REVISED OCTOBER 2018. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, NRSA, institutional research training grants, training grants, eligibility, training program director, principal investigator, research training program, degree requirements, predoctoral training, postdoctoral training, short-term research training, pre-baccalaureate training, citizenship

11.3.2 Eligibility

11.3.2.1 Applicant Eligibility

A domestic, non-profit public or private organization may apply for a grant to support a research training program in a specified area(s) of research. Support for predoctoral, postdoctoral, or a combination of trainees may be requested. (Specific program announcements should be consulted for ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. guidelines.) Support for short-term training positions for students in health-professional degree programs also may be requested as indicated in Short-Term Research Training in this subsection. Each applicant institution must submit an application using the research training forms and instructions (see Application Requirements and Receipt Dates in this subsection).

11.3.2.2 Research Areas

Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants may be made for research training in areas that fall within the missions of the NIH ICs. Applications that do not address these areas will be returned. An increased emphasis has been placed on the research training of physicians. The HHS Secretary is required by law, in taking into account the overall national needs for biomedical research personnel, to give special consideration to physicians who agree to undertake a minimum of 2 consecutive years of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research training.

The applicant institution must have a strong research program in the areas proposed for research training and must have the staff and facilities required to carry out the proposed program.

Trainees appointed to the training program must have the opportunity to carry out supervised biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research with the primary objective of developing or extending their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career.

11.3.2.3 Training Program Director/Principal Investigator(s)

The Training PD/PI must be an individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to organize and implement a high-quality research training program at the recipient organization. The Training PD/PI at the recipient organization will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to the Kirschstein-NRSA research training grant and for the overall direction, management, and administration of the training program, including program evaluation, and submission of all required forms in a timely manner. In selecting trainees, the PD/PI must make certain that individuals receiving support meet the eligibility requirements set forth in this subsection.

More than one Training PD/PI (or multiple PD/PIs), may be designated on the application for training programs that require a team approach and therefore, clearly do not fit the single-PD/PI model (e.g., interdisciplinary of multidisciplinary training). The decision to apply for a single PD/PI or multiple PD/PIs is the responsibility of the investigators and applicant organizations, and should be determined and justified by the goals of the training program. Applications for grants with multiple PD/PIs require additional information, including the structure and governance of the PD/PI leadership team. In addition, the knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PD/PIs will be factored into the assessment of the overall scientific merit of the application. Multiple PD/PIs on a program share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the training program, intellectually and logistically. Each PD/PI is responsible and accountable to the recipient organization for the proper conduct of the program, including the submission of required reports.

Applications reflecting multiple PD/PIs must provide a Leadership Plan. The emphasis in the Leadership Plan should be on how it will benefit the research training program and the trainees.

A single Contact PD/PI must be designated for the purpose of communicating with the NIH, although other individuals may contact the NIH on behalf of the Contact PD/PI when necessary. Because training programs are intended to be coherent, NIH will not allocate the budget or training positions between multiple PD/PIs. Only a single award will be issued. Multiple PD/PI training programs should include reasonable numbers of PD/PIs and each should individual should be included for a specific purpose. Multiple-PD/PI applications should not include all mentors of the training grant as PD/PIs, except in unusual cases.

11.3.2.4 Research Training Program

A Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grant must be used to support a program of research training. It may not support studies leading to the M.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other clinical, health professional training except when those studies are a part of a formal combined research degree program, such as the M.D./Ph.D. Similarly, trainees may not accept Kirschstein-NRSA support for clinical training that is part of residency training leading to clinical certification in a medical or dental specialty or subspecialty. However, clinicians are permitted and encouraged to engage in Kirschstein-NRSA-supported full-time, postdoctoral research training even when that experience is creditable toward certification by a clinical specialty or subspecialty board.

Research trainees are expected to devote full time to the proposed research training. Full-time is generally defined as devoting at least 40 hours per week to the program or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies. In order to fulfill the full-time requirement, trainees who also are training as clinicians must confine clinical duties to those that are an integral part of the research training experience.

11.3.2.5 Degree Requirements

11.3.2.5.1 Predoctoral Training

Predoctoral research training is for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree and are enrolled in a doctoral program leading to either a Ph.D., a comparable research doctoral degree, or a combined clinical degree and Ph.D., such as M.D./Ph.D. Students enrolled in health-professional programs that are not part of a formal, combined program (i.e., M.D./Ph.D.), and who wish to postpone their professional studies to gain research experience, also may be appointed to a Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grant. Predoctoral research training must emphasize fundamental training in areas of basic biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences.

11.3.2.5.2 Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral research training is for individuals who have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.C., D.O., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr. P.H., D.N.Sc., D.P.T., Pharm.D., N.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign organization. It is the responsibility of the recipient institution, not the NIH, to determine if a foreign degree is equivalent. Research training at the postdoctoral level must emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences.

Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants are a desirable mechanism for the postdoctoral training of physicians and other health professionals who may have had extensive clinical training but limited research experience. For such individuals, the training may be a part of a research degree program. In all cases, health-professional postdoctoral trainees are to engage in at least 2 years of research, research training, or comparable experiences beginning at the time of appointment, since the duration of training has been shown to be strongly correlated with post-training research activity.

11.3.2.5.3 Short-Term Research Training

Short-term research training includes the following:

  • Students in Health Professional Schools. NIH offers two short-term training programs: those that are part of a traditional institutional research training grant (T32) and those that exclusively support short-term trainees (T35). Short-term research training experiences of 2 to 3 months are available to students in health-professional schools under both mechanisms. All short-term training must be full time. Unless otherwise stated, the requirements that apply to institutional research training grants also apply to short-term research training. Current stipendA payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training. A stipend is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee. levels are published in NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.
  • T32. T32 (Kirschstein NRSA-Institutional Research Training Grant) applications may include a request for short-term positions reserved specifically to provide full-time health-related research training experiences during the summer or other "off-quarter" periods. Such positions are limited to medical students, dental students, students in other health-professional programs, and graduate students in the physical or quantitative sciences. Short-term appointments under institutional research training grants are intended to provide health-professional students with opportunities to participate in biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research in an effort to attract these individuals into research careers.

To be eligible for short-term predoctoral research training positions, students must be enrolled and in good standing and must have completed at least one quarter or semester in a program leading to a clinical doctorate or doctorate degree in a quantitative science, such as physics, mathematics, or engineering, before participating in the program. Individuals already matriculated in a formal research degree program in the health sciences, holding a research doctorate or master's degree, or a combined professional and research doctorate normally are not eligible for short-term training positions. In schools of pharmacy, only candidates for the Pharm. D. degree are eligible for short-term positions.

Short-term positions should be requested in the application. Short-term research training positions should last at least 8, but no more than 12, weeks. Health-professional students and students in the quantitative sciences selected for appointment should be encouraged to obtain multiple periods of short-term, health-related research training during the years leading to their degrees. Such appointments may be consecutive or may be reserved for summers or other "off-quarter" periods.

Since some NIH ICs do not support short-term research training positions under the T32 or support them on a limited basis only, applicants are urged to contact the appropriate NIH ICThe NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC," or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award. before requesting short-term research training positions as part of a T32 application.

T35. Several NIH ICs provide short-term research using a separate training grant mechanism (T35). The program intent and student eligibility requirements are similar to those indicated for the T32. However, since this Kirschstein-NRSA funding mechanism is used by only a few NIH ICs; interested applicants are encouraged to contact specific ICs for details.

11.3.2.5.4 Pre-baccalaureate Training

NIH offers two distinct programs for pre-baccalaureate training under the auspices of the Kirschstein-NRSA undergraduate support mechanism (T34). Both programs are designed to support undergraduate students from institutions with a substantial minority enrollment.

NIGMS administers the MARC U*STAR program. This program is designed to support selected junior/senior undergraduate honors students at baccalaureate colleges and universities.

NIGMS recognizes that there are differences in organizational environments and missions. Therefore, the emphasis of this program is on the specific objectives and measurable goals that the applicant institution sets.

Information about the program is available in the applicable FOA.

11.3.2.6 Citizenship

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. Noncitizen nationals are individuals who, although not citizens of the United States, owe permanent allegiance to the United States. They generally are people born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g., American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence must have a currently valid Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551) or other legal verification of such status. For example, if an individual has the proper validation on his/her passport, a notarized photocopy of the passport could suffice. Because there is a 6-month limitation on this validation, it is the recipient's responsibility to follow up and ensure that the individual received the I-551 prior to the 6-month expiration date.

A notarized statement verifying possession of permanent residency documentation must be submitted with the Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271). Individuals with a Conditional Permanent Resident status may be supported on Kirschstein-NRSA training grants; however, as with all types of Permanent Resident status it is the recipient's responsibility to assure the individual remains eligible for NRSA support for the period of time of any appointment. Individuals with Asylum/Refugee status do not automatically hold a form of permanent residency status; they have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency status once they have been in the U.S. for a period of time. Therefore, individuals with Asylum/Refugee status may not be appointed to a Kirschstein-NRSA training grant until they have also secured permanent residency status. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for Kirschstein-NRSA support.