to the research training program. Training related expenses (TRE) are limited to a maximum of $10,000/trainee/year.

NIGMS expects organizations to prioritize the provision of trainee benefits, such as health insurance, using TRE funds. Remaining funds may be used for allowable costs associated with:

  • Salary support for the PD/PI or in a combination of multiple PD(s)/PI(s)/co-Investigators.
  • Salary support for administrative personnel.
  • Skills development training activities (for example, focusing on quantitative and computational, problem-solving, critical thinking, scientific writing, effective communication, and project management).
  • Seminar speakers, who will serve as role models to the trainees.
  • Training or mentoring interventions designed to increase persistence in research (for example, those designed to increase science identity, self-efficacy and a sense of belonging in the scientific community).
  • Limited program evaluation costs.
  • Other program-related expenses may be included within the budget for training-related expenses.

TRE expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant organization.

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, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, 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 from this NOFO.

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)

Governments

  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations

Federal Governments

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

For programs to promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce, NIGMS recognizes separate organizational eligibility tracks:

  • Research-intensive, that is, those with an average of NIH research project grant (RPG) funding greater than or equal to $7.5 million total costs per year over the past 3 fiscal years, and
  • Research-active, that is, those with an average of RPG funding less than $7.5 million total costs per year over the past 3 fiscal years (RPG data are available through NIH RePORTER).

For example, applications submitted in FY2024 will use data from FY 2021, FY 2022 and FY 2023.

Organizational eligibility for this NOFO is limited to research-intensive, Ph.D.-granting organizations as defined above. Research-active organizations are not eligible to apply for or receive IMSD grants, but may be eligible to apply for G-RISE grants (see Part 1, Companion Funding Opportunity).

The application must be submitted by the eligible organization with a unique entity identifier (UEI) and a unique NIH eRA Institutional Profile File (IPF) number. For organizations with multiple campuses (e.g., main, satellite, etc.), eligibility can be considered for an individual campus only if a UEI and a unique NIH eRA IPF number are established for the individual campus. For organizations that use one UEI or NIH IPF number for multiple campuses, eligibility is determined for the campuses together.

An organization funded through this NOFO that changes category due to changes in research project grant funding during the grant cycle should apply to the appropriate program based on their eligibility at the time of the renewal application. Programs that change category will report on the program outcomes of the prior funding period(s), up to 15 years, using the appropriate tables.

Organizations funded through this NOFO are eligible for other NIGMS Training programs provided the other eligibility criteria are met. To avoid any potential for overlap, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the program officers of each program before applying.

The sponsoring organization must assure eligibility and support for the proposed program. Appropriate information about eligibility and organizational commitment to the program should be detailed according to the Letters of Support attachment instructions in Section IV.

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.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF424 (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 Grants Policy Statement Section 2.3.9.2 Electronically Submitted Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • System for Award Management (SAM) 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.
  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) A UEI is issued as part of the SAM.gov registration process. The same UEI must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • eRA Commons - Once the unique organization identifier is established, organizations can register with eRA Commons in tandem with completing their Grants.gov registration; all registrations must be in place by time of submission. 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 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 and knowledge necessary to carry out the proposed research training program as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) is invited to work with their organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. See, Reminder: Notice of NIH's Encouragement of Applications Supporting Individuals from Underrepresented Ethnic and Racial Groups as well as Individuals with Disabilities, NOT-OD-22-019.

For 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.

As described in the instructions for the Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) in Section IV.2 below, NIGMS encourages multiple PDs/PIs, particularly when each brings a unique perspective and skill set that will enhance training. Note the following:

  • To provide research training leadership for the program, at least one of the training PDs/PIs should have a record of using rigorous and transparent methods in experimental design, data collection, analysis, and reporting in a biomedical research field applicable to the program.
  • Additional PDs/PIs may be included to strengthen the expertise of the PD/PI team. Examples include individuals such as program directors who regularly interact with students, or individuals with expertise in education, relevant social sciences, program evaluation, mentoring, efforts to promote broader participation in the biomedical sciences, or university administration.

Any of the PDs/PIs may serve as the contact PD/PI. The contact PD/PI is expected to have a full-time appointment at the applicant organization unless extremely well-justified. If the full-time status of the contact PD/PI changes after the award, the organization must obtain prior program approval to appoint a new PD/PI or request a deviation from the full-time rule. The PD(s)/PI(s) will be responsible for:

  • The overall direction, management, and administration of the program, including ensuring the training program is appropriately evaluated.
  • The day-to-day administration of the program, including direct involvement with trainees.
  • The selection and appointment of trainees to the research training program.
  • The selection of faculty mentors for the program, assessment of mentor performance, and ensuring the program deals appropriately with substandard mentor performance.
  • Monitoring and assessing the program and submitting all documents and reports as required.
  • Appointing members of the Advisory Committee (when applicable) and implementing their guidance as appropriate.

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

NIGMS will accept only one application per eligible organization.

NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time per NIH Grants Policy Statement Section 2.3.7.4 Submission of Resubmission Application. 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 NIH Grants Policy Statement 2.3.9.4 Similar, Essentially Identical, or Identical Applications).

Preceptors/Mentors (Participating Faculty)

The selected faculty should be active researchers in the biomedical sciences as demonstrated by recent publications and research support. Research areas of the participating faculty must fall within the NIH mission. When building a training team, programs should include faculty who are committed to training, mentoring, and providing supportive and inclusive research environments. Programs are encouraged to build a pool of preceptors/mentors drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds, for example faculty from underrepresented groups (see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity ), faculty at different career stages (for example, early-career as well as established faculty), and faculty from the breadth of biomedical disciplines at the applicant organization.

Trainees

The applicant organization will select the trainees to be supported by the research training program. It is the responsibility of the organization to establish the qualifications, consistent with applicable law, of the trainees before they are supported by the program.

The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring organization in accordance with its own policies. Appointments are normally made in 12-month increments, and no trainee may be appointed for less than 9 months during the initial period of appointment, except with prior approval of NIGMS.

This research training program may not be used to support health-professional students who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in research training.

Predoctoral trainees funded through this program must be enrolled in a program leading to a Ph.D.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this NOFO. 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 Training (T) Instructions in the How to Apply - Application Guide except where instructed in this Notice of Funding Opportunity 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 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 NOFO.

SF424(R&R) Cover

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

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information

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

Are Human Subjects Involved: Check "No" unless the training program itself requires the trainees to take a workshop or course that will involve human subjects, for example, students collect and analyze samples from humans in a required course.

Are Vertebrate Animals Used: Check "No" unless the training program itself requires the trainees to take a workshop or course that will involve vertebrate animals, for example, students use vertebrate animals in a required laboratory class.

Project Summary/Abstract: Use the page limitations, but do not follow the instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; instead, applicants must follow the instructions below.

Provide an overview of the training program, including the mission, objectives, rationale, and program elements. Highlight activities that promote broader participation, foster skills development and facilitate successful transitions into careers in the biomedical research workforce. Indicate the planned student year(s) and duration of appointments, the projected number of trainees and intended trainee outcomes.

Facilities & Other Resources: Do not follow the instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) application guide for this section; instead, applicants must follow the instructions below.

Describe the scientific and educational facilities, resources, and environment that contribute to the probability of success of the research training program. Do not include any data or examples of data, hyperlinks, or any material not listed as allowable for Facilities & Other Resources section of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Applications should address the following when describing the scientific and educational facilities, resources, and environment:

  • The ways trainees will benefit from features of the scientific and educational environment, for example, classrooms, scientific facilities, offices, conference rooms, and other training spaces.
  • How the scientific and educational facilities create a safe, accessible, and inclusive training environment for individuals from all backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented groups (see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity). Include descriptions of the technological resources available and enhancements to physical spaces that increase access for trainees with disabilities. For example, the accessibility of:
    • Classrooms, scientific facilities, offices, conference rooms, and other training spaces.
    • Public and internal web pages.
    • Meetings or events.
    • Announcements, blogs, and other communication modalities.
    • Transportation, such as shuttle buses.

If there are multiple performance sites, describe the resources available at each site.

Other Attachments: Please include a header or footer label on each page of the other attachments with the corresponding material title.

The following two attachments must be included, or the application will not be reviewed:

1. Baseline Data on the Trainee Pool. The application must provide baseline data on the characteristics of the trainee pool. The data must reflect the training grant eligible individuals who further the goals of the proposed research training program. The data serve as a basis for review of planned activities, including recruitment. The number of training grant eligible candidates will be used to determine the appropriate budget and number of funded positions. NIGMS will use the data provided in a manner consistent with applicable law.

  • Trainee Characteristics. All applicants must provide the numbers and average for the past five academic years of training grant eligible candidates who applied to, were admitted to, and matriculated into the training program or departments described in the application. NIGMS encourages the use of Suggested Formats A to aid in the structuring of the data. Applicants are encouraged to use categories reflected in the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity or the NIH Trainee Diversity Report (such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability and disadvantaged background) as these data will be collected as part of annual progress reports for funded programs. Additional trainee candidate pool characteristics that are relevant to the goals of the training program may also be included. Applicants should use appropriate methods for data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student data systems and reporting (for example, cell sizes for sensitive data).

Please name the file Baseline_Data_Trainee_Pool.pdf .

2. Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity (3-page maximum): The applicant must provide a Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity. Baseline data on the trainee pool should inform the recruitment plans. Include outreach strategies and activities designed to recruit potential training program candidates who are from underrepresented groups, for example students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds (see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity). Additionally, literature shows that women from these backgrounds face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. Applicants are encouraged to consult the NIGMS web page for strategies to enhance diversity in training programs when designing their plans. Describe the specific efforts to be undertaken by the training program and how these might coordinate with trainee recruitment efforts of the organization. Centralized organizational efforts alone will not satisfy the requirement to recruit prospective trainees from diverse groups. Participating faculty are expected to be actively involved in recruitment efforts. Please name the file Recruitment_Plan.pdf .

The following attachments may be included:

Advisory Committee (1-page maximum). An Advisory Committee is not a required component of a training program. However, if an Advisory Committee is intended, provide a plan for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to monitor progress of the training program. The roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members including (for example, including disability inclusion experts), frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will assess the overall effectiveness of the program. Only pre-existing Advisory Committee members should be named in the application. Potential Advisory Committee members should not be identified or contacted prior to receiving an award. Please name the file Advisory_Committee.pdf .

Training Activities (10-page maximum). The Training Activities attachment may include brief descriptions of required and representative elective courses, workshops, and training activities (for example, streamlined syllabi with topics, timelines, activities, credits). This attachment is meant to provide additional details but is not meant to substitute for clear descriptions of the courses and training activities in the Program Plan. Please name the file Training_Activities.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.

Biographical Sketch: The personal statement should describe the individual's commitment to scientific rigor, training, and mentoring, as well as to promoting inclusive, safe, and supportive scientific environments.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s)

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

Training Budget

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

  • Include all allowable categories of funds requested to support trainees in the program.
  • As per the instructions, request actual amounts for tuition/fees and provide justification. The amounts may be adjusted at the time of award.

Budget Justification: Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additions:

State the number of requested funded trainee slots per year. Provide a justification for the number of requested funded slots per year in the context of the following:

  • Number of training grant eligible candidates provided in the trainee pool baseline data across all departments participating in the training program.
  • Number of participating faculty.
  • Other NIGMS-funded training grants at the organization that relate to the goals of this training program.
  • For Renewal Applications - The success in filling the awarded training positions (Table 7). An explanation for the failure to fill previously requested slots should be provided in the application.

PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

The PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan Form is comprised of the following sections:

  • Training Program
  • Faculty, Trainees, and Training Record
  • Other Training Program Sections
  • Appendix

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

Attention must be given to the required Training Data Tables for New or Renewal applications. Guidance for preparing the Training Data Tables is found on the NIGMS website. Table 6A is not required for NIGMS Predoctoral Training Grant applications, and applicants must not include it. In the Program Plan, applicants should also summarize key data from the tables that highlight the characteristics of the training grant eligible pool, program faculty, organizational support, student outcomes, and other factors that contribute to the overall training environment of the program.

Training Program

Program Plan

The Program Plan attachment is required and must adhere to the NIH Table of Page Limits, as well as the organization and instructions provided below.

Do not follow the organization and instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) application guide for the Program Plan attachment; instead, applicants must use the instructions below. Start each section with the relevant heading below.

Rationale, Mission, and Objectives

The application should describe how the program will expand the pool of well-trained scientists earning a Ph.D., for example by encouraging the inclusion of individuals from underrepresented groups, who have the technical, operational, and professional skills required to conduct research in a safe, ethically responsible, and rigorous manner, and to enter careers in the biomedical research workforce as delineated in the Program Objective. The application should describe how the program will, or will continue to, enhance the training environment - going beyond simply providing financial assistance for trainees to conduct research. Specifically, applicants should describe the following:

  • The justification for the proposed research training program. The application should describe the current organizational efforts to promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce and to create and sustain inclusive research training environments. Describe how the proposed program will enhance, but not duplicate these efforts. Describe how the proposed program is tailored to leverage organizational strengths to enhance the applicant organization's research training opportunities. Describe how the program provides research training opportunities for trainees in the breadth of biomedical research disciplines available at the organization that are relevant to the NIH mission. The rationale for the program should expand upon the "Training Outcome" data requested below that provides organizational baseline data on previous student outcomes comparing success rates across demographic groups.
  • Current research training environment. The application should describe the research training program including, but not limited to, the relevant background, an overview of the current research training activities of the participating department(s) or unit(s), and areas for improvement in the current research training practices. Applicants must demonstrate the presence of a sufficient number of potential trainees in appropriate disciplines (Table 1) and program faculty with the appropriate scientific, training and mentoring expertise (Tables 2 and 4), as well as the current research training resources of the organization (Table 3).
  • The training mission (broad statement of purpose of the program), and objectives (specific, measurable outcomes the program intends to achieve). The program-specific mission and objectives should align with the Overarching Objective of this funding opportunity while focusing on developing the skills required to be a well-trained biomedical scientist. Objectives should include, but not be limited to, Ph.D. completion rates and appropriate time-to-degree.
  • Administrative Structure. The application should describe the administrative structure, distribution of responsibilities within it, and the leadership succession plan for critical positions (for example, PD(s)/PI(s)).

Curriculum and Overall Training Plan

The application should describe the curriculum and overall training plan, including the required and elective courses, structured activities, and research experiences. The application may include additional supporting information (for example, streamlined syllabi with topics, timelines, activities, credits, etc.) in an optional Training Activities Other Attachment . The narrative should emphasize when the curriculum and overall training plan employs evidence-informed approaches. Applicants should address the following:

  • Include representative examples of the IMSD program activities for individual trainees and how they coordinate with activities in the trainees Ph.D. granting departments across all years of Ph.D. training. Examples can include degree requirements, didactic courses, laboratory experiences, seminars, journal clubs, career development activities, qualifying exam preparation, scientific writing and communication skills, etc. Describe how the trainees progress will be guided, monitored, and evaluated.
  • Explain how these training activities are designed to develop the technical, operational, and professional skills of trainees.
  • Describe the trainees academic and research background needed to pursue the proposed training and plans to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees.
  • Highlight the activities that will build a strong cohort of research-oriented individuals while enhancing the science identity, self-efficacy, and a sense of belonging among the cohort members.
  • Describe how these activities will accomplish the stated training mission and objectives.
  • Highlight proposed changes or current research training practices designed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving biomedical research enterprise (for example, curricular reforms).
  • Describe how the program will develop trainees' quantitative and computational skills.
  • Describe where in the curriculum key topics related to rigor and reproducibility in research (for example, experimental design) and responsible conduct of research (for example, safety, community engagement, societal considerations related to research) are reinforced or elaborated relative to what is outlined in the Methods for Enhancing Reproducible Research and Responsible Conduct of Research plans throughout the training.
  • Describe how the training activities will be available to other students in the program(s), department(s) or organization(s) from which the supported trainees are drawn.
  • For multidisciplinary and/or multi-departmental programs, indicate how the individual disciplinary and/or departmental components of the program are integrated and coordinated, and how they will relate to an individual trainee's experience.
  • The ways, when applicable, that the training plan is distinct from, but will share resources and synergize with, other NIGMS-funded predoctoral training programs at the same organization (NIGMS predoctoral training programs listed in Table 3). See the "Program Considerations" section above for additional context. The application should expand upon, but not duplicate, information on overlap and synergies described in the Organizational Support Letter. NIGMS expects that the training program will be distinct with respect to the training goals; however, collaborative activities such as the responsible conduct of research training, career and professional skill development, etc. are encouraged.

Career Development

The application should describe the following:

  • How the pool of potential program candidates and trainees will be provided with information about the career outcomes of graduates of the program and about the overall biomedical research workforce employment landscape.
  • How trainees in the program will be provided with adequate and appropriate information regarding the variety of careers in the biomedical research workforce for which their training prepares them.
  • How the proposed program will engage a range of potential employers to ensure the trainees will acquire the appropriate skills, knowledge, and steps needed to attain positions in the sectors of the biomedical research workforce that are of interest to them.
  • How the training program or organization will provide experiential learning opportunities (for example, internships, shadowing experiences, informational interviews, teaching opportunities) that allow trainees to develop the professional skills and networks necessary to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce. For internships outside the grantee organization, the application should describe procedures for defining expectations, support structures, responsibilities, and time limits, as well as for ensuring compliance with NRSA and funding announcement appointment requirements.

Program Oversight of Training and Mentoring

The application should include the planned strategy and administrative structure to oversee and monitor the program, and to ensure appropriate and timely trainee progress for the duration of the trainees' graduate careers. If a program coordinator or administrator position is planned to enhance oversight, a description of the person's administrative capabilities that are essential to coordinate the program should be included in the application. The application should describe the following (for each entry, the application should describe who is responsible for the oversight):

  • How the program ensures the use of evidence-informed training and mentoring practices that promote the development and retention of all trainees with the recognition that the variety of trainee backgrounds and experiences may necessitate the need to tailor the approaches. The plans should be specific for the student population and program proposed.
  • How the program ensures that all participating department(s) and organization(s) are promoting the development and retention of trainees for the duration of their graduate careers.
  • How the program instructs and evaluates the participating faculty as teachers and mentors.
  • How the program will ensure that participating faculty employ the highest standards of scientific rigor and impart those standards to their trainees.
  • How the program will ensure that participating faculty reinforce and augment the curricular material on responsible conduct of research, and methods for enhancing reproducibility.
  • The mechanism for matching trainees with the appropriate participating faculty (for example, laboratory rotations, faculty forums, and interviews).
  • How the program monitors that participating faculty engage in activities that promote trainee career development (including but not limited to the utilization of Individual Development Plans) and fulfill the need of the trainees to obtain their degrees in a timely fashion with the skills, credentials, and experiences to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees interests and values.
  • A mechanism to monitor mentoring, including oversight of the effectiveness of the trainee/research mentor match.
  • Conflict resolution practices to address conflicts within the training environment that may impede trainee progress, for example, mentor-mentee, peer-peer, faculty-student, staff-trainee, faculty-faculty conflicts.
  • A plan for remediating and, as appropriate, removing, faculty displaying unsatisfactory mentorship qualities from the training program.

Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PDs/PIs)

The application should describe how the Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PDs/PIs) will promote the success of the trainees and training program. NIGMS strongly encourages multiple PDs/PIs, particularly when each brings a unique perspective and skill set that will enhance training as described in the Eligible Individuals section. In addition, the use of multiple PDs/PIs provides stability to the program in the event that one PD/PI leaves unexpectedly. The application should expand on the information in the biosketch(es) to address how the PD/PI or PD/PI team has:

  • The scientific expertise, as well as the administrative and training experience, to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program. At least one member of the PD/PI team should have a record of using rigorous methods in experimental design, data collection, analysis, and reporting in the discipline(s) described in the application.
  • The time to commit sufficient effort to ensure the program’s success given other professional obligations (the application should indicate the PD(s)/PI(s)’s percent effort in the proposed program). Describe the PD(s)/PI(s) commitment to the day-to-day administration of the program, including direct involvement with trainees.
  • A demonstrated commitment to training future biomedical researchers, leading recruitment efforts to broaden participation, and fostering inclusive research environments.
  • Received training on how to effectively mentor trainees from all backgrounds, including trainees from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences (see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity). The training should have material on disability topics, and eliminating barriers to full participation.
  • The administrative structure and leadership succession plan for critical positions (for example, all PD(s)/PI(s)).

Preceptors/Mentors (Participating Faculty)

Describe how the program has or will recruit a pool of prospective faculty from a wide variety of backgrounds to provide potential role models within the training program and to enhance the effectiveness of the training environment. Describe how mentors provide opportunities for research in the breadth of biomedical research disciplines available at the organization. The application should summarize and expand on the material presented in the Training Tables and biosketches and address how the participating faculty:

  • Receive training in effective, evidence-informed teaching and mentoring practices that promote the development of trainees from all backgrounds.
  • Have sufficient time to commit to training and mentoring given their other professional obligations.
  • Ensure participating faculty research group sizes are not too large to allow effective training and mentoring.
  • Cooperate, interact, and collaborate (which can include joint sponsorship of trainee research).
  • Promote the use of the highest standards of practice to ensure the safety of all individuals in the research environment.
  • Conduct and promote the development of trainee skills in approaches to rigorous and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results as well as ethically sound and responsible scientific research.
  • Provide opportunities for trainees to conduct biomedical research with increasing self-direction.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to effective mentoring, and to promoting inclusive, safe, accessible, and supportive scientific and training environments.
  • Are willing to engage in activities to promote the trainees career goals and to support trainees participating in activities required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees' skills, interests, and values.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to fulfilling the need of the trainees to obtain their Ph.D. degree in a timely fashion with the skills, credentials, and experiences to transition into careers that utilize their degrees.

Candidate Review Process

The following areas should be addressed:

  • Describe plans for a candidate review process that will allow a broad group of research-oriented trainees the ability to participate in the training program. The process should consider, consistent with applicable law, metrics beyond undergraduate organization prestige, grade point average, and standardized test scores. Programs are encouraged to consider individuals who have the potential to strongly benefit from, and with proper training and support, succeed in the program. If the program trainees are drawn from multiple departments, describe how the PD(s)/PI(s) will ensure that the review process is consistent across all relevant departments.

Trainee Appointments and Financial Support

Applicants must describe the proposed financial support structure and appointment processes. NIGMS typically funds trainees for 2-3 years during the early years of the graduate program. Applicants should describe:

  • How individuals are supported throughout their entire time in the graduate program, for example, when they transition from the training grant to other sources of support (expand upon, but do not duplicate information provided in the Organizational Support Letter and Data Tables). Indicate how the financial support structure aligns with the Curriculum and Overall Training Plan.
  • Describe the selection and re-appointment processes for the training grant supported trainees from the larger training grant eligible pool. NIGMS-funded training programs are intended to maximally increase the development of a pool of promising trainees from a wide variety of backgrounds. Appointing only trainees who already have strong research credentials and skills is unlikely to achieve this goal.
  • At what stage in the trainees careers they will be supported on the training grant and the length of appointments. If there are expectations to deviate from the typical appointment structure, provide a strong justification and describe circumstances used to determine when a trainee is appointed during a different year of the Ph.D., or for a different length of appointment.

Trainee Outcomes

This section is intended to provide student outcomes to (1) provide baseline data for programs that have not been funded by NIGMS, or (2) measure the outcomes for organizations with existing NIGMS programs (for example, those submitting renewal applications or those submitting new applications to replace previously funded NIGMS R25 programs that supported doctoral students). For organizations with previously supported NIGMS programs to promote broader participation, but are applying as new applications, only include previously appointed trainees/participants. For organizations that do not have NIGMS predoctoral training programs to promote broader participation, this section should be used to provide outcomes for students who would have been eligible for the proposed training program had it been previously funded by NIGMS. The application should provide the information below about recent outcomes through narrative descriptions and a summary of the data presented in the required training tables. Although the training tables for applications submitted as new applications only allow for five years of recent outcomes, the application may describe up to 15 years of outcomes in the narrative. Applicants may include tables in the narrative, but they must have different labels than the required Data Tables. Please see Program Considerations when determining if the application should be submitted as New or a "Renewal". Applicants are encouraged to describe the data for recent program graduates for pre-existing programs or relevant students for new programs, including the following:

  • Evidence that recent program graduates conducted rigorous research that advanced scientific knowledge and/or technologies, with increasing self-direction (for example, peer-reviewed publications in Training Table 5A, or other measures of scientific accomplishment appropriate to the field).
  • The rate of Ph.D. degree attainment and time-to-degree for recent program graduates (Training Table 8A). Explain how the time-to-degree was calculated. Indicate how many individuals obtained a Ph.D. degree, are still in training, left the program with a master's degree, or withdrew from the program with no degree.
  • A description or analysis of the trainees' Ph.D. degree attainment rate, time-to-degree data, and evidence of scholarly productivity for recent program graduates across demographic groups, including those from underrepresented groups (see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity). If disparities are observed, describe approaches to identify the causes and to feasibly address the issues in the Program Plan.
  • The success of recent program graduates transitioning into careers in the biomedical research workforce (Training Table 8A).

Program Evaluation Plan, Dissemination, and Data Storage

NIGMS-funded training programs must conduct ongoing program evaluations to monitor the success of the training and mentoring activities. Funded programs are expected to report on outcomes through annual progress reports and renewal applications. The application may include blank survey instruments, rubrics, or forms in an appendix, according to the instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Applicants should describe:

  • The plan for program evaluation to determine whether the training program is effective in meeting the training mission and objectives.
  • Methods to determine if the research training climate is perceived as inclusive, safe, and supportive of trainee development and retention by the trainees, faculty and staff. Include methods to attain reliable and representative input and to safeguard anonymity to ensure candid feedback.
  • Mechanisms to ensure training program and organizational responsiveness to outcomes analyses, program evaluations, and trainee feedback regarding the effectiveness of the program and the research training climate.
  • Activities to track and make available the career outcomes of program graduates (for example, aggregate de-identified data published on the program's website).
  • Activities designed to share outcomes and effective practices of the program with the broader community, for example, presenting program data or materials to members of the training community via web postings, or presentations.
  • Strategy to ensure the secure storage and preservation of program data and outcomes and how the data will be centralized, safeguarded, and retrievable during leadership and staff changes.

Note: Training Program Evaluation is not a form of human subject research. Training grants prepare individuals for careers in the biomedical research workforce by developing and implementing evidence-informed educational practices including didactic, research, mentoring, and career development elements. While funded programs are expected to conduct ongoing program evaluations and assessments to monitor the effectiveness of the training and mentoring activities, training grants funds are not intended to support Human Subjects Research (see additional information on Human Subjects Research from NIH and HHS).

Plan for Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility

Applicants are required to comply with the instructions for the Plan for Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Applicants are required to comply with the instructions for the Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, along with the following additional instructions:

Describe how the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) components are well integrated into the overall curriculum, how they are taught at multiple stages of trainee development and in a variety of formats and contexts. Explain how the teaching of RCR synergizes with elements of the curriculum designed to enhance trainees abilities to conduct rigorous and reproducible research. Describe how all participating faculty will reiterate and augment key elements of responsible conduct when trainees are performing mentored research in their laboratories.

Progress Report (only for Renewal applications)

The progress report is intended to demonstrate that the program successfully strengthened the research training environment and promoted broader participation in the biomedical research workforce by expanding the pool of well-trained scientists earning a Ph.D. Renewals are only allowed for programs funded through PAR-19-037 or PAR-21-025. Follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following exceptions: For the "Program Overview" section - adhere to the page limit indicated in the SF424 (R&R) application guide but follow the instructions below instead.

Implementation of Proposed Activities

  • Describe successes and challenges regarding implementing the programmatic elements described in the previous application and provide explanations for failing to implement previously proposed programmatic elements. Areas to address may include but are not limited to the following:
    • Strengthening the research training environment to promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce.
    • Incorporating evidence-informed training and mentoring practices into the program.
    • Teaching rigor and transparency, and the responsible and safe conduct of research throughout the training experience.
    • Enhancing accessibility and inclusive research training environments.
    • Overseeing all aspects of the program (for example, the mentor/mentee matches, the participating faculty, and trainee progress).
    • Preparing trainees for a broad range of careers in the biomedical research workforce.
  • Highlight how the training program evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, and educational practices.
  • Describe how the funds provided under Training Related Expenses were used to benefit the training program.

Results and Changes from Program Evaluations

  • Present the results of program evaluations and any changes to the program made based on them. Indicate the period for the data presented. If the methods for data collection differ from the Program Evaluation plan, explain the differences. Discuss the evidence that the specific and measurable objectives described in the previous application were achieved, and if not, provide a justification.
  • Expand upon the "Training Outcomes" section and highlight successes or areas for improvement. Identification of areas for improvement is necessary for supporting a healthy and maximally effective training program and an inability to recognize them will be viewed as a deficiency.
  • Discuss the evidence that the scientific research climate is inclusive, safe, and supportive of trainee development and success.
  • Describe how the program responded to student feedback, analyses, critiques, surveys, and other program assessments. Describe the potential barriers to success and indicate changes to the program designed to address these barriers.

Impact and Dissemination

  • Describe the impact of the program (for example, on the curriculum, training environment, or organizational policies and practices).
  • Indicate whether the program staff disseminated the outcomes and effective practices to the broader training community. Describe how the program makes training and career outcomes publicly available.

Faculty, Trainees, And Training Record

Participating Faculty Biosketches

Participating faculty should provide a personal statement that describes the appropriateness of their research background for the proposed training program, and their commitment to the following:

  • Training, mentoring, and promoting inclusive, safe, accessible, and supportive research environments.
  • Maintaining a record of, and providing training in rigorous and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results.
  • Teaching trainees to conduct biomedical research with increasing responsibility and self-direction.
  • Supporting trainees participating in activities required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees skills, interests, and values.
  • Fulfilling the need of the trainees to complete their Ph.D. degrees in a timely fashion with the skills, credentials, and experiences to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce.

Letters of Support

Organizational Eligibility and Support Letter (10-page maximum). The application must include a signed letter on letterhead from a President, Provost, Dean, or similar key leader that (i) certifies organizational eligibility, and (ii) describes the activities and resources provided by the organization that will ensure the success of the planned training program and its trainees. If this letter is not included, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. The letter must describe:

(i) Organizational Eligibility: Certify that the applicant organization, as described by UEI and NIH IPF number:

  • Is research-intensive, that is, has an average of RPG funding of greater than or equal to $7.5 million total costs (both direct and F&A/indirect costs) per year over the past 3 fiscal years, as described in Section III, Eligible Organization .
  • Grants its own biomedical Ph.D. degrees.

(ii) Organizational Support: Describe the organizational commitment to the following areas (as applicable):

  • Ensuring that trainees and affiliated students in the program are supported financially throughout their time in the graduate program. Indicate if the NRSA stipends (intended to defray living expenses) will be supplemented by organizational funds.
  • Providing trainees access to student support services, such as healthcare, counseling, and housing.
  • Supporting the PDs/PIs, participating faculty and other key administrative staff associated with the planned training program (for example, salary support, protected time).
  • Ensuring sufficient start-up funding to permit early-stage faculty to participate in training, and bridge funding to ensure that training may continue if a mentor experiences a hiatus in funds.
  • Fostering and rewarding excellence in training and mentoring (for example, through organizational polices regarding tenure and promotion).
  • Supporting the remediation or removal of participating faculty from the program who are poorly performing mentors.
  • Supporting the scientific and educational facilities, technology, and curricular components in the proposed research training program (for example, classroom enhancements, funds for course development, accessibility equipment). Expand upon, but do not duplicate information provided in the Facilities and Other Resources attachment.
  • Developing and promoting a culture in which the highest standards of safety, scientific rigor, reproducibility, and responsible conduct are advanced.
  • Promoting broad participation at all levels of the research training environment (trainees, staff, faculty, and leadership).
  • Ensuring a positive, supportive, safe, accessible, and inclusive research and training environment for individuals from all backgrounds. For example, ensuring that the communication and physical spaces are welcoming, comfortable, and safe to use and navigate.
  • Understanding and providing resources to remove barriers and challenges confronting people with disabilities (for example, ableism frameworks, ableist language, lack of accessibility, attitudinal and discriminatory practices) that prevent or impede people with disabilities from entering and succeeding in the scientific workforce.
  • Ensuring that proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent harassment and other discriminatory practices and to appropriately respond to allegations of such discriminatory practices, including providing notification of removal or disciplinary action involving Program Directors/Principal Investigators or other Senior/Key Personnel; see NOT-OD-22-129).
  • Providing resources and expertise for evaluating the training outcomes of the program.
  • For organizations that have multiple NIGMS-funded predoctoral training grants, what distinguishes the proposed program with respect to the scientific research training area from existing ones at the same organization. The letter should describe how the programs will collaborate and share resources when appropriate for non-discipline specific activities, and how the training faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are sufficiently robust to support the proposed program in addition to existing ones.

Other Letters of Support. Additional letters of support (for example, from partner organizations) are permitted; however, these letters may not contain any information required in the Organizational Support Letter described above.

Combine all Letters of Support into a single PDF file.

Data Tables

The application must include the required Training Data Tables for New or Renewal pre-doctoral training applications, except for Table 6A. Applications that do not contain the required tables, or that submit any additional tables in this attachment will be considered noncompliant and may not be reviewed.

Appendix:

Limited items are allowed in the Appendix. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions.

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 2 . 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 1 . 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 Grants Policy Statement Section 2.3.9.2 Electronically Submitted Applications.

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. The National Research Service Award (NRSA) policies apply to this program. An NRSA appointment may not be held concurrently with another Federally sponsored fellowship, traineeship, or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Note, however, that pre-award costs are not allowable charges for stipends or tuition/fees on training grants because these costs may not be charged to the grant until a trainee has actually been appointed, and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the NIH awarding component. Any additional costs associated with the decision to allow research elective credit for short-term research training are not allowable charges on a training grant.

NIGMS does not permit automatic carryover of training grant funds from one budget period to the next.

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 How to Apply Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. 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 fieldof the Senior/Key Person Profile form. 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 unique entity identifier provided on the application is the same identifier used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. 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 and NIGMS. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Applicants Requesting $500,000 or more for direct costs (less consortium F&A) in any year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year are not required to contact a Scientific/ Research Contact prior to submitting an application. The Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is not applicable to this NOFO.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following: NIGMS recognizes that rigorous, well-designed research training programs that promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce can take place in a wide variety of organizational environments and with mentors who have varying levels of NIH research project grant support. Reviewers should evaluate proposed programs considering their stated objectives, organizational context, available resources, and the capacity of those resources to meet the stated objectives. Reviewers should evaluate with the understanding that organizations vary in the amount of NIH RPG funding within the research-intensive category.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the proposed program). The overall impact score should reflect the reviewers' assessment of the likelihood that the proposed program will strengthen the research training environment, promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce, and produce a pool of well-trained scientists with the technical, operational, and professional skills necessary to conduct rigorous and reproducible research, and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce. Specifically, whether the structured training activities, mentoring, and research experiences will equip the trainees with:

  • A broad understanding across biomedical disciplines.
  • The skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their chosen fields and careers.
  • The ability to think critically and identify important biomedical research questions and approaches that push forward the boundaries of their areas of study.
  • A strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative and computational approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.
  • The skills to conduct research in the safest manner possible, and a commitment to approaching and conducting biomedical research responsibly, ethically, and with integrity.
  • Experience initiating, conducting, interpreting, and presenting rigorous and reproducible biomedical research with increasing self-direction.
  • The ability to work effectively in teams with colleagues from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds, and to promote inclusive and supportive scientific research environments.
  • The skills to teach and communicate scientific methodologies and findings to a wide variety of audiences (for example discipline-specific, across disciplines, and for the public).
  • The knowledge, professional skills and experiences required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce (for example, the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).

Scored Review Criteria

Rationale, Mission, and Objectives

  • Does the application provide a compelling rationale for the proposed research training program? Is it clear how the proposed program will, or will continue to, enhance the research training environment - going beyond simply providing financial assistance for trainees to conduct research? Does the proposed program appropriately complement current institutional efforts to promote broader participation in the biomedical research workforce and inclusive research training environments? Is it clear how the proposed program is tailored to specific institutional opportunities and leverages institutional strengths to meet its goals? Does the program provide research training opportunities for trainees in the breadth of biomedical research disciplines available at the institution that are relevant to the NIH mission?
  • Does the proposed program demonstrate the presence of a sufficient pool of potential trainees in appropriate disciplines (Table 1), program faculty with the appropriate scientific, training and mentoring expertise (Tables 2 and 4, and biosketches), and resources to achieve the training objectives (Table 3 and the Organizational Support Letter)?
  • Are the mission and objectives for the training program specific, measurable, and in alignment with the goal of promoting broader participation in the biomedical research workforce by expanding the pool of well-trained scientists with the technical, operational, and professional skills necessary to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce?
  • Is the administrative structure appropriate for achieving the objectives? Is there a sound leadership succession plan for critical positions (for example, PD/PI)?

Curriculum and Overall Training Plan

  • Does the overall training program plan sufficiently incorporate evidence-informed activities?
  • Do the training program activities appropriately coordinate with the trainees Ph.D. granting departments across all years of Ph.D. training?
  • Do the required and elective training elements provide compelling evidence that the trainees will gain the requisite skills in a timely fashion?
  • Are there appropriate plans to accommodate differences in preparation among trainees?
  • Are the activities likely to build a strong cohort of research-oriented individuals while enhancing the science identity, self-efficacy, and sense of belonging among the cohort members?
  • Will the courses, structured training activities, mentoring, and research experiences achieve the stated mission and objectives of the training program?
  • Does the overall training plan effectively address the need to adapt to the rapidly evolving biomedical research enterprise?
  • Is it clear how the training activities will be available to other students in the program(s), department(s), or organization(s) from which the trainees are drawn?
  • If applicable, how well are the individual disciplinary and/or departmental components of the program integrated and coordinated, and how well will each relate to an individual trainee's experience?
  • If applicable, will the proposed program sufficiently share resources and activities such as the responsible conduct of research training, career and professional skills development, etc. with NIGMS-funded predoctoral training programs at the organization?

Career Development

  • Will the program candidates and trainees be provided with useful information about the career outcomes of graduates of the program and about the overall biomedical research workforce employment landscape?
  • Will the trainees be provided with adequate and appropriate information regarding the breadth of careers in the biomedical research workforce for which their training may be useful?
  • Will the program engage with potential employers to ensure that the trainees acquire the appropriate skills, knowledge, and steps needed to attain positions in the sectors of the biomedical research workforce that are of interest to them?
  • Will the training program or organization provide experiential learning opportunities that allow trainees to develop the professional skills and networks necessary to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce?
  • For external internships, does the application describe reasonable procedures for defining expectations, support structures, responsibilities, and time limits, as well as for ensuring compliance with NRSA and funding announcement appointment requirements?

Program Oversight of Training and Mentoring

  • Does the application describe an effective strategy and administrative structure to oversee and monitor the program to ensure appropriate and timely trainee progress for the duration of the trainees' graduate training?
  • If a program coordinator or administrator position is planned, will the person's administrative capabilities contribute to the success of the program?
  • Does the application describe effective mechanisms to ensure the use of evidence-informed teaching and mentoring practices that promote the development and retention of all trainees with the recognition that the variety of trainee backgrounds and experiences may necessitate the need to tailor the approaches?
  • Is there an effective plan to ensure all participating department(s) and organization(s) are promoting the development and retention of trainees for the duration of their graduate careers?
  • Does the program describe effective plans for training and evaluating the participating faculty as teachers and mentors?
  • Are there sound plans to ensure that participating faculty employ the highest standards of scientific rigor and impart those standards to their trainees?
  • Are there sound plans to ensure that participating faculty reinforce and augment the curricular material on responsible conduct of research and methods for enhancing reproducibility?
  • Is there an effective mechanism for matching the trainees with appropriate program faculty (for example, laboratory rotations, faculty forums and interviews)?
  • Is there an effective plan to ensure that the participating faculty engage in activities that promote trainee career development and fulfill the need of the trainees to obtain their degrees in a timely fashion with the skills, credentials, and experiences to transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees' interests and values?
  • Is there an effective mechanism to monitor mentoring, including oversight of the effectiveness of the trainee/research mentor match?
  • Do the conflict resolution practices appropriately address conflicts within the training environment that may impede trainee progress?
  • Is the plan for remediating, and as appropriate, removing faculty displaying unsatisfactory mentorship qualities from the training program likely to be effective?

Organizational Commitment to the Program

  • Is there evidence of strong and appropriate organizational commitment to supporting the trainees and training program? As applicable:
    • Is there a commitment to financially support the trainees and affiliated students in the program throughout their time in the graduate program?
    • Is there evidence of a sufficient level of organizational commitment to providing trainees access to student support services, such as health care, counseling services, and housing?
    • Is there adequate support of the PD(s)/PI(s), participating faculty, and other key staff, facilities, and educational resources associated with the training program?
    • Does the organization provide sufficient start-up funding to permit early-stage faculty to participate in training and bridge funding to ensure that training may continue if a mentor experiences a hiatus in funds?
    • Is there evidence that the organization rewards excellence in training and mentoring through impactful organizational policies?
    • Does the organization support the remediation or removal of participating faculty from the program who are poorly performing mentors?
    • Is there evidence of support for the scientific and educational facilities, technology, and curricular components in the proposed research training program?
    • Is there a clear commitment to develop and promote a culture in which the highest standards of safety, scientific rigor, reproducibility, and responsible conduct of research are advanced?
    • Does the organization promote broad participation at all levels of the research training environment (trainees, staff, faculty, and leadership)?
    • Are there structures in place to ensure the research training environments are supportive, safe, accessible, and inclusive for individuals from all backgrounds?
    • Are appropriate policies and procedures in place to protect trainees from harassment and other prohibited practices?
    • Are the resources and expertise for evaluating the training outcomes of the program appropriate?
    • For organizations that have multiple NIGMS-funded predoctoral training grants, does the application provide a compelling explanation of what distinguishes the proposed program from existing ones at the same organization, how the programs will collaborate and share resources for non-discipline specific activities, and how the training faculty, pool of potential trainees, and resources are sufficiently robust to support the proposed program in addition to existing ones?
    • Is the administrative structure appropriate for achieving the objectives? Is there a sound leadership succession plan for critical positions (for example, PD(s)/PI(s))?

  • Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have the scientific expertise, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program? Does at least one member of the PD/PI team have a demonstrated record of using rigorous and transparent methods in experimental design, data collection, analysis, and reporting in a biomedical field applicable to the training program?
  • Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have the time to commit sufficient effort to ensure the program's success, given their other professional obligations? Does the application describe a compelling commitment to the day-to-day administration of the program, including direct involvement with trainees?
  • Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have a demonstrated commitment to training future biomedical researchers, leading recruitment efforts to promote broader participation, and fostering inclusive research environments?
  • Have the PD(s)/PI(s) received adequate training on how to effectively mentor trainees, including those from underrepresented groups, and promote inclusive, safe, accessible, and supportive research training environments?
  • Is there a strong administrative structure and leadership succession plan for critical positions (for example, PD/PI)?

For applications designating multiple PDs/PIs:

  • Will the multiple PD/PI leadership approach strengthen the expertise of the PD/PI team and enhance the ability of the program to achieve its training goals?
  • Is there a clear leadership plan, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance, conflict resolution procedures, and organizational structure (see Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan section)?

  • Does the application describe an effective plan to recruit a pool of prospective faculty from a wide variety of backgrounds? Does the application describe how the mentors will provide opportunities for research in the breadth of biomedical disciplines available at the institution? Is the planned team based on a commitment to research training and mentoring, and not simply research productivity?
  • Are the participating faculty well-trained in effective, evidence-informed teaching and mentoring practices that promote the development of trainees from all backgrounds?
  • Is there evidence that the participating faculty have the time to commit sufficient effort to ensure trainee development and success, given their other professional obligations?
  • Is there evidence that the participating faculty cooperate, interact, and collaborate?
  • Do the participating faculty demonstrate a commitment to promoting the use of the highest standards of practice to ensure the safety of all individuals in the research environment?
  • Do the participating faculty promote the development of trainee skills and independence in rigorous and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results, as well as ethically sound and responsible scientific research?
  • Do the participating faculty demonstrate a convincing commitment to effective mentoring, and promoting inclusive, safe, accessible, and supportive scientific and training environments?
  • Are the participating faculty willing to engage in activities to promote the trainees career goals and to support trainees participating in activities required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce that are consistent with the trainees' skills, interests, and values?
  • Do the participating faculty have a commitment to fulfilling the need of the trainees to obtain their Ph.D. degree in a timely fashion with the skills, credentials, and experiences to transition into careers that utilize their degrees?

Candidate Review Process

  • Will the proposed candidate review process allow a broad group of research-oriented individuals the ability to participate in the training program?
  • Does the process consider, consistent with applicable law, metrics beyond undergraduate institution prestige, grade point averages, and standardized test scores?
  • Does the process include students with the potential to strongly benefit from, and with proper training and support, succeed in the training program?
  • If the program trainees are drawn from multiple departments/organizations, is the review process consistent across all relevant departments/organizations?

Trainee Appointments and Financial Support

  • Is there sufficient financial support for the trainees during their entire time in graduate training?
  • Does the financial support structure align well with the Curriculum and Overall Training Plan?
  • Are there well-defined and justified selection and re-appointment processes for trainees in the training program? Are the plans for appointments designed to support individuals who will benefit from the training?
  • Are plans for typical trainee appointment (that is, stage of training and length of time) well-justified? Is there an appropriate, well-justified plan for any anticipated deviation from the typical appointment structure?

Trainee Outcomes

Does the application provide evidence that recent program graduates for existing programs, or representative student graduates for new programs:

  • Conducted rigorous research that advanced scientific knowledge and/or technologies, with increasing self-direction (for example, peer-reviewed publications, or other measures of scientific accomplishment appropriate to the field)?
  • Completed their degrees at a high rate and in a timely fashion?
  • Displayed similar completion rates, time-to-degree, and scholarly outcomes across demographic groups? If not, was this taken into consideration and appropriately and feasibly addressed in the proposed program plan?
  • Are the recent program graduates transitioning into careers in the biomedical research workforce (the breadth of careers involved in the conduct and support of biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission)?

Program Evaluation Plan, Dissemination, and Data Storage

  • Will the program evaluation provide useful information to establish whether the training program is successful in meeting the training mission and objectives?
  • Does the program evaluation include an effective method for measuring the perceptions of the research training climate? Will the approach employ reasonable methods to attain reliable and representative input and safeguard anonymity to ensure candid feedback?
  • Are sound mechanisms proposed for ensuring training program and organizational responsiveness to outcomes analyses, program evaluations, and trainee feedback regarding the effectiveness of the program and the research training climate?
  • Does the program provide evidence of making available the career outcomes of program graduates, or present feasible plans to make the data available?
  • Does the program have evidence of, or plans for sharing outcomes and effective practices with the broader community?
  • Is there an effective strategy to ensure the secure storage and preservation of program data and outcomes, and that the data will be centralized, safeguarded, and retrievable during leadership and staff changes?
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.


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


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


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


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


  • Does the plan describe how the program will provide training in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, relevant experimental methods, consideration of relevant biological variables such as sex, authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation, appropriate to field of study and the level and prior preparation of the trainees?
  • Is the plan well-conceived and likely to produce a lasting, positive effect in trainees' skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes?
  • Are the rigor and transparency components sufficiently well integrated into the overall curriculum?
  • Are they taught at multiple stages of trainee development and in a variety of formats and contexts?
  • Does the teaching synergize with elements of the curriculum designed to enhance trainees' abilities to conduct responsible research?
  • Is there evidence that all participating faculty reiterate and augment key elements of methods for enhancing reproducibility when trainees are performing mentored research in their laboratories?

All applications for support under this funding announcement must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Taking into account the specific characteristics of the training program, the level of trainee experience, and the particular circumstances of the trainees, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups, including face-to-face interaction? (A plan involving only on-line instruction is not acceptable.); 2) Subject Matter Does the plan include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics, community engagement, societal implications of scientific research? 3) Faculty Participation - Does the plan adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction? For renewal applications, are all training faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period named in the application? 4) Duration of Instruction - Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least eight contact hours of instruction? 5) Frequency of Instruction Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., at least once during each career stage (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels) and at a frequency of no less than once every four years?

Are the plans well-conceived and likely to produce lasting, positive effects on trainees' knowledge, understanding and attitudes? Are the RCR components sufficiently well integrated into the overall curriculum? Are they taught at multiple stages of trainee development and in a variety of formats and contexts? Does the teaching of RCR synergize with elements of the curriculum designed to enhance trainees' abilities to conduct rigorous and reproducible research? Is there evidence that all participating faculty reiterate and augment key elements of responsible conduct when trainees are performing mentored research in their laboratories?

For renewal applications, does the progress report document acceptable RCR instruction in the five components described above? Does the plan describe how participation in and outcome of RCR instruction are being monitored? Are appropriate changes in the plan for RCR instruction proposed in response to feedback and in response to evolving issues related to responsible conduct of research?


Reviewers will examine the recruitment strategies, including:

  • Is the recruitment process responsive to the baseline data on the trainee pool?
  • Does the plan describe effective strategies to reach a broad range of potential trainees, including individuals from underrepresented groups, that are program-specific and go beyond organizational recruitment efforts?

For Resubmissions of Renewal Applications, 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. Undue weight should not be given for simply responding to previous comments; instead the content of the responses and how the application will be improved by any proposed changes should be considered.


Implementation of Proposed Activities

  • Did the program progress report provide adequate evidence that the programmatic elements described in the previous application (for example, strengthening the research training environment to promote broader participation; evidence-informed elements; curricular changes; initiatives to enhance accessibility and inclusive research training environments; programmatic oversight of trainee progress; and career preparedness) were successfully implemented or reasonable explanations for why they were not?
  • Has the training program evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, and educational practices?

Results and Discussion from Program Evaluations

Identification of challenges and program short-comings should be viewed as positive factors if accompanied by sound plans for overcoming or remediating them.

  • For the time frame described, is there sufficient evidence that the training program was successful in meeting the training mission and objectives and if not, was a reasonable justification provided for why the objectives were not achieved?
  • Does the report highlight successes in trainee outcomes and accurately identify areas for improvement?
  • Does the report provide compelling evidence that the scientific research climate is inclusive, safe, and supportive of trainee development and success?
  • Did the program respond appropriately to student feedback, analyses, critiques, surveys, and other program assessments, and provide reasonable strategies for addressing potential barriers to success?

Impact and Dissemination

  • Did the report provide compelling evidence of the impact of the program (for example, on the curriculum, training environment, or organizational practices)?
  • Did the program staff appropriately disseminate the outcomes and effective practices to the broader training community? How did the program make training and career outcomes publicly available?

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.


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


Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research training program and the number of requested funded trainee positions in the context of the number of training grant eligible candidates provided in the trainee pool baseline data, the size of the entire program, the number of participating faculty, and other NIGMS-funded training programs at the organization.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for 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. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.
  • Compete for available funds with all other recommended applications.

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. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board.

The following will be considered in making funding decisions, consistent with applicable law:

  • Merit of the proposed research training program as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed research training program to NIGMS priorities.
  • Broad geographic and organizational distribution.
  • Contributions to portfolio breadth as outlined in the NIGMS Strategic Plan.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access their 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 2.4.4 Disposition of Applications.

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 recipient’s business official.

Recipients must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.6. 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 NOFO 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, Recipients, and Activities, including of note, but not limited to:

If a recipient is successful and receives a Notice of Award, in accepting the award, the recipient agrees that any activities under the award are subject to all provisions currently in effect or implemented during the period of the award, other Department regulations and policies in effect at the time of the award, and applicable statutory provisions.

Should the applicant organization successfully compete for an award, recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS will be required to complete an HHS Assurance of Compliance form (HHS Assurance of Compliance form (HHS 690)) in which the recipient agrees, as a condition of receiving the grant, to administer programs in compliance with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex and disability, and agreeing to comply with federal conscience laws, where applicable. This includes ensuring that entities take meaningful steps to provide meaningful access to persons with limited English proficiency; and ensuring effective communication with persons with disabilities. Where applicable, Title XI and Section 1557 prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and gender identity, The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. See https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/nondiscrimination/index.html.

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. 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 NOFO.

Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697.

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 and 2 CFR Part 200.206 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants. This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Data Management and Sharing

Note: The NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing is effective for due dates on or after January 25, 2023.

Consistent with the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, when data management and sharing is applicable to the award, recipients will be required to adhere to the Data Management and Sharing requirements as outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Upon the approval of a Data Management and Sharing Plan, it is required for recipients to implement the plan as described.

4. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, recipients will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.

Failure by the recipient 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.

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.

Other Reporting Requirements

The institution must submit a completed Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) for each trainee appointed or reappointed to the training grant for 8 weeks or more. Recipients 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.

  • A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271). Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status must first meet full (non-conditional) Permanent Residency requirements before receiving support.
  • Termination Notice: Within 30 days of the end of the total support period, the institution must submit a Termination Notice (PHS Form 416-7) via xTrain for each trainee appointed for eight weeks or more. Trainees with service payback requirements must notify the NIH of any change in address and submit Annual Payback Activities Certification Forms (PHS Form 6031-1) until the payback service obligation is satisfied.

A final RPPR, the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report, and Termination Notices for all Trainees, are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. NIH NOFOs outline intended research goals and objectives. Post award, NIH will review and measure performance based on the details and outcomes that are shared within the RPPR, as described at 45 CFR Part 75.301 and 2 CFR Part 200.301.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and 2 CFR Part 200.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 and 2 CFR Part 200, 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 and 2 CFR Part 200 Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

5. Evaluation

In carrying out stewardship of grant programs, NIGMS will periodically evaluate this Research Training Program, employing the representative measures identified below. In assessing the effectiveness of training investments, NIGMS may use information from progress reports and public databases, PD/PIs, and from participants themselves. Where necessary, PDs/PIs and participants may be appropriately contacted after the completion of the grant period for updates on participants subsequent outcomes.

NIGMS staff may conduct site visits of funded programs in order to obtain information about the training environment and other specific issues that are not easily assessed through other means.

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

  • Characteristics of the applicant and awardee pool for the program, such as:
    • Organization types represented
    • Geographical distribution of programs
    • Demographic data
  • Indicators of trainees' scientific accomplishments or productivity, such as:
    • Peer-reviewed research publications by trainees
    • Presentations at scientific conferences
    • Professional recognitions
  • Measures of trainees' educational outcomes or career progression, such as:
    • Trainee degree completion rates
    • Time-to-degree for trainees
    • Trainee career outcomes
    • Persistence of graduates in biomedical research careers

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, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten on-time submission, and post-submission issues)

Finding Help Online: https://www.era.nih.gov/need-help (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

General Grants Information (Questions regarding application processes and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-637-3015

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

Scientific/Research Contacts

Joyce Stamm, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Email: joyce.stamm@nih.gov

Jeremy McIntyre, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Email: jeremy.mcintyre@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Email: NIGMSReview@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contacts

Justin Rosenzweig
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Email: justin.rosenzweig@nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

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 Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 288) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 66.

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