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NINDS Neuroscience Development for Advancing the Careers of a Diverse Research Workforce

Modified: June 21, 2017

FOA#: PAR-17-312

The over-arching goal of this program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce by (1) increasing the pool of current and future Ph.D.-level research scientists from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical neuroscience research; and (2) facilitating the career advancement/transition of the participants to the next step of their neuroscience careers.  The NINDS Diversity R25 initiative will focus on factors that have been shown to affect retention of underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and junior faculty in neuroscience research such as mentoring, scientific networks and professional development (www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/Reportsacd.od.nih.gov/dbr.htm). The NINDS expects applicant institutions to propose programs that will lead to an improvement in the professional development, mentoring and technical expertise of individuals who are nationally underrepresented in neuroscience research.

To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on:

  • Courses for Skills Development: For example, advanced courses in a neuroscience research area relevant to the NINDS mission, or specialized research techniques to enhance the research skills of diverse graduate students, postdoctorates, and junior faculty. Additionally, career development seminars and workshops such as grant writing, manuscript preparation, enhancing laboratory management for early stage faculty, building a successful career path and other core competencies--like experimental rigor and quantitative skills
  • Research Experiences: For example, for undergraduate students: to provide hands-on authentic research experiences that reflect ownership of a project and provides opportunity for meaningful contribution to the research in question, to reinforce their intent to graduate with a science degree, and/or to prepare them for graduate school admissions and/or careers in the neuroscience biomedical workforce; for graduate students: to provide research experiences and related training not available through formal NIH training mechanisms; for postdoctorates and junior faculty: to extend their skills, experiences, and knowledge base. Additionally, programs that provide educational/research experiences that enhance the participation and productivity of investigators from underrepresented backgrounds in carrying out research on NINDS mission-relevant health disparities will be considered.
  • Mentoring Activities: Activities may include, but are not limited to, dedicated efforts at providing not only technical expertise, but advice, insight, and professional career skills that advance the broad career goals of diverse college students, graduate students, postdoctorates and/or early-career faculty; facilitating scholarly writing and grantsmanship; promoting successful transitions from one career stage to another; providing leadership development; helping to identify potential collaborators; and helping to establish interdisciplinary collaborations in order to foster a career trajectory towards independent neuroscience research.  

Program Participants: Selection of program-supported participants should take into consideration whether the participation would help achieve the overall goals/objectives of the NINDS Diversity R25 Program which is to lead to increased mentoring, education and retention of researchers from underrepresented backgrounds in the neuroscience scientific workforce at the one or more of the following career levels: undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and/or junior faculty. Institutions are required to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national basis. Programs that target transitions and/or more than one career stage for neuroscience career advancement and progression are strongly encouraged.

Institutions must identify candidates who will increase diversity within the neuroscience workforce on a national basis from the following groups:

  • Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups;
  • Individuals with disabilities; and
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds

Mentors: Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women are encouraged to participate as preceptors/mentors. Mentors should have a history of neuroscience funding that is specifically relevant to the mission of NINDS. Mentors must be committed to continue their involvement throughout the total period of the mentee’s participation in this award.

Application budgets are limited to a maximum of $250,000 direct cost per year, and the maximum project period is five years.

Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

Internal Letter of Intent Due: July 11, 2017 (by midnight)
Sponsor Proposal Due: September 25, 2017       

Faculty members interested in applying are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by the deadline specified above. If interest exceeds the number of submissions the university is allowed, an internal competition will be held. Typically, all investigators that submit an LOI will be invited to submit an internal proposal. Occasionally, as appropriate, based on the LOI, only selected applicants will be invited to submit an internal proposal.

  1. Click here to access the LOI form.
  2. Name the LOI as follows: “LastName-FirstInitial-NINDS-R25-2017”, replacing “LastName” with your last name and “First Initial” with your first initial.
  3. Submit your LOI by completing this web form.  Note: Supplemental documents are not accepted.
  4. To receive a confirmation email and copy of your submission, check the box (“Send me a copy of my responses”) and enter your email address.
  5. Click “Submit”.

The Training Grant Support Office assists faculty in the preparation of institutional training grant applications, including: Data table production involving institution-wide and Training Grant Support Office-tracked data; Proposal development aids; Advice, sharing of best practices, tips and traps; Coordination of special funding/ commitment requests made to The Graduate School in support of the training grant;  and Special training grant-related projects.  Please contact Jennifer E. Hobbs, PhD, Assistant Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Training and Development (jennifer-hobbs@northwestern.edu).

The Office of Research Development offers assistance in identifying and facilitating collaborations, putting together interdisciplinary teams, programmatic and administrative development of large, cross-school proposals, and leveraging institutional resources for outreach and education. Contact Nicole Moore (nicole.moore@northwestern.edu), Director, for more information.

Karen Cielo, Associate Director, 847-467-0043, k-cielo@northwestern.edu
Limited Submissions web site: ord.northwestern.edu/limited-submissions

Training Grant Director