NIH – National Institute of General Medical Sciences Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32)

October 13, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Through this funding announcement, NIGMS intends to encourage changes in biomedical graduate training to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the research enterprise that is increasingly complex, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. As the scientific enterprise has expanded, there is greater  variation in the backgrounds of people participating, approaches taken to investigate research questions, and the range of the careers in the biomedical research workforce that Ph.D. recipients are pursuing. There is also an increasing recognition of the need to enhance reproducibility of biomedical research results through scientific rigor and transparency. This FOA is intended to enable the scientific community to develop and implement evidence-based approaches to biomedical research training and mentoring that will effectively train future generations of outstanding biomedical scientists.

Each funded program should provide high-quality research training, mentored research experiences, and additional opportunities that equip trainees with the technical, operational and professional skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce. The intention is not to layer additional activities onto existing structures; instead, this FOA is designed to allow for creative approaches to biomedical graduate training that preserve the best elements of current programs, while enhancing the focus on the development of trainee skills.

The Overarching Objective of the NIGMS Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) program is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained scientists who have the following:

  • A broad understanding across biomedical disciplines and the skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their chosen field;
  • The ability to think critically, independently and to identify important biomedical research questions and approaches that push forward the boundaries of their areas of study;
  • A strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, as well as data analysis and interpretation;
  • A commitment to approaching and conducting biomedical research responsibly and with integrity;
  • Experience initiating, conducting, interpreting, and presenting rigorous and reproducible biomedical research with increasing self-direction;
  • The ability to work effectively in teams with colleagues from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds, and to promote inclusive and supportive scientific research environments;
  • The skills to teach and communicate scientific research methodologies and findings to a wide variety of audiences (e.g., discipline-specific, across disciplines, and the public); and
  • The knowledge, professional skills and experiences required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce (i.e., the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).

Because diversity at all levels is integral to research and training excellence, this FOA is intended to support outstanding research training environments that focus on all trainees and enhance diversity in the biomedical enterprise by paying particular attention to groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, NOT-OD-15-053.

Program Considerations

NIGMS will accept predoctoral training grant applications in a broad range of basic biomedical sciences (integrated medical and graduate research training through the Medical Scientist Training Program is not supported on this FOA).  NIGMS also will accept applications for cross-disciplinary training programs that do not fit within the defined areas, but that support research training in areas of biomedical science that are within the NIGMS mission.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to read information about NIGMS Institutional Predoctoral Training Grants found on the NIGMS website and to contact program staff before submitting an application. Except for Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) applications, all NIGMS predoctoral T32 applications submitted after the January 2018 receipt date must follow the guidelines in this FOA.

Applicants are expected to identify training needs and objectives (i.e., specific measurable outcomes the program intends to achieve), and develop plans to implement evidence-based training activities that are grounded in the literature and from evaluations of existing relevant graduate programs.  Funded training programs must ensure that trainees have a solid foundation in methods to enhance data reproducibility through rigor and transparency. Applicants are encouraged to consult the NIGMS clearinghouse for training modules to enhance data reproducibility, and other resources when developing the plans. Funded programs are expected to implement robust plans to enhance diversity and to promote inclusive research environments (i.e., institutional and departmental environments where trainees from all backgrounds feel integrated into and supported by the biomedical community). Additionally, funded programs should implement plans to enhance trainee retention (i.e., to sustain the scientific interests and participation of trainees from all backgrounds).  Funded programs are expected to provide evidence of accomplishing the training objectives in progress reports and upon renewal, to make training and career outcomes publicly available, and are strongly encouraged to disseminate successful training practices to the broader training community.

Institutional commitment and support for the proposed training program are important elements of the application. The research training program may complement and synergize with other ongoing federally-supported predoctoral research training programs at the applicant institution (e.g., in the development of skills needed for careers in the biomedical research workforce that are not discipline-specific); however, the scientific training goals must be distinct from related programs at the same institution currently receiving federal support. In cases where an institution has multiple NIGMS predoctoral training grants, it is expected that these programs will seek to create administrative and training efficiencies to reduce costs and improve trainee services and outcomes. The training grant should be well integrated within one or more graduate department(s)/program(s) and should exert a strong, positive influence on the development and execution of the graduate curriculum, training opportunities and mentoring. Training grant funds may not be used solely as a vehicle to provide stipends for trainees to conduct research.

NIGMS does not accept applications for predoctoral T32 programs proposing only short-term research training. Programs proposing short-term research training should apply to the Kirschstein-NRSA Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant Program (T35) exclusively reserved for predoctoral, short-term research training (see PA-16-151 and subsequent reissuances).  NIGMS will not accept applications proposing combined predoctoral and postdoctoral training under this FOA.

Training grants are usually awarded for 5 years. The grant offsets the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH support levels. Students are typically provided full-time support for 1-2 years of graduate studies. Use of training grant support in the first three years of graduate research training is strongly encouraged to provide maximum flexibility in the participation in courses, laboratory rotations, and professional development activities.

For applicants that currently have an NIGMS institutional predoctoral training program in a specific area, NIGMS recommends that applicants plan to submit an application under this FOA at least one- to one-and-a-half years before the current grant is scheduled to terminate. For example, if the current grant is scheduled to terminate on June 30, 2020, applicants are advised to submit an application under this FOA no later than May 25, 2019. Please consult the NIGMS website for more information on Predoctoral Training Grant Application Deadlines.

Deadlines:  Standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities