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Mental Health National Research Service Awards For Research Training

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Mental Health National Research Service Awards For Research Training


Federal Agency




Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Section 487, Public Law 99-158, 42 U.S.C. 288, as amended.






To ensure a continuing and adequate supply of well-trained scientists who are able to conduct research on mental health problems. The program provides training grants to institutions and fellowships to individuals at both the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. There are awards to medical students proposing to acquire doctoral research degrees in addition to their medical degrees. Awards are made for training in the areas of basic and clinical neuroscience, genetics, developmental, behavioral, clinical, epidemiological, prevention, treatment and services research relevant to mental illnesses, behavioral disorders, and HIV/AIDS; and programs designed to increase the number of individuals in mental health research who are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, or individuals disadvantaged because of educational or other circumstances that have inhibited their ability to pursue such a career.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants.


Uses and Use Restrictions

Individual fellowships are made to students seeking predoctoral or postdoctoral support for full-time research training or who are enrolled in an formal M.D./Ph.D. program. An institutional allowance will be provided to the sponsoring institution for each awardee. In addition, any domestic public or nonprofit institution may apply for an institutional research training grant in a specified area of research from which a number of stipend awards will be made to individuals selected by the training program director at the institution. Support is available for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and will include an amount for institutional expenses. Indirect costs may be requested at 8 percent of total direct costs, exclusive of tuition and related fees and expenditures for equipment, or actual indirect costs, whichever is less. Postdoctoral students receiving fellowships or stipend support under either individual or institutional grants for 12 months or less are obligated to pay back this support through an equivalent period of continued postdoctoral training or a period of health related research and/or teaching activities after the completion of their training. Postdoctoral individuals in their thirteenth and subsequent months of support will incur no further obligation, and such support will be considered acceptable postdoctoral payback service. Annual FY 08 stipend levels will be $20,772 for predoctoral awards and $36,996 to $51,036 for postdoctoral awards dependent upon the number of years of relevant postdoctoral experience. Research training support may not be used for internships or other clinical training. COR Honors Undergraduate institutional training grants are designed to increase the number of well-prepared students from institutions with substantial minority enrollments who can compete successfully for entry into Ph.D. programs relevant to the mission of the NIMH. Stipends of $10,956 per year may be requested for each full-time, junior/senior level trainee and other related institutional costs may be requested as described in the applicable program announcement.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For a training grant, an institution must be a domestic public or nonprofit private organization. The applicant institution must have, or be able to develop, the staff and facilities to provide the proposed research training in an environment suitable for performing high-quality research. An applicant for individual predoctoral fellowship support must be enrolled in a research doctoral degree program by the proposed activation date of the fellowship. A postdoctoral applicant must have received a Ph.D., Psy.D., M.D., D.D.S., Sc.D., D.N.S., D.O., D.S.W., or equivalent degree from an accredited institution to be eligible for an individual postdoctoral fellowship. An applicant for an M.D./Ph.D. individual fellowship must be enrolled in an M.D./Ph.D. program at an approved medical school, accepted in a related scientific program, and supervised by a mentor in the related scientific field. All individuals to be supported under the NRSA program must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individuals and nonprofit organizations will benefit.


Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions. For other grantees, costs will be determined in accordance with HHS Regulations 45 CFR Part 74, Subpart Q, and 42 CFR Part 66.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Institutional training applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (revised 11/2007). The PHS 398 is available at in an interactive format. Individual fellowship applications must be prepared using the PHS 416-1 individual fellowship award instructions and forms (revised 10/2005) that is available at in an interactive format. Conversion of training applications electronic submission is currently on hold. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: Information concerning current areas of science being supported is available from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Completed paper forms should be submitted to the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710, Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 or Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service). This program is subject to the provisions of 45 CFR Part 92 for State and local governments and OMB Circular No. A-110 for nonprofit organizations.

Award Procedure

Applications are reviewed for scientific merit by nonfederal consultants recruited nationwide from the mental health field. Applications other than fellowships must also be reviewed by the National Advisory Mental Health Council. If an institutional training grant is recommended for approval and a decision to make an award is made, a formal award notice will be sent to the applicant institution. If an individual fellowship is recommended for approval and a decision to make an award is made, a formal award notice will be sent to the designated sponsoring institution business official. Postdoctoral students to be supported must submit required appointment forms, including a payback agreement and a Statement of Non-Delinquency on Federal Debt Certification. Predoctoral trainees whose appointments began after June 10, 1993, no longer incur a payback obligation. Honors undergraduate trainees incur no payback obligations as a result of COR support.


NRSA Institutional training Grants: May 25. AIDS Institutional training grants: January 7, May 7, and September 7. Fellowships: April 8, August 8, and December 8 or April 13, August 13, and December 13 for Diversity F31 Fellowships.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 5 to 7 months. Review of AIDS-related applications is expedited.


A principal investigator may question the substantive or procedural aspects of the review of his/her application by communicating with the staff of the Institute. A description of the NIH Peer Review Appeal procedures is available on the NIH home page at



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

By law an individual may receive no more than 5 years of support in the aggregate at the predoctoral level and no more than 3 years of support in the aggregate at the postdoctoral level under the NRSA program (through an individual and/or institutional award). For an M.D./Ph.D. fellowship, 6 years may be requested. In practice, recommendations of review committees are generally for 2 or 3 years. Awards for institutional grants may be made for project periods of up to 5 years.


Post Assistance Requirements


Annual progress reports are required. Financial status reports are required for Institutional and COR Honors Undergraduate National Research Service Awards. Annual reports of activities for tracking payback provisions are required from postdoctoral fellows and trainees upon termination of support.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal Awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for the year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. For nongovernmental grant recipients, audits are to be carried out in accordance with the provisions set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. In addition, grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspection and audits by DHHS and other Federal officials.


Records must be retained for at least 3 years; records shall be retained beyond the 3-year period if audit findings have not been resolved.


Financial Information

Account Identification



Fellowships and Grants) FY 07 $49,858,136; FY 08 est $49,858,000; and FY 09 est $50,197,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

FY 07: Predoctoral stipends: $20,772. Postdoctoral stipends: $36,996 to $51,036; COR Honors Undergraduate: $10,956.


Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, 275 individual awards and 170 institutional grants were awarded. In fiscal year 2008, an estimated 275 individual awards and 170 institutional grants will be made. In fiscal year 2009, an estimated 275 individual and 170 institutional grants will be made.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

42 CFR 66. NIH Grants Policy Statement (Revised 12/2003).


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Program Contacts: Dr. Ellen Stover, Director, Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research; Telephone (301) 443-9700. Dr. Donna Mayo, Research Training and Career Development; Telephone: (301) 443-1829; and Dr. David Stoff, AIDS Research Training and Career Development; Telephone: (301) 443-4625, both from the Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research. Dr. Wayne Goodman, Director, Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development; Telephone (301) 435-8031. Dr. Mark Chavez, Associate Director, Research Training and Career Development, Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development; Telephone: (301) 443-9700. Dr. Linda Brady, Director, Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science; Telephone (301) 443-3563. Dr. Nancy Desmond, Director, Research Training and Career Development Office, Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science; Telephone: (301) 443-3107. Dr. Mary Ellen Oliveri, Director, Division of Developmental Translational Research; Telephone (301) 443-5944. Dr. Cheryl Boyce, Research Training and Career Development, Division of Pediatric Translational Research; Telephone (301) 443-5944. Dr. Philip Wang, Director, Division of Services and Intervention Research; Telephone (301) 443-6233. Dr. Lauren Hill, Research Training and Career Development, Division of Services and Intervention Research; Telephone (301) 443-2638. Dr. Robert Mays, Acting Director, Office for Special Populations; Telephone (301) 443-2847. Training Coordinators, Dr. Mark Chavez; Telephone: (301) 443-9700 and Dr. Nancy Desmond; Telephone: (301) 443-3107. Grants Management Contact: Ms. Rebecca Claycamp, Grants Management Officer, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; 6001 Executive Blvd, Room 6122, MSC 9605, Bethesda, MD 20892; Telephone (301) 443-2811. Use the same numbers for FTS.

Web Site Address


Related Programs

93.242, Mental Health Research Grants
93.281, Mental Health Research Career/Scientist Development Awards


Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Understanding mental illness and behavioral disorders; (2) diagnosis and interventions for mental disorders; (3) mental health service delivery and evaluation; and (4) basic neuroscience, behavioral science, and genetic science relevant to mental disorders.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The following considerations will be used in determining projects to be funded. For Training Grants: (1) quality of the proposed training program as determined by peer review; (2) availability of funds; and (3) program priority. For Fellowships: (1) overall merit of the application; (2) relevance of the application to the research priorities and mission of the institute and programs; and (3) availability of funds.


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