Internal Deadline: Friday, June 9, 2023, 5pm PT
LOI: July 9, 2023
External Deadline: August 9, 2023
Award Type: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: 1
Anticipated Award Amount: $2,300,000
Who May Serve as PI:
The PD/PI(s) of the EMRCDP-NS should possess the scientific expertise, demonstrated leadership capabilities, stature and administrative capabilities required to implement, coordinate and supervise a national, multidisciplinary research career development program for EM clinicians. The PD/PI(s), together with the NAC and, if applicable, co-directors, will be responsible for the selection and appointment of scholars to the EMRCDP-NS, and for the overall direction, management, administration, and evaluation of the program. The PD/PI(s) will be expected to monitor and assess the program and submit all documents and reports as required. The PD/PI(s) have responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the program and is responsible for appointing members of the NAC and using their recommendations to determine the appropriate allocation of funds. The PD/PI(s) are also responsible for informing all scholars, mentors and chairs of the goals of the program, and ensuring that policies designed to achieve these goals are followed. Any co-PD/PIs and co-directors should also have the qualifications necessary to guide an institutional training program for emergency medicine. It is highly recommended, although not required, that the program be led by a multi-PD/PI leadership arrangement, with individual PD/PIs responsible for critical roles required to achieve the comprehensive goals of the program. If the program does employ multiple PIs, applicants are strongly encouraged to recruit leadership team members from a variety of backgrounds, who represent a wide range of perspectives, and who, as a group, must have expertise that reflects the range of interests of the discipline as a whole. In addition, if a multi-PI leadership team is used, it is recommended that at least one member of this team have expertise with the pediatric EM patient population.
Any PD/PI who has overseen an NIH institutional training program in the past (e.g., T32, K12, etc.) should have a strong outcome record from that program, which would include trainees and scholars achieving individual NIH funding, subsequent placement into positions that provide strong research support and the launching of a research program that includes rigorous experimental approaches to address a significant scientific question.
Link to Award: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-23-151.html
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII) Application Portal: https://rii.usc.edu/oor-portal/. Use the template provided here: RII Limited Submission Applicant Template
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Two-Page Proposal Summary (1” margins; single-spaced; standard font type, e.g. Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 2-page limit will be excluded from review. You must use the template linked above.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
Purpose and Background Information
The purpose of this notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) is to invite applications for an Emergency Medicine Research Career Development Program in Neurological Sciences (EMRCDP-NS). The EMRCDP-NS will support a national effort for mentored career development and training of junior emergency medicine (EM) faculty at institutions nationwide that support EM research. The goal of this program is to increase the cadre of EM investigators trained to lead and conduct research into neurological disorders, making use of their EM training and clinical experience. This research career development program should promote high quality, novel, creative research and innovative investigation by this cohort of individuals who possess unique clinical and research skills. As a result of training in this program, highly skilled EM physician-scientists should be prepared to develop a successful, independent, well-funded research program, which they will combine with their clinical career to advance the understanding and treatment of neurological disorders commonly treated in the Emergency Department (ED) setting. This NOFO will fund the administration and infrastructure of one, national EMRCDP-NS for 5 years. It uses the K12 Career Development mechanism, to be overseen by one or more PD/PIs and a national cohort of renowned basic and clinical investigators, to support the career development of EM-researchers at institutions around the country.
The involvement of EM physicians in cutting edge scientific research is critical, due to their unique access to, and experience with, patients entering the ED setting with a wide variety of neurological disorders. Research into, for example, seizures, head trauma, acute cognitive dysfunction, acute stroke, sensory loss, loss of consciousness, spinal cord injury, meningitis, addiction and many other neurological disorders can benefit greatly from the leadership and involvement of EM physicians. Moreover, treatments and cures for diseases across the age range, from pediatrics to neurological disorders associated with aging, will be more quickly discovered with the involvement of EM physicians. However, the cohort of EM physicians conducting NIH-funded research is small relative to the need. The dearth of EM clinician-scientists largely reflects the relative youth of emergency medicine as a field positioned to lead research programs. Moreover, junior EM faculty are often not equipped to make use of individual NIH research career development mechanisms, which require a level of research experience and skills that most EM residencies and fellowships don’t provide. Even with additional fellowship training, it is often difficult for an EM physician to have sufficient research training to obtain individual support from NIH career development awards, which are used to prepare clinician-scientists to launch an independently funded research program. The purpose of the EMRCDP-NS program is to support an immersive period of mentored research and career development following residency or fellowship, to provide a venue for networking, collaboration and support of junior EM researchers, and to facilitate the transition of EM physicians from mentored to independent research positions. Scholars must start support by the EMRCDP-NS in either their first or second faculty year.EM physicians may apply to the EMRCDP-NS program within the first two years of their first independent faculty position subsequent to completion of residency or fellowship. The selected scholars may receive up to 3 years of financial support, during which the EMRCDP-NS will provide them with the mentorship, career development guidance, research experience, and protected time for research necessary to initiate a vigorous, sustainable research program. In addition, the EMRCDP-NS will create a support and mentoring network whereby scholars will have the opportunity to interact with both junior and senior EM researchers, as well as clinician-scientists from other subspecialties. A successful outcome of the program will be that all EMRCDP-NS scholars obtain subsequent, individual major awards, such as an NIH K or R01-equivalent, to continue to grow their research project and career. The primary metric by which this program will be evaluated will be the transition of supported scholars to subsequent funding equivalent to an NIH K or R01 award. Because of the critical mentorship and community building component incorporated into the annual meeting and program activities, a secondary metric by which the EMRCDP-NS program will be evaluated will be the number of candidates to the program who do not receive scholar support but nonetheless go on to obtain NIH research funding to continue towards a robust dual career as clinician-scientists.
The EMRCDP-NS Program
The EMRCDP-NS K12 award provides five years of funding to the applicant organization to support a national research career development program. Although this K12 award is housed at the contact PD/PI’s institution, it is not intended to support scholars solely at that institution. The PD/PIs will solicit applications to the EMRCDP-NS program from eligible candidates at institutions from across the country, and selected scholars will proceed with their career development and research plan at their home institution, with a local mentor. The institution that houses this K12 is just one of these institutions from which a scholar might be selected. The leadership of the EMRCDP-NS consists of one or more PD/PIs and a committee of advisors (the National Advisory Committee, or NAC) selected by the PD/PIs to help guide the program. The PD/PIs may also choose to appoint program co-directors to help accomplish the goals of the program. The PD/PIs, together with the NAC and, if applicable, co-directors, will define the specifics of the application process, advise potential applicants, review candidate applications, provide feedback to the candidates on their applications, select candidates for appointment, monitor progress of each scholar, and ensure that program policies and requirements are followed. It is also expected that program leaders (i.e. PD/PIs or NAC members) will serve as secondary mentors for each scholar, working with the scholar, primary mentor and Chair to ensure success of the scholar’s development into an independently funded research investigator.
Annual EMRCDP-NS Meeting
The PD/PI(s) will organize an annual meeting for applicants, scholars, the NAC, and appropriate additional faculty. This meeting will serve as the venue for candidate interviews and selection, and also provide a forum for mentoring, career development activities, monitoring of scholar progress, and development of scientific networks among scholars, applicants and other researchers as well as other related purposes. As the primary goal of the EMRCDP-NS is to prepare scholars to transition to competitive, individual funding (such as an NIH K award), this meeting should include organized sessions to help scholars formulate and refine their projects, write a strong specific aims page intended to be used for their next grant submission, and otherwise help with creation of a clear, well-organized grant application. It is expected that, each year, all scholars will orally present their research projects to the entire cohort of attendees and will receive feedback to hone both their communication skills and project approach. This meeting should also include junior EM researchers not affiliated with the EMRCDP-NS program to broaden the scope of career development, mentorship and networking within the EM research community.
Although not required, there are many benefits to organizing this meeting at a small venue as a stand-alone event where participants will be immersed in the activities and social structure of this meeting without distraction. Funding provided by this award is designed to support a stand-alone meeting, which is strongly recommended.
Although the identity of future mentors will not be known at the time of application, the mentors of successful scholar applicants to the EMRCDP-NS should fulfill some general requirements. Primary mentors must be tenure-track faculty (or equivalent) who have an established record of research productivity, competitive grant support and successful training of clinician scientists. A primary mentor should have a strong research program in a neuroscientific area directly relevant to the NINDS, NIDA or NIA mission. Just as in any mentored award, scholars should have a team of mentors when needed to cover the variety of expertise needed, such as technical, analytical and subject matter expertise. Mentors should have research expertise and experience relevant to the proposed research project and must be committed to providing strong mentorship to the scholar throughout the duration of the award and efforts to obtain subsequent funding. The primary mentor need not be an EM clinician or even a clinician-scientist. However, in such cases, all scholars should have a secondary mentor who is an accomplished EM researcher who has experience navigating a dual career as EM clinician and researcher. Members of the NAC may serve as secondary mentors that provide career guidance to scholars when an appropriate, local EM-researcher is not available.
Linkages of scholars to other departments, potentially through choice of mentors, should be encouraged, as they enhance career development and facilitate collaborative efforts. It is particularly encouraged that scholars develop interactions with neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropathologists, neuroradiologists and/or other non-EM clinicians, as this can foster multidisciplinary research and the development of novel ideas and approaches. In addition, working with Ph.D. scientists can expand the scholar’s knowledge of specialized fields and technologies, as well as providing the perspective of a full-time research scientist. Although mentors must demonstrate a strong commitment to the EMRCDP-NS program and scholars, they cannot receive salary, fringe benefits or research support for this role on the K12 grant.
Candidates should be strongly encouraged to include researchers from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and women as mentors, as this provides a diverse perspective on their research approach and scientific thinking. Scholars should be encouraged to create a mentoring team that fulfills a wide variety of useful purposes, with thought as to the roles, commitment, and availability of each mentor.
Scholars funded by the EMRCDP-NS K12 must be conducting research that falls within the NINDS, NIDA or NIA mission. All types of research, including basic, clinical and translational, are equally appropriate. Regardless of research type, it should be directly relevant to diseases or disorders of the nervous system and be potentially applicable to clinical practice. It is expected that this research will integrate with the scholar’s clinical activities and that their clinical and research activities will inform each other. The program should strive to support individuals whose research might have a significant impact on patients who enter the ED environment with neurological diseases or disorders.
As part of the recruitment effort, the EMRCDP-NS program should make every effort to broadly advertise the program. The program must actively recruit prospective individuals from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from groups underrepresented in Emergency Medicine.. The candidate selection process must include a written application (the format of an NIH K award is recommended) and interviews by the PD/PI and multiple members of the NAC. It is expected that, unless impossible due to an individual’s circumstance or in the interest of the health and safety of all involved, all applicant interviews will take place in-person at the annual meeting.
The EMRCDP-NS K12 will have funds committed to support up to three new scholars per year, in each of 5 years (15 different individuals for 3 years each). For each scholar, a five-year career development program consists of two phases.
In Phase I, the scholar receives up to three years of financial support directly from the K12 award. During this phase, the scholar will embark on a focused career development program that will include research, skills development and educational activities, under the auspices of a mentor who has a strong record of research productivity and training. In conjunction with the mentor, the scholar will develop a research and career development plan suitable to launch an independent research career to investigate a clinically significant research topic. This plan, and scholar progress, will be reviewed annually by the EMRCDP-NS PD/PI and NAC. Provided they make appropriate progress during the first year, as judged by the PD/PI and NAC, scholars are renewed for a second year of EMRCDP-NS support. With appropriate progress made in year 2, scholars may be supported for a 3rd year. It is strongly encouraged that scholars apply for an NIH individual mentored K award no later than halfway through the 3rd year of K12 support. This will accomplish two purposes. First, it will encourage scholars, together with their mentors, to create a focused research and training plan that will result in the progress needed to submit a competitive NIH K application on a specific timeline. Second, it will help scholars obtain individual funding before or shortly after phase I funding expires. Scholars are also encouraged to seek funding from non-NIH sources during and after phase I of the program.
During each year of Phase I, in addition to conducting research and pursuing their research career development at their home institution, scholars will submit an annual progress report to the EMRCDP-NS PD/PI, will attend the EMRCDP-NS annual meeting, and will present their research in a public forum at the meeting. Scholars may engage in brief research activities at another institution if they are directly related to the purpose of the award. For research activities outside of their home institution that last longer than one month, scholars must obtain prior written approval from the K12 PD/PI. In addition, periods of leave from the program for greater than three months, for either professional or personal reasons, require prior written approval from the K12 PD/PI and the NINDS Director of Training and Workforce Development.
In Phase II of the EMRCDP-NS program, the scholar begins to transition to independence. The scholar is expected to remain associated with the EMRCDP-NS program, but must be supported by funds not derived from the K12. As such, scholar selection should consider 1) the likelihood that the candidate will be competitive for individual funding by the end of the third year of the program and 2) the strength of the commitment by the applicant’s chair to support the candidate’s research success subsequent to EMRCDP-NS support. It is intended that the scholar will secure funds from an individual, mentored career development award, such as an NIH K08, K23 or equivalent. However, some scholars may be ready to obtain support under a large independent research grant, such as an NIH R01 or equivalent, or an independent career development award such as an NINDS K02. To this end, it is important that the scholar receive strong guidance and support from their local mentor, the EMRCDP-NS PD/PI, the NAC and the Chair of the scholar’s department, to provide the best possible opportunity for success. Because scholars might not receive competitive funding by the end of phase I, it is critical that the scholar’s Chair is committed to continuing to support the scholar towards their goal of successfully developing a funded research program (see below).
Scholars should continue to attend the annual EMRCDP-NS meeting and are encouraged to provide progress updates to, and present their research findings at, the EMRCDP-NS meetings during each year of the phase II period. This attendance at EMRCDP-NS meetings during phase II will help them with their own careers, will serve to facilitate their role as mentors to those who come behind them, and will serve to strengthen the network of EM researchers, ranging from those in the career development phase of their careers to more established faculty.
Phase I and II effort expectations
The EMRCDP-NS program requires that scholars commit 75% of full-time professional effort to research when funded by the K12 program (phase I). In phase II of the EMRCDP-NS program (years 4-5, when K12 funds are not used to support the scholars), candidates should be expected to devote a minimum of 50% of full-time professional effort, and ideally up to 75% of full-time professional effort, to research, towards the goal of achieving individual K or R01 funding. In the event that the candidate is making good progress during Phase I, makes appropriate efforts to obtain individual funding for the start of Phase II, but fails to do so by the end of phase I, an ability to continue to devote at least 50% effort to research is critical to the scholar’s continued progress towards success. Thus, it is expected that the Chair of the scholar’s home department will commit, in the initial application to the EMRCDP-NS program, to continuing to provide at least 50% protected time to the scholar during the entire Phase II period, even in the absence of external research funding. Because protected time for research is critical for a candidate’s success, the EMRCDP-NS is expected to obtain a description of the home department’s 5-year financial and non-financial commitment to the candidate’s research success in the candidate’s initial application to the program. This commitment would include discussion of resources available, ability of the scholar to continue to attend the EMRCDP-NS annual meeting for 5 years and the commitment of protected time both during Phase I and for research during the two years after conclusion of K12 support.
Institutional Environment and Commitment to the Program
The Chair of the scholar’s home department plays a critical role in the success of the EMRCDP-NS. The program will directly support relatively few scholars, with the goal that all of those supported will go on to successful, dual careers as clinical EM physicians and productive, well-funded researchers. In order to launch such a career, scholars need a period of outstanding training and mentoring as well as adequate protected time to successfully conduct high quality research and obtain independent funding. Consequently, a successful application to the EMRCDP-NS program must require that Chairs commit to provide the protected time for research as described above. This is critical to ensure that scholars have the time to devote to obtaining strong research funding to continue their research program. In addition, Chairs should make every effort to provide appropriate resources and support, in whatever form needed, to ensure success of the scholar, and should describe these resources and support in the scholar’s application to the program.
It is expected that the EMRCDP-NS program will make at least one in-person site visit to each scholar’s home department to discuss with the scholar, mentor(s), Chair and others involved in the scholar’s activities, the scholar’s progress, needs and any other relevant issues. It is recommended that this first site visit occur within 6-8 months of initial funding. All individuals associated with selected scholars must be willing to participate in this site visit, and commit to it in the application to the program. In addition, the leadership of the EMRCDP-NS may choose to schedule additional, regularly scheduled site visits, either virtual or in-person, as deemed appropriate to the success of the individual scholars or program.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.