Frequently Asked Questions
A. The most recent IMSD Program Announcement is PAR-17-053.
A. The main goal of the IMSD program is to increase the number of students from groups underrepresented (UR) in the biomedical sciences that graduate from Ph.D. programs in these fields at institutions with research-intensive environments. The institutional IMSD program is expected also to increase the diversity of the student pool in the biomedical science departments and to reduce the gap in the completion of Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences by UR and non-UR students. Specific expectations of the institutional IMSD program are:
To accomplish these objectives, the proposed program design should be derived from an institutional self-assessment of the:
As a result of the self-assessment, each applicant institution must establish the program’s goals and specific measurable objectives which should be consonant with the IMSD program expectations and design an institutional program that will contribute significantly to the overall IMSD goals.
A. Yes, although only one grant application may be submitted by each institution, participation of all departments relevant to biomedical sciences is highly encouraged since the IMSD should be an institutional program.
A. The IMSD program is an institutional program and it is expected that program-supported activities will be open to all students at the institution. There is no specific eligibility requirement for participation in IMSD-supported activities. The program should not deny participation in program-supported activities to anyone based solely on his/her race, religion, gender or ethnicity. The program-supported participants are selected by the applicant institution. To receive salary support from the IMSD program, students must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or permanent residents and must be matriculated full-time in baccalaureate or doctoral degree programs in biomedical science fields at the applicant institution. (A non-citizen national is a person who, although not a citizen of the U.S., owes permanent allegiance to the U.S. This is generally a person born in a land that is not a state, but that is under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction or administration -- for example, America Samoa.) An individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence must possess an alien registration receipt card (I-551) prior to appointment on the grant. Individuals on temporary visas, those seeking asylum or refugees are not eligible for support from the IMSD program.
The purpose of the IMSD program is to achieve greater participation of students from UR groups in the biomedical research enterprise of this country. For the purpose of the IMSD program, UR groups include those reported by the National Science Foundation as well as the National Academies to be nationally underrepresented in biomedical sciences (i.e., African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, natives of U.S. Pacific Islands and people with disabilities). Applicants may include and identify any other categories that institutional policies have determined to be underrepresented in biomedical research fields with a strong rationale, appropriate references and official validated documentation. Selection participants should take into consideration whether the student’s participation would help achieve the overall goals/objectives of the proposed institutional program and the TWD goals. It is the responsibility of the applicant institution to establish the qualifications of students prior to their selection for the IMSD program.
A. Salary support is allowed for undergraduate students participating in a research internship, as long as there is an employee-employer relationship between the student and the institution. The total compensation must be reasonable and commensurate with the institution’s support scale for the work performed provided the following criteria are met:
IMSD undergraduate student participants are expected to be appointed to the program for at least 12 months. Appointments for less than 12 months require prior written approval by NIGMS.
A. Graduate (Ph.D.) students are allowed a salary compensation package that includes salary, fringe benefits, tuition and fees up to the maximum NIH-permitted annual graduate student support, which is NRSA level #0 for postdoctoral trainees, as indicated in the Graduate Student Compensation policy. (See the NIH Web page for current figure).
IMSD graduate student participants are expected to be appointed to at least one consecutive 12-month appointment to the program. On an annual basis, appointments for less than 12 months require prior written approval by NIGMS. Please be aware that it is the expectation of NIGMS that graduate students will participate in the IMSD program for no more than two years and will seek support from other departmental, federal, or non-federal sources to complete their degrees.
A. Participants supported by the program will be formally appointed using NIH’s Statement of Appointment form (PHS 2271). This form must be used to initiate each student supported by the IMSD program.
Q. Can IMSD-supported students receive additional support?
A. Students may not concurrently hold another federally-sponsored stipend or fellowship, other federal award that duplicates IMSD support, or supplemental salary support, e.g., from a mentor’s federal research grant. However, concurrent with IMSD support, students may make use of federal educational loan funds and assistance under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act (G.I. Bill), or may receive funds from a Pell Grant, based on financial need. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.
Q. Is foreign or international travel allowed?
A. Foreign/international travel (including travel to Canada and Mexico) is allowed only for graduate students making oral research presentations at recognized professional scientific meetings in their specific area of research. NIH prior approval is required.
Q. Can we use IMSD funds to recruit students to the institution or support students in the summer program who are not matriculated full time in degree-granting programs at my institution?
Q. What are the purpose and the scope of evaluation?
A. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide information on the effectiveness of the program on both the students and the institution. It should provide a resource for self-improvement and a guide for institutionalization of effective strategies. The evaluation must assess the success of the program in achieving its goals and objectives and, on an ongoing basis, determine whether various milestones have been reached.
Thus, the emphasis of the evaluation activities should be on:
It is expected that the evaluation will inform the senior leadership at the institution and help them decide which elements of the program should be applied more broadly and/or ultimately institutionalized.
The purpose of the evaluation plan in an application is to show reviewers that the applicant has a good plan to judge the effectiveness of the proposed program on both the students and the institution. The evaluation plan must indicate how the success of the program in achieving its goals and objectives will be assessed. Specific plans and procedures must be described to capture, analyze and report outcome measures as well as measures of program implementation and short-term outcomes such as outcomes of specific activities or interventions. The plan should be designed to assess and evaluate how the proposed program progresses toward meeting its goals, specific aims, measurable objectives and outcomes. A good evaluation plan will be based on appropriate literature and cited methodology. The plan should also identify the selected evaluator and present his/her credentials.
Applications that lack an evaluation plan will not be reviewed.
A. In general, the evaluator (either external or from the applicant institution) must have training and experience in evaluation methodology and statistics. The specific tools to be used in the evaluation (e.g., surveys, interviews, databases) will dictate the specific skills needed.
The evaluator’s responsibilities usually include preparation of reports and recommendations for the PD and institutional administrators; interaction with program staff and staff from other campus-wide student academic preparation and educational partnership and research training programs; making recommendations of new administrative structures, policies and procedures; establishing and maintaining contact with institutional officials for the collection and exchange of information; gathering data and information; finding and evaluating alternative solutions and making recommendations for program direction. The evaluator also provides the conceptual framework for institutional change and suggests ways of reducing the resistance to change. He/she will provide training and technical assistance, as necessary, to staff and to partners to ensure the integrity and adequacy of data captured and reported.
A. Although there are no set rules, in general, evaluation costs may represent 5-10 percent of the proposed budget. These costs may vary with the size of the program, its methodology, its scope and the frequency of the proposed evaluation activities. It is important, though, that a strong and clear justification be provided of any evaluation costs proposed in an application.
Q. What application form should I use to prepare a new competing application?
A. Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) Application Forms and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) through Grants.gov/Apply. Only the forms package directly attached to the IMSD FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA) although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.
A. The application submission/receipt dates for the IMSD program are January 26, 2018; January 28, 2019. Applications must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application submission/receipt date(s).
A registration process is necessary before submission, and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least four weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV of the IMSD FOA.
A. Applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov using the SF424 (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Applications may not be submitted in paper format.
A one-time registration is required at both and eRA Commons, and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least 4 weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV of the IMSD FOA.
A. There are no separate supplemental instructions for new (Type 1) or competitive renewal (Type 2) applications. Applicants should follow the instructions in the IMSD funding opportunity announcement.
A. The 25 page limit for the Research Plan (corresponding to PHS 398 sections on Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design and Methods) for all applications (new and renewal) includes all summarizing data tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts. Please do not include any materials under Appendix unless it is an allowed material as per the Appendix Policy.
A. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide the required information using the sample formats provided under the preliminary studies/progress report section of the program announcement PAR-17-053. Applicants must be aware that the Research Plan must include all summarizing data tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts. Applicants may use the appendix to include evaluation instruments as well as detailed information that further clarifies the summarized data tables included in the Research Plan. The summarizing data tables in the body of the Research Plan must include clear and precise statements of the location of the required detailed information in the Appendix Policy.
A. The 25-page limit for the Research Plan (corresponding to PHS 398 sections on Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report and Research Design and Methods) for all applications (new and renewal) includes all summarizing data tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts.
A. For renewal applications, a detailed progress report must be included. Applications with only one previous funding cycle must provide information on the past funding cycle. Applications with more than one previous funding cycle must provide information on the past two consecutive funding cycles. In the report, state the original and specific measurable objectives, anticipated milestones and outcomes, as well as a summary of the accomplishments of the IMSD program.
Programs with an undergraduate component must report:
Programs with a graduate component must report:
Describe the impact and/or value of IMSD program activities on the enrollment numbers, profile, academic environment and graduation rates of UR students and other related aspects of the institution. Describe what has been learned through the program evaluation and any changes made in the program as a result of the evaluation.
Applicants submitting renewal applications are strongly encouraged to provide the required information using the sample formats provided under the preliminary studies/progress report section of the program announcement PAR-17-053. The progress report section of the Research Plan must include all summarizing data tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts.
The competitive renewal application is treated like any new application except that the progress on the present program is also evaluated based on the goals and objectives outlined in the original application. Renewal applications that do not contain a progress report will be returned to the applicant.
A. Renewal applications must include the following Tables under Other Attachments Section:
Training Table 2. Participating Faculty Members, Undergraduate and/or Predoctoral Training Table, as applicable
Training Table 4. Research Support of Participating Faculty Members
Training Table 8A (Part I) Program Outcomes: Predoctoral
Training Table 8D (Part I only). Program Outcomes: Undergraduate
Please name your file "Table 2.pdf", Table 4.pdf", "Table 8A.pdf", or "Table 8D" as appropriate.
The Preliminary Studies/ Progress Report section of the Research Plan in renewal applications can include summary of the tables on program-supported participants. Each summary must include a clear and precise statement of the location of the required detailed information (e.g. Other Attachments).
A. There is no predetermined fundable score for an IMSD application. Applications compete for available funds with all other recommended applications from eligible institutions. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
The legislative intent and the past performance of the IMSD program in increasing the entry of UR students into, and graduation from Ph.D. programs, as well as the institutional impact of the program on decreasing the existing gap between UR and non-UR students pursuing and completing Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences, are weighted heavily in making funding decisions.
A. Although NIH is trying to shorten this time interval, the current time from submission to award is about 10-11 months. During this time, your application is received, assigned to NIGMS and referred to a study section for the first level of review. After it is scored, it undergoes the second level of review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. Program staff then makes funding recommendations to the NIGMS director. Until funding recommendations are approved, TWD staff will not be able to provide the applicant definite information on the funding status of an application.
Q. What should applicants do if not funded?
A. First, talk with your program director to review your summary statement and to obtain advice. You should be prepared to revise and resubmit your application. Revising is your opportunity to respond to the feedback of the Scientific Review Group and use their comments to improve your grant application.
Q. What happens if there is money left over at the end of the year? Can I request a carryover of funds?
A. The funds awarded for any year must be spent in that grant year. IMSD programs have expanded authority, meaning that unobligated unspent funds for a particularly year can be carried over into a new budget period. These funds can be rebudgeted within the scope of the IMSD program; however, the PI/PD must contact their TWD program official to rebudget any funds originally requested for program-supported participants.
Q. How does an institution process a no-cost extension if this is the last year of the grant?
A. A grantee institution can extend the project period using eRA Commons for up to 1 year if the request is submitted on or before the anniversary date of the parent grant, provided you do not change the scope of the program. If a no-cost extension is needed, it must be done within 90 days before the end of the grant by the institution’s grants office.
Please note that only students already in the program can be supported while a grant is on a no-cost extension. No new student appointments are allowed.
A. Progress reports to continue support of a Public Health Service (PHS) grant must be prepared using the NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) (forms and instructions). Reports must be prepared following the guidelines suggested in the NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Instruction Guide [PDF, 2.4 MB].
A. Grantees should follow the current RPPR format the guidelines provided. In brief, the progress report should summarize the progress achieved in the reporting period with respect to the proposed IMSD program goals. The narrative part is limited to three pages, and numerical and other data may be presented in tabular form (tables and figures are not counted in the three-page limit).
Please refer to https://www.nigms.nih.gov/training/IMSD/Documents/RPPR_Webinar_for_R25_Grantees.pdf for more information.
A. Progress reports are required to continue support of a PHS grant and for NIH grantees, and must be submitted 2 months before the beginning date of the next budget period using the RPPR (forms and instructions). In addition to the RPPR instructions, follow the guidelines below to prepare the progress report.
Grantees can access the website hosted by the NIH Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration to determine which progress reports are due. Grantees are responsible for periodically checking the list, which is updated on/around the 30th of each month. In addition to this website, e-mail reminders are sent to the PI.
Progress Report Submission Guidelines: Streamlined Non-Competing Award Procedures (SNAP)
Progress Reports must be submitted following the Streamlined Non-Competing Award Procedures (SNAP) as defined by the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Information about eSNAP is available on the eRA Commons website. If your institution has never used eSNAP before please review the eSNAP User Guide [PDF, 1MB] as it has information on how to enable the eSNAP feature for your institution as well as step-by-step instructions on how to submit your annual progress reports electronically.
Q. Who should an applicant contact for additional questions regarding the IMSD program policies, review process, budget and grants issues?
A. For program policies regarding proposal application and submission that are not related to existing grants:
Dr. Sailaja Koduri at 301-594-3900 or Dr. Veerasamy Ravichandran at 301-451-9822
This page last reviewed on
2/7/2018 8:12 AM
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