Dear NIGMS Institutional Training Grant Program Director:
Congratulations on your NIGMS institutional training grant award! This message offers some tips and reminders that we hope you will find useful. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about your grant or if you have any important developments that you want to share with us.
NIGMS training grant awards are made to support specific areas of training. Programs are expected to evolve and are encouraged to be innovative and embrace new interdisciplinary opportunities; however, major changes to the overall area of training are not permitted. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for detailed information on award requirements (see Part II, Subpart B–Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards). You can find your summary statement and Notice of Award (NoA) in the NIH Commons. Your summary statement is likely to contain comments and suggestions that could be helpful in improving your training program. For example, it would be useful to explain in your annual progress reports how you are addressing any weaknesses identified by the reviewers. Important information in your NoA includes the project and budget period start and end dates, the awarded dollar amount and trainee slots for the first year, recommended amounts and trainee slots for future years, and specific terms and conditions of the award.
Please note that future-year commitments recommended on the NoA generally reflect the Council-approved number of slots; however, actual annual award levels, and particularly any increase in the number of trainees/slots, will depend on: 1) evidence of continued strength and depth of the applicant pool; 2) success in enhancing the diversity of the trainees associated with the program; and 3) availability of funds in the NIGMS budget. In recent years, budget constraints have significantly limited the ability to provide increases in the number of trainee slots in noncompeting years and have occasionally resulted in reductions in slot numbers. Do not assume you will receive an increase in slot number in future years unless notified by your program director.
The NoA also has important contact information for your NIGMS program and grants management staff. Your program director can advise about questions relating to your training program (e.g., how to handle diversity recruitment or training in the responsible conduct of research) or about any special policies that might apply to your training grant, such as requirements for internships or experiences in medically relevant settings. Contact your grants management specialist if you have questions about your budget or about grants administration policies. Should a problem arise, let your program director or grants management specialist know about it as soon as possible, as they may have helpful suggestions.
Appointments and Terminations. We remind you that data on appointment and termination of trainees should be submitted in a timely manner as indicated in the terms of the NoA. A Statement of Appointment (PHS Form 2271) is required for each trainee each year prior to or at the time of appointment. Grantees must submit the PHS 2271 data electronically using the xTrain system. Upon completion of a trainee's final appointment, a Termination Notice (PHS 416-7) (submitted via xTrain), is required within 30 days of the end of his/her support. Late submission of appointment or termination forms can result in delays in funding decisions and issuance of the next increment of funding. More information on xTrain is available at xTrain (eRA Commons). The necessary forms can be found at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm#training.
Stay Connected in the Training Community. As you consider how you will keep abreast of developments in training, consider interactions on your campus, in the region, as well as in national organizations. We have heard from grantees that there are useful resources from the Association of American Medical Colleges Graduate Research and Training (https://www.aamc.org/members/great ), Council of Graduate Schools (https://www.cgsnet.org ), the National Postdoctoral Association (http://www.nationalpostdoc.org ), Science Careers (http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org ), and other sources. The TWD Program Directors Organization currently led by Dr. Barry Komisaruk (firstname.lastname@example.org) meets annually at ABRCMS (http://www.abrcms.org ) and in a national forum organized by FASEB every 2 years (http://twdprograms.org/2015/About-TWD.aspx ). As you plan how to track trainee outcomes from your programs, we strongly recommend participation in professional societies and public media networks (i.e. LinkedIn).
To assist you in the recruitment of underrepresented students, NIGMS has a Web page, Diversity Recruitment and Retention Strategies, to help you enhance your diversity recruitment efforts. This includes examples of NIGMS-funded training programs with notable records of recruitment and retention of underrepresented students.
Annual progress reports are due on November 15. Your program director and grants management specialist read these reports carefully and use them to assess whether your training grant is on target programmatically and fiscally. It is important to include information about your recent applicant pool and the diversity of the pool and your program. If there are concerns or if information is not complete, NIGMS staff will contact you or your sponsored programs office for additional information. Note that even newly awarded grants must submit their annual progress report on this date. Progress reports for training grants are submitted using the RPPR module in eRA Commons (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/index.htm)
Acknowledge NIH/NIGMS support of trainees in journal articles (cite your NIGMS grant number whenever possible), oral or poster presentations, news releases and other communications. As a training grant director, you may wish to discuss this goal with all faculty mentors and students associated with the training program. It is important to do this so taxpayers understand that money budgeted to NIH results in research advances made by trainees and scientists throughout the country.
As required by the NIH public access policy, submit manuscripts accepted for publication to NIH PubMed Central.
When a trainee has an accepted manuscript that describes an exceptionally significant finding, please contact your NIGMS program director to discuss possible ways in which publicizing the work could help inform the American public about the value of NIH-funded research.
Useful Web Sites
NIGMS home page
NIGMS Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity
NIGMS Training Grant Diversity Recruitment and Retention Strategies and Resources
NIH Grants Information (with links to funding opportunities and grants policy)
NIH Public Access
Attribution of Support
NIH "Welcome Wagon" Letter--Information for Staff at Your Institution
NIH Training Forms and Applications