Information for Potential Principal Investigators

The overall goal of PREP is to support and prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds (for examples of groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences see the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity) to transition into and complete rigorous, research-focused doctoral degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in biomedical fields. In accordance with this goal, applicant institutions should recruit postbac scholars who have expressed a strong desire to pursue research-focused doctoral degrees in the biomedical sciences, and for whom a one-year research education program would enhance their ability to transition into and complete doctoral studies. PREP programs are not intended to prepare scholars for medical degrees. For more information, please read the program announcement (PAR-20-066).

Institutional Eligibility

  • This program is limited to applications from research-intensive institutions (i.e., those with NIH research project grant (RPG) funding averaging greater than or equal to $7.5 million in total costs per year over the last three fiscal years) that have strong biomedical Ph.D. degree programs in NIGMS mission areas. That is, institutions that are eligible for MARC or IMSD are eligible to apply, but those that are eligible for U-RISE or G-RISE are not eligible. Further, NIGMS encourages applications from highly research-intensive institutions (i.e., those with an average of NIH funding greater than or equal to $20 million total costs per year over the last three fiscal years) that have a significant number of faculty mentors with active and extramurally funded research programs (e.g., R01, R35 or equivalent awards) and robust research education environments.
  • Institutions can assess their eligibility by using NIH RePORT​.

Research Experiences and Skills Development

  • PREP programs should generate carefully designed, individualized development plans (IDPs) within the context of a one-year research education program that will foster each participant’s development of the necessary skills to prepare the participants for rigorous doctoral training programs.
  • Postbaccalaureate scientists are expected to engage in independent, mentored research projects that will allow them to develop their own hypotheses and design experiments to test these hypotheses (75% full-time effort), and courses/workshops to develop scholarly potential and specialized research techniques that will prepare them for graduate school admissions, successful completion of the Ph.D., and careers in the biomedical research workforce (25% full-time effort).

Program Outcomes and Evaluation

  • NIGMS-funded research education programs must conduct ongoing evaluations to monitor the success of the programmatic and mentoring activities. 
  • Funded programs should have training objectives (i.e., specific, measurable, and obtainable outcomes the program intends to achieve) and implement evidence-informed training and mentoring activities that are grounded in the literature and from evaluations of existing relevant programs. Program objectives must align with the overarching goal of PREP. Funded programs are expected to provide evidence of accomplishing the training objectives in progress reports and upon renewal, to make training and career outcomes publicly available, and are strongly encouraged to disseminate successful training practices to the broader community. A strategy to monitor the career trajectory of PREP students for at least 15 years after participating in the program should be included when identifying program outcomes. NIGMS encourages grantees to make PREP participant outcomes available on the program’s website.
For more information, please read PREP Answers to Frequently Asked Questions​