University of Southern California


NIH-PAR-14-076 – Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) (R25)

Slots:                                                    One                      
Nomination per School:               One
Proposals may not be submitted directly by the PI; nominations are submitted by the School’s Research Dean’s Office.    

LOI:                                                        NA                         
Internal Deadline:                           August 4, 2014
External Deadline:                          January 25, 2015
Award Information:                        
Estimated Number of Awards: The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. NIGMS intends to commit $2.5 million (total costs) annually.
Anticipated Amount: Although the size of award may vary with the scope of the research education program proposed, it is expected that applications will stay within the following budgetary guidelines: total direct costs are limited to $400,000 annually. The total project period may not exceed 5 years.

Materials to Office of Research: Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt.).
CV – (4 pages maximum)

Link to Award:

Purpose: The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH Institutes and Centers. The over-arching goals of the NIH R25 program are to: (1) complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs; (2) enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce; (3) help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences; and (4) foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research and its implications.

This goal of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce.  To this end, this funding opportunity announcement encourages the development of creative educational activities with a primary focus on research experiences and courses for skills development for recent college graduates, to prepare them for graduate school.

Applications are encouraged from research-intensive institutions that propose to develop recent baccalaureate science graduates from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences so that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue PhD or MD-PhD degrees in these fields.  The program provides support for well-designed courses for skills development and extensive research experiences aimed at preparing individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to complete rigorous doctoral degree programs in these disciplines.

The objective of the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is to prepare individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences who have recently obtained their baccalaureate degrees for successful completion of PhD or MD-PhD training programs.  For the purposes of this funding opportunity, recent baccalaureate graduates are those who have graduated from an accredited U.S. college or university no more than 36 months prior to applying to the PREP and are not currently enrolled in a degree program.  In order to increase their acceptance into rigorous doctoral training programs, PREP participants will receive extensive research experiences and take courses for skills development during a one- to two-year research apprenticeship, to further develop their scholarly potential and improve their research skills. NIGMS expects that this program will lead to a steady supply of exceptional PhD students from underrepresented groups.

Program Components
PREP applications are institutional in nature and therefore they should reflect the plans and priorities of the participating institutions. PREPs should generate carefully designed, individualized student development plans (IDPs) that are compatible with the participants’ curricular needs and experience, combined with research projects mentored by faculty members who have active and extramurally funded research programs.  The development plans will typically be designed within the context of a one-year apprenticeship to provide the necessary skills to prepare the participants for rigorous doctoral training programs.  Participants should not be appointed for less than a year. NIGMS recognizes that each participant has individual needs and that a one-year program may not be sufficient for some to fully prepare to be competitive for graduate school. A second-year apprenticeship is allowable at the discretion of the PREP Program Director/Principal Investigator if within the awarded costs of a particular program.  This does not require NIGMS pre-approval, but should be used selectively for those participants who would benefit from a second year in the program.  The second-year apprenticeship must enhance participants’ competitiveness to enter a rigorous doctoral program and not simply allow participants more time to decide if they wish to obtain a graduate degree, to explore other career options, or to provide job opportunities.  This program will not support individuals earning Master’s degrees. Applications may request between five and ten postbaccalaureate positions for each year of the grant (i.e., up to 50 participants for a five-year grant period), for individuals to engage in courses for skills development and mentored research studies.

As apprentice scientists, the participants will be involved in independent research projects that will allow them to experience the fulfillment of discovery as scientists.  They are expected to learn to develop their own hypotheses and design experiments to test them.  The research environment should be supportive and favorable to learning and include opportunities for the participants to interact with graduate student peers, postdoctoral researchers, and other investigators who could contribute to their growth and will allow them to thrive in rigorous doctoral programs. PREP participants will be required to work as research apprentices at 9 person-months (75% full-time effort) and the other 3 person-months (25% full-time effort) will be for further skills development.

The academic preparations may include courses, workshops, seminars, supplemental instruction, or lectures that will enrich the quantitative and analytical skills of the participants.  The courses to be taken should be appropriate to the requirements for rigorous doctoral programs.