NIAMS funds Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) to enable institutions to support pre-doctoral and postdoctoral research training for individuals in the fields of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. The primary goal of the NIAMS T32 program is to prepare individuals to pursue careers in research that will ultimately improve the health of persons with arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. The most desired outcome of the T32 program is that trainees pursue further career development, such as through K- or F-series awards, and develop into funded researchers in an academic setting, either as independent investigators or as critical contributors to basic or clinical research teams. However, NIAMS-supported trainees also contribute in other ways, such as in industry, science administration, policy or communications. Regardless of career path, the subsequent impact of trainees on their respective fields must be documented.
NIAMS recognizes that tracking academic positions, publications, and grant support of prior trainees for 15 years after completion of T32 support is difficult. However, accepting T32 support implies an agreement to track and report this information. Reviewers need this information to adequately evaluate the success of a particular T32 program in a competitive renewal application. All NIAMS T32 applicants must complete the tables requested in the parent T32 program announcement, or the application may be deemed incomplete and not reviewed. Applicants for competing renewals are reminded to include the following information, as per the instructions in the parent announcement:
- Table 5. Publications of Those in Training:
- For competing renewal applications, include publications from all individuals appointed to the training grant in the previous 10 years.
- For new competing applications, include publications only from individuals who would have been eligible for the training grant (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) in the previous 10 years.
- Table 8. Program Outcomes:
- For competing renewal applications, include current trainees and those who were supported by this training grant in the previous 15 years in Part I. Trainees clearly associated with the training grant but supported by other HHS or NIH funds in the previous 15 years are reported in Part II. Part III is required only if an expansion of slots is requested. Please include only those who completed the program in the previous 5 years and who would have been eligible for an NIH training grant.
- For new competing applications, only Part III is required. Please include only those who completed the program in the previous 5 years and who would have been eligible for an NIH training grant.
New forms and instructions may be found at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide.htm
Information for the data tables may be found at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/data-tables/forms-d.htm
The NIAMS does not accept applications for competing revisions/competing supplements for T32s.
All applications for NIAMS T32 awards that include pre-doctoral trainees should include both a well-defined research program that emphasizes science relevant to NIAMS, and T32-specific mentoring and educational efforts that foster continued development of the trainee in research in NIAMS mission areas.
The development of physician-scientists is a widely-recognized need. Providing research opportunities for medical or other health-professional students can be important in stimulating their interest in science. Therefore, NIAMS T32 awards may be used to support short-term pre-doctoral research opportunities for medical or other health-professional students. In addition, NIAMS T32 funds may be used to support students in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program during the period of research for their doctoral degree.
Interdisciplinary programs are important in fostering fresh approaches to research in NIAMS mission areas. Therefore, for applications that include support for non-clinical pre-doctoral candidates, NIAMS will give preference to T32 programs that provide cross-disciplinary training. Training of a student enrolled in a graduate program in one school in an institution (e.g., School of Engineering) but participating in research in the lab of a mentor whose primary appointment is in a different school (e.g., School of Medicine), whether in the same or a different academic institution, would be considered a cross-disciplinary program. Alternatively, the trainee’s research could involve a co-mentor from a different school than the mentor. Finally, training may be provided by co-mentors with primary appointments in the same school, if the two mentors received their training in different disciplines, such as one mentor with a degree in medicine and one with a degree in engineering. The role of a co-mentor must be significant and well-defined.
In all cases, trainees supported by a T32 award should participate in a well-defined program that emphasizes NIAMS-relevant research. The program should also include mentoring and educational efforts that foster continued development of the trainee in research.
NIAMS’ goal is to provide clinical trainees with the opportunity to pursue additional training in research, beyond the training that is required for certification in the clinical specialty. Thus, for T32 applications that propose support for post-doctoral clinical trainees, NIAMS will give preference to those that provide research training that goes beyond the training required for all clinical trainees in that program. This additional training should equip the trainee to apply for an individual fellowship award or other support that furthers participation in research. A program can propose to include a period of research training after completion of initial clinical training, with subsequent further clinical training after the period of T32 support, if it is clear that the research training is beyond that needed to complete the clinical residency/fellowship program and that there would be a genuine opportunity to continue significant involvement in research after the period of T32 support. As with all NRSA awards, the research training commitment must be full-time.
NIAMS fully recognizes the critical contributions of dedicated scientists with graduate degrees working at the basic or clinical levels. NIAMS also recognizes that directors of T32 training programs have the prerogative to appoint those trainees considered to be the most qualified for T32 support. However, NIAMS wishes to focus T32 support on the recruitment of the best trainees with the greatest commitment to research in the Institute’s mission areas. Applicants are encouraged to use a rigorous selection process. Furthermore, for applications that include post-doctoral Ph.D. trainees, NIAMS will give preference to those T32 programs in which candidates complete one year of post-doctoral training in the lab of the proposed mentor before becoming eligible for T32 support.
Amanda Taylor Boyce, Ph.D.
Muscle Development and Physiology
Musculoskeletal Diseases Branch
1 Democracy Plaza
6701 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20892