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

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award (F99/K00)

Activity Code

F99/K00 Individual Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Transition Award

Announcement Type

Reissue of RFA-NS-17-009

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-NS-18-007

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

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

93.279; 93.286; 93.865; 93.273; 93.113; 93.853; 93.866; 93.867; 93.242; 93.121; 93.361; 93.213

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from backgrounds that are nationally underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers.

Key Dates
Posted Date

September 28, 2017

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

November 13, 2017

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

December 13, 2017, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

March 2018

Advisory Council Review

Not Applicable for Fellowships

Earliest Start Date

July 2018

Expiration Date

December 14, 2017

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Fellowship (F) instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions 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. Go to Grants.gov to download an application package to complete the application forms offline or create a Workspace to complete the forms online; submit your application to Grants.gov; and track your application in eRA Commons.
Learn more about the various submission options.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

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

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is an initiative of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/), a collaborative and coordinated effort across 15 Institutes, Centers and Offices (ICO) that supports research, research education, and research training with the goal of accelerating the pace of discovery in neuroscience research. By pooling resources and expertise, the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research can take advantage of economies of scale, confront challenges too large for any specific ICO, and develop research tools and infrastructure that will serve the entire neuroscience community.

The purpose of the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience Award or D-SPAN (F99/K00) is to enhance the pool of well-trained diverse neuroscientists who will pursue academic/research careers. The D-SPAN will support mentored research training for late-stage graduate students from backgrounds that are nationally underrepresented in neuroscience research and who have demonstrated interest and potential in pursuing careers as independent researchers. The F99/K00 award will provide up to 6 years of support in two phases, described further in the section below. Strong individualized research training plans and career development activities will outline a defined research pathway and are expected to enhance the development of independent neuroscience research careers.

Individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in neuroscience research are eligible for support under this award if they are currently enrolled as students in a PhD or equivalent research doctoral degree program at the time of application. While the term "diversity" can generally encompass many personal attributes and characteristics, this NIH Blueprint D-SPAN award program seeks to support NIH's interest in enhancing the participation of individuals from groups that are nationally underrepresented in biomedical research (NOT-OD-15-053). See Section III for additional information regarding eligibility for this program.

Background

While the proportion of graduates from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical programs is increasing slightly, the representation of these groups in later career stages remains small. Among U.S. citizens at U.S. institutions, the percent of neuroscience trainees from underrepresented backgrounds declines from the graduate (14%) to the postdoctoral level (9%) to only 5% in the neuroscience tenure stream (2011 Survey Report of Neuroscience Departments and Programs). Both graduate students and postdoctorates report decreased interest in faculty careers over time, with women and underrepresented minorities (URM) reporting a comparatively greater decrease than men and well-represented trainees (Fuhrmann et al., 2011Gibbs et al., 20142015Sauermann and Roach, 2012). Literature also shows that women from underrepresented backgrounds face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields (see, e.g., Inside the Double Bind, A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics http://her.hepg.org/content/t022245n7x4752v2/fulltext.pdf).

The NIH Blueprint D-SPAN initiative will enhance the ability of predoctorates from underrepresented backgrounds to progress in what is often perceived as a challenging research career environment (Developing a 21st Century Neuroscience Workforce; Institute of Medicine). The program will address these issues by providing support to neuroscience trainees from underrepresented backgrounds at a critical juncture in their career decision-making pathway. Research indicates that lower interest in faculty careers as a postdoctoral scholar is accompanied by lower feelings of intellectual and social belonging that starts in graduate school among URM groups (Gibbs et al., 2015). Studies have suggested that mentoring on self-efficacy, identity as a scientist, and commitment to a science career may remediate these barriers (Chemers et al., 2011). Surveys of postdoctoral fellows have also shown that those trained in an environment with more structure, administrative oversight, and formal training are more likely to be satisfied with their postdoctoral experience, to rate their advisors highly, and be more productive (Davis, 2005; Scaffidi and Berman, 2011). Structured postdoctoral training programs have also been shown to help prepare these scholars for successful transition to academic positions (Derting et al., 2016Rybarczyk et al., 2011).

The NIH Blueprint D-SPAN is a structured program that requires formalized and defined training plans and seeks to increase levels of participation of diverse trainees transitioning from predoctoral to postdoctoral positions. As cited above, the literature shows that intervening at this graduate time point could change the trainee's perception about the pursuit of an academic/research career. The D-SPAN program creates accountability and structured processes for ongoing assessment of the training environment. A key component of the program is enhanced mentorship; D-SPAN requires the involvement of a vetted mentor or mentor team in both the graduate phase (F99) and the postdoctoral phase (K00). For the K00 phase, identification of the postdoctoral mentor or mentor team is not required at the time of application. D-SPAN also empowers diverse trainees to find postdoctoral environments that match their skills and scientific interests with minimal financial constraints by providing continuous support throughout the critical postgraduate career stage. The funding stability and professional development benchmarks will allow D-SPAN awardees to structure a specific plan forward in their early career as a researcher. It is envisioned that F99 Phase funding support paired with the K00 Phase funding support will enhance the pool of well-trained researchers who can compete for and conduct independent neuroscience research.

Overview of This F99/K00 Transition Opportunity

The D-SPAN F99/K00 award is intended for individuals from nationally underrepresented backgrounds who have demonstrated an interest in a neuroscience research career in NIH Blueprint mission-relevant areas and/or BRAIN Initiative research areas. At the time of award, applicants are expected to require 1-2 years to complete their PhD dissertation research training (F99 phase) before transitioning to mentored postdoctoral research training (K00 phase). Consequently, applicants are expected to propose an individualized research training plan for the next 1-2 years of dissertation research training and a plan for 3-4 years of mentored postdoctoral research training and career development activities that will prepare them for independent neuroscience-focused research careers.

The D-SPAN F99/K00 award is meant to provide up to 6 years of support in two phases. The initial phase (F99) will provide support for the final 1-2 years of dissertation research in a neuroscience related field (including experiments, dissertation preparation) and the search for/selection of a postdoctoral mentor. The two award phases are intended to be continuous in time. The second phase (K00) will provide up to 4 years of mentored postdoctoral research career development support and is contingent upon successful completion of the doctoral degree requirements. A K00 award will be made only to a PD/PI who has successfully completed the F99-supported training, secured an appropriate postdoctoral position, and has provided the NIH Blueprint oversight committee with a strong research and career development plan that will occur in a supportive and competitive research environment.

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
Resubmission

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

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The NIH Blueprint intends to commit $1M to fund approximately 20 awards. However, the total amount awarded and the number of awards made will depend upon the number, quality, and cost of the applications received.

Award Budget

For the F99 phase, award budgets are composed of stipends, tuition and fees, and institutional allowance, as described below. For the K00 phase, award budgets are composed of salaries and fringe benefits, research and career development support, and indirect costs, as described below.

Award Project Period

For the F99/K00 award, individuals may receive up to 6 years combined support for both phases, which includes up to 2 years in the F99 fellowship phase and up to 4 years in the K00 career development phase.

Other Award Budget Information
Stipends

ALLOWABLE COSTS: F99 PHASE

Stipends are provided as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience.

The stipend level for F99 predoctoral fellows is the same as for the F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellows.  Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

ALLOWABLE COSTS: K00 PHASE

NIH Blueprint will contribute up to $50,000 toward the salary of the career award recipient.

The total salary requested must be based on a full-time staff appointment. The salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries actually provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members of equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned. If full-time, 12-month salaries are not currently paid to comparable staff members, the salary proposed must be appropriately related to the existing salary structure. Confirmation of salary may be required prior to the issuance of an award. Fringe benefits, based on the sponsoring institution's rate and the percent of effort, are provided in addition to salary.

The sponsoring institution may supplement the NIH salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution's salary scale. However, supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may PHS funds be used for salary.

Tuition and Fees

ALLOWABLE COSTS: F99 PHASE

NIH Blueprint will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of award, at the same level set for the F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowships;  Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for more information.

Tuition and Fees are not allowable costs for the K00 Phase

Institutional Allowance

ALLOWABLE COSTS: F99 PHASE

The applicant should request an institutional allowance to help defray the cost of fellowship expenses such as health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, and travel to scientific meetings. The annual institutional allowance level for the F99 phase is the same as that provided for the F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) awards, plus an additional $1000 to defray the travel costs to attend a mandatory NIH Neuroscience Blueprint-sponsored conference.

The most recent institutional allowance levels are described via a link on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) site. Requests for additional costs (such as to accommodate the disabilities of a fellow) must be explained in detail and justified in the application. Visit NIH Grants Policy Statement: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.

ALLOWABLE COSTS: K00 PHASE

NIH Blueprint will contribute $3,000 per year toward the research development costs of the award recipient, which must be justified and consistent with the stage of development of the candidate and the proportion of time to be spent in research or career development activities, plus an additional $1000 annually to defray the travel costs to attend a mandatory NIH Neuroscience Blueprint-sponsored conference.

Salary for mentors, secretarial and administrative assistants, etc. is not allowed.

Indirect Costs

ALLOWABLE COSTS: F99 PHASE

NIH does not separately reimburse indirect costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) for fellowships. Costs for administering the F99 awards are part of the Institutional Allowance.

ALLOWABLE COSTS: K00 PHASE

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

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

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

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

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

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

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

 F99 Eligibility: All domestic PhD-granting institution/organization types listed above are eligible to submit an application. Multiple applications from an institution are allowed.

K00 Eligibility: All domestic institution/organization types listed above are eligible to submit K00 transition phase applications on behalf of F99 awardees.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are  allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

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

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

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons.If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any applicant fellow with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her sponsor and organization to develop an application for support. Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed.

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

Fostering diversity in the scientific research workforce is a key component of the NIH strategy to identify, develop, support and maintain the quality of our scientific human capital (NOT-OD-15-053).

Every facet of the United States scientific research enterprise—from basic laboratory research to clinical and translational research to policy formation—requires superior intellect, creativity, and a wide range of skill sets and viewpoints. NIH's ability to help ensure that the nation remains a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation is dependent upon a pool of highly talented scientists from underrepresented backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission.

Research shows that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogenous teams. Scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse NIH-supported scientific workforce, including fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the researchers, advancing the likelihood that underserved or health disparity populations participate in—and benefit from—health research, and enhancing public trust.  In spite of tremendous advancements in scientific research, information, educational and research opportunities are not equally available to all.

For the purpose of this announcement, institutions must identify applicants who will enhance diversity on a national basis as defined below:

A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

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

The applicant must be from one of the above underrepresented groups, have a baccalaureate degree and be currently enrolled as a graduate student in a PhD or equivalent research doctoral degree program (e.g., EngD, DNSc, DrPH, DSW, PharmD, ScD) in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences at a domestic institution. The applicant must be conducting neuroscience research in a topic area relevant to participating NIH Blueprint Institutes or the BRAIN Initiative.

At the time of award, the applicant must be at the dissertation research stage of training and are expected to require 1-2 years to complete their PhD dissertation research training (F99 phase) before transitioning to mentored postdoctoral research training (K00 phase). At the time of application, the applicant will typically be in the third or fourth year of their graduate program. The applicant must show evidence of high academic performance in the sciences and commitment to a career as an independent neuroscience research scientist.

The D-SPAN F99/K00 award may not be used to support studies leading to the MD, DDS, or other clinical, health-professional degree (e.g., DC, DMD, DNP, DO, DPM, DVM, ND, OD, AuD). Students matriculated in a dual-degree program (e.g. MD/PhD, DO/PhD, DDS/PhD, or DVM/PhD) are not eligible for the F99/K00 program.

If an applicant begins a postdoctoral position or completes all PhD dissertation requirements before an F99 award is made, neither the F99 award, nor the K00 award, will be issued.

2. Cost Sharing

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

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

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

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

Each candidate may submit one application:  An individual may not have two or more competing NIH individual fellowship applications pending review concurrently. A candidate for an NIH Blueprint D-SPAN F99/K00 Award may not simultaneously submit or have an application pending for any other PHS fellowship award (e.g. F31) or any PHS or award that duplicates any of the provisions of the F99/K00 award.

Duration of Support

Individuals may not exceed the aggregate limit of support shown above in the Award Project Period (see Section II. Award Information).

Level of Effort

F99 awardees are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.

K00 awardees are required to have a full-time appointment at the applicant institution, and to commit a minimum of 9 person months (or 75% of their full-time appointment at the applicant instititution) to their career development and research training. K00 awardees may engage in other duties (e.g., other research, training, clinical and teaching activities) as part of the remaining 25% effort not covered by the award, as long as such duties do not interfere with or detract from the proposed career development program.

Sponsor

Before submitting the application, the applicant must identify an F99 sponsor(s) who will supervise the proposed mentored training experience. The primary sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research training and be committed both to the applicant's research training and to direct supervision of his/her research. The graduate sponsor must document the availability of sufficient research funds and facilities for high-quality research training. The sponsor, or a member of the sponsor team, should have a successful track record of mentorship. Applicants are encouraged to identify more than one sponsor, i.e., a sponsor team, if this is deemed advantageous for providing expert advice in all aspects of the training program. When there is a sponsor team, one individual must be identified as the primary sponsor, and will be expected to coordinate the applicant's overall training. The applicant must work with the sponsor(s) in preparing the application.

Applicants are not required to identify a sponsor for the K00 phase at time of the initial F99/K00 application.

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

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

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the Fellowship (F) 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 review.

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 IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicant organizations are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Michelle Jones-London, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-451-7966
Email: jonesmiche@ninds.nih.gov

Page Limitations

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

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

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.  

Other Project Information

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

Other Attachments: The application must contain the following attachments:  

The letters should be provided by the head of the graduate program or department chair and signed by this individual and the institution's Authorized Organizational Representative.

Certification Letter

Applicants are required to attach a letter from the institution certifying eligibility for support under this program. Since certification happens at the institution and not NIH, the information contained in the certification letter adds a level of transparency and alignment with program goals for the reviewers. NIH relies on data compiled and analyzed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), using an evidence-based method that reviews the representation of populations across the STEM pipeline.

The institutional certification letter must state the basis for the individual's eligibility for this program by reference to, and inclusion of, the relevant national data from NSF. In addition to the NSF data, the certification letter may also address how the individual would further diversity in the neuroscience workforce. Populations that are nationally underrepresented for the purposes of NIH diversity programs are identified in the Notice of Interest in Diversity. Since this program addreses individuals beyond the undergraduate level, the disadvantaged category does not apply.

The Certification Letter must be on institutional letterhead and scanned so that an institutional official signature is visible. Name the PDF-formatted letter "DSPAN_Eligibility_Ltr.pdf." This letter is limited to 1 page.

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

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

Biographical Sketch

Applicant

  • Applicant must include the start date (month and year) of all education/training experiences.
  • In the "Personal Statement" section, applicants should follow the instructions for "applicants for dissertation research awards" and include a description of their career goals, their intended career trajectory, and their interest in the specific areas of research supported by the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint or BRAIN Initiative. When relevant, applicants are encouraged to account for factors that affected past productivity.
  • Under the section "Scholastic Performance," applicants should list undergraduate courses, but should not include undergraduate grades. Graduate courses and grades must be included.

Sponsor and Co-Sponsor(s)

  • In the "Personal Statement" section, the sponsor and any co-sponsors should include a statement describing their mentoring and training philosphy.
PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form

The PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form is comprised of the following sections:

  • Fellowship Applicant
  • Research Training Plan
  • Sponsor(s), Collaborator(s), and Consultant(s);
  • Institutional Environment & Commitment to Training
  • Other Research Training Plan Sections
  • Additional Information
  • Budget
  • Appendix

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

Fellowship Applicant Section

Applicant's Background and Goals for Fellowship Training

This section should address both phases of the F99/K00.

Summarize all research and scientific experiences in chronological order.

Describe short and long term career goals and explain how the overall training goals of the F99/K00 will enable the applicant to become a productive and independent neuroscience researcher. For each phase, describe how the proposed research training plan will enhance the applicant's knowledge, technical expertise, and professional skills, keeping in mind existing strengths as well as any gaps in existing skills. Explain how the activities in each phase will facilitate the transition to each subsequent career stage. Include a timeline with scientific, professional development, and career milestones that spans the entire award period.

Research Training Plan Section

Specific Aims: All applicants must use these three Specific Aims:

  • Aim 1: The Dissertation Research Project: Progress thus far
  • Aim 2: The Dissertation Research Project: Work to be completed during the F99 award period
  • Aim 3: The Postdoctoral Research Direction

Research Strategy: Applicants are expected to articulate a thoughtful description of their F99-phase dissertation research project. The Research Strategy should offer a clearly stated rationale and hypothesis, go beyond just experimental details, and provide perspective about the work's expected outcomes and significance. Applicants are also expected to articulate, in broad strokes, the future research direction for the K00 phase, and describe what is needed to develop their  career through to the postdoctoral phase in light of the applicant's long-term career goal. Specific features of the postdoctoral scientific environment that would benefit the proposed research and research training should be described.

Approach: Address the science and the career development activities for both phases of the F99/K00. Describe the specific skills and techniques that the applicant intends to learn as well as any planned, non-research activities (e.g. those relating to professional development) during the award period. The applicant must provide a timeline for the proposed dissertation research training and related activities for the F99 phase. The research direction to be pursued for postdoctoral studies should be described and how it relates to or expands the applicant's PhD research and a neuroscience research career trajectory.

  • Aim 1: Describe the overall goal, rationale, hypotheses, and approaches of the dissertation research project; describe progress made thus far; highlight skills and techniques already obtained that contribute to the long-term career goal.
  • Aim 2: Provide a detailed description of the research to be completed in the F99 phase, including experimental design, anticipated results, interpretation of results, and potential follow-up studies. Highlight new technical and professional skills to be learned. Applicants should outline research and career development milestones for the transition from the F99 phase of the award to the K00 award phase.
  • Aim 3: Identify the research direction to be pursued for the K00 phase and explain the rationale for pursuing this direction. The research direction described for the K00 phase (not a detailed research proposal) should include technical and career development skills to be acquired.  Potential mentor(s) do not need to be identified, but a plan for identifying a mentor(s) should be included here and an appropriate set of qualifications and mentor attributes should be described.

Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants

Sponsor and Co-Sponsor Statements

The Sponsor and any Co-Sponsor(s) should describe their qualifications to train a predoctoral student who seeks mentored training in a research area relevant to the goals of this NIH Blueprint Initiative. If a team of sponsors is proposed, this plan should describe the role of each sponsor and how they will communicate and coordinate their efforts to mentor the applicant effectively.

The training plan for the F99 phase should be individualized for the applicant, keeping in mind the applicant's strengths and any gaps in needed skills, and should be designed to enhance research training. The F99 training plan should be coordinated with the applicant's Research Strategy and the goals and activities identified in the Applicant section. Training in professional development skills, e.g. grant-writing and presentation skills, is strongly encouraged. The role of the sponsor in developing the research and training plan should be described.

The plan should describe how the sponsor will facilitate the applicant's transition to the next stage of his/her career and how the the applicant's research and career development progress will be monitored and evaluated throughout the F99 phase.

The research environment and the availability and quality of needed research facilities and research resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computing resources, subject populations) should be described for the F99 phase.

The sponsor and any co-sponsors for the fellowship phase are expected to provide an assessment of the applicant's qualifications and potential for transitioning to the postdoctoral phase (K00) and pursing a career as a productive, independent researcher.

Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors and Consultants

Signed statements must be provided by all collaborators and/or consultants confirming their participation in the F99 project and describing their specific roles.

Advisory Committee members (if applicable): Signed statements must be provided by each member of the proposed Advisory Committee. These statements should confirm their participation, describe their specific roles, and document the expertise they will contribute. These individuals generally do not need to provide their biographical sketches.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training Section

Description of Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training

  • Describe the institution's graduate program in which the applicant is enrolled. This description should include the structure of the program, the required milestones and their usual timing, the number of courses, any teaching commitments or qualifying exams, and the average time to degree over the past 10 years.
  • Describe the progress/status of the applicant in relation to the program's timeline, and the frequency and method by which the program formally monitors and evaluates a student's progress.
  • Confirm that the applicant is in a PhD program in a neuroscience-relevant field (include month and year of entry into the PhD program) and has reached the dissertation phase (include month and year of transition to dissertation phase).
  • Confirm that the applicant has 1-2 years left before completion of their PhD (include month and year of anticipated graduation.
  • Provide the name of the primary sponsor or mentor and an affirmation of the institution's commitment to the applicant's training and research career goals.
  • Include the name of the individual providing this information at the end of the description. This information is typically provided by the director of the graduate program or the department chair.

Appendix

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

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

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

PHS Assignment Request Form

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

Reference Letters

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

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

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

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH's electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Add Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

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

Pre-award costs are generally not allowable for Fellowships.

Neither the F99 award nor the K00 award may be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or salary, or otherwise duplicates the provisions of this award  

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) and sponsor(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 components of participating organizations, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

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. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

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

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

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Fellowship Applicant

  •    Are the applicant's academic record, prior training, and research experience of high quality?
  •    Does the applicant have the potential for becoming a successful independent investigator who will contribute significantly to the neuroscience research field?
  •    Does the applicant demonstrate commitment to a neuroscience research career in the future?
  •    Will the research experiences in the F99 phase prepare the applicant to implement successfully a postdoctoral research project for the K00 phase?

Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants

  •    Are the research qualifications (including recent publications) of the sponsor(s) for the F99 phase, and track record of mentoring individuals at a similar stage, appropriate for the needs of the applicant?
  •    Is there evidence of a match between the research of the applicant and the sponsor(s) in the fellowship phase? Do the sponsor(s) demonstrate an understanding of the applicant's training needs as well as the ability and commitment to assist in meeting these needs?
  •    Is there evidence of adequate research funds to support the applicant's proposed research project and training for the duration of the F99 phase?
  •    If a team of sponsors is proposed, are the roles of the individual members appropriate and clearly defined?
  •    Are the qualifications of any collaborator(s) and/or consultant(s), including their complementary expertise and previous experience in fostering the training of fellows, appropriate for the proposed project?

Research Training Plan

  •    Is the proposed F99 research project of high scientific quality, and is it well integrated with the proposed training plan?
  •    Is the F99 research project consistent with the applicant's stage of research development, and relevant to his/her research career objectives?
  •    Is the proposed timeframe feasible to accomplish the proposed research training (F99) and transition to the career development phase (K00)?
  •    Have the applicant and/or sponsor(s) outlined feasible research milestones for the transition from the fellowship phase of the award to the career development phase?
  •    Is the research direction outlined for the career development (K00) phase appropriate to the applicant's anticipated stage of development and as a vehicle for developing the research skills described in the career development plan?
  •    Have the applicant and sponsor(s) described an appropriate set of qualifications and attributes for the mentor in the career development (K00) phase?

Training Potential/Development Plan

  •    Do the proposed research project and training plan have the potential to provide the applicant with the requisite individualized and mentored experiences that will develop his/her knowledge, research skills, and professional skills?
  •    Does the training plan take advantage of the applicant's strengths and address gaps in needed skills? Does the training plan document a clear need for, and value of, the proposed training for the applicant?
  •    Does the training plan in the fellowship phase provide an appropriate foundation for transition to the career development phase of the award?
  •    Are adequate plans described for monitoring and evaluating the applicant's research and career development progress throughout the F99 training period?
  •    Have the applicant and sponsor(s) outlined appropriate milestones in terms of professional and career skills for transition to the career development phase of the award?  

Institutional Environment & Commitment to Training

  •    Are the research facilities, resources (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, computer time), and training opportunities (e.g. seminars, workshops, professional development opportunities) adequate and appropriate for development of the applicant?
  •    Is the intellectual environment for the applicant's scientific development in the fellowship phase of the award of high quality?
  •    Is adequate evidence provided that the F99-sponsoring institution is strongly committed to fostering the applicant's development and preparation for transition to the K00 Phase?
  •    Do the research facilities, resources and training opportunities described for the career development phase match the research program anticipated in that phase?
Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

Not Allowed

Revisions

Not Allowed

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

All applications for support under this FOA must include a plan to fulfill NIH requirements for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  Taking into account the level of experience of the applicant, including any prior instruction or participation in RCR as appropriate for the applicant's career stage, the reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the proposed RCR training in relation to the following five required components: 1) Format - the required format of instruction, i.e., face-to-face lectures, coursework, and/or real-time discussion groups (a plan with only on-line instruction is not acceptable); 2) Subject Matter - the breadth of subject matter, e.g., conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety, research misconduct, research ethics; 3) Faculty Participation - the role of the sponsor(s) and other faculty involvement in the fellow's instruction; 4) Duration of Instruction - the number of contact hours of instruction (at least eight contact hours are required); and 5) Frequency of Instruction – instruction must occur during each career stage and at least once every four years.  Plans and past record will be rated as ACCEPTABLE or UNACCEPTABLE, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee. See also: NOT-OD-10-019.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

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

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by NINDS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.


As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council.  The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

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

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

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

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee's business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

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

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

Transition to the Postdoctoral Career Development K00 Phase

The F99/K00 award is intended to facilitate successful transition to the postdoctoral career stage. Consequently, a requirement for initiation of the K00 phase is successful completion of the Ph.D. degree. Applicants are encouraged to apply for postdoctoral positions at departments and institutions different from where they conducted their doctoral research. It is important for all applicants, but especially so for applicants who intend to stay at the predoctoral phase institution for the postdoctoral phase, to provide a plan by which they will separate scientifically from their Ph.D. sponsor. The transition from the predoctoral phase to the postdoctoral phase is intended to be continuous in time and, except in unusual circumstances, the NIH Blueprint will not extend the F99 phase. Transition from the predoctoral (F99) phase to the postdoctoral (K00) phase is not automatic. To activate the K00 phase of the grant, individuals must have been offered and accepted a postdoctoral appointment to carry out neuroscience-focused research. Upon starting the K00 phase of the award, the F99 phase of the award is terminated.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their Program Official as soon as a plan to assume a postdoctoral position develops, and not later than 4 months prior to the end of the F99 phase of the award. At that time, individuals should discuss plans for transition to, and application for, the K00 phase with their NIH program official. The application for the K00 phase of the award should be submitted no later than 2 months prior to the proposed start date of the K00 award by the K00 phase grantee organization.

F99 awardees wishing to submit a K00 transition application must follow the instructions as described below, referring to the Table of Page Limits and the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing an Individual Research Career Development Award (CDA) Application ("K" Series).

An eligible K00 institution must have appropriate infrastructure to support the proposed research program and a history of external research funding. Foreign institutions are not eligible. Applicants may apply for neuroscience-focused postdoctoral positions within the NIH intramural research program (IRP). However, should the individual accept such a position in the IRP, the postdoctoral phase of the award will not be activated. This is because NIH intramural scientists are supported directly by NIH intramural funds and are not eligible for NIH extramural grant awards.

The K00 application must include:

  • A new face page signed by the K00 phase institutional representative
  • A brief description by the PD/PI of progress made during the F99 phase, which will serve as the Final RPPR for the F99 phase
  • A Final Evaluation statement by the F99 phase primary sponsor
  • Updated Project Summary and Project Narrative pages that describe the research proposed for the K00 phase
  • Detailed budget pages for a non-modular budget: K00 budgets consist of salary and fringe benefits, other program related expenses, and indirect costs, as described in Part II, Other Award Budget Information of this funding opportunity announcement. Other costs are not allowed;
  • An updated Research Plan section: The Specific Aims should be updated to reflect current plans for the K00 phase and the updated Research Strategy should be described in less than 3 pages;
  • A new Applicant Information section, including:
  •    Career Goals and Objectives: Describe the applicant's current and long-term research and career objectives. Present a scientific history that shows a logical progression from the applicant's prior research and training experiences (including the F99 phase) to the training and research experiences proposed for the mentored phase of the award (K00), which will ultimately lead to an independent research career.  Describe how the applicant plans to separate scientifically from his/her F99 dissertation sponsor.
  • Biosketches of K00 mentor(s)
  • Plans and Statements of K00 Mentor and Co-mentor(s): If the primary mentor has limited training experience, a co-mentor with a strong, successful track record as a mentor should be included. The transition application must include a statement from the primary mentor or mentoring team that provides:
  •    Information on his/her neuroscience research qualifications and previous experience as a research supervisor;
  •    A plan describing the nature of the supervision and mentoring that will occur during the proposed K00 award period, including how the applicant's scientific and professional career development will be promoted; and
  •    A description of the elements of the planned research training and career development, including any formal course-work.
  • Facilities and other Resources and Equipment pages for the K00 Institution
  • Updated Protections for Human Subjects and Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children (as appropriate)
  • Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors, and Consultants (if applicable)
  •    Signed statements must be provided by each consultant/collaborator confirming their participation and describing their specific roles in the project.
  •    Collaborators and consultants generally do not need to provide their biographical sketches. However, information should be provided in their statement that documents their expertise in the proposed areas of consulting/collaboration. Collaborators/consultants are generally not directly involved in the development of the career of the applicant as an independent investigator.
  • Description of Institutional Environment: The sponsoring institution must document a strong, well-established research and career development program related to the applicant 's area of interest.
  •    Describe the sponsoring institution's scientific environment including the resources and facilities that will be available to the applicant.
  •    Describe how the institutional research environment is particularly suited for the applicant's mentored research and career development during the K00 phase.

K00 Institutional Commitment to Applicant's Research Career Development:

  • o   Provide a statement of commitment to the applicant 's career goal of developing into a productive, independent neuroscience-focused research investigator, i.e. conducting the proposed mentored neuroscience research and career development during the K00 phase.
  • o   Provide assurance that the candidate will be able to devote a minimum of 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) to the development of his/her research program. The remaining effort should be devoted to activities related to the development of the candidate's career as an independent scientist.
  • o   Provide assurance that the research facilities, resources, and training opportunities will be available for the applicant's planned career development and research programs during the K00 award period.
  • o   Provide assurance that appropriate time and support for any proposed mentor(s) and/or other staff consistent with the career development plan will be available during the K00 award period.
  • Updated Protections for Human Subjects and Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children (as appropriate);
  • Updated Other Research Plan Sections (as appropriate), including:
  • o   Updated Vertebrate Animals (as appropriate)
  • o   Select Agent Research
  • o   Resource Sharing Plans
  • o   Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources
  • o   Updated Biohazards (as appropriate)
  • Updated plan for Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • A new checklist

The K00 postdoctoral phase institution must submit the materials on behalf of the applicant for the K00 award, no later than 2 months prior to the proposed start date of the K00 Award. The institution's Authorized Organizational Representative will email the application plus one copy (in PDF format) to the NIH Blueprint Scientific/Research Contact listed in Section VII. The K00 application will be evaluated by NIH Blueprint program staff for completeness and responsiveness to the program.

Applicants who are approved to transition will receive a Notice of Award reflecting the new K00 grant mechanism, the dollar amount, and the new recipient organization (if applicable). Applicants who are not approved to transition will receive written notification from the awarding component communicating the rationale for the disapproval. This notification typically will be sent within 60 days of receipt of the K00 application.

Although the financial plans of NIH Blueprint provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds.

Termination of the F99 award phase

If the transition from the F99 phase to the K00 phase at an extramural institution occurs prior to the scheduled end date of the F99 award phase, then a revised Notice of Award will be issued to terminate the F99 phase award. Institutional Allowances: Carry-over of unspent funds from a partially completed year in the F99 phase into the K00 phase is not permitted.

 The taxability of stipends is described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Inventions and Copyrights

Fellowships funded primarily for educational purposes are exempted from the PHS invention requirements and thus invention reporting is not required. However, an invention statement is required for closeout of the K00 award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. More details, including exceptions for fellows training at NIH are provided in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. A final progress reportFinal RPPR, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of the K00 phase of the award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Leave Policies

In general, F99 fellows may receive stipends during the normal periods of vacation and holidays observed by individuals in comparable training positions at the sponsoring institution. For the purpose of these awards, however, the period between the spring and fall semesters is considered to be an active time of research and research training and is not considered to be a vacation or holiday. F99 fellows may receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the NIH awarding IC in response to a written request from an AOR. Other leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. F99 may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of each child. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. Trainees must provide advanced notification to the grantee institution prior to taking parental leave. Notification of supervisors and others about plans to use leave must be consistent with the organization's policy and must be consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually. The report is due two months before the beginning date of the next budget period and must include information describing the current year's progress as well as the research and training plans for the coming year.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for 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 Fellowship Reporting Requirements:
  • Individuals admitted to the United States as Permanent Residents must submit notarized evidence of legal admission prior to the award.
  • At the conclusion of F99 fellowship, the fellow must submit a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) via xTrain to the NIH within 30 days of termination..
4. Evaluation

In carrying out its stewardship of human resource-related programs, the NIH 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.

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

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

For F99 Phase (graduate students):

  • Successful completion of a neuroscience graduate program
  • Subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program in a neuroscience field
  • Authorship of scientific publications in a neuroscience field

For K00 Phase (postdoctorates):

  • Subsequent participation in research or employment in a neuroscience field
  • Authorship of scientific publications in a neuroscience field
  • Transition to an independent research career in neuroscience
  • Subsequent independent research grant support from NIH or another source.
Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Michelle Jones-London, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-451-7966
Email: jonesmiche@ninds.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9223
Email: nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tijuanna E. DeCoster, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9231 
Email: decostert@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 63A and 45 CFR Part 75.

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