What kinds of research training support are available through NICHD or NIH?
The NIH supports training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows through several mechanisms:
- The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program. These fellowships (e.g., F31, F32) provide stipends for salary support as well as small institutional allowances to partially offset costs of research, tuition, and health insurance.
- Students and postdoctoral fellows may also be supported by Institutional Training Grants (i.e., T32, K12). These grants are awarded to an institution to support several trainee positions or "slots."
- Career Development Awards (K awards) provide support for senior postdoctoral fellows or faculty-level candidates. K awards are designed to promote the career development of specific groups of individuals based on their past training and career stage. The objective of the K programs is to bring candidates to the point where they are able to conduct their research independently and are competitive for major grant support.
Where can I find information about different training programs at the NICHD or the NIH?
Individuals interested in graduate student fellowships, postdoctoral fellowships, career development awards, or institutional training grants can find general descriptions and policies for different types of award mechanisms at the following web sites:
- Support for Training at Universities and Other Institutions (Extramural): This page is the main gateway to training-related programs sponsored by NICHD.
- F Kiosk: Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships are available through the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program (F31 or F32). The F Kiosk lists the types of fellowships awarded by different Institutes at NIH.
- K Kiosk: Career Development Awards are designed for senior postdoctoral fellows or faculty. The K Kiosk lists the different types of K awards sponsored by Institutes at NIH.
- T Kiosk: Institutional Training Programs are awarded to institutions for the support of a number of pre- and/or postdoctoral or faculty positions (full-time employee or "slots"). The T Kiosk lists the different T awards sponsored by the Institutes at NIH.
- NIH Office of Extramural Research Training Page: This site provides references to policies, stipend/salary levels, application and review process, and funding opportunity announcements for all grants, fellowships, and career development awards.
- Research Portfolio On-line Reporting Tools (RePORT): This NIH website includes a searchable database of all funded grants, as well as statistics on numbers of applications to specific NIH Institutes, success rates, and other information.
- NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) 10/01/2011 version: The GPS outlines policies for all grant mechanisms at NIH, including fellowships, career development awards, and institutional training grants. This statement is the primary resource for policy questions.
- NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP): The extramural LRPs encourage promising individuals to pursue research careers by repaying up to $35,000 of their qualified student loan debt each year. LRP programs through NICHD are available in only three of the five qualifying research areas:
- Clinical Research
- Pediatric Research
- Contraception and Infertility Research
- NIH Office of Extramural Research Career Resources: This site includes career planning advice, tutorials for writing grant applications, links to university and national postdoctoral associations, links to major private foundations, and grant policies such as research ethics and use of human and animal subjects.
Many of the above web sites provide links to specific Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), also called Program Announcements (PAs). These FOAs include the purpose of each program, the list of participating NIH Institutes, eligibility criteria, budgetary information, application instructions, and review criteria. These FOAs are the fundamental resource for applicants and for NIH staff in determining the rules for each program.
There are two important things to remember when consulting any FOA.
- First, FOAs are regularly updated. Newer as well as archived versions are listed near the beginning of the text. Google searches often retrieve outdated FOAs. Readers should verify that they are consulting the most recent version of the announcement.
- Second, so-called "Parent FOAs" are co-sponsored by groups of NIH Institutes. For example, the F31, F32, K01, K08, K23, and T32 awards are described under parent FOAs. Participating institutes often have different policies, eligibility criteria, and funding limits. To find the specific provisions for each institute, follow the bold links entitled, Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts. These tables are linked several times in beginning sections of the FOAs. The tables include the name of a Research/Scientific and Grants Management contacts for each Institute. Applicants are strongly advised to contact these staff members to ask about the mission of the Institute and specific eligibility criteria.