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Items Considered by Reviewers in Evaluating Institutional Training Grant Applications

Program Direction/Administrative Structure

  • Research, training and leadership ability of the program director
  • Adequacy of the program administration and advisory structure

Training Faculty

  • Composition of the faculty (by rank and distribution in different fields/departments)
  • Mechanisms and criteria for inclusion/exclusion
  • Current independent research grant support (competitive, national)
  • Publication records
  • Nature and breadth of research conducted
  • Evidence of collaboration and cooperation among faculty members
  • Experience in the supervision of research training (related to the proposed program)

Training Program

For all training grants

  • Aims of the program in relation to NIGMS program announcement
  • Program components (nature and extent of courses, research/rotation opportunities, seminars, examinations, teaching opportunities, other), including any innovative features
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary training and collaborative research
  • Provisions/activities to promote cohesiveness of the program
  • Integration of medical and basic science training (where relevant)
  • Mechanisms to monitor and guide trainees (e.g., by the Ph.D. degree departments/programs, training program, mentors, thesis committees)

In addition, for all predoctoral and MSTP training grants

  • For ongoing programs, efforts to include new scientific disciplines or fields
  • Mechanisms to provide relevant quantitative training needed to pursue cutting-edge biomedical research in the area of proposed program

Applicant Pool

  • Size, distribution (regional or national, proportion eligible for training grant support)
  • Quality (based on academic credentials and other factors, e.g., research experience)

Trainees and Candidates for Training

  • Mechanisms and criteria for the recruitment and selection of trainees
  • Number; distribution in departments, programs and among training faculty
  • Caliber of current and/or potential trainees and others identified with the program
  • Diversity of the trainee pool (including participation of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups)
  • Quality of research; postdoctoral and career plans


  • Record of completion of training
  • Average time to completion of degree(s)
  • Publication records of past and current trainees
  • Success of graduates:  nature, quality and research relevance of subsequent positions--e.g., postdoctoral, academic, industrial, clinical (where relevant)

Research and Training Environment

  • Institutional support for the training program
  • Other sources of training support available
  • Facilities and resources available to the program (including clinics, where relevant)
  • Numbers of predoctoral and postdoctoral students affiliated with participating laboratories

Additional Considerations (evaluation of the following items by the review committee are  included in special administrative notes)

  • Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan:  In addition to consideration as an aspect of the candidate pool (see above, under Trainees and Candidates for Training), the diversity recruitment plan and report (for competing renewals) will be evaluated after a score has been assigned and described in an administrative note.
  • Training in Responsible Conduct of Research:  The plan will be assessed on the basis of the appropriateness of topics, format, amount and nature of faculty participation, and frequency and duration of instruction after the overall determination of merit and is not a factor in assigning a priority score.
This page last reviewed on November 24, 2015