NICHD provides the following answers to common training-related questions to help potential trainees navigate through the application process. Please note that these answers are specific to the NICHD's procedures and activities.
For more general answers, visit the NIH Research Training and Career Development website.
If, after looking through the FAQs, you still have questions about extramural training, contact Dennis A. Twombly, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NICHD Office of Extramural Policy.
Standardized data tables for institutional training grants are located at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/data-tables.htm. The data tables are designed to enable consistent entry and review of data for training program faculty and scholars. These data tables are required for T32 applications. They are extremely important in providing information about faculty and trainees. Review of continuing programs (renewals) as well as new programs depends heavily on documentation of past mentoring success.
Applicants should follow the SF424 institutional training grant instructions, including instructions for the data tables, with some exceptions. You should read the introduction to the data tables before starting to prepare the tables. The data tables should be numbered consecutively and titled as indicated in the instructions. You can find the list of table numbers/titles in the "Sample Data Tables".
In deciding how to fill out the tables, it is helpful to heed the general guidance given in the instructions:
The data in these tables help present a detailed documentation of your Training Program. Please summarize the data in the body of your grant application and in footnotes at the bottom of the data tables as indicated. Use the data to support the presentation of your training program as described in the body of the application.
Applicants should balance the need to convey the strengths of the program faculty and trainees versus providing too much information that might serve as a distraction (or annoyance) for reviewers.
T32 applications may be submitted in response to the Parent T32 Funding Opportunity Announcement or to specific Program Announcements. NICHD generally uses a single deadline of May 25 for T32 applications. Review occurs the following October-November. Since 2011, NICHD has been using a single committee to review all of the T32 applications. Committee members include investigators who have experience directing these programs, as well as ad hoc members with expertise in specific fields.
Unobligated balances accrue when funds are not used in any budget year due to unfilled slots or gaps between appointments. Under Expanded Authorities, automatic carryover is not permitted for T32 grants. Carryover is a prior approval requirement. The NICHD does not allow carry over on training grants unless there is strong justification.
A renewal applicant whose application does not meet the pay line may either face a gap in funding or, if a resubmission is not successful, closeout of the award. Under Expanded Authorities, the grantee may apply for an automatic 1-year no-cost extension. The extension revises the termination date but does not provide additional funds. NICHD generally does not approve bridge funding to support T32 programs that have expired. New trainees should not be appointed during the extension because NICHD expects appointments to be at least 9 months in duration. However, T32 grantees may make re-appointments during a no-cost extension if they have funds in the final year of the award to support the trainee(s). Project Directors/Principal Investigators of these awards need to plan sufficiently for the end of a project period.
NRSA policies on clinical activities include the following provisions:
- All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week.
- Within the full-time training period, research trainees who are also training as clinicians must devote their time to the proposed research training and must confine clinical duties to those that are an integral part of the research training experience.
- The program may not be used to support studies leading to the M.D., D.D.S., or other clinical, health professional training except when those studies are part of a formal combined research degree program, such as the M.D./Ph.D.
- Trainees may not accept support for clinical training that is part of residency training leading to clinical certification in a medical or dental specialty or subspecialty.
The general objective of T32 programs for clinical fellows is to train individuals who will become well-prepared clinical investigators and will remain active in research. The above provisions are intended to allow clinical fellows to engage in clinical research that is part of the training, as opposed to clinical duties unrelated to the training program. Nevertheless, NIH is aware that some clinical activities are necessary for fellows to qualify for fellowship accreditation and sit for the boards. NIH recently released a Guide notice that clarifies full time NRSA training for clinicians and non-clinicians (NOT-OD-17-095):
All Kirschstein-NRSA fellows (individual fellowships), and trainees (institutional training grants) are required to pursue their research training full time. Full-time is generally defined as devoting at least 40 hours per week to research training activities, or as specified by the awardee institution in accordance with its own policies.
Beyond the full-time training, NIH recognizes that Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and trainees may engage in part-time employment incidental to their training. Fellows and trainees may spend on average, an additional 25% of their time (e.g., 10 hours per week) in part time research, teaching, or clinical employment, so long as those activities do not interfere with, or lengthen, the duration their NRSA training. (See NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206, for more details.)