OSP FO# 11-090

AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Eye Institute (NEI)/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)/National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)/National Institute on Aging (NIA)/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)/National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)/National Library of Medicine (NLM)/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)/National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)/Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)

PROGRAM: Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00)

OBJECTIVES: This program is designed to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new, talented, NIH-supported independent investigators. The primary goal of this pilot initiative is to assist investigators in transitioning to a stable independent research position with NIH or other independent research funding.

The NIH Pathway to Independence (PI) Award will provide up to five years of support consisting of two phases. The initial mentored phase will provide support for up to 2 years for the most promising and exceptionally talented new investigators who have no more than 5 years of postdoctoral research training experience at the time of application. This initial phase of mentored support will allow the candidate time to obtain additional training, complete research, publish results, and transition to an independent research position. As part of the application, the candidate must propose a research project that will be pursued during the K99 phase and transition into an independent project during the R00 phase of the award. The candidate must select an appropriate mentor with a track record of funded research related to the selected research topic and experience as a supervisor and mentor. The sponsoring institution must ensure that the candidate has the protected time needed to conduct the proposed research.

Following the mentored phase, the individual may request up to 3 years of support to conduct research as an independent scientist at an extramural sponsoring institution to which the individual has been recruited. The candidate must have been offered and accepted a full-time tenure-track assistant professor position (or equivalent). This support will allow the individual to continue to work toward establishing his/her own independent research program and prepare an application for regular research grant support (R01). Support for the independent phase, however, is not automatic and is contingent upon being accepted by an extramural institution and the successful NIH programmatic review of the individual’s mentored phase of the award.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: The applicant institution will be the mentored phase K99 institution. Eligible applicant organizations include domestic for-profit or non-profit institutions/organizations, or public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals and laboratories, and eligible agencies of the federal government.

Candidates must have a clinical or research doctorate (including Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.C., N.D., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.V.M., Sc.D., D.N.S., Pharm.D. or equivalent doctoral degrees) and have no more than 5 years of postdoctoral research training at the time of application Individuals are not eligible if they: (1) have currently or previously held an independent research faculty or tenure-track faculty position, or its equivalent, in academia, industry or elsewhere; or (2) have more than 5 years of related postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application or resubmission(s); or (3) have been an independent principal investigator on NIH research grants, NIH career development awards, or other peer reviewed NIH or non-NIH research grants over $100,000 direct costs per year intended for faculty members.

By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. For non-U.S. citizen/permanent residents, the applicant U.S. institution for each phase of the application (K99 or R00) is responsible for determining and documenting in the application that the applicant investigator’s visa will allow him or her to remain in this country long enough to (a) transition to an independent research career in the U.S. during the proposed mentored (K99) phase and/or (b) be productive on the research project in the U.S. for the duration of the proposed independent research (R00) phase.

DEADLINES: February 12, June 12, October 12, until September 8, 2014.

FUNDING INFORMATION: Mentored Phase of the Pathway to Independence Award Program (K99): The total cost per year for the initial mentored phase generally should not exceed $90,000 but may be higher in the case of individuals with exceptional salary needs. In general, research support costs will be provided up to $20,000 for a 12 month budget period although some ICs may offer higher research support costs. Because the nature and scope of the proposed research career development program will vary from application to application and the amounts provided for salary by the participating ICs are not uniform, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary.

Candidates are required to commit a minimum of 75% of full-time professional effort (i.e. minimum of 9 person-months) to pursuit of their career development and research experience during the mentored phase.  This experience may also include activities such as completing research publications and searching for an independent research position. Candidates may engage in teaching and/or clinical duties as part of the 25% maximum of the applicant’s full-time professional effort not covered by this award, as long as such duties do not interfere with or detract from the proposed career development program.

Salary must be consistent with levels provided to scientists in similar positions at the institution. Fringe benefits should be requested based on the sponsoring institution’s rate. Research expenses may include (a) tuition and fees related to career development; (b) supplies, equipment and technical personnel; c) travel to research meetings or training; and (d) statistical services including personnel and computer time. F&A costs will be provided at 8% of modified direct costs to extramural sponsoring institutions, only.

The extramural sponsoring institution may supplement the NIH salary contribution up to a level that is consistent with the institution’s salary scale. However, supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may additional PHS funds beyond those provided in the K99 award be used for salary supplementation. Institutional supplementation of salary must not require extra duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of this award. Under expanded authorities, however, institutions may rebudget funds within the total costs awarded to cover salaries consistent with the institution’s salary scale. The total salary paid from NIH funds, however, may not exceed the legislatively mandated salary cap.

Independent Investigator Phase of the Pathway to Independence Award Program (R00): The total cost for the independent investigator phase may not exceed $249,000 per year. This amount includes salary, fringe benefits, research support allowance and applicable F&A costs. F&A costs will be reimbursed at the extramural sponsoring institution’s F&A rate. Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are included in the total cost limitation.

The salary requested should be based on the person-months effort to be devoted to the R00 project, as is the case for other research grant awards. The applicant is required to devote a total of 75% of their full-time, 12 month professional effort to research (i.e., a full-time 9 person months). However, it may not be feasible to support this entire effort through the R00 project alone. Recipients of the R00 phase awards may devote effort to other research projects and may reduce effort on the PI award if they receive additional independent research support.

AGENCY CONTACT: Please visit the following website for a list of appropriate Institute/Center contacts: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/contacts/parent_K99_R00.html.
Web: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-197.html

REMARKS: NIH requires that applications to this program be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov). After submission via Grants.gov, applications will be retrieved and processed by the NIH Commons system (https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/index.jsp). In order to prepare a responsive application, PIs should download both the complete program guidelines (PA-11-197) and the corresponding application package from Grants.gov as well as the NIH Grants.gov Application Guide (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm). PIs must also be registered Commons users. For more information about Grants.gov and the NIH Commons, or to register as a Commons user, please contact either India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu) in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. In addition, please contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to your school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through the Grants.gov system.

Complete program guidelines and application material may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.