University of Southern California


RFA-HL-18-023: Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) (R38)

Slots:                                                     One

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A                       

External Deadline:                          February 13, 2020 for non-AIDS applications; May 12, 2020 for AIDS applications

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.

The following NIH components intend to commit the following amounts:

NHLBI intends to commit total costs of $2,475,000 per year in fiscal years 2018 through 2020 to support up to 7 new awards per fiscal year.

NCI intends to commit total costs of $314,000 per year in fiscal years 2018 through 2020 to support one new award per fiscal year.

NIAID intends to commit total costs of $3,729,000 to support up to three new awards in fiscal year 2018 only. No new NIAID R38 awards will be made after FY2018.

Anticipated Amount: Institutional award budgets are composed of administrative costs, Resident-Investigator’s salaries, travel, and supplementary research funds, as described below. The institutional program’s annual direct costs must not exceed $221,000.

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:                    The Institutional PD/PI(s) should be an established clinician-investigator in a relevant scientific area and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program. The PD/PI(s) must have a regular, full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, or emeritus) at the applicant institution. This person should hold a health professional degree (eg MD, DVM, DDS or equivalents), have an appointment in a clinical department related to at least one of the residency programs proposed for participation, have clearly demonstrated education/mentoring experience and have a strong recent history of NIH funding. Exceptional individuals without a clinical doctorate and with demonstrated leadership and mentoring experience in clinical departments may also serve as PD/PI. If the sponsoring institution is a hospital affiliated with a medical or dental school, the PD/PI must have an appointment in both the medical/dental school and at the sponsoring institution.

The Institutional PD/PI(s) will design and provide oversight for the entire program. The PD/PI must identify the residency directors, departmental chairs, and research deans, and describe their roles and responsibilities for the program. The PD/PI is expected to describe how research preceptors are selected and reviewed, and the timing and types of meetings with Resident-Investigators and preceptors to ensure that each participant receives the skills and knowledge he/she requires to achieve the goals of the program. The PD/PI is expected to monitor and assess the program annually, and submit all documents and reports as required.


The overall goal of the Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) program is to provide clinicians with in-depth research experiences early in their careers, in order to recruit, retain and accelerate independence of a pool of clinician-investigators with both clinical and research experience necessary to perform basic, clinical and/or translational research.

Applications are encouraged that propose well-designed institutional programs that will provide Resident-Investigators with research opportunities that can stimulate investigative curiousity and foster transition to additional research and career development, while also meeting requirements for medical board, dental or veterinary specialty eligibility. It is anticipated that applicant Institutions will have written evidence from a Board recognized by the ABMS, the ADA CODA, or the ABVS indicating that the overall structure of research and clinical activities outlined in the application leads to participant eligibility for medical board certification,

This FOA is intended to support Institutional programs that propose effective interactions with the residency director(s), institutional research leaders, and medical boards and optimize access to existing institutional research resources. Program Resident-Investigators identified by the institution will be health professionals with medical, dental or veterinary doctoral degrees (ie, MD, DVM, DDS, DO, MBBS, or equivalents.) with or without additional PhD degrees, with promise and interest in careers as clinician investigators.

Institutional Programs

This FOA will support Institutional Programs that propose to engage Resident-Investigators in research. Institutional Programs applications submitted in response to this FOA should be characterized by:

    • Research projects that include concepts of hypothesis-based, rigorous and reproducible research, the fulfillment of discovery and achievement of designated research milestones.
    • Support for Resident-Investigators for 80% of PGY salary for a minimum of one contiguous year of research and a maximum of two years during residency training.
    • Support for a minimum of two and a maximum of four Resident-Investigators each year.

Institutional Programs that propose to support residents from more than one training specialty (e.g. internal medicine, pediatrics, pathology, radiology, etc) to promote cross-disciplinary interaction are strongly encouraged.

Institutional Awards

This FOA will provide support for supplementary research and professional development activities that will contribute to successful research, including:

    • Research supplies and technical support, including but not limited to biostatistics consultation and/or research technician effort to complete research objectives
    • Registration and material for short-term courses or workshops that provide research skills such as data science, implementation science or clinical trials, or others as necessary for the project.
    • Participation in workshops on oral and written communication of research and grant writing related to the research project.
    • Travel to attend scientific conferences and NIH sponsored workshops and present research findings
    • Support for skill-building needed for research supervision and effective mentoring of clinician-investigators for research preceptors; preceptor skill-building should include topics such as aligning goals and expectations, effective communication, time management, mentoring for a diverse and inclusive workforce, understanding research funds flow in an academic health center, building a successful research team, job negotiation, identifying grant opportunities, navigating an IRB and/or animal protocol, as appropriate for the research project.


The participating NIH Institutes have provided a brief outline of their interests as they relate to the goals of this FOA. These mission statements are intended to indicate the breadth of the biomedical areas of interest. See Staff Contacts for more details.

    • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) supports a broad research and training portfolio in the treatment and prevention of heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. The NHLBI is tasked with combating not only the major causes of death and disability but also rare disorders such as congenital heart disease, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and pulmonary fibrosis. The NHLBI’s research programs span the entire research spectrum comprising fundamental discovery science, early translation research, clinical investigations, population science research, and translation research that moves fundamental discoveries into clinical and public health practice in real-world settings.  Visit the “Charting the future together: The NHLBI Strategic Vision for research priorities that will help accelerate research and scientific advances over the next decade” To achieve the goals related to this FOA, NHLBI is interested in applications from institutions seeking to provide research opportunities to clinician residents (with MD or equivalent degrees) who intend to pursue careers as clinician-scientists committed to research in heart, lung, blood, or sleep diseases or disorders.
    • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports research in all areas of cancer biology and investigates the biological aspects of every form of cancer, carrying out studies that range from targeted, long-running projects that are revealing the microscopic details of cell processes to high-risk, innovative research that holds promise for providing key insights into tumor development; research in cancer surveillance, epidemiology, health services, behavioral science, and cancer survivorship; research to assess a person’s risk of developing cancer and to find ways to reduce that risk; research focuses across the continuum between the initiation of the cancer process and the occurrence of the invasive disease, with the goal of detecting changes and intervening early in the cancer process to prevent disease and death; research that facilitates the path to clinical application of promising cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment methods; it also expedites the initial small-scale and subsequent large-scale testing of new anticancer agents, biomarkers, imaging tests, and other therapeutic interventions in patients; cancer health disparities and community-based participatory research; research in HIV/AIDS and HIV malignancies.
    • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. For more than 60 years, NIAID research has led to new therapies, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and other technologies that have improved the health of millions. Specifically, our areas of study are HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, and allergy, immunology, and transplantation research. Applications for this program would be appropriate for NIAID if they propose research experiences for clinical residents and fellows in the fields of biomedical research (including translational research) in these NIAID mission-relevant areas.
    • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) supports a variety of training and career development opportunities for early-career investigators and clinician-researchers to meet the national biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council has identified major workforce gaps in dementia education and training. Due to demographic changes increasing the population of older adults, there is a greater demand for geriatric specialists appropriately trained in relevant research fields. NIA is interested in promoting the development of a diverse, interdisciplinary workforce needed to conduct clinical research to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s disease related dementias (ADRD). Applications would be appropriate for NIA if they support research exposure and advanced skills in AD/ADRD clinical research for medical residents and/or fellows. Research education activities can be in any topic areas related to AD/ADRD with relevance to: neuropathology, clinical assessments and diagnostic treatment, prevention, clinical care, health disparities, clinical neuroscience and translational research, including training in the design and conduct of clinical trials.

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

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