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Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T32)

The NIH Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) provides support to develop and/or enhance predoctoral and postdoctoral research training to help ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to meet the needs of the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research agenda.

Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO)

Due dates

  • New applications, resubmissions, and renewals: May 25
  • AIDS applications (new, resubmissions, and renewals): September 7

Training program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) eligibility

The PD/PI should be an established investigator in the scientific area in which the application is targeted and capable of providing both administrative and scientific leadership to the development and implementation of the proposed program.

The participation of multiple PDs/PIs is particularly encouraged, especially when each brings a unique perspective and skill set that will enhance training.

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Preceptor/mentor eligibility

Program faculty should have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in the area of the proposed research training program. Program faculty should also have a record of research training, including successful, former trainees who have established productive careers relevant to the NIH mission.

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Trainee eligibility

The individuals to be trained must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment.

Trainees from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies.

For full trainee eligibility information, see PA-23-048.

Institutional eligibility

  • U.S. domestic institutions
  • Foreign components allowed 

Additional information

NIMH encourages innovative T32 applications to support research training programs within the research areas and research priorities supported by the Institute.

Institutional NRSA programs are designed to allow the Training PD/PI to select the trainees (predoctoral and/or postdoctoral fellows) and develop a curriculum of study and research experiences necessary to provide high quality research training. Training PD/PIs are expected to develop an enhanced program of coursework, mentored research experiences, and technical and professional skills development appropriate for the appointed trainees that provides added value to already existing programs. Research training programs are expected to incorporate engaging, didactic, research, and career development elements to prepare trainees for careers that will have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the Nation.

Each proposed program should provide high-quality research training, and mentored research experiences, and are expected to help trainees develop:

  • A strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous and reproducible research design, experimental methods, analytic techniques, including quantitative/computational approaches, and data gathering, storing, analysis, interpretation, and sharing appropriate for the proposed research area.
  • Their individual development plans to identify areas of strengths and areas of career and personal growth with the ability to identify and engage mentors.
  • Skills in engaging in their chosen area of science including networking, presentation, and publication skills and opportunities to interact with members of the broader scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops.
  • The competencies needed to advance to independent careers in their chosen field.
  • The ability to think critically and independently, and to develop important research questions to initiate and conduct research and approaches that push forward their areas of study.
  • An understanding of the relationship of their research training to health, diseases, and disorders.
  • A commitment to approaching and conducting research responsibly and with integrity.
  • The competencies to work effectively with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and scientific disciplines to contribute to inclusive and supportive scientific research environments.
  • The knowledge, professional skills, and experiences required to identify and transition into careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission.

The grant offsets the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training-related expenses including health insurance for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH support levels.

Training PD/PIs should ensure that a contingency plan is in place for any new trainees added within the last year of funding to ensure the successful career progression of the trainee should the competing application not be awarded. There should be no expectation that NIMH will continue to support trainees through the T32 program once the program's funding has ended.

NIMH encourages its T32-supported trainees to submit individual funding applications to provide support for their mentored research training after their appointment on the T32 has ended.

Applications for the NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant mechanism are strongly encouraged to include Individual Development Plans for all trainees.

At the predoctoral level, NIMH T32s typically support "late-stage" research training. That is, NIMH T32s are typically used to support individuals conducting dissertation-stage research who have matriculated to PhD candidacy (i.e., after completing a "qualifying exam" or some other program-specific threshold). Candidates are typically appointed to a T32 for 2-3 years when they can benefit from the programmatic activities of the T32 and complete their dissertation research training. NIMH encourages T32 programs to foster the submission of individual predoctoral fellowships by their trainees.

Note that the NIMH also participates in the trans-NIH Jointly Sponsored NIH Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences   that supports "early-stage" predoctoral training (typically years 1-2 of graduate education).

At the postdoctoral level, NIMH T32s typically support early-stage, postdoctoral research training when individuals are most likely to benefit from the structure and programmatic activities of an institutional training program.


Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administrative [F&A] Costs) are reimbursed at 8% of modified total direct costs (exclusive of tuition and fees, consortium costs in excess of $25,000, and expenditures for equipment), rather than based on a negotiated rate agreement.

Salary and research support for appointed trainees

The T32 budget offsets the cost of stipend (salary support), tuition and fees, and an institutional allowance to help defray the cost of fellowship expenses such as health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, and travel to scientific meetings.

Stipend levels, as well as funding amounts for tuition and fees and the institutional allowance are announced annually in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Current stipends are also posted on the NRSA fellowship webpage .

NIMH allows travel costs up to $750/predoctoral trainee and up to $1,200/postdoctoral trainee.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review the funding opportunity and the FAQs below prior to contacting the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative for additional information.

For general NRSA FAQs, see NIMH NRSA FAQs or NIH Research Training and Career Development FAQs .


Q: What are the responsibilities of the Training PD/PI?
A: The Training PD/PI is responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees to the approved research training program, and for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the program. The PD/PI is expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required. The PD/PI has responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the program and is responsible for appointing members of the Advisory Committee (when applicable) and using their recommendations to determine the appropriate allotment of funds.

Q: Are short-term training positions allowed on NIMH T32s?
A: Yes, short-term training positions are allowed for medical students enrolled in an M.D./Ph.D. program. The proposed T32 program may not be used to support studies leading to the M.D., D.D.S., or other clinical, health-professional degrees except when those studies are part of a formal combined research degree program, such as the M.D./Ph.D.

Q: Can appointed trainees propose to lead an independent clinical trial as their research project?
A: No, this funding opportunity does not allow appointed trainees to lead an independent clinical trial but does allow them to obtain research experience in a clinical trial led by a mentor or co-mentor.

Q: Is there a budget limit for the T32?
A: No, application budgets are not limited, but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Q: My proposed T32 budget is over $500,000 in direct costs. Do I need to request pre-approval for the proposed budget?
A: No, NIMH does not require pre-approval for T32 applications requesting over $500,000 in direct costs.

Q: Does the application need to include a plan for Responsible Conduct of Research training for appointed trainees?
A: Yes. Every trainee supported by an NRSA training grant must receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research, therefore all applications must include a plan to provide such instruction as described in SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Q: How many trainee slots can I request?
A: Historically, NIMH T32s support two to six trainees per year. The number of slots requested must reflect the program's pool of qualified applicants and the ability of the program faculty to effectively mentor that number of trainees taking into consideration the number of proposed faculty research mentors, institutional resources and the number of years trainees will be funded. When requesting slots, applicants are encouraged to consider how many training grant-eligible trainees work with program PIs or complete relevant coursework activities appropriate for the training program. Applicants should also consider if other training programs at the institution recruit from the same pool.

Q: What types of T32s does NIMH fund?
A: Please see NIH RePORTER for funded T32 applications .