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Research Education: Bridges to the Doctorate (R25)

Modified: March 15, 2017

National Institutes of Health

FOA#: PAR-17-209

The over-arching goal of this National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Bridges to Doctorate R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.  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 specific discipline or research area, clinical procedures for research, or specialized research techniques.
  • Research Experiences: For example, for graduate students: to provide research experiences and related training not available through formal NIH training mechanisms.

The Bridges to Doctorate Program is intended to provide these educational activities to Master's level students to increase transition to and completion of Ph.D.'s in biomedical sciences. A program application must include each educational activity, and describe how they will be synergized to make a comprehensive program.

The Bridges to the Doctorate Program provides an opportunity to develop new, or expand existing, effective institutional programs aimed at a key juncture within higher education, namely the transition from a master's degree to a doctorate degree in biomedical sciences. This program requires partnerships between master's degree-granting institutions with doctorate degree-granting institutions.

The Bridges to the Doctorate Program recognizes the heterogeneity of institutional settings and institutional missions. Therefore, each application must include a self-assessment of each participating institution that includes baseline data on enrollment, transfer, research education experiences, and subsequent graduation of its UR students in biomedical sciences. Specific aims must be based on this self-assessment and must be consonant with the purpose of the Bridges to the Doctorate Program. The doctorate partner institution must demonstrate that it has the resources needed to support Bridges students upon and after transfer, to facilitate the student's successful doctorate degree completion.

At the institutional level, the program expects that at least 60% of Bridges-supported students, upon or before graduation from the master's degree program, transition to doctorate degree programs in the biomedical sciences, and at least 80% of transferring Bridges students successfully complete their doctorate degree in the biomedical sciences. NIGMS anticipates that Bridges grantees will improve upon these outcomes.

Applicants must designate a PD/PI from each participating institution (lead/grantee and partner institutions). The PD/PI of the Lead Institution should be designated as the contact PD/PI. The lead and partner PDs/PIs must have a regular full-time appointment (i.e., not adjunct, part-time, retired, or emeritus) at their respective institutions, and should have student counseling, academic administrative and/or scientific research experience. 

Application budgets are limited to $300,000 direct costs per year. The maximum project period is 5 years.

Applicant organizations may NOT submit more than one application as the lead institution. A Lead Institution may also partner on one or more applications submitted by other Lead Institutions.

Internal Letter of Intent Due: April 25, 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-NIH-BDR25-2017”, 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).


Nicole Moore, Director, 847-467-0566, nicole.moore@northwestern.edu

Limited Submissions web site: ord.northwestern.edu/limited-submissions

Training Grant Director