Frequently Asked Questions

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Generally, when you vacate a slot within a given year of appointment, a new student cannot be appointed to the vacated slot and unused funds are to be reported as unobligated. In exceptional circumstances if the position is vacated early in the appointment year and the program can demonstrate that sufficient funds from the current award year are available to fully-support an additional student, AHRQ will consider a formal, written request from the grantee institution to fill the vacated slot.

As with all prior approval requests, the request is to be endorsed by an an authorized institutional official and submitted to the assigned Grants Management Specialist named on the most recent Notice of Award. Approval is not guaranteed. In order for AHRQ to consider the request, a specific person has to be named to fill the vacated slot, the slot may not be "to-be-named." The newly identified person will initially be appointed for the time remaining to complete the planned program of training. The request must include a statement assuring that the individual will be immediately reappointed in the subsequent year.

The Notice of Award will indicate the anticipated number of predoctoral and postdoctoral T32 trainee slots that AHRQ hopes to support in future years. Prior to the due date for submitting the noncompeting continuation application, the assigned AHRQ program official will be in contact with the grantee regarding the actual number of trainee slots that may be requested.

Excerpt from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Grants Policy Statement:

"Recruitment Costs: Allowable subject to the conditions and restrictions contained in the applicable cost principles. These costs may include help-wanted advertising costs, costs of travel by applicants for interviews for prospective employment, and travel costs of employees while engaged in recruiting personnel. Grant funds may not be used for a prospective trainee's travel costs to or from the recipient organization for the purpose of recruitment. However, other costs incurred in connection with recruitment under training programs, such as advertising, may be allocated to a grant-supported project according to the provisions of the applicable cost principles."

A payback agreement is required only if the appointment is your initial 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support. If you received any other NRSA postdoctoral support that totals 12 months, on either another training grant or fellowship, a payback agreement is not required.

Public Health Service (PHS) funds may not be used to supplement a NRSA stipend. Furthermore, the trainee must devote full-time effort to the NRSA program. Conditions of the employment may not interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainee's approved NRSA training program.

No. Pre-award costs are not allowable charges for either stipends or tuition on institutional training grants since stipends and tuition costs may not be charged to the grant before the trainee appointment is actually made.

Each U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) operating division deals with this issue differently. Generally, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) expects grantees to rebudget to accommodate this type of change within the total amount already awarded, due to AHRQ's limited funding availability. The grantee may submit a formal, written request for additional funds to cover the higher stipend level; however, if NRSA funds for the given Fiscal Year have been exhausted, the request will not be approved.

Additional compensation is income accruing to you from employment. AHRQ recognizes trainees may seek part-time employment incidental to their training program to offset their expenses. Funds characterized as compensation may be paid to fellows only when there is an employer-employee relationship, the payments are for services rendered, and the situation otherwise meets the conditions for compensation of students. In addition, compensation must be in accordance with organizational policies applied consistently to both federally and non-federally supported activities and must be supported by acceptable accounting records that reflect the employer-employee relationship.

Under these conditions, the funds provided as compensation (salary, fringe benefits, and/or tuition remission) for services rendered, such as teaching or laboratory assistance, are not considered stipend supplementation; they are allowable charges to Federal grants, including PHS research grants.

Compensation may not be paid from a research grant that supports the same research that is part of the trainees' planned training. Compensated services should occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal full-time research training activities.

Under no circumstances may the conditions of stipend supplementation or the services provided for compensation interfere with, detract from, or prolong the trainees approved AHRQ Institutional Research Training program.

Program Directors must approve part-time employment on research grants to verify that the circumstances will not detract from or prolong the approved training program for the trainee.

AHRQ defines a primary care practice-based research network, or PBRN, as a group of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients, and affiliated in their mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and to improve the quality of primary care. This definition includes a sense of ongoing commitment to network activities and an organizational structure that transcends a single research project. PBRNs often link practicing clinicians with investigators experienced in clinical and health services research, while at the same time enhancing the research skills of the network members.

For more information about PBRNs, go to:

AHRQ cannot diagnose nor give medical advice to individuals on their specific health conditions. For information about medical conditions and treatments, please visit the following websites:

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