Supplemental Information for
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Institutional National Research Service Awards (T32)
February 23, 2011


This policy statement of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supplements the general guidelines of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as described in the program announcement: “Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32)”

This NIAAA supplemental information and policies will go into effect for all T32 applications submitted for the May 25, 2011 receipt date.


The purpose of the NIAAA Institutional training program is to help ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to assume leadership roles in alcohol-related biomedical and behavioral research consistent with the Institute’s Mission Statement and five-year Strategic Plan.

Each year the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supports approximately 200 trainees (80 pre-doctoral and 120 post-doctoral) at about 30 Institutional Training programs with a total annual budget of nearly $8 million.   Each NIAAA Training Program provides a unique training experience focused on a significant issue in alcohol research (see: ).   In addition, institutional training programs form an important complement to Alcohol Research Centers, many of which are affiliated with a NIAAA institutional training program.   Given the five-year maximum duration of T32 awards, an average of about six programs come up for competitive renewal each year.   The single receipt date for NIAAA T32 applications is May 25 of each year.


1) Alcohol Research Training:  Proposed training programs require a direct focus on areas critical to alcohol use and its consequences and which exhibit significant potential to mitigate the injurious effects of alcohol.  Each program also should target goals that match the institution’s strengths and that have the potential for a high impact on alcohol research.

2) An accomplished alcohol research Program Director:  The training Program Director is expected to have significantly contributed to alcohol research and have the potential to maintain a strong alcohol research program.  In addition, the Program Director will have research training experience and the leadership potential to create and sustain an innovative and multidisciplinary alcohol research training program.

3) Highly Qualified Preceptors/Mentors:  Preceptors must be highly qualified in their area of research as demonstrated by scientific productivity and independent support from NIH or comparable peer-reviewed funding sources.  It is anticipated that a high proportion of the preceptors will be researchers that have a strong record of achievement in alcohol research and a history of external support.  Successful NIAAA institutional training programs are expected to lead the field in preparing alcohol research scientists for future research careers.  This will require creativity and innovation and where appropriate, the incorporation of expertise from outside the field of alcohol research.  Recruitment of preceptors who offer unique expertise essential to alcohol research but are themselves not experienced in alcohol research is encouraged.  Their selection and anticipated contributions to the field of alcohol research and unique role in the training program should be well justified in the application.  Collaborations between investigators with needed expertise and alcohol researchers in the trainee's alcohol research plan and evaluation is anticipated.  

4)   A well developed training plan:  In addition to their research and academic course work trainees should be offered a multidisciplinary orientation in alcohol research issues, techniques, theoretical concepts and future directions.  The curriculum should be as wide ranging as possible consistent with the program's goals and include a visiting speaker lecture series and other appropriate mechanisms.  As indicated in PA-10-036, a recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity should be included.

5) A well developed mentoring program:  Effective training programs are expected to prepare trainees to develop new questions, approaches and technologies for future alcohol research.  The training program should describe an organizational plan that assures individualized trainee guidance from both the preceptor and from the training program itself.  This should include the appropriate conduct of research, data analysis, effective writing, the acquisition of the grantsmanship skills required to compete for peer-reviewed sources of funding and guidance for a long term alcohol research career.

6) A well documented record of training success:  An essential credential for a successful training program is a record of trainee publications in alcohol research and a history of past trainees who have gone on to productive careers in alcohol research.  Also needed is core of productive alcohol researchers who will serve as the primary mentors.  Proposals from applicants of newly constituted training programs will need to demonstrate potential to fulfill these goals.

The special NIAAA guidelines listed here do not replace, but rather augment the requirements of the NRSA Institutional Training programs as described it the NIH program announcement:


The full NIH review criteria for T32 Institutional Training programs can be found in Section V of the program announcement: addition to the NIH review criteria, strong emphasis will be given to trainee participation in alcohol research and in their publication of alcohol-related research.

In the process of determining an overall impact/priority score, reviewers are asked to consider the likelihood for the proposed alcohol research training program to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the alcohol research field.  In consideration of the five core review criteria, the proposed alcohol research training program MUST be judged likely to have a major scientific impact on the alcohol research field.  For example:  Are the research facilities and research environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers as alcohol research scientists?  Are sufficient numbers of experienced preceptors/mentors with appropriate alcohol research expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees proposed in the application?


New instructions and application forms for T32 Institutional Training programs are available. Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through  Applicants are required to fully complete the Data tables for use with Institutional Research Training grant applications.  Examples of these tables can be found at

For NIAAA T32 Applications Table 6 “Publications of Research Completed by Trainees (or Potential Trainees)” applicants are encouraged to add to the citation a short description which highlights the impact or relevance to alcohol research where the title alone is not sufficient.


The NIAAA award decisions are largely based on the results of peer-review, but also will take into account programmatic priorities and balance and are contingent upon the availability of funds.


For additional information regarding policies of the NIAAA for institutional NRSA grant applications, contact one of the following individuals:

1. Program Contact:

Mariela C. Shirley, Ph.D.
Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2079 MSC 9304
Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
[For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705]
Telephone: 301-443-9787
FAX: 301-443-8614

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Ranga Srinivas, Ph.D.
Chief, Extramural Project Review Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2085
Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
[For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705]
Telephone: (301) 451-2067
FAX: 301-443-6077

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Judy Fox
Grants Management Branch
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
5635 Fishers Lane MSC 9304 Room 3023
Bethesda, MD 20892-9304
[For express mail use: Rockville, MD 20852-1705]
Telephone: 301-443-4704
FAX:  301-443-3891


Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32)

Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research