Questions and Answers for NIAID and NIDDK Research Opportunities for New and "At-Risk" Investigators to Promote Workforce Diversity

NIAID published the PAR-23-275, NIAID and NIDDK Research Opportunities for New and "At-Risk" Investigators to Promote Workforce Diversity (R01, Clinical Trial Optional) notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) on September 13, 2023.

For additional information, refer to the Webinar Video and Transcript for the previous (2022) version of this NOFO and the contact information below.

Updated October 24, 2023. We updated and added questions to reflect the PAR-23-275 NOFO.

Each time we add new or revise existing FAQs, we will update the dated note shown at the top of this page to describe the latest changes.

  • The objective of this program is to support research from New Investigators and At-Risk Investigators from diverse backgrounds, including investigators from underrepresented groups. NIH, NIAID, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recognize a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce. NIAID and NIDDK seek to promote diversity in all their training and research programs and enhance the diversity of the investigator pool, including participation by investigators from underrepresented groups in order to develop a highly competent and diverse scientific workforce capable of conducting state-of-the-art research in their respective research areas: NIAID Mission and NIDDK Mission. This initiative intends to promote and provide opportunities for new researchers and earlier research independence, and to maintain the careers of at-risk investigators.
  • Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) of awards made under this NOFO will be invited to participate in jointly held NIAID-NIDDK workshops (every 3 years) which is a unique opportunity to network and meet co-awardees and others.
  • NIH, NIAID, and NIDDK aim to support New Investigators and have created special programs and funding approaches to meet that goal. Get further details on how being new helps you and additional Information for New Investigators from NIAID and NIDDK.

If you applied to a program announcement (PA), program announcement with set-aside funds (PAS), or program announcement with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations (PAR), you may resubmit to the same or a different PA, PAS, or PAR if the NOFO allows for submission of resubmission applications and provided that the NIH criteria for a resubmission application are met (i.e., within 37 months and that the summary statement has been released). Additionally, applications submitted to this PAR must be within the NIAID Mission or NIDDK Mission.

Your resubmission needs to be within the scope of the NIAID Mission or NIDDK Mission. Resubmitting to this NOFO will likely require you to rescope the research aims to either infectious, immunological, and allergic diseases (NIAID) or diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases (NIDDK). Additionally, during the evaluation, reviewers will take the previous submission including your responses to previous concerns into account. This might be difficult if the scope has changed. We encourage you to work with a program officer at NIAID or NIDDK to help you determine whether to choose submitting a resubmission versus a new application.

Applications submitted to this PAR will be reviewed within the Center for Scientific Review’s (CSR’s) standing study sections. You can use CSR's Assisted Referral Tool (ART) to identify study sections that may be appropriate to evaluate your application. (Please note, some study sections have recently changed as described at Evaluating Panel Quality in Review and the ART tool might not be as accurate during this transition period.)

Only NIH awards are used to determine at-risk and new investigator statuses.

You are considered at-risk if you have been a PD/PI of a substantial NIH grant in the past but are at risk of losing or not having any substantial funding in the following fiscal year. NIH defines substantial funding as: “Research grants excluding the list of smaller grants that do not remove ESI eligibility:” If those criteria are fulfilled, and you are not the PD/PI of the U19, you meet the eligibility criteria of an “at-risk investigator.” Your university or institution should confirm your eligibility at the time of application.

Yes, as long as at time of application you will have no substantial NIH research grant funding in the following fiscal year.

Eligibility for this NOFO is only based on new investigator and at-risk investigator status. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. Your university or institution will need to confirm your eligibility for this NOFO at the time of submission.

Consideration for funding will include assessment of how the application would further the goals of this NOFO consistent with NOT-OD-20-031, Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity, including an evaluation of the PD/PI’s commitment to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). The PD/PI’s demonstrated commitment to DEIA can be described in Document 2. (Refer to Section IV of the NOFO under “Other Attachments”).

No, all PD/PIs must meet the eligibility requirements.

Yes, co-investigators and collaborators may be necessary for their expertise. Since these individuals are not PIs, they do not need to be new or at-risk investigators.

NIH, NIAID, and NIDDK recognize that scientists who assume additional academic service, outreach, and mentoring duties to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are not always appropriately recognized or rewarded for these activities and thus this work can significantly inhibit the individual’s scientific research career (Rodríguez et al., 2015; Gewin 2020; Faucett et al., 2022). To address this, this NOFO aims to enhance workforce diversity by providing support to researchers who are making substantial commitments to DEIA. Therefore, Document 2 should provide descriptions about the PD/PI’s contributions and/or commitment to DEIA; some examples are listed under “Other Attachments” in Section IV of the NOFO.

Yes, you can submit more than one application to this NOFO if you meet the eligibility requirements at the time of submission and provided the required DEIA letters described in the “Other Attachments” in Section IV of the NOFO.

We did not specify who should write the letters, so they can originate from anyone familiar with your DEIA efforts and New/At-Risk Investigator status. We do require the letters to be certified by your Institution, which can be achieved either through a signature by the authorized organization representative (AOR) or by the fact that the AOR/grants office reviewed and approved the application before submission to NIH.

Check Section VII of the NOFO for NIH scientific/research, peer review, and financial/grants management contacts.

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