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 Mental Health (NIMH)

Funding Opportunity Title

NIMH Mentoring Networks for Mental Health Research Education (R25)

Activity Code

R25 Education Projects

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-10-267

Related Notices

  • June 4, 2014 - Notice NOT-14-074 supersedes instructions in Section III.3 regarding applications that are essentially the same.
  • May 30, 2013 (NOT-OD-13-074) - NIH to Require Use of Updated Electronic Application Forms for Due Dates on or after September 25, 2013. Forms-C applications are required for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.
  • August 28, 2012 - See Issuance of PAR-12-273, NIMH Research Education Mentoring Programs for HIV/AIDS Researchers (R25).

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-12-264

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-12-262, R25 Education Projects
PAR-12-263, R25 Education Projects
PAR-11-002, R25 Education Projects

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

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

93.242 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) encourages Research Education Grant (R25) applications from Institutions/Organizations that propose to develop, implement and evaluate creative, innovative, and state-of-the-art mentoring networks that will facilitate the development of a skilled cadre of investigators in requisite scientific research areas to advance the objectives of the NIMH Strategic Plan (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml).  This funding opportunity is limited to applications proposing mentoring networks for individuals who are graduate/medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral participants, and/or early-career faculty. Networks may be national, regional or local.  However, all proposed networks should provide significant new opportunities, and should comprise efforts substantially beyond any ongoing mentoring, networking or research education within academic programs, institutions, or pre-existing networks or educational collaborations among institutions.  These networks are expected to enhance the professional development of the participants and to foster their career trajectory towards independent mental health research. For a similar HIV/AIDS-related, NIMH research education program FOA, see PAR-11-002).

Key Dates
Posted Date

August 10, 2012

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

August 25, 2012

Letter of Intent Due Date

30 days before the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

September 25,  2012, September 25,  2013, September 25,  2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review

February/March 2013, February/March 2014, February/March 2015

Advisory Council Review

May 2013, May 2014, May 2015

Earliest Start Date(s)

July 2013, July 2014, July 2015

Expiration Date

September 26, 2014

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 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.


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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

The purpose of the NIH Research Education Programs (R25) is to support research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The goal of the NIMH R25 Program is to augment the education and training of the scientific workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs in the mission areas of the NIMH (see http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports.shtml).    The NIMH R25 Program currently provides four thematic funding opportunities: 1) short courses for mental health-related research education (PAR-12-262); 2) research education programs supporting psychiatric residents (PAR-12-263); 3) mentoring networks for mental health-related research education (PAR-12-264); and 4) research education mentoring programs for HIV/AIDS researchers (PAR-11-002). Note that applications in the area of HIV/AIDS research education will only be accepted in response to PAR-11-002.

Recommendations made by National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroups on Research Training (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/advisory-boards-and-groups/namhc/reports/investing-in-the-future.pdf) and Neurodevelopment (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/advisory-boards-and-groups/namhc/neurodevelopment_workgroup_report.pdf) encourage the NIMH to support programs that provide state-of-the-art, pedagogical opportunities for individuals during the formative stages of their careers.  The recommendations of the Workgroup on Research Training also acknowledge the important role that mentors play in the career development of scientists.    

This FOA will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative mentoring networks encompassing research topics, didactic content and mentoring expertise that reflect the research interests of the NIMH.  The interests of the NIMH are broad, spanning from basic neuroscience, human genetics/genomics and translational research to interventions and mental health services research across the lifespan.  This funding opportunity is limited to applications proposing mentoring networks for participantswho are graduate/medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral participants, and/or early-career faculty.  Mentoring networks may propose to include only individuals from a single career stage or may propose to bridge several career stages.  Applicants should provide a rationale for the proposed career stage(s) of the participants in the mentoring network.  The NIMH expects all programs to foster the participation of individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, individuals with disabilities, and women.  Participants  should be actively engaged in the network for a period of no less than one year, maintaining regular contact with mentors and peers within the network during that time. Networks are encouraged to employ creative ways to maintain and foster peer interaction after the completion of the program.  Expected outcomes for those individuals  participating in mentoring networks include subsequent involvement in research, subsequent employment in a mental health research field, authorship of scientific publications, and/or subsequent independent research grant support from NIH or other sources.

While there is no universally accepted definition of scientific mentoring, it is widely recognized as an important element for career development.  Mentoring networks may be regional or national, or designed to link two or more complimentary organizations or institutions.  An applicant organization may wish to partner with other organizations to develop a national mentoring network.  As noted in the recommendations of the NAMHC Workgroup on Research Training (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/advisory-boards-and-groups/namhc/reports/investing-in-the-future.pdf), national scientific professional organizations may be effective partners in efforts to establish national mentoring networks.

The scope of a mentoring network should be broad enough to accomplish a set of goals rather than a single goal.  For example, the network could advance the broad career goals of participants; facilitate scholarly writing and grantsmanship; provide access to a network of skilled mentors who are outstanding researchers but not available at the home institution of the participant; promote successful transitions from one career stage to another; provide leadership development; help to identify potential collaborators; and help to establish interdisciplinary or translational collaborations.  However, it is expected that an over-arching goal of any mentoring network is to facilitate the professional success of participants as independent researchers and members of the research community.

Just as there is no universally accepted definition of scientific mentoring, there is no single model for successful mentoring.  Therefore, applicants should propose a program that includes mentoring, resources, and interactive opportunities in a specific scientific content area as the framework for the proposed mentoring network. The rationale for the mentoring model and the scientific content area chosen, as well as the relationship of the scientific content area to the mission and Strategic Plan of the NIMH (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml) should be described in the application. The chosen content area should be of sufficient breadth to provide reasonable assurance of the ability to recruit a high-quality pool of potential participants annually and to ensure that a critical mass of mentors and participants are involved in the network.

The rationale for the proposed structure and content should be provided in the application. It is expected that an innovative combination of didactic interactions (e.g., in the form of week-long summer institutes and/or regularly occurring webinars), one-on-one, and small group discussions are likely components of any proposed mentoring network. Both formal and informal interactions between mentors and participants are expected.  Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of contemporary communication strategies, e.g., distance learning and social networking, as appropriate for the goals of their network. Applicants are also encouraged to describe a framework for, and the components of, their proposed mentoring network that are well-reasoned, appropriately grounded in experience and pedagogical theory, and can be justified based on the long-term goals of the proposed mentoring network.

Although research education grants are not typical research instruments, they do involve experiments  in education and/or dissemination of research knowledge that require an evaluation plan in order to determine their effectiveness.  As such, each application must include a plan to evaluate the activities proposed (See Section IV.2, Evaluation Plan).  A plan for disseminating results is also required in order that the larger scientific community may benefit from the experience and activities of these R25 programs  (see Section IV.2, Dissemination Plan).

Networks may be national, regional or local.  However, all proposed networks should provide significant new opportunities, and should comprise efforts substantially beyond any ongoing mentoring, networking or research education within academic programs, institutions, or pre-existing networks or educational collaborations among institutions.   That is, there should be a clear “value added” from the R25-supported mentoring network.  This FOA is intended to support  new mentoring networks or one-time renewals of currently funded NIMH mentoring programs.   The proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support.  The R25 is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and cannot be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIMH program staff for current information about priorities and policies before preparing an application (see Section VII).  

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

Direct costs are limited to $200,000 annually. All personnel costs (including administrative and clerical costs, as well as salaries of the PD/PI and other investigators/faculty) associated with directing, coordinating, administering, and implementing the program should be justified and reasonable. Personnel costs cannot exceed 25% of the total direct costs in any year.

Award Project Period

The total project period for an application submitted in response to this FOA may not exceed five years.

Other Award Budget Information
Personnel Costs

Individuals designing, directing, and implementing the research education 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 students/participants are considered a regular part of an individual's academic duties, then any costs associated with the mentoring and other interactions with students/participants are not allowable costs from grant funds).  Personnel costs (including administrative and clerical costs) associated with directing, coordinating, administering, and implementing the program may not exceed 25% of the direct costs in any year of the project period.

Participant Costs

Participants may be paid if specifically required for the proposed research education program and sufficiently justified.  Participant costs must be itemized in the proposed budget

Allowable participant costs depend on the educational level/career status of the individuals to be selected to participate in the program.

While generally not an allowable cost, with strong justification, participants in the research education program may receive partial costs of meals unless such costs are furnished as part of the registration fee.

Tuition and other education-related fees or expenses are not allowable costs.

Expenses for domestic travel to one research conference and/or one network-related institute per year are allowed for participants.  Foreign travel must be exceptionally well justified.

Individuals supported by NIH training and career development mechanisms (K, T, or F awards) may receive, and indeed are encouraged to receive, educational experiences supported by the R25 mechanism, as participants, but may not receive salary or stipend supplementation from a research education program.

Because the R25 mechanism is not intended as a substitute for an NRSA institutional training program (T32), costs to support full-time participants (supported for 40 hours/week for a continuous, 12-month period) are not allowable.

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.  Consultant costs may not be used to substitute for Personnel costs. While well-justified costs for supplies are allowable, "seed" or pilot funds to support research project activities are not allowable costs.

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), 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

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

For-Profit Organizations

Governments

Other

All Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (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.

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.

Institutions with existing Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) institutional training grants (e.g., T32) or other Federally funded training programs may apply for a research education grant provided that the proposed educational experiences are distinct from those training programs receiving NIH support. In many cases, it is anticipated that the proposed research education program will complement ongoing research training occurring at the applicant institution.

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 Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (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(s)/Principal Investigator(s))

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PD(s)/PI(s), visit the Multiple Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) 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.

The PD/PI should have a strong track record as a mentor in an area relevant to the scientific focus of the mentoring network.

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

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

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 SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Only one renewal period is allowed.

Mentors

The application should describe the anticipated number of mentors who will participate in the mentoring network and their desired qualifications. Describe the planned recruitment process for mentors as well as eligibility, selection, evaluation, and removal criteria. Describe the responsibilities of 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, a track record of mentoring individuals at the career stage(s) proposed in the application, and a record of leadership related to training and career development programs or activities.  Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement for the duration of their assigned participant’s involvement in the mentoring network, and for a period of no less than one year

Participants

Applications must describe the intended participants, and the eligibility and/or specific educational background characteristics that are essential for participation in the proposed research education program.  Identify the career levels essential for participation in the planned program keeping in mind that participants are limited to graduate/medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral participants, and/or early-career faculty.  Describe the pool from which participants will be selected regionally and/or nationally (including the anticipated size of the pool and qualifications of the applicants) and criteria for participant eligibility and selection. Describe planned methods for reviewing the progress of participants and for identifying and addressing any problems.  Describe strategies that will be used to advertise the mentoring network to this pool, recruitment strategies, and retention strategies.

Unless strongly justified on the basis of exceptional relevance to NIH, research education programs should be used primarily for the education of U.S. citizens.

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.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

The letter of intent should be sent to:

NIMH Referral Office
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD 20892-9609
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: 301-443-3367
Email: NIMHReferral@mail.nih.gov

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 SF 424 (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 with the following modifications:

Facilities & Other Resources

Describe the educational environment, including the facilities, laboratories, participating departments, computer services, and any other resources to be used in the development and implementation of the proposed program. List all thematically related sources of support for institutional research training, education, and career development following the format for Current and Pending Support.   

Advisory Committee (Uploaded via the Other Attachments section)

An Advisory Committee is optional.  If an advisory committee is to be convened, a plan must be provided.  The plan should describe Advisory Committee responsibilities, frequency of meetings, and other relevant information. Describe the composition of the Advisory Committee, identifying the role and the desired expertise of members. Describe how the Advisory Committee will function in providing oversight of the development, implementation, and evaluation of recruitment strategies, the recruitment and retention of candidates, and the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the program. Note that proposed Advisory Committee members should not be named in the application, particularly if they include individuals from outside the institution. However, renewal applications with Advisory Committees should include names of existing advisors. Please name your file “Advisory_Committee.pdf”.

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

SF 424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded Component

Senior/Key personnel must include the PD/PI (or multiple PD(s)/PI(s)) as well as any other key persons such as those involved in developing, implementing, directing, monitoring, evaluating, etc. who are integral to the proposed research education program.  Key personnel should describe their relevant expertise as mentors or leaders of mentoring teams.  They should have a successful track record of scientific research in areas relevant to the mission of the NIMH.

R&R Budget Component

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

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the additional instructions described below:

The Research Strategy section must be used to upload the Research Education Program Plan, which must include the following components described below: Proposed Research Education Program, Institutional Environment and Commitment, Program Director/Principal Investigator, Program Faculty/Staff, Program Participants, Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan, Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, Evaluation Plan, and Dissemination Plan.

Proposed Research Education Program (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

While the proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. When research training programs are on-going in the same department, the applicant organization should clearly describe the distinction between the intended participants in the proposed research education program and the research training supported by the training program. The information should include a description of the education and/or career levels of the planned participants. The application should provide the rationale for the proposed mentoring network including the scientific need and timeliness, how the network complements existing training or didactic opportunities (as appropriate), and how training goals and objectives relate to the mission and current research priorities of the NIMH.  The program plan should provide programmatic detail on the specific activities proposed (e.g., curricula, seminars, involvement in hands-on research activities at the home institution) and how the accomplishment of objectives will be measured. The application should also describe expected processes for: (a) planning and implementing the proposed educational activities, (b) recruiting and selecting participants, (c) selecting mentors for participants, and (d) if applicable, coordinating among existing training or research activities available at a site or across multiple sites. Note that there should be a clear “value added” from the proposed, R25-supported mentoring network.  This FOA is intended to support  new mentoring networks or one-time renewals of currently funded NIMH mentoring programs  Organizations participating in joint applications should demonstrably be involved in the planning, implementation, and assessment of the program.  Describe how the mentoring network may be modified over time depending upon the outcome of initial progress and participant feedback and/or new developments in the field, in order to ensure that the research education continues to be at the cutting edge.

A plan for program leadership must be provided.  The plan should describe leadership team responsibilities, frequency of meetings, and other relevant information.  Describe the composition of the program leadership team, identifying the role (e.g., PD(s)/PI(s), planning committee lead, education director, etc.) and the desired expertise of members. A plan for the leadership team's involvement in approval and selection of participants should be included. Describe how the leadership team will function in providing oversight of the development, implementation, and evaluation of recruitment strategies, the recruitment and retention of participants, and the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the program. Key leadership team members, including PD(s)/PI(s) from each participating institution or organization, should be identified in the application; other leadership team members may be appointed at a later date. However, in renewal applications, leadership team members should be named.  If an optional advisory committee is proposed (see above), describe the function, structure, and composition of the advisory committee, as well as the meeting frequency of this committee, making sure to distinguish the role and function of the advisory committee from the role and function of the leadership team.

For Renewal Applications, the Progress Report should describe the results of the outcomes measured, the number and characteristics of participants in the past project period, materials disseminated, and any changes in administration, design/objectives, or targeted participant groups during the prior funding period.  The description of the proposed network for the next funding period should highlight how the program continues to offer research education at the scientific cutting-edge as well as any changes in activities that are planned to maintain the currency of the research education offered.  

Since only one renewal period is allowed, R25-supported Mentoring Networks are expected to become sustainable without continued support of this program. For renewal applications, describe a plan to sustain the mentoring network at the end of the renewal project period.

Institutional Environment and Commitment (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Describe the institutional environment, reiterating the availability of facilities and educational resources (described separately under “Facilities & Other Resources”), that can contribute to the planned Research Education Program. Evidence of institutional commitment to the research educational program is required. A letter of institutional commitment must be attached as part of Letters of Support. Appropriate institutional commitment should include the provision of adequate staff, facilities, and educational resources that can contribute to the planned research education program.  Letters of support should be included from the participating home institution of each PD(s)/PI(s).

Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Describe arrangements for administration of the program, provide evidence that the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is actively engaged in research and/or teaching in an area related to the mission of NIH, and can organize, administer, monitor, and evaluate the research education program, as well as evidence of institutional commitment and support for the proposed program.  For this funding opportunity, provide evidence that the mentoring network PD(s)/PI(s) is actively engaged in research in an area related to the mission of the NIMH.  Describe the mentoring track record and leadership track record with respect to research training and career development programs or activities.  

Program Faculty/Staff (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Describe the characteristics and responsibilities of the participating faculty; provide evidence that the participating faculty are actively engaged in research or other scholarly activities related to the mission of NIH. Program faculty may have one or more roles, e.g., summer institute instructor only, or instructor and mentor, mentor only, etc.  Program faculty serving as mentors should be actively engaged in research in an area related to the mission of the NIMH.  In addition, they should have prior experience mentoring participants at the career development level(s) proposed in the R25. Describe the criteria and processes used to select and remove participating faculty.

Program Participants (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Provide details about the pool of expected participants, their qualifications, recruitment strategies and sources of applicant pool, etc. Describe plans for announcing and advertising the network, recruiting participants regionally or nationally, application procedures, and criteria for evaluation and selection of participants.  Participants selected for the program should have a clear interest in research relevant to the mission and strategic objectives of the NIMH.

Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences such as: individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. Institutions are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national basis.

The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of participants:

A.   Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2007, p. 262). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

B.   Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C.   Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Recruitment and retention plans related to a disadvantaged background (C1 and C2) are most applicable to high school and perhaps to undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of academic achievement. Under extraordinary circumstances the PHS may, at its discretion, consider an individual beyond the undergraduate level to be from a disadvantaged background. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate documentation.

New applications must include a description of plans to enhance recruitment of a diverse participant pool and may wish to include data in support of past accomplishments.

Renewal applications must include a detailed account of experiences in recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups during the previous funding period. Information must be included on successful and unsuccessful recruitment strategies including aggregate information on the distribution of:

For those individuals who were enrolled in the program, the report should include information about the duration of education and whether those individuals finished the program in good standing. Additional information on the required Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity is available at Frequently Asked Questions: Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity (Diversity FAQs).

Applications lacking a diversity recruitment and retention plan will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Every participant supported by this Research Education grant must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. All applications must include a plan to provide such instruction. The plan must address five components (format; subject matter; faculty participation; duration of instruction; and frequency of instruction) as detailed in NOT-OD-10-019. Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans for the future that address any weaknesses in the current instruction plan. All participating faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.

Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be reviewed.

The background, rationale and more detail about instruction in the responsible conduct of research can be found in NOT-OD-10-019. If such instruction is not appropriate for the proposed research education program, then the PD/PI must provide a strong justification for its exclusion.

Evaluation Plan (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

Applications must include a plan for evaluating the activities supported by the award.  The application must specify baseline metrics (e.g., numbers, educational levels, and demographic characteristics of participants), as well as measures to gauge the short or long-term success of the research education award in achieving its objectives. Wherever appropriate, applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from participants to help identify weaknesses and to provide suggestions for improvements. The PD/PI should state clear and measurable objectives a  priori, and specify the way in which such outcomes will be measured and how they will be considered in the evaluation of the program, overall.

Applications lacking an evaluation plan will not be reviewed.

Dissemination Plan (Component of Research Education Program Plan)

A specific plan must be provided to disseminate nationally any findings resulting from or materials developed under the auspices of the research education program, e.g., sample curricula, web postings, presentations at scientific meetings, workshops, etc.

Applications lacking a dissemination plan will not be reviewed.

Resource Sharing Plans

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modifications:

Applications are expected to include a software dissemination plan if support for development, maintenance, or enhancement of software is requested in the application.  There is no prescribed single license for software produced. However, the software dissemination plan should address, as appropriate, the following goals:

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 theNIH Grants Policy Statement .

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Personnel costs may not exceed 25% of the total direct costs in any year.  Consultant costs may not be used to substitute for Personnel costs.  R25 funds may not be used to pay tuition or to support research projects, i.e., provision of "seed" or pilot funds is not allowed.

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.

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NIMH Referral Office by email at NIMHReferral@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD(s)/PI(s) name(s), and title of the application.

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.

For this particular announcement, note the following: applications should be characterized by innovation, scholarship, and documentation of a strong need in the research community for the proposed network.  Renewal applications should also demonstrate a continuing need for the existing network to advance NIMH's goal of a well-trained pool of researchers with state-of-the-art knowledge and skills essential for achieving the Institute's research priorities. 

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project 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.

Significance

Does the proposed research education program address an important problem or critical question in research education or other critical issues?  How will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of the proposed program?  Does the proposed program address a key audience?  To what extent will implementation of the proposed program advance the objectives of this FOA—namely to enhance the professional development of the participants and to foster their career trajectory towards independent mental health research through a state-of-the-art mentoring network? 

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers appropriately trained and well suited to the proposed research education program? Is the PD/PI 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 research education program?  If Early Stage Investigator or New Investigator, or in the early stages of an independent career, does the PD/PI have appropriate experience to lead the program?  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?  Is there evidence that an appropriate level of effort will be devoted by the program leadership to ensure the program's objectives? Is the caliber of the leadership team and participating faculty, in terms of their research interests, expertise, mentoring records and research education leadership in the area of the proposed program, appropriate for their roles on the project? 

Innovation

Is the proposed research education program characterized by innovation and scholarship?  Does the proposed program challenge and seek to shift current research education paradigms or clinical practice, or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field?  Are the proposed concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies novel for this area?  Does this proposed program duplicate, or overlap with, existing research education, training and/or career development activities currently supported at the applicant institution or available elsewhere?  Adaptations of existing research education programs may be considered innovative under special circumstances, e.g., the addition of unique components and/or a proposal to determine portability of an existing program.  Does the proposed program provide state-of-the-art educational opportunities? Does the applicant make a strong case for this program reaching participants in need of the network’s offerings? Where appropriate, is the proposed program developing or utilizing innovative approaches to improve the knowledge and/or skills of the intended audience (the participants)?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposed research education program?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?  If the program is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?  Is there evidence that the program is based on sound research concepts and educational principles?  Is the approach feasible and appropriate to achieve the stated research education goals?  Are the recruitment, retention, and follow-up activities adequate to ensure a highly qualified and diverse participant pool? Does the proposed program clearly state its goals and objectives, including the educational level of the audience to be reached, the content to be conveyed, and the intended outcome(s)?  Are the methods, including mentoring plans, networking strategies, group and one-on-one interactions, and didactics appropriate for the program objectives?  Is there an adequate balance between didactic and hands-on training?  Is sufficient interaction planned between faculty and participants? Is the plan for evaluation sound and likely to provide information on the effectiveness of the program in achieving its goals and objectives? Does the plan adequately describe how outcomes will be determined and evaluated?  Is there a well-defined plan to disseminate program-generated materials to the broader scientific community?  

If the program involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed? This will generally not apply because this FOA may not be used to support research projects, including research projects in which mentors and participants are involved. 

Environment

Will the scientific/educational environment in which the proposed research education program will be conducted contribute to the probability of success?  Are the institutional commitment and support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the program proposed?  Will the program benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of appropriate collaboration among participating programs, departments, and institutions?  If multiple sites are participating, is this adequately justified in terms of the research education experiences provided? Are adequate plans provided for coordination and communication between multiple sites (if appropriate)? Is there a plan to take advantage of this environment to enhance the educational value of the program?  Is there tangible evidence of institutional commitment?  Does the program provide significant new opportunities and comprise efforts substantially beyond any ongoing mentoring, networking, or research education within academic programs, institutions, or pre-existing networks or educational collaborations among institutions?    

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, and the success of the program in attracting and retaining individuals from diverse populations, including populations underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research.  The committee will also consider the strength and feasibility of the proposed plan to sustain the mentoring network at the end of the renewal period.

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 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 research education program, level of participant experience, and the particular circumstances of the participants, the reviewers will address the following questions.  Does the plan satisfactorily address the format of instruction, e.g., lectures 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?  Do the plans ensure participants will receive instruction (or in the case of more senior level participants, provide instruction) for an appropriate amount of time given the length of the research education experience?  Plans and past record will be rated as acceptable or unacceptable, and the summary statement will provide the consensus of the review committee.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable.

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).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

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 the NIMH, 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 . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Mental Health Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD(s)/PI(s) 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.

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.Programs that involve participants should report on education in the responsible conduct of research and complete a Training Diversity Report, in accordance with the PHS 2590 Additional Instructions for Preparing a Progress Report for an Institutional Research Training Grant, Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.

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. 

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.

Other Reporting Requirements

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.

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.

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)

See http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-funding/training/contacts-for-research-training-and-career-development-programs.shtml for Scientific/Research Contacts at the NIMH. 

Peer Review Contact(s)

David Armstrong, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
Telephone: (301) 443-3534
Email: armstrda@mail.nih.gov.

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Tamara Kees
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
Telephone: (301) 443-8811
Email: tkees@mail.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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