Early Career Stage Mentoring Program for NIDA Research Request for Applications
This program links the National Hispanic Science Network (NHSN) with Michigan State University and its partners at University of Texas El Paso and University of Miami in an initiative designed to fill a science education chasm. The initiative involves two basic aims: (1) the training of early career research investigators on topics relevant to the mission and active program announcements of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and (2) mentorship and support for the development of a competitive NIH research application: possibly a NIDA entry-level K award, and/or either the R01 research application or the R15 research application. (Potential applicants who intend to launch their NIDA research careers via the R21 or R03 mechanisms should pursue the minority research supplement approach rather than apply for ECSM program support.) Through this program, NHSN and its partner institutions aim to expand/enhance research training opportunities for early to mid-level faculty investigators already committed to NIDA careers, but who have not yet had success in competition for NIDA K-type, R01 or R15-type research awards. Moreover, the program aims to refine an exciting, innovative science education model that may help NIH diversify its research career development of early stage investigators who have advanced beyond earliest faculty years, but who have not yet achieved success as NIH Principal Investigators beyond the R03 or R21 stage.
As elaborated below, elements of this fellowship submission include each of the following: (a) a fellow’s track record of at least 3 years of demonstrated success, with re-appointment, at a ‘home institution’ qualified to serve as a sponsoring institution for NIH awards; (b) the presentation of a draft plan for research career development; (c) a written commitment from the applicant’s home institution of support for fellow’s research career development (analogous to written commitments required for NIDA K awards); (d) a written agreement from the home institution that grants the applicant support in the form of at least 75 days (‘one day per week’ effort) of ‘NIDA research release time’ during each of roughly 18 months of program effort, plus equivalent release time during one additional year after fellowship support (analogous to the NIDA K-award 75% requirement); and (e) a commitment from the home institution to provide the applicant with modest financial support for program activities. (For example, in the past, the home institutions have waived overhead fees or have cost-shared those fees. Another example involves the home institution providing travel monies to help defray cost of travel to attend two required scientific meetings each year, as when the program provides . the ‘double occupancy’ lodging expense for a shared room, and the R25 fellow prefers not to share a room.)
Note on eligibility of postdoctoral fellows without a current faculty appointment: PDFs must document the home institution’s agreement to allow her/him to serve as PI on the NIDA entry-level K-type or R01/R15-type RPG application, and already must be working with a clearly committed NHSN mentor with one or more current or past NIDA R01 awards to substantiate the mentor’s experience.
In Cycle III, priority will be given to Hispanic/Latino heritage applicants committed to NIDA’s pre-clinical research program announcements, and to those whose proposed applications are responsive to NIDA’s participation in the NIH-wide brain research initiatives or to NIDA-specific program announcements for field-driving innovative neuroscience and CNS-focused research projects and career development awards.
Content and Form of Application Submission
All proposals must include the following seven items:
1. An NIH Biosketch (disclose active/pending awards)
2. A Personal Statement
3. A draft of a 3-page Pilot Study Research Plan (including specific aims, significance, innovation and methods)
4. A 2-page Draft Research Career Development Plan
a. Describe a systematic career development plan: (1) that shows a logical progression from prior research and training experiences to the research and career development experiences that will occur during the pilot study and then to independent investigator status; (2) that justifies the need for further career development to become an independent investigator; and (3) that utilizes the relevant research and educational resources of the institution.
5. A Letter of Support
a. The one letter of support should be from advisor/mentor/department chair. The letter of support should:
o Describe the candidate's commitment to a research career in the field of drug abuse. Include a description of all the candidate's professional responsibilities in the grantee institution and elsewhere and show their relation to the proposed activities in the fellowship application.
o Describe prior training and how it relates to the objectives and long-term career plans of the candidate.
o Describe the candidate's program of research to this point in his/her research career, including any publications, prior research interests and experience.
o Provide evidence of the candidate's potential to develop into an independent research investigator.
6. An NIH Principal Investigator Mentor
o The candidate must name a primary mentor who, together with the candidate, is responsible for the planning, directing, monitoring, and executing the proposed activities in the fellowship application.
o Candidates may use the NHSN website to identify a senior investigator who will complement their skills and research interests. The mentor should be recognized as an accomplished investigator in the proposed research area and have a track record of success in training and placing independent investigators.
o The application must include a statement from the mentor providing: 1) a plan that describes the nature of the supervision and mentoring that will occur during the fellowship; 2) a plan for career progression for the candidate to move from the mentored stage of his/her career to independent research investigator status during the fellowship; and 3) a plan for monitoring the candidate’s research, publications, and progression towards independence.
7. A Statement of Institutional Support
o Home institution must file a written commitment to research career development of the fellow (analogous to written commitments required for NIDA K awards).
o Institution must be pre-registered in grants.gov and have eCommons user I.D. as sponsoring institution. Applicant must provide this information in the application.
o Home institutions also must file a written agreement to support fellows for dedication of at least 75 days (‘one day per week’ effort) of ‘NIDA research release time’ during each of up to 18 months of fellowship support, plus equivalent release time during 1 additional year after fellowship support (analogous to NIDA K-award 75% requirement).
o Home institutions must make an advance commitment to ‘cost sharing’ or ‘match’ as described above.
Submission and Award Dates
To be considered, proposals must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted. An entire application package that contains all seven sections as described above in PDF formatmust be submitted electronically to:
Application Review Criteria
Review criteria will parallel that of the NIH’s K critique and include an overall impact of: 1) Candidate, 2) Career Development Plan/Career Goals & Objectives/Plan to Provide Mentoring, 3) Research Plan, 4) Mentor(s), Co-mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s), and 5) Environment and Institutional Commitment to the Candidate. Additional review criteria include: relevance of the proposed project to the Early Career Stage Mentoring Program for NIDA Research mission and aims and potential for the proposed pilot study to develop into an NIH R01 (or R01 equivalent). All applications will be reviewed using procedures similar to that of the NIH's K critique and summary statements for all applications will be made available by May 2014. Five fellows will be selected for the third cohort of this program.