Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Funding Opportunity Title

Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12)

Activity Code

K12 Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA)

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-11-255

Related Notices

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-12-245

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.859

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) Program is to develop a diverse group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists to address the Nation’s biomedical and behavioral research needs. The program promotes consortia between research-intensive institutions (RII) and partner institutions that have a historical mission and a demonstrated commitment to the training, encouragement and assistance to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation. The IRACDA program provides support for a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience at an RII combined with an opportunity to develop the academic skills, including teaching, through workshops and through mentored teaching assignments of postdoctoral fellows at a partner institution. The primary goals of the IRACDA program are to (1) develop a group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue research and teaching careers in academia; and (2) strengthen the overall teaching opportunities at partner institutions, with the expectation that it would further foster the development of the next generation of a diverse pool of scientists who are available to address the NIH’s biomedical and behavioral research needs.

Key Dates
Posted Date

July 24, 2012

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

August 24, 2012

Letter of Intent Due Date

Not Applicable.

Application Due Date(s)

September 24, 2012, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

February-March, 2013

Advisory Council Review

May 2013

Earliest Start Date(s)

July 1, 2013

Expiration Date

September 25, 2012.

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable.

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide including the Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application, 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.

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

Background

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages applications from research-intensive institutions (RIIs) that propose to develop a diverse pool of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue research and teaching careers in academia, and to strengthen the overall teaching and research opportunities at partner institutions which, for the purposes of this FOA, are institutions that have a historical mission and a demonstrated commitment to the training and encouragement of, and assistance to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation (see Section III.1 for details).

NIGMS recognizes the growing need for future faculty who can not only conduct research, but also be effective in the classrooms. While teaching is, in general, the central mission of partner institutions, it is a challenge to enrich the curriculum with the most contemporary research topics and laboratory experiences that faculty members who are actively engaged in research have to offer. Many partner institutions are limited in the number of advanced courses in the biomedical sciences that they are able to offer and, if faculty turnover is low, students have less access to faculty who are steeped in their respective research areas. A separate but contemporary problem is that many new scientists find that the traditional postdoctoral research experience does not give them the best preparation for entering an academic environment in which teaching and other problem-solving skills are essential.

The IRACDA program provides support for a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience at an RII combined with an opportunity to develop the academic skills, including teaching, through workshops and through mentored teaching assignments of postdoctoral fellows at a partner institution.

The mission of NIGMS is to conduct and support research and research training and a critical aspect of this is the development of a highly skilled workforce. There is abundant evidence that the biomedical and educational enterprise will directly benefit from broader inclusion. Recent studies have supported the argument that diversity enhances the quality of education in multiple settings. Studies have suggested that racially and culturally concordant scientific staff may be more successful in recruiting individuals from minority groups into clinical trials. Racially similar physician-patient dyads also may be related to greater patient satisfaction in ways that could enhance communication and participation in clinical research settings. There is no question that the need for a diverse workforce permeates all aspects of the nation's health-related research effort. Although the NIH currently provides multiple opportunities to develop research careers and to improve participation for individuals from groups with low representation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, reports from the National Science Foundation (NSF), (see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/) and others provide strong evidence that diversity remains an important problem that the entire research enterprise must actively address. By promoting educational opportunities available at institutions with track records of successfully attracting underrepresented groups, NIGMS seeks to increase the entry of individuals from these groups into the biomedical research workforce. Accordingly, the teaching experience is to be conducted at institutions that serve groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research (see Section III.1 “Eligible Organizations”) with the expectation that this will further foster the development of the next generation of a diverse pool of scientists who are available to address the nation’s research needs.

Goals and Objectives

The primary goals of the IRACDA program are to (1) develop a group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue research and teaching careers in academia; and (2) strengthen the overall teaching opportunities at partner institutions, with the expectation that it would further foster the development of next generation of a diverse pool of scientists who are available to address the Nation’s biomedical and behavioral research needs. The specific objectives of this initiative are to:

Program Components

The IRACDA Program provides support for the design of a creative and innovative research career development program that combines a traditional mentored research experience at an RII with an opportunity to develop teaching and other academic skills, such as problem solving, communication, time management, and grant writing, as well as opportunities for career development through workshops and through mentored assignments at a partner institution. The program promotes partnership between an RII and partner institution(s), and encourages innovative solutions to the problems of attracting and training postdoctoral candidates in both research and academic skills and of increasing opportunities for students at partner institutions.

The IRACDA Program recognizes that combining research and teaching in a single career development program offers certain challenges. Designing a program that moves a postdoctoral scholar between partners of a consortium offers other challenges. Therefore, the application must provide strong evidence of a solid working relationship among partners of the consortium and must include plans that anticipate and mitigate the challenges. The application should involve all partners in the planning and execution of the various elements of the career development program. The following should be considered and addressed in planning and design of an IRACDA program:

Applicant institutions have wide latitude in the design of the program. However, career development activities, which should last two to four years, must include the following three components:

The Program must have a strong research base, comprised of established scientists who will provide expertise, resources, and mentoring to the IRACDA scholars. The mentored research experience must fall within the scope of the NIGMS mission (http://www.nigms.nih.gov/About/), which is to support research that increases understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. NIGMS-funded researchers seek to answer important scientific questions in fields such as cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics, computational biology, selected aspects of the behavioral sciences and specific cross-cutting clinical areas that affect multiple organ systems. Further details on the NIGMS-supported major research and research training areas can be found at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/About/Overview/.

The applicant institutions have flexibility in program design, including the flexibility in scheduling of research and teaching components. For example, a plan might involve large blocks of time devoted to research separated by a large block of time devoted to teaching (e.g., research for one year, teach for one year, research for one to two years). Alternatively, for institutions in close proximity, the workshops and teaching may represent 3 person-months (25% of full-time professional effort) throughout the award. The program provides support to postdoctoral scholars in their research at RIIs and in teaching assignments at partner institutions.

Applicants must describe the pool of potential candidates and the criteria for selecting the IRACDA scholars. Institutions are encouraged to develop novel mechanisms for recruiting qualified scholars. Such mechanisms must include special efforts to recruit candidates from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

The scholars may be supported full-time on IRACDA funding for up to three years provided their progress toward an independent academic career is on track and satisfactory. Applicants may, and are indeed encouraged to, propose the use of non-IRACDA funds to provide a four-year career development program, with the first or the last three years of support from IRACDA and the remaining one year's support from the mentor or other source(s). The four-year plan might also involve 75% support from IRACDA and 3 person-months (25% of full-time professional effort) from the mentor or other source(s) or any combination thereof spread over the entire four-year period. However, applicants should note that the scholars cannot receive concurrent support from IRACDA and any other PHS award (including the NRSA fellowship) that duplicates the provisions of this career development award.

NIGMS anticipates that the minimum size program would have three fellows per cohort, and it plans to support a maximum of up to 18 positions per year at any given institution. Institutions may also design programs for more than 18 participants, but because of budget constraints, NIGMS will provide support for only a maximum of 18 fellows in a given year and for three years per fellow.

The application must also include appropriate training in the responsible conduct of research (see Section IV.2 for details) and contain a detailed evaluation plan. This plan should be designed to carefully evaluate the effectiveness of various career development components to make sure they meet the overall objectives of the program (see Section IV.2 for details).

The proposed institutional research career development program may complement other, ongoing research training and career development programs at the applicant institution, but the proposed career development experiences must be distinct from those career development programs currently receiving federal support.

The overall goal of the NIH Research Career Development programs is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical and behavioral needs.  More information about Career programs may be found at the NIH Extramural Training Mechanisms website.

Special Requirement: Awardees are required to attend the annual IRACDA Conference. The conference is organized by the grantee institutions on a rotating basis. To defray the cost of organizing the conference, the grantee institution may use grant funds (see exceptions under unallowable costs, Section IV.5), and other institutional and non-institutional resources; NIGMS may also consider a request for supplementary funds, provided it is reasonable and well justified. Program Directors, as well as IRACDA scholars are expected to attend this meeting. These meetings feature keynote presentations by invited guests who are leaders in the areas of science, education, and public policy and administration. The IRACDA scholars are encouraged to present their career development award-supported research to their peers. The conference also provides an opportunity for the Program Directors, program staff, and IRACDA scholars to exchange ideas about the effective teaching pedagogies, talk about common problems and suggest solutions, and interact with their peers and NIGMS staff. Travel costs associated with the annual IRACDA conference may be requested in the budget.

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations, and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect actual needs of the proposed project.

Award Project Period

Scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum period is five years.  

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the career development program may request salary and fringe benefits appropriate for the person months devoted to the program. Salaries requested may not exceed the levels commensurate with the institution's policy for similar positions and may not exceed the congressionally mandated cap. If mentoring interactions and other activities with scholars are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then mentoring and other interactions with scholars are non-reimbursable from grant funds.

Limited program-related administrative and clerical salary costs associated distinctly with the program that are not normally provided by the applicant organization may be direct charges to the grant only when they are in accordance with applicable cost principles.  For institutions covered by OMB Circular A-21, this type of career development program may qualify as a “major project” where administrative salaries are allowable as a direct cost.  When specifically identified and justified, these expenses must be itemized in Sections A and B, as appropriate, of the R&R Budget. 

Salary support for the PD/PI/co-Investigators (or combination of multiple PDs/PIs/co-Investigators) is limited to up to 1.2 person months (i.e., 10% on a 12-month basis), depending on person months devoted to the administration of the program.

The total salary support for other administrative personnel (e.g., program administrator/program coordinator and/or program assistant) at the RII is limited to up to 6.0 person months (i.e., 50% on a 12-month basis), depending on person months devoted to the administration of the program. 

Salary support for a Program Coordinator at the partner institution is allowed; this support is limited to up to 0.6 person months (i.e., a total of 5% on a 12-month basis) per partner institution, depending on the number of fellows mentored at the partner institution and person months devoted to the coordination of the program. The application must identify the program coordinator(s) (include their biographical sketches), and their duties and responsibilities must be well described in the budget justification.

Salary support for the teaching mentor(s) at the partner institution is limited to up to 2.4 person months (i.e., a total of 20% on a 12-month basis) per partner institution, depending on the number of fellows mentored and person months devoted to the mentoring activities. The application must identify the teaching mentor(s) (include their biographical sketches), and their duties and responsibilities must be well described in the budget justification.

Participant Costs

Scholars are those individuals who benefit from the proposed activities and experiences involved in the career development program. Scholar costs must be justified as specifically required for the proposed career development program and based on institutional policies for salaries paid to individuals in similar positions, regardless of the source of funds. These expenses must be itemized in the proposed budget in Section B (scholar salaries).

The budget request for scholars cost may include salary/wages and fringe benefits to support full-time effort of the IRACDA scholars. The total salary requested for each scholar must be based on a full-time, 12-month staff appointment. The applicants should use their institutional salary scale that is consistent both with the established salary structure at the applicant 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. Salaries and fringe benefits for planned effort less than full time must be pro-rated accordingly in the application.

The application should clearly indicate the number of IRACDA appointments proposed for each year. The scholars may be supported on IRACDA funding for up to three years provided their progress towards an independent academic career is on track and satisfactory.

Other Program Related Expenses

Consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel for key persons, and other program-related expenses may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution. The program-related expenses must be itemized in Sections C, D, and F, as appropriate.

Costs of academic skills development workshops (e.g., problem-solving, communication, time management, and grant-writing) are allowed, but these costs must be reasonable and well justified.

Costs of tuition remission and fees related to the career development of IRACDA scholars, research supplies (up to $5,000/scholar/year), and scholars’ travel (up to $2,500/fellow/year) to one training or national scientific meeting per year in addition to the annual IRACDA Conference may be requested.

Funds may also be requested for supplies and small equipment necessary for developing and teaching courses at the partner institution(s).

Cost for evaluation of the program is allowed; however, if the evaluator is an employee of an institution within the consortium, the cost must be included in the category of key personnel salary (effort listed in person months).

Travel expenses are also allowed for the program staff [PD(s), program administrator(s), and program coordinators(s)] to attend the annual IRACDA Conference and should be included in the budget.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees and expenditures for equipment, and consortiums in excess of $25,000), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

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

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

An IRACDA program involves a consortium of multiple institutions. The lead applicant institution must be an RII, and it must serve as the primary site of the postdoctoral research experience.

The consortium must include one or more partners that are institutions which, for the purposes of this FOA, are defined as public or private nonprofit universities, two-year or four-year colleges or universities, offering associate and/or baccalaureate degrees with a historical mission and a demonstrated commitment to the training and encouragement of, and assistance to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation. Nationally, underrepresented groups in the biomedical and behavioral sciences include: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, and individuals with disabilities (see Background Section and reports from the National Science Foundation (NSF) at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/).

The sponsoring institution must assure support for the proposed program. Appropriate institutional commitment to the program includes the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned program.

The applicant institution must have a strong and high quality research program in the area(s) proposed under this FOA and must have the requisite faculty and facilities on site to conduct the proposed institutional program. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed program will complement other ongoing career development programs occurring at the applicant institution and that a substantial number of program faculty will have active research projects in which participating scholars may gain relevant experiences consistent with their research interests and goals. Institutions with existing programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how their programs will synergize with one another, if applicable, and make it clear that the pool of faculty, potential scholars, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs.

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 not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations.

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s)) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application due date.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) 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 organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PD(s)/PI(s), visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required.

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

Only one application per institution is allowed.

NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial peer review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. Resubmission applications may be submitted, according to the NIH Policy on Resubmission Applications from the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

An institution may only hold one IRACDA grant award.

This institutional research career development program (K12) may not be transferred from one institution to another.

Mentors

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as mentors. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed program. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the award. Faculty research mentors at the applicant institution must have active, externally funded research projects relevant to the mission of NIGMS, and track records in mentoring and training students and postdoctoral researchers. The mentors do not receive support for their salaries or fringe benefits from the career development award. Mentors may be added as appropriate to the roster of an ongoing funded IRACDA program without prior NIGMS approval.

Teaching mentors from the partner institution(s) must have a strong record of teaching. They are expected to facilitate the postdoctoral fellows’ adjustment to the academic environment of the partner institution and provide guidance and mentoring on teaching skills as well as teaching-related challenges and opportunities at the partner institution.

Participants

Scholars to be supported by the institutional career development program must be at the career level for which the planned program is intended. IRACDA scholars are expected to devote approximately 9 person-months (75% of full-time professional effort) to the mentored research and the remaining 3 person-months (25% of full-time professional effort) to the mentored teaching during their appointment on the K12 award.

By the time of appointment, each scholar 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). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

Details on citizenship requirements are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Postdoctoral scholars must have received, as of the beginning date of the IRACDA appointment, a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Documentation by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution certifying all degree requirements have been met prior to the beginning date of the training appointment is acceptable.

Candidates must be committed to research and have the potential to develop as independent researchers.

It is the responsibility of the applicant institution to establish the qualifications of candidates prior to their appointment in the IRACDA Program.

Institutions with an IRACDA program may recruit and select candidates directly into their programs rather than submitting a separate application on behalf of each prospective candidate. The candidates need not be identified at the time the application is submitted.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide 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.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory and optional.  Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for submission of applications for this FOA. Follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Page Limitations

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

SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component

Follow all instructions provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), with the following modifications:

Substitute all references to “trainees” in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide with “scholars” and all references to “training” in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide with “career development”.

Project Summary /Abstract

Provide an abstract of the entire application, including the long-term goals and objectives of the program. Include the rationale and design of the program, the planned duration of the program and the projected number of scholars, including their levels (i.e., predoctoral, postdoctoral).

The filename provided for each “Other Attachment” will be the name used for the bookmark in the electronic application in eRA Commons.

Research and Related (R&R) Budget Component

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

PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan

All Supplemental Instructions to the SF424 (R&R) for Preparing Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Application must be followed, with the additional instructions described below:

The Program Plan in an IRACDA application consists of Background, Program Administration, Program Faculty, Proposed Training (Career Development), Program Evaluation, Trainee (Scholar) Candidates, and Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program. For renewal applications, it also includes the Progress Report from the previous funding cycle(s). The Program Plan section in the IRACDA application may not exceed 25 pages, including tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts.  Applicants should note that the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity is also part of this 25 page limit.

NIGMS encourages the use of selected “Training Tables” associated with the SF424 (such as 2, 4, 5B, 6B, 11, and 12B). The use of NRSA tables is OUTSIDE of the 25 page limit. Specifically, the NRSA tables are a separate attachment, and the applicant is advised to consult the applicable SF 424 guidelines (see Section 8.7, item # 13) on attachment of "Data Tables."

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, and the biographical sketches are not subject to the 25-page limit. 

Program Administration (Component of Program Plan)

Describe the strengths, leadership and administrative skills, and scientific expertise of the Training PD/PI. Include the planned strategy and administrative structure to be used to oversee and monitor the program. For applications with multiple PDs/PIs, address the Leadership Plan and how the combined knowledge, skills and experience of the individual PDs/PIs will enhance the likelihood of success of the program. When a program administrator position is planned, a description of the scientific expertise, leadership, and administrative capabilities essential to coordinate a program for developing investigators must be included in the application.

Program Faculty (Component of Program Plan)

Describe in general terms the complementary expertise and experiences of the proposed mentors. Provide an overview of their active research and other scholarly activities, as well as track records of mentoring and training.

Proposed Training (Component of Program Plan)

Provide an overview of the proposed program: Describe the immediate and long-term objectives of the program, including activities that will be used to ensure that the objectives of the program are met. Include information about planned courses, curricula, seminars, workshops, or tutorials that will be incorporated into the training program and mentored research experiences and activities. Institutions with existing training or career development programs must explain what distinguishes this program from the others, how the programs will synergize, if applicable, and justify that the faculty, pool of potential scholars, and resources are robust enough to support additional programs. The description should include planned strategies to be used to ensure that the objectives are met. The PD/PI should also describe past research career development activities/experiences including those of mentors, documenting the success of former scholars in establishing independent productive scientific careers. Programs should provide all postdoctoral scholars with additional professional development skills and career guidance including instruction and training in grant writing in order to apply successfully for future fellowships as eligible and career development and independent research support. All postdoctoral scholars should also be provided with instruction in laboratory and project management. 

Program Evaluation (Component of Program Plan)

Describe an evaluation plan to review and determine the effectiveness of the program. This should include plans to obtain feedback from current and former scholars to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for program improvements, as well as plans for assessing scholars’ career development and progression, including metrics such as degree completion (if applicable), publications, and subsequent positions. Specified evaluation metrics should be tied to the goals of the program. Evaluation results should be included in future competing continuation (renewal) applications and in the Final Progress Report.

Scholar Candidates (Component of Program Plan)

Describe in general terms the pool of potential candidates including information about the types of prior clinical and research training and the expected career level required for the program. Do not name prospective scholars. Describe plans to recruit candidates and explain how these plans will be implemented (see also section on Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity). Describe the evaluation criteria to be used in the selection of scholars. Provide brief summaries of training plans that the program will employ. The application should contain a description of how training plans will be tailored to the needs of the prospective candidates, taking into account their past experiences and competences.

Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program (Component of Program Plan)

The application must include a statement from the applicant institution describing the commitment to the planned program. The institution must assure that essential time will be allowed for the PD(s)/PI(s), other faculty and mentors, and the required protected time for scholars selected for the program.

Additional Instructions

Applicants should note that the additional instructions provided below are part of the Program Plan section, and responses to these instructions are considered part of the Program Plan section. This section may not exceed 25 pages. 

Background

Provide the rationale for the proposed research career development program, relevant background history and the current state of working relationship among partners of the consortium, and the need for the research career development proposed. Indicate how the proposed program relates to current career development activities at the applicant institution.

Proposed Training

The application must identify the potential faculty research mentors (include the biographical sketches of a representative group of 10-20 mentors, depending on the size of the program) and include a list of currently funded research for each proposed mentor. Provide the name of up to five current or former students or fellows that each faculty member has trained, with dates (month/year), where trained, title of project, academic level, and present position and institution. Note that Table 5B may be used for this purpose.

The application must describe the teaching training, how the teaching mentors will be assigned to and interact with the scholars, what courses are accessible to the scholars, what courses the partner institution(s) now offers and what it would like to offer, and how the scholars will contribute to the teaching mission of the partner institution(s). The application must also identify the teaching mentor(s), and describe their qualifications and experiences. Include the biographical sketches of a representative group of teaching mentors.

Describe the plan for enhancing other academic skills, including problem solving, communication, time management, grant writing, and leadership skills, as well as career development of the potential scholars.

Progress Report

For renewal applications only, provide brief summaries of the goals and objectives stated in the previous application, and the program's overall accomplishments in preparing scholars for careers as independent investigators who pursue research and teaching careers in academia. Applications with more than one previous funding cycle must provide information on scholars for the previous ten years. The progress report must contain information on scholars’ research and teaching skills acquired, publications, honors and awards, teaching experiences, and other relevant professional activities. Include information on the career outcomes of all scholars who have entered your program over the course of the award. Include measures of success consistent with the nature and duration of the training period, and additional information helpful in evaluating the impact of your program. NIGMS encourages the use of selected “Training Tables” associated with the SF424 (such as 6B, 11, and 12B).

Provide a summary of scholars’ career progress and outcomes, including:

Describe the overall program impact on:

The progress report must include the list of appointed (program-supported) scholars; and the current career status (e.g., faculty position at RII, liberal arts or partner institution; research in industry or government; and administration).

Describe what has been learned through the program evaluation and what has been added, modified or deleted as a result of program evaluation. If no changes resulted, so indicate.

Describe any previously funded IRACDA activities that are now continuing (or will continue) on institutional funds. If none, so indicate.

Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as provided in Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

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.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications via 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.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application 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.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. 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 allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Unallowable Costs

Unallowable costs include: (a) stipends (as opposed to salaries) for IRACDA scholars; (b) salary/compensation for the research mentors; (c) direct support of the mentors' laboratories; (d) compensation of administrative personnel normally paid from institutional overhead charges; (e) administrative activities such as public relations; (f) travel of the Principal Investigator(s), Program Director(s), Program Coordinator(s), other program staff or mentors to scientific meetings (other than the annual IRACDA program meeting); or (g) costs of clinical care, alterations and renovations.

IRACDA scholars may not accept or hold any other PHS award that duplicates the provisions of this career development award.

Carryover of Unobligated Balances

Carryover of funds from one fiscal year to the next, and the rebudgeting of scholar salary to the program administration/consultant cost line items is NOT allowed without prior written approval by the NIGMS program and grants management staff.  Requests for such carryovers and/or rebudgeting with strong justification are considered on case by case basis, and approvals are granted only in extenuating circumstances.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF 424 (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.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF 424(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 Central Contractor Registration (CCR). 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 by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.

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.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the program to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

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.

Career Development Program and Environment

Does the proposed program clearly outline a plan to recruit and develop well-qualified postdoctoral fellows, including fellows from underrepresented groups, for successful careers as biomedical or behavioral researchers? Are the content and duration of any proposed didactic, training-related, and research-related activities of the program appropriate? Are appropriate timelines indicated for career progression and transition to independence? Does the institutional environment (e.g., research facilities and other relevant resources) in which the program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposed career development program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is the institutional commitment to the proposed program appropriate? Is there evidence of a functional partnership, with commitment and involvement in planning on the part of all partners as well as strengths of the efforts of the partner institution(s), to foster the professional development of the postdoctoral scholars in the biomedical and behavioral sciences? Is there sufficient assurance that the required effort of the PD/PI, mentors and scholars will be devoted directly to the research training, career development, and related activities? In what ways does the proposed program provide substantial benefit to the partner institution(s) and its students?

Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s))

Do the PD/PI and Research Administrator (if applicable) have the experience to develop, direct and administer the proposed program?  Does the leadership team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the program? Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure program objectives? Are the research qualifications, scientific stature, previous leadership and mentoring experience, and track record(s) appropriate for the proposed career development program? Are the PD(s)/PI(s) currently engaged in research relevant to the scientific area of the proposed program? Does the program coordinator(s) have the experience and stature to effectively coordinate the mentored teaching component of the program at the respective partner institution(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD(s)/PI(s), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Mentors

Do the mentors have expertise and experience, as well as track records of past mentoring and training? Are the quality and extent of the mentors’ roles in providing guidance and scientific advice to the scholars acceptable? Are the mentors currently engaged in relevant research? Are the qualifications and experiences of the proposed teaching faculty mentor(s) appropriate?

Candidate Scholars

What is the quality of plans to identify, recruit, and select a diverse group of candidates, with a commitment to research relevant to the mission of the NIGMS, the potential to develop as independent researchers, and commitment to pursue an academic career? Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies likely to attract high quality scholar candidates? Is there evidence of a sufficiently large, competitive scholar pool to warrant the proposed size of career development program? Is there an appropriate plan for the content, the phasing, and the proposed duration of the career development plan for achieving scientific independence for the prospective candidates? How useful is the research plan as a vehicle for ensuring research training for all scholars as described in the career development plan? What is the likelihood that the career development plan will contribute significantly to the scientific development of the scholars?

Training Record

Is there evidence of a successful past training record of the PD(s)/PI(s) and faculty research mentors? What are the quality, overall impact, and effectiveness of this program in developing postdoctoral scholars as independent investigators who pursue research and teaching careers in academia? Is there evidence of measurable benefits to partner institution(s)?

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/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

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

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

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

Vertebrate Animals

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

Biohazards

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

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

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period(s), including on the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  Does the application describe the program’s accomplishments over the past funding period(s)?  Has the career development program successfully achieved its stated goals and objectives during the prior project period(s)? Are changes proposed that would improve or strengthen the career development experience? Has the research career development program successfully recruited a diverse pool of scholars? Is there evidence of a successful past training record of the PD/PI and mentors, including the success of former scholars in seeking independent support and establishing productive scientific careers? What has been the program impact on: a) developing courses/labs and curricula at the partner institution(s); b) increase in faculty collaborations in research; and c) increase in the pool of well-qualified underrepresented students from the partner institution(s) who conducted research at the RII, and who pursued research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

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

Recruitment & Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

Peer reviewers will separately evaluate the recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity after the overall score has been determined. Reviewers will examine the strategies to be used in the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups. The review panel’s evaluation will be included in an administrative note in the summary statement. Plans and past record will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Taking into account the specific characteristics of the career development program, level of scholar experience, and the particular circumstances of the scholars, the reviewers will address the following questions.  Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures, coursework and/or real-time discussion groups?  Do plans include a sufficiently broad selection of subject matter, such as conflict of interest, authorship, data management, human subjects and animal use, laboratory safety?  Do the plans adequately describe how faculty will participate in the instruction?  Does the plan meet the minimum requirements for RCR, i.e., eight contact hours of instruction 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.

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).

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 NIGMS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Review assignments will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines 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 General Medical Sciences Council.

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

For renewal applications: Past performance of the program in achieving its goals and objectives during the prior project period(s) is weighted heavily in making funding decisions.

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

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 the DUNS, CCR Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants 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.

Termination of Award

When a grantee institution plans to terminate an award, program and grants management staff at the NIH funding component must be notified in writing as soon as possible.

Change of Institution

The institutional career development program may not be transferred from one institution to another.

Change of Program

Awards are made for a specific program under the guidance and leadership of a particular PD/PI. A change in any of these parameters requires prior approval by the responsible program officer in the NIH funding component.  A rationale must be provided for any proposed changes in the aims of the original, peer-reviewed program.  If the new program does not satisfy this requirement, the award will be terminated.

Change of PD/PI

If change of the PD/PI is necessary, support of the award is not automatic but may be continued with prior written approval by the NIH funding component, provided that the following conditions are met.  The current PD/PI or the grantee institution must submit a written request for the change, signed by the appropriate institutional business official and the proposed PD/PI, to the responsible program officer at NIGMS that describes the reasons for the change. The Biographical Sketch of the proposed PD/PI, including a complete listing of active research/training and student development grant support, must be provided. The information in the request must establish that the goals of the original peer-reviewed institutional career development program will remain unchanged under the direction of the new PD/PI and that the new PD/PI has the appropriate research and administrative expertise to lead the program. This request must be submitted sufficiently in advance of the requested effective date to allow the necessary time for review

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable.

3. Reporting

The Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) and financial statements as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement are required annually. Continuation support will not be provided until the required forms are submitted and accepted. Chapter 8 of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, must be followed.

Failure by the grantee institution to submit required forms in a timely, complete, and accurate manner may result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding for the award.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Other Reporting Requirements

Additional Instructions for K-12 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report

The Progress Report should provide information on the development and implementation of the proposed career development program, any modifications to the career development program as originally proposed, and details about the applicant pool and the participating scholars, including their career level(s), gender, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. An overview of each scholar's research accomplishments and goals for the coming year should be clearly stated. The following are examples of what should be included in the annual progress report:

Describe what has been learned through the program evaluation and any changes made in the program as a result of the evaluation.

The narrative part is limited to up to five pages, and numerical and other data, including scholars' publications, may be presented in tabular form (tables and figures are not counted in the five-page limit).

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Evaluation results should be included as part of the final Progress Report.

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

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

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

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone 301-435-0714
TTY 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Shiva P. Singh, Ph.D.
Acting Chief, Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training Branch
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
Building 45, Room 2As.37
45 Center Drive, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-3900
Fax: (301) 480-2753
Email: singhs@nigms.nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Helen R. Sunshine, Ph.D.
Chief, Office of Scientific Review
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
Building 45, Room 3AN.12
45 Center Drive, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 594-2881
Fax: (301) 480-8506
Email: sunshinh@nigms.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Lori Burge
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH
Building 45, Room 2AN.50A 
45 Center Drive, MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Telephone: (301) 451-3781
Fax: (301) 480-2554
Email: burgel@nigms.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 Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.


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