The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH Institutes and Centers. The over-arching goals of the NIH R25 program are to: (1) complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs; (2) enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce; (3) help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences; and (4) foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research and its implications.
In 2010 the NIGMS launched a process to examine its activities and general philosophy of research training. The NIGMS Strategic Plan for Biomedical and Behavioral Research Training (http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/trainingstrategicplan/) recognizes that research training is a responsibility shared by the NIH, academic institutions, faculty and trainees; that research training must focus on student development, rather than simply the selection of talent; that breadth and flexibility enable research training to keep pace with the opportunities and demands of contemporary science and provide the foundation for a variety of scientific career paths; and that diversity is an indispensable component of research training excellence, and must be advanced across the entire research enterprise. Applications developed in response to the IPERT R25 FOA should address all of these issues.
The goal of this NIGMS R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. To this end, this funding opportunity announcement encourages activities with a primary focus on courses for skills development, structured mentoring activities, and outreach programs. The proposed activities must address the goals of creating a highly skilled and diverse biomedical workforce. They must also be activities that cannot be supported by existing grant mechanisms used by NIGMS.
- Courses for skills development: Support for short courses designed to develop scientific research skills. Support for academic development and enrichment activities designed to improve critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills and skills to lead effective research programs. Support for short courses in the application of emerging technologies or areas of science relevant to biomedical research. These courses could be in-person or provided electronically. Applications will not be accepted for courses that are or would become part of the standard/required curriculum of an academic institution or are from for-profit entities. The courses must be open to the biomedical community and not restricted to trainees from one institution.
- Mentoring Activities: Activities designed to provide not only technical expertise, but also professional development, biomedical research career planning advice and insight to students, postdoctorates or early-career faculty. Activities to prepare trainees with a working knowledge of the challenges and opportunities for a career in various biomedical research-related sectors or settings and to improve their skills to meet these challenges and opportunities.
- Outreach Activities: Activities such as contemporary, research-based science/health education or dissemination of biomedical research findings to individuals, especially from underrepresented groups, in preparation for careers in research. Outreach could include one or more of the approaches described above, such as short courses or computer-based educational tools for developing scientists at any academic level, including faculty. Outreach activities could include support for travel awards to enable students and faculty to participate in conferences, symposia and workshops, provided structured mentoring or other training activities are included as part of the award
Applicants should directly address how the set of activities will complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs by discussing 1) the rationale underlying the balance of effort and resources dedicated to each activity; 2) how the three activities integrate; and 3) objective indicators that can measure the effectiveness of the program.
IPERT applications should incorporate creative, and innovative approaches within the plans for short courses, mentoring and outreach activities. These may include research partnerships or networks between institutions to strengthen and diversify the Ph.D. student pipeline or interactions between science faculty at diverse institutions.
Similar training efforts and activities to those addressed by the IPERT were previously supported by the MARC Ancillary Training (T36) Program. Current and former T36 grantees and applicants should consider this IPERT funding opportunity or the NIH Conference Grant R13/U13 FOA.
NIGMS recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional/organizational settings and missions; therefore the scope, purpose, and objectives of IPERT applications are anticipated to be very diverse.
Some activities previously supported by the MARC Ancillary Training (T36) Program may be more appropriate for the NIH Conference Grant (R13/U13). Applicants whose primary purpose is to obtain support for scientific presentations (including conferences, seminars, or similar activities) without integral research training activities should apply to PA-13-347, NIH Research Conference Grant Program (R13 and U13). Potential applicants are advised to communicate with NIGMS program staff to determine whether the IPERT R25 is the appropriate grant mechanism for their proposed efforts to enhance research training.
Research education programs may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those training and education programs currently receiving Federal support. R25 programs may augment institutional research training programs (e.g., T32, T90) but cannot be used to replace or circumvent Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) programs.
The official announcement and description of this opportunity may be found on the funding agency's website: