Frequently Asked Questions for RFA-HL-05-002: Research Career Development Programs in Vascular Medicine

Q: Is it allowable to divide the responsibilities of the Program Director among two persons?
A: Yes, with the following conditions:
  • A single person, the Program Director, retains full responsibility for the conduct of the Program.
  • Strong justification is given for the need to split the duties between a Director and Co-Director.
  • The responsibilities of each individual are clearly identified.
  • The application addresses all aspects of the review criterion entitled Program Leadership. Refer to Section V, part 3, Merit Review Criteria.

Applicants should keep in mind that dividing duties to reduce percent efforts for persons who are already fully committed to other projects may be judged as a weakness.

Q: Do I need to identify the proposed mentors?
A: Yes. It is understood that the research interests of yet unselected Candidates will influence the composition of the final roster of mentors, but reviewers need adequate information to evaluate the credentials of at least four potential mentors, and their available time for, and commitment to, mentoring.

Q: What is the expected level of training of Candidates?
A: Candidates will have varied backgrounds and different levels of training. It is anticipated that most Candidates will be individuals who have just completed residencies or fellowships in medicine or surgery. However, faculty members who have a special interest in vascular medicine may also apply. A reminder: Regardless of the level of training or faculty status, institutional commitment to the Candidate is essential.

Q: Can Research and Development Support (R & D) be carried over from year to year for a specific Candidate?
A: Yes. Once an appointment of a Candidate is made, costs associated with training of that Candidate not incurred in one year can be carried over to the following year. The cap of R & D support is $90,000 over three years. Refer to RFA, Section III, Part 3, under Allowable Costs, 14 d.

Q: Can applicants get a sample K12 application?
A: No. The NHLBI has not used the K12 mechanism in the past. However, the K12 is a hybrid of the T32 and K23 mechanisms. NHLBI has two K23 model applications on our public website that may serve as useful references.

Q: Can a member of the Advisory Committee (AC) also serve as a mentor?
A: Preferably, no. Consider first what duties will be charged to the AC. If, for instance, evaluation of mentoring is one of the AC duties, anyone having a dual AC-mentor role would need to be restricted from participation in that activity. Strong justification would be needed for naming an individual to serve in both capacities.

Q: Can the Program Director (PD) also be a mentor?
A: Yes. The effort requested for the PD should be sufficient for both roles.

Q: If my institution already has another K12, are we eligible to apply for this RFA?
A: Yes. ThisK12 is different from most others because it specifically targets an emerging medical subspecialty, vascular medicine. The applicant should describe the existing K12 award(s) and convince reviewers that there will neither be significant overlap nor strain on available resources that might handicap concurrent K12 Programs.

Q: Do Candidates apply to this RFA?
A: No. Institutions apply. Once specific institutions are funded, Candidates will apply directly to the desired Program, not to NHLBI.

Q: If I already have a K23, am I eligible to apply to a Program as a Candidate?
A: No. However, if a Candidate completes three years of training in this K12 Program and still needs further mentored research training, he/she may be eligible to apply for up to two years of support on a K23 or K08. Refer to RFA, Section III, Part 1B. Eligible Individuals, paragraphs 3-5.

Q: Where should references be placed in the application?
A: In a section entitled Literature Cited after section J. Vertebrate Animals, and before the Checklist.

Q: What is the budget cap?
A: The cap for direct costs in the first year is $400,000. The aggregate cap for the following four years is 3.6 million dollars, so the total direct cost cap for one application for five years is 4.0 million dollars. The F & A costs are 8% of modified total direct costs.

General Recommendations to Applicants:

  • Determine a five-year timeline indicating when Candidates will begin training and how many will be trained in each year. This will form the basis for estimating yearly numbers of mentors needed and yearly budgets. A diagram of the timeline is not required, but would be helpful to reviewers.
  • Refer to the Merit Review Criteria in Section V, Part 3 of the RFA. These are the categories on which you will be judged and assigned a priority score. Be sure you have addressed these points thoroughly.
  • Please contact the Project Officer listed below for suggested tabular formats for information requested in RFA, Section IV, Part 2. Content and Form of Application Submission, L., Appendices and Tables. Adjust the formats, including the categories, as you see fit.

Project Officer:

Diane Reid, M.D.
Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 9182
Bethesda, MD 20892-7940
Telephone: (301) 402-3824
FAX: (301) 480-1336


Last updated: April 20, 2005

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