International Extramural Associates Research Development (IEARD) Component
Over the past several years, the National Institution of Child Health and Development (NICHD) has supported an International Extramural Associates Research Development program to provide training for administrators in developing countries experience with funding opportunities, grant applications, research program and project oversight, data management, fiscal accountability, and scientific reporting requirements of the NIH and other international research funding agencies. The IEARD program is being included in the Collaborative Centers program of H3Africa with the goal of creating a cadre of trained academic research administrators in Africa. In addition, the IEARD component will facilitate and/or develop the appropriate administrative infrastructure in the participant's home institution to effectively manage the grant process and strengthen the institutions ability to conduct and support research.
The H3Africa IEARD component will provide funding for:
- An initial orientation for one research administrator from the awardee institution for each Collaborative Center, implemented through a distance learning component;
- A two-week training curriculum for that individual at the NIH to learn about NIH processes and procedures, and to develop knowledge and skills needed to administer NIH and other awards;
- Consultation on development and refinement of an Infrastructure Development Plan based on knowledge and feedback gained from the distance learning program and residency training;
- Implementation of the Infrastructure Development Plan at the awardee institution;
- An on-site, post-award assessment visit by NIH staff to the awardee institution;
- An evaluation of the program outcomes.
Program Objectives and Components
The overall aim of this component is to provide support to enhance or expand upon current research administrative infrastructure at the awardee institution of the Collaborative Center, thereby enhancing the research capabilities of NIH-supported institutions in Africa. This component will provide training and funding to augment the research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects) at the awardee institution, for the purpose of strengthening biomedical and behavioral research activities.
If the institution has already received research administrator training similar to that outlined below, the past training should be described and the H3Africa staff will negotiate with the institution to develop a tailored program that addresses the needs of the institution after an award is made.
Description of the IEARD Component
Program Director/International Extramural Associate
The individual from the awardee institution who participates in the IEARD component is designated as an H3Africa International Extramural (H3IE) Associate and must be a full-time academic research administrator at the applicant institution. The H3IE Associate will serve as a key research administrator for the Collaborative Center within the institution's research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects).
Distance Learning and Residency Training
The H3IE Associates will complete the Distance Learning component of their training at their home institutions prior to their on-site residency training at the NIH. Distance Learning modules will include such topics as introduction to the NIH, NIH terminology and funding mechanisms, role of NIH officials, receipt and referral of grant applications, peer review process, program funding cycle, grants management basics, use of animals in research, and use of human subjects in research.
H3IE Associates will then spend a two-week residency at the NIH, along with NICHD-supported IEAs and participants in a comparable domestic Extramural Associates Research Development (EARDA) program. Information on the domestic EARDA program curriculum can be found at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/org/dsp/ea/how_eap_works.cfm#curriculum. The NICHD, the Fogarty International Center, other NIH Institutes and Centers, other components of the U.S. Public Health Service, and other public and private sector organizations may be involved in the residency training.
Upon entering the program, the H3IE Associates are assigned a preceptor or mentor from the NIH to oversee their residency. The preceptor, a senior NIH or Public Health Service (PHS) official, provides guidance with respect to working assignments and related activities to assure consistency with the grantee's proposed Infrastructure Development Plan. The preceptor also advises the Associate on any refinements to the Plan that will need to be made and approved by the end of the residency.
During the residency, the H3IE Associates will attend a series of in-depth orientation seminars that will prepare them to use their time effectively at the NIH. Subsequent working assignments at NIH are intended to provide exposure to the administration of Federal extramural research programs. H3IE Associates will also have the opportunity to visit other Federal agencies and a nearby university's Office of Research or Office of Sponsored Projects to learn different administrative structures and procedures related to biomedical and behavioral research. H3IE Associates are expected to collaborate with, and learn from, the other IEAs and their domestic EA counterparts while in residence at the NIH.
The residency curriculum, in which all IEAs participate along with the domestic EAs, focuses on core areas related to enhancing institutional research infrastructure:
- The Organization and Function of the NIH
- Extramural Funding Mechanisms and Opportunities
- Stimulating Grant Proposals
- Proposal Review Options
- Proposal Submission
- Electronic Research Administration
- Faculty/Investigator Development
- Planning and Management Strategies
- Extramural Scientific Review Policies and Procedures
- Other Federal and Private or Non-profit Funding Programs and Opportunities
Post Award Services:
- NIH Extramural Program Policies and Procedures
- Regulatory Compliance
- Fiscal Management of NIH Awards
- NIH Facilities and Administrative Costs
- Responding to Audits
- Development of NIH Progress Reports
- Subprojects and Subcontract Awards
- Program and Project Administration, Evaluation, and Financial Management of Foreign Grants.
- Ensuring Human Subjects Protection
- Handling Misconduct in Research
- Data Ownership
- Animal Care in Research
Upon completion of the residency, the H3IE Associates will have acquired:
- A comprehensive working knowledge of and updated information on U.S. Federal support of biomedical and behavioral research and research training;
- Increased understanding of and skills in the preparation of research grant applications and post-award management and monitoring, including an understanding of NIH pre-award and post-award procedures and policies as they apply to international settings (e.g., Notice of Awards, assurances, progress reports, and accounting practices);
- A final development plan to enhance and strengthen the institution's research capacity;
- Knowledge of how best to constitute and use an Advisory Committee for reviewing, recommending for funding, and monitoring ongoing faculty research projects;
- An understanding of NIH/U.S. guidelines and protocols on issues such as human subject research, Institutional Review Boards, Western model of informed consent and human subject protection, care and use of research animals, research conduct and misconduct, and policies concerning intellectual property management in resource-limited settings;
- A network of contacts at the NIH and other Federal agencies, to enable the Associate to serve as a liaison for researchers and science administrators to access NIH opportunities, as well as those of other U.S. Federal and private agencies.
The NIH will conduct an on-site visit to the awardee institution and assist with the rectification of any identifiable infrastructure and research capacity issues. The recommendations generated by the assessment will help guide the institution and the H3IE Associate in establishing a research infrastructure that has the capacity to implement a more rigorous research program.
Upon return to his or her home institution, the H3IE Associate will be responsible for implementing the Infrastructure Development Plan, ensuring adherence to the agreed-upon goals, objectives, and timelines. The institution will be equally responsible for approving and carrying out the plan and providing sustainable support for it as an ongoing institutional component. The Associate will use the funds during the period of the Collaborative Center award to improve and reinforce the institution's research capacity and research administration infrastructure (through the Office of Research or Office of Sponsored Projects) as outlined in the final, approved version of the Infrastructure Development Plan.
The NIH will also provide information regarding relevant workshops, meetings and training opportunities to assist H3IE Associates in leveraging newly gained knowledge, insights, and networks to help their research program and/or home institution.
The applicant organization must document in the H3Africa application an institutional commitment to the IEARD component by providing:
- Sufficient release time for the Associate to participate in distance learning and residency training and to formulate and implement an infrastructure development plan (only in extreme cases will the Associate be excused from any part of the training to engage in institutional responsibilities incurred prior to or during the residency training);
- Support for the Associate in the form of designated authority to enhance and strengthen the existing research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects);
- A statement in the proposed infrastructure development plan that describes in detail how the institution intends to sustain the enhanced research administrative infrastructure once support of the Collaborative Center expires;
- Office space, office equipment, and any other in-kind activities to demonstrated the long-range commitment to the Office after termination of the award.
The awardee institution and the Associate must submit progress reports (as mandated by federal funding requirements) along with the H3Africa Collaborative Center that document activities during the report period and track efforts to meet the targeted outcomes as detailed in the infrastructure development plan.
See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this topic.
Applicants must restrict $35,000 (plus eight percent indirect costs) to support the activities of the H3IE Associate and the Office of Research upon returning to the home institution. Activities and other purposes for which funds may be used include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Purchase of office supplies and equipment.
- Purchase, connection, and maintenance of computer hardware and software.
- Administrative assistance: support for administrative assistance may be requested for up to .5 FTE; justification must be provided.
- Conduct of institutional and/or regional workshops on grantsmanship, research process (and design), statistical tools, research ethics, consortium research arrangements, and research management.
- Travel expenses for the H3IE Associate to gain additional experience in carrying out the functions of the office.
- Membership dues in one professional organization whose function is related to the goals of the IEA component, such as the International Society of Scientific Research Administrators (administrative funds may be used for this item).
Funds may not be used for the following:
- Research grant supplements or infrastructure (such as laboratories)
- Research projects
Application Instructions for H3Africa International Extramural Associates Research Development Program
The following seven components should be addressed in the IEARD component application, and it is imperative that applicants fully address each point described in the outline below because they are reflected in the review criteria.
- The Nominee (International Extramural Associate)
Biographical Sketch & Personal Statement (not to exceed two pages).
Include a brief description of the nominee's professional background, training, work experience, personal qualifications, knowledge and skills, particularly as they relate to his or her ability to fulfill the requirements and responsibilities of the IEARDA. Specifically provide: evidence of the nominee's rapport with faculty and students, ability to motivate and advise others, and commitment to serve the institution; evidence of the nominee's commitment to and experience in the administration of research; evidence of the nominee's ability to oversee the development and management of a research administrative infrastructure, such an Office of Research or Office of Sponsored Projects; and evidence of the nominee's commitment to increasing and strengthening biomedical and behavioral research capacity at the institution.
- Infrastructure Development Plan
The application must include a plan that describes the proposed activities for enhancement and strengthening of the institution's existing research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects). The Infrastructure Development Plan should describe the key goals, specific objectives, activities, outputs (e.g., support staff hired, computers purchased, training curriculum completed), resources, short- and long-term outcomes, and key personnel involved in the enhancement and strengthening of the research office during the project period of the Collaborative Center. The description should be clear and coherent, and provide evidence of adequate coordination among key faculty and administrators in its development.
The Infrastructure Development Plan should also specifically address the issue of sustainability by briefly describing how the institution intends to sustain and continue the programs and activities of the research office once NIH support through the H3Africa award expires. The plan for sustainability should include long-range goals and objectives for the research office and indicate commitment of funding from the institution or other sources to ensure continuation of research office activities at the enhanced level.
The work plan proposed should be realistic to be achieved within the specified timeframe and be sufficiently detailed. Objectives should be clear, measurable and achievable. Strategies and activities to help achieve each objective should also be stated (e.g., increased administrative staffing, establishment of database or tracking systems, enhancement of Internal Review Boards [IRB] for both human and animal subjects, training seminars to address grant preparation or grants management). The applicant should consider carefully what should be accomplished each year and over the course of the entire project period. A timeline for achieving each objective should be indicated. It may be helpful to summarize this information for each year of the project period using a chart or table format. Examples of such activities can include but are not limited to the following:
- Year 1: Adequately staff and equip the research office; strengthen research office communication and computing capabilities; establish and activate advisory committee; assess faculty and student training needs and resources; establish baselines for evaluation plan.
- Year 2: Assess and strengthen accounting and monitoring practices; facilitate direct proposal submissions; develop core training capabilities and materials; conduct workshops; monitor performance of workshops.
- Year 3: Review and refine sustainability plan for research office; continue training workshops and seminars; continue monitoring quality of training; conduct mid-course review and refine work plan as needed.
- Year 4: Continue to develop and implement strategies to develop research capacity through improved grantsmanship; assess regional needs and plan regional activities; establish partnerships and other linkages in support of goals.
- Year 5: Implement and assess regional activities; continue training activities; finalize plan for sustainability of research office; implement (process and outcome) evaluation of program.
Adherence to the timeline should be reported within the annual progress reports mandated by the NIH. Please note: The goals and/or outcomes developed for the IEARD plan can be modified based on recommendations provided in consultation with the IEARD preceptors and administrators at the NIH during the NIH residency.
- Establishment of Advisory Board
The Infrastructure Development Plan should include a proposal for establishment of an Advisory Committee to review and monitor ongoing infrastructure development activities. The purpose, function, and expectation, as well as prospective members of the committee should be described in the application, but specific members should not be appointed until after an award is made. This committee is intended to be advisory to the IEA in the enhancement and maintenance of ongoing research development activities. All other planned committees should be included in this section with a justification for the particular committee structure and function proposed and a description of the proposed membership.
- Evaluation Plan
The evaluation strategy should be linked to the statement of goals and objectives and should include benchmarks and a timeline for measuring progress or outcomes. This information can be presented in a chart or table. The Plan should also address how the results from the evaluation will be used to improve the research infrastructure and capabilities of the institution. Implementation of any evaluation or assessment activities should include input from the proposed advisory committee.
- Institutional Commitment
The description of this component should document support for the PD/PI and implementation of the Infrastructure Development Plan by including the following:
- Description of the commitment by the current head of the designated research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects), if other than the nominee, to work cooperatively with the PD/PI;
- Description of resources provided by the grantee institution, if any, including office space, salary and other in-kind activities to illustrate the long range institutional commitment to its Office of Research Development and to its support of research.
- Description of long term commitment to new faculty that may be established as part of the Center's career development goals.
- Letters of Support
A "Letter of Commitment" from the President or equivalent official head of the applicant Institution, signed and dated, that:
- Provides approval of the nominee's IEARD training periods at home through the distance learning component and at the NIH for the NIH residency, and provides the release time for these periods and any financial support needed for training;
- Confirms the institution's commitment to the sustainability of the designated research administrative infrastructure (e.g., Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects);
- Defines the placement of the research office within the institution and its line of authority;
- Describes the institutional provision of resources such as office space, administrator salary, office equipment and other in-kind activities (should be addressed both in the component description and in this support letter);
- Explains how the Institution plans to support and sustain the research office after the IEARD program/grant has been completed;
- Confirms the institution's commitment to biomedical and behavioral research including a statement of plans (as detailed as possible) to improve the health-related research capabilities of the institution.
- Three Letters of Endorsement from colleagues supporting the qualifications and potential effectiveness of the nominee to function as a research administrator with responsibility for the institution's research office. Each letter should contain the referee's name, title, institutional affiliation, address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. The reference letters must be submitted as part of the Collaborative Center application and marked as "IEARD component". Otherwise, the application will be considered incomplete and will be returned to the applicant without further consideration. In order to comply with this requirement, it is recommended that all reference letters be obtained from the referring individuals as far in advance of the application deadline as possible.