Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
NOTE: The policies, guidelines, terms, and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH. Where this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides specific written guidance that may differ from the general guidance provided in the grant application form, please follow the instructions given in this FOA. Also note that AHRQ has different page limits than NIH for the application Research Strategy, which can be found within each individual FOA.
AHRQ Grants Policy and information to applicants regarding Funding Opportunity Announcement procedures can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/foaguidance/index.html
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations (OEREP)
AHRQ National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32)
T32 Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a new RFA
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will award National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) to eligible domestic institutions to enhance predoctoral and postdoctoral research training and ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available and committed to the generation, translation and dissemination of new scientific evidence and analytical tools that will be used to improve health care delivery in the United States. Research training programs will incorporate didactic, research and career development elements to prepare individuals for careers that will have a significant impact on the health care needs of the Nation.
May 25, 2017
June 1, 2017
July 10, 2017
September 12, 2017, 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.
Generally four months after receipt date
July 1, 2018
September 13, 2017
It is critical that applicants follow the Training (T) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV, and follow the AHRQ Grants Policy and Guidance found on the AHRQ website at http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/foaguidance/index.html. 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.
Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
The overall goal of the AHRQ 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 health services research, behavioral, and clinical research needs. In order to accomplish this goal, NRSA training programs are designed to train individuals to conduct research and to prepare for research careers. More information about NRSA programs may be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) website.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will award National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained behavioral, social, and organizational sciences, engineering, biostatistics, clinical sciences, and health services researchers are available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to advance the scientific disciplines and to address the mission of AHRQ. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.
Purpose and Background Information
The NRSA program has been the primary means of supporting predoctoral and postdoctoral research training programs since enactment of the NRSA legislation in 1974. Research training activities can be in health services research, clinical, behavioral, or social sciences, or in any other discipline relevant to the AHRQ mission.
Institutional NRSA programs allow the Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (Training PD(s)/PI(s)) to select the trainees and develop a program of coursework, research experiences, and technical and/or professional skills development appropriate for the selected trainees. Each program should provide high-quality research training and offer opportunities in addition to conducting mentored research. The grant offsets the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NRSA support levels.
Through its National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) program, AHRQ plans to fund a broad array of health services research training programs focused on promoting improvements in clinical and health systems’ practices. These training programs are designed to provide didactic and/or experiential training for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees interested in: (1) improving clinical practice or the health care system's ability to provide access to and delivery of high quality, high-value health care; and/or (2) providing policymakers with the ability to assess the impact of system changes on outcomes, quality, access to, cost, and use of health care services. 42 U.S.C. 299a(b) authorizes AHRQ to provide training grants in the field of health services research.
The objective of the NRSA T32 program is to develop and/or enhance research training opportunities for individuals interested in careers in health services, behavioral, and clinical research that are relevant to the AHRQ mission. The training program should provide:
The proposed institutional research training program may complement other ongoing research training and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed program must be clearly distinct from related programs currently receiving Federal support.
Trainees must focus their research development and projects on health care delivery in the United States.
The duration of training, the transition of trainees to individual support mechanisms, and trainees' transition to the next career stage are important considerations in institutional training programs. Training PDs/PIs should limit trainee appointments to individuals who are committed to a research career and who plan to remain in training for no less than two years, whether that support comes from a training grant or some combination of NRSA and non-NRSA support programs. Training PDs/PIs are to encourage and make available appropriate skills training so that trainees are prepared to apply for subsequent independent support for their training or research program (e.g., an individual fellowship award, mentored career development award, or research project grant), as appropriate for their career stage. In addition, past studies have shown that health professional trainees who train in programs with postdoctoral researchers who have intensive research backgrounds are more likely to apply for and receive subsequent research grant support. Programs that emphasize research training for individuals with the MD or other health-professional degrees are therefore encouraged to include trainees with research doctorates when this approach is consistent with the goals of the proposed training program.
Health services research and the resulting scientific knowledge are increasingly complex and multidisciplinary in nature. Training PDs/PIs are encouraged to develop institutional training programs that will expose trainees to diverse scientific approaches, systems for study, research approaches, and tools and technologies. Consideration of team-based research approaches may also be warranted depending upon the goals of the proposed training program.
Within the framework of the NRSA program’s longstanding commitment to excellence and the projected need for investigators in particular areas of research, attention must be given to recruiting trainees from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in the health services, behavioral and clinical sciences, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The career outcomes of individuals supported by NRSA training programs include both research-intensive careers in academia and industry and research-related careers in various sectors, e.g., academic institutions, government agencies, for-profit businesses, and private foundations. Training programs should make available structured, career development advising and learning opportunities (e.g., workshops, discussions, Individual Development Plans). Through such opportunities, trainees would obtain a working knowledge of various potential career directions that make strong use of the knowledge and skills gained during research training, and knowledge of the steps required to transition successfully to the next stage of their chosen career.
Institutional research training grants must be used to support a program of full-time research training. Within the full-time training period, research trainees who are also training as clinicians must devote their time to the proposed research training and must confine clinical duties to those that are an integral part of the research training experience. The program may not be used to support studies leading to the MD, DDS, or other clinical, health-professional training except when those studies are part of a formal combined research degree program, such as the MD/PhD. Similarly, trainees may not accept NRSA support for clinical training that is part of residency training leading to clinical certification in a medical or dental specialty or subspecialty. It is permissible and encouraged, however, for clinicians to engage in NRSA-supported, full-time postdoctoral research training even when that experience is creditable toward certification by a clinical specialty or subspecialty board.
See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
AHRQ intends to fund approximately 10-18 awards, totaling approximately $8.0 million, in fiscal year 2018. The number of awards and annual budget may vary depending on the annual appropriation. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.
The total costs (direct and indirect) for a project awarded under this FOA will not exceed $600,000 in any given year or $3,000,000 for the entire five year project period.
Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs requested by applicants are included in the total cost.
Grantees 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 Uniform Guidance, the HHS Grants Policy Statement and the NRSA regulations, policies, guidelines, and conditions.
The award project period is five years
Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide stipends as a subsistence
allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training
AHRQ 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 for training related expenses 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 to attend scientific meetings and workshops that the institution determines to be necessary for the individual’s research training experience is an allowable trainee expense for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees.
Applicants may request up to $2,000 travel funds annually per trainee. Priority for use of these funds must be given to attendance at the Annual AHRQ NRSA Trainee Research Conference, which all trainees appointed prior to the date of the conference are expected to attend. Compliance must be documented annually in the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).
After prioritizing travel funds for trainees to attend the Annual AHRQ NRSA Trainee Research Conference, any remaining travel funds can be used to support other professional travel to scientific meetings and workshops that the institution determines to be necessary to the training experience.
AHRQ 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. The most recent levels of training related expenses 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.
Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (excluding tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.
These projects are being funded pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 299a(b)(1), which provides that AHRQ may provide training grants in the field of health services research.
All applications submitted and AHRQ grants made in response to this FOA are subject to 45 CFR Part 75 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards; http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75) , the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html), and the terms and conditions set forth in the Notice of Award.
Higher Education Institutions
The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
AHRQ’s authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism. For-profit organizations may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only. Applications submitted by for-profit organizations or foreign institutions will not be reviewed. Organizations described in section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.
HHS grants policy requires that the grant recipient perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned project or program activity and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. If consortium/contractual activities represent a significant portion of the overall project, the applicant must justify why the applicant organization, rather than the party(s) performing this portion of the overall project, should be the grantee and what substantive role the applicant organization will play. Justification can be provided in the Specific Aims or Research Strategy section of the PHS398 Research Training Program Plan Component sections of the SF424 (R&R) application. There is no budget allocation guideline for determining substantial involvement; determination of substantial involvement is based on a review of the primary project activities for which grant support is provided and the organization(s) that will be performing those activities.
The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.
The applicant institution must have a strong and high quality research program in the area(s) proposed under this FOA and must have the requisite faculty, staff, potential trainees and facilities on site to conduct the proposed institutional program. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed program will complement other ongoing training and career development programs occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participating trainees may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the HHS Grants Policy
Statement may participate in projects as member of consortia or as
Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible.
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 a PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
Any individual(s) with the
skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research training program as the
Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to
develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial
and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always
encouraged to apply for AHRQ support.
For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy NOT-HS-16-018 and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide. A Contact PD/PI must be clearly identified.
The PD(s)/PI(s) should be an established health services researcher with a successful past training record and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. All PD(s)/PI(s) will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to the approved research training program, and for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the program. The PD(s)/PI(s) will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required. The PD(s)/PI(s) has/have responsibility for the day to day administration of the program.
This FOA does not require cost sharing.
While there is no cost sharing requirement included in this FOA, AHRQ welcomes applicant institutions, including any collaborating institutions, to devote resources to this effort. An indication of institutional support from the applicant and its collaborators indicates a greater potential of success and sustainability of the project. Examples of institutional support would include: donated equipment and space, institutional funded staff time and effort, or other resource investments. Applicant institutions that plan to provide support should indicate institutional support by outlining the specific contributions to the project and providing assurances that their organization and any collaborators are committed to providing these funds and resources to the project. This can be included at the end of the budget justification section of the application, but institutional support dollars are not to be included in the detailed budget request.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is programmatically distinct.
AHRQ will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the AHRQ will not accept:
Applicant institutions are strongly encouraged to collaborate internally with other components and externally with other organizations. AHRQ will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research/training focus from the same applicant organization. Although more than one application per institution and its affiliate components may apply for support, AHRQ will generally only support one application per institution and its affiliate organizations and components.
Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program and experience in specific methodological and topical areas related to areas such as behavioral sciences, statistics, clinical sciences and health services research. Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the AHRQ mission. Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors.
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 HHS 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 institution in accordance with its own consistently-applied 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.
Predoctoral trainees must be enrolled in a program leading to a PhD or in an equivalent research doctoral degree program. Health-professional students who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in full-time research training before completing their formal training programs, are also eligible.
Postdoctoral trainees must have received, as of the beginning date of the NRSA appointment, a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Comparable doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following: DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, DPT, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research. Documentation by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution certifying all degree requirements have been met prior to the beginning date of the training appointment is required. Individuals in postgraduate clinical training, who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in full-time research training before completing their formal training programs, are also eligible.
Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
It is critical that applicants follow the Training (T) Instructions
in the SF424
(R&R) Application Guide including Supplemental
Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding
opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in
the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are
out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
Letter of Intent
Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows AHRQ staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.
By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:
The letter of intent should be emailed to:
Shelley Benjamin, M.S.W.
Submit all inquiries in writing to Shelley.Benjamin@ahrq.hhs.gov.
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
Instructions for Application Submission
The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application, with the following additional modifications:
Project Summary/Abstract. Provide an abstract of the entire application. Include the objectives, rationale and design of the research training program, as well as key activities in the training plan. Indicate the planned duration of appointments, the projected number of trainees including their levels (i.e., predoctoral, postdoctoral, and intended trainee outcomes).
Other Attachments. 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 [career development] program. The composition, roles, responsibilities, and desired expertise of committee members, frequency of committee meetings, and other relevant information should be included. Describe how the Advisory Committee will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program. Proposed Advisory Committee members should be named in the application if they have been invited to participate at the time the application is submitted. Renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include the names of all committee members during the past project period. Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”.
The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application.
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional modifications:
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Note that AHRQ does not use the Modular Grant Application and Award Process. Applications submitted in Modular format will not be reviewed.
The PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan Form is comprised of the following sections:
Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following additional modifications:
The applicant should describe program activities intended to develop the working knowledge needed for trainees to select among and prepare for the next step in varied research career options available in the health services research workforce. For example, programs should provide all trainees with instruction and training in oral and written presentation and in skills needed to apply for individual fellowship or grant support.
For renewal applications, highlight how the training program has evolved in response to changes in relevant scientific and technical knowledge, educational practices, and to evaluation of the training program.
Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research
Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
Faculty, Trainees, And Training Record Section
Particular attention must be given to the required Training Data Tables. Applicants should summarize, in the body of the application, key data from the tables that highlight the characteristics of the applicant pool, faculty mentors, the educational and career outcomes of participants, and other factors that contribute to the overall environment of the program.
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. See NIH/NIOSH/AHRQ New Policy Appendix Guide located at NOT-OD-16-129 via https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-129.html.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
See Part 1. Section IV 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.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to
submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any
application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When
a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal
holiday,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, AHRQ's electronic system for grants administration. eRA 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.
responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA
Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
For efficient grant administration, AHRQ grant administration procedures will be used and conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions, Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html. The National Research Service Award (NRSA) policies apply to this program. A 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 HHS Grants Policy Statement. Note, however, that pre-award costs are not allowable charges for stipends or tuition/fees on institutional 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 AHRQ awarding component.
Concurrent Awards: A NRSA appointment may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship, traineeship, or similar Federal award that provides stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.
Service Payback: As specified in the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, Public Law 103-32, T32
Institutional Research Training Grant recipients incur a service payback obligation for the first 12 months of postdoctoral support with the 13th and subsequent months of postdoctoral support serving to pay back this obligation month by month.
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 IV Application and Submission Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in
the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the
SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons
and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent
the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by AHRQ. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.
In order to expedite the review, applicants are requested to notify the AHRQ Referral Office by email Gerald.Calderone@ahrq.hhs.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.
AHRQ supports research, evaluations, and demonstration projects concerning the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas), and health care for priority populations. Priority populations include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care. 42 USC 299(c). Women and members of minority groups are included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate, e.g. because of the lack of connection between the study and the health of women or particular minorities. Investigators should review the document entitled, “AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations,” which is available https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html. Applicants under this FOA should consider and discuss including priority populations in the research design as specified in this Notice.
The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing; the format of the final dataset; the documentation to be provided; whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided; whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use); and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under its own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on its institutional or personal website or through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.
The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.
Investigators should review the document titled ‘AHRQ Announces new Policy for Public Access to AHRQ-Funded Scientific Publications’ which is available at (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-16-008.html). For all research arising from AHRQ support, this policy requires that AHRQ-funded authors submit an electronic version of the author’s final peer-reviewed accepted manuscript to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central (PMC) to be made publicly available within 12 months of the publisher’s date of publication.
The AHRQ confidentiality statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c), requires that information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ-supported activities and that identifies individuals or establishments be used only for the purpose for which it was supplied. Information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ-supported activities and that identifies an individual may be published or released only with the consent of the individual who supplied the information or is described in it. There are civil monetary penalties for violation of the confidentiality provision of the AHRQ statute. 42 USC 299c-3(d). In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected. The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to this information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded. Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this FOA will also be obtained and managed in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164.
The grantee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds that established by the HIPAA Security Rules if applicable (see HIPAA website in prior paragraph) and that established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.
Unless otherwise provided in grant awards, AHRQ grantees may copyright, or seek patents for, as appropriate, final and interim products and materials developed in whole or in part with AHRQ support, including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses. Such copyrights and patents are subject to a royalty-free, non-exclusive, and irrevocable AHRQ license to reproduce, publish, use or disseminate for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities and to authorize others to do so for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers. In addition, subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits. Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products.
AHRQ requests that grantees notify the Office of Communications (OC) when an AHRQ-funded research article has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Researchers should submit manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal to JournalPublishing@ahrq.hhs.gov at least four to six weeks in advance of the journal’s expected publication date.
Regulations applicable to AHRQ grantees concerning intangible rights and copyright can be found at 45 CFR 75.322.
To learn more about AHRQ’s priorities, please visit http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/foaguidance/index.html.
The mission of AHRQ is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.
AHRQ's priority areas of focus are:
As part of this mission, applications submitted to AHRQ to support health services research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the AHRQ peer review system.
Applications that are complete and responsive to the FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures that are described in 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications not following instructions given in this FOA will not be reviewed. Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.
Administrative Criteria: Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH, and for responsiveness by AHRQ.
Merit Review Criteria: Merit Review Criteria, as described below, will be considered in the review process.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the proposed training program will prepare individuals for successful, productive scientific research careers and thereby exert a sustained influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of the merit of the training program, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.
Are there well-defined and justified selection and re-appointment criteria as well as retention strategies?
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.
Degree of Responsiveness
How well does the application address the purpose and objectives of this FOA? How responsive is the application to the special eligibility criteria, including the project requirements, noted in the FOA?
Inclusion of Priority Populations
Reviewers will assess the adequacy of plans to address the needs of both genders, racial and ethnic minorities (and subgroups). Reviewers will assess the adequacy of attention to AHRQ priority populations (see above discussion on Priority Populations in Section IV.7 “Other Submission Requirements”).
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: (1) risk to subjects, (2) adequacy of protection against risks, (3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, (4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and (5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: (1) the justification for the exemption, (2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and (3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.
For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period, including on the Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)? Is the program achieving its training objectives? Has the program evaluated the quality and effectiveness of the training experience (and when applicable, short-term training experience), and is there evidence that the evaluation outcomes and feedback from trainees have been acted upon? Are changes proposed that are likely to improve or strengthen the research training experience during the next project period (may not be applicable to short-term training)? Does the program continue to evolve and reflect changes in the research area in which the training occurs?
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.
Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment of individuals from underrepresented groups. The plan will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the consensus of the review committee will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement.
All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill AHRQ 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? 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?
For renewal applications, does the progress report document acceptable RCR instruction in the five components described above? Does the plan describe how participation in RCR instruction is 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?
Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.
Budget and Period of Support
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed training program.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by AHRQ, in accordance with AHRQ Review Policy (see https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/process/study-section/peerrev.html), using the stated review criteria. If there is a conflict of interest, the AHRQ Referral Officer will make an alternate AHRQ study section assignment. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established AHRQ referral guidelines to the appropriate AHRQ Office or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
Generally, applicants should anticipate eight months between the application submission date and the earliest possible start date.
After the peer review of the application is completed, the
PD(s)/PI(s) will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written
critique) via the eRA Commons.
Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and
earliest start date
If the application is under consideration for funding, AHRQ will request "Just-In-Time" information from the applicant. Just-In-Time information generally consists of any additional information necessary to address administrative and budgetary issues.
If all administrative and programmatic issues are resolved, 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 AHRQ grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to address designated in the eRA Commons by the applicant.
Awardees 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. See also Section IV.6., “Funding Restrictions.”
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the AHRQ web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/postawrd.htm#terms.
All AHRQ grant and cooperative agreement awards are subject to OMB's Uniform Grant Guidance, HHS’s “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards,” (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75), and the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html), and the terms and conditions set forth in the Notice of Award.
A standard term and condition of award will be included in the Notice of Award (NOA) that states: “in any grant-related activity in which family, marital, or household considerations are, by statute or regulation, relevant for purposes of determining beneficiary eligibility or participation, grantees must treat same-sex spouses, marriages, and households on the same terms as opposite-sex spouses, marriages, and households, respectively. By “same-sex spouses,” HHS means individuals of the same sex who have entered into marriages that are valid in the jurisdiction where performed, including any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or in a foreign country, regardless of whether or not the couple resides in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage. By “same-sex marriages,” HHS means marriages between two individuals validly entered into in the jurisdiction where performed, including any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or in a foreign country, regardless of whether or not the couple resides in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage. By “marriage,” HHS does not mean registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under the law of the jurisdiction of celebration as something other than a marriage.”
All applicants will be subject to a term and condition that applies the terms of 48 CFR section 3.908 to the award, and requires that grantees inform their employees in writing of employee whistleblower rights and protections under 41U.S.C. 4712 in the predominant native language of the workforce.
As necessary, additional Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the notice of award.
Except where otherwise stated in the FOA, policies related to the following administrative requirements remain the same as those found in the NRSA guideline which is located at NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants.
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to AHRQ grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.
HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency.
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), AHRQ awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all AHRQ grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
Institutional NRSA training grants must be administered in accordance with the current NRSA section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement - Institutional Research Training Grants.
As specified in the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993,
Kirschstein-NRSA recipients incur a service payback obligation for the first 12
months of postdoctoral support. Policies regarding the Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA
payback obligation are explained in the NIH Grants
Policy Statement; and more details are in the Frequently
Asked Questions. Officials at the grantee institution have the
responsibility of explaining the terms of the payback requirements to all
prospective trainees before appointment to the training grant. Additionally,
all trainees recruited into the training program should be provided with
information related to the career options that might be available when they
complete the program. The suitability of such career options as methods to
satisfy the NRSA service payback obligation should be discussed.
Awards made primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required, as described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement, page II-13.
When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted.
Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance, a delay in any continuation funding for the award, or in no award being issued and the grant therefore terminating.
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 AHRQ 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 HHS Grants Policy Statement (https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html) for additional information on this reporting requirement.
A final Progress Report, final Federal Financial Report, and Termination Notices for all Trainees, are required for closeout of an award as described in the https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/grant-mgmt/closeout.html.
In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period. The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS). This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available. Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.
In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the AHRQ may request information essential to an assessment of the effectiveness of this program from databases and from participants themselves. Participants may be contacted after the completion of this award for periodic updates on various aspects of their employment history, publications, support from research grants or contracts, honors and awards, professional activities, and other information helpful in evaluating the impact of the program.
The overall evaluation of the program will be based on metrics that will include, but are not limited to, the following:
For programs involving predoctoral trainees:
For programs involving postdoctoral trainees:
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
Because of the differences between NIH and AHRQ program requirements for this FOA, prior consultation with AHRQ staff is strongly encouraged.
eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons
registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system
problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Shelley Benjamin, M.S.W.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Ali Azadegan, PhD, DVM
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Email : Ali.Azadegan@ahrq.hhs.gov
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Recently issued AHRQ policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by AHRQ is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Notices can also be found at AHRQ Grants Policy Notices. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement.
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authority of 42 USC 299 et seq., and in accordance with 45 CFR Part 75 and other referenced applicable statutes and regulations. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The HHS Grants Policy Statement can be found at https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html.
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