Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards
Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities -- Part 3 of 8
National Research Service
This section is a self-contained document that includes the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) guidelines for individual and institutional awards. It includes all requirements of NRSA awards and, therefore, should be followed by NRSA recipients in lieu of the coverage in Part II of this policy statement.
Section 487 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) (42 U.S.C. 288) provides authority for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award NRSAs to support predoctoral and postdoctoral training. This section of the PHS Act states that the Secretary shall provide NRSAs for predoctoral and postdoctoral training of individuals to undertake biomedical and behavioral research at domestic and foreign, public and private institutions (profit and non-profit). Section 487(a)(1)(B) authorizes institutional NRSA grants limiting NRSA support to training and research at public and non-profit private entities. The NRSA legislation requires recipients to pay back to the Federal Government their initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support by engaging in health-related biomedical or behavioral research, research training, health-related teaching, or any combination of these activities (See "Payback Reporting—Requirements for Recipients"). The regulations at 42 CFR Part 66 are applicable to these awards.
The NIH research training and career development programs are conducted in compliance with applicable laws that provide that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, handicap, or age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity (or, on the basis of sex, with respect to any education program or activity) receiving Federal assistance. Applicant organizations are required to have appropriate Assurance of Compliance forms filed with the Office for Civil Rights, Office of the Secretary, DHHS before a grant may be made to that institution. The NIH IC should be contacted if there are any questions concerning compliance. (See "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Civil Rights.")
Individual National Research Service Awards (Fellowships)
The Congress of the United States enacted the National Research Service Act Program in 1974 to help ensure that highly trained scientists would be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. Under this congressional authority, NIH awards individual postdoctoral fellowships (F32) to the most promising applicants to support full-time research training related to the mission of the NIH ICs. Some specialized individual predoctoral fellowships (F31s and F30s) and Senior Fellowships (F33s) also are provided under the NRSA authority. For individual predoctoral fellowships, NIH awarding offices have differing requirements. Thus specific program announcements should be consulted for guidance.
NRSAs are made to individual fellowship applicants selected for award as a result of national competition for research training in specified health-related areas. All NIH ICs except the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) make individual NRSAs. FIC and NLM have unique funding authorities for fellowships that are not under the NRSA authority.
NRSAs may be made for research training in areas that fall within the mission of the NIH ICs. Applications that do not fit these areas will be returned. An increased emphasis has been placed on the research training of physicians. The Secretary, DHHS, is required by law, in taking into account the overall national needs for biomedical research personnel, to give special consideration to physicians who agree to undertake a minimum of 2 consecutive years of biomedical and behavioral research training.
Research Training Program
The NRSA fellowship must be used to support a program of research training. It may not support studies leading to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., or other clinical, health professional degrees nor be used to support residencies, the primary purpose of which is the attainment of a medical or nursing specialty. Research trainees in clinical areas are expected to devote full time to the proposed research training and to confine clinical duties to those that are part of the research training.
Individuals must have received, as of the activation date of their NRSA award, a baccalaureate degree and must be enrolled in and training at the post-baccalaureate level in a program leading to the award of a Doctor of Philosophy of Science (Ph.D. or Sc.D.) or a combined clinical degree and Ph.D. degree such as M.D./Ph.D.
Before an NRSA award can be activated, individuals must have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., D.Eng., D.N.S., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Certification by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution that all degree requirements have been met also is acceptable.
As of the beginning date of their award, senior fellows must have received a doctoral degree (as in "General—Degree Requirements—Postdoctoral") and must have had at least 7 subsequent years of relevant research and professional experience. The senior fellowship is awarded to provide opportunities for experienced scientists to make major changes in the direction of their research careers or to broaden their scientific backgrounds by acquiring new research capabilities. In addition, these awards will enable individuals beyond the new investigator stage to take time from regular professional responsibilities for the purpose of increasing their capabilities to engage in health-related research. Senior fellowships are made for full-time research training. Health professionals may utilize some of their time in clinical duties that are part of their research training. More information on the Senior Fellowship program can be found in the NIH NRSA Senior Fellows (F33) Program Announcement published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.
The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of award. Non-citizen nationals are persons, who, although not citizens of the United States, owe permanent allegiance to the U.S. They are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g., American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence must be in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551), or must be in possession of other legal verification of such status. For example, if an individual is in possession of the proper validation on his/her passport, a notarized photocopy of the passport could suffice. Since there is a 6-month limitation on this validation, it is the responsibility of the sponsoring institution to follow-up and assure that the individual received the I-551 prior to the 6-month expiration date.
An individual expecting to be admitted as a permanent resident by the earliest possible award date listed in the fellowship program announcement may submit an application for an individual NRSA fellowship. The submission of documentation concerning permanent residency is not required as part of the initial application. Any applicant selected to receive an award must provide a notarized statement of admission for permanent residence prior to award.
Applicants who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, i.e., are in possession of an Alien Registration Receipt Card or other legal verification of such status, should check the Permanent Resident box in the citizenship section on the face page of the fellowship application. Applicants who have applied for and have not yet been granted admission as a permanent resident should check the same box, but should write in the word "pending."
Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for NRSA support.
Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must identify a sponsoring institution and an individual who will serve as a sponsor and supervise the training and research experience. The sponsoring institution may be private (profit or non-profit) or public, including the NIH intramural programs and other Federal laboratories. The applicant's sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research who will directly supervise the candidate's research. The sponsor must document in the application the training plan for the applicant as well as the availability of staff, research support, and facilities for high-quality research training. Applicants proposing training at their doctoral institution or at the institution where they have been training for more than a year must document thoroughly the opportunity for new training experiences that would broaden their scientific backgrounds.
Under exceptional circumstances, an individual may request support for training abroad. In such cases, the applicant is required to provide detailed justification for the foreign training and why the facilities, the mentor, or other aspects of the proposed experience are more appropriate than training in a domestic setting. The justification is evaluated in terms of the scientific advantages of the foreign training as compared to the training available domestically. Only in cases where there are clear scientific advantages will the foreign training be considered for funding.
Both Civil Service employees and PHS Commissioned Officers at NIH are permitted to compete for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships. The proposed training should be primarily for career development rather than for the immediate research needs of NIH. The employee's supervisor must disassociate him/herself from the review and award process.
Successful NIH applicants for predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowship awards must either resign from NIH or take leave without pay prior to activating the award. (There is no obligation or commitment by NIH or the fellow for future employment at NIH upon termination of the fellowship.)
Individuals on Active Military Duty
NIH does not restrict career military personnel from applying for research fellowship awards while on active military duty. At the time of application, a letter from the applicant's branch of the military service should be submitted endorsing his/her application and indicating willingness to continue normal active duty pay and allowances during the period of the requested fellowship. If an award is made, the institutional allowance and necessary tuition and fees permitted on a postdoctoral program will be paid by NIH. However, stipends, health insurance, and travel allowances are not allowable charges to the NRSA award for career military personnel. Payment of concurrent benefits by NIH to active duty career military awardees is not allowed.
Application Requirements and Receipt Dates
Each applicant must submit an application using the Form PHS 416-1. At least three letters of reference on his or her behalf also must be submitted. The major emphasis of the application should be the research training experience and broadening of scientific competence. The application must include the sponsor's Facilities and Commitment Statement. By signing the face page of the application, the applicant indicates that he or she has read the payback information and will meet any payback provisions required under the law as a condition for accepting the award.
Applicants and sponsoring institutions must comply with policies and procedures governing the protection of human subjects, the humane care and use of live vertebrate animals, and the inclusion of women, minorities and children in study populations.
If an application is submitted in response to a Program Announcement (PA) or Request for Application (RFA) from a particular IC, the applicant should identify the number of the PA or RFA on the face page. This information will be used as a guide in the application assignment process.
An individual may not have two or more competing NRSA applications pending review concurrently.
Application kits containing forms, instructions, and related information may be obtained from:
Division of Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, OER, NIH
Rockledge I, Suite 1120, MSC-7974
Bethesda, MD 20892-7974
Individual fellowship applications undergo a review process that takes between 5 and 8 months. The annual receipt dates and review cycle are found in Appendix II-1.
Each initial and competing renewal application will be evaluated for scientific merit by an NIH Scientific Review Group (SRG). Review criteria for this evaluation will include the applicant's past academic and research record, the research training proposal, the sponsor's general qualifications, the training environment, publications, references, and the applicant's research goals. Individual fellowship applications receive a secondary level of review by IC staff.
It is important to remember that the purpose of the fellowship program is for research training. Major considerations in the review are the applicant's potential for a productive scientific career, the applicant's need for the proposed training, and the degree to which the research training proposal, the sponsor, and the environment will satisfy these needs.
Notification of Action
Shortly after the initial review meeting, each candidate receives a mailer that includes the SRG recommendation/priority score and the name of a program official in the assigned NIH awarding office. A copy of the summary statement is automatically forwarded to the applicant as soon as possible.
The applicant will be notified by letter concerning the final review recommendation. Any questions about initial review recommendations and funding possibilities should be directed to the appropriate IC Program Official not the scientific review administrator of the SRG. A Notice of Research Fellowship Award will be issued to applicants selected for funding.
Period of Support
All fellows are required to pursue their research training on a full-time basis, normally defined as 40 hours per week or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.
No individual fellow may receive more than 5 years of aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level and 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of NRSA support from institutional and individual awards. Any exception to this requires a waiver from the NIH awarding office based on review of justification from the individual and sponsoring institution. The grounds for approving extensions of support are as follows:
Individuals requiring additional time to complete training, either as participants in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program or as clinicians (e.g., physicians, dentists, veterinarians) who are completing postdoctoral research training, may anticipate favorable consideration of a request for waiver of the time limitation. This action is contingent upon certification of the recipient's good academic standing and justified need for the exception.
Requests for additional time also will be considered if an event unavoidably has altered the planned course of the research training; the interruption has significantly detracted from the nature or quality of the planned research training; and if a short extension would permit completion of the training as planned. Such events include sudden loss of the preceptor's services or an accident, illness, or other personal situation, which prevent a trainee or fellow from pursuing research training in an effective manner for a significant period of time. Requests for extension of support also will be considered if a short additional period would provide the fellow an opportunity to use an exceptional training resource directly related to the approved research training program.
Requests that do not arise from circumstances covered in "Period of Support—Physicians/Clinicians or Interruptions (Break-in-Service)" above will be considered if they are accompanied by an exceptionally strong justification. Requests must be made in writing to the NIH awarding office by the fellow. The fellow's sponsor and an authorized organizational official, must endorse the request certifying the need for additional support. The request must specify the amount of additional support for which approval is sought.
Initiation of Support
The NIH IC will notify the individual of the intention to make an award and confirm the actual plans for the start of the fellowship support. The Notice of Research Fellowship Award allows the individual to begin the fellowship immediately on or after the issue date, but permits a period of up to 6 months for the individual to finalize arrangements, such as the completion of degree requirements, final coordination with the sponsor, and, if necessary, a move to the sponsoring institution. The fellow must start the period of training under the award by the latest activation date as shown on the Notice of Research Fellowship Award, i.e., 6 months from the award issue date. Extensions of the activation period may be granted in unusual circumstances. Written requests for extensions should be submitted by the fellow, and must be countersigned by the sponsor and authorized organizational official.
The Activation Notice and the Payback Agreement (only for postdoctoral fellows in their first 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support) must be completed and submitted to the NIH awarding office as of the day the fellow begins training (see "Reporting Procedures—Activation Notice" and "Reporting Procedures—Payback Agreement"). A stipend may not be paid until these forms are submitted and the fellow begins training. If necessary for payroll purposes, the Activation Notice and Payback Agreement may be submitted up to 30 days in advance of the start date. However, any change in this planned activation start date must be reported immediately to the business office of the institution and to the NIH IC. If an award is conditioned upon the completion of degree requirements, certification of completion by the degree granting institution must be submitted with the Activation Notice.
The initial award is usually for 12 months. Subsequent periods of approved fellowship training are consecutive with the first year of support and are usually in 12-month increments. If a fellow decides not to activate the award, or to terminate early, he or she should notify the institution's business office, the sponsor, and the NIH IC immediately, in writing.
Sponsoring institutions receive an award for the stipend, institutional allowance, and tuition and fees (when applicable). The institution directly pays the fellow and disburses all other awarded costs.
Fellows training at Federal laboratories are paid stipends directly by the NIH IC through the Office of Financial Management (OFM), NIH, which also reimburses the fellow for appropriate expenditures from the institutional allowance.
Fellows training at foreign sites receive stipends directly from OFM; however, the institutional allowance is awarded to and disbursed by the sponsoring institution.
Costs are normally provided based on a 12-month budget period. Awards for less than 12 months will be prorated accordingly.
A stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance for fellows to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal Government or the sponsoring institution. Stipends must be paid in accordance with stipend levels set by this policy. No departure from the standard stipend schedule, as provided from the fellowship, may be negotiated by the sponsoring institution with the fellow.
Stipend levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. That publication should be reviewed for any changes to stipend levels.
One stipend level is used for all predoctoral candidates, regardless of the level of experience.
The stipend level for the entire first year of support is determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time the award is issued. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching assistantship, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in a health-related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree. Once the appropriate stipend level has been determined, the fellow must be paid at that level for the entire grant year. The stipend for each additional year of NRSA support is the next level in the stipend structure and does not change mid-year.
The amount of the NRSA stipend to be paid shall be commensurate with the base salary or remuneration which the individual receiving the award would have been paid by the institution with which he or she has permanent affiliation on the date of the fellowship award, but in no case shall the stipend award exceed the current NRSA stipend limit set by NIH. Fringe benefits are not provided with this award. The level of NRSA support will take into account concurrent salary support provided by the institution, and the policy of the sponsoring institution.
Fellows are supported for 12-month full-time training appointments for which they receive stipends to defray living expenses. Stipends may be supplemented by an institution from non-Federal funds provided this supplementation does not require any additional obligation from the fellow. An institution can determine what amount of stipend supplementation, if any, will be provided according to its own formally established policies governing stipend support. These policies must be consistently applied to all individuals in a similar status regardless of the source of funds. Federal funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived. Under no circumstances may PHS funds be used for supplementation.
An individual may make use of Federal educational loan funds or VA benefits when permitted by those programs as described in "Financial Provisions—Stipends—Educational Loans or G.I. Bill."
It is recognized that fellows may seek part-time employment coincidental to their training program in order to offset further their expenses. Funds characterized as compensation may be paid to fellows only when there is an employer-employee relationship, the payments are for services rendered, and the situation otherwise meets the conditions of the compensation of students as detailed in "Cost Considerations—Allowability of Costs/Activities—Selected Items of Cost—Salaries and Wages—Compensation of Students." Additionally, compensation must be in accordance with institutional policies applied consistently to both federally and non-federally supported activities and must be supported by acceptable accounting records that reflect the employer-employee relationship agreement. Under these conditions, the funds provided as compensation (salary or tuition remission) for services rendered, such as teaching or laboratory assistance, are not considered stipend supplementation, and are allowable charges to Federal grants, including PHS research grants. However, it is expected that compensation from research grants will be for limited part-time employment apart from the normal training activities.
Compensation may not be paid from a research grant that supports the same research that is part of the fellow's planned training experience as approved in the fellowship application. Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the fellow's approved NRSA training program. Fellowship sponsors must approve all instances of employment on research grants in order to verify that the circumstances will not detract from or prolong the approved training program.
An NRSA may not be held concurrently with another federally sponsored fellowship or similar Federal award that provides a stipend or otherwise duplicates provisions of the NRSA.
Educational Loans or GI Bill
An individual may accept concurrent educational remuneration from the Department of Veterans Affairs (GI Bill) and Federal educational loan funds. Such funds are not considered supplementation or compensation.
Taxability of Stipends
Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Public Law 99-514, affects the tax liability of all individuals supported under the NRSA program. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Non-degree candidates are required to report as gross income all stipends and any monies paid on their behalf for course tuition and fees required for attendance.
The taxability of stipends, however, in no way alters the relationship between NRSA fellows and sponsoring institutions. NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, recipients of NRSA fellowships are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with the NIH or the sponsoring institution solely as a result of the NRSA award.
It must be emphasized that the interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.
Although stipends are not considered salaries, this income is still subject to Federal and, sometimes, State income tax. Such income may be reported by the sponsoring institution on the IRS Form 1099, Statement of Miscellaneous Income. Normally, the business office of the sponsoring institution will be responsible for the annual preparation and issuance of the IRS Form 1099 for fellows paid through the institution (fellows at domestic non-Federal institutions). It should be noted, however, that sponsoring institutions are not required to issue a Form 1099, but it does serve as a useful form of documentation of income received and as a reminder to the fellow that some tax liability may exist. Fellows are reminded that, even if the sponsoring institution does not issue the Form 1099, they are still required to report NRSA stipends as income. NIH will issue a Form 1099 for each fellow training at a Federal or foreign laboratory and receiving a stipend check from the U.S. Treasury.
Since NRSA awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the sponsoring institution, it is inappropriate and unallowable for institutions to seek funds for or to charge individual fellowship awards for costs that would normally be associated with employee benefits (for example, FICA, workman's compensation, and unemployment insurance).
NIH awards an institutional allowance to help support the costs of training. Interested applicants should consult the NIH program announcement(s) regarding the specific level of allowance for predoctoral and postdoctoral support, including those individuals training at Federal laboratories, for-profit, or foreign institutions. Allowance levels are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Current institutional allowance levels are found in Appendix II-2. Beginning in FY 1997, for postdoctoral fellowships, costs for tuition and fees, where appropriate, will be awarded independent of the institutional allowance. (See "Financial Provisions—Other Costs—Tuition and Fees" for details on tuition reimbursement.)
The institutional allowance is a fixed amount. Expenditures under institutional allowances are not subject to NIH prior approval requirements and the institution is not required to account for these expenditures on an actual cost basis. However, NIH policy governs the type of expenditures appropriate for the institutional allowance.
Allowable Costs for Sponsoring Institutions
The type of sponsoring institution dictates what costs may be charged to this category and how the funds are to be administered.
Non-Federal public and private non-profit institutions (domestic and foreign)
The allowance is intended to defray such expenses for the individual fellow as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific meetings, health insurance and to otherwise offset, insofar as possible, appropriate administrative costs of graduate training. Funds are paid directly to and administered by the sponsoring institution.
The allowance is intended to cover the costs of scientific meeting travel, health insurance, or books. Funds are administered by the NIH awarding office and disbursed from OFM.
The allowance is intended to cover the costs of scientific meeting travel, health insurance, or books. Funds are paid directly to and administered by the sponsoring institution.
The following are specific guidelines for the use of the institutional allowance:
A fellow's health insurance is an allowable cost only if applied consistently to all persons in a similar training status regardless of the source of support. Family health insurance is an allowable cost for fellows who have families and are eligible for family health insurance coverage at the sponsoring institution. Self-only health insurance is an allowable cost for fellows without families.
Payment for travel to scientific meetings is appropriate when it is necessary to the individual's training and when the costs are incurred within the period of grant-supported training.
For fellows at Federal laboratories, reimbursement of travel costs must be in accordance with current Government travel regulations.
Funds may not be expended to cover the costs of travel between the fellow's place of residence and the domestic training institution, except that the grantee institution may authorize the cost of a one-way travel allowance in an individual case of extreme hardship.
Additional funds may be requested by the institution when the training of a fellow involves extraordinary costs for travel to field sites remote from the sponsoring institution or accommodations for fellows who are disabled, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The funds requested for extraordinary costs must be reasonable in relationship to the total dollars awarded under a fellowship and must be directly related to the approved research training project. Such additional funds shall be provided only in exceptional circumstances that are fully justified and explained by the institution.
Except for fellows at Federal training sites, the sponsoring institution authorizes the expenditure of the allowance on behalf of the fellow according to the institutional policy. The institution is entitled to expend up to the full institutional allowance upon official activation of the award. However, if an individual fellow is not in a training status for more than 6 months of the award year, only one-half of that year's allowance may be charged to the grant. The Notice of Research Fellowship Award will be revised and the balance must be refunded to NIH.
For fellows at Federal training sites, the NIH IC authorizes the expenditure of the allowance. Payment is made through OFM.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition and fees for postdoctoral fellows are limited to those for specific courses required by the training program and must receive prior approval from the NIH awarding office. For the purposes of calculating this budget item, health insurance is not included since it is part of the institutional allowance.
For predoctoral fellows, the award of tuition and fees (including health insurance) varies depending on the policy of the NIH awarding office. Specific programmatic guidelines should be consulted for guidance. Also see Appendix II-2.
When tuition, fees and insurance are awarded as a separate budget item, these funds may not be rebudgeted into any other budget category with written prior approval from the NIH IC.
Travel to Foreign Training Sites
For fellows at foreign training sites, in addition to the institutional allowance, awards may include a single economy or coach round-trip travel fare. No allowance is provided for dependents. U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries. This requirement shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience, or personal travel preference.
The documents described here are critical to the process of establishing the payment of stipends and other costs as well as the determination of possible payback service.
Immediately upon the initiation of training, the individual completes and signs the Activation Notice (Form PHS 416-5), obtains the signature of the designated sponsoring institution officials, and forwards the notice along with the Payback Agreement (postdoctoral fellows in their first 12 months of NRSA support only) to the NIH awarding office. An Activation Notice is enclosed with all competing awards (see APPENDIX II-3).
For fellows paid directly by NIH, the Activation Notice is required at the start of each award year. The form should not be submitted before the fellow actually begins training. Stipend checks are issued when both the Activation Notice and the Payback Agreement (postdoctoral fellows in their first 12 months of NRSA support only) are received by the awarding office.
For fellows whose stipend is paid through the institution, the Activation Notice is required for the initial year only. The Notice may be submitted up to 30 days before the individual begins training if necessary for payroll purposes. However, the institution must not release any funds until the individual has actually started training. Furthermore, if the individual does not begin research training on the day indicated, the institution must notify the NIH IC immediately. Competing continuation awards must be activated on the day following the end of the last budget period of the previous award.
A National Research Service Award Payback Agreement (Form PHS 6031) that covers the initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support must be signed by each person who is to receive an individual postdoctoral fellowship t. If the individual has already received 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support under any training grant or fellowship award, this form is not required. No Payback Agreement is required for predoctoral fellows. For details on NRSA payback, see "Payback Reporting Requirements for Recipients."
The Termination Notice (Form PHS 416-7) (along with the Activation Notice and the Notice of Research Fellowship Award) is the basis for validating the total period of NRSA support and establishing the amount of payback obligation for each NRSA fellow. For individual fellowships, a Termination Notice is sent to the fellow by the NIH awarding office prior to the scheduled termination date. For early terminations, the forms will be issued immediately upon receipt of notification from the fellow or an authorized organizational official. This form must be completed and returned to the NIH IC immediately. The lack of timely and accurate information on this form could adversely affect the payback process.
If a fellow switches from one NRSA grant mechanism to another (e.g., from a training grant to a fellowship or from one NIH awarding office to another), the requirement for payback service incurred is deferred until the total NRSA support is completed. All fellowship applications are reviewed to determine if previous NRSA support has been provided.
Progress Reports, Financial Status Reports, Changes in the Project
Progress reports must be submitted with all applications for noncompeting continuation support in accordance with the instructions accompanying the application forms. Inadequate or incomplete progress reports may be returned to the fellow for revision and may result in a delay of continued support. For individual awards, the final progress report is required as part of the Termination Notice.
Financial Status Report
An annual or final Financial Status Report is not required on individual awards. In the event of early termination, the stipend will be prorated according to the amount of time spent in training and the Notice of Research Fellowship Award will be revised. The balance of any institutional allowance (at least 1/2) must be refunded if the training has been for 6 months or less.
Changes in the Project
Individual awards are made for training at a specific institution under the guidance of a particular sponsor. A transfer of the award to another institution or a change in sponsor and/or project requires the approval of the NIH awarding office. As part of that approval process, if a fellow sponsored by a domestic non-Federal institution requests a transfer to another domestic non-Federal institution before the end of the current award year, the initial institution may be requested to continue to pay the stipend until the end of the current year. Disposition of the institutional allowance is negotiable between the two sponsoring institutions. No activation notice is required from the new sponsoring institution.
Transfers involving Federal or foreign sponsoring institutions require unique administrative procedures and approvals. Regardless of the type of sponsoring institution involved, since each transfer varies depending upon individual circumstances, the NIH awarding office should be contacted for specific guidance.
Any proposed change in the individual's specified area of research training must be reviewed and approved in writing by the NIH IC to assure that the training continues to be an area that falls within the scientific area of the original peer reviewed application.
An interim sponsor must be named by the institution and approved in writing by the awarding office when the sponsor is going to be absent for a period of more than 3 months.
Other Terms and Conditions
Vacations and Holidays
Fellows may receive the same vacations and holidays available to individuals in comparable training positions at the sponsoring institution. Fellows shall continue to receive stipends during vacations and holidays. At academic institutions, the time between semesters or academic quarters is generally considered an active part of the training period.
Sick Leave and Other Leave
Fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year. Under exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended by the awarding office in response to a written request from the sponsor, countersigned by an authorized organizational official. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Fellows also may receive stipends for up to 30 calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee or sponsoring institution have access to paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. In the case of individual fellowships, the use of parental leave requires approval by the sponsor.
A period of terminal leave is not permitted, and payment may not be made from grant funds for leave not taken.
Individuals requiring extended periods of time away from their research training experience, which could include more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 30 calendar days of parental leave, must seek approval for an unpaid leave of absence. Approval for a leave of absence must be requested in advance from the NIH IC. Fellows must provide a letter of support from the sponsor, countersigned by an authorized organizational official, and must advise the NIH IC of the dates of the leave of absence. Upon approval of the request, the NIH IC will issue a revised Notice of Research Fellowship Award extending the ending date of the current budget period by the number of months of the leave. A restriction is included in the terms and conditions of the award precluding the expenditure of funds from the fellowship during the period of the leave of absence.
During a leave of absence, documentation to suspend the award and/or the accrual of service for calculating the payback obligation must be completed by the sponsoring institution. When the fellowship is eventually terminated, the leave of absence must be clearly documented on the Termination Notice.
An individual NRSA may be terminated prior to its normal expiration date by NIH if it is found that the recipient has materially failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the award or to carry out the purpose for which it was made. In the event an award is terminated for cause, the Director, NIH, shall notify the awardee in writing of this determination, the reasons therefore, the effective date, and the right to appeal the decision. An award also may be terminated by NIH at the request of the recipient.
Fellows are encouraged to submit reports of their findings for publication to the journals of their choice. Responsibility for direction of the project should not be ascribed to NIH. However, NIH IC support must be acknowledged by a footnote in language similar to the following: "This Investigation was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award (number) from the (name of NIH IC)." In addition, HHS funding must be acknowledged as provided in "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Availability of Information—Acknowledgment of Federal Funding."
Except as otherwise provided in the conditions of the award, when publications or similar copyrightable materials are developed from work supported by NIH, the author is free to arrange for copyright without NIH IC approval. Any such copyrighted material shall be subject to a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to the Government to reproduce them, translate them, publish them, use and dispose of them, and to authorize others to do so for Government purposes.
As specified in 45 CFR Part 74 and in 37 CFR 401.1(b), fellowships that are funded primarily for educational purposes, where the training will occur other than at NIH, are not subject to invention reporting requirements. Also, no fellowship made by NIH to an awardee primarily for educational purposes, where the training will occur other than at NIH, may contain any provision giving NIH any rights to inventions made by the awardee. Fellows training at NIH are bound by all provisions of Executive Order 10096 and any orders, rules, regulations or issuances thereunder wherein NIH determines the rights of the Government and the fellow in (and to) inventions conceived or actually reduced to practice during the period of fellowship.
NIH policy is to make available to the public the results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds in a timely manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on fellows to make the results and accomplishments of their fellowship activities available to the public. The sponsoring institution should place no restrictions on the publication of results that conflicts with this policy.
Disposition of Professional Fees
Fees resulting from clinical practice, professional consultation, or other comparable activities performed pursuant to the purpose of the award may not be retained by the fellow. Such fees will be assigned to the sponsoring institution for disposition in accordance with NIH policy on program income (see "Administrative Requirements—Management Systems and Procedures—Program Income"). The term "professional fees" does not apply to honoraria, fees for scholarly writing, delivery of occasional outside lectures, or service in an advisory capacity to public or private non-profit organizations. If permitted by organizational policy, these fees may be retained by the awardee.
Human Subjects/Animal Welfare/Recombinant DNA Molecules
Individual NRSA awards involving use of human subjects must comply with the requirements for their protection (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Requirements Affecting the Rights and Welfare of Individuals as Research Subjects, Patients, or Recipients of Services—Human Subjects." For additional information on human subjects requirements, refer to the Individual NRSA application kit or contact OHRP (see contact information in Part III).
Individual NRSA awards involving use of vertebrate animals must comply with the requirements for their protection (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Animal Welfare." For additional information on vertebrate animals, refer to the Individual NRSA application kit or contact OLAW (see contact information in Part III).
Recombinant DNA Molecules
Individual NRSA awards involving use of recombinant DNA molecules must comply with the requirements of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving DNA Molecules (see "Public Policy Requirements and Objectives—Ethical and Safe Conduct in Science and Organizational Operations—Recombinant DNA Molecules." The Guidelines, available from the Office of Biotechnology Activities (see Part III), should be consulted for complete requirements for the conduct of projects involving recombinant DNA techniques.