Q: What are the expectations of my institution?
A: Your home institution must:
- Commit to support your time and your effort to craft grant application for submission to an external funder in the area of cancer control implementation and/or dissemination research
- Have an on-site mentor in your substantive area of expertise, with a track record of external grant support from NIH or other funding, who will commit to helping shape your grant writing
- Be able to support the logistics of your grant submission and have capacity to manage awarded grants
Q: Must applicants have a position at an institute in the U.S.A., or can they be located in a different country, but work with the faculty mentors in the USA?
A: A position within a U.S.A. institution is not required. We are able to accept a limited number of international applicants with each cohort. The MT-DIRC team does take into consideration the support that the Fellow will receive from their home institution and applicants should demonstrate how they will effectively work with U.S.A. collaborators during their time in the MT-DIRC program.
Q: Is the MT-DIRC open to only researchers with U.S.A. residency or citizenship status?
A: There are no residency or citizenship requirements for MT-DIRC fellows. Because the majority of our Faculty and Fellows come from the United States, much of the funding content and expertise is U.S.A.-centric so international applicants should be open to developing U.S. collaborations and leaning about the U.S. funding system.
Q: Is it required that my identified research mentor be employed at my institution? Would it be possible to identify someone at a neighboring institution that has a relationship with my institution?
A: As we review applications, we will carefully consider the strength of applicants’ relationships with their mentors. Mentors must be readily and easily accessible to fellows at a “home institution” for mentoring scientific skills, especially skills for writing grant applications. Therefore applicants must demonstrate the commitment of a mentor through either an extensive past relationship or, in the case of a recent relationship, a letter of commitment from the mentor. Applicants and mentors can make a case for working together although at separate institutions. However if the scientific (substantive) mentor is at a different institution than the fellow, the fellow also must have a second mentor—one at the home institution who will provide grant writing guidance and support.
Q: I already have a mentor in implementation and/or dissemination science. Should I describe this person as one of my mentors?
A: Yes, feel free to do so, or to select someone who might be better suited to mentor you in grant writing skills. Just be sure your mentors meet the criteria listed above. You can describe your relationships to D&I experts in your letter, as the core faculty would be pleased to know of the D&I expertise to which you have access.
Q: What is the difference between a home mentor and a MT-DIRC mentor?
A: Home or local mentors provide support for the fellows in grant writing and scholarly publication. Local mentors need not be an expert in D&I, but will need to have a successful record of funding to support trainees in grant-writing fundamentals. The MT-DIRC Mentor will provide specific feedback on the D&I science of the fellow’s work and will work with assisting the fellows with decisions regarding their D&I pilot studies and NIH grant proposals. MT-DIRC mentors meet with their fellow every month where they will assess the progress of the fellow’s work, address D&I concerns and monitor the development of the fellow’s D&I research proposal. MT-DIRC mentors will work with the fellows for two years of their training, whereas local mentors can have longer mentor-mentee relationships with the fellows.
PRIOR GRANT SUBMISSION EXPERIENCE
Q: I have never submitted any application for external grant support. Should I apply?
A: Yes, there are no previous requirements for external grant support for the MT-DIRC program. However, the reviewers of your application will assess your potential for success in obtaining external funding to support your D&I research.
Q: What prior grant writing experience is worth mentioning in my application? If I have authored an unfunded NIH grant proposal, should I mention that?
A: MT-DIRC faculty are interested in applicants’ prior experience writing grants for external federal funding, e.g., an NIH F31, R03, R34/R21, K award or R01 application. Your receipt of prior/current external funding is preferred. Please indicate this on your cover page.
Q: My research has not been primarily in the area of cancer control and/or I have been funded but not by NCI. Is this a problem for my candidacy to the MT-DIRC?
A: Your lack of funding from NCI does not exclude you from the MT-DIRC program. However, because our fellows and faculty have expertise within the area of cancer control research, we are unable to accommodate for those researchers whose focus does not fall within the cancer control continuum (see: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/od/continuum.html). If you are seeking training in Dissemination and Implementation Research, please reach out to the Program Coordinator and they can point you in the direction of other D&I trainings that align more closely with your research interests.
Q: Should I mention the Non-NIH grants in the application cover page or attach a separate page for it or make it part of research support section of NIH biosketch?
A: On the cover page, we’d like you to list only NIH grants that you are the Principal Investigator or co-PI on. However, if you are not a U.S. researcher, go ahead and list any national funding you’ve received as the principal researcher. No need to include a separate page. In the research support section of the NIH biosketch, make sure to list any and all research support you are currently receiving or have received in the most recent years (no matter their origin).
PRIOR D&I EXPERIENCE
Q: I have some level of prior experience/expertise in implementation science/research. Do I qualify to be an MT-DIRC Fellow?
A: We welcome applications from individuals who desire to shape and advance a research career in D&I research. We also welcome applications at a variety of levels of previous experience in D&I. You will need to demonstrate at least a base-line knowledge of D&I science within your concept paper (required with your application to the program).
Q: Is this a rolling admissions program? Is it to my benefit to apply early?
A: The hard deadline for complete applications is January, 9th 2017 at 9am CST. Applications will not be reviewed until after that date however you are welcome to submit before that date. Incomplete applications will not be accepted past this date.
Q: Is there an advantage to applying this year versus next year?
A: This will be our last year for accepting application for our current grant funding cycle.
Q: Would you like letters of recommendation separately or as part of a full application?
A: It is preferred that you include both letters of recommendation with you full application PDF. However if your recommenders prefer to send it to us directly, you will not be penalized. Your recommender will receive confirmation when their letter is received and the applicant will receive confirmation when we have received their completed application.
Q; Who should the recommendation letters be addressed to?
A: You can address the recommendation letters to the “MT-DIRC Review Committee”
Q: Which version of the biosketch should I use?
A: We will require of the 2017 cohort the use of the most recently updated version of the general biosketch, released in March 2016. You can find instructions and template here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm
Q: Does the 2-page limit for the concept paper include references?
A: No, the 2-page limit does not include references.
Q: What are the formatting requirements for the concept paper?
A: Concept papers should be no longer than 2-pages (References not included), Size 11 font; Arial, Caibri with 1-inch margins.
Q: Should I submit my application as a hard or electronic copy?
A: This year we will only be accepting electronic copies of the application. These need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9am CST, January 9th 2017.
Q: What if I have to miss some of the days of the MT-DIRC Training in St. Louis?
A: We expect MT-DIRC Fellows to participate in all of the training activities. If that is not possible, please consider applying in a future year.
Q: Does this fellowship provide salaries for the Fellows?
A: There is no MT-DIRC salary support for Fellows. This is neither a post-doctoral nor medical fellowship program. It is an R-25 Fellowship training program. MT-DIRC presumes that Fellows have full-time appointments at institutions which support their salary, and give them the infrastructure to launch their research agenda. MT-DIRC has resources for Fellows’ travel and pilot work to expedite their research in the area of D&I science.
Q: How does MT-DIRC experience differ or relate to a fellowship training completed as a period of formalized medical training, which a physician may undertake after completing a specialty training program / residency?
A: MT-DIRC is not designed to advance a physician’s skills as a medical provider. It is intended for scientists who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship, and seek a vehicle for furthering their advanced training in research skills for new knowledge development. MT-DIRC expedites Fellows’ ability to work on their own initiated research projects with identified advisers. Awards are offered to a limited number of persons of outstanding ability who wish to make research a significant component of their career. MT-DIRC Fellowship targets “early” and “mid-career” researchers.
Q: What are the supports for shaping research in D&I science, and what is the purpose and scope of pilot work for Fellows?
A: As a training initiative, MT-DIRC will help Fellows shape a research agenda in D&I science and develop an NIH grant application. MT-DIRC will provide information on program announcements and funding priorities, sample MT-DIRC proposals, consultation, peer review, access to literature, conceptual models, theoretical frameworks, D&I outcome constructs and measurement instruments, and resources regarding D&I strategies. In addition, modest funds will be provided to help support the pilot work, for such expenses as student research assistant time, local travel/mileage, subject reimbursement, transcription costs (no Fellow salary support). Such funding will be $1,000, and will be awarded during the Fellow’s first year of the program. More information about this funding will be distributed after the Fellow’s initial attendance at the summer institute.