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Training Grants (T)

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National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) and Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant (T35) provide domestic, nonprofit, and private or public graduate-level academic institutions with funds for training predoctoral and postdoctoral candidates.

Senior investigators who head research or training programs at an institution generally apply for these grants. Trainee-level investigators should contact their institution about training opportunities.

Trainees must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or permanent residents with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551). People on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

For Some Grants, You'll Owe Work Time

Postdoctoral trainees on T32 grants must repay the government for their grant support. This isn't like paying off a loan; your debt is one of time and effort, not money. You can pay it off by continuing to work on the project for which you were funded.

During the first year of your appointment, you'll owe one month of payback for every month you're supported by NIH funds. After the first year, you can start paying back. For every month you continue to work—even with funding—you pay back one month of your debt. If your training lasts two years, your obligation will be paid in full.

If You Can't Pay Back With Work

If your project loses funding after the first year, you can complete your payback through continued research or teaching on at least a half-time basis (20 hours per week). Unless there are serious extenuating circumstances, you must complete the payback within two years after termination of support.

If you fail to repay your obligation within two years, you'll owe the government the full amount of your grant, plus interest. If you don't perform the research or teaching necessary for payback, make sure you'll have the money to reimburse the government for your grant.

How Long Does Support Last?

NIAID awards T32s for five years, with the chance to renew. We make awards annually, capped at 10 training slots per year, with further support contingent on performance and funding availability.

Trainee appointments are usually in one-year increments; new appointments must be at least nine months except when we've approved a short-term training position. A trainee can remain in a program for a maximum of five years for predoctoral trainees; three years for postdoctoral trainees.

For more details, see the trainee appointments section of T32 and T35 Training Grants—Key Administrative Information.

T35s may be awarded for periods up to five years and are renewable. NIAID allows 10 training slots per year. Trainees must pursue research training for two to three months on a full-time basis, devoting at least 40 hours per week to the program.

What Do Training Funds Pay For?

T32 and T35 grants provide funds for:

  • NRSA Stipends
  • Tuition and fees, trainee travel, and training-related expenses—For details, refer to What Do Training Grants Pay For? on Salary Cap, Stipends, & Training Funds.
  • On a case-by-case basis, institutional costs for accommodating disabled trainees in addition to usual costs paid by training-related expenses.

Note on effort requirement: Trainee appointments require full-time effort, 12 person months a year. In addition to the full-time training, trainees may spend on average, an additional 25 percent of their time (e.g., 10 hours a week) in part-time research, teaching, or clinical employment, so long as those activities do not interfere with, or lengthen, the duration of their NRSA training.

Qualifying for a Training Grant

A successful institutional candidate for a training grant must provide an outstanding research and academic environment, with suitable staff and facilities.

The institution's proposed training program director must be an established, well-recognized scientist, generally with the rank of professor or equivalent, who offers a long training track record.

Another key element is a critical mass of fairly senior scientists in the research area who can demonstrate a publications history and funding from NIH, NSF, HHMI, or similar agencies. Too many junior scientists or those without grants may negatively influence the overall impact score and chances of funding.

Peer reviewers consider the records of past trainees or graduates, who should demonstrate strong academic ability. Programs that accept students with less-than-stellar GRE scores, for instance, fare worse in peer review than a program with strict admissions criteria.

Successful applicant institutions offer a track record of past trainees who publish, obtain funding, and enjoy distinguished scientific positions. Reviewers highly rate an adequate supply of high-quality potential trainees with genuine interest in research and appropriate academic prerequisites.

To learn more about training grant requirements, Search for NIAID T32 and T35 Funding Opportunities.

What Are Your Chances of Succeeding?

Find success rates for T32s and T35s at Success Rates on NIH RePORT.

For more data and statistics, go to NIH's Extramural Training Mechanisms.

Writing a Training Grant Application

Before you begin writing your application, carefully read the relevant notice of funding opportunity below and follow the supplemental instructions for T applications in the SF 424 Application Guide, including guidelines for page limits and items allowed for the Appendix.

Successful training grant applications require different elements than do R01s. You must convince peer reviewers of your program's value by showing evidence of exceptional faculty commitment, resources, program design, training environment, and ability to recruit quality candidates. You should err on the side of self-promotion, rather than leaving out information that could help your case.

In assigning an application's overall impact score, reviewers will address and consider the following five criteria:

  1. Training Program and Environment
  2. Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI)
  3. Preceptors/Mentors
  4. Trainees
  5. Training Record

For more detail on these criteria, see the Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) notice of funding opportunity.

Check the guidelines reviewers follow in the T Awards (Training) section of NIH’s Review Guidelines.

Demonstrate Quality Program Design

Reviewers will assess the quality of your training program. They'll expect clear objectives and a thorough program design that shows your foresight, competence, and understanding of what a research program entails. Specify the features of the program, special seminar series, and postdoc rotations.

Training grants pay mostly for trainees, so you'll need evidence of a committed faculty, courses, and high-quality, readily available facilities and resources. You'll also need a trainee pool with the academic credentials to become distinguished researchers. Describe in detail your selection criteria for trainees.

Showcase Your Successes

Discuss the accomplishments of your former trainees, such as grants or fellowships awarded, other training appointments, promotion to scientific positions, publications, or patents received.

Ideally, your program produces many solid researchers who remain in their field. If not, other program strengths can compensate for some weaknesses in past trainees, especially if your program is relatively new.

Plan for Recruiting Trainees From Underrepresented Groups

Your application must include program-specific plans for recruiting trainees from underrepresented groups; general institution plans aren't sufficient.

Document your program's previous recruitment efforts among underrepresented groups, including successful and unsuccessful strategies. The best plans include personal recruitment efforts by the program director or faculty.

Include statistics on your program's current distribution of students from underrepresented groups who applied for admission or a position in the department relevant to the training grant, were offered admission or a position, enrolled in an academic program, or were appointed to the research training grant.

For more information about recruitment plans, go to NIH Research Training and Career Development Frequently Asked Questions. Also see Section Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Document Training on Responsible Conduct of Research

Your application must include a plan to offer trainees Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. If you fail to include one, your application will be considered incomplete and won't be reviewed until you provide an acceptable plan of instruction. See the Responsible Conduct of Research—Training SOP and HHS Office of Research Integrity--General Resources for more information.

NIH requires additional training documentation for human subjects research. See the Document Training in the Protection of Human Subjects section of NIAID’s Research Using Human Subjects.

Describe how your institution will ensure that trainees participate only in 1) exempt human subjects research or non-exempt human subjects research that has institutional review board (IRB) approval, and 2) vertebrate animal research that has institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) approval. Include this information in the "Human Subjects" or "Vertebrate Animals" section of the PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan form, respectively.

Harassment and Discrimination Protections

As part of your Letters of Support, include a letter on institutional letterhead signed by the president, the provost, a dean, or another key institutional leader with institution-wide responsibilities that describes institutional commitment to 1) ensuring proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices and 2) the planned training program to ensure its success. See the Research Training Grant SOP for more information.

Comply With NIH Public Access Policy

Be sure to follow NIH public access policy, which includes citing peer-reviewed journal articles you have authored or coauthored and that resulted from an NIH-funded award. See the Public Access of Publications SOP for details. List your publications in the Biographical Sketch.

For renewal applications, you will report on publications during the just-in-time process for work conducted by trainees supported by the training grant, instead of in the "Progress Report" section of the PHS 398 Research Training Program Plan form.

Know NIH Rigor and Reproducibility Requirements

Be sure to address rigor and reproducibility. Check the requirements on the NIH Enhancing Reproducibility Through Rigor and Transparency page.

Applying for a Training Grant

Submit your application electronically using the NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) or another of the NIH Submission Options. Check with your business office to see what approach it uses. Follow the instructions in your notice of funding opportunity and the supplemental instructions for T applications in the SF 424 Application Guide.

NIAID accepts training grant applications on January 25 and September 25 for non-AIDS and January 7 and May 7 for AIDS-related, an exception to the regular NIH schedule of three annual receipt dates. Other ICs may have different due dates.

After initial peer review in February or March, our Advisory Council will review your application in May or June. If you're successful, your award will start July 1 or later.

For an overview of the peer review process and to learn about review criteria so you can create a strong application, read Understand the Review Process.

Sending Materials Post-Submission

You may send certain materials after you have submitted your application and before initial peer review. For training grants, see a list of what’s allowed at Allowable Post-Submission Materials.

Send three pages or fewer to your scientific review officer at least 30 days before the review meeting. Include a note from your business office stating its concurrence or ask your authorized organizational representative to send the information on your behalf.

For more on the post-submission materials policy, go to NIH Frequently Asked Questions.

Submitting Your Training Grant Forms, Contacting NIAID

Use xTrain to submit all forms except payback agreements.

Online With xTrain

For trainees who do not require a payback agreement, submit the appointment form through xTrain in the eRA Commons. Also prepare and submit termination notices through xTrain.

To create and submit appointments, re-appointments, amendments, and terminations using xTrain, you must have an eRA Commons account. For information on how to get one, see eRA’s Create and Edit an Account.

You should also review instructions and training resources on the xTrain website, and the eRA Training - xTrain website.

You may also download and print payback agreements from xTrain, but for postdoc trainees you will need to send us an original, signed agreement. See the next section for more information.

Payback Agreements for Postdoctoral Trainees

For postdoctoral appointments that require submission of a payback agreement with an original signature, send the form by mail to

Yoon-Sun Brennan
National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, NIH
5601 Fishers Lane, Room 4E12, MSC 9824
Bethesda, MD 20892-9824
(Express mail: Rockville, MD 20852)

Contact Yoon-Sun Brennan if you have questions about submitting Statement of Appointment forms or payback agreements.

Quick Facts on Research Training Awards

Award Type

Search for NIAID T32 Funding Opportunities.

Award Specifics

Grant is up to five-year duration, with the chance to renew. NIAID awards T32s annually, with a cap of 10 training slots per year.

Funding includes

  • NRSA Stipend Levels
  • Trainee travel
  • Institutional training-related expenses
  • Facilities and administrative costs based on eight percent of modified total direct costs
  • Trainees must devote full-time effort during the trainee appointment period
  • On a case-by-case basis, institutional costs for accommodating disabled trainees in addition to usual costs paid by training-related expenses

Applicant Profile

Domestic, non-profit, private, or public educational institution with an outstanding research and academic environment, including suitable staff and facilities.

Senior investigators who head research or training programs generally apply for T32s on behalf of their institution.


Requires different elements than R01s. Institution must show

  • Clear objectives and quality training program, including special features (e.g., lab rotations, seminar series, entrance requirements; advisory committee)
  • Proposed training program director who is a well-recognized scientist with a long training track record
  • Senior-level faculty with publications history, grants from NIH or similar agencies, and training experience
  • Successful past trainees
  • Adequate source of trainees
  • T32-specific diversity recruitment plan
  • Course on responsible conduct of research

In preparing applications, institutions should use the Data Tables.

Notices of Funding Opportunity

Search for NIAID T35 Funding Opportunities.

Award Specifics

Pre-doctoral trainees only. Grant is up to five years, with the chance to renew. NIAID offers 10 T35 training slots per year.

Funding includes:

  • NRSA Stipend Levels. (Note: stipends are prorated for the number of months of support.)
  • Trainee-related expenses (travel, tuition, and fees) prorated for the number of months of support for each trainee.
  • Facilities and administrative costs based on eight percent of modified direct costs.

Trainees must devote full-time effort during the trainee appointment period, usually two or three months in the summer.

Applicant Profile

Domestic, non-profit, private, or public institutions with a high quality research program in the proposed areas, including suitable staff and facilities.

Allow eligible institutions to develop or enhance research training opportunities for people interested in careers in biomedical and behavioral research.


Institution must show:

  • Proposed training in either basic or clinical aspects of the health-related sciences.
  • Training program director is responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees and the overall direction of the training program.
  • Training program director and associated faculty should have a documented record of success in conducting research and a proven track record of training scientists for careers in basic or clinical research.

T32 and T35 Training Grants—Key Administrative Information

Receipt Dates

  • Noncompeting award (progress report). Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) is due four months before the grant start date (e.g., if the start date is July 1, the progress report would be due March 1). For T32 RPPRs, create required training data tables using the Extramural Trainee Reporting and Career Tracking (xTRACT) module in the eRA Commons. For more information, see xTRACT Resources.
  • New or renewal competing applications. NIAID has two annual submission deadlines for T32 and T35 training grant applications: January 25 and September 25 for non-AIDS applications, and January 7 and May 7 for AIDS-related applications. Apply electronically and follow the supplemental instructions for training grants in the SF 424 Application Guide.

When to Apply for T32 and T35 Awards

If you have an existing NIAID T32 or T35 (Type 5) and plan to apply for a competing renewal (Type 2), follow NIAID’s policy on application timing.

To minimize the hiatus between the end of your Type 5 award and the start of your potential Type 2 award, you must target specific due dates as shown in the Table 1 examples.

Table 1. Target Due Dates for NIAID T32 or T35 Type 2 Application

Type 5 End Date First Due Date Second Due Date
October 2023 through September 2024 Jan. 25, 2023 Sep. 25, 2023
May 8, 2023 for HIV/AIDS Jan. 8, 2024 for HIV/AIDS
October 2024 through September 2025 Jan. 25, 2024 Sep. 25, 2024
May 7, 2024 for HIV/AIDS Jan. 7, 2025 for HIV/AIDS

Avoid the temptation to submit your Type 2 even earlier than shown above. We cannot fund two awards for the same program in the same fiscal year (FY). We also can’t save a too-early Type 2 application for funding in the next FY.

This approach means you apply for the Type 2 before the Type 5 ends, but not too early. Here’s another way to calculate your target due date:

  • If your existing Type 5 ends before September of a calendar year, submit your Type 2 application for a due date in the previous calendar year.
  • If your existing Type 5 ends in October or later, submit your Type 2 for the appropriate deadline in that same calendar year.

Email to confirm when you should apply.

Carryover Authority

  • You do not need NIAID approval to rebudget funds, i.e., move funds from one budget category to another. You do need Prior Approval:
    • For restricted categories: stipends, tuition, fees (includes health insurance if awarded as part of this budget category)
    • To extend the last budget period of the project period up to 12 months
  • You must have Prior Approval to carryover unobligated balances.
    • Submit a written request signed by your business official.
    • Include a detailed budget and a strong justification for why the carryover funds are needed.
      • Program and grants management staff will review requests.
      • If they approve, the grants management specialist will issue a revised award authorizing the carryover.

Trainee Appointments

  • New trainees must be initially appointed for at least nine months except T35 short-term training grants, which are usually two to three month appointments.
  • You may not appoint new trainees during a no-cost extension without prior written approval from the Grants Management Program. Reappointments do not require prior approval.
  • New NRSA postdocs must sign a PHS-6031 payback agreement form.
    • Submit it with the PHS-2271.
    • Payback service is required for the first 12 months of support and may be fulfilled through an additional 12 months of T32 (or F32 postdoc fellowship) support.
  • Postdocs who participate in a project for at least one person month need to have an eRA Commons ID.
  • Predocs incur no payback obligation and do not sign a payback agreement.
  • Only U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and permanent U.S. residents may be appointed to a T32 or T35.
    • Trainees who do not have this status must have a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551).
    • Send a notarized statement verifying permanent residency status with the PHS-2271.
    • Anyone on a temporary or student visa is not eligible.
  • Trainees may be appointed to the training grant on any day during the budget period including the last day.
  • Federal Financial Reports
    • Trainee costs are for the full 12-month appointment from the budget period in which the appointment began, even if an appointment extends beyond it.
      • Report funds for trainees with appointments extending beyond the budget period as unliquidated obligations.
      • If they are incorrectly reported as unobligated obligations, NIAID will use them to offset the future year award, and you will not have enough funds to support the trainees' costs in the grant year for which you submitted a Federal Financial Report.
  • View NRSA Stipend Levels.
    • Postdocs receive the stipend level according to their experience, usually calculated from the date of the first doctoral degree.
    • Levels may change from one fiscal year to the next.
  • You may appoint one additional trainee over the number awarded (pre- and postdoctoral if a pre- and postdoctoral training program) without NIAID approval.
    • For more, you must obtain prior written approval from the Grants Management Program.
    • NIAID does not allow more than two additional trainees over the number awarded.
  • By rebudgeting, you may substitute one predoc for one postdoc or vice versa in a combined predoc and postdoc training program without NIAID approval.
  • Short-term summer trainee slots require a Statement of Appointment (PHS-2271).

Things to Do After Award

  • Use the xTrain module in the eRA Commons to create and submit appointments, re-appointments, amendments, and terminations.
    • Trainees supported by institutional research training awards that require appointments through the xTrain system must have an ORCID iD (Open Research and Contributor Identifier) and associate it with their eRA Commons Personal Profile. For instructions on how to create an ORCID iD, see eRA’s The ORCID ID instructions.
    • Send NIAID trainee appointment forms (PHS-2271) using xTrain no later than three months before the start of the next budget period, regardless of a trainee's appointment date. For example, all PHS-2271 are due April 1 for a T32 with an anniversary date of July 1.
      • You can appoint trainees up to the last day of the budget period, but we need the PHS-2271 by the due date. Call the grants management specialist listed in the eRA Commons if there are extenuating circumstances for not meeting the due date.
      • If your PHS-2271s are not received by the due date, NIAID will not be able to issue the Notice of Award for the upcoming year and may delete unfulfilled slots from all future years.
      • If you're having difficulty filling slots, contact your grants management specialist before this deadline.
    • Submit a Termination Notice (PHS-416-7) through xTrain for each trainee immediately when they terminate from either a T32 or a T35.
      • We must have the trainee's home address and phone number for tracking purposes.
      • Postdocs with a payback obligation must notify the Payback Service Center at 301-594-1835 of any change in address or phone number.
    • For training on using xTrain, visit eRA's xTrain training website.
  • See the Research Training Grants SOP for instructions and details on payback agreements for postdoctoral trainees, which must be mailed to:
    • Yoon-Sun Brennan
      National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, NIH
      5601 Fishers Lane, Room 4E12, MSC 9824
      Bethesda, MD 20892-9824
      (Express mail: Rockville, MD 20852)
  • Report finances and expenditures.
    • Send a Federal Financial Report (FFR) annually, no later than 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which the budget period ends. The final report is due no later than 120 days after award end.
    • Reports of expenditures are required as documentation of the financial status of grants according to the official accounting records of the grantee organization.
    • You must submit financial reports electronically through the eRA Commons.
    • Failure to submit an FFR on time will delay NIAID issuing renewal and noncompeting awards.
    • Failure to submit complete, accurate, and timely reports may indicate the need for closer monitoring and possible enforcement actions by NIH.
    • Read more information regarding FFR filing in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
  • Comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Trainee, scholar, and participant publications fall under the public access policy if the publication resulted from work conducted while the individual was supported by the award.

Have Questions?

Email, NIAID Research Training Officer, with any questions about our training grant programs.

For grants management questions about training grants, contact Regina Kitsoulis.

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