University of Southern California


PAR-19-037: Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (T32)

Slots:                                                     1

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A

External Deadline:                          January 28, 2020

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: Application budgets must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Anticipated Amount: Awards may be for project periods up to five years in duration.

Cost Sharing:                                     N/A

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                        

Who May Serve as PI:                    As described in the instructions for the Training Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) in Section IV.2 below, NIGMS encourages multiple PD(s)/PI(s), particularly when each brings a unique perspective and skill set that will enhance training. At least one of the training PD(s)/PI(s) should be an established investigator in the biomedical sciences and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program.  Additional PD(s)/PI(s), including individuals with experience in the science of education, relevant social science disciplines, program evaluation, mentoring, and university administration may be included to achieve the training goals. The PD(s)/PI(s) must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at the applicant institution. Any of the PD(s)/PI(s) may serve as the contact PD/PI. The PD(s)/PI(s) will be responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to the approved research training program, and for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the program. The PD(s)/PI(s) will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required. The PD(s)/PI(s) have responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the program and are responsible for appointing members of the Advisory Committee (when applicable) and using their recommendations to determine the appropriate allotment of funds.


The Overarching Objective of this Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) program is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained Ph.D. biomedical scientists, who have the following technical, operational, and professional skills:

    • A broad understanding across biomedical disciplines and the skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their chosen fields;
    • The ability to think critically and 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 and computational approaches, and data analysis and interpretation;
    • A commitment to approaching and conducting biomedical research responsibly, ethically, 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).

Diversity at all levels—from the kinds of science to the regions in which it is conducted to the backgrounds of the people conducting it— contributes to excellence in research training environments and strengthens the research enterprise. This FOA is intended to support outstanding research training programs that will enhance diversity at all levels. As part of a larger initiative to enhance diversity, the IMSD program will support trainees earning at Ph.D. at research-intensive institutions.

Program Considerations

NIGMS intends to fund applications that propose feasible academic and research focused training programs that will enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce. Applicants are expected to identify training objectives (i.e., specific, measurable, and obtainable outcomes the program intends to achieve) and to develop plans to implement evidence-based training and mentoring activities that are grounded in the literature and from evaluations of existing relevant programs. Program objectives must align with the overarching goal of the IMSD diversity enhancing program. 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 community.

Institutional commitment and support for the proposed training program are important elements of the application. The IMSD 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); however, the IMSD program goals and activities to achieve those goals must be distinct from related programs currently receiving federal support at the same institution. Unless extremely well-justified, funding priority will be given to institutions that have limited NIGMS T32 predoctoral training grant support.  In cases where an institution has multiple NIGMS predoctoral training grants, it is expected that these programs will seek to create administrative efficiencies to reduce costs and improve trainee services and outcomes. The training grant should be well integrated within one or more department(s)/program(s) and should exert a strong, positive influence on the development and execution of the 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 (T35). 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-18-404 and subsequent reissuances but note that NIGMS does not participate in that FOA).  NIGMS will not accept applications proposing combined predoctoral and postdoctoral training under this FOA.

Training grants are usually awarded for five years. Students are typically provided full-time support for two to three 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, professional development, and cohort-building activities.

This FOA does not allow appointed trainees to lead an independent clinical trial, but it does allow them to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor. NIH strongly supports training towards a career in clinically relevant research; thus, gaining experience in clinical trials under the guidance of a mentor or co-mentor is encouraged.


Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.

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