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FAQs about Student Involvement
What information should the application include about the plans to include students?
The application should focus on plans to expose students to hands-on meritorious research and what activities undergraduate and/or graduate students will participate in. The application should also convey how the project will stimulate students’ interest in biomedical or behavioral science.
Since the R15 is a research grant, not a training or fellowship award, it should not include training or mentoring plans like professional development activities, coursework, seminars, etc.
What type of student activities would be considered appropriate involvement in accordance with the AREA mission?
The AREA program aims to involve students in research a way that is intellectually stimulating, experience-driven, and significant to the research. Students may be involved in participation in the design of experiments and controls, collection and analysis of data, execution and troubleshooting of experiments, presentation at meetings, drafting journal articles, collaborative interactions, participation in lab meetings to discuss results and future experiments, etc.
My students have generated preliminary data and helped design experiments. Where can I indicate this in my application?
You can describe this in the Research Strategy attachment of the Research Plan form. This could include descriptions of how past students have participated in research activities like experimental planning, execution and analysis, how past students have contributed to data generation, and how future students will be involved in similar activities. The Biographical Sketch should specify if peer-reviewed publications or other research products have involved undergraduate and/or graduate students.
Rosters of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) study sections are available at http://www.csr.nih.gov/Committees/rosterindex.asp. The CSR website also has descriptions of the scientific areas covered by each study section at http://www.csr.nih.gov/review/irgdesc.htm. Since Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs) are assembled for a specific meeting, there are not rosters of standing panels. Rosters for all recent CSR SEPs are available at http://public.csr.nih.gov/StudySections/SpecialEmphasis/Pages/default.aspx. Note that SEPs are used to review many types of applications, and most SEPs listed are not assembled for the review of R15s.
The goals of the AREA program are incorporated into the R15 standard NIH review criteria for investigator-initiated research grant applications. These criteria were implemented starting with the parent Program Announcement PA-12-006. You can view the R15 review guidelines at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/r_awards/R15_Guide_for_reviewers.pdf.
R15s may be reviewed either in a standing study section (http://public.csr.nih.gov/StudySections/Standing/Pages/default.aspx) that also reviews other mechanisms like R01, R21, and R03 or in a Special Emphasis Panel assembled for one review meeting. If the former, they are clustered separately from other mechanisms; i.e., R15 are considered relative only to other R15s for streamlining and R15s are discussed one after another. For each review cycle, CSR scientific review officers and Integrated Review Group chiefs decide which option will provide the most appropriate expertise for the current group of R15 applications.
You can request up to 3 study sections in your Assignment Request Form. You should also describe the expertise needed to review the application. You can list up to five types of expertise using 40 characters for each type. Scientific Review Officers and their Integrated Review Group chiefs decide whether review in a study section or a Special Emphasis Panel will bring the most appropriate expertise for R15s reviewed each cycle. However, the expertise terms and study section request are still helpful in referring applications to the appropriate Integrated Review Group.
FAQs about Collaborators
Can I collaborate with someone an AREA-ineligible school?
It is acceptable to have an ineligible collaborator, consultant, or subcontractor. However, as the role of that ineligible collaborator is developed, it is important to keep in mind the goals and unique review criteria of the R15. These criteria include:
- Availability of research opportunities to students
- Potential to have a substantial effect on the institution/academic component by strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research
- The PI’s experience supervising students in research
- Evidence the project can stimulate the interests of students to consider a career in biomedical/behavioral science.