Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards
Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities -- Part 4 of 8
Institutional National Research Service Awards (Training Grants)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will award National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grants (T32s, T34s, and T35s) to eligible institutions to develop or enhance research training opportunities for individuals, selected by the institution, who are training for careers in specified areas of biomedical and behavioral research. The purpose of the NRSA program is to help ensure that highly trained scientists are available in adequate numbers and in the appropriate research areas and fields to carry out the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. The NRSA program supports both predoctoral and postdoctoral research training as well as limited specialized support at the prebaccalaureate level. All NIH awarding offices except the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) make Institutional NRSAs. FIC and NLM have unique funding authorities for training grants that are separate from the NRSA authority.
A domestic, non-profit public or private institution 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 IC guidelines.) Support for short-term training positions for students in health-professional degree programs also may be requested as indicated in "Degree Requirements—Short-Term Research Training." Each applicant institution must submit an application according to instructions, using the appropriate forms (see "Application Requirements and Receipt Dates").
Institutional NRSAs may be made for research training in areas that fall within the mission of the NIH ICs. Applications that do not fit these areas will be returned. An increased emphasis has been placed on the research training of physicians. The Secretary, DHHS 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 and behavioral research training.
The applicant institution must have a strong research program in the area(s) proposed for research training and must have the staff and facilities required to carry out the proposed program. The research training program director at the grantee institution will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees and the overall direction of the training program. In selecting trainees, the program director must make certain that individuals receiving support meet the eligibility requirements set forth in these guidelines.
Trainees appointed to the training program must have the opportunity to carry out supervised biomedical or behavioral research with the primary objective of developing or extending their research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career.
Research Training Program
The Institutional NRSA must be used to support a program of research training. It may not support studies leading to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other clinical, health professional degrees nor be used to support residencies, the primary purpose of which is the attainment of a medical or nursing specialty. Research trainees in clinical areas are expected to devote full time to the proposed research training. During the 40 hours per week required for research training, any clinical duties should be confined to those that are part of the research training.
Predoctoral research training is for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree and are enrolled in a doctoral program leading to the either the Ph.D. degree, a comparable research doctoral degree, or the combined 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 in order to gain research experience, also may be appointed to a T32 grant. Predoctoral research training must emphasize fundamental training in areas of basic biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Postdoctoral research training is for individuals who have received a Ph.D., an M.D., or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Research training at the postdoctoral level must emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
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 should agree 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.
Short-Term Research Training
Students in Health Professional Schools
NIH offers two short-term training programs: those that are part of a traditional institutional training grant (T32) and those that exclusively support short-term trainees (T35). These short-term research training experiences of 2 to 3 months are available to students in health professional schools. All short-term training must be full-time. Unless otherwise stated, provisions for institutional training grants apply. Current stipend levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.
T32 applications may include a request for short-term positions reserved specifically to train medical or other health-professional students on a full-time basis during the summer or other "off-quarter" periods. Short-term appointments are intended to provide health-professional students with opportunities to participate in biomedical and/or behavioral research in an effort to attract these individuals into research careers.
To be eligible for short-term research training positions, health-professional students must have completed at least one quarter at an accredited health-professional school leading to a clinical doctorate prior to participating in the program. Trainees need not be enrolled at the applicant institution. Individuals matriculated in a formal research degree program, or those holding an M.S., a Ph.D., an M.D./Ph.D. or an equivalent graduate level research degree are not eligible. Within schools of pharmacy, only individuals who are candidates for the Pharm. D. degree are eligible.
Short-term positions should be longer than 2 months but may not last longer than 3 months. Students should be encouraged to obtain two or more periods of short-term research training during their studies leading to a health-professional degree. Such appointments may be consecutive or may be reserved for summers or other "off-quarter" periods.
Since some NIH ICs support short-term research training positions on a limited basis, applicants are strongly urged to contact the appropriate NIH IC before requesting short-term research training positions as part of a T32 application.
Several NIH awarding offices 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 NRSA funding mechanism is used by only a few NIH awarding offices, interested applicants are encouraged to contact specific awarding offices for details.
Under the auspices of the institutional undergraduate NRSA (T34), two distinct programs for prebaccalaureate training are offered. Both programs are designed to support students from institutions with a substantial minority enrollment.
(1) The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) administers the MARC Undergraduate Student Training and Research (U*STAR) program. Formerly know as Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program (HURT), this training program is designed to support selected junior/senior undergraduate honors students at baccalaureate colleges and universities.
NIGMS recognizes that, because of the heterogeneity at minority institutions, there are differences in institutional missions. Therefore, the emphasis of this program will be on the specific objectives and measurable goals that the applicant institution sets for itself. For more information on this program, contact:
MARC Program, NIGMS
45 Center Drive MSC-6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Phone: (301) 594-3900
Fax: (301) 480-2753
(2) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) administers the Career Opportunities in Research (COR) Education and Training Program. The intent of this program is to strengthen research and research training experiences in scientific disciplines related to mental health. An applicant institution (a 4-year college or university) must propose a 2-year COR Honors Undergraduate Program for which six to ten highly talented third and fourth-year undergraduate students will be selected. Students will be provided with special research training experiences designed to improve their qualifications for entry into advanced research training programs leading to the doctoral-level or M.D. research career degrees. For more information on this program contact:
Office of Special Populations/NIMH
6001 Executive Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20814-9659(301) 443-3725
The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Non-citizen nationals are persons, who, although not citizens of the United States, owe permanent allegiance to the U. S. They are generally persons 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 be in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551), or must be in possession of other legal verification of such status. For example, if an individual is in possession of the proper validation on their passport, a notarized photocopy of the passport could suffice. Since there is a 6-month limitation on this validation, it is the grantee's responsibility to follow-up and assure 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 Form (PHS Form 2271). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for NRSA support.
Application Requirements and Receipt Dates
The application for the institutional training grant is Form PHS 398. It contains special instructions for Institutional National Research Service Awards. Application kits containing forms, instructions, and related information may be obtained from:
Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, OER, NIH
6705 Rockledge Drive, MSC-7974
Bethesda, MD 20892-7974
Some NIH ICs receive training grant applications three times each year; however, most ICs have one receipt date only. Information on receipt dates is available in the NIH-wide T32 Program Announcement published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts or in RFAs issued by the individual NIH ICs. See Appendix II-1 for a complete listing of the current receipt dates and review cycle.
Applicants are encouraged to contact appropriate NIH staff before preparing and submitting an application.
Each initial and competing continuation application will be evaluated for scientific merit by a NIH peer review group. Institutional applications also must be reviewed by the appropriate Council or Board of the IC whose activities relate to the proposed research training.
Institutional applications will be evaluated using criteria such as: a) past research training record of both the program and the designated preceptors; b) objectives, design, and direction of the research training program; c) caliber of preceptors as researchers, including successful competition for research support; d) recruitment and selection plans for trainees and the availability of high quality candidates; and e) the institutional training environment, including the level of institutional commitment, quality of the facilities, availability of appropriate courses, and the availability of research support.
In addition, where appropriate, the record of the research training program in retaining health-professional postdoctoral trainees for at least 2 years in research training or other research activities, and the concomitant training of health-professional postdoctorates (e.g., individuals with the M.D., D.O., or D.D.S. degree) with basic science postdoctorates (e.g., individuals with a Ph.D. or Sc.D.) or linkages with basic science departments will receive special consideration.
Applicants also are encouraged to consult the PHS 398 application kit, the NIH T32 Program Announcement and/or specific IC program announcements for additional details.
Short-Term Research Training Positions
In addition to the overall program criteria, applications that request short-term research training positions in conjunction with full-time positions also will be assessed using specific criteria. The NIH T32 program announcement and/or specific IC program announcements should be consulted for details.
Minority Recruitment Plan
The NRSA institutional training grant program must provide for the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented minority groups including, but not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Pacific Islanders. All competing applications for institutional NRSA research training grants must include a specific plan to recruit minorities, and competing continuation applications also must include a report on the recruitment and retention record during the previous award period. If an application is received without a plan, or without a report on the previous award period, the application will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.
Competing continuation applications for research training grants must include a detailed section on the outcomes of the minority recruitment plan proposed in the previous competing application. Information must be included on successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies. The report should provide information on the racial/ethnic distribution of:
- Students or postdoctorates who applied for admission or positions within the department(s) relative to the research training grant;
- Students or postdoctorates who were offered admission to or a position within the department(s);
- Students actually enrolled in the academic program relevant to the research training grant; and
- Students or postdoctorates that were appointed to the research training grant.
For those trainees who were appointed to the grant, the report should include information about the duration of research training and whether those trainees have finished their training in good standing.
Peer reviewers will examine and evaluate the minority recruitment plan and any record of recruitment and retention after the overall educational and technical merit of an application has been assessed so that the quality of the plan will not be a factor in determining the priority score. For competing continuation applications, the reviewers will examine and evaluate the record of the program in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority trainees during the previous competitive segment. The review group also will consider whether the experience in recruitment during the previous award period has been incorporated into the formulation of the recruitment plan for the next competitive segment.
The findings of the review group will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement. If the minority recruitment plan of the application is judged to be unacceptable, funding will be withheld until a revised plan that addresses the deficiencies is received. Staff within the NIH IC, with guidance from the appropriate national advisory committee or council, will determine whether amended plans and reports submitted after the initial review are acceptable.
Information on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority trainees appointed during the previous competitive segment also must be provided in progress reports included in all noncompeting applications.
Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
All competing Institutional NRSA (training grant) applications must include a description of the formal and informal activities related to instruction in the responsible conduct of research that will be incorporated into the proposed research training program.
Every prebaccalaureate, predoctoral and postdoctoral NRSA trainee must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. Applications must include a description of a program to provide formal or informal instruction in research integrity and/or the responsible conduct of research, as follows:
- Although NIH does not establish specific curricula or formal requirements, all programs are encouraged strongly to consider instruction in the following areas: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data management. Within the context of training in research integrity, it also is beneficial to discuss the mutual responsibilities of the institution and the trainees participating in the program.
- Plans must address the subject matter of the instruction, the format of the instruction, the degree of faculty participation, trainee attendance requirements, and the frequency of instruction. The rationale for the proposed plan of instruction must be provided.
- Program reports on the type of instruction provided, topics covered, and other relevant information, such as attendance by trainees and faculty participation, must be included in future competing continuation and noncompeting applications.
Applications without plans for instruction in the responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.
NIH encourages institutions to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research to all individuals in a training program or department, regardless of the source of support.
NIH initial review groups will assess the applicant's plans on the basis of the appropriateness of topics, format, amount and nature of faculty participation, and the frequency and duration of instruction. The plan will be discussed after the overall determination of merit, so that the quality of the plan will not be a factor in the determination of the priority score. Plans will be judged as acceptable or unacceptable. The acceptability of the plan will be described in an administrative note on the summary statement. Regardless of the priority score, applications with unacceptable plans will not be funded until a revised, acceptable plan is provided by the applicant. The acceptability of the revised plan will be judged by staff within the NIH IC.
Following initial review, applications undergo a second level review by the appropriate NIH institute or center council, board, or other advisory group. In addition to the assessment of the scientific and educational merit of the research training grant application, these advisory groups will consider the initial review group's comments on the plan for instruction in the responsible conduct of research.
Information on the nature of the instruction in the responsible conduct of science and the extent of trainee and faculty participation also must be provided in progress reports included in all noncompeting applications.
Notification of Action
Shortly after the initial review meeting, each applicant will be sent a mailer that includes the SRG recommendation/priority score and the name of a program official in the assigned NIH IC. The IC automatically forwards a copy of the summary statement to the applicant as soon as possible after receipt from the SRG. The applicant will be notified by letter concerning the final review recommendation. A Notice of Grant Award will be issued to applicants selected for funding. Any questions about initial review recommendations and funding possibilities should be directed to the appropriate Program Official not to the scientific review administrator of the SRG.
Period of Support
Grants may be made for competitive segments of up to 5 years and are renewable. Awards within an approved competitive segment are normally made in 12-month increments with support for additional noncompetitive years dependent upon satisfactory progress and availability of funds.
Trainees customarily are appointed for full-time 12-month continuous periods. An appointment or reappointment may not exceed 12 months without prior approval by the NIH awarding office. All trainees are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by the grantee institution in accordance with its own policies. The amount of the stipend, tuition and fees for each full period of appointment must be obligated by the grantee from funds available at the time the individual begins training unless other instructions are furnished by the awarding office.
With the exception of specifically designated short-term research training positions, no trainee may be appointed under a regular Institutional NRSA for a period of less than 9 months except with the prior written approval of the awarding office and then usually only to complete a planned program of training. An initial appointment of less than 9 months may be allowed as long as an assurance is included that the individual will be immediately reappointed in the subsequent year so that the cumulative continuous training period is at least 9 months.
No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level and 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional and individual NRSAs. Any exception to this requires a waiver from the IC based on review of a justification from the individual and grantee organization. The grounds for approving extensions of support are as follows:
Individuals requiring additional time to complete training, either as participants in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program or as clinicians (e.g., physicians, dentists, veterinarians) who are completing postdoctoral research training, may anticipate favorable consideration of a request for waiver of the time limitation. This action is contingent upon certification of the recipient's good academic standing and justified need for the exception to this policy.
Requests for additional time also will be considered if an event unavoidably has altered the planned course of the research training; the interruption has significantly detracted from the nature or quality of the planned research training; and if a short extension would permit completion of the training as planned. Such events include sudden loss of the preceptor's services or an accident, illness, or other personal situation that prevents a trainee from pursuing research training in an effective manner for a significant period of time. Requests for extension of support also will be considered if a short additional period would provide the trainee an opportunity to use an exceptional training resource directly related to the approved research training program.
Requests that do not arise from circumstances covered in "Period of Support—NRSA Limitations—Physicians/Clinicians" or in "Period of Support—NRSA Limitations—Interruptions (Break-in-Service)" will be considered if they are accompanied by an exceptionally strong justification. Requests must be made in writing to the NIH IC by the trainee. The trainee's program director and an authorized organizational official must endorse the request certifying the need for additional support. The request must specify the amount of additional support for which approval is sought.
Initiation of Support
A Notice of Grant Award is issued to the grantee organization, normally for a budget period of 12 months. A predoctoral or postdoctoral trainee may be appointed at any time during the course of the budget period for an appointment period of 9 to 12 months, without prior approval by the NIH IC.
At the time of the initial appointment and subsequent reappointment, the training program director must submit a Statement of Appointment Form to the NIH IC. Additionally, a signed Payback Agreement must be submitted for each postdoctoral trainee who is in his/her first 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support. (See "Reporting Procedures—Statement of Appointment (Form PHS-2271)" and "Reporting Procedures—Payback Agreement (Form PHS-6031)" for specific information on required forms). The Statement of Appointment Form includes biographical data on the trainee and the stipend level for the period of appointment. The stipend is paid by the grantee organization directly to the trainee.
A stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal Government or the grantee organization. Stipends must be paid in accordance with established stipend levels. No departure from the standard stipend schedule, as provided from the grant, may be negotiated by the grantee organization with the trainee. For appointments of less than 12 months, the stipend will be prorated.
Stipend levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. That publication should be reviewed for any changes to stipend levels.
Two separate levels are provided for trainees: Freshman/Sophomore or Junior/Senior.
One stipend level is used for all predoctoral trainees, regardless of the level of experience.
The stipend level for the entire first year of support is determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching assistantship, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in a health-related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree. Once the appropriate stipend level has been determined, the trainee must be paid at that level for the entire period of appointment. The stipend for each additional year of NRSA support is the next level in the stipend structure and does not change mid-year.
Trainees are supported for 12-month full-time training appointments for which they receive stipends to defray living expenses. Stipends may be supplemented by an institution from non-Federal funds provided this supplementation is without obligation to the trainee. An institution can determine what amount of stipend supplementation, if any, will be provided according to its own formally established policies governing stipend support. These policies must be consistently applied to all individuals in a similar training status regardless of the source of funds. Federal funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived. An individual may make use of Federal educational loan funds or VA benefits when permitted by those programs as described in "Financial Provisions—Stipends—Educational Loans or G. I. Bill." Under no circumstances may PHS funds be used for supplementation.
It is recognized that trainees as students may seek part-time employment coincidental to their training program in order to offset their expenses further. Funds characterized as compensation may be paid to trainees only when there is an employer-employee relationship, the payments are for services rendered, and the situation otherwise meets the conditions of the compensation of students as detailed in "Cost Considerations—Allowability of Costs/Activities—Selected Items of Cost—Salaries and Wages—Compensation of Students." Additionally, compensation must be in accordance with organizational policies applied consistently to both federally and non-federally supported activities and must be supported by acceptable accounting records that reflect the employer-employee relationship. Under these conditions, the funds provided as compensation (salary or tuition remission) for services rendered, such as teaching or laboratory assistance are not considered stipend supplementation, and are allowable charges to Federal grants, including PHS research grants. However, it is expected that compensation from research grants will be for limited part-time employment apart from the normal full-time training activities.
Compensation may not be paid from a research grant that supports the same research that is part of the trainee's planned training experience as approved in the training grant application.
Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainee's approved NRSA training program. Institutional training grant program directors must approve all instances of employment on research grants in order to verify that the circumstances will not detract from or prolong the approved training program.
An NRSA may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.
Educational Loans or GI Bill
An individual may accept concurrent educational remuneration from the Department of Veterans Affairs (GI Bill) and Federal educational loan funds. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation. In the case of the MARC-USTAR program, funds from a PELL grant may be accepted as well.
Taxability of Stipends
Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Public Law 99-514, affects the tax liability of all individuals supported under the NRSA program. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Non-degree candidates are required to report as gross income all stipends and any monies paid on their behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance.
However, the taxability of stipends in no way alters the relationship between NRSA trainees and organizations. NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, trainees supported under NRSAs are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with the NIH or the grantee organization solely as a result of the NRSA support.
It must be emphasized that the interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.
Although stipends are not considered salaries, the income is still subject to Federal and, sometimes, State taxes. Such income may be reported by the grantee organization on the IRS Form 1099, Statement of Miscellaneous Income. Normally, the business office of the grantee organization will be responsible for the annual preparation and issuance of the IRS Form 1099 for trainees. It should be noted, however, that grantee organizations are not required to issue the Form 1099, but it does serve as a useful form of documentation of income received and as a reminder to the trainee that some tax liability may exist. Trainees are reminded that, even if the grantee organization does not issue the Form 1099, they are still required to report NRSA stipends as income.
Since NRSA awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the grantee, it is inappropriate and unallowable for organizations to seek funds for or to charge institutional training grants for costs that would normally be associated with employee benefits (for example, FICA, workman's compensation, and unemployment insurance).
Other Direct Costs
Funds are provided to defray such training costs as staff salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, staff travel, and other expenses directly related to the training program. Funds are requested and awarded as a lump sum on the basis of the predetermined amount per predoctoral and postdoctoral trainee approved for support. Levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Current levels are found in Appendix II-2. Interested applicants should consult the program announcement regarding the specific level for programs such as the short-term training program, the MARC program, or the COR program.
Under exceptional circumstances, which can include accommodating the disabilities of a trainee, it is possible to request institutional costs above the standard level. Requests for additional costs must be explained in detail and carefully justified in the application. Consultation with NIH program staff in advance of such requests is strongly advised.
Trainee Tuition and Fees
Tuition, fees, and health insurance (self-only or family) are allowable trainee costs only if such charges are applied consistently to all persons in a similar training status at the organization, without regard to their source of support. Tuition at the postdoctoral level is limited to that required for specific courses in support of the approved training program and requires prior approval of the NIH IC. For the purposes of award, tuition, fees and health insurance are awarded together in a single budget category. Funds are awarded based on a formula applied to the requested level. The formula is described in Appendix II-2.
Trainee Travel Costs
If requested by the organization, the NIH IC may award grant funds to cover the costs of trainee travel, including attendance at scientific meetings, that the organization determines is necessary to the individual's training. Funds may not be expended to cover the costs of travel between the trainee's place of residence and the training institution, except that the grantee organization may authorize a one-way travel allowance in an individual case of extreme hardship.
In addition, support for travel to a research training experience away from the grantee organization may be permitted. Research training experiences away from the parent organization must be justified considering the type of opportunities for training available, how these opportunities differ from those offered at the parent organization, and the relationship of the proposed experience to the trainee's career stage and career goals. This type of research training requires prior approval from the NIH IC. Letters requesting such training may be submitted to the NIH awarding office at any time during the appointment period.
The grantee may receive up to $125 per month to offset the costs of tuition, fees, travel, supplies, and other expenses for each short-term, health-professional research training position.
Rebudgeting of Funds
Rebudgeting of funds awarded in lump sum for trainee-related expenses does not require NIH IC prior approval.
For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee costs include stipends and tuition and fees (including health insurance). These costs may not be used for other purposes except under unusual circumstances and then only with the prior written approval of the NIH IC. Unless otherwise restricted, rebudgeting into or within the stipends and tuition/fees categories is allowable without awarding office prior approval.
For the purposes of rebudgeting, trainee travel is not considered a trainee cost and, therefore, may be rebudgeted into any other budget category without NIH IC prior approval.
Expenditure of Funds
Policies included in the applicable cost principles and in this policy statement govern the expenditure of all training grant funds, unless otherwise indicated in the Notice of Grant Award.
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs
The organization, other than a State, local or Indian tribal government, will receive F&A costs (previously "indirect costs") at 8 percent of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, health insurance, and expenditures for equipment) rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement. Applications from State and local government agencies, except State universities or hospitals, may receive full F&A cost reimbursement.
Applicants for NIH research grants, including training grants, are required to include in their grant applications an estimate of the amount and source of program income expected to be generated as a result of the project for which support is being sought. See "Administrative Requirements—Management Systems and Procedures—Program Income" for policies that govern the treatment of program income.
The following documents are critical to the process of establishing the payment of stipends and other costs as well as the determination of possible payback service. Failure to submit the required forms in a timely manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding.
Statement of Appointment (Form PHS 2271)
The grantee must submit this form to the NIH awarding office prior to or at the start of each trainee's appointment or reappointment. No stipend or other allowance may be paid until the appointment form has been submitted. If the support covers the individual's initial 12 months of postdoctoral support, a signed Payback Agreement also must be submitted. It is important to note that the information on the Statement of Appointment and the Termination Notice is the basis for determination of the length or amount of an individual's payback requirement. An accurate social security number should be included on the Statement of Appointment and all other documents. The program director and the organizational financial officials should coordinate the information reported on the Statement of Appointment. It should be treated as a financial document for obligating funds (stipends), which later are reflected on the Termination Notice and as part of the total costs in the Financial Status Report. A supply of Statement of Appointment Forms (PHS 2271) is provided to the program director by the NIH IC.
Any changes or corrections involving a trainee appointment under an institutional grant, such as name, permanent mailing address, period of training, or stipend support, must be reported by the training program director to the awarding office on an amended PHS-2271 at the time of the change.
Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031)
A National Research Service Award Payback Agreement that covers the initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support must be signed by each postdoctoral individual. If the individual has already received 12 months of postdoctoral support under any NRSA training grant or fellowship award, this form is not required. No Payback Agreement is required for predoctoral or prebaccalaureate trainees. For details on NRSA payback, see "Payback Reporting Requirements for Recipients."
Termination Notice (Form PHS 416-7)
The Termination Notice is the basis (along with the Statement of Appointment Form) for validating the total period of NRSA support and establishing the amount of payback obligation (if any) for each NRSA trainee. For an institutional award, the NIH IC sends the program director a supply of Termination Notices on an annual basis. The program director is responsible for the submission of a Termination Notice on each trainee immediately upon the termination of his/her support. The lack of timely and accurate information on this form could adversely affect the payback process.
If a trainee switches from one NRSA grant mechanism to another (e.g., from an individual fellowship to a training grant) or from one NIH awarding office to another, the requirement for payback service incurred is deferred until the total NRSA support is completed. All Statement of Appointment forms are reviewed to determine if previous NRSA support has been provided.
Progress Reports, Financial Status Reports, and Changes in the Project
Progress reports must be submitted with all applications for noncompeting continuation support in accordance with the instructions accompanying the application forms. Incomplete or inadequate progress reports may be returned for revision and may result in a delay of continued support. In addition, if continued funding is not being provided, a final progress report must be submitted to the NIH awarding office within 90 days after the end of the final budget period of the project period.
Financial Status Report (FSR)
An annual FSR is required for all institutional grants no later than 90 days after the close of each budget period. This report will document the financial status of the grant according to the official accounting records of the grantee organization. Trainee stipends and tuition are obligated for the full 12-month appointment from the budget period in which the appointment is initiated. Portions of stipends and tuition that extend beyond the budget period are carried over as unliquidated obligations. However, if the report covers the final budget period of the project period, it must have no unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of unobligated funds.
Changes in the Project
Changes in the program objectives as they relate to the area of research training for which the grant was approved require prior approval from the NIH IC.
Where absence of the program director is expected to exceed a continuous period of more than 3 months, plans for the conduct of the program during his or her absence must be approved in writing by the NIH IC. Any proposed change of program director must be requested by the grantee organization and be approved in writing by the awarding office following review of the nominee's qualifications and re-evaluation of the project in the light of the proposed change.
Institutional NRSAs may not be transferred from one domestic organization to another except under the most unusual circumstances. Such a change will generally be approved by the NIH IC only if all of the major benefits attributable to the original grant can be transferred and there is no negative impact on trainees active in the program.
Other Terms and Conditions
Vacations and Holidays
Trainees may receive the same vacations and holidays available to individuals in comparable training positions at the grantee organization. Trainees shall continue to receive stipends during vacations and holidays. At academic institutions, the time between semesters or academic quarters is generally considered an active part of the training period.
Sick Leave and Other Leave
Trainees may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the NIH IC in response to a written request from the training program director countersigned by an authorized organizational official. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Trainees also may receive stipends for up to 30 calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. The use of parental leave must be approved by the training program director.
A period of terminal leave is not permitted and payment may not be made from grant funds for leave not taken.
Individuals requiring extended periods of time away from their research training experience, which could include more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 30 calendar days of parental leave, must seek approval from the NIH IC for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance by the training grant program director and be countersigned by an authorized organizational official.
During a leave of absence, documentation to suspend the period of appointment must be completed by submitting an amended Statement of Appointment Form and a Termination Notice. These forms should be submitted to the NIH IC at the beginning of the leave. At the resumption of NRSA support, the reappointment must be documented on another Statement of Appointment Form.
An institutional NRSA may be terminated prior to its normal expiration date by NIH if it is found that the recipient has materially failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the award or to carry out the purpose for which it was made. In the event an award is terminated for cause, the IC shall notify the awardee in writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision. An award also may be terminated by NIH at the request of the recipient.
Trainees are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice. Responsibility for direction of the project should not be ascribed to NIH. However, NIH IC support must be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: "This investigation was supported by National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award (number) from the (name of NIH IC)." In addition, HHS funding must be acknowledged as provided in "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Availability of Information—Acknowledgment of Federal Funding."
Except as otherwise provided in the conditions of the award, when publications or similar copyrightable materials are developed from work supported by NIH, the author is free to arrange for copyright without NIH IC approval. Any such copyrighted material shall be subject to a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to the Government to reproduce them, translate them, publish them, use and dispose of them, and to authorize others to do so for Government purposes.
As specified in 45 CFR Part 74 and in 37 CFR 401.1(b), training grants funded by NIH are not subject to invention reporting requirements. NIH has no rights to any inventions or any income resulting from inventions conceived or first actually reduced to practice during the course of a training grant.
NIH policy is to make available to the public the results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds in a timely manner. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the program directors and trainees to make the results and accomplishments of their NRSA institutional training grant activities available to the public. The grantee organization should place no restrictions on the publication of results that would conflict with this policy.
Disposition of Professional Fees
Fees resulting from clinical practice, professional consultation, or other comparable activities performed pursuant to the purpose of the award may not be retained by the trainee. Such fees will be assigned to the grantee organization for disposition in accordance with NIH policy on program income (see "Administrative Requirements—Management Systems and Procedures—Program Income"). The term professional fees does not apply to honoraria, fees for scholarly writing, delivery of occasional outside lectures, or service in an advisory capacity to public or private non-profit organizations. If permitted by organizational policy, these fees may be retained by the awardee.
Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA Molecules
Institutional NRSAs involving use of human subjects must comply with the requirements for their protection (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Requirements Affecting the Rights and Welfare of Individuals as Research Subjects, Patients, or Recipients of Services—Human Subjects." If the applicant organization has an approved Assurance of Compliance on file with Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) but, at the time of application, plans for the involvement of human subjects are so indefinite that Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval are not feasible, the applicant should check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the application. If an award is made, human subjects may not be involved until a certification of IRB approval or designation of exemption has been submitted.
In many instances, trainees supported by institutional NRSAs will be participating in research supported by research project grants for which the IRB review is already completed or an exemption is already designated. This review or exemption designation is sufficient, provided the research would not be substantially modified by the participation of a trainee. The appropriate grants must be identified along with their IRB review dates or exemption designation.
For additional information on human subjects requirements, refer to the PHS-398 or contact OHRP (see Part III for contact information).
Institutional NRSAs involving use of vertebrate animals must comply with the requirements for their protection (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Animal Welfare").
If the applicant organization has an approved Assurance of Compliance on file with OLAW but, at the time of application, plans for the involvement of vertebrate animals are so indefinite that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review and approval are not feasible, the applicant should check "Yes" and insert "Indefinite" on the face page of the application. If an award is made, vertebrate animals may not be involved until verification of the IACUC approval date has been submitted to the NIH IC.
In many instances, trainees supported by institutional training grants will be participating in research supported by research project grants for which the IACUC review is already completed. This review is sufficient, provided the research would not be substantially modified by the participation of a trainee. The appropriate grants must be identified along with their IACUC review dates.
For additional information on vertebrate animals, refer to the PHS-398 or contact OLAW (see Part III).
Recombinant DNA Molecules
Institutional NRSAs involving use of recombinant DNA molecules must comply with the requirements of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving DNA Molecules (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Ethical and Safe Conduct in Science and Organizational Operations—Recombinant DNA Molecules." The Guidelines, available from the Office of Biotechnology Activities, NIH (see Part III), should be consulted for complete requirements for the conduct of projects involving recombinant DNA techniques.