Revised Instructions for Predoctoral T32 Applicants

Are you applying for the NIGMS Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) – PAR-17-341? If so, it’s important you note revisions to our FOA instructions that clarify application requirements. We have also added a new requirement concerning institutional responsibilities related to harassment. We encourage you to read the full NIH Guide notice, published on August 23, 2018. Key points include:

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Early Notice: Concept Clearance for the Reorganization of Undergraduate and Graduate Programs to Enhance Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce

NIGMS has a longstanding commitment to developing a diverse pool of biomedical scientists through a variety of institutional training and student development programs. Based on stakeholders’ feedback through Requests for Information (NOT-GM-15-108; NOT-GM-17-017), as well as extensive analyses and discussions with NIH staff and the community, we intend to make adjustments to our programs designed to enhance the diversity in the biomedical research workforce. The modifications, which the NIGMS Council recently approved, are designed to: 1) provide equity of trainee support across programs; 2) prevent programmatic overlap; 3) align the funding strategies with the programmatic goals; 4) tailor expectation of outcomes, support mechanisms, and review considerations according to the institution’s level of research activity; and 5) strengthen our ability to evaluate the success of the programs. The changes, described in more detail in the recent Videocast of the Council Open Session, will impact the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program, and the Maximizing Access to Research Careers – Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) programs. We don’t anticipate any immediate changes to our Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). Possible adjustments to the Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate programs are currently under discussion.

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Webinar for Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program Applicants

UPDATE: The slides [PDF, 1.2MB] and video Link to external web site from the Webinar for Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program Applicants have been posted.

We’re hosting a webinar for students and fellows interested in the PRAT Program for the October 3 receipt date:

Wednesday, June 20, 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

PRAT is a competitive three-year fellowship program that prepares trainees for leadership positions in biomedical careers. Training includes a mentored laboratory research experience and intensive career and leadership development activities. PRAT fellows conduct research in laboratories in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) in basic biomedical research areas within the NIGMS mission. These areas include, but are not limited to, biological chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, computational biosciences, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, and technology development.

Applicants can be graduate students considering postdoctoral research opportunities or fellows with no more than two years of postdoctoral research experience by the time of appointment to the PRAT program (late summer 2019). All applications require connecting with an investigator in the NIH IRP in advance of writing the application.

To access the webinar, visit the WebEx meeting page (no longer available) and enter the meeting number (access code) 625 876 209 and the password MjRSPSrH. You can also attend by phone by calling 650-479-3208. Slides will be posted on the PRAT website following the event.

NIGMS Staff and PRAT Fellows Participating in June 20 Webinar:

Kenneth Gibbs, Director, PRAT Program
Mercedes Rubio, Program Officer, PRAT Program
Amy Elliott, PRAT Fellow
Sam Golden, PRAT Fellow
Laura Corrales-Diaz Pomatto, PRAT Fellow

We look forward to talking with you about the PRAT Program.

Funding Opportunity: Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study Coordination Center

NIGMS requests applications in support of a Coordination Center (RFA-GM-18-003) for our Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) program. The MIDAS network of researchers shares models, data sets, and tools to study the spread of infectious disease and possible intervention strategies. The network consists of researchers funded by MIDAS research (R01) grants as well as other interested researchers. It is hoped that the output of the research conducted by the MIDAS network will improve our ability to predict the course of infectious disease outbreaks and model the outcomes of proposed interventions.

MIDAS modelers rely on large data sets and robust computational resources. The MIDAS Coordination Center will serve as a hub for storing these resources. More importantly, the Coordination Center will improve the usability of the MIDAS resources, host educational activities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and coordinate MIDAS-related meetings.

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Administrative Supplements to Add Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias

NIGMS, along with other NIH Institutes and Centers, has partnered with the National Institute on Aging to grow the community of scientists actively engaged in research focused on Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (AD/ADRD). Details of this year’s AD/ADRD supplement program are provided in NIA’s Notice NOT-AG-18-008. If your research, research training, or research capacity-building grant is not currently focused on AD/ADRD and you have an inspiring new idea of potential value to the field that is within the scope of the funded Specific Aims of your current award, please consider this opportunity.

Research related to AD/ADRD might fall within the scope of an already-funded NIGMS award originally focused on, for example, an enzyme, transporter, or metabolic pathway being studied for its basic biological or physiological role (or a non-AD/ADRD-related medical condition) if you have recognized an exciting new implication for AD-type pathologies or their treatment. Funded projects developing analytical methods, tools or technologies, drug molecules, or drug delivery systems not previously intended for application to AD/ADRD might now appear to have potential in this area. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their program director to discuss their ideas for AD/ADRD research and how those relate to the Specific Aims currently funded. Decisions about scope are strictly the purview of NIH. Center and Resource grants that allow non-specified pilot projects should consider adding AD/ADRD projects if interest and expertise exist.
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Administrative Supplements for NIGMS Predoctoral T32 Grants to Develop Curricular and Training Activities

To continue our efforts to catalyze the modernization of biomedical graduate education, we invite eligible NIGMS-funded T32 predoctoral training programs to submit administrative supplement requests to develop new curricular and training activities to enhance the program’s ability to: 1) provide graduate trainees with a strong foundation in research design and methods in areas related to conducting rigorous and transparent research to enhance reproducibility (PA-18-756); 2) prepare students for diverse careers in the biomedical research workforce (PA-18-757); 3) develop the knowledge and skills of trainees to enhance laboratory safety (PA-18-758); and 4) develop the technical, operational, and professional skills of predoctoral biomedical researchers (PA-18-759).

Grantees should consider the following before applying:

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Webinar for NRMN Coordination Center and NRMN Resource Center Applicants

UPDATE: The slides [PDF, 671KB] from the Webinar for NRMN Program Applicants have been posted.

If you’re preparing a grant application for either the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Coordination Center (U24) or the NRMN Resource Center (U24) for the June 11 receipt date, don’t miss our upcoming webinar:

Monday, April 30, 1:00 p.m. ET

During the webinar, we’ll provide an overview of the NRMN Coordination Center and the NRMN Resource Center funding announcements and answer your questions. You may send questions before the webinar or post them in the chat box during the event.

To access the webinar, visit the WebEx Meeting page (link no longer available) and enter the meeting number (access code) 622 059 858 and the password PxH2Dy3Q. If you are unable to attend online, you can call 1-650-479-3208 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and enter the meeting number above.

We look forward to talking to you.

Webinar for NRMN: The Science of Mentoring, Networking, and Navigating Career Transition Points Grant Applicants

UPDATE: The slides [PDF, 719KB] from the Webinar for NRMN Program Applicants have been posted. 

If you’re preparing a National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN): The Science of Mentoring, Networking, and Navigating Career Transition Points (U01) grant application for the June 11 receipt date, don’t miss our upcoming webinar:

Monday, April 23, 1:30 p.m. ET

During the webinar, we’ll provide an overview of the NRMN: The Science of Mentoring, Networking, and Navigating Career Transition Points (U01) announcement and answer your questions. You may send questions before the webinar or post them in the chat box during the event.

To access the webinar, visit the WebEx Meeting page (link no longer available) and enter the meeting number (access code) 628 857 139 and the password WCkku5qx. If you are unable to attend online, you can call 1-650-479-3208 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and enter the meeting number above.

We look forward to talking to you.

NIGMS Administrative Supplements for Equipment

UPDATE: For additional information, see the Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements for Equipment Purchases for NIGMS Awardees, NOT-GM-18-022. Applications are due May 31.

NIGMS is offering administrative supplements of between $50,000 and $250,000 for the well-justified purchase of single pieces of equipment. In past years, we issued separate funding announcements (PA-15-089 and PA-16-125) for this purpose. This year, however, we will accept requests for equipment supplements from Principal Investigators (PIs) who hold NIGMS R01, R35, R37, or R15 awards under PA-18-591, Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional).

Eligible investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss potential requests with their program directors before submitting applications. Two or more NIGMS grantees at the same institution may submit separate but cross-referenced requests, where the funds requested reflect the actual proportion of the time that the shared equipment would be used by each PI. However, under no circumstances may a joint request exceed $400,000 in direct costs. The requested supplemental budget cannot exceed the total year direct cost amount of the parent award. PIs may not request future year funds. NIGMS strongly encourages investigators to seek matching funds from their institutions or elsewhere, and to ensure that follow-up expenses (such as maintenance contracts) will be covered from other available funds. Institutional contributions and commitment will be factored into funding decisions.

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Reviewers Will Be Ready for the New Predoctoral T32 FOA

The first receipt date for predoctoral T32 applications in response to NIGMS Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PAR-17-341 is fast approaching—May 25, 2018. While a wealth of information is already available regarding the intent and requirements of this new FOA, including on our NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Grants website and a recent Feedback Loop post, we want to reassure prospective applicants that we are also actively preparing for the review of these applications.

All predoctoral T32 applications submitted to NIGMS are currently reviewed by two in-house standing review committees, TWD-A and TWD-B, and this will continue for applications submitted under the new FOA. However, we are mindful that reviewing these applications requires different expectations and considerations, and that reviewers must accordingly be prepared for them. To this end, scientific review officers in our Office of Scientific Review are working closely with program staff in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity to revise the materials and resources currently used to orient review committee members to ensure they understand and address the new review criteria appropriately. We are also exploring options to add expertise to the committees in aspects of the FOA that may be less familiar to reviewers, such as program evaluation, evidence-based approaches to teaching and mentoring, and non-academic career development. In addition, we are considering ways to bring the perspectives of community members who educate and mentor undergraduate students who go on to pursue Ph.D.s in biomedical fields, as well as of those who employ graduates of NIGMS-funded Ph.D. programs, such as representatives from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. And of course, NIGMS review and program staff are available at each step, including during the review meetings, to provide guidance and reminders.
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