Frequently Asked Questions for the Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) and Coordination Core (R25) RFA-HL-10-019 and RFA-HL-10-028

Q: Which RFAs are part of the Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) and Coordination Core?
A: The following RFAs participate in this program:

Q. Will there be an online technical meeting for these RFAs?
A. Yes, a Webinar was held for these RFAs on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 12pm Eastern Time. The web address for viewing a recording of this Webinar is located at https://webmeeting.nih.gov/p50203883/. The slides from this presentation are available for download from the recording website.

Q. What is the intended outcome of this program?
A. To provide training opportunities to junior faculty from diverse background to enhance their skills so that they can compete competitively for HLBS scientific research funding.

Q. What should be the goal of each Summer Institute?
A. To provide an intensive mentorship and research- skills enhancing experience to junior faculty members and scientists from diverse backgrounds, across a breadth of academic institutions, to prepare them to successfully compete for HLBS disorders scientific research funding.

Q. How should a “Summer Institute” be defined or designed?
A. The design of the Summer Institute is left to the discretion of the PD/PI. However, the core elements include recruiting 3 cohorts of junior faculty, administering 2 training sessions per cohort, and providing continual mentoring and networking activities for mentees throughout their participation.

Q. How many Summer Institute programs can one institution propose and where should they be located?
A. An institution may submit more than one Summer Institute application provided each application is scientifically distinct and has a different PD/PI. The proposed Institutes must be physically located at the institution developing the program.

Q. Is it OK to have a virtual Summer Institute, rather than have all the investigators for the Institute located at the same Institution?
A. It is important that there be a physical location for the mentees to gather for the Summer Institute held at the PD/PI’s institution or contact PI’s institution in a multiple PD/PI arrangement. However, technological advances may allow for enhancement of the Summer Institute with experts throughout the country who can be joined “virtually” to the Summer Institute.

Q. This RFA is a renewal and remodification of the SIPID program. Is it anticipated that only those proposals funded under the prior SIPID program will be funded through these FOAs?
A. These funding opportunity announcements invite open competition for up to 5 Summer Institute awards and 1 Coordination Core award. All applications will be judged independently whether or not an institution held a prior SIPID award.

Q. Can we propose more than one PI or multiple PIs for the Institute or CC application?
A. Yes, co-PIs or multiple PIs are permissible for both the Institute and CC RFAs. It is recommended that this approach be justified, and that applicants provide the additional information as outlined in Section IV.2 of the RFA. The physical location for the Summer Institute should be at the PIs or contact PIs institution (in a multiple PI arrangement).

Q. Can an individual participate or collaborate on more than one application?
A. Yes, there are many roles that an investigator can take within a Summer Institute or CC application – the overall PD/PI, a co-PD/PI, a mentor, or training instructor, for example. Investigators can participate on more than one application, but cannot submit more than one application as the overall PD/PI.

Q. Do all the leadership positions need to be part of the primary award or can leadership positions be held by subcontractors?
A. The leadership can be provided by various members of the proposed team, including key personnel in any subcontracts. However, the PD/PI (or contact PI in a multiple PI arrangement) of the Summer Institute should be from the primary institution where the summer program will be physically located. Applicants should describe how such leadership will be provided and integrated across the program.

Q. Do Summer Institute applicants have to submit an application for the CC? If we are submitting both applications, do we submit separate applications and separate budgets? Can the PI be the same person?
A. No, it is not mandatory that an Institute applicant propose a CC or vice versa. The Institute applications and the CC applications will be reviewed independent of one another. It is possible to be awarded both or for one and not the other. If an institution is submitting an application for both, separate applications and budgets are required. The PI for these 2 components should be different since the functions of each are quite different.

Q. Does the PI/PD need to be funded by NHLBI?
No. Eligible applicants for these RFA’s are described in “Section III. Eligibility Information” which states that any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research education program as the PD/PI is invited to develop an application for support.

Q. Are there specific requirements for the Summer Institutes to focus on particular areas of science or research methodologies?
A. Summer Institutes should have a focus on a topic within heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders. However, any methodology or approach is considered responsive from basic/mechanistic science to translation or population science or outcomes research. 

Q. Can animal research be proposed as part of this program?
A. Yes. If the focus is to equip junior faculty to acquire basic and experimental research skills relative to HLBS disorders so that they can competitively compete for HLBS scientific research funding.

Q. Are Institute applicants allowed to request 100% salary support for the Program Administrator if total personnel cost remains under 50% of direct cost?
A. The RFA provides information regarding percent effort for Program Directors and Program Administrators as a guide. However, applicants may propose more or less effort in accordance to the needs of their specific program. Strong justification would be needed if personnel costs exceed 50% of direct costs.

Q. What is meant by “mentees”?
A. Candidates/junior faculty from diverse backgrounds who are recruited and enrolled in the Summer Institute programs. 

Q. Define “junior investigator.”
For this RFA application, the term “junior investigator” is used to refer to an investigator who has never successfully competed for an RO1, PO1, or P50 grant award. This investigator would be the type of faculty member appropriate to apply for participation in a PRIDE Summer Institute program as a mentee.

Q. Are we responsible for the travel costs of the mentees?
A. Yes. Summer Institute applicants should budget for travel costs of mentees as it relates to all institution-required activities of the PRIDE programs. 

Q. What is meant by “mentors”?
A. Advanced faculty members who are skilled in mentoring junior faculty investigators from diverse backgrounds. 

Q. What is meant by a “mentorship committee”?
A. A committee of approximately 3 individuals who will provide primary mentorship for a mentee enrolled in an Institute program. The committee may be comprised of mentors from the mentee’s home institution, the PRIDE institute, and the national scientific field, for example. The CC will work with the Institutes to facilitate matching the mentee with potential mentors. The mentee would ideally forge a relationship with these mentors to continue beyond the program and into the grant writing phase. Applicants may propose guidance for contact frequency between the mentorship committee and the mentees. This can be further refined across Institutes post award.

Q. Can mentors be paid a portion of their salary for the time they spend mentoring participants?
A. Yes. Mentors can be paid salary support for their time spent mentoring participants. If the mentors are coming from the applicant institution, this should be included as a percent effort on the grant. If the mentors are from an outside institution, they can be paid as consultants. 

Q. Can the duration of each component of the Summer Institute vary from that described in the RFA?
A. Time frames are given only as estimates. Applicants may freely structure their timelines to include more or less time as needed within the range provided in the RFA for each of the three phases identified in the Summer Institute design (e.g., 10-28 days for the first summer). What is essential is that the time frames proposed be well justified and tied to the needs and features of the proposed program. 

Q. Which Institutions are eligible to apply for these RFAs?
A. For both the Summer Institutes and CC eligible institutions include (Sect. III)

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education
  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organizations
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)

Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply

Q. Can institutions that receive federal or foundation funding (for example to support other training programs) submit proposals?
A. Yes.  However, it is important that Program Directors or Program Administrators have the available percent effort to carry out the duties of the PRIDE program.

Q. Should Summer Institute programs target specific age groups?
A. The eligibility of junior faculty targeted for this program is not age specific. The Summer Institute program should be open to all eligible individuals regardless of age.

Q.  What happens after the award?
A. According to the proposed timeline, Summer Institutes will begin planning their training and mentoring program. Under the direction of the Coordination Core and NHLBI project office, Summer Institute awardees will begin to collaborate by sharing ideas, Institute designs, and common elements to facilitate the implementation and evaluation of program activities. The CC will establish communications and begin to arrange the first meetings of investigators and NHLBI.

Q. What specific meetings should we budget for in our application?
A. The CC should budget for monthly teleconference meetings with Summer Institutes; periodic telephone contacts with mentors and mentees; planning and travel to 2 meetings annually in Bethesda, MD; travel to Summer Institute programs as needed. Summer Institutes should budget for the summer program; the Mid-Year meeting for the mentee; travel to 2 meetings annually in Bethesda

Q. What are the expectations for number of individuals (mentees, mentors, program staff, etc.) that will be funded to attend the annual meeting in Bethesda?
A. The CC should anticipate bringing any key program staff and consultants for any proposed training. The Summer Institutes should plan to bring key program staff, key mentors, and all mentees (Year 1 – cohort 1; Year 2 – cohorts 1 and 2; Year 3 – cohorts 2 and 3; Year 4 – cohort 3)

Q. Do we allocate funds for evaluation costs in the Institute application budget or will all evaluation costs be covered by the Coordination Core?
A. Summer Institutes should still budget for site-specific evaluation of all activities. Following award, the CC will work with all the Institutes to facilitate common evaluative protocols and measures when appropriate, as well as collection methods. The CC will also be tasked to develop an evaluation protocol for current and past mentees up to 5 years out from program completion.    

Q. What are the NIH expectations regarding the “Dissemination” component of the application?
A. For both the Summer Institutes and CC, the dissemination plan is left to the applicant’s discretion, but could include aspects such as presentations at national meetings regarding the outcomes of individual programs, publications regarding the successful research training, shared learning within and without one’s institute on successful mentoring, etc.

Q. What is the maximum F&A costs allowed?
A. For both the Summer Institutes and CC, the Facilities and Administrative costs will be reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of equipment).

Q. Which forms should we use to submit our application?
A. Applicants must use the SF424 (R & R) electronic application package. Your office of sponsored research programs can assist you in acquiring the forms. 

Q. What other provisions should applicants specify in their applications?
A. Institute applicants must provide a letter of support demonstrating mentors’ and mentees’ access to facilities such as classrooms, research laboratories, computers, dormitories, food service and some off-time activities as appropriate for the program being proposed. Accommodations and meals may be provided off-campus.

Q. Are we expected to include biosketches for all mentors and faculty for the program?
A. Include biosketches for leadership of the Institute or CC, mentors, and key faculty members. For space-saving purposes, applicants may summarize qualifications and experience for those for which a biosketch is not provided in the Research Education Plan.

Q. Please address the format of the biosketch—will it follow new requirements?
Use the new biosketch format as described in the updated SF424 application. The new format has an added personal statement and a limit of 15 publications.

Q. Can we include appendices with our application? What kind of information can be included in an appendix? Is there a limit on the length of an appendix?
A. Yes. However, reviewers are not obligated to read information in the appendix. Therefore, everything needed to review the application should be included in the main application. Do not use appendices to circumvent page limits.

Q. Since this is a research education program, what will be required for the “Human Subjects” and “Inclusion of Women Minorities and Children” sections?
Applicants should treat the Human Subjects section as if the subjects were the trainees/mentees similar to the way it is handled with training grants such as T32s. Also handle the "Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children" section in the same way. You may state that children are not applicable for this research education program.

Q. How will these applications be reviewed?
A. NHLBI will convene a “Scientific Evaluation Panel” or SEP to review these applications. This will be a peer-review panel made up of experts outside of the NHLBI, with at least 75% of reviewers outside the government. Included will be individuals with expertise in research and training program planning and execution, and also program evaluation. Applications for the Summer Institute will be reviewed independently from those for the CC and vice versa.

Q. Where do we upload the Institution Letter of Support?
A. The RFA has a discrepancy listing Line16 on one page and Line14 on another. The correct place to upload the Institution Letter of Support is on Line 14 of the SF424.

Q. Who should I contact for budget questions?
A. After consulting with your business office, if additional information is needed, please contact the following NHLBI grants management staff:

Ms. Tawana McKeither
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7159
Bethesda, MD 20892-7924
Bethesda, MD 20817
Telephone: (301) 435-0166
Fax: 301-451-5462
Email: mckeitherta@nhlbi.nih.gov

Q. Are Letters of Intents (LOIs) required? Can I still submit an application if I have missed the LOI receipt date?
A. Letters of Intent are not required.  You may still submit an application if you have not submitted an LOI. However, NHLBI used LOIs in planning the review and in identifying responsiveness issues at an early stage. Thus, if you did not submit an LOI, it would be helpful to contact the program office to indicate your intent of submitting an application.

Q. What is the budget cap? How many years can I ask for?
A. For the Summer Institutes the NHLBI intends to commit up to $1.4 million in total costs per Institute. The total costs allowed for each Summer Institute program is limited to $300,000 for Year 1, $350,000 for Year 2, $375,000 for Year 3, and $350,000 for Year 4. For the CC, the NHLBI intends to commit up to $1.2 million in total costs over the period of award. The total costs allowed are $270,000 for Year 1, $325,000 for Year 2, $325,000 for Year 3, and $325,000 for Year 4.  F and A costs will be reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs.

For more information, please contact:
Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H.
Phone: (301) 435-0383
E-mail: cookn2@nhlbi.nih.gov

Last update: January 21, 2010

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