Frequently Asked Questions

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The following types of activities satisfy payback responsibilities:

  • Research. Defined as an activity that involves designing experiments, developing protocols, and collecting and interpreting data. In addition, review of original research or administration of original research that includes providing scientific direction and guidance to research may be acceptable if a doctoral degree and relevant research experience is required. Such research can be conducted in an academic, governmental, commercial, or other environment in either a foreign or domestic setting. In addition, when consistent with the cumulative amount, type, and frequency of research or research training experiences, functions that involve analytic or other technical activities conducted in direct support of research, as defined above, will also satisfy the service payback obligation.
  • Teaching. An instructional activity that takes place in an organized educational or other instructional environment. Activities classified as teaching are generally carried out in a formal didactic setting, but other activities will be considered if they are consistent with the certifying institution's policy on the definition of teaching responsibilities. Such teaching can be conducted at universities, professional schools, research institutes, teaching hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools, or colleges. When calculating hours of teaching per week, you may include three hours of preparation time for each hour of direct instruction. Acceptable teaching activities must have a healthcare-related relevance.
  • Health-related Activities. Incorporates a broad range of activities related to the description, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease from the most basic biomedical or behavioral research to the most applied or clinical research.

Programs can supplement student stipends to defray the cost-of-living, as long as the supplement carries no additional obligation from the student, is awarded according to the institution's policies, and is uniformly applied to all students in a similar category. Public Health Service (PHS) funds or Federal funds cannot be used for this unless specifically authorized.

Check the NIH Guide each Fiscal Year for a Notice regarding that Fiscal Year's Policy for Funding of Tuition, Fees, and Health Insurance on Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.

If the PhD has been achieved less than a year ago, the first level of experience is "0" years of experience.

Yes, TRE funds may be used to cover part of the remainder of the tuition. However, the rebudgeting of funds out of TRE should not be detrimental to accomplishing the aims of the program. Rebudgeting funds awarded for TRE does not require prior AHRQ approval.

Unobligated funds are unspent funds that accumulate in the grant. These funds are reported on the annual Federal Financial Report (FFR). AHRQ routinely uses these funds to offset future year funding.

Reported unobligated balances will be generally used to offset future year costs of the grant, and will not be approved for carryover. For example, if a grantee files a Federal Financial Report (FFR) indicating $50,000 in in unobligated funds, these funds will be used to offset the total approved amount of a future year of funding for the grant.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) ended its Public Health Emergency Preparedness Research Program in 2011. To access those resources, go to the AHRQ Archive.

Other Federal agencies continue helping the Nation prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. They include:

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) convenes peer review groups to conduct a scientific and technical evaluation of grant applications. With the new policy, it is AHRQ's intent that priority populations be included in studies such that the research design will explicitly allow for valid analyses to be conducted. Specifically related to the issue of peer review of grant applications, AHRQ reviewers will assess the proposed research plan, including the applicant's discussion of intent to include one or more priority populations or the justification when priority populations are absent. Reviewers will also assess proposed study plans for outreach, recruitment, and retention of study participants, as well as the methods for conducting subgroup analyses for priority populations if applicable. These criteria will be factored in as a component of the overall assigned score for the application.

The policy does not mean that Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will not fund a grant if the project does not include any of the priority populations within its research design. Rather, AHRQ intends that the overall portfolio of health services research conducted and supported by the Agency will be inclusive of all priority populations (inner city; rural; low income; minority; women; children; elderly; and those with special health care needs, including those who have disabilities, need chronic care, or need end of life health care).

With this policy, the goal is that AHRQ-supported research findings and related advances in health care practice and policy will be applicable to individuals from these populations.

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