Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: NIGMS Research on Interventions Program

Areas of Focus​​​

Applications to PAR-21-269 must propose to test interventions to enhance research-oriented individuals' interest, motivation, persistence and preparedness for careers in the biomedical research workforce. Applications without a plan to provide a training, mentoring, or networking service without a testable hypothesis, intervention framework, and/or a clearly articulated population with the appropriate controls or comparison group(s) will be considered non-responsive and will be administratively withdrawn. See PAR-21-269 for additional non-responsive criteria.

Research with scientific analyses pertaining to the biomedical research enterprise that do not propose an intervention framework could be appropriate for the SCISIPBIO program.

Refer to PAR-21-269 for some possible areas of study, including training and mentoring, psychosocial factors, navigation of critical transition points, and institutional factors and culture. In addition, there are two Notices of Special Interest for this funding opportunity. NOT-GM-21-033 is on structural racism and discrimination and NOT-OD-21-150 is on sexual harassment. Other areas relevant to the biomedical research enterprise are also encouraged.

Interventions must target individuals in or potentially seeking careers in biomedical research. This does not include biomedical-related professionals or practitioners that are not engaged in research.

Proposals can focus on only one or more than one discipline of biomedical research. NIGMS does not restrict or confine research topics. Rather, it is up to the investigators to make the case for the significance and importance of their selection.

A proposed intervention does not need to target multiple career stages, but it could address multiple stages as appropriate.

Not necessarily. Funded projects should enhance the evidence base for effective, high-impact, scalable interventions, and to improve our understanding of the elements contributing to the advancement of individuals pursuing biomedical research careers. NIGMS strives to ensure that future generations of researchers will be drawn from the entire pool of talented individuals, bringing different aptitudes, perspectives, interests, and experiences to address complex scientific problems.

NIGMS recognizes that there is a need for more hypothesis-driven research to test interventions for efficacy and replicability across career stages and at a range of institution types, and to provide empirical evidence of the factors contributing to success. Interventions tested via this funding opportunity could be newly or previously implemented.

This funding opportunity is not designed to support evaluation of an existing or planned program(s), nor is it intended to support a training program, curriculum development, or other activity disguised as an experiment. Projects are expected to include the use of robust experimental designs, including randomized control trial approaches, case controls, matched pair design or other rigorous designs appropriate to the research questions.

Methods & Outcomes

There is no requirement to include preliminary data. As with most research grant applications, preliminary data could be useful to the premise for the intervention, demonstrate feasibility, need for an intervention, etc. as appropriate.

Self-reported measures can be used, but they should be collected using validated instruments, those that have been determined to actually measure what they presume to measure. In addition, projects should include outcomes beyond participant satisfaction, self-reporting of perceived skills gained, or self-reporting of effectiveness.

NIGMS strongly encourages a collaborative effort, when necessary, among biomedical researchers, program administrators, educators, psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, and/or economists, as appropriate. Collaborations should bring complementary and integrated expertise to ensure rigor, validity, generalizability, and integration of the research elements.​

The NIH definition of a clinical trial​ is, in part, "a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes". Applications appropriate for the Research on Interventions program typically are not intended to have health-related outcomes, and therefore are unlikely to meet the definition of an NIH clinical trial.

Application Details

As published in NOT-GM-21-055, application budgets are not limited but should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. For budget requests of $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year (excluding consortium F&A), applicants must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 6 weeks before submitting the application and follow the Policy on the Acceptance for Review of Unsolicited Applications that Request $500,000 or More in Direct Costs as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of institutions involved.

Yes, there is no limit to the number of applications an institution can submit to PAR-21-269.

No, as with any proposal, applicants should demonstrate the team's suitability to conduct the work planned. Investigators with or without NIH R01 awards are eligible to apply as long as other eligibility criteria are met.

If an investigator meets the eligibility criteria for the NIGMS MIRA program, research on interventions as described in PAR-21-269 could be an appropriate research area for the NIGMS MIRA as it falls within the NIGMS mission. Refer to the NIGMS MIRA website for more information.

If a PI has an R35 from NIGMS they may not serve as a PI for an application in response to this NOFO, nor may they receive direct grant support from an application funded by this NOFO. A MIRA supported investigator has the flexibility to explore research questions within the NIGMS research mission.

Yes. All potential applicants are highly encouraged to contact the program officers well in advance of applying, for feedback on whether their project could potentially fit with the objectives of the program. In addition, please submit a letter of intent no later than 30 days before the application due date. Refer to PAR-21-269 for the content of the letter of intent.