Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: NIGMS Research on Interventions Program

Areas of Focus

Does my proposal have to include testing an intervention or can I only collect information or conduct analyses needed for potential interventions?

Applications to PAR-21-269 must propose to test interventions to enhance research-oriented individuals' interest, motivation, persistence and preparedness for careers in the biomedical research workforce. Applications without a plan to provide a training, mentoring, or networking service without a testable hypothesis, intervention framework, and/or a clearly articulated population with the appropriate controls or comparison group(s) will be considered non-responsive and will be administratively withdrawn. See PAR-21-269 for additional non-responsive criteria.

Research with scientific analyses pertaining to the biomedical research enterprise that do not propose an intervention framework could be appropriate for the SCISIPBIO program.

What are examples of appropriate areas of focus for this program?

Refer to PAR-21-269 for some possible areas of study, including training and mentoring, psychosocial factors, navigation of critical transition points, and institutional factors and culture. In addition, there are two Notices of Special Interest for this funding opportunity. NOT-GM-21-033 is on structural racism and discrimination and NOT-OD-21-150 is on sexual harassment. Other areas relevant to the biomedical research enterprise are also encouraged.

Can my intervention target physicians, nurses, or psychologists/social scientists or individuals in public health or epidemiology?

Interventions must target individuals in or potentially seeking careers in biomedical research. This does not include biomedical-related professionals or practitioners that are not engaged in research.

Does my intervention have to focus on individuals in multiple disciplines of biomedical research? For instance, could my intervention only focus on chemistry researchers?

Proposals can focus on only one or more than one discipline of biomedical research. NIGMS does not restrict or confine research topics. Rather, it is up to the investigators to make the case for the significance and importance of their selection.

Does my intervention have to target multiple career stages or levels, or can I only target one stage, such as junior faculty?

A proposed intervention does not need to target multiple career stages, but it could address multiple stages as appropriate.

Do all of the participants in my intervention have to be from an underrepresented group?

Not necessarily. Funded projects should enhance the evidence base for effective, high-impact, scalable interventions, and to improve our understanding of the elements contributing to the advancement of individuals pursuing biomedical research careers. NIGMS strives to ensure that future generations of researchers will be drawn from the entire pool of talented individuals, bringing different aptitudes, perspectives, interests, and experiences to address complex scientific problems.

I have been conducting an intervention to increase preparedness or motivation for individuals in the biomedical research workforce for some time now, but I am not sure I have ever done research on this intervention. Is this program for me?

NIGMS recognizes that there is a need for more hypothesis-driven research to test interventions for efficacy and replicability across career stages and at a range of institution types, and to provide empirical evidence of the factors contributing to success. Interventions tested via this funding opportunity could be newly or previously implemented.

This funding opportunity is not designed to support evaluation of an existing or planned program(s), nor is it intended to support a training program, curriculum development, or other activity disguised as an experiment. Projects are expected to include the use of robust experimental designs, including randomized control trial approaches, case controls, matched pair design or other rigorous designs appropriate to the research questions.

Methods & Outcomes

Do I need preliminary data in my application?

There is no requirement to include preliminary data. As with most research grant applications, preliminary data could be useful to the premise for the intervention, demonstrate feasibility, need for an intervention, etc. as appropriate.

Can my outcomes include self-reported measures?

Self-reported measures can be used, but they should be collected using validated instruments, those that have been determined to actually measure what they presume to measure. In addition, projects should include outcomes beyond participant satisfaction, self-reporting of perceived skills gained, or self-reporting of effectiveness.

Am I required to have a multidisciplinary team of investigators and other personnel?

NIGMS strongly encourages a collaborative effort, when necessary, among biomedical researchers, program administrators, educators, psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, and/or economists, as appropriate. Collaborations should bring complementary and integrated expertise to ensure rigor, validity, generalizability, and integration of the research elements.

Application Details

How much funding can an applicant request?

As published in NOT-GM-21-055, application budgets are not limited but should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. For budget requests of $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A), applicants must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Can a project be a collaboration among more than one institution?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of institutions involved.

Can more than one application for this program be submitted per institution?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of applications an institution can submit to PAR-21-269.

Do I need to already have an NIH R01 award to be competitive for this program?

No, as with any proposal, applicants should demonstrate the team’s suitability to conduct the work planned. Investigators with or without NIH R01 awards are eligible to apply as long as other eligibility criteria are met.

Can I apply for an NIGMS R35 MIRA award proposing research on interventions impacting the biomedical research enterprise?

If an investigator meets the eligibility criteria for the NIGMS MIRA program, research on interventions as described in PAR-21-269 could be an appropriate research area for the NIGMS MIRA as it falls within the NIGMS mission. Refer to the NIGMS MIRA website for more information.

If I have an R35 MIRA award, can I apply for this program?

If a PI has an R35 from NIGMS they may not serve as a PI for an application in response to this FOA, nor may they receive direct grant support from an application funded by this FOA. A MIRA supported investigator has the flexibility to explore research questions within the NIGMS research mission.

Should I contact the program officers if I plan to apply to the Research on Interventions FOA?

Yes. All potential applicants are highly encouraged to contact the program officers well in advance of applying, for feedback on whether their project could potentially fit with the objectives of the program. In addition, please submit a letter of intent no later than 30 days before the application due date. Refer to PAR-21-269 for the content of the letter of intent.