Frequently Asked Questions
- Training Programs
The FOAs are at
When I apply for a BD2K grant, do I need to specify a targeted NIH Institute?
No. This is a trans-NIH initiative. For new applications, you do not choose an institute or center to target or apply to. Revision applications (see NOT-HG-14-022 and NOT-HG-14-023) will be assigned to the IC of the parent grant. The other BD2K training applications will be administered as a group and scientifically monitored by a trans-NIH committee.
Are applications to BD2K FOAs restricted to a particular type of data?
These FOAs are open to a wide range of data types (including EHR, imaging, phenotypic, molecular (including -omics), clinical, behavioral, and environmental) as well as a wide range of diseases.
Can I submit an application to this grant that I have previously submitted to another FOA?
Because this is an RFA, an application that was already submitted to NIH can be submitted in response to this announcement as a new application.
However, overlapping applications will result in one being withdrawn. A concurrent submission of an application to both an RFA and a PA is considered an overlapping application.
For more details, please see: http://public.csr.nih.gov/ApplicantResources/ReceiptReferal/Pages/Evaluation-of-Unallowable-Resubmission-and-Overlapping-Applications.aspx Also note that applications must directly address the science described in the BD2K RFA in order to be considered responsive.
There seems to be a typo in the program announcement, as it states "The NIH will contribute up to per year", without specifying the amount. Could you please clarify?
This section should read: “The NIH will contribute up to $167,000 per year” and has been addressed in NOT-HG-14-021.
Is this opportunity targeting investigators whose project(s) are applications of existing methods or development of new technologies?
The aim of the initiative is to support additional mentored training of scientists who will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be independent researchers as well as to work in a team environment to develop new Big Data technologies, methods, and tools applicable to basic and clinical research.
If I already have a background in computer science, high performance computing, data mining, bioinformatics, or a related field, is my background considered too close to be eligible to apply to this program?
In general, no background is too close to biomedical data science to apply to this program since “Candidates may enter the program from various backgrounds … [including] biomedical data scientists who already have some background in areas relevant to Big Data Science but who want to gain further expertise.” However, when a candidate is a former PD/PI on a research grant or K award, the candidate must demonstrate a significant shift in research focus to Big Data science.
My background is exclusively/preponderantly in one of the the three areas mentioned in the RFA: am I eligible?
Yes. Since biomedical data science emphasizes: 1) computer science/informatics, 2) statistics/mathematics, and 3) biomedical science, substantial career development (and mentor input) in the areas that complement your background should be strongly considered. Also keep in mind that the focus of this award is to support independent researchers who will develop technology, methods, and tools.
If I am already tenured, am I eligible to apply?
There is no upper limit on the level of seniority, as long as, when a candidate is a former PD/PI on a research grant or K award, the candidate demonstrates that the proposed work represents a significant shift in research focus.
If I am a postdoc, am I eligible to apply?
Yes, postdocs are eligible to apply as long as 1) their institution allows it and 2) “at the time of award, the candidate must have a ‘full-time’ appointment at the academic institution that is the applicant institution.”
Am I eligible to apply if I already have an R01 (or equivalent)?
Eligibility to apply to this K01 is independent of other research support:
“While former PDs/PIs on NIH research project (R01), program project (P01), center grants (P50), sub-projects of program project (P01), sub-projects of center grants (P50), other career development awards (K–awards), or the equivalent NIH or non-NIH grants are eligible to apply, they must demonstrate their commitment to a future career as a full-time biomedical Big Data scientist and a significant shift in research focus to Big Data Science."
Although you can submit an application while you have active R01-equivalent support (including a NCE and including from sources other than NIH), you will need to address both potential overlap and how you will simultaneously satisfy the K01 and R01 requirements. This should be discussed with the program official for your R01 as well as the BD2K training group.
If I do not yet have a green card, am I eligible to apply? How will it affect the review of my proposal?
Yes, you can apply, but you must have received your green card for an award to be made. Green card status is not a review criterion, so it will not have any impact on review.
If I intend to study overseas during part of the award period of this grant, am I eligible to be funded during that time?
Foreign components are not allowed under this K01. Following the link in the FOA, foreign components include
"...he performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the grantee or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended."
My background is exclusively/preponderantly in one of the three areas mentioned in the FOA: what fields should my mentors be from?
Since biomedical data science emphasizes: 1) computer science/informatics, 2) statistics/mathematics, and 3) biomedical science, substantial mentor input (and career development) in the areas that complement your background should be strongly considered.
Can my mentor be from outside my campus?
Yes, you may choose a mentor from a different institution. However, reviewers might question how you will overcome the difficulties of working across institutions.
Can a mentor be from a foreign country?
The RFA states: “Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.” It is very unlikely that a mentor from a foreign country would not be considered a foreign component, but you should review the definition of “foreign component” within the linked document to determine whether your mentor relationship and proposed research meets the foreign component criterion.
Must my training plan include coursework?
As stated in the RFA, “The [career development] plan should include relevant coursework to provide knowledge and skills in the three areas relevant to Big Data Science.” However, “the career development plan must be tailored to the needs of the individual candidate.” If you can demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge in all of these three areas beyond the level of available course work, you may argue that case in your application. We expect the situation that coursework is not needed to be very rare.
I currently hold a full-time position at an institution, and in the course of this year, I will be taking a position at another institution. Which institution should be the applicant institution?
First note that from RFA-HG-14-007, "At the time of award, the candidate must have a “full-time” appointment at the academic institution that is the applicant institution." Therefore, if you expect to be at the new institution at the time of award, the application should come from there.
In addition, you need to check with the submitting institution because it may have internal policies that do not allow the submission, based on your provisional status.
Can letters of reference come from my proposed mentors?
No. Please see page 136 of this link: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424_RR_Guide_General_Adobe_VerB.pdf#page=135. "The letters should be from individuals not directly involved in the application, but who are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, training, and interests. The mentor/co-mentor(s) of the application cannot be counted toward the three required references."
Can I assume that the reviewers will be familiar with the type of Big Data and the Big Data problem in my project?
Although the reviewers will be experienced in Big Data, your application should include information about both the data and the significance of the problem(s) you propose to work on
Can I devote less than 75% effort to this award?
This RFA will not accommodate a commitment of less than 75% effort: "The level of effort should be a minimum of 9 person months or 75% of full-time professional effort."
Is there a max percent effort that the K01 will fund? My annual salary is under $167,000, so will the K01 fund 100% of my effort or do I need a minimum amount of institutional support?
The BD2K K01 will fund up to 100% of your salary or the salary cap, whichever is smaller.
Can I delay the award or take a leave of absence?
Delays, adjustments, and leaves of absence will be decided on a case-by-case basis, once a decision to fund an application has been made, and could include a modification of the requested award length. See the Grants Policy Statement for more details about the following policy: “Leave without award support may not exceed 12 months. Such leave requires prior written approval of the awarding component and will be granted only with justification.”
Can this grant be used to expand an existing program at my institution to accommodate more students?
The courses R25 can complement existing programs, but it must be distinct from such programs. Also, note that this FOA aims to support broad reaching programs that serve learners from multiple institutions, not just a single institution.
Would it be responsive to create a course on one of the major MOOC providers, e.g. Coursera, Udacity, or EdX?
MOOCs are responsive to the R25 FOA and can be particularly useful for dissemination (especially if the MOOC content is available at any time). The R25 FOAs encourage a wide dissemination so that more researchers may benefit.
Does this grant permit expenditures for computing costs?
Computational costs may be considered supplies or “other program-related expenses” and may be included in the proposed budget. These expenses must be justified as specifically required by the proposed program and must not duplicate items generally available at the applicant institution.
Can a training project, which was submitted as a part of a BD2K Centers application, also be submitted as an R25?
In general, the same science cannot be put into two NIH applications under review at the same time. Ordinarily, you have to wait until you get the summary statement from the first application before resubmitting the same science in another application. However, an exception is posted here: http://public.csr.nih.gov/ApplicantResources/ReceiptReferal/Pages/Evaluation-of-Unallowable-Resubmission-and-Overlapping-Applications.aspx, which allows a research application (e.g. R25) identical to a subproject in a Centers application to be submitted concurrently. Please note, though, that if both a BD2K Centers application and an overlapping BD2K R25 application receive potentially fundable scores, the Centers application will take precedence since training is a required component of the BD2K Centers. Also note that the NIH will not pay for the same science twice.
Would a proposal for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (e.g ethics or reproducible research) be responsive to this FOA?
RCR topics such as ethics research and reproducible research are certainly relevant to the BD2K program and would be responsive to this FOA, as long as the RCR training focuses on the aspects unique to Big Data. In addition, highlighting both the biomedical application(s) and the RCR/ethics considerations, rather than simply focusing on RCR/ethics/reproducible research, may be considered more competitive by the reviewers.
What is the goal of the training? What should the program’s goal for student outcomes be?
ining should prepare students for “careers in developing new technologies and methods” that will maximize the value of the growing volume and complexity of biomedical data. This program does not focus on training graduate students in how to apply or use existing methods or technologies.
How broad should my proposed training program be? Can the training program be specifically for one domain area?
No, the training program should span multiple diseases, data types, and scientific areas. This is a trans-NIH initiative, and therefore the funding priority will be on training programs that focus on more than one disease and span all BD2K-relevant scientific areas..
Is a postdoctoral T32/T15 training program eligible for the revisions grants?
The T32 and T15 BD2K Training grants focus on long-term training of predoctoral students and are not intended to fund postdoctoral students. Postdoc programs may apply, but the application must develop a new training track to train predoctoral students
What expertise will the review panel have?
CSR will convene a special emphasis panel to review the BD2K training FOAs. They will be seeking reviewers with expertise in the areas of data science outlined in the FOA.
Can an institution submit more than one application for BD2K training grants?
In February 2014, NIH issued 3 notices of intent to publish funding opportunity announcements for training in Biomedical Big Data Science:
- NOT-HG-14-011 for new T32 training programs
- NOT-HG-14-022 for revisions to active T32 training programs
- NOT-HG-14-023 for revisions to active T15 training programs
NOT-HG-14-011 states that only one application may be submitted per institution, i.e. one new application may be submitted per institution. All of the notices state that:
Given the limited amount of funds for these combined initiatives, institutions are encouraged to consider combining the (institutional) expertise in Big Data and submitting only one (single) application, whether for: (a) a new T32 institutional training grant or (b) a revision to a T32 or T15 institutional training grant.
To reiterate, no institution may submit more than one application for a new T32 Biomedical Big Data Science training program. While institutions are permitted to submit more than one revision application, they are strongly urged instead to put together the single best application possible, whether it is for a new training program or a revision of an existing training program.
An existing training program will have three years remaining when the new budget period starts on June 30th. Will this training program be eligible to apply for a revision?
Yes, according to the RFA, "the training grant to which the revision will be made should have a minimum of three years remaining at the time of application." We will accept applications between June 28 and July 28. Therefore, if the training grant cycles on June 30th and has only three years remaining on June 30th, then the revision application needs to be submitted early.
- Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science (T32)
- Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science (T32)
- Input on Information Resources for Data-Related Standards Widely Used in Biomedical Science(RFI)
Response Date: September 30, 2014