University of Southern California


PAR-19-219: Maximizing Access to Research Careers (T34)

Slots:                                                     1

Internal Deadline:                           Contact Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A

External Deadline:                          May 21, 2020

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Anticipated Amount: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Budgetary Requirements:

Stipends, Tuition, and Fees: Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide stipends as a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the research training experience.

NIH will contribute to the combined cost of tuition and fees at the rate in place at the time of award.

Stipend levels, as well as funding amounts for tuition and fees and the institutional allowance are announced annually in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contractsand are also posted on the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) webpage.

Trainee Travel: NIGMS recognizes the need of trainees to attend scientific meetings and/or training events, and to build professional networks. NIGMS will provide up to $1,000 per trainee to travel to scientific meetings or research training experiences that will enhance scientific development, build science identity, create a sense of belonging in the scientific community, and build professional networks.  For MARC-supported institutions outside the continental United States, $1,250 for travel per trainee will be provided.

Trainees are required to spend at least one summer in a research training experience.  Preferred sites are research-intensive graduate institutions such as those with NIH T32 training programs.  Funds for the summer research experience will be provided as follows: $3,000 per MARC trainee, to be used in accordance with the institutional policies as a per diem for a period of up to ten weeks; and an additional $500 for travel to and from the host research training.

NIGMS provides funds for the summer research training experience for up to 50% of the awarded number of MARC trainees at the time a competing award is made. For additional budget guidance on the MARC summer research requirement, see T34 Summer Research Experience Policy. Additional funds will not be provided for students continuing the research training at the host institution.

Plans for trainee travel should be well justified. Foreign travel is not allowed.

Training Related Expenses: NIGMS will provide funds to help defray other research training expenses directly related to the research training program.

The total amount of Training Related Expenses (TRE) that may be requested is limited to a maximum of $8,000/trainee/year. The maximum cap for the TRE portion of a proposed MARC budget is $250,000/year.

TRE funds may be used for:

Costs associated with skills development training activities (e.g., focusing on quantitative and computational skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, scientific writing, effective communication, and project management); with seminar speakers, who will serve as role models to the trainees; and with training or mentoring interventions designed to increase persistence in research careers (e.g., those designed to increase science identity, self-efficacy and a sense of belonging in the scientific community).

In addition, funds may be used for personnel costs/staff salary. Typically, salary support for the PD/PI/co-Investigators (or in a combination of multiple PD(s)/PI(s)/co-Investigators) does not exceed 1.8 person months (i.e., 15% effort on a 12-month basis) in total, depending on the size and scope of the program.

Typically, the total combined salary support for other administrative personnel (e.g., program administrator/program coordinator and/or program assistant/clerical support) does not exceed 3.0 person months (i.e., 25% effort on a 12-month basis) depending on the size and scope of the program.

Limited program evaluation costs (typically up to $3,000 for the 5-year training grant period) and other program-related expenses may be included within the budget for training-related expenses.

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, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement.

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 PDs/PIs, particularly when each brings a unique perspective and skill set that will enhance training. At least one of the training PDs/PIs 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.

Preceptors/Mentors (Participating Faculty): The selected faculty should be trained researchers in the biomedical sciences as demonstrated by recent publications and research support. When building a training team, programs should include faculty who are committed to training, mentoring, and providing supportive and inclusive research environments. Programs are encouraged to build a diverse team of preceptors/mentors that includes, for example, faculty from underrepresented groups (NIH’s Interest in Diversity), women, and faculty at different career stages (i.e., early stage as well as senior faculty).

Trainees: The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Trainees should be research-oriented individuals enrolled in a major leading to a baccalaureate degree in a STEM discipline that will prepare the trainee for a biomedical, research-focused higher degree program (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.).  All trainees are required to pursue their training full time, as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies. Appointments are normally made in 12-month increments for 2-3 years, and no trainee may be appointed for less than nine months, except with prior approval of the NIH awarding unit.


This FOA is intended to enable the community to develop and implement evidence-based approaches to biomedical research training and mentoring to enhance diversity in the biomedical research workforce. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report provided evidence that financial concerns and a deficit of peers from similar backgrounds can erode self-confidence and the will to remain in STEM majors (PCAST Report, 2012). NIGMS diversity enhancing institutional training grants offset the cost of appointed trainee stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, in accordance with the approved NIH support levels.  Additionally, funded programs are expected to provide activities that will build a strong cohort of research-oriented individuals while enhancing the science identity, self-efficacy, and a sense of belonging among the cohort members. Programmatic activities include, but are not limited to, providing authentic research experiences, academic enhancements, skills development, and additional mentoring – activities proven to increase persistence in STEM fields (cited in PCAST Report, 2012 and Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, 2018). Each program should provide high-quality training that equips individuals with the technical (e.g., appropriate methods, technologies, and quantitative/computational approaches), operational (e.g., independent knowledge acquisition, rigorous experimental design, and interpretation of data) and professional (e.g., management, leadership, communication, and teamwork) skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce. Funded programs are expected to promote inclusive research environments (i.e., institutional and departmental environments where trainees from all backgrounds feel integrated into and supported by the biomedical research community).

Program Objective

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.