Revised: June 2020
Updates: The following updates relating to this announcement/supplemental guidelines have been issued:
This document contains instructions for preparing applications for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Institutional National Research Service Awards (Parent T32). These instructions must be used for all T32 applications submitted to the NHLBI effective with the January 25, 2011 receipt date for new, renewal (competing continuation), resubmission (amended), and revision applications and the September 25, 2011 receipt date for resubmission applications. These instructions are to be used in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 Program Announcement (PA-20-142), and the Training (T) Instructions in the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) Application Guide. There are several options available to submit your application that can be found in Part 1. Overview Information; Required Application Instructions of the Program Announcement (PA-20-142). To apply, either click on the “Apply Online Using ASSIST” green button; use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution; or use grants.gov workspace to prepare and submit your application. Please pay particular attention to the 'Introduction to Data Tables' document, which applicants should read prior to completing the tables.
Receipt dates for competing applications:
Also included in this document are:
All potential applicants, whether applying for new or renewal awards, are encouraged to consult with NHLBI program staff listed under General Information, VII. Staff Contacts early in the preparation process.
Training programs of special interest to NHLBI include those that:
To ensure that T32 applications address these areas of emphasis, the NHLBI has set forth the following specific requirements.
a. At all stages of education and training, Program Directors should foster broad, multidisciplinary approaches to research, including encouragement of interaction and collaboration among trainees in related disciplines. This could include travel by trainees to other laboratories outside the applicant institution to receive training in specialized disciplines, methodologies, or technologies. In addition, throughout each stage of the training program, Program Directors are expected to include instruction on consideration of sex and other relevant biological variables as factors in research strategies for the trainees.
b. Program Directors should encourage new trainees to widen the scope of their interests and capabilities, to avoid too narrow a focus too early in their careers and to develop the flexibility needed for pursuing rapidly evolving scientific advances.
c. NHLBI encourages development of novel programs of research training, to emphasize multidisciplinary team approaches, networking, and collaboration, emphasizing the competencies needed for the future of biomedical research. As an example, teams of the future might include individuals such as behavioral and social scientists, physical scientists, computational biologists, engineers, molecular biologists, geneticists, and clinicians.
d. NHLBI encourages development of “virtual” research training centers, to link (electronically or through other means) multiple institutions with unique or specific expertise to address a common problem. Program Directors are encouraged to broaden training experiences beyond a single institution (in academia and industry) using both long and short-term training experiences. Such experiences might include online resources and exchanges of faculty and students. Plans should be described for how interactions among participants will take place.
a. Applicants are encouraged to identify scientific disciplines and evolving areas of scientific need which are currently under-represented and to design and implement training programs in such disciplines. Documentation of available opportunities in such fields and of the lack of qualified scientists to realize these opportunities should be included to justify emphasis on these evolving areas.
b. Examples of research areas/competencies that may be important areas of training include (but not limited to):
These are examples and are not meant to imply that training programs must include any or all of these topics.
c. Applications can propose coursework appropriate to the objective of the training program. Examples could include Bioinformatics, Systems Biology, Analysis of Biological Networks, Foundations of Algorithms, Computational Techniques in Systems Biology, Linear Algebra, and Fundamentals in the Translation of Basic Research to Clinical Practice.
d. Programs in disciplines related to clinical research should also include training in bioethics, clinical trials and behavioral science. When possible and appropriate, training programs should include training in state-of-the-art technologies, integrative approaches, and such mathematically-based areas as bioinformatics, computational biology, and statistics. Consideration should be given to inclusion of women in clinical research, and the recognition of symptoms and therapies that exhibit sexual dimorphism.
e. Training at the pre- and postdoctoral levels should include “survival skills” such as grant and manuscript writing, public speaking, obtaining funding, mentorship (that is, providing skills that will enable current trainees to train subsequent “generations” of scientists), and establishing research collaborations in a multidisciplinary setting.
f. Training is encouraged to include topics related to the health of women and/or the influence of sex and gender on outcomes relevant to HLBS disorders.
a. NHLBI encourages “group mentorship,” where multiple senior partners in team-based research lend their individual expertise to the trainee, as appropriate to the trainee's level of development and under the overall guidance of the Program Director.
b. Applications should have a detailed mentoring plan for the "typical" trainee and should describe the process by which such plans will be developed for future trainees. Items to be discussed in a mentoring plan may include: 1) a description of approaches to be used in mentoring; 2) experience and expertise of mentors and proposed time commitment; 3) training in oral and written communication and personal interactions; 4) career planning; and 5) methods for evaluating and reporting effectiveness of mentoring program in annual progress reports. Formal evaluation by trainees is encouraged. Formal evaluation of trainees by their mentors or advisory committees is also encouraged.
c. Applicant institutions should demonstrate their support of mentoring, in terms of institutional administrative support, protected time for mentoring, and departmental support for student activities. They should detail the steps taken to ensure that trainees are aware of what they may expect from their mentors and institutions and what in turn is expected of them.
d. Consideration should be given to including women as mentors and in leadership positions to serve as role models for rising trainees. Additionally, junior faculty should be considered to serve as mentors or co-mentors. Junior faculty are those who have established active, independent research programs early in their careers. Metrics for evaluating the contribution and mentoring abilities of these dynamic young investigators should be developed and described, since traditional milestones, such as having a long track record of producing seasoned independent investigators may not be appropriate at their career stage. The value of such individuals as role models should be highlighted. Likewise effort should be made to provide mentorship to junior faculty to establish a pipeline of mentors for program mentoring stability.
e. Where possible and practical, the training experience should be broadened by encouraging the active participation of scientists and laboratories in industry settings. This could include industry scientists acting as mentors on training grants or providing short-term experiences in industry settings for trainees. Cost sharing in such partnerships on the part of industry is encouraged.
a. NHLBI is strongly committed to ensuring diversity in its research training programs. Each application must include plans for active recruitment of individuals from diverse backgrounds such as individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research. The definition of diversity recruitment groups and detailed instructions on preparing the diversity recruitment portion of the application can be found in the (T) Application Instructions, Section T.420, 2, C. The diversity recruitment plan must be specific for the program proposed and should not rely on the diversity recruitment efforts of the institution. Applicants should also describe their personal involvement in recruitment efforts for the specific application (visits to minority institutions, personal follow-up of potential applicants and interviewees, etc.). Applications without adequate diversity recruitment plans will not be awarded until an adequate recruitment plan is received and approved. Additional information regarding recruitment strategies for underrepresented individuals from racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds can be found in the document "Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity".
Once all of the awarded predoctoral and/or postdoctoral training positions are filled, including adequate representation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, institutional NHLBI NRSA training grants may request an extra slot to support an additional trainee from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group, a trainee with a disability, and/or an individual from a disadvantaged background. Procedures for requesting these extra slots re available at Instructions for Grantees Requesting an Additional Trainee Position to Enhance Research Training Workforce Diversity.
b. The NRSA program has a program for limited part-time training for trainees beginning families and facing other unique pressures, which is described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement – Institutional Research Training Grants, Section 11.2.7.
c. Literature shows that women face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields, and based on the NIH Databook, from 1998-2016 women received only 30% or less of all research grant awards, compared to 70% or more among males in the same years. Women are therefore highly encouraged to apply, be included as mentors, and to be recruited as trainees to the training program
a. NHLBI encourages development of physician-investigators with necessary skills to translate robust and reproducible findings from the laboratory and clinical research program into clinical practice.
b. Programs of clinical relevance should be established for PhD scientist-trainees, with an emphasis on postdoctoral training and course work in human biology and behavioral science, and population-based research to facilitate their subsequent engagement in human subjects research or clinical trials.
c. Applicants are encouraged to develop innovative approaches to training physicians and non-physicians in clinical research skills in the context of NHLBI clinical networks and multicenter studies. Such training can be facilitated by building on existing study infrastructure and promoting collaboration. Programs that foster translational research skills bridging basic and clinical research, or clinical and population-based research are encouraged.
Applications for National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutional training grants (T15, T32, T34, T35, T35, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TL4) must include a letter on institutional letterhead signed by a key institutional leader that describes the institutional commitment to ensuring that proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices. This information can be included in the same letter with the information about the applicant institutional commitment to the planned program and does not have to be a separate letter, as clarified in NOT-OD-19-056. This policy applies to applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2019. The specific Section in which the harassment and discrimination protections should appear is detailed below.
In the same letter, applicants should include a description of the institutional commitment in the following areas:
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, NIH-supported research and training must occur in a civil, safe, and respectful environment, free from discrimination and unlawful harassment, sexual or otherwise. NIH does not tolerate harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, at institutions that receive NIH funding, or anywhere that NIH-funded activities are conducted. NIH recognizes concerns about sexual harassment as a significant issue within academic science, engineering, and medicine (NAS 2018).
As part of the Letters of Support on the PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan form, applications currently include a description of the applicant institution’s commitment to the planned program in order to ensure its success (e.g., providing facilities and a research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as biomedical research scientists; providing appropriate inter- or multidisciplinary research training opportunities and courses which will allow trainees to acquire state-of-the-art scientific knowledge).
a. Ensuring that proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices;
b. Responding appropriately to allegations of discriminatory practices, including any required notifications to OCR (see NOT-OD-15-152); and
c. Adopting and following institutional procedure for requesting NIH prior approval of a change in the status of the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) or other senior/key personnel if administrative or disciplinary action is taken that impacts the ability of the PD/PI or other key personnel to continue his/her role on the NIH award described in the training grant application (also see NOT-OD-18-172 re policy on change in PD/PI status).
This policy is applicable to applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2019. Failure to provide the signed letter will result in withdrawal of the application.
Please direct all inquiries to:
Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Office of Extramural Research
The NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. The NIH recognizes that instruction in responsible conduct of research occurs formally and informally in educational settings and that informal instruction occurs throughout the research training experience. The guidance provided below is directed at formal instruction in responsible conduct of research. It reflects the accumulated experiences and the best practices of the scientific community over the past two decades. These practices have been incorporated into many of the best regarded programs of instruction in responsible conduct of research.
While courses related to professional ethics, ethical issues in clinical research, or research involving vertebrate animals may form a part of instruction in responsible conduct of research, they generally are not sufficient to cover all of the above topics.
Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.
New (Type 1) applications must include a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research. In addition to addressing the five instructional components, the plan must describe how participation in instruction in responsible conduct of research will be monitored.
Renewal (Type 2) applications must, in addition, describe changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans for the future that address any weaknesses in the current instruction in responsible conduct of research. All training faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.
For instruction in responsible conduct of research, online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction. A plan that employs only online coursework for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be considered acceptable, except in special instances of short-term training programs, or unusual and well-justified circumstances.
a) Conflict of interest- personal, professional, and financial;
b) Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices;
c) Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships;
d) Collaborative research, including collaboration with industry;
e) Peer review;
f) Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership;
g) Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct;
h) Responsible authorship and publication;
i) And the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research
Receipt dates for competing applications:
New competing awards for T32 grants will be issued as early as February. Competing Renewals will usually follow the dates of the last non-competing award end date.
Applications for NRSA Institutional Grants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year must obtain, prior to submission, NHLBI agreement to accept their applications for consideration. This policy applies to new, renewal/competing continuation, and resubmission/amended applications. Requests must be received by the NHLBI no later than 6 weeks prior to the application receipt dates (see A. above). Without this advance acceptance, applications will be returned by the NIH Center for Scientific Review.
Amended Applications: The NHLBI agreement to accept an application includes a statement that the Institute will automatically accept a single resubmission (amended) application (i.e., an "A1" application) provided that the proposed aims and total direct costs per year remain unchanged (excluding adjustments for changes in stipend levels or other allowable costs mandated by NRSA, or reductions in response to peer review).
However, Program Directors must notify their Program Officials of their intent to resubmit an application, so that administrative actions can be taken for timely receipt of the application.
Procedures: The training director must send a written request to NHLBI at least 6 weeks in advance of the application receipt date. The letter, countersigned by an institutional business official, should be addressed to the Director of the appropriate NHLBI division/center as identified below, and include:
Criteria for Acceptance: NHLBI considers the following criteria in determining whether to accept a proposed application:
Acceptance: Within two to six weeks of receipt of the request letter, NHLBI staff will inform the applicant whether or not to proceed with submission of the proposed application. The acceptance letter from the NHLBI must be included with the cover letter of the application. The NIH Center for Scientific Review will not accept the application without documentation of NHLBI permission to submit an application.
NHLBI Extramural Program Division Directors: All written requests for NHLBI agreement to accept applications subject to this policy are to be submitted to one of the following Division/Center Directors:
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
Dr. David Goff
Two Rockledge Center, Room 8128
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7936
Bethesda, MD 20892-7936
Division of Lung Diseases
Dr. James Kiley
Two Rockledge Center, Suite 10042
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7952
Bethesda, MD 20892-7952
Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
Dr. Keith Hoots
Two Rockledge Center, Room 9136
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7950
Bethesda, MD 20892-7950
Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science
Dr. George A. Mensah
One Rockledge Center, Room 6194
6705 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7960
Bethesda, MD 20892-7960
There are several options available to submit your application that can be found in Part 1. Overview Information; Required Application Instructions of the Program Announcement (PA-20-142). Click on the “Apply Online Using ASSIST” green button; use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution; or use grants.gov workspace to prepare and submit your application.
Prior to submission, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate NHLBI program director to discuss preparation and review of the application (see General Information, VII. Staff Contacts).
Applications judged to be complete and eligible will be evaluated for merit by the NHLBI Institutional Training Mechanism (NITM) review group convened by the NHLBI Division of Extramural Research Activities. Applications will receive a second-level review by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council to ensure that they meet the broad programmatic needs and priorities of the NHLBI.
Shortly after review of the competing application by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council, the NHLBI will notify the applicant of his/her funding status. Awards are made based on the availability of funds each fiscal year, the degree of merit as determined by peer reviewers and the program priorities of the NHLBI.
In addition to this document, there are three other documents necessary for the preparation of the NHLBI T32 application:
1. Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (Parent T32)” Program Announcement PA-20-142 issued in the NIH GUIDE FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS, March 20, 2020.
2. Specific NHLBI funding guidelines for NRSA programs are described in “NHLBI Funding and Operating Guidelines: NRSA and Career Awards” (includes information on Limits on Full-Time Training Positions, Receipt Dates, and Stipend Levels).
Excellent guides to professional mentorship are available and prospective Program Directors are encouraged to use them in developing their training programs.
For more information and/or advice about the objectives and scope of this award, eligibility requirements, structure and organization of grant applications and peer review trends, please contact the scientific staff in the relevant Division as listed below. For applicants in the area of sleep disorders research, contact the Division most relevant to the training program being proposed.
For training in the program areas of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, contact:
Dr. Li-Shin Huang
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7940
For training in the program areas of the Division of Lung Diseases, contact:
Dr. Roya Kalantari
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7940
Telephone: (301) 480-1989
For training in the program areas of the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources, contact:
Dr. Traci Mondoro
Division of Lung Diseases
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7952
For training in heart, lung, and blood diseases, and sleep disorders research translation to real-world settings (T4), contact:
For more information about the appropriate procedures for dealing with issues that involve budget and period of support of the award or that involve any other issues requiring approval by the NHLBI or post award actions.
Mrs. Annette Singletary
Division of Extramural Research Activities
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7926